Ever been to a hi-fi show? They're
quite an experience, don't you know! With hundreds of manufacturers under
one roof, there's so much to see, and to hear, too...
For me, one of the particular highlights of a specialist
show is the chance to ‘meet your maker'. Well not literally, unless you
decide to go poking around underneath a particularly large valve amplifier, or
manage to impale yourself on an unusually pointy speaker spike. No, by this I
mean you can talk to many of the characters in the international audio
industry. You'll regularly see the supremos of companies such as Roksan,
Funk Firm, Avid, van den Hul, Absolute Sounds, Townshend, Naim and Sugden for
example, plus a great many others, all suited and booted, talking to their
doting fans (or grumpy customers)! And if you're really geeky, just go to
the bar to spot the journalists and PR people deep in conversation...
The thing is, every hi-fi show has its own distinctive
character. I do love the UK shows, but sometimes they can be a little too
parochial, which is why Hi-Fi World
goes out in force every year to the Munich High End Show. This amazing event
has vast amounts of kit from every corner of the earth. Of course, as you'd
expect, there's a lot of German market-specific stuff (easy to spot because it's got lots of black acrylic with gold plated knobs on), but
good deal of British kit too, plus some superlative Japanese high end and now
Chinese and South Korean kit as well. All of human life is there, along with
their weird and wonderful products, from tonearms made from violin bows to
remanufactured V-FET output transistors.
Noel, Adam and myself had an epic few days out in Munich;
read our four page show report on p80. We all lived to tell the tale, even if
the copious amounts of bread and sausages consumed didn't do our waistlines
much good (and the less said the better about the bitter). It was also great
fun to meet some globe-trotting Hi-Fi World
readers out there, even if my most memorable moment came when I espied a team
of ten portly North Europeans sporting ‘Danish High End Club Munich tour
2009' T-shirts, some of whom were striking 'curious' poses for the camera.
Oh well, anything can happen at Munich, and it usually does!
David Price, editor
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