I’ll admit it. High End 2022 was tough for me. I was all alone, trying to cover the biggest high-end audio show in the world right now, and the little things kept getting in the way, minor perturbances such as arranging for Covid tests on a Sunday, lack of A/C on one of the hottest days of the year, and ensuring my credit cards worked every time I needed them. The biggest consolation prize for my misadventures, however, was hearing some fantastic gear and meeting with industry folks from all over the world. It’s all over now, except for talking about the Best Sound in Munich.
Let’s talk about my Top Five runners-up first. First up was Riviera Labs and AudioNec, who exhibited a crazy funky Xanadu-style music server that lit up all pretty and still managed to engage me with a pure, exciting sound. That’s the real reason to head to Munich–you get to hear awesome brands that you’ve never seen before. Now that the Riviera Audio Labs amplifiers are available in the United States, I’m making a concerted effort to get something in for review.
Another runner-up for Best Sound in Munich was undeniably the Borresen M1 monitors, which sounded way too friggin’ big for a speaker that small. In the future when we say that a small two-way monitor sounds like it’s much bigger than it is, someone else will have to ask, “Yeah, but is it Borresen M1 big?” This amazing feat comes with a steep price, but I suspect the M1 will be a game-changer in the coming year.
The new Moon Voice 22 monitors hint at the same bigness as the Borresen M1s, but at a small fraction of the price. This was one of my picks for Best Sound in Munich because it sounded great, but also because you can have this sort of sound quality from a small pair of monitors that cost only $3,000/pr USD. In my opinion, these little speakers are big news for Simaudio.
The lines were long, the room was crowded, and I had to be patient in order to hear the true sound of this amazing system. Stick every piece of gear Nagra makes into a single system, pair it with the Wilson Audio Chronosonic XVX, top it off with a supremely musical $175,000 turntable and yes, the sound was close to perfect. The only thing that could have made this the Best Sound in Munich is if I had the room to myself.
Here’s a room that qualifies for Best Sound in Munich, even though I haven’t spoken about it yet. This was the AudioQuest room, and you typically won’t find such an amazing system in a room designed to show off cables, but it helps when you use Wilson Audio, dCS and Einstein to make your case. The real reason to hear this room, however, was the AudioQuest Mythical Creatures cables used throughout. The buzz around these cables is incredible, and I’ve had more than one person in the industry tell me they’ve never heard cables this good before.
I currently have the Thunderbird and Firebird XLR interconnects from the Mythical Creatures line in for review, and I’m excited to confirm their excellence.
And now, for the Best Sound in Munich–Göbel High End, True Life Audio and Kronos. When my show report on this room went live, I realized that merely hinting that this was the best room at High End 2022 was enough to get the PR machine a’pumpin’, and it did. I’d break hearts across Europe if I didn’t follow through and crown this system King of the Mountain.
That’s not why I’m picking this amazing system. I’m picking it as Best Sound in Munich because I’ve never heard reproduced music at a trade show sound closer to the real thing. Unlimited dynamics. Unlimited soundstage. Unlimited excitement. This is what high-end audio is all about.
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.