Brinkmann Audio is another one of those brands that intrigues me to the point where I wonder why I never pulled the trigger on one of their products. Their slim little Integrated amplifier, the one with the glass top, has always sounded fantastic to me, and I love the fact that this German company has continued the superb design of the legendary Breuer tonearm for use with their own wonderful turntables. (I’ve always thought that the Breuers were the ultimate in tonearm design.) Brinkmann wasn’t quite first one my list for my High End 2019 coverage–they were second, for reasons I’ll explain later. Suffice it to say I was eager to spend time in the room and absorb all that gorgeous sound, aided by yet another impressive system from Vandersteen.
Vandersteen’s Model 7 Mk. II speakers (starting at $64,000/pair) were used with the Sub 9 subwoofers (staring at $18,900/pair), and once again these American speakers were able to fill the large and very live High End 2019 room at the MOC with full, controlled and detailed sound. This was the first of many times I heard Hugh Masakela‘s “Stimela” in Munich, and I hadn’t yet tired of it. Most exhibitors tend to crank up the volume on the song to get the full impact of the opening percussion, but this room managed to get the listening levels right, with no distortion and no face-peeling. Thirty years ago I fell in love with the bass from Vandersteen’s affordable 2CE Signatures, but this is a whole ‘nother world of low frequency response.
One of the highlights of the room, aside from the sound, was all of those Brinkmann turntables lined up around the room. I was drawn toward the new Taurus (11,990 euros) for an obvious reason–is that speed control pod wireless? Yes, it is! The Taurus is a more robust variation of their direct-drive design, and uses a unique collar system for the arm board that allows any length of arm to be used, and even makes it easy to add a second arm.
I also love how Helmut Brinkmann has kept the design of his original integrated amp in new products such as the Nyquist Mk. II streaming DAC and the Voltaire integrated, which is a more ambitious product than the original Integrated (which is still in the line at $7990). These products have a compact yet classic look that oozes quality. The combination of Vandersteen, HRS and Brinkmann at High End 2019 was impressive, and I look forward to seeing more of these these products in the future.