HIGH END MUNICH 2019 SHOW REPORT AND GALLERY - PART 2
We hope that you enjoyed Part 1 of the StereoNET High End Munich 2019 Show Report as we have much more where that came from! In this episode we have big horns and sci-fi!
Cessaro Alpha II speakers
More horns! The Cessaro Alpha II speakers were in the WOD room, a high-end German retailer, and 'eye-catching' is an understatement. Also in this room was iFi with its newly launched Aurora all-in-one. The Cessaro Alpha II features TAD drivers, including a 16-inch TAD Alnico unit giving plenty of low-end depth and clarity. The speaker's clever modular design means that you can swap out and upgrade components over time. Additionally, the cabinets and horn colours come in all colours. The speakers were being driven by Ypsilon electronics and a Bergmann turntable which together gave an impressively natural sound.
Hamburg-based Lyravox had its remarkably dynamic full-sized KARL and smaller KARLOTTA speakers that sounded both accurate and efficient. When we delved deeper into what was behind them, it was revealed that each of the ceramic and diamond Accuton drivers was being pushed along by a separate D-class amp merged with a high-res DSP. All-in-all a very relaxing listening session with no harshness nor aggressive peaks. We enjoyed the orchestral piece that was being played at the time.
More Accuton action was to be had in the Estonian-based Estelon's room. The sleek lines of the new Forza speakers matched their exquisite detailing of music, which was through CH Precision electronics.
Digital specialist Data Conversion Systems (dCS) launched a new streaming audio platform called Mosaic. This combination of hardware and software modules can be used to upgrade the company’s current streaming products – the Vivaldi, Rossini, Bartók and Network Bridge via a free firmware update. Additionally, the new £11,999 Bartók network DAC with Class A headphone amp was presented for the first time.
The space-age stylings of B-yond hybrid integrated amplifier from Italian-brand YAR were next up. The full second-generation system on display includes Feeld, the amp stand, Y-der loudspeakers and a range of YAR cables. The B-yond amp combines a propriety tube-based preamp circuit with Class D mono power amps 350 W of power per channel into 8 Ohms, and 700 W per channel into 4 Ohms. Additionally, the aerodynamic Y-der sports a state-of-the-art DAC. The source of high-res tunes was the Auralic Aires G2. IsoTek's EVO3 Sigmas with an EVO3 Optimum input cable ensured clean power. At the other end, the full body carbon fibre Y-der floorstanding speakers enable “endless customisation possibilities”. The cabinet design has no parallel surfaces, so eliminating unwanted resonances. Low frequencies are managed through an innovative double bass reflex system while the medium-low, medium and high frequencies are managed through dipole radiation. For all its sci-fi-meets-F1 styling and tech, we enjoyed the system's natural and transparent output.
A pair of Quadral's Aurum Alpha (could they be Gammas?) three-way active speakers were making a decent noise as we, unfortunately, had to rush past on our way to another meeting. We made plans to return but, in the end, couldn't.
IsoTek and Luxman
Keith Martin's Winchester-based power maestros IsoTek were in Munich to launch their new Super Nova power cleaning system designed for primary components that have a constant draw - pre-amplifiers, DACs, phono stages, CD players, that kind of thing. The Super Nova's eight power outlets each have a separate dedicated power cleaning system with over 100,000 Amps (1840 joules) of protection. All added up, that's over 800,000 Amps all in.
The £9,995 (inc. VAT) device features both ground filtering and an electronic protection circuit to protect your kit against spikes. Additionally, the Super Nova boasts a new choke that allows a series connection which quadruples inductance increasing filtering at a constant 10 Amps if required. There's also a pair of specialised radio frequency chokes as well as the unique Nova adaptive gate system. Finally, all internal wiring is silver plated ultra-pure OCC copper with IsoTek's virtual air dielectric tech. The PCB circuits are all double Oz copper. These specifications are typical of the attention to detail that IsoTek puts into its products.
What can we say about Luxman that hasn't already been said a thousand times? However, we thought that this was a rather lovely set up featuring a turntable and SACD player.
Audiovector QR 3
The Danish loudspeaker company was unveiling their largest QR speaker, the QR 5. However, it was the QR 3 on duty when we walked in. With its sweet-sounding gold leaf AMT tweeter and dual mid-bass units that each feature two layers of aluminium cone, separated by a fibre filling and a foam glue which Audiovector dubs its ‘Pure Piston’ driver design. Whatever they call it, the Copenhagen-based crew is doing something right by the sounds of things in this room.
Elsewhere in the show, Acoustic Signature's Invictus Jr. turntable was wowing the crowds playing through the confident Von Schweikert Ultra Reference 9 Loudspeakers, but the company's static stand was enough to make a grown hi-fi fan cry (in a good way).
It wasn't just the plethora of high-end turntables though, the long line of fantastic tonearms was a sight to behold.
These great British racks are another regular feature in many of the rooms at the show and for a good reason. Not only do they look good, but they also perform excellently. Catching up with product design Alester Kells, we noticed that the X-Reference rack we fell in love with at the Bristol show had been given a few more coats of orange Nextel as well as the shelves receiving a contrasting black. This colour scheme just keeps getting better. We mentioned it once, and we'll say it again, that orange really suits our branding, Al!
We were also given a glimpse of the special QPlus case which will be handed to distributors to make their job easier when showing these clever interfaces.
It was good to meet the Degritter record cleaning machine in person finally. We have been following its adventures ever since it first appeared for crowdfunding. The device is compact and, taking into account where the stand was, appeared to be pretty quiet, even when drying.
We are hoping to get a unit in to review so watch this space.
Wadax DAC and Kharma Enigma Veyron EV-2D speakers
The notes for this room includes the statement “Smells nice. Woody”. Here you had statuesque speakers from Kharma and the new Wadax Atlantis Reference DAC. Said DAC took 50,000 working hours of research and development to build. The milled aluminium casement goes towards its 100kg. The Kharma room was exceptionally well presented (as well as smelling fab).
Elipson Legacy 3230 speakers
Bryston electronics drove the new €7000 Legend 3230 speakers. B&W fans might feel that there's an unnerving familiarity, but these follow Elipson's 1960s design. Here you have one of the brand's spherical speakers loaded with an AMT ribbon tweeter and 6.5-inch aluminium/ceramic midrange cone atop a more conventional floorstanding cabinet. The rectangular section houses a pair of 8-inch bass drivers with cellulose paper cones and a downward-firing bass port.
Keep an eye out for Elipson's new W35 wireless speaker which will soon be available for €799.
Brinkman, HRS and Vandersteen
Vandersteen presented their Model Seven American-made speakers which were mated with their Sub Nine subs. At the front-end was a Brinkman turntable and electronics supported by HRS racks and isolation. The whole system worked really well.
Ypsilon and Peak Consult
As we continued through the show, the Ypsilon room struck us as being a more traditional setup. Yup, desensitisation had already started. The Analogue source here was provided by a Dohmann Matrix 1 with everything pushed through Ypsilon Hyperion monoblocs to the Peak Consult’s €130,000 Phoenix three-ways.
Dynaudio Confidence speakers
Dynaudio's speakers could be spotted in several rooms at the show, but that didn't stop the company taking a good-sized place at MOC to show what its got. The Confidence 30 speakers were on demo with the Confidence 50 also in attendance. Dynaudio also brought its wireless Music range which seemed to garner plenty of attention.
ZenSati and Sonus Faber Aida
In another dimly-lit and challenging to photograph room was ZenSati's forest of high-end cables. Sonus Faber's Aida loudspeakers dominated the awe-inspiring system sharing the room with the cable display. Sonus Faber describes the Aida as a 3 and 2/3 way loudspeaker system. The 5 feet 8-inches tall cabinets are each home to a tweeter-and-midrange module comprising a 28mm XTR-4 silk-dome Damped Apex Dome (DAD) Arrow-Point tweeter and a 180mm XTR-04 midrange unit with a cellulose-pulp cone. Under this is a pair of 220mm W22XTR-12 woofers with neodymium magnets. Additionally, there is a down-firing 320mm SW32XTR-08 long-throw subwoofer featuring a Nano-Carbon sandwich cone and a 4-inch voice coil. Finally, there is the Sound Field Shaper, a rear-firing, ported, midrange-tweeter-midrange array, comprising a 29mm silk-dome XTR2 DAD tweeter and two M8XTR 80mm midrange units. The set-up also featured a Scheu Analogue turntable and Audio Reference gear all linked by ZenSati cables. Unfortunately, it was silent when we visited. Looked good, though.
Auris Audio Euterpe and Fortino 88
Auris had an enticing headphone amp display on the stand that included the two-box (single-ended EL-34 amplifier + linear power supply) Nirvana (€4,500 + VAT), the €5,999 (+ VAT) Headonia 2A3, as well as the newly launched €1,499 Euterpe. The Euterpe was the one the demanded our time and the tube line-level amplifier and DAC unit didn't disappoint.
The Auris Audio demo room was home to the new Fortino 88 amplifier which sounded much bigger than its size.
Stein Music Top Line Bob XL speakers
Meet Bob. Well, the Top Line and Bob XL to give the Stein Music speakers their full and rightly deserved name - they stand at 2.3 meters tall! Split across two boxes per side, these speakers boast a combination of horns and open baffle array as well as combining a passive main speaker with integrated DSP-controlled active subwoofers. All of that adds up to €128,000 and 3000 watts. We suggest you check your room dimensions first before dropping the cash.
Vertere DG-1 Dynamic Groove turntable and Kudos Speakers
At this show the prices do start losing their impact so when you spot a new turntable by a renowned high-end brand that's under three grand, it grabs your attention. Here, the £2850 (with cartridge) Vertere DG-1 is such a beast.
The Direct Groove 1’s plinth is a three-layer sandwich construction of acrylic reinforced with a steel chassis. The aluminium platter has a bonded PETG (a thermoplastic polymer) mat and a cork/neoprene/nitrile disc on the underside for a rigid base. It both looks and sounds excellent through the Kudos Titan standmounts.
Living Voice Vox Palladian/Vox Basso speakers
The Living Voice room was consistently well-attended as we walked back-and-forth through the corridors. Should you have around half-a-million pounds burning a hole in your pocket, then you should really take the time to hear the Vox Palladian and the new Vox Basso combination by Living Voice. Kevin Scott has spent the past 30 years perfecting the speaker's design. For that you get such a realistic presentation of instruments, it is difficult to move back out of the room — a definite highlight of the show for us at StereoNET. A Grand Prix Audio Monaco 2.0 turntable featuring both a Kuzma 4-point tonearm and a Viv Labs RF 7-inch tonearm was in action as the analogue source. Digital tunes used the LV CD30.
Additionally, we were treated to a bit of an after-hours lock-in for an exclusive playback of an original pressing of David Bowie's Space Oddity through the 'little' Auditorium speakers which also sounded fantastic. Thanks again for inviting us.
We took the opportunity at Munich to catch up with Martin Bell of Java and their range of caffeine-themed components. All Java models feature luxury real wood veneers over outer casework that has been CNC machined from a solid block of laminated birch plywood. Take it from us the Java kit looks great in real life. The Java Hi-Fi range is available in ‘Single Shot’ or ‘Double Shot’ strengths. High End Munich saw the official launch of the brand's refreshed V2.0 pre-amplifier that uses Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) technology to isolate the signal path from other control electronics and the GaN Integrated Amp which, as well as utilising an LDR pre-amp stage adds a Gallium Nitride GaN FET Class D audio power modules. The amplifiers feature a variety of input/output configurations, wood finishes and fascia colours, giving you a choice from over 50 customisable combinations.
As always, there's more photos in the gallery below.
Part 3 is on its way!
StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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Posted in: Hi-Fi HiFi Show
Tags: cessaro lyravox estel dcs quadral isotek luxman audiovector quadraspire acoustic signature degritter wadax kharma elipson brinkmann dynaudio zensati sonus faber auris audio stein music vertere living voice ypsilon peak consult java munich2019 high end munich 2019
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