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HIGH END And International Parts + Supply 2024 Show Report Munich Germany

Munich HIGH END 2024 Show Was Grueling... And Fun!
There is just so much to see, do, and listen to!
HIGH END 2024 Show Report By Robert May


Munich HIGH END 2024 Show Was Grueling... And Fun There is just so much to see, do, and listen to! HIGH END 2024 Show Report By Robert May


  Munich's HIGH END 2024 high-performance audio / hi-fi event has come and gone. As usual, the show was packed, both with audio gear and with audiophiles. Even in four days, two for trade, and two for the public, it was only possible to skim the surface of the exhibits, both active demos and static displays, that covered the expanse of the Munich MOC exhibition space. The overall impression after those four immersive days is of an extremely active industry, creating products of exceptional fit and finish, all in the service of seeking the best in audio.

In the active demos, there was much commonality in the aural presentation of state-of-the-art audio systems great transparency, details, and presence, with the best showing more than a modicum of soundstage depth and dimensionality. Within this envelope, there were of course as many variations, both subtle and not, on these themes; the fun is in hearing these variations wandering from room to room.

With the usual audio show caveats sub-optimal listening environments (although kudos to the exhibitors who made extensive efforts to acoustically treat their rooms), crowded, and at times noisy, rooms with people coming and going, and having to report on systems based only on fleeting impressions here are some of the rooms in which I lingered in my wanderings around the show. They are collectively all my best-of-show list.



For sheer size, the ESD Acoustics system from China could not be beat. It is so enormous, it is almost comical the big horns could literally swallow people whole! When I walked into the room, Hugh Masekela's The Coal Train, was playing, and it was impressive: The quality of Masekela's voice was spookily realistic. Last year when I heard about the ESD system, I found it rather bombastic; not so much this year, although it is big! An only at-the-show experience.



If you like your audio gear to have a whimsical design, then the Aries Cerat speakers will be your cup of tea the speakers look like they escaped from Disneyland! They certainly make a unique visual impact. For all their looks, they sounded very nice, with a rich and detailed sound.

Speaking of eye-catching components, the sculpted wooden tonearm in the Acapella room certainly commands the gaze. Unfortunately, I was unable to find out about the concept behind the design.






Diptyique speakers, powered by Kora electronics, sounded very transparent and musical, with the natural openness of their planar design on display.








I very much enjoyed listening in the VTL room, with their amp powering Wilson speakers, the Jadis room with Davis speakers, and the Vitus room with (very cool looking) Monitor Audio speakers. In all three, the systems were musical and engaging.








As at last year's show, Daniele Cohn's Alsyvox speakers, powered by Pilium and Taiko electronics, were a show highlight. Their advanced planar design gives a very transparent, dynamic, and detailed sound, with excellent extension and air. A powerhouse system.







Having reviewed Acoustical Systems' Aquilar Anniversary tonearm and their Palladian cartridge, I was very eager to hear Dietrich Brakemeier's new A*Stellar turntable, outfitted in this set-up with their Titan Grande Complication tonearm, and their advanced Palladian X.O. Boron cartridge. In a nutshell, the A*Stellar sounded exactly like what it is, an optimized, state-of-the-art turntable design.





Finally, a fun highlight of the show was in the darTZeel room, where tenor saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh performed a piece of music minus one set. Sabbagh and his band made a recording from which the sax track was removed; it was then played back on the darTZeel system with Steinheim speakers, with Sabbagh playing his part live. No one mistook the live from the recorded, but it was nevertheless instructive to reflect upon their integration and hear Sabbagh's reactions to playing a recording being played back in a high-end system.



Munich HIGH END 2024 was grueling; there's just so much to see (not to say how grueling it is for the exhibitors). But in the end, it is always educational and exciting to see the very best on display, to see friends and acquaintances, and in more than a few rooms to hear some mighty fine audio systems. As always, enjoy the music!




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