HIGH END 2022 Show Report
I've always appreciated the sound of Peak Consult speakers because they take me back to the days of my youth when I was making my first DIY speakers with Dynaudio drivers in the 1980s. Back then, that meant something in the HiFi world of the time in my environment. I found some of that sound in today's Peak Consult models, but raised to the highest level. Founder PerKristoffersen, while introducing me to his new, improved versions of the speakers - Sonora (€25,000), Sinfonia (€45,000), and El Diablo (€55,000), placed special emphasis on the process of making of their speaker boxes.
In all models, the boxes are made from a three-layer sandwich construction, with several layers of damping material making them extremely strong and inert without any resonances, because, in his opinion, only in such an environment built-in speaker units can reach their maximum and achieve full dynamic range. After listening, rather loudly, of the exhibited El Diablo model, it all made sense because the sound was powerful, pleasant, and without any distortion or collapse of the sound stage despite the high sound pressure levels.
Nagra marked its 70th anniversary in Munich and on that occasion presented its first turntable, aptly named - Reference Anniversary ($ 175,000). The turntable is insulated from external vibrations by springs and uses a multi-motor belt drive. They showcased an impressive system, probably everything they have to offer for the audiophile community with the help of Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX speakers. This was one of the most visited rooms during the show, in my two attempts to sit down and listen to something more closely that was not possible because all the chairs were taken.
AlsyVox has unveiled its top-of-the-line Rafaello speaker (€276,000) with ribbon planar technology backed by their designer Daniele Coen. Rafaello is a highly efficient speaker (up to 98 dB) and uses a central line source supertweeter in the center, flanked with two midranges and two woofers, with a large external crossover with the best components (Duelund, Jantzen, and Mundorf). The sound was airy, large, and natural, with many layers outlining the depth of the sound stage. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive sound demonstrations at this year's show. In addition to the speakers, the sound source was the Taiko Extreme server and Lampizator Horizon DAC, Jadis Electronics JPL Mk2 preamplifier, JA30 tube power amplifier, and The Element cables and power filters from Omega Audio Concept.
The Estelon Extreme II speaker is, according to the designer and owner Alfred Vassilkov, a fully upgraded version of this award-winning speaker model that includes a new midrange (7-inch Accuton with a ceramic diaphragm) and tweeter speaker unit (1-inch, Accuton diamond diaphragm), as well as all elements of the crossover. Powered by MSB electronics, the Extreme II provided a dynamic, comfortable, and clear sound image. Mr. Vassilkov particularly pointed out and demonstrated the possibility of correcting the height of the front of the speaker according to the position of the listener, it can be raised and lowered using a remote control and a motor located inside the speaker. In addition, it is possible to move the tweeter back and forth, to achieve optimal characteristics in any room.
The Kharma system, in a superbly acoustically treated room, provided one of the better sound presentations at the show with its Exquisite Grand 3.0 speaker, powered by two Kharma EV-MP1000 (400 W / 8 Ohm) monoblock amplifiers from the Enigma Veyron collection. Thorens reel-to-reel and vintage Technics SL-1200 turntables were used as the analog audio sources, while the digital source was made by the British manufacturer dCS.
Swiss Credo Audio has unveiled its large Cinema LTM speakers with a total of 32 x 22 mm tweeters with textile domes and neodymium magnets, 14 x 4-inch midranges, and 4 x 12-inch bass units with aluminum diaphragms and dual ferrite magnets. The speakers were powered by two Pass Labs X600.8 monoblock amplifiers, EMM Labs electronics (DA2 v2, NS-1, DS-EQ1, PRE, and MA-3), while a direct drive turntable was used as an analog audio source with Van den Hul The Black Crimson and DS Audio DS 003 cartridges.
Audiovector's new top model speakers in their entry-level QR series are named QR7. This standalone model uses two bass units (8-inch) with one midrange (6-inch) and their characteristic AMT (Air Motion Transformer) tweeter. The speaker is already available for sale for €5,750.