Munich 2015

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Michael Lavorgna  |  May 19, 2015
According to Constellation Audio's Peter Madnick, VP Engineering, it's best to keep their Cygnus Digital file player/DAC ($35,000) off of the network and use USB storage instead. The 32/192-capable Cygnus is a two-box solution with a separate network player/power supply which "provides two separate power feeds: an analog circuit based on an R-core transformer to power the analog circuits, and another power supply circuit to feed the digital and control circuitry."
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 20, 2015
Dali always has a surprise or two up their sleeve for Munich and this year their Zensor 1AX active speakers (€599) grabbed my attention. Rated at 53 Hz to 26.5 kHz, the 1AX are configured as a master slave so just one speaker contains the 50W amp along with an internal 24/96-capable DAC (1x Toslink input). The A1X also offers a 3.5mm analog input and employs aptX Bluetooth for easy wireless streaming. Nice!
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 19, 2015
dCS introduced its new series, Rossini, which replaces the Puccini in the dCS product lineup. Rossini comes in two versions – the £15,000 Rossini DAC and £18,000 Rossini Player. I'm most interested in the DAC (pictured above) since the Player adds a CD transport which falls outside my area of interest. The Rossini DAC is also a network player capable of serving music from your NAS as well as streaming services including Tidal, Spotify, and Deezer. Rossini has inherited its latest generation dCS Digital Processing Platform and the dCS Ring DACTM from the flagship Vivaldi which makes for a very good sound proposition.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 20, 2015
Denon is part of D&M Holdings whose brands include Marantz so their corner room at the High End Show contained about one thousand products. I focused on the DA-300USB because it offers a nice small footprint, 24/192 and DSD128 playback, USB, 1x Coax, and 2x Toslink inputs, a headphone amp, and a friendly price of $499.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 19, 2015
The Devialet rooms look as if you've entered another world.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 20, 2015
Dynaudio was displaying their new Connect (€350) module which delivers up to 24/96 streaming via Wi-Fi and 24/192 wired (2x S/PDIF) for their Wi-Fi Speakers (XD and XEO range). I have a pair of the Dynaudio XEO 4s sitting on my desktop playing music right now and won't get into how much I'm enjoying them, yet.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 21, 2015
I saved the Silbatone room for last even though I knew they'd be playing records because I wanted to end the Munich High End Show on a high note with a skip in my step after four very long and admittedly wonderful days of hi-fi'ing.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 20, 2015
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.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 17, 2015
While the Internet connection in my hotel is currently working (fingers crossed), I wanted to take this opportunity to apologize for not posting. When I first arrived on Wednesday, everything was hunky dory with our connectivity. As the week progressed, our fragile connection to the world at large became increasingly spotty to the point of simply not working. Let's hope the hotel has this all sorted.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 21, 2015
"Do you have a favorite room at the show so far?" asked Geoff Armstrong as I sat in his room on the last day of the show. "Yea, this one." I replied.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 20, 2015
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.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 20, 2015
I first covered this dynamic duo way back at RMAF 2013 but I wanted to cover them again because they offered some of my favorite sounds at the High End Show. Relaxed, easy, supple, fast as all get out, smooth, and musical. I'm also a fan of the simple system and this combo delivers on that count as well. Pictured is the DSD128 capable Lindemann musicbook:10 (€2800) with the active Manger s1 loudspeakers (€15,000).
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 19, 2015
The Mark Levinson No 585 Integrated Amp/DAC (€14,000) houses an ESS Sabre 32-bit DAC capable of passing 32/192 PCM data and DSD. For low resolution files, the 585 borrows its Clari-Fi signal processing from parent company Harman which essentially is meant to make lossy files sound more like music.
MBL
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 21, 2015
Juergen Reis of MBL

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.

Michael Lavorgna  |  May 18, 2015
Melco (Maki Engineering Laboratory Company) began as audio company in 1975 producing the belt-driven, heavy platter'd Melco turntable. They proceeded to morph into "the largest computer peripherals manufacturer in Japan, offering advanced products based on rigorous R&D, including Wireless routers, Ethernet Data Switches and storage devices such as NAS drives." Well, Melco's getting back into their audio roots while leveraging their technological prowess.

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