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

Jan 23, 2013
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#41

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?

Gryphon started manufacturing the complete audio chain around 15 years ago.
 
#42
I prefer watching 'Gravity' (Alfonso Cuarón) in 3D on a larger screen than in 4K on a smaller screen.
We wanted to start supporting high-fidelity audio in conjunction with video. Especially YouTube videos. It was easiest to start in the 10x10 foot Audio Note room. This is not big enough for a projector, IMO, so we had to turn to flat screen. We chose the largest high-quality LED which is currently 82 inches. Given how near-field we will be sitting... it will LOOK bigger :cool:.

Mind if I ask just how big your larger screen is? Then I have something to badger Neli about getting :D [though the distance between tall horn speakers for screenspace if necessarily limited]
 
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#43
Thanks, Mike, for Audio Federation's videos and commentary. :) Munich may very well be the zenith of audio shows, presently.
No problem, C1. Nice to meet you. I think it is certainly the zenith of shows with a more international attendee list, like the old CES, but I hear a few in China are larger, which means we all have to eventually check THEM out, right?! Now if we can just find the time...
 
Feb 8, 2011
21,354
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Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#44
We wanted to start supporting high-fidelity audio in conjunction with video. Especially YouTube videos. It was easiest to start in the 10x10 foot Audio Note room. This is not big enough for a projector, IMO, so we had to turn to flat screen. We chose the largest high-quality LED which is currently 82 inches. Given how near-field we will be sitting... it will LOOK bigger :cool:.

Mind if I ask just how big your larger screen is? Then I have something to badger Neli about getting :D [though the distance between tall horn speakers for screenspace if necessarily limited]
65" ... OLED ...plus another 65" 3D LED. I'm not a dealer, if I was I'd go 88" OLED 8K, and 77" OLED 4K for smaller room. Horns would also be in my arsenal if I was a dealer. I want clients with large rooms.

I really enjoy your thread Mike, and your super positive happy style. Your videos and views of the show are excellent. Your comments are super relaxing to read, you inspire me in higher territories...of not only the music but better people too, with expanded minds.

82" QLED is perfect, everything is perfect with the best people, you.
 
#45
65" ... OLED ...plus another 65" 3D LED. I'm not a dealer, if I was I'd go 88" OLED 8K, and 77" OLED 4K for smaller room. Horns would also be in my arsenal if I was a dealer. I want clients with large rooms.

I really enjoy your thread Mike, and your super positive happy style. Your videos and views of the show are excellent. Your comments are super relaxing to read, you inspire me in higher territories...of not only the music but better people too, with expanded minds.

82" QLED is perfect, everything is perfect with the best people, you.
Thanks! *blush*

We'll keep an eye out for the 88" OLED 8K ;) though we'll probably go for a 65" OLED for between the horns. The LG seems to get all the ratings but the Sony XBR Master Series OLED looked pretty darn good.

I do try and make the commentary come across as positive as possible. It does take a lot of effort sometimes :rolleyes:. And I try to be sensitive to both the needs of audiophiles to understand where each component fits within the galaxy of gear and the need for manufacture's businesses to thrive. Some manufacturers [all? lol] think their products are all things to all people and any characterization of their sound indicating otherwise understandably annoys them. The vast majority take it in stride and good spirits and the others usually, eventually become friends and just learn to put up with me. :cool:
 

SCAudiophile

Active Member
Sep 11, 2010
802
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Greer South Carolina (USA)
#47
Thank you to the poster(s) of these videos....brings back great memories of a fantastic experience!
 
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#48

Sonus Faber "Aida" speakers, Audio Research electronics.

This room was so dark! Why? Had to look hard to tell what things were. Still not sure about the turntable.

And the gear on the floor that way - it felt like people in the front row might accidentally kick something. Why??? Sonically it probably worked fine - if they did this to improve the sound... then OK. Makes sense. Or maybe the rack got lost in shipping.

I think these are the Aida II speakers. Most of the press was about the introduction of the Minima Amator II monitor speakers. We owned the Electa Amator and Extrema back in the day, and loved the whole line of their monitors at that time. Hope they get back to their roots and that aggressive yet musical sound they used to champion [with the Guarnari being the high resolution more refined and delicate family member].
 
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#49

Estelon speakers and CH Precision audio electronics. Forget if we went here once or twice, but Neli really liked this room. Big open sound. Really good soundstage [speakers disappearing], lots of inner detail. Not to say I didn't like it too, but not quite as engaging as I like and lately I have become a serious dynamics addict.

We do both do really like the speakers [even with a side-firing woofer!] and although we are both moving away from this kind of 'sophisticated' ceramic-driver sound with diamond driver bonus items, we can definitely see ourselves adding it back into our daily diet someday.

I didn't realize until now that I recorded the exact same song here and in the Acapella room tomorrow at HiFi Deluxe. Haven't compared them side by side yet [it is 3:30 am, don't think Neli would appreciate it being next door :eek:] but this will be interesting to hear.
 
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#50

Living Voice speakers on Kondo electronics and Grand Prix Monaco turntable.

This was the first room we visited upstairs in the atrium area. After all the accolades and such a seemingly optimal pairing of low-powered Kondo magic electronics on high-efficiency Living Voice horn speakers. THIS room I have been waiting years to hear [along with the Acapella Poseidon (didn't hear) and Sphaeron speakers (report here: Acapella Sphaeron Excalibur speakers).

But when we listened, it was not the sound we thought we would hear. We expected to hear very much a Heart-like sound [heart is enraging and musical and appeals to our heart and emotions. Mind is detailed and sophisticated and neutral and appeals to our mind].

But this entire show turned out to be like this, where there was a convergence of the average sound closer to a 40/60 Heart/Mind balance - no matter if their sound is traditionally much more Mind or much more Heart, Audio Note U.K. was by far the most musical and engaging [heart-like, say 55/45 - the new prototype DAC still being tuned and is at about 50/50 making this more mind than they might traditionally be] room at this show - not sure anyone else even tried (?). More when we get to their room, but clicking through even Zero Distortions videos, as an example, most rooms sound the same and are scratchy low-res recordings as one might expect and how most cameras record sound ... no fault of Zero Distortion's... except for Audio Note (!) which had me do a double take. I mean WTF? [true, I did not find nor record (these are kind of related :)) Lampizator's room, which might have also been a contender in this respect, as potentially many others I am not aware of]

We think what tipped the balance in this room towards being very neutral was the turntable, which has a very lean, very [overly IMO] neutral sound. For some this may be the perfect balance, but it was hard for us to get over our expectations and what we wanted to hear in this room. I mean, they dotted their i's and crossed their t's, big open uncompressed, relaxing... but personally our socks were still on when we left this room.
 
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Jan 31, 2014
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Italy
#52


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?
Funny that you say that, to my ears, most of what you have recorded here driven with the AN and such, including ARC sound quite euphonic (i.e. pushed in the midrange with glosy leading edges).
I have heard the same in Munich. So I would say that this sound is more like the older LED TV you are probably referring too (Not sure video upscaling is to blame)
 
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#53
Funny that you say that, to my ears, most of what you have recorded here driven with the AN and such, including ARC sound quite euphonic (i.e. pushed in the midrange with glosy leading edges).
I have heard the same in Munich. So I would say that this sound is more like the older LED TV you are probably referring too (Not sure video upscaling is to blame)
In absolute terms you may be right - I do not know the characteristics of the Sony PCM-D100 recorder all that well. But compared to the standard camera / videocam audio recording, it has a heckuva lot more resolution and leading edges are rendered much more accurately and the bass as well.

My point above that if someone thinks sharp, highlighted leading edges and tipped up bass are the way music is supposed to sound then the sound of their favorite gear [MSB, ARC] at the show was more "euphonic" than expected. And if someone thinks "glossy" leading edges and tipped up midrange is the way music is supposed to sound [Kondo, Audio Note U.K.], then the sound of their favorite gear at the show may have been more "neutral" than expected. If this is true, then this convergence implies that some mainstream "neutral" brands are toning down their exaggeration of the leading edges and exaggerated bass and conversely, some mainstream "musical" brands are reducing their reliance on 2nd harmonic distortion [or whatever they do to make it sound more like music as opposed to measuring more like music] and/or many exhibitors are pairing their gear with more musical/neutral gear respectively to balance their systems [with notable exceptions like Audio Note] .

Or rather, that the exhibitors at this show have tailored their sound to approach this middle ground, presumably to better please the highest number of attendees. Whereas at Axpona, the exhibitors by-and-large tailor their sound to exceedingly neutral, one might say.

Anyway, just opening up this topic for discussion.

I guess I was remiss not putting "4K" before the QLED, which does seem to be part of the description of TVs these days.
 
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Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
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#54
Funny that you say that, to my ears, most of what you have recorded here driven with the AN and such, including ARC sound quite euphonic (i.e. pushed in the midrange with glosy leading edges).
I have heard the same in Munich. So I would say that this sound is more like the older LED TV you are probably referring too (Not sure video upscaling is to blame)
I am just trying to understand and get on the same wave length. The term "mid range with glossy leading edges" can be heard in Living Voice video? And the sharper leading edges one in one of the MSB video? If our understanding of audio term is different it likely leads to misunderstanding in comments.

Kind regards,
Tang
 
Jan 31, 2014
406
7
18
Italy
#55
I am just trying to understand and get on the same wave length. The term "mid range with glossy leading edges" can be heard in Living Voice video? And the sharper leading edges one in one of the MSB video? If our understanding of audio term is different it likely leads to misunderstanding in comments.

Kind regards,
Tang
I am not hearing "sharper leading edges" on the MSB video, it sounds very balance to me (may be boring to some). I do hear glossy mids and highs on the Living Voice video and most other horns/tube set up (may be exciting to some - but a headache to others). I also hear the typical horn coloration on all these horn videos, same as I heard it in Munich (again exciting to some but distracting to others).
 
#56

Innuos music servers and streamers, B&W speakers, IsoteK amplifiers.

This is obviously a more mainstream, lower-end system than most that I recorded at the show. I decided to record this because a) I like Led Zeppelin, and b) to try and record for posterity the difference between lower-end and higher- end system sound [not to pick on these particular brands, though, yeah, we are kind of picking on them. Not Innuos, in fact, who seems to be near the top of the high-end market for these things, but B&W and IsoteK.]

It sure would be easier to hear this difference if I had been able to record this exact same song on other systems. But still, you can hear differences in the general sonic characteristics. Among the more obvious is that it sounds "loud" here, which is a derogatory term when we use it to describe sound [no matter how loud it gets, it shouldn't ever SOUND loud - it should just sound more powerful].

This sound, of course, is the classic tipped up upper midrange [to highlight detail] and mid bass [to highlight slam] sound that is supposed to appeal to newcomers on the dealer showroom floor. Just like TVs are tipped up in saturation and contrast to look more appealing to consumers and big box stores. It probably works. However, TVs you can recalibrate when you get home....

That said, this sounds WAY better in person than it would have 10-15 years ago, at which time I would have been trying to shut down my ears as much as possible as I quickly took photos. We ARE making progress as an industry, including, apparently, front-line gear found in middle tier dealerships.
 
#57

Video of the Dr. Feickert turntable lineup. These are going to be three posts of turntables that just have the ambient noise of the show floor as background.

Not familiar with Feickert turntables. They seemed to burst upon the scene, for me, about 10? years ago and I usually see / hear one at every show. Looks like they have a number of models now.
 
#58

Video of the Mag-Lev turntable line up. This looks awesomely cool, but not sure how the magnetic levitating field interacts with / does not interact with the magnetic fields of the cartridge and the tiny bits of current in the tone arm wires. Not sure either how the resonance frequency of the patter is controlled since it can no longer be "drained away" by the plinth [the Walker Proscenium floats a 70 lb (sealed) lead platter which if I remember right [and I probably do not] has a resonance frequency of something like 5 or 6 Hz.

Regardless, and I am sure they have a way they address these issues, it is all about the sound. Or not :rolleyes: [it is all about the sound HERE at Audio Federation, but we are not a large catch-all dealership with products for people who have perhaps other motivations for buying gear]
 
#59

Acoustic Signature turntables and tonearms on display. Quite a lineup of tables. I haven't heard their statement turntable, but did hear one fairly high-up in the food chain at CES, several years ago now, and I think these are potentially great turntables. They seem to play in their own sandbox at shows and I rarely see/hear them featured in live exhibits - kind of weird [unlike Kronos which is all over the place, unfortunately (for me, who wants to hear other turntables sometimes! ;))].
 
#60

Lawrence Audio speakers. They are from Taiwan and they have been around quite awhile - first saw them at the Flamingo T.H.E. Show, if not earlier at the Alexis Park in Las Vegas. Their uniqueness seems to center around their design looking like a bass fiddle / double bass.

This show featured a upgraded version of their speakers - looking significantly more polished. Actually, the reason I went in here was I thought they were a small manufacturer from the U.S., making it to the big time and able to afford to finally [perhaps] go to Munich and show at the MOC, and I wanted to give them some free press. :rolleyes:
 

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