Upon arriving at
the show one could not help but notice the extremely large 'beach ball' with
the High End logo.
Marantz launched the KI Pearl SACD player and integrated amplifier that
celebrates 30 years with Marantz ($3000 and $3500 respectively). Ken Ishiwata
is seen here with these very special new products. The SA KI Pearl Reference Series SA-CD/CD
player is built in a "bulletproof", vibration-damped cabinet and
extremely large power supply with a Toroidal transformer. Add to that, the state-of-the-art CD
mechanism ensures the disc is handled properly. The SA KI Pearl limited edition
SACD player comes in black with a solid 5mm thick aluminum top cover, copper plated
shield case, double layered bottom plate, hand selected audiophile-grade components
and much more. This unit can handle stereo SACD, CD and CD-R/RW
(MP3/WMA/CD-DA). Cirrus Logic D/A is the CS4398 and TOSlink optical and gold coax digital outputs
plus optical digital input for DAC mode (up to 96 kHz) is provided for. This
unit also includes a front discrete amplified high current headphone jack.
Avantgarde Acoustics had their world premiere of their new G2 series of their Uno and Duo and Trio range (price to be determined). For a guy like me, who has reviewed both the Uno and Duo and very familiar with the Trio), you can see many visual details. There are also 'hidden' details not seen. Details that are visual are refinements in the CNC machined footers, with four easily adjustable footers total versus the older three. The bolts to connect the frame to the driver cabinets plus the base of the frame is made from solid aluminum. Under the footers are CNC machined 'pucks'. At the rear of the driver tubes are aluminum injection molded rear bits versus the older plastic unit. Unseen improvements include the base unit that has more powerful headroom amplification via higher quality parts and more power capacitor capacity. Other things unseen are the bass drivers use neodymium magnet. The newly modified crossover employs a very sophisticated network with specialized custom made capacitors. Internal wire is specialized silver and
WBT NexGen silver loudspeaker binding posts.
Keith Martin of IsoTech had a world premiere of their
bluehorizon proburn cable unit (670€). It handles RCA, XLR and loudspeaker cables. It takes about 24 hours and the signal is 10,000-times more thorough due to the power and frequency range according to the company representative.
Furutech's new analog series of products
for vinylphiles. These are very specialized wires and accessories for the true
high-end audio music enthusiast.
Furutech also had their CF Series connectors.
Gryphon had their world premiere of their new Scorpio CD player, Atilla 100 wpc stereo integrated amplifier and Mojo loudspeakers (no price, 6950€ and 12,950€ respectively). The Mojo speakers are special as they take many cues from the company's flagship model and bring them down in both size and price. The principle is the same, to offer reference-quality sound yet within a more compact design. Driver compliment is a Mondorf ribbon tweeter and 5.25-inch Vifa midrange/woofer driver.
During each High End show there is a press conference by the
High End Society, who puts on this event. Naturally part of the focus was
on the state of the economy and that there are many wonderful consumer audio products at various price levels. In fact this show is expanding to a Switzerland
event near Zurich! Also touched upon are that the good, known brands that are strong are
showing their products here while a small percentage of the 'weaker' bands that could not have a booth
at this event perhaps are being shaken. Survival of the fittest and all that. So far sales in Germany of high end products have been normal, so the downturn as
seen in various countries is due to their local poor leadership (both
government and financial) and core economy. Naturally Germany is a producing economy, including a widespread variety of products and
services, and so their economy may not be as bad off as those countries that produce little and run up
large trade deficits. Alex of the High End Society says the German market is doing "Thumb's up." We must also keep in mind for the past 15 or so years Germans have
been savers and therefore have a good reserve of money. Here is where high-end
audio can benefit as another factor may be that if people choose to
'cocoon' themselves at home due to the doom and gloom, they are home and want to have nice things around them while enjoying music and movies.
KEF had some not for sale model Concept
Blade that has a carbon fiber
cabinet that featured carbon fiber 10-inch woofer drivers. Woofers are on both sides
of the cabinet for force canceling to reduce distortion. The tweeter is surrounded by the KEF-patented Tangerine waveguide.
THIEL Audio is here at the Munich High End 2009 show with their CS2.4 SE 30th Anniversary
floorstander (left). This is truly an impressive design and Enjoy the
Music.com's exclusive World Premiere review of it can be seen by clicking
Click here for part 2.