With the exception of the Best Sound of Show awards, I’m done with my Munich 2023 coverage. I did notice, however, that I had more photos to share from the show, and more things to talk about, but these were the Munich Odds and Ends, the items that couldn’t be stretched out into their own individual show report.
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
That’s because High End in Munich isn’t like the majority of shows in North America. It isn’t held in a hotel, with exhibitors hiding out in the rooms upstairs. The MOC, where High End is held, is a monstrous convention center. While there are plenty of listening rooms upstairs in the Atrium levels, most of the show is held in the four conjoined halls downstairs. There are fewer rooms, actually portable room-sized boxes, and the landscape is dominated by booths and cubicles where most of the high-end audio products are part of a static (i.e. non-playing) display. Those are the perfect subjects for Munich Odds and Ends.
I mentioned how small those room/boxes can be. This was the Aretai room, where everything was so close that you could sit in the sweet spot and reach out and touch both speakers. I couldn’t stay in this room too long, mostly because it was so crowded, but I’ve heard Aretai a few times now and like them so much that I’m supposed to be picking up a review pair from a local dealer as I write this.
Munich Odds and Ends must include the cool-looking gear that’s just sitting there, looking cool. In many cases, last year’s static displays are next year’s big rooms vying for big awards. But in this photo we have Chord Electronics, a company that makes beautiful and distinctive hi-fi gear. Plus, their DACs are simply wonderful according to some of the PTA team.
I’ve been working on getting some of The Gryphon gear in for review. It’s been slow-going, but it’s happening. The Gryphon is coming out with so many new products that they probably don’t have time to send out gear to reviewers. This year, Gryphon introduced the new Diablo 333 integrated amplifier, which features incredible build quality and features. Plus, it puts out 333wpc into 8 ohms. You don’t want to know how many watts it puts out in 4 ohms.
The list of review equipment I’ve arranged for the second half of 2023 is staggering. I’m a little scared at all the stuff that’s on its way. Falcon Acoustics, which has become one of my very favorite British speaker manufacturers, is expanding their M line to include a variety of model that resemble classic BBC monitors. They have two speakers coming to me–the LS3/5a Gold Badge and the M10 on the far right of this photo.
Fyne Audio winds up on the Munich Odds and Ends list for two reasons. First, I love their story about the purists at Tannoy who wanted to keep the older lines alive, so they started a new company. Second, they featured a Unison Research Performance integrated amplifier, which was one of my faves from this Italian manufacturer when I was their distributor.
Another for the Munich Odds and Ends file is the latest digital stack from Ideon Audio, which is placed between the Ayazi series I reviewed and the Absolute series I keep hearing in various places, such as Dr. Vinyl’s house.
Lansche Audio makes the Munich Odds and Ends list because Ozan Turan of High End by Oz is the new US distributor, and we usually have a great time in Oz’s rooms at high-end audio shows. Plus, Lansche has those ion tweeters that glow at you while you’re listening. They’re much more hypnotic than your average eyeball-burning LED, and the sound was really sublime.
This mega-MBL system makes the Munich Odds and Ends list because you’ll probably only see their top of the line products in one room at High End in Munich, and because most of us fantasize of having a listening room that looks like this.
Here’s the first member of the Munich 2022 Schweinshaxe Expedition, the contingent of audiophiles who ventured through the subways from the MOC to Marienplatz last year in search of crispy pork knuckle. Daniel Frauchiger of Merason is smiling so wide because last year he had two DACs to display, and this year he has three or four plus a very interesting headphone amplifier.
The second member of Schweinshaxe 2022 is none other than Mats Andersen of Qln. Mats is also having a great year since one of those internet audio sites gave him a Product of the Year Award in 2022 for his Qln Signature monitors. Word is that Mats is coming up with a floorstanding version of the Signature soon.
(The final member of the Schweinshaxe Four is Mark Sossa from Well Pleased Audio Vida, by the way.)
When I visited the Rega booth in the MOC, I thought I saw a sign announcing the new Rega P50. Nope, it’s just Rega’s 50th anniversary, so the only new item was a white finish for the P8 and P10 turntables. But I do remember owning something called the Rega P25 once, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of Rega, and it was my favorite of the four or five Rega TTs I’ve owned. Missed opportunity?
Here’s a good example of Munich Odds and Ends–a booth where all Unison Research and Opera Loudspeaker products are displayed in one place. (I’m even including the HUGE Absolute 845 integrated amplifier seen below.) I was their US distributor for almost a decade, and as I mentioned at AXPONA I really miss the classic Italian sound.
I have to mention Stromtank power management products for Munich Odds and Ends. They were everywhere at Munich 2023. EVERYWHERE. Their might even be one at Mohammed Samji’s house right now, awaiting review. These beasts are huge and formidable and yet still beautiful.
That’s it for this year’s edition of Munich Odds and Ends. Next up is Best Sound at Munich, and then next week we’ll have the Buyers Guide for Summer 2023.
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.