After much consideration and debate, there is really only one more award to be offered. Sure awards are a great marketing tool, for both a manufacturer and the magazine to self-promote itself, yet
Enjoy the Music.com is very frugal with awards. So below is the last award plus some commentary to round out my Munich High End
2011 show coverage.
Am not sure if this award is for the new amazing Boston Acoustics Axprience
floorstanding speakers (€20,000 per pair) or for
audio equipment designer extraordinaire Ken Ishiwata. As for the speaker, the midrange and tweeter are decoupled within their own suspended enclosure
attached to the main cabinet to avoid distortion. Driver compliment is a 1-inch cloth dome
tweeter with top/bottom 2.5-inch midranges that are flanked by 6.5-inch
driver. Two side-firing 10-inch woofers are passive that can be driven via single or bi-wire.
As for Ken Ishiwata, he is indeed a living legend and has spent many decades
within the high-end audio industry. His ability to design, tweak and implement
products for the discerning music music are well-known. From Marantz's recent Pearl
series to many other items, investing is something Ken personally 'touched' is
a 'sure thing'. i spent nearly 30 minutes listening to the new Boston Acoustic
Axperience speakers and must say they are the first Boston Acoustic model i
have desired since the A40 bookshelf speakers that were first manufactured decades ago. The balanced sound,
incredible imaging and build quality was self-evident. If you get a chance to
hear these speakers by all means do so!
And to round out my High End 2011 Munich show
report, it is always great to visit the city in which the show originates.
Sure there is the adult entertainment on late night TV and various supporting
shops, yet they are easy to overlook as there is so much more to Munich! Great
bier (beer), food and live music on the street are there for your enjoyment!
Below is a fresh fruit stand, you will see many of these throughout the
Above is the movie poster if you want to spend
some time relaxing to see a great film. Of course every racers knows of the
great Ayrton Senna!
Only a few kilometers from my hotel was a bar
called Peaches, which was also a popular record and tape store back in the
day. Seeing the sign brought back memories of buying Mo-Fi vinyl, my Rush Hemispheres
picture disc and so much more!
Getting back to the High End 2011 Munich show,
you may be wondering why i have given so few awards. The reason is simple as
it is easy, and frankly of financial benefit to a magazine, to give out many
awards. Manufacturers love getting awards, advertising them on their website
and print ads, etc. It is also easy for me to 'make up' awards for the best ZYX
product within the $299 and $300 price range. Heck, it is easy to give
virtually every product reviewed an award for something. Imagine an award for
the Best LED Readout or Sweetest Ribbon Tweeter or Best Price Range. Of course
readers are smart enough to quickly realize such awards are nothing more than
pandering to the industry.
Another factor is, unlike most journalists,
Munich is my 100+ show coverage. It is not like i am a 'wet behind the ears'
newbie. Add to that, am getting getting tired of the 'shopping list' type of
report of endless photos. Sure they look pretty yet tell you little if they are outstanding against a wide range of other items
and not just within that show or within a long legacy of audiophile products spanning many years. So
this rounds out my show report and far less than ten products out of the
entire event of thousands of items gets the nod for being outstanding in my
eyes. Endless shopping lists can be found elsewhere, yet if you want to know
what really is the crème de la crème to my ears after well over a decade and
100+ shows, you now know what my personal choices are.
A special thanks goes out to all the great
folks at the High End Society for putting on such a great event! If you are a
manufacturers and did not showcase your products, you truly missed out as many
distributors and retailers attend this event looking for new products to
carry. One USA manufacturer told me that they easily achieved better return on
their investment at the Munich show versus the CES. It also seems that fewer
manufacturers want to attend the CES and are choosing the Rocky Mountain Audio
Fest in Denver. The CES has already lost a few key industries over the
years and it would not surprise me to see the high-end audio market choose a
better way to showcase new gear to distributors, dealers and the public.
As always, in the end what really matters is
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin