Munich High-end 2019 Show Report in 24x96 Videos with Commentary

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,632
496
83
North Shore of Boston
#21
Munich hallmark apparently - boring music.

John Darko has said this for years:
That's pretty funny Keith. Isn't he the one who is complaining that the rest of us are know-it-alls?
 

cjfrbw

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,402
172
63
Pleasanton, CA
#22
Munich hallmark apparently - boring music.

John Darko has said this for years:

Yeah. Most of the time if it goes past 2 on the pacemaker richter scale, it's a non-starter.

Give 'em those lisping, trilling, tripping, hyper-tremelo chanteuses at one half or one third tempo with some re-configured rock or soft jazz dirge.
 
#23
I thought the percentage of boring dentist-office music playing at Munich was lower than, say, Axpona which was the last large show I've been to.

But in each room playing music like this, it is up to us attendees to determine:

Are they playing this music because the exhibitor actually LIKES it?

Or because it is the only kind of music the system will sound good playing? [this is the fear]

Or because they think that is what most audiophiles LIKE and are used to? [this last is often the case, sad to say, because it is the only kind of music that sounds good on their home system]

Or because of the nothing-but-classical club has a strong voice at these shows? As do the nothing-but-mainstream-jazz and nothing-but-close-miced-female-vocals clubs.

Or because they think we are all just a bunch of old farts who well get a heart attack playing anything not "audiophile approved?".

Or did someone request this sleeper? [yes. This DOES happen]

Or did you just get plain unlucky that they happened this one time to be playing something quiet to rest the ears a little, to clean the palette as it were, between Orphan Goggles and Dream Theater?
 
Feb 8, 2011
21,930
601
113
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#24
Hi Mike, I am exploring this thread right now...very nice presentation.

I listened to only few so far...much more time I'll spend exploring further.
I very like everything, and the state of the affairs in high end audio, from your viewpoint.


I've read the text accompanying the music videos...of course.
That one above sounds very good from the ocean's breeze sculpting my face.

And this one below I like for various reasons ...


This is an exciting thread...good time to spend here...I'm only starting to discover ...
 
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asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
3,317
344
83
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#25
As an exhibitor, I can safely say that, if we ever play that sort of stuff, it's not because we want it :) We bring it because, yeah, we will get requests for it, and we don't want to be seen as snobs. At the last room I was in, we managed to go Diana Krall-free for an entire day!

It has happened, more than once, that a gentleman asks for "female vocals". I play that, and you kinda see the guy trying to (over) analyze what he's listening to, perhaps trying to establish a comparison to what he has a home.
Then, to sort of "cleanse the palate", I put some Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or Stevie Wonder or 70s Michael Jackson. Same gentleman then proceeds to enjoy it on a different level, music as MUSIC, not as a tool to judge equipment by.

So, my estimation is that this is sort of a self-inflicted harm. People ask for that stuff because that's what they use at home to judge the quality of their gear. And it shouldn't be this way.
 
#27
Thanks, NorthStar. Welcome to the thread :cool:.

All good points, asiufy. What to put on when they ask for "female vocals" is... challenging... possibly a time to introduce them to less well-known female vocals. But, yeah, Dianna Krall, Patricia Barber, Tori Amos, .... all in the folder in case it is requested. And these are not so bad in appropriate limited doses. It is only when it becomes a top 40 hifi show tune that both attendees and exhibitors start to rebel.

Also agree with what I think you were implying that the best thing to play is something of substance we/they heard a million times - Zep et. al. - the idea being that the system just plays it so freaking much better than what they are used to that it rocks their world. If they weren't an audiophile before, this will make an audiophile out of them!
 
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#29

Gryphon Audio at Munich High End. No music. It was only near the end of the show that the U.S. Importer [Hi Phillip!] told me that they played music every half our or so. Where are the signs? How am I supposed to know? Maybe there is a sign, I am often blind to the obvious so maybe they were there. [I do try and pay attention to the person in a dress / person in pants signs on restroom doors, so I am not a complete moron. You know, just in case you were wondering ;)]

This would have been so interesting to hear. The first time I heard Gryphon was at CES about 12ish years ago at the Alexis Park. I walk into the room and it is empty. No exhibitor, no one. But these tower speakers playing at 100+ db some kind of heavy metal. Took my photos and left, but in my mind these are forever associated with kind of that kind of "bad boy" sound and culture. Phillip has a kind of civilizing influence on sound in the rooms with the gear he imports, so I am really, really curious how the big Gryphons sound when setup by someone else.

Looks like Gryphon has also taken to manufacturing the entire signal chain from source to speakers.

This room was on the 1st floor of the atrium, and got a ton of interest as you can see from the video. They don't LOOK like Metalheads, but what do metalheads look like, anyway?
 
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Likes: NorthStar
#30

Odeon "Carnegie" speakers and NEM electronics and Reed turntable. Had to track down the brand of the [Russian] electronics - they have no badges that I could see. Unfortunately the only song I recorded was a slow but poignant classical piece. [based on the discussion above, perhaps I should have hung around waiting for something a little more lively :)]

I do not know what to think of the Odeon. There were a lot of horns at the show: Acapella, Avantgarde, Living Voice, Odeon, Cessaro, vintage Western Electric, Askja, Tuneaudio, Zero Distortion has a video of the ESD Acoustics horns [whose room I did not see], Stein Music, Aries Cerat... [I bet I missed someone. Sorry!]

Typically where horns fall apart sonically is in deep bass integration and in horn colorations, and, given those potential problems, if they don't have enough of that horn goodness: easy free instantaneous dynamics and high efficiency, then why bother with a horn at all?
 
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#32

Stein Music speakers and electronics. Wasn't sure what to expect when I sat down to listen here. For one, they are an obvious [to us] knockoff of Acapella's speaker designs. Kind of annoying. But without the ION tweeter. And with not just side-firing woofers [very hard to make work well, in our opinion], but woofers all over the place. And their own electronics as opposed to something well-known and vetted by 100s and 1000s of audiophiles [Yep, Acapella, Kharma, etc. etc. etc. speaker companies do this as well. MBL I think has managed to promote their electronics into a well-respected line - being an exception].

But that said, it wasn't so bad. If they just kept the extra bass tower and took some of those woofers off the main tower then this would be like a Acapella speaker with an old spherical horn with an extra bass tower and no ION tweeter. [That is probably catty. Sorry. :rolleyes:].

So glad that most of the songs in these videos are not blocked [we just can't get any money from advertising] so that people get to hear relatively well-known, popular songs on all the top-flight gear at this show.
 
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#33
Because of that magic presence.
But isn't that magic presence to do with the easy dynamics [i.e. it doesn't sound constipated] ?

Or are you referring to that ability of some horns to, as Neli puts it "create notes that just float in the air" [by which I think it is meant that the beginning and end of the notes are so nice and organic, that the notes are like a mist of little rainbow colored raindrops, that just kind float there, suspended in space and time and are so beautiful to hear...the poof they fade away and are gone] .

Or maybe you mean something else entirely... :D
 
Likes: NorthStar
Feb 8, 2011
21,930
601
113
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#34
But isn't that magic presence to do with the easy dynamics [i.e. it doesn't sound constipated] ?

Or are you referring to that ability of some horns to, as Neli puts it "create notes that just float in the air" [by which I think it is meant that the beginning and end of the notes are so nice and organic, that the notes are like a mist of little rainbow colored raindrops, that just kind float there, suspended in space and time and are so beautiful to hear...the poof they fade away and are gone] .
Or maybe you mean something else entirely... :D
No, yes that's exactly what I meant...like Neli put it. ...Without adding more than what it's there...natural musical notes floating sustained in the air all around...like live.

☆ Check Tango's thread for a closer immersion.
 
#35

Voxativ. The recording is of the larger speakers they had in this room. I was so tired by the time I got to this room. I wanted to try as much as possible to have the video convey the feel of how large these speakers are, and how cool the design is, being so flat and my favorite kind of finish [VASTLY underrated] in gloss black.

Very cool simple system here too with just an *ahem* Voxative integrated.

Neli showed interest in going in here the last day but somehow we all decided to go somewhere else next... It was one of those times where all 3 of us (Florian, Neli and I) have to be excited about going in and listening to a system or we just moved on. Miss a lot of rooms this way, but it is still a freaking blast. So, there you have it.
 
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#36

TuneAudio, Rockna, Pandora. Here we are at another room that I really enjoyed. In fact, this was the best sound in a large room at the entire show [for me, anyway].

This was the first time I have heard TuneAudio speakers [at least this particular Avaton model anyway, they do show in the U.S.]. My first impression was that these in no way are going to fit in our main listing room which is only 13x20 feet!. [After hearing the Acapella Sphaeron speakers, I have since decided that anything that can actually fit in the listening room is fair game. Neli is has not made it to quite this point yet :rolleyes:. Unfortunately the Sphaerons don't fit - unless we knock out a non load-bearing wall (and since it is a rental, we would have to keep the pieces of the wall around so we could restore it after we move out)].

All to say, if they physically fit in YOUR room, you might consider these speakers when you are shopping for speakers again. The sound was very punchy and real with that kind of live dynamic excitement that high-efficiency speakers have and had some of that "magic presence" we talked about above - in my mind it is the ability to create the note's attack, swollen body and decay organically, so it is much more rounded and, it could be argued, natural than sounds created with other technologies.

Strangely, I heard this "magic presence" aspect of the audio recordings more in the low-fidelity camera recording than in the 24x96 recording. So I included both in the video for people to listen to for themselves and decide what they think.

The size of the horns is awesome, in this context, and no doubt contributes greatly to its success as a fine speaker. The well-known problem of having any kind of flat plane as part of the horn [the sound bounces off the horn sides and the ear hears two sounds for each note, the primary and this side-caused first reflection] is reduced significantly because of the narrowness of the horn in the horizontal dimension [the sides in the other dimension being curved and so not a problem in this respect].

The integration of the bass towers with the sound from the horn seemed very good - at least with the amount of listening that I did.

And that is my primary regret at this show [along with forgetting to record the big Kharma speakers *arrrgh*] - that I did not spend more time here and did not record more music samples. Part of the reason is that I planned on going back the last day - and tried to dissuade Neli and Florian to visit the room on our final tour through hi-fi wonderland. But Florian heard them two years ago at Munich and was unimpressed [?], so we decided to go down to Aries Cerat instead [he wasn't impressed there either :p]. The lesson learned? Do not wait until the last day to do anything important.
 
Likes: NorthStar
#37

Gryphon Audio at Munich High End. No music. It was only near the end of the show that the U.S. Importer [Hi Phillip!] told me that they played music every half our or so. Where are the signs? How am I supposed to know? Maybe there is a sign, I am often blind to the obvious so maybe they were there. [I do try and pay attention to the person in a dress / person in pants signs on restroom doors, so I am not a complete moron. You know, just in case you were wondering ;)]

This would have been so interesting to hear. The first time I heard Gryphon was at CES about 12ish years ago at the Alexis Park. I walk into the room and it is empty. No exhibitor, no one. But these tower speakers playing at 100+ db some kind of heavy metal. Took my photos and left, but in my mind these are forever associated with kind of that kind of "bad boy" sound and culture. Phillip has a kind of civilizing influence on sound in the rooms with the gear he imports, so I am really, really curious how the big Gryphons sound when setup by someone else.

Looks like Gryphon has also taken to manufacturing the entire signal chain from source to speakers.

This room was on the 1st floor of the atrium, and got a ton of interest as you can see from the video. They don't LOOK like Metalheads, but what do metalheads look like, anyway?
Mike, thank you for the post. yes, the entire signal chain from source to speakers. Just published a post talking more about that. Thank you for your support: http://bit.ly/all-Gryphon
 
#38

MSB electronics on Magico speakers. Like the Soulution on Magico room above, I thought this was an exemplary example of this kind of system sound which is a little to the cool side of neutral. I dragged Neli in here but she had been listening to the new Audio Note DAC for a few days [and the Audio Note Fifth Element/Fifth Force DAC for a year] and wasn't having anything to do with this more aggressive approach.

In most ways I think it is all a freaking blast - all this experimenting with music and psycho-acoustical toys.

Seems like there are two schools of thought with respect to digital. A lot of people associate lots of tiny sharp leading edges with detail [like edge enhancement in videos or your TV, or upscaling to infinity K] . It CAN be thrilling. But we're the type that prefers OLED over QLED [even though we just bought a QLED TV, :eek:, because it was so much bigger and cheaper and OLED isn't quite ready for prime time wethinks].

But OLED was so relaxing and natural, like real life, IMO. I think Audio Note, Zanden, EMM Labs, Lampizator, Audio Aero (RPI) all take an organic approach, like OLED. The others an approach like the 8K Samsung QLED that is now at Best Buy. Have you seen this? Yikes.

Reviewers are quite outspoken in which they prefer, even if unconsciously, when they review things. Good thing to know this when starting to read one of their reviews. Do you know which YOU prefer?
 
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c1ferrari

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 15, 2010
2,107
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#40
Thanks, Mike, for Audio Federation's videos and commentary. :) Munich may very well be the zenith of audio shows, presently.
 

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