High End Munich. My favorite show of the year! Why is that you say? Well, it has all the (big) brands that really matter, all the product launches, it’s not too crowded and it has beer. Oh and to get there we have 700 kilometers of unlimited German Autobahn.
As usual this will be a picture report of the show, split over two parts as there are over 100 pictures: Eye candy à volonté. Enjoy!
The “normal” Abyss is one of the very best headphones around. Yes, it still is huge and uncomfortable but it sounds like speakers right next to your ear. Basically they are so no surprise there. If you haven’t heard the wonderful Abyss yet, do try to get some time with it. Especially when it’s hooked up to a good powerful amp.
JPS Laps, the company behind the Abyss, a few months ago “released” a new and smaller, more user friendly version of the Abyss called “Diana”. Diana is beautiful. Made out of aluminum (with the name stamped in it) and covered with ceramic paint. Small, fashiony and a whole lot more comfy. I still don’t think they fold up so traveling with them won’t be the easiest but boy did they get the sound right again. The only thing that bothers me a little is the asking price that might go all the way up to $3000 USD. These would be selling like hot Brussels waffels if they were going for say $1200 or so.
For some reason this dac/amp compo from the German RME keeps escaping me and I still haven’t found the time to review it. It looks and sounds great though, has plenty of options and it doesn’t break the bank. Lovely
Astell & Kern
Personal audio-wise, I think most of the people at Munich were looking forward to the latest products of the Korean Astell & Kern. AK announced the world they would be showing two brand new DAPs a few weeks before High End, so everyone was looking forward to discovering the AK KANN and the new reference SP1000.
AK KANN was release a little earlier though and I have been playing around with it for a few weeks already.
Most people wanted to have a play with the new AK flagship however: The A&Ultimate SP1000. The SP1000 is replacing the AK380 which up to now is my personal favourite player in the no budget restriction category. The AK70 is my other fav as I’m running AK Connect on it at home for my speaker setup. The new SP1000 is a little bigger and comes in a Solid Steel and Copper version.
The copper version especially looks really nice. Sound wise the SP1000 sounds very clear and shows even more detail and dynamics as the already great AK380.
Something new is the button on the side which now not only is for setting the volume but it’s also the select and screen on/off button. A lovely design and maybe most important of all: there will be no higher price as it is set to hit the markets at the same price of the AK380, which will be phased out.
To be completely honest, not only AK was one of THE brands to check out at the show. Audeze was also presenting a whole bunch of new products at the show, such as the open Sine, the LCDi4, their VR set and a brand new LCD Studio. They of course also took all their other excellent toys with them, making it one of the most visited booths at the show.
The King amp had a central place at the booth but with the launch of the new products it might have been overlooked by many. Of course the new iSine series were available to listen to and Audeze even brought the LCDi4 personally to the show. One unit only.
I’ve been playing with the iSine 10 and iSine 20 for a while already at home and once you get used to the fact these aren’t your typical IEM, they will blow you away sound wise. My personal favourite is the iSine 20….
… Well it was until I heard the LCDi4. Yes it is like 4 times as expensive as the iSine 20 but the difference is sound isn’t small. I didn’t expect it was possible to make an even better sounding iSine, but Audeze did it. And how nice it looks
For “only” $2495 one of these can be yours. Who said universal IEMs weren’t getting more expensive? (see oBravo later on) . Gorgeous though, in all ways.
The first headphone I actually listened to at the Audeze booth was the Sine and the new open DX version of it. These headphones are so good sounding and I’m happy to see all the new Audeze gear sounds so great. There was a time were I wasn’t sure where Audeze was going with the EL series but now they’re back at full force. And how!
When Audeze offer the possibility to listen to their $4K LCD-4 flagship, you really should make some time for it. While it undeniably sounds sublime, I enjoy listening to their LCD-3 version more. Personal taste, it’s a weird thing.
A new Audeze LCD headphone that I really liked was the brand new LCD Studio. For an Audeze headphone it was incredibly light and comfortable. It has a sound signature which I can’t immediately find back in any other Audeze product, but I do already know I want one. That’s how much it impressed me.
AudioQuest and a lot more on Page 2 after the click