My very personal High End Munich 2018 show report


#1

After many years of only little interest, I was at an audio show again today.

What I experienced today:

  • there seem to be more english than german speaking people around, many nice folks

  • spending about a million $ doesn’t mean you’ll have great sound

  • unfortunately I didn’t find PSaudio, not even in the exhibitors list

  • there are so many different brands with sophisticated over expensive stuff, I don’t have a clue how all this sells and how all those sales people can be paid.

  • great sound seems to be an art of setup and synergy, not only of building great components

I will now post a few sections of categorized pictures, mostly without describing the components. Hope it’s fun to look at for you. I haven’t been in all rooms, but mainly big audio and some smaller interesting stuff for me personally.


#3

Posting all the pictures doesn’t work from my iPad it seems. I have to continue in 1-2 days…sorry


#4

I’ve been trawling through Munich show reports and photos in other places and I’m yet to see any room from any manufacturer using a PS Audio power plant to power their electronics.

The only things that pegged my interest are Magico, of course, and that ridiculous Dan D’Agostino Audio Relentless power amp.


#5

Indeed there was one room with a PSaudio component (a P10).

It was a room playing crossover-less one-chassis-speakers. So it didn’t help, it sounded like what it was: a midrange chassis with uneven FR.

I expected the one or other room using a DS DAC, but nope.


#6

At first just a few pictures of strange stuff, just exhibited objects, not playing:


THIS is a big power plant. Works with batteries inside even without constant power supply. 40k €. OMG


A mighty d”Agostino


Great design from Gryphon as usual. Big Flem was there, too.


This one reminded me of my past with boiling hot heat sinks!


Always strange to look at…


I’d say this is a big subwoofer (Ascendo)


Those speakers seem to come out of a Star Wars movie

…to be continued soon…


#7

Thanks so much for posting these pictures! Sorry I wasn’t there to see it all.


#8

You’re welcome! I’ll post a lot more later today…


#9

I enjoy the pictures of the squirrelly stuff. :slight_smile:


#10

So here now some more pictures. I categorize them in the sections “disappointing”, “nice”, “great” and “fascinating”. Within those sections I try to sequence the pictures roughly from less to better performing.

When in my ranking great components fall into the lower sections, they imo simply didn’t perform in the particular surrounding compared to others, so it doesn’t mean I think they are bad components necessarily or at all. I put my text below the particular pictures.

So here first the disappointing ones (you might find my opinion strange…it’s just mine ;-):


I don’t want to loose many words on this, I could hardly believe what I heard.



In spite of immense effort in accompanying components (so many used the great Kronos table), the sound didn’t match the size ( and probably price) of the speakers and components at all to me.


Those speakers must sound great, but they didn’t in this room. Not what I expected.


Way too discolored sounding imo. Horns don’t have to sound like that.


I expected a lot from the Magicos, but this was not convincing, rather a bit boring. I’m not a fan of those amps whereever I heard them. I’m sure the Magicos can sound fantastic, but they didn’t do there (compared to the money and to other demonstrations)


What a hell of a setup. But in this room everyone waited for some bass impact (amonog others) to show up…Dire Straits was ridiculous sounding. They sure can do better. They should better not have played this setup there.


I thought this is a real dream team, fantastic amps and the Wilson’s, but it sounded quite dry and uninvolving to my ears for the price and compared to others.


#11

Now the section “nice”. Don’t laugh about when you partly see much smaller stuff here. For sure this usually (or as separate components) doesn’t sound better than what you saw in the section before. But their performance was convincing on their level.


Put the Genelec anywhere, they sound good, period.


I usually don’t walk into the Marantz room. But I saw the unusual positioning of the speakers in a very big and long room and I was curious. I can tell you, it really made sense. This was a great performance for that gear and perfect for the room. Then I recognized the master Ken Ishiwata himself…this guy knows what he does it seems.


I just put in this affordable setup here because I recognize and like AMT tweeters immediately. Those tweeters are hard to beat. A nice, harmonic performance.


A powerful, great setup. It nearly made it to my “great” section, but it still was that bit discolored sounding that I wouldn’t want to listen to classical music with those horns. Forgive me.


#12

Now the “great” section. Really convincing performances here, Wow!


One more guy who knows what he does. I saw Tim de Parav… outside the room. His setup with british speakers (no Harbeth, I can’t remember their name) sounded great.


PMC usually is also a matter of play and stay. This was a lot of fun, great dynamic and lively performance!


Don’t look into the price list of this gear! Great, dynamic, well balanced sound.


In the Mark Levinson room they played JBL. Didn’t like the discoloration of the big ones, but the small JBL’s sounded fantastic. Dynamic and real fun, great, unusual choice!


I forgot to take a picture of the Harbeth room with Magnum Dynalabs amps, so I took one of 2017 instead. Those speakers also played this year. What a great, balanced, lively performance for 15k speakers. Looks like vintage, plays great with those amps!


Here the same speakers I also put in the disappointing section. This time they played really great, a fantastic match. Did I say, always play Wilson with tube amps? Better so. But many aspects could have played a role why I wasn’t convinced by the other setup.


I was in this room too shortly, but it was easy to recognize that something really great is playing there. Also very balanced sounding…a setup not just for a show, but also for at home if funds are available.


Strange animals, again the insanely expensive Vitus amps…would have liked to listen to some more music examples here. Somehow unusual but very fascinating sound.


If horns sound good, they are hard to beat. Fascinating tubes, right?


I love dynamics! Not sure with classical stuff here, but anyway, this sounded great.


The picture of the Von Schweikert room shows only half of the involved equipment here. With some distance to the others, this was powerful and organic. Sell 3 or 4 of the Lamborghinis and buy this.


#13

Fun pictures and commentary!


#14

Great work! I would like to see more this kind of posts/threads/pics/comments. ‘Behind the rack pics’ would be great also! Thanks!


#15

Now the “fascinating” section with a real surprise at the end. try to listen to those demonstrations, you’ll not forget them:





Here’s the Western Electric and Silbatone room. Not sure if it was one of the Chesky Brothers I saw there. Lot of interesting folks there. I’m sure, part of the fascination also was the big, bright room, but certainly the sound simply was stunning. I heard Jazz there and that’s how a trumpet should sound. Wow, this is a must hear!


Go there, hear that. Dynamic AND fast like electrostatics, holographic imaging, balanced, natural, real sounding. With a 300k preamp and 400k amps plus whatever the speakers cost it better should. The cabling + accessoir’s price range is not so far away from that. This is the grab it and forget the rest setup for the larger wallet.


I never heard of this british company „Living Voice“ before. You see the small speakers in front with the active crossovers in the back? Their housing resonates by design, the guy said the speakers incl. crossover had a 25 year development time. The price like played here starts at 13k. THIS WAS UNBELIEBABLY GOOD SOUNDING! The room was filled with warm, levitating, natural, airy, lucid, shining music. Everyone walked towards the speakers and listened to the big ones, but they didn’t play. When hearing this you don’t think of treble or bass performance, you just hear music as if two huge panels were playing. However they achieved this presentaion, the performance was insanely good for that size of speakers. If I ever have to downsize speakers, this is the ticket. But I would ask those guys for a visit how to make them sound like that, as the big speakers were also playing in another room and didn’t reach that performance. Unfortunately the big ones in the Living Voice room were just playing on the next day…I would have loved to hear them, this must be heaven. I think in this case great gear was paired with great synergy, setup skill and music selection. A Mozart opera is not the easiest task for a smaller speaker…but you’ve never heard it like that! However don’t expect this performance at any dealer with any gear attached…I think this was very special…even better if not.

Puh, I’m finished now, hope you enjoyed it. I’m sure I didn’t see a lot I should have seen, but I think I saw/heard most of the big audio but may have left out some interesting smaller stuff, but I also heard a lot more than I described here (it was just not worth mentioning to me)


#16

I’ve never been to an audio show, but I do like reading show reports and related things. Thanks for posting.

Only last night I was watching YouTube video of the allied bombing of Munich on 24th April 1944, 50% of the city was flattened by 700+ B-17 and B-24 aircraft and 800 fighter escorts. Over 1,500 aircraft in the sky over Munich set on maximum destruction. We’ve come a long way since then.


#17

One thing that I can recommend to anyone who wants to hear such setups at shows and is also interested in planar speakers:

Listen to the planars first!

I did not and went into rooms with Logan’s and a large Quad inbetween and it sounded unbelievably non-dynamic as if it was for background music only. However they still can sound very nice at home.