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Munich 2017: Nagra, Kronos, and Wilson make listeners see red

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Seeing red in Germany.

We’ve all heard the phrase, pictured it in our minds, or seen a commercial based on it.

Like waving a red flag at a bull.

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Wilson Alexx loudspeakers. 

That’s what the Nagra room in the 4.2 Atrium level of High End at Munich felt like when I walked into it. The massive, Arrest-Me-Red Wilson Alexx loudspeakers fronting the impressively curated Nagra selection of pre-amps, phono stages, CD player, DACs, and mono-blocs (HD DAC, Classic Preamp, VPS, MPS power supplies, etc.) were pleasurably agitating every listener who came into the room. As I stood off to the side taking photographs you could literally see people’s visceral reaction first to the visual impact of the set-up, then secondly – several heartbeats later – to the aural impact.

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Coverage of High End in Munich brought to you by VPI Industries.

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Attending to the Swiss precision.

Other sources included an analog mix of a huge Nagra-T Studio reel-to-reel player, and the squat, gut punch of the Kronos Pro turntable (fitted with Kronos arm, and Air Tight Opus-1 Ermitage moving-coil cartridge). I heard a mix of both analog sources through the system, and the deep impact being passed along through the highly-transparent Nagra signal chain was leaving “bass craters” according to my notes from that day.

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Kronos Pro turntable.

Supremely musical, with clarity, pitch accuracy, infused with deep tonal colours, and a palpable, muscular sound signature, this system made it difficult to sit, and listen as you felt compelled by the tunes to move about the room, and become part of the performance. Apparently red does have an effect.

–Rafe Arnott

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A musical, and moving combination.

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