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

#61

Kaiser Kawero speakers and Kondo electronics and turntable.

I really wanted to love the sound in this room. Neli did too. I was here twice, for a few songs each time, Neli and Florian joined me on the second visit [or rather, Florian and I joined Neli who wanted to make sure she heard this room and dragged us along behind].

The bottom line is that they sounded under-driven, especially in the bass. There also wasn't the 'magic' that we have come to expect from high-quality tube gear. Look, if you are going to go with [relatively] low-powered tube amps, and rule out some large percentage of speakers [50%?, 75%? Some say 95%] by making this choice, it is because of and in pursuit of that 'magic' sound that they can have .

What is 'magic' sound, or drug-like sound, or sound with emotion and engagement?

Part of it that is sounds true enough to real life that you don't have to THINK about "what is that sound?" or "Is that a trumpet?"... it just sounds like a trumpet. Hard to explain because our minds are so good at filling in the gaps and making mappings from the unreal to the real.

Part of it, another important part for me personally, is to be able to tell whether Johnny Cash is singling about Folsom Prison in a humorous, self-derogatory voice or in an anguish filled, all those lives ruined voice [no, they didn't play Johnny Cash here].

Part of it is dynamics that sound correct [as opposed to just measure correct]. Small tube amps on high-efficiency speakers are better at this because their dynamic response more closely matches "real" in the context of real-life speakers, and even horns, which suck at this. [The only solid state amp that comes close to realistic dynamics on real speakers is the EMM Labs MTRX. There are other things besides realistic dynamics that we want from our system, of course, but, you know, they are an essential ingredient for a system to feel ALIVE, and, uh, can really be a blast too :p]

Blah blah blah... the upshot is that these should be great amps [Kondo makes some great amps and stuff], these should be great speakers [these are new but Kaiser makes some great speakers], but this was not a great sound, IMO. Good sound. But not great.

There was a question about what that box was that was next to the stepup transformer on the top shelf of the rack there.... :) Had to zoom in on one of the photos... Cool.

L1040660_PerfectlyClear.jpg
 
#63
Great commentary Mike. What was the first piece of music playing in the Kondo/Kaiser video?
Thanks, howiebrou.

In the details below the video on YouTube it describes the two songs [at least that is what it shows me, YMMV].
  • Song
  • Artist
    • JOSE CARRERAS/CORAL
  • Licensed to YouTube by
    • UMG; Warner Chappell, LatinAutor - Warner Chappell, UBEM, LatinAutor, Rumblefish (Publishing), SODRAC, and 8 Music Rights Societies

Their (official) recording of KYRIE seems overly quiet. Very strange label with zero followers. Not sure I understand what is going with that.

Regardless, I agree, great song.
 
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howiebrou

Active Member
Jun 29, 2012
444
139
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#64
Thanks, howiebrou.

In the details below the video on YouTube it describes the two songs [at least that is what it shows me, YMMV].
  • Song
  • Artist
    • JOSE CARRERAS/CORAL
  • Licensed to YouTube by
    • UMG; Warner Chappell, LatinAutor - Warner Chappell, UBEM, LatinAutor, Rumblefish (Publishing), SODRAC, and 8 Music Rights Societies

Their (official) recording of KYRIE seems overly quiet. Very strange label with zero followers. Not sure I understand what is going with that.

Regardless, I agree, great song.
I couldn't get your video to work but did find it on YT. Hauntingly beautiful. Thank you.

howie
 
#65

Grandinote at HiFi Deluxe.

Sorry for the show report delay. Life and preparation for the California Audio Show in Oakland intruded [We load the truck for CAS 2019 next Tuesday. Or next Monday (in 2 days). Or maybe it will be next Wednesday...which is the current plan ...o_O] . Moving on to the HiFi Deluxe show nearby I regret not getting back to Von Schweikert, Zellaton and Kharma to record THEM in 24x96 at the M.O.C.

Took photos of every room at the HiFi Deluxe [I think!], which took some doing as they spread them out over something like 8 floors of the hotel, kind of at random. Hard to find and hard to figure out if I got to them all, and lots of walking.

I kept running into the Grandinote guys in the elevator, in the hallways, in the lobby, so when I got to their room I recorded them as well as photographed the system. For comparison purposes, this system costs less than what most amps cost in other rooms [but still not cheap by most standards outside high-end audio].
 
#67
I cannot pass by the title of this thread without being struck by how low res a 24x96 video is.
The 24x96 is a succinct way to communicate to passers-by that some attempt was made to produce higher quality audio for the A/V recordings of exhibits at this show. As we always say "Use the ears, Luke". Does it sound better than the other videos of the show? If not perhaps an upgrade of the computer speakers might be of value [or not].

This is not so much a response to your comment, Kal, which I presume was just a casual remark about 24x96 in the context of the high-res wars going on in our industry, but about how those wars affected and did not affect my decision of what resolution to use.

I am not an expert in video, but I find this point of view interesting and perhaps reflective of how far into left field some of our industry is moving [which implies to me that we might think twice and thrice about quality vs. quantity benefits w/r resolution before things get too wack].

I am not sure what resolution is common in Hollywood videos. I recently watched "Book of Eli" which shocked me with its audio quality vs. the average recent Hong Kong martial arts flicks [with subtitles] I had been watching for several weeks.

When I looked at using a higher end, more 'professional' mic and preamp/recorder setup to record audio shows, say using this:

Sound Devices 664 Six-Channel Portable Production Mixer with Integrated Recorder

I would presume it sounds better, at its max 24x48 res, than my handheld PCM-D100 which supports higher res DSD, 24x192, 24x96 ... [I would have preferred the Nagra, but it has been discontinued and the used market looked pretty sparse and risky]

Which presumably sounds better than the 50Hz to 16k Hz less expensive "child's recital, just make it record something" handhelds.

Which presumably sounds better than the cheap mic plus videocam approach, using the cameras internal A/D, which Fremer sometimes uses

Which presumably sounds better than a videocam recording the audio by itself on its own mic.

----

I did not record at DSD because I wanted to edit the audio and add it to video. Also, I am wary of copy-protection and other perversions associated with this format.[the new PCM-D100 will not have DSD I hear]

I chose 24x96 because right now it is a "common language" of formats. High-end TVs output 24x96 spidf. Music servers often default / always support 24x96, etc. etc. etc.

I need to add the audio to video because I am wary of copyright issues if I just upload the .wav files somewhere. These can sound better than the CD, sometimes.

----

Some of the things said here may be controversial. If I could make a self-deprecating comment about our sex here... males are such suckers for the mine is bigger than yours con: horsepower, resolution, accuracy, ... [better stop here] ...whatever. If there are two numbers to compare, we think the bigger number is always better without much thought to the other aspects of what goes into quality. Just sayin' ... ;)
 
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#68

Synergistic Research demo at Munich HiFi Deluxe. In my excitement to actually get to record one of these demos in high-res, I did not have the recording level set correctly for the "before" part of this demo. So what you here is just the camera's mic and A/D.

Which is too bad. Because this is the first of these kind of demos I have heard [except those that walk up someone like Nordost's cable line, less expensive to more expensive] that DID actually sound a little better [in the few seconds I heard it]. With apologies to just about everyone, including Ted Denny here, these almost unfailingly just sound different, and, in fact, worse - the best of them typically removing some part of the music so it sounds 'cleaner', but with less life and authenticity and, ultimately, engagement IMO.

Love the mood lighting here :p
 
#69

FM Acoustics at Munich HiFi Deluxe. The medium-size speakers were playing here when I arrived and not the larger ones at the other side of the room. It was just a few hours before the end of the show here so I was unable to come back and record them as well.

I am so glad I got to hear these though. We really lusted after this gear for many years but had never heard them - so it was one of those bucket-list items that you didn't even really realize was on the list (!) [Goldmund is another]. We had heard a few pieces before of course: Arturo at Axiss Audio loaned us a phonostage 15(!?) years ago, and Darrin and Gene at Audio Limits have setup FM Acoustics on Acapella Campanile speakers at RMAF at least once. But to hear a complete FM Acoustics system - including their speakers - was eye-opening and makes us happier and more content with the different path we have chosen that led us elsewhere.

Just goes to show, I think, that we ALL of us wonder "what if" and "what about" with respect to the gear out there we see written about. We go to a lot of shows, and hear a lot of the contenders - so we do not often fret about other lines and whether we have a handle on what the optimal sound quality is at each price point. But we do try to do our due diligence and hear everything we can. And if it is one thing we learned at Munich, it is that we are extremely comfortable with the lines we have chosen [though they could all of them use real marketing... I mean O.M.G.]. This is also a takeaway that I hear from many people, many attendees after a show - that they go to a show and come home and are tickled pink that they still like the sound of their system just fine thank you very much and the show kind of put to rest the "what if I can get a better sound at the same price somewhere else" demon. At least for a little while...:rolleyes:
 
#70

Audio Note U.K. at Munich HiFi Deluxe 2019

This was the next room I recorded. To cover rooms we are heavily associated with I just try to put them into the normal flow and treat them like any other room. Over dozens of shows I have learned that otherwise I shortchange these rooms - but it kinda still doesn't work because I still forget to record and photograph them as well as I do most other rooms. This is because I am SO very familiar with the gear and a little bored(?) with photographing them all the time that I tend to just take way fewer photographs and spend less time here than I do of other brand's exhibits.

In any case, during my visit to record this room I happened to catch this intro to Vincent Belanger's demonstration [the 24x96 recording of the demo itself is also on youtube:
].

We were VERY happy with the sound in this room, even with the curtains in the right corner like that. I do wish I had recorded a wider variety of music. It would better help communicate better how well this system was performing and also help remind us of the details of how it sounded to get us through the long months ahead before this DAC becomes available. Because of this I am thinking of changing how I record these shows: I might try multiple visits next year to ALL the rooms and not just the few that I had not seen before in the U.S.

Neli was very excited about how they played Dream Theater that for her just opened up into a 'billion' layers of music for the first time on the new prototype DAC [it was a very complex piece and usually sounds a little mixed up on the best systems, and like noise on most systems].
 
#71

Acapella Audio Arts at Munich HiFi Deluxe 2019.

This room and the Audio Note room were almost withing sight of each other in the very confusing [to me!] layout of this part of the second floor of the hotel. They setup the speakers, the Apollon speakers, slightly catercorner - one of the speakers a little bit further out into the room than the other. You know, to reduce the possibility of the sound interacting with the rooms bass nodes. Yeah. OK. But at the same time this did not take advantage of the room's acoustics to create a sense of pressure and intimacy or authority or all the other things we get by avoiding 100% neutral placement like this.

Anyway, I, personally, was not happy with the sound here. You can listen and make your own judgement call, but it is SO very disappointing when one of your fave brands don't wow the heck out of you when you hear them at a show. We know what the speakers sound like [love them and in fact have ordered a pair for the showroom], just wish everyone else could have heard how awesome they can sound this year in Munich.
 
#72

Diesis Roma Triode speakers, Lucxar turntable at Munich HiFi Deluxe 2019

We had never seen nor heard of this brand of speakers until walking into this room. Certainly very different looking speakers [but that can be said for many speakers these days! They are either beautiful, utilitarian or weird - and sometimes all three at once :eek:]. The sound was very good and dynamic at about the same frequency as Roger Waters' guitar - very enjoyable.

No, we didn't stay to hear the reel-to-reel :( . There were only a few hours left to this HiFi Deluxe show and our brains were already too worn out and too stupid to swing back around in, like, 5 minutes...:oops:
 
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#73

Askja at Munich HiFi Deluxe 2019.

OK. I know. The previous comment about speakers looking weird or beautiful... or both? Moving on.

I really liked the sound here in the midrange and above and named it one of my 3 favorite large room systems. I am still not sure exactly why I was and continue to be charmed by it... but I think it because there is a natural flow and ease and good integration in those frequencies. This is also notable given that this is some kind of digital source [which also says something about the quality of their amplification and source]. You can kind of hear this in the video, but again this drives home the point that I need to record several varying selections in these rooms [esp. to account for some of them being blocked by copyright owners].
 
Jan 16, 2013
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NYC
#74

Lucxar at Munich HiFi Deluxe 2019.

We had never seen nor heard of this brand of speakers until walking into this room. Certainly very different looking speakers [but that can be said for many speakers these days! They are either beautiful, utilitarian or weird - and sometimes all three at once :eek:]. The sound was very good and dynamic at about the same frequency as Roger Waters' guitar - very enjoyable.

No, we didn't stay to hear the reel-to-reel :( . There were only a few hours left to this HiFi Deluxe show and our brains were already too worn out and too stupid to swing back around in, like, 5 minutes...:oops:
Lucxar was the TT, the speakers are Diesis Roma Triode.
 
#75

Alsyvox at Munich HiFi Deluxe.

This is the last of the 24x96 videos.

They played a lot of drum music here, apparently trying to show that these panels can do bass. For me, they succeeded, though the bass is different than what cone drivers generate. Because of the way I make the audio [many minutes] fit the videos [just a minute or two], the other instruments involved in other parts of "Take Five" are not present in this particular clip [which I will also address at future shows]. But in my opinion they sounded good too, within the limits of the high-end but unfamiliar sources they were using. Not TOO shimmery like other planers can be sometimes, but they stayed away from the new agey music that other people play on planers to highlight this, so not sure, if you WANTED shimmery, how much these will scratch that itch. Definitely that Munich-style neutral sound that many rooms were going for this year.

In fact, I found little to fault here - it is all about if you like this kind of sound and presentation [and have this much room available!].
 
Jan 16, 2013
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#76

Alsyvox at Munich HiFi Deluxe.

This is the last of the 24x96 videos.

They played a lot of drum music here, apparently trying to show that these panels can do bass. For me, they succeeded, though the bass is different than what cone drivers generate. Because of the way I make the audio [many minutes] fit the videos [just a minute or two], the other instruments involved in other parts of "Take Five" are not present in this particular clip [which I will also address at future shows]. But in my opinion they sounded good too, within the limits of the high-end but unfamiliar sources they were using. Not TOO shimmery like other planers can be sometimes, but they stayed away from the new agey music that other people play on planers to highlight this, so not sure, if you WANTED shimmery, how much these will scratch that itch. Definitely that Munich-style neutral sound that many rooms were going for this year.

In fact, I found little to fault here - it is all about if you like this kind of sound and presentation [and have this much room available!].
You don't need that much room for the Tintoretto and you get a LOT of the Alsyvox sound from them. They are 54" H X 22" W X 2" deep.
 
#77
Jan 16, 2013
552
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NYC
#78
Thanks! and my apologies for mucking it up so badly...
-Mike
NP....it's normal with unfamiliar brands:) Btw, very nice videos and reports in general....thank you!
 

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