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Hifi Pig in Munich, Part 7

KEF R Series

Stuart Smith over at Hifi Pig has "syndicated" his coverage of the High End Show in Munich. Many thanks for letting folks on the wrong side of the pond in on the action!

Living Voice

For those that don’t know Living Voice here’s a brief introduction as to who they are. Living Voice is owned by Kevin and Lynne Scott who also own the retail business Definitive Audio. The company is based in Derbyshire in the UK, was founded in 1991 and makes the Vox Olympian Horn Loudspeaker, the Auditorium series of loudspeakers and the G8 Equipment table. Their retail business includes brands such as Kondo KSL and Trafomatic Audio, so you know that their room is going to be special right? Well no actually. I’ve heard loudspeakers from Living voice a few times at the Hifi Wigwam show and I always found them lacking a bit – very nice and polite but not just my cup of tea… but I’m well aware that many people heaped praise on them in the same listening environments. With this in mind I was prepared to be under whelmed. Playing in the Living Voice room when we went in was the company’s OBX – RW loudspeakers. Electronics in this system included the Kondo M77 pre, Kondo Kegon amplifier, Kondo Ongaku Pre M77 and Kondo KSL M7 Phono. Sources included an SME 30 (I think) turntable, Wadia CD and DAC and a Canary Audio CD-300 CD player (Again I think the model number is correct).

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The source when we were in the room was the Canary CD player and I have to say I was blown away with the sound that this system made and without doubt one of the standout systems of the show. Words I scribbled down in the notes I made were – natural, unforced and taught. To be honest I didn’t make many notes as I was too busy just listening to the music – and isn’t that what hifi is about? It just goes to show you how wrong you can be about kit in a specific environment and I urge anyone with the money to spend on a system at this level to consider a properly conducted audition of this beautiful sounding hifi.

Also in the room were the Vox Olympian Horn Loudspeakers and matching bass horns. These weren’t playing again until the following morning but sadly, due to time constraints, we just couldn’t make it… one of my major regrets of the show! Hopefully next time we are in the UK we’ll have the opportunity to visit Living Voice and take a listen to what must be one of the most painstakingly crafted bits of hifi ever conceived.

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Silbatone

Silbatone are Korean and they are completely bonkers judging by what they had on show at this year’s Munich High End show. The photographs really don’t do justice to the Western Electric Mirrophonic horn loudspeakers…they are huge…P.A huge! Originally built in 1936 the Mirrophonics were made for use in cinema theatres and you would need a sizeable listening hall (yes hall, not room) to do these loudspeakers justice. Silbatone also had a wide range of their own electronics on display but the real stars of the room had to me the Morrophonics.

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Playing in the room when we went in was Autobahn by Kraftwerk – not really what you expect to be playing on a pair of loudspeakers that predate the Second World War. However, all that can be said is that these were stunning and possibly most realistic presentation of the music we heard at the show. The bass was visceral and you really did feel it in your body. It was loud, controlled and fabulous. The room certainly was driven by these loudspeakers. Next on music-wise was a piece of music that was simply human voice – beautiful.

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Not much to say about this room other than breathtaking, simply breathtaking and definitely a company I will make more time for when we next have the opportunity to hear them. If you ever have the opportunity to hear this lot in action then grasp it with both ears – you will not be disappointed!

Kondo

Kondo had taken one of the little listening cabins at the show and we really did just happen by them by sheer chance. We spent a while in the room and both of us loved it.

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The turntable you can see is the company’s Ginga II, loudspeakers were the Biyuras which use field coil drivers and a horn tweeter. The Kagura monoblocs, using a pair of 211 tubes per channel for their output, can be seen on the floor – they are huge, impressive and, although not announced yet, very expensive (though I suppose given the heat these give off what you spend on these you could save on heating your house).

As well as being visually stunning the room exuded quality sonically too. Yes it is expensive and yes it is not to everyone’s taste but playing the light jazz that was plying whilst we were in the cabin it sounded effortlessly musical and right. I’d best get out my piggy bank and get saving up.

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3 Comments on Hifi Pig in Munich, Part 7

  1. Do you know the brand of origin of the hifi rack? Thanks!

    • The racks in the Living Voice Auditorium OBX RW system are made by Box Furniture in Brooklyn NY. They appear to be the Anigre wood finish. Box Furniture is also the cabinet manufacturer for DeVore Fidelity speakers.

      • Part-Time Audiophile // May 16, 2013 at 6:54 PM //

        Nice catch. I didn’t know that about DeVore — and Box does outstanding work.

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