To many, Munich is the place of Oktoberfest, Marienplatz and Bavarian beer gardens. But in the hi-fi world, it's the home of Europe's biggest and best high-end hi-fi show. Every year, for one weekend in May, worldwide trade, press and visitors gather to goggle at the latest and greatest in luxurious audio kit.
This year, the MOC München will play host to the Munich High End Show from 9th to the 12th May (the 9th is exclusively for trade and press).
The full list and location of High End 2019 exhibitors can be found here, as well as information on how to get tickets. Naturally, plenty of familiar names will be present, including Audiolab, Arcam, Burmester, Chord, Copland, Dan D’Agostino, Dynaudio, Focal, Fyne Audio, iFi, Monitor Audio, Naim, PMC, Q Acoustics, Sonus Faber and Wharfedale. They'll all be armed with their flagship products, new and old, ready to showcase their wares alongside hundreds of smaller hi-fi companies from around the globe.
And the new product launches are now coming thick and fast. Read on for all the highlights so far...
High End Munich – Day 2 highlights
High End Munich – Day 1 highlights
High End Munich pre-show news
High End Munich preview
Astell & Kern
One of the most reputable portable music players in the market will be introducing its just-announced Kann Cube player, which builds on the specs and design of the multi-Award-winning Kann. The new player, which will be on sale from June, has more power, improved internals, more storage, a bigger battery... and a higher price tag.
Last year, Chord used High End to introduce both its Hugo TT 2 headphone amp/DAC and Choral Etude power amp, and it looks as though multiple new products will be in the spotlight this year. We've been sent an invite for the launch of "a number of new products". Will we see a new amplifier? Or a second streaming device? More DACs? All will be revealed on Thursday 9th May.
A year after its acquisition by Sound United (also parent company to the likes of Denon, Marantz and Definitive Technologies), Classé Audio is prepping a new, three-strong amplifier range. We first glimpsed the Delta Pre, Delta Mono and Delta Stereo models at CES in January, and we expect it to see it again, and hopefully be in receipt of full specs and details, in May.
Dali has confirmed the expansion of its Katch range at Munich with the launch of the Katch One soundbar. Details are limited at this stage, but the Danish brand has confirmed that it will feature 10 built-in drivers, driven by 200 watts amplifier. From the teaser image, it looks to be a contemporary contender for that space in front of your telly.
While we don't know what new products - if any - Dynaudio has in store for us in Munich, it is involved in an exciting project at the show. The Danish brand has partnered with High End Munich to bring its pop-up recording studio, Dynaudio Unheard, to the MOC. The studio will give unsigned artists the chance to record a one-hour session, for free. You can apply here. Successful applicants will also see their performance appear on the Qobuz streaming service.
It's set to be a massive show for Focal. The brand turns 40 this year and is celebrating the milestone by announcing some anniversary products at the Munich show. We don’t know much about the forthcoming products, but Focal has suggested that they'll span the home, in-car and pro audio markets. We should know full details on Thursday 9th May.
At the heart of Fyne's chief demo room will most likely be its all-new flagship F1-12 (pictured above), which we first spied at Bristol Show in February. Confirmed for the company's second demo room is the new F703, the second speaker of the F700 Series following the inauguration of the F702 last November.
Last but by no means least, Fyne will be showing its distinct-looking F502 SP (the 'SP' stands for 'Special Production') to the wider world, following the display of a prototype in Bristol. Set to be in production by August, it combines the drivers and technologies of the F702 (£5999) with the cabinet of the F502 (£1599), bridging the gap between those two models in the company's line-up.
We'll finally be able to get our ears on Goldmund's wireless active speakers at High End. The forthcoming £67,500 Prana (the Sanskrit word for 'life force' in Hindu philosophy) active speakers utilise built-in 600-watt Telos amplifiers, are based on the company's proprietary wireless system, and are mounted on an aluminium Z-frame design. To say we're excited to hear this robot-resembling pair is an understatement.
The British brand, known for its vast catalogue of DACs, will this year be armed with
another new DAC something a little different! On the 9th May, iFi is set to introduce an entirely new product into its catalogue: a wireless music system, which the company says combines a striking design with a range of interesting audio tech. Consider us intrigued.
Moon by Simaudio will no doubt be looking to build on its budding collection of five-star reviews with the new power amplifier it is launching in Munich. The 860A v2 will replace not only the 860A but also the 870A and 880M models, condensing the brand's power amp line up to six-strong. We've been invited to the official launch on Friday 10th May, so we hope to hear the 860A v2 in action then.
Last year, MQA introduced MQA Live, “original quality” real-time concert streams. It hosted one of the very first at Munich last year, and the experience is being demoed again this year, with British singer-songwriter Ana Silvera performing songs alongside double bassist Jasper Høiby. The duo’s performance will be streamed in real time (Friday 10 May, 3.30pm CET) from the Black Tornado studio in Copenhagen into MQA partner listening rooms.
Big news for Miles Davis fans! PMC is bringing two word exclusives to Munich: Dolby Atmos remixes of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and the Sketches of Spain. Working with the Miles Davis estate, PMC USA’s Maurice Patist, Grammy-winning engineer David Rideau and senior engineer Steve Genewick arranged for the original master tapes to be retrieved from Sony’s Legacy Recordings for the mix.
PMC has been granted exclusive permission to share the mixes with a lucky audience at the High End Show, and what better PMC speaker to present them than the company's flagship? The Fenestria towers – launched at Munich last year – will be complemented by PMC's Wafer on-wall speakers and several of its professional subwoofers.
Big news: legendary turntable brand Thorens is reviving its classic TD 160 deck design, launching two modern versions of the turntable, the TD 1600 (manual) and TD 1601 (automatic). Due to be unveiled at Munich, they share their descendant's sub-chassis spring suspension concept and dual-platter make-up.
It's a big year for the British brand, who is celebrating its 30th birthday with the launch of an interesting turntable that, according to the company, utilises 'the world’s first axially orientated, precision magnetically geared turntable drive'. It's won't be launched until the end of the year, but this week at the show we should witness the first public display of a prototype.
More to follow...
High End Munich 2018 highlights
So what caught our attention last year? Well, plenty. Focal took top honours for impressive heft with the launch of its flagship Utopia III Evo speakers (pictured above), with Dan D'Agostino coming close, launching an impalpable powerhouse of a power amp.
Chord Electronics wasn't quiet – is it ever at a hi-fi show? – launching its Choral Etude power amp and Hugo TT 2 headphone amp/DAC, while the likes of PMC, Finkteam, Burmester and Sonus Faber all debuted mighty impressive new speakers.
At a more affordable level, Audiolab splayed several brand-new products across its slice of show floor, including the five-star 6000A amp, while Pro-Ject introduced yet another modern spin on the affordable all-in-one turntable system.
If this year's High End Munich show is half as abundant as last year's, we're in for a treat (and a very busy weekend)...