Munich 2015

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Michael Lavorgna  |  May 21, 2015
"It's cultural." That's my pat answer to the question—why is the Munich show different?
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 21, 2015
I've always enjoyed Atoll's kinda quirky art deco-esque designs. The ST 200 (€2000) is a UPnP/DLNA enabled network player/DAC offering up to 24/192 PCM playback using the Burr Brown PCM1796 DAC. Beyond the typical digital inputs, the ST 200 adds Wi-Fi and two analog inputs as well as an analog volume control for direct to amp connection. Remote control is provided by Atoll's custom app for Android and iOS devices.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 21, 2015
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."
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 21, 2015
Italy's North Star Design was showing a dizzying array of DACs including the Intenso (€1000), Impulso (€1450), Incanto (€1800), Excelsio (€2100), and the Supremo (€3000 pictured above). All of the North Star DACs employ ESS Sabre chips and support 32/384 and DSD. As you move up the line, you go from the ES9016 to the ES9018 found in the Excelsio and Supremo.
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 21, 2015
Burmester, Le Corbusier and Eileen Gray.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 21, 2015
Commenting during the Munich Show, Bob Stuart said: “We’re delighted with the continued and overwhelming interest in MQA throughout the industry and the reactions at Munich HIGH END have been extremely positive and highly encouraging.” Bob Stuart also observed “MQA is a philosophy and establishing MQA Ltd. as a separate ongoing business allows us to advance and progress all the activities involved in setting up this exciting new approach. Major announcements are planned in the build up to IFA in September at what will be a very significant event for MQA.”
I attended the MQA presentation and also had an opportunity to speak to Bob Stuart afterwards and I still don't believe I have a firm grasp on the full MQA picture. Yes, I can be rather dense.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 21, 2015
From Micromega:
No single audio product before the M-One delivers such a feature-packed and modern product that fits into such a small and elegant space – crafted from a single block of Aluminium.

Against all the odds, our engineers have managed to incorporate all the latest connections – Airplay, Bluetooth aptX, LAN-Network 24bit /384kHz Asynchronous, SPDIF Coax-Opto-AES 24bit / 768kHz USB asynchronous passing DXD, DSD, DOP…, Phono MM / MC, Analog balanced and unbalanced inputs, and DSP with automatic room correction (M.A.R.S). All in an amazingly compact module, whose cabinet is cut in the mass of a single block of aluminum.

It’s an absolute engineering miracle !

And I thought...have they not visited the Devialet room? I know, catty.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 20, 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.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 20, 2015
Another all-in-one UPnP network player/integrated amp this time from Germany's Trigon Audio. The Trinity (€2990) supports WAV, FLAC, AAC, and WMA file formats up to 24/192. Gapless playback is also supported and there's a front-mounted CD slot drive for spinning discs. Inputs include 3x line level RCAs, 2x Toslink, 2x Coax, 4x USB Type A, and Ethernet. The Trinity's amp puts out 125W into 8 Ohms and you can also choose to output via a pair of XLRs.
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 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 20, 2015
Germany's T+A has revamped its classic "R Series" and they were showing off the new MP 2000 R - DAC / Network Client (€4500). I favorably reviewed the 2000's precursor, the MP 1260 so a new and improved version certainly piques my interest.

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