Munich High-End Audio 2015 show highlights and report part TWO

My rant and report continues with the Munich High-End Audio 2015 show highlights and report part TWO. Enjoy it...

Viva Audio was such a panache and completely different sounding then most setups at the show. I’ve planned to have a quick stop and listening, but Sergey’s choice of music and sound of the system kept me there for an hour forgetting to run for next two appointments :). 

Viva Audio revealed their NEW Alegro speakers and the prototype of NEW Hybrid Uno integrated amplifier. Amedeo managed to make Class D sounding so different, that it fooled few listeners into thinking that Auroras were playing at the time. For such a small booth and room conditions this was really different and in the realms of correct timbre, tone and colour. 


As with last year not only me, but a lot of people highly anticipated for the live presentation of the Cessaro system. More especially this year as they for the first time presented the new Cessaro BETA-II F-4 speakers system. Full range, full scale horn speakers? Forget it. This was really wicked presentation, that got me wondering and threw me into a constant doubting loop. Everything in this room was about overblown mids and a sound that really have little if nothing to do with full scale or what to talk about the high-end performance. Again, I know about show conditions not being perfect, but with very few people actually being able to hear Cessaro speakers and travelling thousands of kilometres from all over the globe to experience it being in the manufacturer position I would really pull all the strings and push all of the needed agendas to bring something that is at least called complete and balanced performance. I’ve overheard during one presentation Cessaro’s CEO Ralph being asked if he can add a bit more bass to the performance and the answer was clear and simple. “This is how we’re playing.” Well God bless… I guess its about time for me to hit the road and meet the guys at AE and hear the proper system for myself soon…


It was great to see and hear Lyn Stanley performing live at the Munich show. On Thursday her performance in Purist Audio room was set wrongly and over EQ-ed. Sadly, as she really deserved far better. But on the higher note Atma-Sphere/Classic Audio room delivered completely different presentation, that remedied everything. Lyn performance here become vibrant, soulful and she seems to been in her best spirit. 


As with past few years Living Voice Vox Olympian speakers were driven by the Kondo full scale electronics. This year even Kondo Kagura amplifiers appeared. 

Living Voice Vox Olympian speakers for sure represent something special. And at half million entry level they should. I’m the first sucker to fall for the looks and bespoke one of the kind finishes they offer. They address my inner quasi future retro art deco urge instantly. Yet! There was something not exactly right with this years sound performance. Last year Kevin Scott managed to deeply touch quite some visitors with his setup and sound. Although this was achieved with the strictly chosen material, it was still a resonating experience for many. I’ve remember Kevin played some hip-hop music last year and whole system collapsed. Instantly. It could hold on to the piano and vocal recitals, but driving the contemporary electronic music and more seems to of a far to complex task. 

While I could find quite few attributes to hang on last year I couldn’t correlate with the this years performance. There was something being wrong on the global scale stopping me from being affected with the so called magic. 

I know, that for quite some people Vox Olympian represent a true nirvana. I’m urging them to look out and hear in a broader way. There are horn systems out there capable of a real full scale high performance. Perhaps they don’t share the same gorgeous aesthetics and still not being anywhere near of naming them affordable, but they come with the actual real full range reproduction. With Vox Olympian I can be affected with the cost no object looks, but never with cost no object sound. Yes, there is certain level of performance and certain level still ready, but seeing many proclaiming the best of the best or having soft knees (and ears) just based on the upper echelon price is of dubious nature an plain silly. At least if not anything else on the level where we should call for some kind of objectivity. 


Just few follow up thoughts. As people seems to been deeply affected with my Magico S7 comment perhaps its right to say few more words. I’ve had Magico S1 speakers at home and enjoyed their performance with Analog Domain The Isis very much. Even Analog Domain designer was struck by this combo presentation. Then I’ve been among a few who could actually wrote something positive and being affected by last year presentation of Magico Ultimate Horn speakers. They’ve managed to show some virtues, that other horn speakers couldn’t come close to. And even at the show conditions. But, I’m still highly disappointed by this year s Magico S7 presentation. Music was playing to mildly, the choice of amplification seems to be wrong, the phase problem was  evident, but later corrected…

As I’ve written in first part of Munich High-End Audio Show 2015 report, me and many out there expected really much more. Especially from somebody we (willingly or unwillingly) accepted as the industry leader and as we’ve seen few other top player putting all the efforts into it. 


While on silent display I was and always am mesmerised by the execution of the R series of Ayre products. These components represents really something special and an industry standard of how high-end audio products should really be executed. On both inside and outside!


Estelon Extreme are for sure a mind blowing speakers with their out-wordly design, that goes into the sphere of farscape alien species design. There is no arguing about this product being statement on many fronts. I’ve been at the guided presentation of Extreme speakers and tried to like this exact sound performance with all of my enthusiasm and to tune in. All I can truly write about and reflect is the uniqueness of design and high-tech appeal with the remote height adjusting of upper part of speakers. There was nothing in this particular sound presentation, that could ignite my inner sparks for a deeper music listening. Then again, it was the same with every other Estelon speakers so far. Extreme is extreme. One might like or dislike the uniqueness of it, but I actually really love the shape of X Diamond, XA, XB and XC series. But sadly all of my affection is affected with the design. Timbre, tone and colour seems to be of different kind than real music DNA here in Munich. Being a gain junkie, ceramic drives proven to be of dangerous hazard with me operating the volume. As with Devialet, I really striven to find the right balance here. But reality strikes each time in the same way. Perhaps they really need completely different amplification to pair with. 


Being a high-tech junkie along being high-end junkie makes me double geek nut I guess. As with Devialet Premier and other series of amplifiers I’v been roof high excited with the announcement of Devialet Phantom. Again we contemplated about something revolutionary, that will and should change the way we perceive the high-performance high-end audio. Reality check? Disaster. I really cannot understand neither the hype created and the funds being spent over these futuristic gizmos. They seems to be fitting more into Isaac Asimov AI then to the hi-fi.  And what to talk about high-end? 


Wolf Von Langa for sure holds almost a cult status. I’m not really sure exactly why, but I can understand the appeal of filed coil speakers. I do share the same week spot about them and their heritage. For the second year I’m trying to understand and resonate with what these speakers try to represent and present sound wise, but I’m keep failing. I’ve heard my share of esoteric speakers during my 25 + mileage in high-end audio priced to crazy extreme. Anyhow its the choice of the end buyer to pay the given price.

Objective, subjective, contemplating and reasoning. Sum it up and there is still nothing logical formed I can hold on. At the certain price point and exotic labelling there is certain level of experience I’m expecting. Without enough attributes and anchor points that recreates the level of illusion needed at such a price point there is no way I can be affected or having the initial excitement I could reflect to shine in awe.