HIGH END MUNICH 2019 SHOW REPORT AND GALLERY - PART 5
Well, you have made it to Episode 5 of the StereoNET High End Munich 2019 Show Report. We hope that you are enjoying our recap if you were there and, if you couldn't make it, are getting an idea of the scale, scope and selection of audiophile temptation available when High End Society takes over the M.O.C.
Tune Audio Avaton with Trafomatic, Rockna and Skogrand
More huge horns were to be enjoyed thanks to the Tune Audio Avaton. The three-way passive horn-loaded speakers are the culmination of five year’s development intended, thankfully, for larger listening rooms. Firstly, there’s the 27Kg 18-inch bass unit. The application of ‘virtual mouth technology’ (get your mind out of the gutter!) delivers a flat response right down to 32Hz. The asymmetrical midbass horn has a mouth of 10.000cm2, and triple layer build with damping materials in between. Also, the throat and beginning of the horn are coated with epoxy/CNT compound for extra stiffness. The out-board cross-overs are all first order, and the internal wiring is custom made from high purity OFC copper with waxed cotton insulation. The brass bracing sports felt acoustic isolation to minimise energy transfer.
The big horns were pushed along nicely by Trafomatic amps and the unmistakable Skogrand cables hooked everything up wonderfully.
JoSound ecoJo YS Tribute
We had a long chat with Joe Jouhal, and we have the feeling that we could spend many days in conversation with him. However, we were here to hear the new ecoJo YS Tribute speakers. The eco portion of the name is due to Joe ditching his usual choice of bamboo for a 28-layer eco board that is finished in high gloss paint. EcoBoard comprises of 100% post-agricultural waste - so, mostly straw. The best thing about this material is that it has a negative carbon footprint! Naturally, you can opt for the cabinet to be made from his usual selection of either bamboo or recycled acrylic.
The ecoJo is a two-way design featuring an 8-inch full-range driver in a sealed enclosure with an acrylic wave-guide. The enclosure’s volume is such that it rolls off at 100Hz. Beneath this is an 18-inch woofer powered by an internal 250w Ncore class D amplifier from Hypex. The amp’s in-built DSP enables the sub to match the upper section’s natural roll-off. We enjoyed this speaker a lot and have to applaud Joe’s continued respect for the planet, as well as sound.
Pre Audio, Egglestonworks, Doshi and Way Cables
We had been chatting with Pre Audio before the show and were already primed to check out what was on offer. The Polish turntable makers Based in Nysa specialises in producing record players with tangential arms, and it was demonstrating the world's first record player with a built-in compressor.
The compressor is used to 'float' the tonearm on an 'air bearing'. As the air pressure required is minimal (0.030MPa), the company can use a compressor that works without causing vibrations or sound. The ASP-15 series uses a brushed aluminium tonearm as standard, but you get also get the option of chrome plated, or gold plated varients. Additionally, they had a record player where not only the arm is suspended on an air bearing but also the platter.
Also in the room was American speaker brand Egglestonworks who had its Kiva floorstanders (€16,990 per pair) at the other end of a Pre Audio sourced system including Doshi's V3.0 phono stage and preamplifier going to the V3.0 monoblocks that utilise KT150 tubes translating to 160W @ 4Ohms.
Also on duty was the speaker brand's new Nico EVO (€4,900 per pair) stand-mount speakers. The new Nicos replace the old ones and feature a 1-inch tweeter and a 6-inch mid-woofer matched with the expected slotted port. Everything was hooked up with Way Cables who incidentally launched their Poetry+ RCA and balanced XLR cables at the show.
Joseph Audio Perspective2 Graphine and Alluxity One
Joseph Audio’s Pearl3 has been the benchmark for many and Munich saw the European debut of the slender Perspective2 Graphene. Firstly, the new floorstanders may prove easier to sit in the average European room than the Pearl3 which Joseph Audio says is the only real challenger to these towers. The company’s proprietary crossover matches the loudspeaker’s Graphene coated Magnesium woofers and Sonatex Hexadyn tweeters. Matching the Joseph Audio’s sleek looks were the equally attractive Alluxity Media One server, Pre and Power One amps from Denmark. All-in-all a great looking and great sounding match.
This French hi-fi brand does things differently, and Apurna's components are quickly recognisable even though they are available in innumerable finishes. At High End Munich they can also add a similarly original set of floorstanding loudspeakers in the Carmina. Naturally, the new speakers employ the company’s CARS or Composite Apurna Resonance System. Thanks to a multi-layer composite shell, coupled with bass-reflex vents, as well as the CARS tech, the Carmina effectively damps unwanted resonances created inside the enclosure and so mitigating colouration from standing waves. Aside from the extremely modern haloed casement, we enjoyed the realistic, tight and fast bass and superb tonal balance the Carmina showed in the small room when powered by Apurna’s Prelude stereo DAC amplifier.
Primare, Piega, inakustik, Stoic
The room was a relatively straightforward one by Munich standards but sounded well sorted. Here you had Primare’s now familiar Pre35 preamp, CD35 disc spinner, R35 phono and A35.2 power amp sat on rather attractive Stoic isolation platforms.. The 165cm tall, 65Kg Piega Master Line Source 3 speakers did not dominate the room as much as you’d assume thanks to their slender frontage. The elegant floorstander uses the company’s latest dipole 3-way system. Mids and highs are taken care of by the four ribbons with slatted acoustic lenses to disperse the audio at the rear. The bass is supplied by a pair of newly developed 180mm UHQD drivers.
Purely going by their name, we assumed this to be a German company. It appears that we were half right as half the name, ‘Lied’ means ‘piece of music’ in German. However, as this is a French brand, ‘son’ here means ‘sound’. The company’s streamers and DACs are beautiful which shouldn’t come as a surprise Gil Aguilera, the man behind the brand, is not only an acoustic engineer, with a background in electroacoustics, but a painter and sculptor and so the use of materials and design are equally as important to him as how they perform. For instance, the ORATORIO is formed of a concrete frame, aluminium chassis and solid wood cover. The equally ornamental ODEON power amplifier was also in use, and the playback sounded very organic in the demo room.
Gato does make some eye-catching audio equipment, and it was great to be able to get up close and personal with the range on show here. Being demonstrated was Gato’s anniversary system (CDD01 DAC/CD player, £6,240 and AMP-150 at £6,440) plugged into a pair of the company’s FM-50 three-way passive floorstanding speakers. The £6,899 speakers use two custom 170mm bass drivers and a total volume of 50 litres (guess how many litres the enclosure of the smaller FM-30 has) to give a frequency response down to 32Hz. The mid driver is a 150mm mineral cone with the highs looked after by a 38mm ring radiator tweeter.
Most noticeable while walking around Melco’s room was the new finish given to its N10 and N100 systems. The brushed black finish looks classy, and we couldn’t decide if we preferred the original silver or this more stealthy casing. One thing we could agree on, however, was that Melco’s new ‘Intelligent Music Library’ is a nice bit of kit. We cover it more detail HERE.
Gold Note DS-10 DAC
Gold Note had a mouthwatering selection of turntables and other wonderfully Italian-styled audio loveliness on show. However, it was the relatively unassuming DS-10 DAC that was making its debut ahead of general release later in the summer.
The compact and perfectly formed DS-10 is an innovative DAC, streamer, analogue preamp and headphone amp - pretty much everything the modern audiophile required in one beautiful box. Gold Note used the proprietary tech developed for the DS-1000 and IS-1000. Gold Note says that they “have created a unique unit that allows you to convert and stream your favourite music from almost any digital music collection or streaming service powered by the ultimate 32bit/768kHz AKM AK4493 D/A converter.”
Also on the stand was the IS-1000 Roon Ready integrated amplifier mentioned earlier and PH-1000 phono stage which was also enjoying its premiere.
Tellurium Q and Devore Fidelity
Orangutans aren’t the first animal we’d think of when asked to name one synonymous with music and yet, that’s precisely what America’s Devore Fidelity chose. That said, the Orangutan Reference four-speaker system sounded fantastic linked to the Audiomat amp, phono stage and DAC using Tellurium Q Statement cables. The turntable was a Frank Schroeder deck and tonearm along with a Dynavector cartridge.
Falcon Acoustics V Series
Falcon Acoustics joined forces with Balanced Audio Technology to unveil the HP.80 2-way floorstander, the first of the new Falcon V series models. We also enjoyed some time with the LS3/5A active bookshelf speakers. The Falcon HP.80 2-way floorstander (£13,000 per pair) features all-new Twaron /Graphene composite cones, with the speaker's 2-way vented system using twin 7.0-inch bass units, partnered by a 28mm dome tweeter with profiled loading. Response speed and tonal balance were the focus here. The analogue source was a MoFi UltraDeck+M turntable with MasterTracker MM cartridge going into a MoFi UltraPhono MM/MC 40-66dB gain PhonoStage.
Balanced Audio supplied a pair of VK-655SE Solid-State Amplifiers, a REX II Tube Preamplifier, REX DAC Tube DSD DAC, and VK-P12SE Tube Phono Preamp. There was also a Primare CD35 Prisma spinning silver discs. Supporting all the kit was SolidSteel racks.
Operating from the Czech Republic, AQ Acoustic’s stand had everything covered. Of particular interest were the red and black angular AQ Passion Orca speakers on their distinctive swept-back stands. Although only on static display we do not doubt that they have the performance to match their looks as they feature a 6-inch Scan-Speak Illuminator Woofer with 3D aluminium cone and R3004/66020-00 ring radiator tweeter with phase plug and sound transparent protective grille. The entire Passion range looked pretty decent to us.
Raidho and Chord Electronics
A Chord Electronics front-end matched by Raidho Acoustic’s new TD3.8 was destined to sound good, and the Danish speakers’ debut didn’t disappoint. Being the company’s first midsized floorstander, it still manages to house large drivers that implement Raidho’s patent-pending driver design. You get new 8-inch woofers in a dual configuration and a pair of new 5-inch midrange drivers sharing the same, new driver design. Rounding things off is a freshly upgraded tweeter. €88,000 will get you a couple of TD3.8s in glossy black. Add another €12k if you fancy them in walnut or a custom colour. Also present in the room were the amazingly sexy TD4.8.
The Italian start-up’s cuboid audio equipment is both stylish and immensely usable. Evidentally, the team is aware that not everyone has lots of space for full-sized hi-fi components. Audiodinamica were using Munich to gather feedback on their latest creation, the BeCube headphone amplifier. Enticed by the promise of espresso (many espressos) and some time with the prototype head amp, we headed over and had a chat with Angelo and Gianluca.
The BeCube headphone amplifier is a very neutral performer and is essentially a solid-state power amplifier with two direct coupled complementary stages with minimal feedback. Audiodinamica uses low noise jFET’s from linear systems at the input and TO220 MOSFETs at the output for an increased current drive and reduced output impedance. On the back of the unit is a toggle to switch between +3dB and +9dB gain but that switch doesn’t only change the gain of the amplifier, it also adjusts the current flowing through the power MOSFETs making them run hotter at the high gain position.
Muraudio and Triangle Art
We have been looking forward to hearing the Muraudio SP1 curved electrostatic speakers for quite a while now, and they didn’t disappoint, especially as driving them were Triangle Art’s spectacular Ultimate TA-305M valve amplifiers. Each one of the Ultimate TA-305M is equipped with eight KT88 output tubes, three 6SN7 driver tubes and a 6SL7 rectifier in Class A push-pull triode mode. The result is 350 Watts of rather enjoyable power from what we could tell. The turntables here were the Triangle Art Master Reference which uses a pair of 80mm chrome platters comprised of special composite metal. The dual-platter design architecturally isolates the motor from the cartridge, allowing ultimate isolation from the motor. Also up there is the smaller Hathor turntable and utilises a 1-inch solid composite alloy plinth and a similarly hefty platter.
Silbatone’s Western Electric speakers are right out of the 1930s and have a certain Heath Robinson quality about their appearance. However, in terms of audio quality, we found them huge on dynamics but slightly lacking in nuance and subtleties. Furthermore, you will need more room than generally on offer in a 2-bed Terrace, but you would definitely be making a statement with a system featuring these at the end of it.
Arya Audio Labs had many people slowing down as they passed the stand, which would then turn into stopping and then to sitting to experience the Airblade transducer. The Southampton-based company’s prototype driver eschews the usual diaphragm and voice coil design in favour of layers of light-weight ring-shaped elements with conductive aluminium traces bonded directly to them. Air is moved, and therefore sound produced, when an electrical signal is applied triggering opposite layers of the diaphragm to either move away or towards each other, depending on the signal. Very cool and even in an open booth, they seemed to be working well.
Canton Reference K
Canton came armed with its €7,200 Reference 2K and Reference 5K speakers. The Reference 2K is a three-way design that sports ceramic drivers. The Smart Reference 5K are active speakers that boast 2x600W of power, aptX Bluetooth and virtual surround sound. AVM electronics powered the demonstrations.
The Acoustic Transducer Company, as it was known when it was making PA drivers for the pro audio industry and got its first break supplying the mid-range drivers for Super Tramp’s touring rig, now also incorporates consumer hi-fi. However, ATC’s studio pedigree still shines through, as evidenced through how its speakers and electronics perform very accurately.
Being demonstrated were the Special Edition SCM50SE Active towers which were indeed articulate and nuanced. Also on display were the D2 CD player and SIA2-100 integrated stereo amplifier we met at the Bristol Hi-Fi Show. The Pro-Ject Xpression 12 turntable featured an SAT tonearm and Ortofon's new MC Anna Diamond (more about that later). The CD2 is priced at £1,500, and the SIA2-100 amp that offers 100 ATC watts per channel costs £2,500.
Metronome and Kalista
Unusually, for French-brand Metronome who has made a name for themselves thanks to impressively high-performance digital components, it was the unveiling of an eye-catching prototype turntable which took centre stage in this room. More within keeping of the brand, they also launched their cAQWO DAC and tAQQO SACD transport.
Also in the rig was Kalista’s DreamPlay Stream and, difficult to ignore, was the two-metre-tall Kalista Les Enceintes EA loudspeakers. The three-way bass reflex system sports five drivers with the low end coming from two carbon fibre-coned 38-centimetre woofers. A 25-millimetre magnesium tweeter joins a pair of 20cm paper-graphite composite mid-rangers. The top and bottom cabinets are of a wooden construction whereas the centre section is solid aluminium. If your ceiling is high enough, you can have a pair of the Kalista EA for €120,000, and you get to choose from any REL colour you fancy.
Warwick Acoustics Aperio
Warwick’s new Aperio one-box and electrostatic headphones combo push the already excellent Sonoma system that we met at CanJam London down to be the company’s entry-level offering. The £20,000 Aperio features dual 32-bit, 8-channel DACs in dual mono configuration to attain an SNR of 131dB. You also get S/PDIF, AES, and coaxial inputs as well as a USB input that doubles as firmware updater.
Additionally, there’s also an Ethernet-fed network streamer that supports 32bit/384kHz PCM and DSD 256 (DoP or native). The cans use a new BD-HPEL Transducer – a Balanced-Drive variation of the HPEL (High Precision Electrostatic Laminate) transducer first built for the Sonoma Model One headphone system and injected magnesium for the structural parts of the headphone such as the earcups. These were possibly the best electrostatics we heard at the show.
Ortofon MC Anna Diamond
We got up close and personal with the new MC Anna Diamond flagship cartridge from Ortofon. Thanks to the company’s MC Century development process during 2018, they’ve now developed a new technique to make the original MC Anna perform even better. The MC Anna Diamond boasts all the same features as the MC Anna, except the diamond stylus is now mounted directly on to a diamond cantilever. The new cartridge rightly sits at the very top of Ortofon’s range priced at £7,250. The good news is that it's coming to the UK and that Ortofon is on the road again so you might get to hear it in action in a store near you!
And so concludes another High End Munich 2019 Show Report.
Check below for more photos taken at the show in the rooms featured here.
See you soon for Episode 6.
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 StereoNET
Tags: high end munich 2019 munich2019 canton tune audio trafomatic rockna skogrand josound pre audio egglestonworks doshi way cables jospeh audio alluxity apurna primare piega inakustik liedson gato melco gold note devore fidelity tellurium q falcon acoustics aq acoustic raidho chord electronics muraudio audiodinamica
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