The Munich High End show is probably the best Hi-Fi Show in Europe with a fantastic turn out from the majority of the market leaders and solid representation for almost every other niche of the audio spectrum. Countless headphones, endless speakers, huge power amps and wacky horns; this year was a good bit larger than my last visit and all the more enjoyable for it. A brief report on my experience.
Plenty of products caught my attention in a good way, the all new Dali Rubicon speakers that replaces the Mentor range was a particular highlight. I love the Epicon range and the Rubicon occupies the price point below but still with high quality cabinets , great design and even with the limitations of the show environment excellent sound. The product is launched in the UK in the coming month and will certainly occupy the showroom here. Sticking with loudspeakers it was a pleasure to hear the Tannoy Westminster in action as well as see the rest of the Prestige range. The GR upgrades make a real difference and the Kensington with an all new black finish really stood out. and I suspect these will make a welcome appearance in the demo room. Other highlights include some wireless speakers from Focal as well as high quality soundbar – one of the very few on show. Meridian DSP8000 in blue looked stunning as did the new KEF Blade 2’s in an equally alluring shade of blue. Not so impressive were the new KEF Reference range – if you have the outgoing 207/2 or 203/2 you have something special. The new models stick to the rigid design of R Series and that is a shame given the clear design talent in the Blades or Muon’s.
There were some staggering horn set ups to add to the weird and wonderful – Corum Audio for instance had a speaker that looked like a distressed puffer fish- see picture ( this is just the horn)
Other notable products were the glorious Mark Levinson No 585 integrated amplifier, we should have our model on display at the end of summer. Solid build and design with the superb Levinson sound. It was nice to see and hear the Plinius SA Reference – a colossal amplifier but not quite as imposing as the Gryphon Mephisto that tops the desire list for me. For sources every man and his dog had a streamer promising this and that but most had a clunky interface or clunky design – it will take something special change my mind from recommending the Lumin as the best audiophile streamer. There were one or two nice additions to the digital arena, a high quality NAS drive and a perfect compact server – more of those later. At the other end of the spectrum Turntables were represented in great numbers with room after room of tone arms, cartridges and the complete articles – this one caught my eye:
No chance of a listen and upwards of £100k and this wasn’t the top of the range.
Back down to earth with the Naim Muso : this is unbelievable for the money, superb build and functions plus a sound the really does surprise in its quality. I heard it in a relatively crowded area but for £900 it was way beyond my expectations. Think Sonos Play:5 functionality with high quality sound in a box you could be proud of. Shame I am not Naim stockist as I cant see the Muso doing anything other than selling like hotcakes.
All in the show was great, if you can get the opportunity to go I would strongly recommend it.