High End Munich 2016 The Wrap

The big digital news from Munich is something that you have to put together. It's not a single thing, rather an accumulation of things. I know, so much for simplicity. But it is simple.

When building a digital music system in 2016, we need to have a few key ingredients; ease of use, the ability to play all of our music files in their native format without having to do anything other than hit Play, access streaming services (ideally lossless), access our stored music library(ies), multi-system capability, a kick-ass interface, and really great sound. To my mind and in my experience, Roon and Tidal have stepped up and redefined this playing field.

RoonReady was a thing at Munich High End 2016 for a very good reason—Roon delivers a kick-ass interface, seamlessly integrates Tidal HiFi with your music collection, it allows you to run any number of RoonReady devices from different manufacturers around your home all accessing the same music library, and a Roon-based system, even a not very expensive one mind you, can sound really great (more on Roon). You can also use HQPlayer with Roon, a combo that appears to up the great sound ante, something I'll be reporting on soon.

photo from CES 2015's The Wrap

Tidal was not really new news at Munich High End 2016 because it's already everywhere. Roon is working on everywhere. Everyone knows that Tidal HiFi is the biggest blessing music lovers have ever had bestowed unto us because Tidal HiFi delivers great sounding music from a near-endless library and when coupled with Roon, Tidal's music becomes part of your music library. Bingo! If your music playback software does not support Tidal, I call that, in this day and age, lame-O.

Of course MQA is still making news and the new deal with Warner Music Group certainly helps answer the "Where's the MQA content" question. But to my mind, the key to MQA's relevance in the near term is Tidal. And we know that deal is in the works but we don't know When.

As I've said many times before, the Munich show is my favorite Hi-Fi show by a very, very long shot. I look forward to Munich, I dread CES. Part of the reason, perhaps the reason, is Munich is filled with happy people. I ran into a friend, a dealer and distributor based in Europe, and we had a conversation about this favorite show status. Here's my favorite quote from him:

"At CES, the men walking looking like they have not made sex for 10 years."
While the MOC where the Munich show is held does not offer good sounding rooms, they are actually bad sounding, and much of the music played is not to my liking, the show is still filled with life, energy, people of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and you can just tell they are there to enjoy hi-fi, music, and life. Bravo!

Some Munich Show stats:

  1. 518 exhibitors from 42 countries
  2. 19,489 attendees in total
  3. 7,053 trade visitors from 69 countries
Here's to next year!

dbtom2's picture

your conversations with Johnny Darko. Good stuff for your memoir I hope.

Thanks for the reports.

beaur's picture

While I generally only attend local shows (NY and DC) I cashed in a few points and made the trip to Munich for my first experience at a large show. In short I will be trying my best to go back. For such a huge show it was well laid out and fairly easy to get around. It helps that there was a place nearby to get schnitzel and beer for lunch!! I don't know about the sex at CES but people were generally friendly and they definitely dress better than what I have seen at shows here in the US.