High End Munich 2024

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by Serious, May 6, 2024.

  1. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Haven't seen a thread yet.

    High End will be starting on Thursday this week. Who will be there?

    What's on my radar so far:

    New speakers:
    • @Priidik's new speakers
    • Marten with the custom BlieSMa mid
    • Vivid flagship?
    • Rockport Lynx
    • YG Acoustics
    • Magico
    • Dynaudio
    • Tidal
    New headphones:
    • RAAL TOTL Headphone
    • Audeze MM-100
    • Abyss Diana new version
    Anyone know if the Silbatone room will be there again? Looks like it's not...

    Also if anyone wants to have a listen to my speakers, I live about 1 hour by train from the MOC. Friends welcome :)
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2024
  2. Bowmoreman

    Bowmoreman Almost "Made"

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    I wonder if Clarisys (Swiss company making “Apogee clones”, and seller of replacement ribbon sets) will be there? Unfortunately my business trip schedule doesn’t have me in Munich again any time soon (last November was last time).
     
  3. zottel

    zottel Friend

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    Probably not this year, unfortunately, too much going on over the coming weekends, though maybe I’ll spontaneously decide to go, anyway.

    Hearing your speakers some time, @Serious , would be great, though. Maybe we can organise a little local meet over the summer?
     
  4. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Sure, sounds like fun.
     
  5. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Okay, so quick report on the first three days as I am on the way to the fourth and last day. I've heard almost everything there is at the show right now and today will mainly be for enjoying the setups that I liked.

    As far as headphones go, I did end up liking the MM-100. Also the Final X8000 sounded good on the MSB rig, but not so much on the T+A rig.
    Campfire had one interesting IEM and the RAAL 1995 phones needed a synergestic setup to sound right.

    As far as speakers go, I'm not sure my impressions are of much value to most people. I've exclusively listened to speakers with what some may call an ideal step response for 8 years now(close to minimum phase, time aligned first order XO, etc) that I feel I can tell just by listening.

    So overall I quite liked the new Marten Coltrane Quintet with the BlieSMa drivers. In fact I felt that all of the BlieSMa based speakers sounded like they had a lot of potential. Those drivers are likely more transparent sounding than the Accutons. But system matching is important.

    There weren't very many widebanders, but there were a few I thought were pretty good. Sadly I haven't seen any AERs this year.

    This time I had mixed feelings about the Purifi based speakers as far as bass response goes. Let's leave it at that for now and I'll explain later.

    Priidik's speakers may be the exception as far as speakers without a first order XO go. I really liked his attention to detail with the crossover and I see the merit of these super narrow baffle speakers. But they are small speakers with small speaker compromises.
     
  6. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    I'm going to update my site with pictures, but for now I'll just copy what I just posted there. Formatting is horrible on both sites for now. Too tired.
    https://www.seriousaudiodesign.de/content/show-impressions/2024-high-end-and-hifideluxe

    HEADPHONES

    • The LCD-5 is one of my favorite headphones and I love its tuning, so based on the graphs I expected to like the MM-500 and MM-100, aswell. That also turned out to be true. I did find the MM-500 somewhat forward sounding (upper midrange) and this particular unit was also somewhat soft in the bass.

    • The MM-100 actually sounded tauter, but I also found it lacked some of that last bit of bass extension the MM-500 and LCD-5 offer. But I preferred its tonal balance to the MM-500: Less forward upper midrange, but the treble was as forward. So ultimately I think it's more neutral than the LCD-5. I may get one. I wonder how it sounds with LCD-5 pads on it. I suppose that may help the bass and staging and hopefully not change the tonality too much and if anything push it closer to the LCD-5.

    • The LCD-5 sounded better than I had ever heard it on the Holo KTE May + KTE Bliss until I plugged it into the DCS Stack. It opened up even more and the treble sounded more natural. I blame mostly the amp, though.

    • I tried the LCD-X with the newer pads now and I still thought the upper midrange was too recessed.
    • I thought both new headphones kind of sucked. The treble was piercing. That is until I tried them on this one 300B amp at hifideluxe. So synergy is very important here.

    • Even so I preferred the smaller one which has a bit more upper midrange presence and just had a less diffuse soundstage.

    • With the right amplifier they're pretty good. They now seem to have proper bass extension and decent bass quality, but even so I might still prefer the SR-1a.

    • They're just not the most open sounding and I think the pads take away quite a bit of the magic.
    • The new Diana DZ sounded pretty darn good with the pads with the soft velvety surface on the inside. I did not like the midrange tonality with the pads with the soft surface touching the skin and the leathery surface on the inside. More expansive than the other Diane units they had there and smoother, too. More resolving, indeed.

    • I listened to the AB1266 Phi TC again and nothing really changed. It sounds a bit distant and probably needs and amp with lots of oomph and zippy transients, because I thought guitar strings still sounded too jumbled together. Don't get me wrong, it is better than even the new Diana, but given the flagship status I also have different expectations for it.
    • Take the AKG K812 and build from there. Lower distortion, somewhat more bass extension and treble somewhat smoother. Tonality pretty much the same, so there's a bit of an upper mid dip. Staging maybe took a step backwards, but that's hard to tell when I don't know how their amp or the DAC they were using sounds.
    • I think you could say he achieved what he had set to. There's lots of bass and the soundstage is pushed forward a lot. But it also sounded super colored to me. Why not get the SR-1a instead?
    • I don't really follow ZMF, so I don't really have any idea which model is which.

    • I thought the Caldera open was somewhat colored sounding, which is unfortunate since otherwise it seemed like a good compromise. This is from a 300B amp that I thought was quite good sounding.

    • The Caldera closed was pretty darn good, actually. Not too far from neutral. Quite spacious sounding. Seemed responsive.
    Final
    • X8000 sounded really quite good on the MSB setup and pretty mediocre on the T+A setup, so I think they should scale quite well. The design is not finalized yet, as the pads aren't ready yet, so while it sounded open and it seemed quite neutral/natural sounding that's subject to change. Still, I think this could be a hit. It seemed to resolve very well, indeed. Yes, it was hooked up to an MSB rig, but the SR009 on the MSB rig didn't move me as much.
      I did write down that the treble was problematic, the bass didn't extend and that stage depth is an issue, but I liked the midrange, FWIW. And that it seemed clear and resolving sounding.

    • Did not like the D8000, too weird sounding.
    • Finally heard the Utopia v2 and Clear Mg. Clear Mg was okay, but the Utopia v2! Treble much smoother, but also a warmer tonality. I really liked it and it might make it my favorite headphone. Unless that Final turns out to be awesome when it actually releases.

    • Bathys was both too bassy and also too weird and sharp sounding for me to consider it. Honestly I think I prefer the AirPods Max.

    • Unfortunately the two new headphones were quite disappointing to me:

    • Azurys, the new closed back also sounded kinda warm, weird and sharp. And I was one of the few who liked the Stellia!

    • Hadenys also seemed to be a departure from their Clear / Utopia signature. To be honest I mostly just found it unremarkable sounding, just not very resolving as far I could tell in the noisy halls. Tonality wasn't as natural as the more premium headphones, either. I haven't heard the Elex, but that one might be better. Overall I was sort of reminded of when I listened to the Elear first with the NYC gang and I immediately hated it. It's not as bad, but it's not good.
    • It's not bad, actually. Sounded sort of like a bigger Utopia with quite a bit too much bass. It's also not quite as clear and resolving sounding. But I was pleasently surprised by how natural and open it sounded. Did not like their speaker setup FWIW.
    • Tried the R10P, Audivina and R9 and unfortunately all of them sounded too weird for me and I took them off pretty much immediately. R10P has some merit and I don't know what they were thinking with the Audivina. For the R9 my standards wouldn't be very high, anyway.

    • Shangri-La Mini sounded quite good, actually. Smooth and I don't think it has as much of an upper mid dip. Transients still too smothed over and has that bouncy quality to it, but that's to be expected. It wasn't the most resolving on this setup, but since I can't listen to the other two Shangri-La headphones due to treble peakage this is quite an achievement. I find that often the smaller driver models work better for me. At least with Audeze and RAAL 1995 that was the case.

    EDIT: Formatting should be better now and the site has pictures.
     
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    Last edited: May 14, 2024
  7. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    SPEAKER ROOMS (TIER 1)

    • I almost missed this room, yet it was definitely one of the best of the show for me.

    • He started by playing a mono LP from god knows when and I thought it sounded fantastic, albeit somewhat colored. The microdynamics and clarity! When he switched to digital I realized that these speakers really aren't that colored, which is actually what I had expected from the Lamar M1 driver in a large folded horn like that. Those are often quite neutral and uncolored sonding, just lacking in extension towards both ends, which is why there were two super tweeters and a large bass section.

    • Anyway, I have a feeling his DAC isn't the best, but all of his amps definitely are. Well, they were all equipped with the silver transformers and he demoed the ones with tubes of his own design. Definitely one of the setups of High End! Maybe my favorite overall. It's also one of the priciest ones.

    • Demoing his equipment with the large PAP speakers a couple years ago definitely did the amps a disservice
    • Snap back to reality. I did not like the setup on the smaller speakers. But the one with the larger speakers with another folded horn and Lamar M1 driver was also really good. A little less incisive and blurrier than the Thomas Mayer setup. But I hope it's not like 850k€.

    As for the more normal speakers:
    I'm not sure my impressions are of much value to most people. I've exclusively listened to speakers with what some may call an ideal step response for 8 years now (close to minimum phase, time aligned first order XO, etc) that I feel I can tell just by listening.

    • There were two rooms with the new Coltrane Quintet speakers and I thought both were good. The one upstairs with the Engström tube amps defintely had the disadvantage of playing in a trickier room with less room treatment and as such the other one more or less sounded "better". Also the new MSB DAC is likely awesome.

    • The tube amps were more rounded, but I think the speaker does need some rounding to the transients. So with vinyl this setup was quite good.

    • Aside from that these speakers generally do what I am looking for. Yes, the bass is a little slow and soft sounding. This seems to be a theme with Marten speakers and until proven otherwise I will blame the convex Accuton bass drivers. But they have that first order "minimum phase" kind of sound that I've been exclusively listening to for 8 years now.

    • In other words transients have this righteous quality to them and the instruments are locked in space. This is mostly just a quality of the crossover and not even the drivers.

    • The downside is that for there to be three drivers you need to have a larger spacing between the lower midrange to treble and I generally felt the treble was a bit too high in space. And most importantly first order speakers with a tweeter never sound right when you're not a at the right listening height and these are no exception. You get comb filtering when you stand up and it sounds very weird. This is normal and part of the first order crossover.

    • The power handling and resolution seem to benefit from the switch from Accuton to BlieSMa drivers. It's just a bit sad to see drivers like these padded down 10dB just to work in a passive speaker. The sensitivities work out and you could design a semi active direct radiator at 96-98dB sensitivity!

    • I think I get the Carbon diaphragm now. It's probably just a better match from the slower sounding woofers to the lightning fast Beryllium driver.
    • Priidik didn't disappoint. The signal path from terminals to the individual parts on the crossover could not be any cleaner. It must've paid off as this was also one transparent sounding speaker. And I can tell the super thin, narrow baffle with irregular shapes has advantages here. I think it's the 158mm cone Accuton and if I were to pick one of the two I would definitely go for the more sensitive and more extended one as a midrange unit. I also like the height of the drivers and that the tweeter is below the midrange, not above. I find it generally images better like that.

    • The advantages in terms of how it radiates sound and in that sense also in how it images are sort of offset by the 2nd order XO behavior.

    • It's also a small speaker and doesn't have the bass a larger speaker would. Even if I like that Accuton S280 sandwich bass. I suppose it also doesn't have the efficiency a larger speaker would. In fact it's likely a similar efficiency as my small monitor speakers.

    • I did consistently find it a tad brighter than my idea of neutral FWIW. Priidik told me it's the room and I believe him.
    • Quad ESL-57! I can't believe I got to experience it and I think I might prefer it over the newer Quad models. The signal path has less components and I was surprised at how much extension towards both ends it had. The midrange seemed quite good and it didn't sound super soft.
    • I don't think the Weiss DAC was the right move, but I did still end up enjoying the newer Andagio speakers on the 211 amp. Still not the smoothest around and I still kind of blame Neo and the wood cones, but it really sounded quite "there". It has this presence to it. Well, in reality it's resolution, microdynamics, clarity, etc. Just a general sense of transparency. And yes, it's still basslight, but the integration was a bit better. basically this is an Ampeggio Due, but deep instead of wide. 2m horn length.

    • I did not like the 9.88 on the 845 amp. Ines mentioned how the 845 amp sounded a little harder than the 211 one and I didn't think the Neo driver needed that. But what the 9.88 needs is the increased power output from the 845 amp as the Voxativ driver and the lower mid are a passive system.
     
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    Last edited: May 14, 2024
  8. abalone

    abalone New

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    This was my second audio meet up, having entered the hobby about a year ago.

    It was quite an interesting experience and I'd love to share...

    I think that one needs to attend this kind of show with a precise idea of what they want to hear. There is just too much, and the crowds can lead to significant queues.

    The background noise was pretty high in the headphones sections - my uncalibrated smartphone registered 80dB. Speakers often had their dedicated room, this was much more pleasant, but even then...

    I am not sure what to think about all the fancy gear I tried. Having access to all that I could read online, even trying out summit-fi headphones like the Shangri-La and HE1.

    The background noise makes it difficult to truly appreciate the values of these headphones. I wonder if I would draw a different conclusion by trying in a proper environment, but my bottom line is: I don't really want to buy much more stuff. I am happy with my modest setup.

    I was expecting to be blown away - I just felt bulimic.

    In a sense, it's even a bit dissapointing - I feel like the addiction has a lesser grip on me now. (I wanted it to keep going!).

    At least, this puts me in line with the philosophy of the forum that having every latest toy is not necessary.

    Overall though, the show is impressive in its scale. I would highly recommend attending for anyone in Europe, and if so for the full two tourist days.

    [​IMG]
    (these never sounded good anyways)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    And it was what?
     
  10. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Heh, sorry to keep you waiting. Just finished the write up.

    More pictures here:
    https://www.seriousaudiodesign.de/c...ns/2024-high-end-and-hifideluxe/more-pictures

    Grado:

    • Between the Hemp, the RS-2X and the RS-1X I liked the RS-2X best. RS-1X was too bright, Hemp too warm.
    Aune AR5000

    • I thought it was solid. Tonality is a bit warm with a recession from the upper mids on. Think classic Audeze, but with more treble energy. It worked quite well on my Moondrop DAWN 4.4 dongle. Traditional dynamic which makes it quite exciting. But still, I didn't think it was the last word in the technicalities. Staging wasn't too bad and it sounded quite open. Some trickery with the 2kHz dip here, which was very common sadly. Hence why I liked the smaller Audeze and the smaller RAAL.
    Campfire Moon Rover

    • This one was exciting. A planar without treble issues. It's not quite as neutral as my modded S12, but it's a step above in raw performance. Which it should be at 10x the price. Will be interesting to see how it's received.
    Two rare stats:

    • Russian Peru stat: Fit was tricky with the large fluffy pads and generally I didn't like it as much as the other one. Sounded less technically proficient to me and too warm sounding. People seem to rave about their bass and prefer these to STAX... I don't know.

    • ES Labs ES1a: SR-Omega clone type headphone. I really quite liked it. Sounded darn transparent with a nice treble balance, holographic. It did have the STAX midrange shout, but it didn't bother me much in this case. I really liked it and it makes me even more curious to hear the SR-Omega. I have a feeling I'd prefer the SR-Omega to the HE90.
    Moondrop Para:

    • I expected to like it, but it sounded kinda bright and lifeless to me. Would take MM-100 for sure.
    Don't remember much about the Meze and the Erzetich Charybdis. Don't really care, the LCD-5 is still my favorite planar.
    Rockport

    • New model and I found it far too damped sounding. Sounded like a 4th order type XO, with 360° of phase shift between mid and treble. And somehow I always find the Carbon drivers a bit underwhelming. Too soft and slow sounding, which is not what you might expect.
    Canton

    • I thought the Reference GS was a letdown, sounding too overdamped to the point of losing resolution. Well, it turns out that the Reference alpha series they premiered this year was the polar opposite. I almost found it too bright and bordering on too sharp at times. Still, I would call it a successful evolution. I liked it.
    Lindemann

    • They brought a very interesting system with a Markaudio widebander with a piece of cork glued to the center of the metal dust cap. I thought it was pretty good, although not on the level of the Al-Sandwich driver I use.
    MoFi

    • Had a good talk with Andrew Jones about measuring speakers and tuning them. The SourcePoint 8 has generated quite a bit of hype, so hearing the SourcePoint 888 was pretty interesting. I can say it's not for me, but I can see the appeal. I wish it was tuned a bit deeper, but it will depend on the room if that makes sense. I thought the coherency between midrange and treble could've been better and the drivers could've played a bit cleaner. Also wasn't impressed by their dynamic ability. Generally I wasn't impressed, but I'll tell you they can go very loud and stay composed! That was impressive.
    Rethm

    • I finally got to hear one of their speakers and it really wasn't too bad, I also like the conecpt of integrating an active bass with a widebander and their driver sounded pretty good. Technically it wasn't quite at the top level and there were still some rough spots, but I still enjoyed listening to it.
    Kaiser Acoustics

    • New model which seems to have quite a bit the DNA of their flagship models. I sound like a broken record by now, but I was annoyed by the MT crossover integration.

    • I was really happy that I was able to hear the smaller speaker based on an Ellipticor tweeter and what seemed to be a 4" Purifi. Sadly the voicing wasn't quite to my liking. Sounded too forward in the midrange. But I thought it was really cute. It definitely was too small for the big room, though. I wonder how pricey it ends up being as I think it's just too small. But it's cute.
    Wolf von Langa

    • I was impressed by how normal this particular modified Lowther sounded. It's still not quite as linear as the Voxativs I'm used to and it seemed not as resolving even with the field coil, but the integration with the woofer wasn't shit and I just love the energy and dynamic in that room. Wolf von Langa is so wholesome and seems to genuinely enjoy his time there. Going by the MOC you can always see his open window and hear the music playing.
      Many of the rooms had that 400€ vinyl brush and I'm wondering if it might be worth the money. I did not hear many snaps and pops at all. The records he played must've been in immaculate condition.
    Kroma

    • I really loved their speakers in the past, so I was super curious to see what they had cooked up with the metal Purifi woofers I was considering for Hathor. Well, sadly I think this way I found out that the Purifi woofers are not for me. Both the 8" variant, nor the speaker with the 10" woofer left me feeling that while these woofers did indeed have low distortion and stayed quite composed at higher SPLs, they also sounded quite slow. I feel like they just lacked that raw energy, that bite and life to them. They always seemed to make everything sound the same. I feel like they had that subwoofer sound to them that I dislike. So in all honesty I think I prefer the woofers I currently use. Maybe the higher Mms really is a problem. Lower efficiency.
      When it comes to their speakers: I liked the larger model and I thought the smaller one sounded a bit problematic with that AMT-looking thing.
    Göbel

    • Interesting little speaker and a subwoofer which didn't seem to be connected. It didn't stand out much for me, but I think the brand is on a good path. I think this one sounded more cohesive than the larger model they had a year ago.
    Vivid

    • I did not like their flagship at all. Quickly left and didn't revisist the room.
    Borresen

    • Is it just me or are they becoming less resolving?
    Tune Audio

    • Definitely held back by the Fostex driver, so considering that it was quite enjoyable. The little tweeter horn is a bit dorky and wouldn't be necessary with a proper widebander.
    RA Acoustics

    • This one seemed very, very solid to me. Big focus on getting the room acoustics right and it payed off, but the speaker was equally impressive. One of the highlights of the hifideluxe show for me.
    Master Fidelity 1 bit DAC

    • Too much hype. But it's also not really fair when you've got MSB DACs left, right and center at a show like this. Wavedream might make for a better comparison.
    • They keep raising the prices for the food, but I do think it also keeps getting better. But it's almost 30€ for a Burger, some fries and a coke.

    • I like the sound of dome mids. They seem more open. But I thought the ATC dome was too soft. I wonder how the Ellipticor dome compares.

    • The Ellipticor woofers didn't really wow me. Paper coloration seemed obvious on the speaker with what seemed like the 21WE. And I didn't find it particularly resolving. Maybe the 18WE would've fared better.
      The 18WE probably fared better in the WLM room, but I didn't like their widebander, so that sort of ruined it for me.

    • As mentioned above I was not impressed by the Purifi equipped speakers this time around. Hard cone subwoofer sound. Lifeless and slow. And since I generally like Kroma I think it really has to do with the drivers.
     
  11. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    I swung through the head-fi area at Axpona one year and concluded that it was pretty much useless to trial HPs in a show environment. Especially with open-backs. HPs, for me, are all about subtlety and fine detail, and that's essentially wiped out by all the background noise. Same thing for bass response.

    No shade to those who provide us some fun reading in show reports--I like reading them for sure--but for myself I need a basically silent room to do a meaningful audition.

    Which is all to say that I do think there's a lot of revelatory experiences to be had further up the various head-fi ladders. But also, if you're happy with what you got, just keep rolling with that.
     

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