Oh High End Munich, how we've missed you! After a two-year Covid-enforced break, the hi-fi extravaganza made its eagerly anticipated return to the MOC München last week. It's an opportunity for hi-fi enthusiasts and industry folk to mingle, do business and take note of what the industry is going to offer in the coming months.
Whether you are into record players, stereo speakers, CD players or streaming there's something for everyone and for every budget. From the relatively affordable to the out-of-this-world expensive, it's a great chance to immerse yourself in the subject and experience products and systems that many of us could only ever dream of owning.
We were there taking in as many sights and sounds as we could during our brief stay – and below you will find a list of a few of our show highlights...
Marantz CD 60
Record players and streamers were in plentiful supply at High End Munich 2022, but it was great to see Marantz still flying the flag for digital discs with its brand new CD 60 CD player.
Designed to match the company’s Model 40n integrated amplifier-cum-streamer, the CD 60 also has a few tricks up its sleeve in the shape of hi-res USB playback for all the usual digital file formats up to 24-bit/192kHz and DSD up to 5.6MHz.
Mission 700 speakers / 778 amplifier
Information was sparse, but our roving reporters on the ground spotted not one but two interesting new products from the Mission stable. First up are the 700 loudspeakers, a model that slips in below the recently reviewed and five-star-rated Mission 770. Like their more expensive siblings, the 700 will be built at Mission’s new manufacturing facility in the UK.
We couldn’t squeeze much out of Mission regarding the 778 stereo amplifier, but those of you who know your hi-fi history will remember there was a Mission Cambridge 778 amp (the forerunner to the original Cyrus 1 & 2 amplifiers) back in the early 80s. Is this going to be a modern take on another classic?
Pro-Ject Metallica Limited Edition Turntable
Pro-Ject was rocking out at High End Munich 2022 with its latest limited edition deck. It has teamed up with Metallica to produce an eye-catching record player, complete with mirror-finished metal logo, electronic speed switch, S-shape aluminium tone arm and adjustable tracking angle, tracking force and anti-skate. It goes on sale this summer for $1599.
Dan D’Agostino Relentless Epic 800
You are always guaranteed a spectacular system (or two) in the Audio Reference room, where multiple ultra-high-end brands come under the one distributor banner. This absolute stunner was showcasing the latest Dan D’Agostino Relentless Epic 800 (price TBC) mono power amps. Although a special mention also needs to go to those Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX speakers, in their limited-edition ‘4 Seasons’ finish. Breathtaking.
Chord Electronics Ultima Pre 3
Chord Electronics used the high end show to launch its all-new £6000 Ultima Pre 3 analogue preamplifier. We say all new because not only have its internals been designed from the ground up, but it also boasts a striking new fascia design. It is perfectly symmetrical with a circular power on/off sphere flanked by a volume/input selector, plus balance/AV bypass control.
Audio Research I/50
Munich was our first chance to get a closer look at Audio Research’s integrated valve amplifier, the I/50. Costing £5698 ($5000) it is the first member of a new entry-level (by Audio Research’s standards) series of products designed to combine simple functionality with good looks and excellent sound.
Available in six different colours, the I/50 features two matched pairs of 6550WE vacuum tubes, along with three 6922 tubes. It’s also a modular design so you can add a phono stage and DAC at a later date.
Monitor Audio Concept 50
Monitor Audio was making plenty of noise about its 50th anniversary with the help of its new Silver 100 Limited Edition speakers, but one of the stars of the show was undoubtedly its crazy-looking Concept 50 floorstanders. Key to the design is “The Array”, a circular array of six midrange drivers arranged around an MPD tweeter.
At the show, the Concept 50 were in prototype form, but the company hopes to turn them into a bona fide flagship product by the end of 2022.
Mark Levinson ML-50
Mark Levinson, too, turns 50 this year and the company was celebrating in style at Munich with a stunning hi-fi system made up from a range of high-end separates, including its anniversary-celebrating ML-50 monoblocs.
The rest of the system included its No.5105 turntable, No. 526 preamplifier and No. 519 CD streamer; and the set-up truly sang through a sizeable pair of JBL Everest DD67000 speakers. But the stars of the show were undoubtedly those ML-50s complete with their glowing interiors and red backlit front panels. Yours for $50,000 a pair.
One pair of speakers we can’t wait to get in our test rooms is the Dali Kore. Costing £70,000 and weighing nearly 150kg each, they looked and sounded mighty impressive. The speakers use brand new drivers designed from the ground up, and include a Evo-K Hybrid tweeter and a redesigned version of Dali’s much-used wood fibre cone.
T+A Solitaire T
T+A might be better known for its hi-fi electronics, but there was a new addition of the headphone kind on the stand at High End this year. The Solitaire T are wireless, ANC over-ears with a £1200 ($1600) price tag. They use 42mm transducers, special cellulose diaphragms and an optimised bass system and provide both LDAC and aptX HD support.
Campfire Audio Trifecta
Another pair of headphones that caught the eye was the jewel-like Campfire Audio Trifecta. These eye-catching in-ears boast an optically clear housing through which you can see three vented 10mm dynamic drivers, positioned to face each other in the acoustically tuned chamber. At $3375, which is around £2710 or AU$4800, these high-end buds mean business.