Above is a 23 minute video of most of my clips from the Munich High End show 2019. Below the video is a table of contents with commentary. Enjoy.
0:05 AURALiC using Nagra Classic Amps and Spendor Classic 200 loudspeakers. Auralic featured its entire G2 series including ARIES G2 streamer, LEO GX clock, SIRIUS G2 upsampler, and VEGA G2 DAC. I really enjoyed the sound in this room despite the music being of a more local flavor than I prefer. No worries though, the show was in Munich and playing in-market music can be expected. Singling out one component or group of components as major contributors to the sound of the entire room is a fool's errand, so I must leave it at this - The Auralic room was one that I could live with and be very happy.
0:48 Avantgarde Acoustics using its own equipment for almost the entire system. The loudspeakers playing were Uno Fino, being driven by XA Power amps. Visually this system was fantastic. The attention to detail and finish of both speakers and electronics was fabulous. True high end fit and finish. With respect to the sound quality, I have to say I didn't enjoy this system nearly as much as I enjoyed my "Best of Show" winning Avantgarde system at AXPONA 2019 a month earlier. The listening environments were entirely different, as such different results should be expected.
3:43 Constellation with Magico. Constellation used its Revelation Series components with the Magico M2 loudspeakers. It was nice to see this combination once again at a show because it used to be a very common occurrence. The brands pair very well to say the least. I'm kicking myself over this room however. I visited right away on Thursday and was disappointed with the sound. There was a bass hump due to the room acoustics that I just couldn't get over. I couldn't listen beyond this hump. I talked to Constellation about this and they asked me to come back another day because they were going to look at making some adjustments after hours. This is very common at shows. I told them I'd be by on Saturday or Sunday because the sound is always better the closer to closing time one gets. Unfortunately, time got away from me and I couldn't get back to here this room. I'm really bummed because a friend of mine, Alan Sircom from HiFi+, listened to the room and loved it (link).
In other Constellation news, I met privately with them to discuss the long awaited Dominion series, more specifically the Leo all-in-one unit. I was a bit worried because the product has been delayed by quite a bit and I'd really love to hear it in its final version. I love the all-in-one product category as much as anything, thus my worry. Constellation relayed to me the lengths it's going to produce this product at the highest level possible. The bottom line is that it isn't easy to find chassis manufacturers capable of building the Leo to Constellation's satisfaction. Fortunately I got a peak at the Constellation app for use with the Dominion series products. Based on what I saw, I have no doubt the app will be as high in quality as the physical product.
4:44 ELAC had all its goodies on display in Munich, including the Carina FS247.4 floorstanding ($2,400) speaker designed by Andrew Jones. This speaker is quite a bit different from Andrew's other designs in that it uses the typical ELAC jet tweeter. Andrew has managed to pull more sound quality out of this tweeter than I thought possible. Also in the system was the Alchemy series DDP-2. A DDP-2 should arrive on my doorstep by the middle of this week, in for a full review ASAP.
7:50 EMM Labs debuted its NS1 streamer. Much more to come about this product when it arrives at Audiophile Style HQ as well.
8:13 Etalon Sound. I stumbled into this brand while walking the crazy show floor on the main level. I didn't have an opportunity to listen to its DreamDAC, but I couldn't help but notice its internal design as seen in this video.
9:02 FinkTeam introduced its Borg loudspeakers at this year's show. I was very impressed by the sound in this room. I must've told a dozen people to check the FinkTeam room out. Great stuff.
10:03 Focal introduced its new woodgrain versions of the Utopia line of speakers at the Munich show. The video footage doesn't do them justice. In person these speakers look amazing. The official names of the wood are Noyer Naturel and Noyer Foncé.
12:16 Gabel, Engstrom, and Wadax Atlantis series. Nice sound and I loved the look of the Atlantis components.
13:15 Harmon showed its JBL L100 speakers with a full Mark Levinson stack of electronics. I loved the sound in this room and would have loved to stay to hear the JBL K2 S9900 speakers, but they weren't hooked up any of the times I dropped by the room. Note: great use of opening the window behind the system to not only cool the room but also let a little sound to the back. Nice work.
14:16 Kii Audio features its Kii Three speakers with the BXT bass modules, AKA the Kid Three BXT System. The sound wasn't for me, but I see the high value proposition in this system. Perhaps I'll spend time with them another day.
14:41 McIntosh Labs had at least one of everything on display, but I found the MTI100 integrated turntable (connected to MXA70 speakers) very compelling. Not necessarily the sound, because the room was loud and the setup wasn't built for critical listening, but the product in general. I love the concept of a McIntosh turntable with an amp built-in. Good stuff.
15:30 YG Acoustics and Nagra really hit a home run with their system at Munich this year. I absolutely loved the sound of this system. It was very detailed and so relaxing with the right music. I must also say that this is the best sounding YG system I've ever heard.
16:31 Once loudspeakers from Turkey. If you attendee the show you couldn't miss all the Once advertising. It was literally everywhere. I made it to the Once boot on the main show floor and really like the look and build quality (from what I could see) of the speakers. They certainly played loud, but the ambient noise level was so loud I couldn't make any quality judgements. Cool stuff for sure.
17:04 TechDAS had it Air Force Zero turntable on display at times throughout the four days of the show. I got a chance to hear the system, but even more interesting to me was seeing the TechDAS team disassemble the Air Force Zero after the show. Some of the footage is here in my video. I reduced the sound to 0dB a couple times because I didn't want a private conversation between a few people in the room to be public. This turntable is massive to say the least.
20:17 Wadax featured its Atlantis REFERENCE DAC in Munich this year. Wow, this thing was huge. I think it'll be one of those components that people either love or hate. It's a polarizing design.
20:57 Ypsilon Electronics and Peak Consult loudspeakers put on a wonderful demonstration of dynamics. This was the most dynamic system of the entire show for me. I don't have video of the more dynamic tracks unfortunately, but the sound quality wouldn't be impressive through my tiny microphone anyway.
22:22 - The award for the least likely system to be accepted by a significant other goes to ZenSati. Interesting sound with the big Songs Faber Aida speakers, but I couldn't get over the whole room concept that took up the entire room with cables and electronics. Oh well, as used car salesmen say, there's an ass for every seat.