Friday was my first full day at High End Munich 2019. Thursday, the first day of the show, was sabotaged by a combination of a long-ass sleepless night on the plane followed by a late check-in time and, further confirmed by a profound need for a shower. By the time I was suitable for public appearances, the show was over for the day. I still met Scot Hull–who had a minor passport kerfuffle that almost prevented him from making it–and Panagiotis Karavitas for a night in Marienplatz for fried pig knuckles (I went with sausages and sauerkraut instead), real Bavarian pretzels and lot of German dark ale.
Friday morning at High End Munich 2019 started off promising. I was picked up at my hotel by my good friend Bartolomeo Nasta of Unison Research and Opera Loudspeakers, so I decided to start my coverage in his room just as I did at AXPONA 2019. I was confronted by an awesome sight–the Unison Research Absolute 845 integrated amplifier, in the flesh. I imported and distributed Unison for eight years and always dreamed of the day I would bring one of these 200-pound $50,000 monsters into the US and you know, break it in a little. But this was the first time I’ve touched one, and I’ve included the photographic proof.
At the second room of the day at High End Munich 2019, my luck changed. I was photographing a huge, expensive system up close, and I almost collided with a very large man who was also the manufacturer. In avoiding the collision I took one step back and my foot barely grazed a cable and he flipped out on me. I apologized profusely, because I was an exhibitor for many years and I understand how bad things happen at shows. I’ve even written about it here. I felt like a show newbie.
The day perked up after that. I heard quite a few amazing systems throughout the day. At High End Munich 2019, I had my first experience with a full-on system from Kondo, and it was worth the wait. This system was quite a rarity–Scot Hull mentioned that it might have been the most Kondo gear in one place outside of the factory.
Next, I was treated to the new “entry-level” R25A loudspeakers from Living Voice ($5000/pair)–these were relative small 2.5 way floorstanders in a giant room and they sounded absolutely magnificent. Again, this was my first experience with Living Voice, and I walked away incredibly impressed.
I also went nuts over the new Garrard 301 turntable now being manufactured by SME, and I basked in a dream system made up of Spendor SP100s (I owned a pair for almost a decade), Nagra amplification, an Ortofon A95 cartridge (I think) and an SME arm.
Friday was a long, productive and fun day at High End Munich 2019, except for the clumsy bits. What will Saturday bring? Check back in tomorrow!