Munich High End 2019a
Franck Tchang of Acoustic International debuted his new loudspeaker from Advantages Audio Paris, The Cesar ($14,500/pair; optional super tweeter at $1,000 for magnesium and $7,000 for diamond). I would’ve loved to hear them but The Cesar was on the static display. However, at least I got to see it and talk to Tchang about the speaker’s design. It’s a full range 360 degree omni-directional loudspeaker with an optional super tweeter. It features two 5” Alnico full range wideband drivers into mirror-image upper dispersion lenses and one down-firing 10” magnesium/aluminum alloy woofer into the plinth’s aimed-up reflector. The two-way bandwidth is good for 25Hz-20Khz but can be extended to 35KHz or even up to 75KHz with either optional magnesium-ally or pure diamond super tweeters. The Cesar comes in at nearly 90lbs and is a moderate size, 49.6” x 22.44” x 13.77” with a 90dB sensitivity at 4 ohm. I can’t wait to hear them soon.
I was very delighted to see more and more American brands showcasing at the Munich show. Here are the rooms I visited:
Zesto Audio/ Merrill-Williams/Purist Audio Design/Verity Audio.
Zesto Audio showcased their Eros 300 monoblocks and Leto 1.5 vacuum tube preamplifier, and Andros Deluxe vacuum tube phone stge. The Eros 300 is a choke based power supply with a custom toroid power transformer, a no negative feedback design using six KT88’s output tubes to produce a powerful 150 watts per channel in Class-A. The Eros 300 drove the Verity Audio Amadis S speakers with authority and finesse. The analog set up was the Merrill-Williams REAL 101.3 turntable with Triplanar U2 classic tonearm and Lyra Etna cartridge. Purist Audio Design cables were used throughout the system and they introduced two new power cords. First was the Diamond Limited Edition power cord ($6,300/1 meter) composed of 10 gauge Nano silver with a five-stage filter box to counter RMI and EF from outside forces. The Diamond Revision Neptune power cord ($3,800/meter), consisted of 8-gauge copper wrapped with strands of Nano silver.
Von Schweikert/VAC/Acoustic Signature
The Von Schweikert Ultra Reference 9 loudspeakers ($200,000/pair) driven by VAC’s Statement 450iQ integrated amplifier using a unique a vertical form, 14 vacuum tubes producing 225 Watts per channel. The gorgeous Acoustics Signature Invictus Jr. turntable ($85,000) and an Airtight Opus 1 cartridge ($16,000) was used for analog playback and the Esoteric digital, Grandioso D1 monoblock DAC ($19,000×2 = $38,000), a Grandioso P1 CD transport ($38,000), and N01 network audio player ($20,000) were used for the digital front end. I was impressed by this ultra-expensive system. It sounded marvelously delicate, yet powerful and dynamic. LP playback was reproduced with a stunning three-dimensional soundstage was very engaging.
Von Gaylord Audio
The Munich High End show is so big that I didn’t even realized that Von Gaylord Audio was at the show until I ran into Ray Leung of VGA at the MOC shuttle bus stop to the hotel at the end of Saturday’s exhibit. My first stop on Sunday morning was to the VGA room for a quick listen. It was Ray Leung’s first Munich High End show this year. Von Gaylord Audio featured new Nirvana Mono amps ($8,500/pair) employing 6550 output tubes that produce 130-watts per channel in triode mode and utilized an all new circuit design, a Harmony preamplifier ($9,500) in Class A operations, and an Uni digital converter ($9,500) and their Legend Reference Modules Speakers ($19,000/pair), all connected with its Return of the Legend cables. The Nirvana mono amps drove the Legend Reference Modules speakers beautifully and together they projected an impressive sound that was musical, transparent with an outstanding imaging capability. (Review in works)
Thrax Audio/ Troy Audio
Rumen Artaski of Thrax Audio debuted his new Yatrus ($11,050) direct-drive turntable, Schroeder CB tonearm ($4,500) and the Trajan MC1 ($4,000) step-up transformer. The system consisted of meticulously built Thrax Audio Ares integrated amplifier ($11,484; optional R2R DAC for $2,262/Phono RIAA for $1,044/Streamer card for $870), featuring four line inputs- one symmetrical XLR and three asymmetrical RCA’s, powerful 120 watt per channel at 8 ohm and 200 watt per channel at 4 Ohm. The Yatrus turntable features a unique vibration-free direct drive brushless DC motor with an integrated bearing for the smoothest possible motion and, cleverly, it uses an ultra low-resonance adjustable suspension system to isolate the table from its environment. The Yatrus is designed to be used with a single 9” tonearm and supports 33/45/78rpm speeds. The new Trajan MC1 is a transformer designed to interface a moving coil cartridge to a moving magnet phono-stage. Trajan uses a core with the lowest magnetostriction and highest permeability available. Artaski states that this reduces the amount of turns needed and as a consequence it lowers the internal resistance, capacitance, and losses of the transformer. Furthermore the LITZ wire primary allows for a very low DC resistance without any eddy current loss. Trajan offers two different step-up ratios to make it truly universal; a ratio of 1:10 for cartridges with ouput above 0.35mV and a ratio of 1:20 for low output cartridge with less than 0.3mV output. The Ares powered the Troy Audio Helena MkII loudspeakers. All cabling was by the EnKlein David series cables. The system produced a beautiful sound with power and authority from either a digital or an analog source. I’m waiting for a review sample of the Trajan MC1.
CH Precision/Vivid Audio/TechDAS
The CH Precision electronics were everywhere at the show and it was their 10th year anniversary, Congrats! New 10 series products were debuted, as the L10 and M10 as 10th anniversary tribute. The 10 series is based on their proven audio circuit and power supply topologies. Every aspect of design has been re-examined. It took ten years to complete the 1 series products and they have applied everything learned in that decade of development to the 10 series. Using the same basic topology, chassis components, and display, the refined L10 linestage ($70,000, dual mono) and M10 power amplifier ($90,000, stereo) are improved in everyway; the new circuit boards have been re-laid; every component has been reassessed, and altered where a performance advantage is to be gained. Even the legendary functionality and user-configurable facilities have been re-examined and updated. Both also offer the company’s functionality- user- adjustable global feedback in the 10M and, for the first time, there is a choice of adjustable local or global feedback in the L10. The M10 looks like an M1.1 from the front, but it is almost twice as deep, delivering 300 watts per channel into 8 Ohm or kilowatts in bridged mode. Now, three-color finishes are available, matching existing CH system or mix and match chassis component color finishes.
This CH Precision room was one of the busiest rooms at the Munich High End. The Vivid Audio Giya G1 Spirit ($93,000) loudspeakers, four-way, five-drivers with tapered bass-reflex enclosures were driven with the complete gamut of CH Precision’s A1.5 power amplifiers (4x $38,600), the L1 ($34,000) line preamplifier, the C1 D/A converter with sync I/O board and network player, the T1 10Mhz reference clock with GPS modul. The TechDAS’s new flagship Air Force Zero turntable was debuted. The sound was very open and neutral with powerful dynamics even in show conditions, every time I went by it was fully packed so never got a seat.
Stereo Times Masthead
Frank Alles, Mike Girardi, Key Kim, Russell Lichter, Terry London, Moreno Mitchell, Paul Szabady, Bill Wells, Mike Wright, Stephen Yan, and Rob Dockery
David Abramson, Tim Barrall, Dave Allison, Ron Cook, Lewis Dardick, Dan Secula, Don Shaulis, Greg Simmons, Eric Teh, Greg Voth, Richard Willie, Ed Van Winkle, and Rob Dockery
Carlos Sanchez, John Jonczyk, John Sprung and Russell Lichter
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