Munich Day 1 | Munich 2023

munich day 1
Find the Fremer in the photo.

This is my third High End Munich show, but this is the first time I actually attended on the first day–Thursday. Not Friday, but Thursday. It’s my fault–I’m used to Friday/Saturday/Sunday high-end audio shows. But I was smart this time and arrived a day early, and for that reason I’m able to post photos from Munich Day 1 instead of hanging out in my hotel room, trying to outsmart the impending jet lag.

Words and Photos by Marc Phillips

Last year the Munich show was more challenging to cover, largely thanks to a record breaking heat wave and a country that doesn’t really believe in air conditioning. This year, the temperature on Munich Day 1 was in the high 50s, so the upper atrium levels at the MOC weren’t the crowded saunas they were in 2022. That made my mood so much more positive.

tidal audio

The main reason why I’m at High End 2023, however, is to finish the job I started for High End 2022–covering the debut of the TIDAL for Bugatti loudspeakers. If you remember, that debut was cancelled due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the TIDAL Audio factory just before the show. Everything went as planned this year, and the TIDAL for Bugatti loudspeakers were in the room on Munich Day 1, but hiding behind plants and velvet ropes. Don’t worry–I have an appointment tomorrow to cover the full TIDAL for Bugatti experience tomorrow.

Meanwhile, there were two additional debuts for TIDAL Audio at the Munich show–the new TIDAL Audio Piano G3s and the Contriva G3s. I listened for about a half hour early on Munich Day 1, and the sound was unbelievable–I felt a more direct connection to the sound than I can recall. It was just pure music, with nothing in the way. I did some quick math in my head–actually, Doug White of The Voice That Is gave me the total price for the Contriva G3s, the Contros digital music controller and the Intra amplifier, with all the TIDAL cables–and it was, of course, substantial. But I’ve assembled systems in my home that approach this lofty amount, usually with lots of individual components that help to drive up the cost, and none of those systems have sounded anything close to this “simple” system with four pieces plus cables.

It’s the kind of thing that makes you look at your own objectives as an audiophile, and whether or not you should reconsider what you truly want.

munich day 1

On a personal level, the big news for me on Munich Day 1 was something I’ve hoped would happen for years–the return of the Naim NAIT. If there’s one piece of gear I wish I’d kept over the years, it was the Naim NAIT 2 I bought back in 1992. Naim’s been introducing new products under their Classic line for a couple of years now, and I’ve been secretly hoping for a return of this diminutive, one-of-a-kind legend. And now we have the new Naim NAIT 50, which looks just like the original Naim NAIT.


Naim also introduced their Classic 300 line as well on Munich Day 1, which covers multiple products, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the company. These new Naims are more versatile then ever, with a less complex system architecture–especially in terms of the Naim power supplies.

munich day 1

Look at this, the mysterious and storied Rega Naiad supertable, Roy Gandy’s rare masterpiece, just sitting on a table at the MOC where people could just poke at it with a weisswurst it as if it were a common Planar 3. That’s the kind of crazy cool stuff that was everywhere on Munich Day 1, stuff I never thought I’d see in the wild.

(Note: this turned out to be a Naia, not the Naiad, a new turntable from Rega that will be more like $10K.)


For the last few high-end audio shows I’ve loved going into the Innuos room because they always have one fascinating A/B comparison or another, and they always assemble great systems populated with my favorite brands, so the sound is always top-notch. On Munich Day 1, the A/B comparison was between the top of the line Innuos Statement music server and the Pulsar network streamer–it was close, at least to my ears. The system featured Estelon speakers, which I haven’t heard in a long time. And yes, I walked into the room and they started me off on “Chocolate Chip Trip” before I even asked. I love this company.

munich day 1

Gobel High-End won my Best Sound award at Munich 2022, so I was curious to see if they could repeat as winners–especially with a smaller pair of speakers than usual. Still, this gear is always crazy dynamic and lifelike and Gobel needs to be included in any conversation about the best loudspeakers in high-end audio.


Marten really impressed me at AXPONA 2023 last month with their Mingus Quintet speakers, which were so smooth and relaxed and open that they wound up being one of my favorites at the Chicago show. On Munich Day 1, I heard the new Marten Mingus Septet loudspeakers, at 108,000 euros per pair, and they made an equal if not bigger impression on me. It seems that Marten is really on a roll with their flagship designs–the Septet was magical.

munich day 1

If you read my reviews, you know I really dig Lab 12 from Greece. I visited Stratos Vichos at his booth on Munich Day 1 and asked him, “What’s next?” I do have the True tubed preamplifier and the Mighty tubed power amp, which has just 10wpc, coming to me soon. But Stratos showed me the prototype of this new Hybrid integrated amplifier–something very different than the usual. I’m intrigued.

munich day 1

One of the great things about the Munich show is seeing all the wonderful turntables from brands not yet available in the US. Meet the Tentrogra Oscar from Poland, with its massive double-wide plinth reminiscent of those gorgeous Luxman PD-444 turntables of yore. The Oscar is a massive turntable fitted with a Kuzma arm and cartridge, and I admit I’m now infatuated with it.


One final highlight of Munich Day 1 was a visit with Peter Ledermann of Soundsmith. People tend to think of Soundsmith for their wonderful phono cartridges, but Peter also makes amps, preamps, phono stages and two models of bookshelf speakers that always blow my mind when I hear them. (He learned a lot about loudspeaker design from his days at Bozak.) If you haven’t heard this system, all made by Peter except for the STST turntables and the tonearms, you are surely missing out on something special.

I’ll go more into depth on each of these Munich Day 1 highlights in my regular show reports, and stay tuned for Munich Day 2!

If you would like to hear even more coverage from Munich 2023, 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.

Also don’t forget to check out our latest collaboration – a solid bronze record weight available only for a limited run. This 800g of solid bronze features the PTA roundel on the top which also acts as a 45 adapter. You can purchase direct from the PTA Approved Store here on the site.


  1. The Rega turntable is labeled Naia, not Naiad, and it clearly looks different than a Naiad. While certainly not cheap at 12,000 pounds, the Naia is a lot less than the strictly limited production Naiad at 30,000 pounds

  2. If you look closely at that Rega turntable, it’s not their unobtainable Naiad but rather the new Naia. From what I heard it’s expected in the fall and will be their top production table above the P10 but much less expensive than the Naiad, maybe around $10K.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Munich Day 1 | Munich 2023 | Rabbit Hole Ai

Got something for this?