After two years away due to you know what, the beloved Munich High End show is back to finally reunite hi-fi enthusiasts and industry folk alike after what has been a long, gruelling absence from in-person demonstrations and large-scale events. And team What Hi-Fi? is ecstatic to be back amongst it all.
This week the MOC München is playing host to the high-end hi-fi show, with the first two days solely reserved for trade visitors and the weekend days opening up to the general public.
Naturally, plenty of familiar names are present, including Arcam, Burmester, Chord Electronics, Copland, Dali, Dan D’Agostino, Focal, Fyne Audio, iFi, Mark Levinson, Monitor Audio, Naim, PMC, Sonus Faber, Wilson Benesch and Wharfedale. Make no mistake, they are all armed with their latest and greatest products, new and old, showcasing and demonstrating their kit alongside hundreds of smaller high-end hi-fi manufacturers from around the globe.
Here are all the news and product announcements so far from High End Munich 2022. We will of course be updating this page with all our news and features from the show...
High End Munich 2022: the news so far
Dyanudio unveils Focus range of active wireless stereo speakers – If you want a mix of modern and traditional for your next hi-fi system, then you might want to consider a pair of active streaming speakers, like the new Dynaudio Focus. Read the full Dynaudio Focus story.
Triangle Borea Active speakers bring wireless convenience to five-star design – The passive BR03 and BR02 speakers now have active siblings with aptX HD Bluetooth support. Read the full Triangle Borea Active story.
Monitor Audio strives for speaker perfection – The Concept 50 prototype is already pretty astonishing and it isn't even finished yet. Read the full Monitor Audio Concept 50 story.
Fyne Vintage speakers promise retro looks and cutting-edge technology – Do you want classic looks and bang-up-to-date speaker design? Fyne Audio has just the thing. Read the full Fyne Vintage story.
Dali has a new flagship speaker – The Kore promises a "design, electroacoustic, engineering, manufacturing and musical rebirth". But it'll cost ya... Read the full Dali Kore story.
Limited edition Metallica turntable – Pro-Ject rides the lighting with this firebolt of a record player in celebration of the biggest hard rock band in the world. Read the full Metallica turntable story.
Pro-Ject is backing balanced turntables – The Pro-Ject X1 B and X2 B promise to remove picked up noise and interference by using a balanced connection. Read the full Pro-Ject balanced turntables story.
Monitor Audio is marking its 50th anniversary with the Silver 100 Limited Edition speakers – The five-star speakers now have a classic 'Heritage Green' finish but you'll have to move fast if you want a pair. Read the full Monitor Audio story.
Focal and Naim have teamed up for a special edition streaming system – the Focal Aria K2 926 & Naim Uniti Star Ash Grey. The name may be a bit of a mouthful but it does at least deliver a list of features to match, incorporating a Uniti Star streamer and the Aria 926 floorstanding speakers. Read the full Naim and Focal story.
Denon's well-equipped PMA-1700NE integrated amp doesn't discriminate on source – A beast of an amplifier with connections galore, support for high-resolution audio via USB and a built-in phono stage. Read the full Denon PMA-1700NE story.
Denon reveals PMA-900HNE HEOS streaming amplifier and matching CD player – Denon's new 'best of both' pairing blends physical CDs with high-quality digital streams. It's affordably priced, too. Read the full Denon PMA-900HNE story.
CD sales are on the rise and the new Marantz CD 60 player is here for it – The Marantz CD 60 player combines CD playback with hi-res USB support in the hope of keeping the format alive in hi-fi component systems. Read the full Marantz CD 60 story.
iFi Go Bar aims to be the gold standard of portable DACs (and not just in colour) – The pocket-sized DAC/headphone amp is designed to be the audio-enhancing filling between a USB source and wired headphones sandwich. Read the full iFi Go Bar story.
Revitalised Epos resurrects legendary ES14 speakers with a modern twist – The new ES14N echo the famous originals but are thoroughly modern speakers at heart with a totally new design at their core. Read the full Epos ES14N story.
Yamaha introduces Hi-Fi 2000 Series – meet the R-N2000A streaming amp and NS-2000A floorstanders – The 2000 Series comes in below the company’s existing Hi-Fi 5000 and 3000 offerings with the aim of bringing its advanced technologies to what we can only imagine is more affordable prices. Read the full Yamaha Hi-Fi 2000 Series story.
T+A Solitaire T aim to set new standards for both wired and wireless headphones – The German brand is aiming to serve up not just excellent sound quality at home but anywhere you go. Read the full T+A Solitaire T story.
High End Munich 2022: what we expect from the rest
Astell & Kern
The US portable music player purveyor has just announced three products that will be on show at Munich, no doubt alongside more models from its line-up. The Kann Alpha Max is essentially an upgraded version of the five-star Kann Alpha that features four DACs and packs more power (15V RMS) into a smaller, lighter body. Then there's the latest collaboration between Astell & Kern and US headphone maker – the Pathfinder, a pair of in-ear monitors with Dual-Chamber Balanced Armature (BA) Driver technology. Last but not least is the Astell & Kern AK HC2 Dual DAC Cable, a tiny little device that promises to boost the on-the-go sound from portable Apple and Android devices – something the original variant did very well.
Where? Room D02/E03a, Hall 1
Cambridge Audio will be showing off its upgraded Alva turntables – first announced at CES and newly on sale. The Alva TT V2 is a Bluetooth aptX HD direct-drive turntable, while the Alva ST is a more affordable (albeit still aptX HD-supporting) belt-drive model. This will be the first time media and show visitors will be able to get hands-on with the two decks in Europe.
Where? Room F114, Atrium 4.1
The Danish brand has invited What Hi-Fi? to the world premiere of its Kore (spelled as such in typical Dali fashion) flagship speaker on the first day of the show. Dali is understandably keeping tight-lipped on details of its range-topper until the official unveiling, but the teaser it has released is suitably teasing, stating that this "powerhouse" of a speaker "incorporates new Dali technologies and sets new standards for loudspeaker design, high fidelity and performance". While the spotlight will undoubtedly be shining brightest on the Kore model(s), Dali will also be using Munich to demonstrate the BluOS-powered Equi active wireless surround system it announced late last year.
Where? Room C112 & D108, Atrium 3.1
Quite literally, the apex of dCS’s offering will be on display at this year’s show – the new-and-improved Apex editions of its Vivaldi DAC, Rossini DAC and Rossini Player, not to mention the just-announced Vivaldi One Apex, which combines a DAC, Upsampler, CD/SACD Transport and Master Clock in a single chassis.
If you were wondering what the significance of these Apex editions is, know that they feature a new ‘Apex’ version of the company’s bespoke, built-from-the-ground-up digital signal processing engine that we believe to be one of the best British innovations in audio of all time. The Ring DAC Apex hardware is the result of dCS’s engineers reconfiguring the Ring DAC circuit board, modifying the reference supply and developing a new analogue output stage to achieve both measure and sonic improvements. Needless to say, our hopes for these Apex iterations are very high indeed.
Where? Room F209, Atrium 4.2 & Room E06, Hall 1
Scotland's Fyne Audio will be using Munich to showcase several new products that span two ranges and £4000 - £30,000 price brackets – so there really will be plenty to see in its exhibition space this year. And if the teaser image below is anything to go by, one or more of those products will be of the 'vintage' ilk. Fyne has held off producing a retro-modern design in the past but now feels this is the time it could really produce something with a totally appropriate appearance and style that embraces all of its current and patented F1 technology with IsoFlare, FyneFlute and BassTrax. We, for one, cannot wait to see what the Scottish speaker brand has come up with.
Where? Room E116, Atrium 4.1
Never short on an exciting output from its high-calibre assortment of high-end brands, Harman spaces are always must-visits at shows, and this Munich show will be no exception – not least as the group's Mark Levinson brand turns 50 this year.
There will be two full-fat demonstration areas for visitors to treat their ears. One will centre around a Mark Levinson system that includes the 50th anniversary-celebrating ML-50 monoblocs, No. 526 preamp, No. 519 digital streaming audio player and No. 5105 turntable, headed up by the mega-money beast of speakers that are the JBL Everest DD67000. While the other will be a dedicated headphones area focusing on the new Mark Levinson No. 5909 over-ears.
Visitors will also be able to spy a vast number of products on display, such as the JBL 4305P powered speakers and the high-spec'd Arcam AVR11, 21 and 31 AVRs and processors.
Where? Room F106/F120, Atrium 4.1
iFi has been one of the success stories of the past decade, especially in the budget electronics market. As it reaches double digits in age this year, the British brand will not only be about quality this Munich but also quantity as it gets ready to showcase the Zen One Signature and Zen Air series together with a yet-to-be-announced product that joins the five-star GO blu in iFi’s GO Series of uber-portable DAC/headphone amps. What's more, there will also be a special anniversary edition of this new GO Series device! No, not all iFi products scream 'high-end' exactly, but who is to say we can't enjoy some real-world kit at the show too?
Where? Room E109, Atrium 4.1
Expect to hear some noise around the ‘Made in the UK’ creations from IAG, the parent company of such brands as Mission, Wharfedale, Leak and Castle. The group recently launched a ‘Made in the UK’ initiative that introduced a new ‘heritage’ series of specially selected products from different brands all designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK, following the company’s recent expansion of their facilities in Huntingdon. The Mission 770 standmounters were the first in the series, so they will undoubtedly make their presence known in Munich. And who knows, we might even be fortunate enough to get a preview of another ‘heritage’ speaker from the IAG family coming down the line, too…
Monitor Audio, Roksan
It seems Monitor Audio will be turning 50 in style this year. For its first public show in over two years, the British brand will be "revealing a truly exceptional product concept, which [their] team has been working hard on behind the scenes for the past 24 months". Our guess is as good as yours, but this new concept is bound to turn heads in Munich. Then, there will be a demo of Roksan's Xerxes 20 Plus turntable, while the new Roksan Attessa entry-level hi-fi range is also set to be displayed for the first time at a show.
2022 is a year of great celebration for Naim and Focal, who are commemorating the 10th anniversary year of their union. At Munich, the two brands will together showcase the best of ‘Focal Powered by Naim’. Details are under wraps for now, but the companies tell us there will be a range of great systems on demo to suit a range of different budgets and room styles… including something special making its debut in Munich. Consider our appetites whetted.
Headphone fanatics will be able to get ears-on with the five-star Uniti Atom Headphone Edition system, too, with a range of Focal headphones (including the reference closed-back Stellia) at their demo disposal.
Where? Room F105, Atrium 4.1
The British brand will be sharing a space with AVM (its distributor in Germany) to demonstrate its flagship speakers, Fact Fenestria, and showcase its twenty5i and ci series models. The Fenestra are the result of PMC aiming to make the best passive loudspeaker it could and thus represent the pinnacle of the company’s speaker design. Considering we called them “without doubt one of the finest speakers we’ve heard” in our recent Fact Fenestria review, the Munich show is the perfect place to test out this truly world-class piece of hi-fi kit.
Where? Room D107, Atrium 3
Pro-Ject’s latest turntable, the X8, could well be one of the more interesting tables on display at the more modest end of Munich's ‘high-end’ spectrum. Its got balanced XLR connectivity and a moving coil cartridge that will hopefully show off the benefits of balanced circuitry at this level. We wouldn’t be surprised if the company’s also new, also affordable and also balanced Phono Box DS3 B and Phono Box S3 B MM/MC phono stages make an appearance as well. We hear there also may be a surprise on top of all that, too.
Where? Room M02, Hall 3
Launched in February, Wilson Benesch’s second in command in the brand's catalogue will enjoy its first exhibition outing in Munich. The Omnium sits below the flagship Eminence from which it borrows many features, including the A.C.T. 3Zero Monocoque enclosure and the company's proprietary Tactic 3.0 drivers and Fibonacci tweeters.
Interestingly, Omnium (from the Latin 'of all') is what Wilson Benesch is calling the world’s first ‘green loudspeaker’: a speaker that uses next-generation materials and technologies (as opposed to oil-based non-recyclables) developed through a collaborative project of nearly five years – SSUCHY (a welcome abbreviation of 'Sustainable Structural & Multifunctional Biocomposites from Hybrid Natural Fibres and bio-based Polymers').
Where? Room C114, Atrium 3.1
More to follow...