Munich High End 2019b
The Gobel room was set up beautifully with their own room treatment acoustic panels. The enormous Gobel Devine Noblesse ($195,000), three-way (two 12” long-throw woofers, two 8” bending wave midrange, and one AMT tweeter with massive aluminum waveguide; acoustically optimized, constrained a layer damped, massive 572-pound enclosure. The Devine Noblesse was driven by Lars Engstrom Eric ($135,000) monoblocks, fully balanced and transformer coupled from input to output. Eric use separate power supplies for input and output stage and DC filaments and sourced by the Kronos Pro ($42,000) turntable, the black beauty tonearm ($9,400) with the ZYX cartridge and the SCPS power supply ($15,000) and Kronos reference phono preamp ($45,000). The Wadax Atlantis DAC/server/transport was used as the digital source. The Eric drove the Devine Noblesse with power and authority. Everything was connected with excellent sounding Gobel Lacorde Statement cabling throughout the system.
Tom Vu of Triangle Art put on an outstanding sounding demo. The Triangle Art electronics were demoed with the Muraudio SP1 ($15,000/pair). The newly designed Ultimate TA-350M ($59,995) tube mono amplifiers employ eight KT88 output tubes, three 6SN7 driver tubes and one 6SL7 rectifier tube (per channel) with Class A push-pull triode mode, producing a powerful 350 watts per channel. The Ultimate TA-350M was able to control the Muraudio SP1 with authority and power. The TA Reference tube linestage ($18,995), two chassis tube preamplifier featuring a matching external power supply was used along with the TA Reference MK2 tube phonostage ($14,995). An exquisitely finished Master Reference turntable ($39,990) was used with their Osiris Mk2 12” tonearm ($6,990) and Apollo MC($8,000) cartridge as an analog set up. The Muraudio SP1 loudspeakers, based on their award-winning Domai Omni series loudspeakers and patented high output continuous cue electrostatic technology. The mighty Ultimate TA-350M powered the SP1 effortlessly; it was open, transparent with body and weight.
MSB debuted the M500 ($118,500/pair) mono amplifiers to compliment their DACs. It’s a power- house; they produced an authoritative 500 watts per channel into 8 Ohms and 1000 watt per channel into 4 ohms. The Magico M6 loudspeakers ($172,000/pair), were driven beautifully by the MSB M500 mono amplifiers with control and resolution. The system consisted of an MSB Select DAC with a Femto 33 clock and Mono Power Bases ($116,000), and a Select transport with a Select Power Base ($41,000,); the Analysis Plus Golden Oval cables plus Ultimate Oval power cords enables a sound that was wonderful.
Albedo Audio/Audia Flight
The Albedo Acclara ($61,500/pair), three-way (three 7” ceramic woofers, 5” ceramic midrange, 1” ceramic tweeter, all Accuton Cell Series drivers), is driven wonderfully by the Audio Strumento N0.8 ($54,000/pair) and the Audia Strumento N0.1 MKII preamplifier. Acclara bass loading follows the classical Albedo tradition of transmission line design. Two twin but separated Helmholine labyrinths are arranged in order to have a perfect symmetry for the bass path for the woofers. The three 7” aluminum honey comb/ceramic units are able capable of high power handling. The system produced transparent, detailed, and dynamic sound without being analytical.
Vitus Audio/Rockport/Thrax Audio
Vitus Audio from Denmark showcased the SIA-03 ($39,000), a Signature integrated amplifier. The SIA-03 operates in two modes, either 30 watts per channel in Class-A or 200 watts per channel in Class-AB and uses no global feedback. It has a fully regulated power supply for its output stage with a 22kW transformer and 400,000 microfarads of capacitance. Two optional modules are available; it utilizes a full DAC/Streamer module as the R1-101/RD-101, and a full phono-stage with two non-balanced inputs, with an MM/MC support and individual gain settings.
The system consisted of Vitus Audio RP-102 MC/MM phono-stage and SCD-25 Signature CD player/DAC ($23,500). The Thrax Yatrus ($11,050) turntable and a Schroeder CB ($4,500) tonearm was set up with the Sculpture A model A.3 cartridge. Combo of Andromeda and Furutech cables was used. The Rockport Avior sounded beautiful; it was detailed and transparent with a three-dimensional soundstage.
Kharma’s exquisitely finished Enigma Veyron EV2D ($390,000/pair, seven-driver, four-way, driven by Kharma’s electronics is housed in its stylishly crafted Elegance Visionare furniture-grade enclosure. The stunning looking Kalista digital provides the digital front end, and it was wired with Kharma cables. This gorgeous- looking system sounded fabulous but it is only for the few lucky ones who have deep deep pockets.
Kerem Kucukasian of Absolare always puts up an excellent sounding system but this time he came with a more modest system. The Rockport Atria ($21,500/pair), a three-way (9” carbon-fiber-composite woofer; 6” carbon-fiber-composite midrange; 1” beryllium tweeter in a constrained-layer-damped enclosure); was driven beautifully by Absolare’s Passion ($26,500) integrated amplifier and is digital sourced by the ReQuest Audio, The Raptor Plus ($15,000) serves as both server/DAC and is wired with Echole Infinity cables. The system was able to project a big three-dimensional soundstage with lots of details, with transparentcy, body and weight. It goes to show that you don’t have to spend ton of money to get a great sounding system.
Hemingway Audio/ Lansche Audio/EMM Labs
This was another stellar sounding room featuring Hemingway Audio, Lansche Audio, and EMM Labs. The Lansche Audio N0.9.2 ($200,000) loudspeakers, a three-way, seven-driver (0.3” Corona plasma tweeter) was driven by the massive EMM Labs MTRX2 monoblocks ($85,000), an EMM Labs Pre stereo preamplifier ($25,000) source by the EMM Labs DV2 converter ($25,000) and a TX2 CD/SACD transport, and wired with superb sounding Hemingway Audio new Z cord series cables from South Korea. Usually at the audio trade shows, Sunday sound are the best after the systems settle in. I couldn’t believe it. When I returned on Sunday I hear big improvements to the sound of the system. It wasn’t just that the system had settled in, it was the Hemingway Audio Z core cables in the system. The only thing that was different in the system was the cables. Hemingway Audio’s representative was able to retune the system using different Z core cables throughout the system. Wow… good sounding system just turned into a great sounding one. Who said the cables don’t make a difference? Hemingway’s patented revolutionary technique deals with the magnetic field produced by the electric field and the core of its winding of the line in the shape of “Z” with a double-ground at the center. (Review in works).
Kaiser Acoustics debuted their new flagship Kawero Grande speaker. Attractively built, the Grande is a big three-way, four driver driver design. What makes this model unique is its upper cabinet is covered in real copper and uses two ribbon tweeters. Driven by the full range of beautiful Kondo electronics, turntable, and cables the Grande sounded impressive and the Kondo was able to drive it with ease. Listening to large-scale music was outstanding but sometimes the volume set up a bit too high. Kondo also debuted the Melius, push-pull stereo tube power amplifier; it uses two EL34 tubes per channel to produce 32 watts per channel in a Class-A design.
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