Munich HIGH END 2023 Show Report
Just made it to Munich from Vienna before the car broke down. Pondering how to get back.
My vision of the Munich HIGH END 2023 hi-fi show is that it would be me sitting down with the exhibitor and doing a leisurely A/B of Linda Rondstadt's "You're No Good" met with loud guffaws from show veterans. This is not a casual gathering of your neighborhood audiophiles. This is serious business. A trade show in short, full of serious-minded folks in grey suits bent on the pursuit of the almighty Deutschmark. OK, the top guy is an enthusiast and the rest can be but more often is a hired gun. If the salesman got an offer to sell aluminum siding at a higher salary, he'd jump ship.
Linda Rondstadt's "You're No Good" from her breakout album Heart Like A Wheel was chosen as the test track because I have the master tape from the Tape Project. It's the first track on the album so easy to cue up on CD and LP. This would let me A/B the CD, LP, and tape versions. Am going with the flow of using female vocals as the demo track. I don't know why exactly, though usually female vocals are thought to be revealing perhaps. Personally, I'd have picked "Mars" from the Decca recording of Planets by Zubin Mehta and the LA Phil recorded in Royce Hall UCLA in Los Angeles. But I don't have the master.
To tune up my ears, I'd gone to the Musikverein in Vienna the preceding Sunday to hear Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Schubert's Great C Major Symphony. And then the next day to the Konzerthaus for Diana Krall.
Best Sound in Show by a country mile was G.I.P. Laboratory (Global Intelligence Planning Acoustic Division) located in Kaminoyama City, Yamagata Prefecture of Japan.
They make reproductions of Western Electric designs from the last century. So basically no advance in hi-fi for a hundred years. Kinda undermines the whole business model of if it is new it must be improved.
But think about it. Who was Western Electric? It was the industrial arm of Ma Bell. Y'know unlimited resources of one of the biggest industrial combines in the known universe whose business depended on sound quality. Not that throwing money at a problem is always the solution but it can't hurt. Those old Western Electric guys knew what they were doing. After all, they won the Nobel Prize. Very very polite and super friendly. They played Saxophone Colossus and Sonny was In. The. Room.
Kudos for using actual music and not audiophile dreck which bears no resemblance to actual music. Audiophile dreck is designed to show off the equipment and features exaggerated highs and lows. Please stop. God please make it stop! Just take me now SMOD. I'm just saying the quiet part out loud. Music lovers think this but dare not speak its name.
Don't have room for a pair of Western Electric monstas? Well, Klipsch makes a mighty fine horn called the Jubilee that works fine in a small room. It's a misconception that big horns need a big room. Hear for yourself.