MBL sat right up near the very tippy top of my most enjoyable rooms at the Munich High End Show 2015. I very much enjoyed Juergen Reis' presentation on his speakers, the Radialstrahler mbl 101 X-treme (€202,000/pair) which was chock full of fascinating insight interspersed with sumptuous musical bits.
Dutch NOS DAC company Metrum Acoustics has developed their own chip for the Pavane DAC (€4000). "The parallel driven R2R ladder networks as used in the eight DAC modules performs, especially when combined with our FPGA-driven 'forward correction module', on a higher level." Metrum claims extremely high linearity "right down to -140dB" and "extremely high channel separation of 120 dB."
UK-based Leema Acoustics was showing their Libra DAC (£5995). The Libra employs an unspecified ESS Sabre DAC and supports up to 32/384 and DSD128 playback. The Libra can also function as a preamp offering both analog and digital inputs as well as Bluetooth along with RCA and XLR outputs. The Libra's modular design promises easy upgrade-ability including the DAC module for future-tech proofing. Leema represents the workings of ex-BBC sound engineers Lee Taylor and Mallory Nicholls.
That's the Media One (€9500 pictured on top) from Alluxity, a 32/384 and DSD128-capable network player/DAC offering a web-based control app. My notes on the Media One are rather sparse and the company's website offers no additional information. I did note there are RCA and XLR outputs. Apologies for the scant info. Alluxity is the brain child of Alexander Vitus the son of Hans Ole Vitus of Vitus Audio.
"Vermeer Audio has recently acquired the rights and the technology of the models LaSource and LaFontaine from the prestigious Audio Aero Company. These models will be used as basis for the development of the Vermeer Audio first range." On display in Munich was the Vermeer Audio TWO Universal Control Center (€20,000) the reincarnation of the Audio Aero La Fontaine. The TWO is a 24/384 and DSD-capable DAC and preamp offering both analog (RCA and XLR) and digital inputs (asynchronous USB, Toslink, AES/EBU, and Coax).
Italy's Audio Flight was new to me as was their FLS1 Pre/DAC (€4500). The DAC part runs on the ESS 9018 offering up to 32/384 and DSD256 playback. Digital inputs include 1x Toslink, 1x AES/EBU, 2x S/PDIF, and 1x USB in additional to 4 analog inputs (2x RCA, 2x XLR). There's also a headphone amp and an optional phono board for you vinyl lovers (I know you're out there).
Grimm Audio was also showing a multi-channel DSD system using five of their LS1 (€21,000/pair) Hypex powered speaker/DAC using the Oppo BDP-103 ($499) as front end. Pictured above was a 2-channel comparison where Grimm's Daen Van Aalst covered the center speakers "because our brains react to things we recognize" like three speakers. Music selections were from Channel Classics and I was impressed with the sound overall but when switching to multi-channel I found it a bit difficult to get a handle on the sound image as one coherent whole.
The Bryston room featured their BDA-2 ($2395)/BDP-2 ($2995) digital combo (see review), 7BSST² Single-Channel (Mono) Amplifiers, BP26 Preamp, and the Mini T Bookshelf Speaker. My notes read "Nice!" which is all I cared to write, instead preferring to just listen and enjoy one of my favorite rooms of Munich 2015.
Vincent Brient's totaldacs were in a total of four rooms at Munich 2015. Pictured above is the flagship D1-system-twelve (€39,500 incl VAT) which includes the d1-server music server. The d1-twelve DAC uses 6 discrete resistor R2R ladders per channel, for a total of 12 ladders for the system or roughly 600 Vishay Foil resistors per system.
Swiss-made Orpheus Labs new Absolute Mediaserver (€18,000) houses a 4th-gen Intel i3 processor, up to 4TB of memory, and supports PCM playback up to 32/384 and DSD using 8x ESS Sabre 32 DACs per channel. There's 4TB of HDD internal storage as well as a SSD for the OS, and you can rip your CDs or play them from the front mounted CD/DVD/Blueray slot drive. File formats supported include DSF, DIFF, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, AAC, MP2, MP3, AAC, Vorbis, AC#, DTS, and WAV while supported video formats include MPEG-1/2/4, AVI, WMV, ASF, FLV, MKV, MOV, MP4, M4A, AAC, and OGG. There are 5 digital inputs (2x Toslink, 2x Coax, 1x AES/EBU) and 4 analog inputs (2x XLR, 2x RCA). That 7" (1280 x 800) display is 4K movie-ready quality and Orpheus provides a free iOS or Android app for remote control.