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480The High End Show in Munich is now the largest of its type in Europe and may be the largest dedicated Hi-Fi show in the world. Now in its ninth year at the MOC exhibition centre, the show has a strong international following and has become a key launch event for a number of brands.
The main focus of the show is stereo but Arcam took the opportunity to unveil the AVR750 which goes on sale in July. This 4k capable design builds on the experience gained from previous AV Receivers but features all new decoding systems and such niceties as a free iOS ap and the ability to power ‘R’ devices (like the recently reviewed rBlink) without needing to use their PSU’s. Price? Something in the region of £4,000 so start saving.
KEF E305 Egg
In the same room, KEF unveiled an all new version of the evergreen Egg. The 305 is identifiably an egg but the aesthetics are bang up to date (and naturally available in white and black). The Uni-Q driver gains the ‘tangerine’ wave guide and other updates while the subwoofer has gone very swoopy indeed. The price is going to be in the region of £900 which is impressive considering that is only £100 more than the original egg from 2001.
Denon and Marantz exhibited in the same room and mainly concentrated in showing their two channel equipment including the new NA-11 high end streamer but they also had most of their AVR’s on display and the a new universal Blu Ray player. Marantz had brand ambassador Ken Ishiwata demonstrating a two channel system with Marantz and Boston Acoustics.
As well as a complete revamp of the timewarp Prestige line, Tannoy had the Precision range on display. Priced between £900 and £2,000, the Precisions are a very elegant looking set of speakers that make use of the classic Dual Concentric driver with the tweeter mounted centrally. Hopefully review samples will be made available shortly.
Neat Motive SX
Painted in a decidedly ‘distinctive’ pink for display purposes (this will not be a sales option), Neat unveiled the new Motive SX range that will go on sale later in the year. The basic design of the Motive continues as before with bookshelf Motive 3, floorstanding Motive 2 and 1 and a matching centre speaker. The key difference is the all new aluminium tweeter that makes use of experience gained from the flagship Ultimatums. The older Motive speakers are still extremely impressive so I have high hopes for the updated versions.
Isotek Evo 3
Mains treatment can seem a little unglamorous and it can be hard to sort the products that make a meaningful difference from the snake oil. Isotek are one of the good guys though and as well as their truly enormous Titan supplies and the Mosaic concept conditioner, they were also showing a pre-production Evo3 Venus which is designed with AV systems in mind. The block offers around 2kw of cumulative output and as well as reducing Common Mode and Differential Mode mains noise is also able to keep your expensive equipment protected from damage in the event of surges and spikes. Naturally, a UK plug version will also be available when the Venus goes on sale towards the end of summer.
Sonus Faber had partnered with Pagani for the show and as such, a brand new Huayra was on display in one of the main Atriums. Yours for a mere €1.4 million, I’m delighted to report that in the flesh it looks absolutely astonishing and rather covetable. Dear Santa…
Tucked away in one of the demo rooms was one of the more extraordinary devices at the show. Lansche Audio has decided that beryllium and diamond are a bit old hat for tweeter materials and instead make use of a ball of ionised plasma to generate treble. Insane? Very possible. Effective? Definitely. While undoubtedly rather expensive and very large, the performance of the speaker was absolutely exceptional. Is this a technology that might make its way into more terrestrial designs? Hard to say but if it does, I’ll be an enthusiastic advocate. You can see the tweeter glowing away just above the lady's head in the picture.
Focal 700 Series
Back on Earth, the new Focal 700 Series was launched and looks to be a very competitive offering. With prices starting from £350, the 700’s make use of the company’s vast experience in driver construction, the range matches an aluminium tweeter with the trademark Polyglass mid bass drivers. Dedicated AV speakers including centres and effects speakers are part of the range and impressively for a range of speakers at a fairly modest price point, they are built entirely in France.
Living Voice Vox Olympian
At a rather less modest price point, one of the most incredible speakers in a show full of them was the Living Voice Vox Olympian. It may look a little unusual but this five way horn speaker is undoubtedly among the very finest speakers that I have ever heard. Absolutely every aspect of the speakers is built from the finest materials available and with no compromise given to costs. The speaker is a phenomenal demonstration of what can be achieved. Sadly, the price of perfection is rather high- some way north of £400,000.
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