According to those I chatted with, the High End Munich show was only about 30% smaller than previous years. However, the show was larger than anything I’ve attended in North America. High End Munich hosted 550 vendors this year. It took me two full days to make my way around to the various listening rooms, and on the third day I revisited some key rooms for a second listen or to ask more questions. I took detailed notes on the overall sound quality of each room which I can share later. It was fun discussing my listening impressions with Michael and we would often return to a room to make a particular song request. For me, I was mainly interested in listening to various speakers to evaluate the particular driver brands and types, along with the various overall speaker configurations. As a speaker designer myself, this is incredibly valuable information. Where else would you have opportunity to listen to and evaluate so many drivers? Additionally, the rooms at the show were actually quite good acoustically with great sound barrier separation to adjacent rooms. There were some notable rooms at the show that I would like to mention in no particular order. Please send me an email if you would like to know my impressions on rooms not mentioned here. I’ve pasted my listening notes on each session verbatim. This captures my immediate thoughts when listening. To be honest, I was not planning on publishing anything on the show, however after collecting my notes I thought that perhaps some may be interested to know my impressions. So as a result I did not take very many pictures. So some pictures have been pulled from the web for a reference.
WE debuted their new speaker which uses a 180 degree AMT midrange and tweeter. There is virtually no information online on this speaker! So please post more information in the comments if you find anything. My notes on this speaker: “very wide soundstage with detailed highs, excellent soundstage depth: treble a little boosted. Bass is deep. No harshness in the midrange and highs”.
“very neutral highs and taught mid-bass. Smooth.”
“Sounds similar to AER but more refined. Probably the best I’ve heard from single driver.
Listening session included Ripole subwoofer with 8” mid-bass. I love the curved box. Fun sound with modern music. 9.88 tube amp definitely having an affect.”
A note on the above: I later heard the Cube Audio 10” fullrange and I would put this driver on par with the AER however the Cube has excellent bass on its own. The bass achieved with the Cube 10” was equivalent to a decent 10” subwoofer when used in a small listening room.
“12” Altec…Good bass from 60 liter. Passive radiator!!”
“Tight bass from 10” driver. Very dynamic midrange and treble. Soundstage extends beyond sides of speaker. Deep textured bass.”
“Shocking sound quality overall, a real window into the music. Ultra dynamic! Percussion sounds follow nuance and texture in decay. I’m not sure how they get bass quality like this.
Sealed 10” Seas! I can’t tell the Hf driver. (Horn based)”
WE Style horn with custom Lamar Neo compression driver. “Vocals are palpably in the room. Surprisingly dynamic saxophone with scale, modulation, and realism. Makes me realize I need better upstream components. Really cool bass cabinet. There’s a little bit of colouration through the midrange but it’s overlooked by the presence and scale.”
A comment on the Admire sound; the ability of the Admire to communicate emotional depth was beyond anything at the show. But there we caveats! You had to physically stand up to be in the sweet spot! There was plenty of follow up discussion amongst the guys about this room.
"Flawless if but a little small sounding. Balanced timbre. Decent bass.“
“Big room, sounds large and refined. It’s hard to tell the sound quality.”
JBL Everest DD67000:
“actually sounds like beryllium but not sure if this is psychological. Sounds like a good compression driver. Bass is excellent, good level with good texture. Harmonica doesn’t sound harsh, excellent soundstage depth. Vocals sound a little forward. Not connected to tube amp so sounds a little cold.
Moved from front row to rear row and sound is much more balanced. “
“Excellent soundstage depth. Medium soundstage width. Very good low level detail retrieval. Detailed highs like a ribbon (actually AMT). Bass is great. Sealed and against back wall.
70k Euro system MSRP. Uses what looks like 5” SB woofer and AMT. “
“very detailed dome tweeter with piano and percussion instrument song. Cymbals sound real"
photo below stolen from Hi-Fi Advice…
“sounds better than Cessaro despite having a B&C ME20 “style” of horn. Uses a 12” mid-woofer and 12” lower woofer. Extreme clarity across entire frequency bandwidth. Compression driver sounds as good as any I’ve heard.”
"Soundstage is uncanny in its depth. Something very special about this. Holographic, the sound is a perfect sphere around the speakers about one meter radius. Treble is a little exaggerated"
“I can tell what the designers are going for. Ultra detailed and clean sounding with tight bass. Playing this music. Low IMD.
I used Shazam to discover Radetzky-Marsch, Op. 228 by Christian Thielemann & Vienna Philharmonic. https://www.shazam.com/track/454858426/radetzky-marsch-op-228?referrer=share
Wonderful decay from venue. The song makes me laugh”
“Using ScanSpeak 10” elliptical, music too loud, had to leave. Came back with Michael the next day. The 10” Elipticore ScanSpeak sounds marvelous. ”
“plasma tweeter. Sounds good. Great depth, very refined. Wasn’t playing very loud.”
Wilson Audio Sasha Daw Speakers:
“stunning overall presentation with this song...
“playing 80’s rock music it sounded excellent. The sound was dynamic and smooth, open. Bass is a little light but good quality. Nothing wrong with the sound, also nothing missing other than the overall scale is small compared to a horn. So it would work in a small room. The scale became much larger with this song. Listen past half way and it’s great. “
“Surprisingly great fun, coherent sound. I like single driver sound. Somehow the bass is exceptional (small room). Highs sound like like a good dome.”