Enjoying The Music @ HIGH END 2019
As the 19th time attending HIGH END Society's show in Germany, have been proudly smiling as this event has grown to epic proportions! As the only American reporter to have covered this event back then, HIGH END was at the Kempinski Hotel in Neu-Isenburg and product pricing was still in German Deutsche Marks (DM). Over the years, have observed this event grow to the point of needing a larger venue. The 2004 HIGH END show was the first within the now sold out MOC Veranstaltungscenter München (M.O.C.). Last year, 530 exhibitors from 41 countries showcased their gear within M.O.C.'s four exhibition halls and two atriums, with 138 conference rooms too. Without a doubt this is Europe's most important audiophile event of the year.
HIGH END 2019 was sold out of exhibition space many months in advance, which proves the popularity of this event is growing! Steven Wilson, an exceptional British musical artist and engineer, plus a celebrated universal genius, was enlisted as brand ambassador this year. "In particular, it is Steven Wilson's manifest professional gift for merging technology and music at the highest level that makes for a superb fit to the core brand message of the HIGH END," said Stefan Dreischärf, Managing Director of HIGH END SOCIETY Service GmbH. Steven Wilson is well-known as founder and the creative force behind progressive rock band Porcupine Tree.
Virtually everywhere within Munich including hotels, street sighs, overpasses, subways, at the airport, etc you saw posters of Steven Wilson within HIGH END's promotion.
HIGH END also was doing a giveaway where if you did a selfie with this poster and posted it on Instagram you could win a prize. Smart thinking! This is something high-end events within the Americas have yet to fully embrace imho.
HIGH END 2019's promotional phase is "Enjoy The Music". Reaching hundreds of thousands of people, these signs brought a smile to my face. Because, as always, in the end what really matters is that you enjoy the music. Am going to avoid the many questions received and simply say sometimes the galaxy aligns in your favor. Our promotion efforts during the past year include sponsoring both RMAF and AXPONA's press / industry party plus seminars. We've also recently partnered with Positive Feedback and celebrated our 10 year anniversary partnering with HIFICRITIC magazine. There's more coming soon, yet let's not get ahead of ourselves, because this is about you enjoying the music at HIGH END 2019.
It is truly wonderful to see thousands of happy music enthusiasts roaming through the hallways at M.O.C., with many music lovers filling exhibitors' room to hear the latest in high-end audio equipment. Here at Europe's HIGH END event, you see families coming together to explore the many possibilities available for their home and office space. Moms and Dads, plus their children, were together strolling down the hallways and into exhibitor's showrooms to enjoy the music.
Of course you could purchase recoded music on vinyl LP, reel-to-reel, and a variety of digital disc formats. French Hi-Res Music streaming service Qobuz could be heard in many demo rooms. Great stuff all-around!
There must have been over 1000 new product launches on display at HIGH END 2019. My press release inbox is mind-bogglingly full and will take at least a week or three to get through them all! Seen above is legendary audio engineer Dan D'Agostino proudly standing next to his newest creation, the Progression Integrated Amplifier ($18,000 on up depending on configuration). With a vast quantity of Asian and European manufacturers at this event, as you'd expect there were a very internationally diverse crowd at HIGH END.
During the press day on Thursday, there were stations offering free espresso / cappuccino. Above pic is my Muse / wife Heather having her third (or was it fourth) cup of cappuccino Rocket Fuel. As any longtime photojournalist to these shows will tell you, strong coffee is a must-have to keep your flow groovin' non-stop.
With HIGH END's continued expansion and bringing innovative ways to bring in a new audience, this year it was Dynaudio's Unheard. This "Band In A Box" showcased a variety of relatively unknown bands to record their music. Dynaudio's Senior Director of Global Marketing Christian Bennike and I talked at length; he also allowed me into the control booth with the recording engineer too! While the recording gear has changed quite a bit since my early studio daze (not misspelled) during the 1980s in Miami (ah, that explains it), it is interesting to see how the workflow hasn't really changed all that much. Bravo to Dynaudio for bringing more exposure to smaller musical acts! As a longtime, and classically trained, musician I'd like to thank Dynaudio for making this opportunity possible.
Did I mention you could see HIGH END Society's Enjoy The Music promotions featuring Steven Wilson throughout Munich? Here's a pic of Yours Truly within Munich's international airport.
Unlike American shows where videos seem to mostly be amateur-based, here at HIGH END there are true professional videographers. KEF's Johan Coorg was very effectively demonstrating the company's app / wireless control features. Getting back to pro-grade videos, this is much-needed within American events as high-end audio gear are true luxury goods and deserve to be videoed to a professional level. Any exhibitor can video their own 'room selfies' to post on YouTube and social media. Swiss high-end audio and recording studio company Nagra has done this very effectively for many years during events. This is free to create using any good cell phone or handheld camcorder. Do it yourself. If you want to reach luxury status, having professionally created video content should be the norm and not the exception imho.
Speaking of self-promotion, some manufacturers did their own very effective online campaign during HIGH END 2019. As an example, Black Cat Cable gave away very high quality bags to attendees and posted pics within their social media sites many times a day during the show. Bravo and smart marketing!
Did I mention you could see HIGH END Society's Enjoy The Music promotions featuring Steven Wilson throughout Munich? And for my mechanical watch friends, yes that is the Rolex SS Sky-Dweller blue dial (Reference 326934), an amazing timepiece if I may humbly say so. Mine has an accuracy of +5 seconds a month! Go ahead, do the math of how incredibly accurate that is for a mechanical timepiece. Bravo Rolex! Alas, am still waiting on Mayors to get the Reference 126710BLRO, as called them seconds after it was announced in spring 2018 at Baselworld. Still waiting.... As my friends at HIGH END may remember, during last year's event wore my Rolex Reference 228235 with chocolate and ice dial. Delicious!
As today is Monday, the day after HIGH END 2019 ended, Enjoy the Music.com is preparing our extensive show report. Rest assured there will be daily updates so check back often! Alas, it is Yours Truly that needs a bit of rest as have been awake and working for well over 30 hours straight to get this editorial report online, plus the updates to our AXPONA 2019 show report! A plethora of business meetings kept Heather and I very busy. Quite a few of my close friends never saw me(!), as meetings dominated our schedule. Please accept my apologies to those who I may have missed seeing during HIGH END. Fact is, was invited to a Michelin-starred Italian restaurant and due to sheer exhaustion fell asleep and thus never made it to dinner!
Speaking of falling asleep and lack of sleep thereof, during the WBT seminar at 3pm on Friday my head began that ever-so-slow downward move towards "Yup, he's falling asleep." My body cycle and work schedule were very much out-of-sync this trip :(
Did I mention you could see HIGH END Society's Enjoy The Music promotions featuring Steven Wilson throughout Munich?
On a personal note, would like to humbly thank HIGH END Society for their decades of service to music lovers worldwide. Passion, combined with smart business sense and many other talents, have brought HIGH END 2019 to sell-out exhibition space status and well over 10,000 visitors during their four day event. I still fondly remember those early days at the Kempinski Hotel. Now that this event easily fills the extremely large M.O.C., am wondering when the next step to an even larger venue will take place. Below are links to all our HIGH END reports.
Please check back daily for more coverage from us, as we have a lot of great info to post! It doesn't matter if you're an exhibitor, attendee, or voyeur reading our show coverage, am sure you know in the end what really matters is that you...