High End Munich 2022 Show Report & Gallery N - Z
StereoNET wraps up the final leg of its High End Munich 2022 show report taking you through brands N-Z, and looks forward to High End Munich 2023.
You can see all the photos taken at High End Munich 2022 in our forum as they are all accessible even if you're not a forum member - however, the number of times you can return to the forum is limited, so why not join up for free? In addition, as a forum member, you get access to industry experts who are happy to help with any questions you might have, classified ads and more.
Additionally, you can enjoy our High End Munich 2022 playlist curated from tracks heard during the four days of the exhibition.
NAGRA / WILSON AUDIO
Anyone visiting this room could not fail to be impressed by the sheer scale of the equipment, and that's before the first note hit their ears.
Wilson Chronosonic XVX with WATCH Dog subwoofers were fed by Nagra HD components, including the new €175,000 70th-anniversary turntable featuring a complex multi-motor drive system and sprung suspension. Nagra also supplied its HD DAC-X, HD PREAMP, two sets of Nagra HD Amplifiers and €85,000 HD PHONO stage. The latter offers on-the-fly variable input impedance and an all-tube circuit with built-in step-up transformers. Woofer integration was spot on, and the Chronosonics did not overwhelm the room. In fact, for all the hardware facing me, the presentation seemed very natural. Very impressive.
Neat Acoustics announced their Neat Petite Classic standmounter at High End.
The always affable Bob Surgeoner told me that the limited edition Petite 30, released for Neat's 30th anniversary, led to the launch of the Petite Classic. The new speaker matches the exact dimensions as the original Petite at 30cm tall but uses the 5-inch mid/ bass and Air Motion Transformer tweeter from the Petite 30 alongside a new crossover network. As a result, I am told it “delivers astonishingly lifelike images, an exceptional midrange and stunning dynamics whilst maintaining the musical coherence and essence of the original Petite model.” The Petite Classic comes in Textured Black and Satin White, priced at £1,995.
As far as I am concerned, Nordost had the best sounding system featuring Wilson Audio speakers and D'Agostino amplification at the show.
The Sascha DAW was powered by a D’Agostino integrated amp. Naturally, all cabling was Nordost Valhalla 2, including the Ethernet Cable. Also in the system was the QKORE grounding system, Premium QSOURCE DC Cable, Premium QKORE Wire, and QRT Stand Mount. In addition, Munich saw the debut of Nordost's puck-shaped QNET Network Switch alongside VPI's Avenger Direct turntable.
I was informed that the QNET switch is a totally new design, not simply the result of power and/ or oscillator upgrades. The aluminium housing acts as a heat sink, shield and physical separation for the five independent 8P8C (RJ45) connector ports. I was told that the physical separation of each of these ports is a critical and unique design element, ensuring minimal crosstalk and interference within the device. Three of the five ports are auto-negotiated 1000BASE-T (1 Gbps) capable, perfect for the router and other generic network devices. The remaining two ports are fixed to 100BASE-TX (100 Mbps), which Nordost states is a speed at which internal noise reduction is possible, making these ports best used for primary audio servers/players or external media sources. Interesting stuff and undoubtedly a potential divider of opinions on forums and social media.
Octave's Jubilee Mono SE amps and matching pre are beautiful things.
The €82,000 power amps utilise eight KT120 tubes to put out 400W into 4 Ohms and looked fab with the €30,000 Jubilee preamplifier. Joining these via Inakustic Referenz cabling was a T+A PDT 3100 HV Transport (€14,900), T+A SD 3100 HV streamer and DAC (€23,400), as well as a Thorens TD 124 DD turntable loaded with an Ortofon SPU High Output cartridge (€10,500) hiding at the rear. This was output through Audio Physic Cardeas loudspeakers (€38,000). There was plenty of definition and air from the mids up, but I am putting the slightly opaque lows down to an unforgiving room.
Odeon's Semper loudspeakers were actually more subtle than you might think looking at the picture.
These were being driven by New Audio Frontiers tube amplifier linked to a system by Esprit cabling.
Odeon also had a range of its other speakers on static display in the room, suiting all room sizes.
Oswalds Mill Audio is equal parts high-art and mad scientist's lab in aesthetics. However, the demonstration, led by CEO Jonathan Weiss, was as much a journey into analogue luxury as it was entertaining, thanks to the quick-whit of said ringmaster.
The brand name is from the 200-year-old mill in Eastern Pennsylvania that Weiss restored and now works his magic from - with the help of a vinyl collection conservatively estimated at around 12,000. Laurie Anderson's Superman was playing as I entered and stopped me in my tracks as there was so much space offered to this recording. This classic was being spun on OMA's $363,000 direct drive K3 turntable featuring a chassis cast from hypo-eutectic grey iron with high graphite content and hollow chambers filled with a special liquid and particulate matter. Which, I'm told, is all designed to dampen and absorb vibrations. The stand, PD2 phono stage and SUTs add another $460,000.
The good news is that a Schröder tonearm comes with the record player and a smaller K5 is on the way. The $165,600 Special K integrated Class A amplifier uses KT88 tubes for 50W per channel, while on the lower shelves of the $17,526 rack sat the dual walnut cabinets of the Parallax amplifier, costing $41,900. I was almost pleasantly surprised that the Musem Speakers (designed for the Guggenheim) cost just $119,000! Most of the cabling used was by Analysis Plus. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of bass leaking into this room, and Weiss was getting visibly (and vocally) tired of his neighbour resulting in Joni Mitchell's Cotton Avenue being played rather loudly - Jaco and Joni at significant volume? I don't mind if I do! Cracking stuff.
So What? was spinning on an Audionet Planck CD player out through a Humboldt integrated amplifier and Peak Consult El Diablo loudspeakers (€55,000) and had my foot tapping along within moments.
Also in the system were a Bergman TT and Argento cables. As well as the new El Diablo, the Danish firm was also introducing its two-way €25,000 Sonora and three-way Sinfonia (€45,000) speaker models in Munich. Peak builds its heavyweight cabinets in-house using a triple-layer sandwich construction alongside several highly efficient damping material layers. A 14mm solid layer of American walnut covers the sandwich construction. Additionally, all drivers a produced in Denmark, according to the company's strict specifications.
Perlisten seemed to have brought everything to the show, so visitors were spoilt for choice, whether looking to kit out a cinema room or stick to two-channel listening. The S5t tower speaker, at $6,995 each in black (add a grand each for custom finishes), is a three-way design using the brand's Directivity Pattern Control (DPC) waveguide and TeXtreme woofers.
This is basically a floorstanding version of the $6,495 each S5m standmount that I spent time with being pushed along by Krell amps using VPI's new Avenger Direct turntable. I was assured that this monitor speaker was good for 29Hz in most rooms (bass extension), with frequency response listed as 80Hz-20kHz (+/-1.5db), so expect an even better low-end response from the S5t. Like the larger S-series towers, the DPC-Array has a 28mm Beryllium dome bookended by dual 28mm TPCD ultra-lightweight domes, partnered here with a pair of 180mm TeXtreme woofers.
PIEGA / T+A
Piega's new Coax Gen 2 speakers were unveiled at the show and start at £7,900 per pair for the Coax 411 standmount and goes up to £26,900 for the flagship 3-way floorstanding Coax 811. Black and white lacquered finishes are also available, bringing the price to £27,500.
The new models sport next-gen C112+ and C212+ coaxial ribbons as well as increased cabinet volume, enabling the Coax 811, which was on song in Munich linked to T+A electronics, to cover 22Hz-50kHz at 92dB/W/m and 4 Ohms nominal impedance. I could have easily set up home here thanks to sound and the room's 'mid-century modern' staging.
PMC's press conference was a way for the esteemed brand to bring everyone up-to-date with what's happening behind the scenes.
Although they didn't have anything new to show at the Munich show, the fact Fenestrias did put on an explosive display once the AVM-based system was coaxed into playing ball. It still makes me smile when I replay in my mind the front two rows of journos visibly leaving their chairs at the first crash of Stravinski's Firebird Suite. Also, I might be a little bit in love with the Fenestrias in white.
RAIDHO / MOON
Raidho spoiled all at its press conference by introducing three new loudspeakers at the Munich show going up in scale from the €5,800 X1T mini monitor, the €7,000 X1.6 and the incredible 2m tall TD6 that has a starting price of €200,000.
I was totally enamoured by the X1T, and the presentation from its planar magnetic foil tweeter partnered with a ceramic and tantalum coated 5.25-inch main driver was magical. Claiming a 70Hz - 50kHz range, it might not be the choice of bass hunters, but it's one of the few items at the show that had me considering whipping out the credit card at first listen. Meanwhile, the larger X1.6 sports a 6.5-inch ceramic coated woofer allowing a 45Hz low end and sounded suitably impressive playing London Grammar's Hey Now. Everything was powered by MOON's 860A V2 amps and cabled by Nordost.
SCANSONIC / MOON
Raidho's stablemate, Scansonic, demonstrated its £9,000 flagship MB-6B loudspeaker that sports a ribbon tweeter, a pair of 5.25-inch midrange drivers and a quartet of 5.25-inch woofers using MOON's 600i V2, 280D MiND2 and 260D to impressive effect.
I would wager that many listening to this rig would expect much steeper pricing where, in fact, this seemed sensible money for such a highly resolving setup compared to other high-end systems at the show.
It is always great to catch up with the Solidsteel crew. The family-owned Italian audio furniture company proudly showed a pair of high-end HP-4 racks in a couple of new finishes that looked absolutely breathtaking in real life.
The marble-like finish to the deep shelves is highly-polished ceramic. I am full of want for the black version with copper-coloured legs, but the white/ old gold version is also stunning. Elsewhere, the VL vinyl storage/ hi-fi support was wearing a new all-black design. Also, thanks for my 3D-printed 'now playing' vinyl stand, which has been in constant use since I returned home!
SOUL NOTE / FINK TEAM
FinkTeam Borg speakers paired with a SoulNote system were quite something to experience. As well as Dave Brubeck's Take 5 sounding possibly the best and most vital I have ever heard it, SoulNote's philosophy that simply aiming for the best measurements doesn't guarantee great hi-fi also seems proven.
SoulNote was using its P3 preamp and M3 mono power amps fed by the S3 ver.2 CD/ SACD player, D3 Zeus DAC, Z3 Zeus Network Transport, and X3 Zeus Clock Generator. It was interesting to discover that SoulNote DACs don't oversample. Additionally, the tops of SoulNote electronics aren't bolted down but spring isolated; apparently, SoulNote feels that metal cases can “squash” the sound. I stuck around to also enjoy Cello Concerto in Em Op b85 performed by Jacqueline Dupre as this room sounded so good.
You would have trouble missing Stein Music's Topline Bob XL Plus Ultimate loudspeaker resplendent with its blingtastic gold horn. Costing €348,000, this four-box system combines horns and open-baffle designs (34 drivers in total), with each speaker featuring an integrated DSP-controlled sub.
However, the Highline Bobby M was playing on my visit. This 1015mm tall and 290mm deep model features a tapered cabinet measuring 230mm at the front to 280mm at the rear. This modular system adds the Bobby Bass Extension's twin 6-inch woofers to a Bobby S standmounter, meaning you could add another Bobby Bass on top to create Bobby L. The fine weave soft fabric dome tweeter boasts a copper cap for reduced voice coil inductance and minimum phase shift alongside a non-reflective rear chamber. I really liked this design, and Bobby M seemed to suit the room size.
Steinway Lyngdorf had its slimline 27cm deep Model A speaker on show with little to no acoustic treatment in the room, and they sounded great.
Designed to be flat against a wall, the cabinets house a Kapton foil Air Motion Transformer tweeter and 165mm anodised aluminium cone midrange driver partnered with a pair of 30cm woofers. These shallow but wide units produced an excellent, welcoming sonic experience with good, tight, punchy bass without undue, overly-excited peaks. A great option for those with the budget who do not want a system dominating the space.
I was eager to meet T+A's new Solitaire T hybrid, do everything headphones, but the German brand was also using High End to launch its 400W M200 mono amp and PSD 3100 HV streaming preamplifier.
The PSD 3100HV is available this summer and offers AES/EBU, BNC, optical and coaxial SP/DIF inputs alongside a pair of HDMI inputs and one HDMI output. A USB B (Device Mode) input based on the Thesycon chip provides a means of processing ultra-high-resolution formats from a PC up to DSD 512 and PCM 768 through subsequent converter modules, I'm told. Needless to say that both sonic and build quality are exceptional
TAD showed its €14,250 Evolution 2 loudspeakers, plumbed with Nordost Valhalla 2 cabling.
The speakers are a 2-way design with a downward-firing port. The cabinet houses a pair of 6.5-inch mid/ bass drivers and a 1-inch beryllium dome tweeter mounted in an aluminium waveguide. While the sound was technically decent, I didn't feel engaged by it for some reason. Of course, it might've been me being low on caffeine or my listening position at the time. However, I did vow to return, and when I did, a conversation was being held quite loudly behind me. It was just not meant to be this time around.
A tweaked Technics deck is on my long list of future buys, and I've my eye on the Grand Class SL-1200/ 1210G for the basis of this project. Already an excellent audiophile turntable for the price, it can become an even greater giant killer.
However, it was hard not to love the colourful display of 1200M7L direct drive turntables. Launched for the company's 50th anniversary and costing around £900, it is available in seven colours, sports a gold-coloured arm and Technics slipmats. The limited-edition DJ deck is equipped with reverse play and variable speed functions.
It took several passes to snap anything on the Thorens stand as there always seemed to be a large crowd trying to take everything in.
Thankfully, I managed to get up close to the new Thorens TPP 1600 phono preamplifier launched at the show, together with the new TD 1601 turntable and TP 160 controller. Unfortunately, no listening was done, but the TD 1601 appears to bring everything people love about the 1600 plus some added niceties such as balanced outputs and functions for easier handling.
After being constantly on your feet for four days, it's easy to become a little jaded and ready for home. However, the enthusiasm of people such as the effervescent Dan Sallinboe of Sallingboe Audio reminds you why you do this.
Dan was eager to share the virtues of the TONA step-up transformers for moving coil cartridges. These weighty items cost €3,295 and offer a 1:40 or 1:20 step up. The build quality is phenomenal and features a laminated soft iron case with 8 to 20 mm overall thickness, in-house wound wideband toroidal nanocrystalline transformers, which are induction matched in stereo pairs before and after winding, and lots more. Primary resistance is rated at 0.13 Ω (1:40), and secondary resistance, 35 Ω (1:40) while boasting a low noise and wide frequency spectrum of -3dB 5Hz-90kHz at 4Ω/10KΩ.
Totaldac wowed me with its complete system - from source to speakers.
Here the company based between Rennes and Mont-Saint-Michel in France was demonstrating the d1-player, d1-streamer Mk2, d1-switch, d1-digital-mk2 reclocker, d1-twelve Mk3 DAC going to d1-driver monoblocks and out to the rather lovely d100%wood loudspeakers with cabinets of oil-finished French chestnut. Even the cables were Totaldac! But, as one would hope from an entire system from a single house, everything just gelled and sounded effortless in the way it presented a naturally detailed sound.
TUNE AUDIO/ ROCKNA/ TRAFOMATIC
Unconventional in shape for horns? Perhaps. However, the Tune Audio Epitome 105db sensitive, three-way horn-loaded loudspeaker sounded terrific.
It was powered by an €18,000 cherry red Trafomatic Audio Rhapsody integrated resplendent with 20W per channel, 0.4Vrms input sensitivity, 47K input impedance and capable of driving either 4 or 8 ohm loudspeakers and features four 300B and two 6SN7 valves. This handed off to more Serbian tube magic in the form of a pair of Glenn Parallel Single-Ended (Class A), Direct Heated Triode (DHT) power amps using 2x300B, 1x E182CC, 1x 5U4G tubes. A LARA line-level preamplifier was also sitting below the Rhapsody. A whole battalion of Rockna Audio components was on duty, too, including the all-new Wavedream Ultra R-2R DAC. Everything was cabled using Signal. For all its bombastic appearance, there was an overall smoothness with how this system projected sound with such a beautifully eloquent midband. If I was to go down the horns route (and finances allowed), I'd be looking to audition Tune Audio speakers, perhaps the Marvel…
Verity Audio introduced its Arindal loudspeakers alongside the INT-100 100W pure analogue integrated amplifier with options for a high-quality DAC and/or phonostage section at High End.
Cardas cables joined everything, including the Melco N10 music library that sat below the amp on a Quadraspire rack.
Hans Ole Vitus recently announced that he stepped down from the position of CEO with AVA Group A/S, now co-owned by Alexander Vitus Mogensen (Alluxity) and Lukas Birk Eriksen, who hold 50% shares in AVA Group A/S, with Hans-Ole Vitus retaining ownership of the remaining shares.
The excellent Vitus electronics were outputting through Soundspace Systems Aidoni loudspeakers. I don't think I've come across this manufacturer before, but the 3-way speakers feature an AMT tweeter housed in a rear-adjustable Tractrix horn. The frequency range is given as 18Hz-32kHz. The side-firing 15-inch drivers provide the low-end with the lowest three octaves “going digital” with DSP control. With a claimed 101 dB/W/m efficiency, most amps will happily drive them. The analogue front end was courtesy of a circa £30,000 J.Sikora Reference turntable; however, I was treated to some Nightwish when I visited the room, and the only word I scribbled down in my notepad was “epic”.
Viva's system featured its Aurora mono amps, utilising 845 tubes and the Italian company's outstanding Nuda horn loudspeakers. These four-way speakers feature mid/ bass and mid horns with tweeters on top. Bass is courtesy of active woofers.
A Wand turntable was spinning LPs through Viva's new phono stage, made in copper and finished in black chrome. Jacques Liasser Trio's excellent rendition of Tocatta & Fuge sounded lively, authentic and dynamic through this system.
Vivid Audio used Munich to show its new Kaya C35 centre speaker alongside the S12 on wall brackets.
Mola Mola's excellent electronics were being used at the other end of the stand to power another pair of S12s.
A Consonance Wax Engine turntable admirably took care of the analogue front end.
Voxativ introduced its 9.88 modular speaker system ($75,000) that features the company's new C-4NP full-range driver, benefitting from a CNC-milled basket and advanced suspension, an enhanced paper cone, and a gold-plated magnet system derived from the AC-4F Gold.
Fitted in a back-loaded horn enclosure, this becomes the new Pi-Monitor that sits at the top of the modular system. The .01 Mid-Module adds an 8-inch neodymium, low-distortion, low-midrange driver that offers three different curves. Finally, a Dipole subwoofer with a claimed 20 Hz by way of an active pair of opposing neodymium woofers driven by a 250W Class AB plate amp. Rear-mounted controls offer crossover, phase, and gain tuning. Voxativ's T805 SET Integrated amp ($34,900) pushed things along thanks to its 805 tubes pure Class-A design with KT66 driver stage in triode mode. I've yet to encounter a Voaxtiv demonstration that hasn't at least been mildly addictive.
Western Electric's prototype 777 loudspeakers may have had an aura of evil sentinel about them, but they sounded much sweeter than their appearances may have you believe.
I was told that the midrange element is the closest to finalisation while the rest was still being tweaked. That midrange features a horseshoe-shaped AMT driver and is the first such design I've seen. The tweeters are the Ayra Labs AirBlade I encountered at the 2019 Munich show.
The speakers were coupled to a Western Electric WE91E 300B single-ended amplifier and produced an airy, all-encompassing sound that felt 'live'.
WIENER LAUTSPRECHER MANUFAKTUR
WLM demonstrated their Anton preamplifier driving a pair of Franz-S active floorstanders (€49,000) with 1,850W of power onboard.
The cabinets are of multilayer construction with different degrees of hardness for vibration control, with solid wood used on the front baffle and internally for resonance control and wall thicknesses varying between 32 mm and 74 mm. The bass enclosure has 9 x 12-inch Race-Track bass drivers featuring a paper diaphragm. Meanwhile, the midrange enclosure sports a pair of 6-inch papyrus coned drivers in an 'Akkustik-Chamber-Line'. This is all topped off with a couple of 8cm AMT tweeters. DAS electronics were joined to the speakers via Way cables. An interesting design that indeed appeared to work with these ears.
WILSON BENESCH / AUDIONET
Elsewhere, Sheffield's Wilson Benesch was making great noises with Wadax and Audio Research through its Eminence loudspeaker (above) from the newly announced Fibonacci Reference series. However, it was the system with Audionet and Wilson Benesch's new Omnium loudspeakers that really got me - not least because this was the setup featuring the updated GMT System.
This state-of-the-art vinyl playback device now benefits from an upgraded Omega Drive enhanced during the pandemic.
Apparently, The Omega Drive delivers unprecedented accuracy and virtually zero noise and has a patent-pending Wilson Benesch design that will be manufactured in-house in South Yorkshire. In addition to the Omega Drive,
Wilson Benesch has developed the Alpha Isolation System, Piezo VTA System, R1 HIFI Rack and three new tonearms. Somebody has been busy! The Alpha Isolation System is a microprocessor-controlled pneumatic design that isolates the GMT System from the vibration. Fully autonomous, operating with microscopic precision within millisecond time-frames, I'm told it provides isolation to 1.7Hz vertically and 7.5 Hz horizontally. Meanwhile, the Piezo VTA System enables remote-controlled VTA and is apparently a world's first and allows accuracy with adjustment to within 2.5 microns from your listening chair.
Finally, the trio of new tonearms have been developed through collaboration with the AMRC Sheffield and the FEMTO Institute Besancon under the SSUCHY Project research programme. At High End, Wilson Benesch presented the medium-mass 'Moment Tonearm' (pictured above) with the 'Graviton Tonearm' also available. These will be followed by a low-mass tonearm next year. Incredibly designed equipment making wonderful sounds - that's the whole point, right?
High End Munich 2022 Wrap-Up
Over these reports, I hope to have whet your appetite for High End Munich 2023, which is set to happen from May 18th to 21st, 2023, at the MOC Event Center in Munich.
The show is expansive, and to do it proper justice, it must be experienced in person. Hats doffed to the organisers, High End Society, who managed to rally the brands and distributors to come together and demonstrate their products for the first time since the cancellations started by the pandemic. However, it would have had none of the atmosphere if it wasn't for the visitors, whether from the industry or hi-fi fans from around the world. Everyone I spoke to over the four days said that the show had a very positive feeling about it which has translated to them being excited for the coming year - and I did too. Fingers crossed, it all works out, and I'll see you in Munich next year.
StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
Posted in:Hi-Fi Headphones Home Theatre HiFi Show
Tags: nagra wilson audio neat acoustics nordost moon d'agostino octave odeon oswalds mill audio oma peak consult perlisten audio krell piega t plus a pmc pmc speakers raidho scansonic solidsteel soulnote finkteam stein music steinway lyngdorf tad technics thorens tona totaldac tune audio
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