HIGH END 2019 Show Top 10 Design Awards
This is my first trip to the Munich show. Just like I used to do for the CES show until 2010, I'm bringing you my design awards. Not necessarily the best sounding or having greatest functionality, maybe not even new components, but the most striking items to catch my eye.
Dan D'Agostino Relentless Monoblock Amplifier
Yes, we've seen Dan's Momentum styling before, but this is the Momentum on steroids and it doesn't get more impressive than this. It may indeed be the best sounding amp in Munich, but this was on static display, so I can't judge. Producing 1500 Watts into 8 Ohms, 3000 into 4 Ohms and 6000 into 2 Ohms, weighing 570 lbs. and costing $250,000 a pair, this is what you call a statement product. Even more impressive in the flesh than in pictures.
McIntosh MT100 Integrated Turntable
Maybe I don't get around enough, but I don't think I've seen tubes sitting on the deck of a turntable before, except maybe in the 1960's. This all-in-one unit with build in HD Bluetooth is the Swiss army knife of turntables. It comes complete with a Sumiko Olympia MM cartridge, a phono preamp, analog and digital inputs and outputs for stereo speakers, subwoofer and headphones.
It features a shielded phono preamplifier, Sumiko Olympia Moving Magnet cartridge, unbalanced auxiliary input, digital audio coaxial and optical inputs, HD Bluetooth receiver, a subwoofer output, stereo speaker outputs, and a headphone jack. Introduced early in 2019, this will set you back $6500. If it sounds as good as it looks, that's a stone cold bargain.
McIntosh MC2152 Amplifier
This is a 70th anniversary edition McIntosh amp, limited to 70 units, and it has side panels made of carbon fiber, no less. You can even choose the color for the tube glow. Not really, but it looks that way – LEDs are hidden under the front row of tubes to make them look blue or green.
McIntosh's amp is good for 150 Wpc and features a complement of four 12AX7A tubes, four 12AT7 tubes, plus eight KT88 output stage tubes. A partnering C70 preamp is offered alongside the MC2152 but it doesn't have the amazing looks of the MC2152, so it won't share the award.
Nagra IV-S and Nagra VII
Was there ever a tape recorder as functionally designed as a Nagra? Its extreme portability revolutionized the recording industry. This Nagra IV-S model debuted in 1971, and although no longer in production, it still performs at a high level. Shirley Horn still sounded great through this vintage component fitted with a QGB extension for large reels, driving the big rig in the Nagra room: Nagra HD PREAMP, Nagra HD AMPs, YG Acoustics Sonja XV Jr speakers, Analysis Plus cables sitting on Modulum Racks. Alternate sources were from SME (30/12 turntable, V-12 tonearm) + EMT S75 cartridge, and in the digital domain, a Nagra CDP Player (used as a transport), a Nagra VII recorder and a Nagra HD DAC X.
Matthieu Latour of Nagra