There were a lot of turntables in Munich. A lot. The High End shows in Munich aren’t like other high-end audio shows in the world, because they’re not just assembling audio systems that will seduce and amaze show attendees. In many cases, this is the Big Time for manufacturers, and they bring everything they have to the MOC and they spend a lot of money to show their wares to the entire world.
This is the place to see every single model from such analog-heavy companies as Pro-Ject, Clearaudio, Kuzma, Technics and many more. You sell twenty models of turntable? You bring them all, usually in some sort of static display that is visually impressive. You also see turntables in Munich that you’ve never heard of before. If you travel internationally, or if you read audiophile websites from outside the United States, you’ll know that Americans are often unaware of great analog products from companies that have been around for decades. Here’s a small sample of turntables in Munich that I found fascinating for one reason or another.
When it came to turntables in Munich, nothing created the same buzz as this official Metallica turntable from Pro-Ject ($1,599). Everyone asked me about the sound–sorry, this was another static display. Some absolutely hated the looks. Others realized they had finally found the turntable of their dreams. At one point, someone asked me if I was waiting for the new Tool-themed Pro-Ject. Maybe I am.
None of the turntables in Munich were quite as elaborate and downright steampunk as the Discovery turntable from Kronos. This was part of the insane Goebel/True Life Audio system that instantly qualified as one of the best at the show–if not the most expensive. With its wildly dynamic sound, the Kronos Discovery came the closest to a live performance I’ve heard in a very long time.
The Discovery starts at way over $100,000, without arm and power supply, making it one of the most expensive turntables in Munich. If I learned one thing in Munich, it’s that the MSRPs in high-end audio are skyrocketing like everything else. For you readers who always ask about the price first, I might not have all the answers because inflation is so fluid, along with the exchange rates.
How cool is this? As I approached this turntable in the Linn exhibit room, I thought it was a new model with a retro look. No, it’s Linn Sondek LP-12 #6, which probably places it around 1972 or so when they ran just a few hundred bucks. For a moment I felt like Indiana Jones–“this belongs in a museum!”
I found this Linn Sondek’s color quite captivating–I love how Linn is starting to feature more color among their turntable line. When I saw this one, all I could think of was mounting a Koetsu Sky Blue Urushi on it and calling it a day. But that’s just me.
Of all the Linn Sondeks in this room, this one, tucked in a corner, was actually the top of the line Klimax. That’s the crazy part about Linn’s contemporary version of this legendary turntable–to the uninitiated, they all sort of look the same. But while an entry-level Basik can be found for just a few thousand dollars, the Klimax can be pushed toward $25,000 with all the options.
I was glad to see Funk Firm at High End 2022. I like these turntables because they always look, well, funky. This is the new model, the flagship Kepler with the Raptor-Z arm, and it looks like it could get up and walk off on its own.
This guy. This guy drove me crazy. As I pushed closer to get a shot of the Thorens TD-124 DD direct drive turntable, one of the most intriguing turntables in Munich, I had to wait for this man to be done with his thorough and somewhat obsessive examination of the power button. He kept turning it on, then off, then on again, lowering his ear toward the plinth in an effort to assess the sound of the direct drive motor. I suspected he had an old idler-drive version of the TD-124 and was determining whether direct drive was a good idea. It took him forever to decide.
The Clearaudio display at High End 2022 was impressive–you could walk among every single model all the way up to the big, self-standing Reference tables. The crowds were dense, swarming and bumping and squeezing through, and I genuinely thought someone one knock one of these over.
This Holbo turntable from Slovenia was right at the front door of the great hall, making it one of the first turntables in Munich that I observed. I don’t know a lot about Holbo, but I heard one show attendee call it a “poor man’s Bergmann,” and I thought it sounded both accurate and dismissive. (It seems very well-made and attractive.) An interesting side note–one of the Holbo exhibitors came over to the Qln booth and immediately inquired about the new Signature model that I loved so much at AXPONA 2022. A purchase may have been made right at the show.
You think that’s it? That’s all I have to report about the turntables in Munich? Dang, son, we’re just getting started.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from HIGH END 2022, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.