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Munich Hi-End

Discussion in 'audio' started by Purité Audio, May 9, 2019.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Interesting, I’d rather like to hear them.
  2. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    IMO High-end Audio is a failed business model and your client is probably right. As I have thought for many years, the Munich show has just become a huge audio willy waving event...

    Manufacturers have lost the plot of what home audio is all about and are selling equipment, not on fidelity, but on connotations of other luxury goods like watches, jewellery, precious metals etc, because it is often easier to sell to clients...
    MattSPL, major-tom, brumjam and 2 others like this.
  3. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    Pretty sad state of affairs
  4. FireMoon

    FireMoon pfm Member

    It does seem to be rather full of what musos would call "wall hangers". Though even with musos it amuses me at times what money people will pay for what is actually tat. I early 1980 I sold 3 Bass guitars, a Hayman 40-40 if memory serves me right and two utter planks from the sixties, semi solids that had actions akin to a bow and arrow, both with pick ups that had slightly less grunt then 2 week old roadkill. Today, the Hayman is worth about 150 quid if you're lucky and it was and still is, a damn fine Bass. The two utter planks, which I sold for 35 quid combined and thought I'd made a killing, would set you back close to 1.5 grand.

    The weird thing is, both those now collectable Bass guitars are classic wall hangers. In effect they are now closer to sculptures than instruments and that's where so much of this top line hifi seems to be heading. Maybe I'm just hopelessly out of touch however, "hi end hifi" to me says sound and looks as either inherent part of the design or almost an afterthought. I really don't care if it cost 200 quid if it sounds great it's "high end".

    I remember a tale told to me by some tech type guru in the 80s when the first hi fi line array style speakers were introduced. The person involved was responsible for Frank Sinatra's kit and there was something rather sad about how he described Frank sitting alone on a simple wooden chair between the speakers in his cavernous living room, listening to tapes of various arrangements he and Riddle had knocked up in the studio.

    For me, hi fi is a means of sharing an experience of how music can sound whereas, the market now seems to be dictated by how it looks.
    Fretbuzz likes this.
  5. coltrane

    coltrane electrobaroCKjazzer

    there's some more info on them here, Tony :rolleyes:>
  6. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    I think the biggest problem is most of these High-end systems don't even sound remotely realistic. My experience is that a lot of manufacturers, as well as "audiophiles", just don't know what real music sounds like, nor do they seem to care. Potential consumers buy on the basis of a review or what someone tells them they need to have mostly from the internet. People don't seem to want to do their own research anymore and those with money just seem to get a buzz out of spending it (the chase) and are not buying wisely or buying the best performing product.

    A couple of people I know well who were there said the best sounds from Munich were coming from horn based systems...
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’d be very surprised if you could find a good Hayman for anything like that these days! I do take your point though, even really good Burns/Hayman/Shergold do float well under the absurd prices of vintage Fender and Gibson. Same goes for the better Japanese guitars too.
  8. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    Totally agree with your first paragraph. Totally don't agree with the 2nd.

    As I said earlier, the "music" played at the show seemed to have an element of rhythym or melody, but rarely both at the same time.
    I guess it's easier to hear the decay of every note if the music is very slow, and the various percussive noises sound impressive if played very loud.
    I suspect many of the systems would be caught out if "normal" music was played - the sort of suff that sounds decently enjoyable on e.g. a Sonos Play 1.
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    What sort of music do you mean? I can fully understand steering away from over-produced computer assembled pop/rock music as it tends to be compressed within an db or two of a flat-line and has no basis in reality. It always disappoints me how little classical is heard at hi-fi shows, though jazz is thankfully on the increase.

    PS Given the directional nature of horns I’d expect them to work better in compromised installations. To my ears at shows it is almost always horns and very small speakers (e.g. LS3/5As and similar size) that sound the best, very large multi-driver ported boxes always the worst. Panels usually have a hard time too.
  10. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    A friend of a friend who has a passing interest in hifi and happens to live in Munich, went to the show. His main objective was to find the most impressive set of cables he could. He is a power electronics engineer so has a decent grasp of volts, amps, inductance etc.

    He had a delightful time at the show and eventually chose this as his favourite installation:


    Apparently the cables cost €300K. But sadly they are only available to purchasers of the entire system :(:(:(
    Fretbuzz, major-tom and sunbeamgls like this.
  11. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    There’s a Chopin piano sonata and some Bach there, so assuming they recorded someone who could play, those bits should be a good system test and certainly not short of melody, counterpoint, timing etc.
  13. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    Those are just examples. They didn't play the entire disk.

    At the other extreme, in the Kii3 BXT room they were playing some pretty dire Infected Mushroom stuff, although I did enjoy the Mongolian goatrock music (very loud!!):

    Not sure I'd argue with those chaps!
    FireMoon likes this.
  14. PerF

    PerF Scandinavian Member

    I had a lot of fun visiting the Western Electric room, Silbatone valve amps and turntables from Schroeder and Schick, very entertaining as ever.
    Clearly many people liked visiting, they sort of stayed.
    Was dissapointed hearing Naim/Focal again.
    So many other brands, at the alternative Marriott Deluxe, FM acoustics was as usual very good, the French JMP too.
    Fyne had a new F703 out, looked stunning.
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  15. Theo

    Theo pfm Member

    I've been through the first 20 pages or so, and I'm not sure I can look further. I'm genuinely shocked at how aesthetically 'challenged' some of the stuff on show is. The amount of bling attached to equipment support structures and cabling solutions defies logic. I'm appalled and fascinated in equal measure at the lack of taste shown in a large proportion of the kit on display, where form is no longer required to follow function.

    It makes no difference how much money you have; your kit shouldn't have to look like a fancy heating system with visible turbine generators in order to listen to your music collection. But then, that's just me...
    booja30 and FireMoon like this.
  16. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    In general, yes there was a tremendous amount of bling and unnecessary engineering. But I can't help but like this, especially the name:


    Any Bond villain worth his salt would need a room full of these.
  17. SteveG

    SteveG pfm Member

    There is some lovely looking kit in that thread however it seems like in order to appeal to high-end buyers a lot of the kit has to look unusual, and a lot of it just ends up looking as if it's different looking just for the sake of being different.
  18. Hook

    Hook Blackbeard's former bo'sun.

    The irony is, what with reduction of dealer showrooms, a lot of people who go to shows are those who want to do their own research. Unfortunately, as most of us know, attending a show will almost never offer meaningful information about sound quality (too many variables, poor rooms, etc.).

    If dealerships are disappearing, and shows can not replace them, then what, if anything, can? Perhaps some kind of regional shared facility with nice, acoustically treated rooms that customers or dealers can rent out for demonstrations?
  19. uncl_nigel

    uncl_nigel pfm Member

    I was there Friday through Sunday, and I would tend to agree.
    I would add that a lot (but not all) of the really expensive stuff was not significantly better than the 7000€ amp-CDP-speakers in the YBA room or the 10000€ system in the Wharfedale room.
    One complete system was duplicated in two different rooms - the speaker firm got it right in their room, the manufacturer of the electronics made a disaster of it... My thanks to a Midlands dealer for pointing me to the speaker room in question.

    Some of the stuff I really liked:
    - the Air Tight room
    - Gradient just next door
    - both systems in the Kondo room (one in the "if you need to ask" region and the other using 7000€ Kawero speakers (price provided by the Spanish distributor sitting next to me))
    - Thales + YG Acoustics room (one of the YG Acoustics staff most thoughtfully guided me through the alternative route to the show)
    - Jern loudspeakers with their own sub this year and Sota Cosmos turntable - brilliant imaging and huge SPLs available from really small speakers
    - Living Voice of course - surprisingly different to the Kondo room despite using Kondo amps and cables!
    - Aesthetix Mimas integrated and AMG turntable
    - the Garrard 301 as manufactured (not restored) by SME
    - Rockna's new DAC and new streamer approx 4000€ each according to the big boss (the stupidly expensive horns in the same room were actually very good, but I would buy my daughter a flat for that)
    - CAD DAC through Verity Audio speakers (forgotten the amp)
    - dCS Bartok in headphone mode
    - Chord DAVE, Hugo TT2 and M Scaler - even bouncier than the Bartok
    - von Gaylord speakers
    - the Funk firm demo with the boss himself
    - the bigger Avid speakers sounded promising and Conrad grumping about an ex-dstributor
    - Apertura speakers and CH Precision electronics

    Very encouraging to meet women in the rooms who were there for their knowledge rather than just to look pretty - Living Voice, Sudden, Soundsmith, CAD, Levin, Bespoke Audio, Verity Audio...

    The worst sound of the show for me - the Auralic room - reminded me of the K-pop song Bboom, Bboom but nowhere near as tuneful...

    Most annoying demo person - the guy in the Nordost room who kept suggesting that the barely perceptible difference was "awesome" (A complete contrast to the understated way the lady in the Levin room presented the totally audible difference the Levin turntable mat produced).
    Salamander, Peter McDermott and AndyU like this.
  20. uncl_nigel

    uncl_nigel pfm Member

    This is the second year running I have been to Munich and it serves to open up avenues to be explored not to make purchasing decisions. (I know Harbeth don't sound that bad! I know most speakers don't image that badly...)

    EX: I am after a new DAC short term and speakers long term.
    Once I've factored in local availability and pricing I shall eliminate quite a lot of stuff that sounded good at the show.
    Next stage will be to find dealers who can do comparative dems of what I think is interesting - Rockna, dCS, Chord, CAD, Metronome, for instance plus an occasional suggestion from the dealers.

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