May 10-13, 2018
All prices in euros (€) or US dollars ($) unless indicated otherwise
Companies featured in gallery below: EMM Labs, Merging Technologies, Boulder Amplifiers, Monitor Audio, Dynaudio, Q Acoustics, DALI, T+A, Innuos, Goldmund, Technics, Amphion, iFi, Audio Research, Kii Audio, Marten, Engström
Companies featured in gallery below: Focal, Diapason, Stenheim, Simaudio, Gryphon Audio Designs, Hegel Music Systems, Elac, Vimberg, PMC, Audio Physic, Nordost, Göbel, Wilson Benesch, Brinkmann Audio
Companies featured in gallery below: SGR Audio, Paradigm, Estelon, Dan D’Agostino Master Audio Systems, Bassocontinuo, Ayre Acoustics, EAR, YBA, Aurender, AudioSolutions, Cocktail Audio, Cayin, Cambridge Audio, Cary Audio, SME, Clearaudio
Companies featured in gallery below: Raidho, Scansonic, Crystal Cable, Vitus Audio, Luxman, Von Schweikert Audio, EgglestonWorks, TriangleArt, dCS, Thrax, Sonus Faber, Auralic, Vivid Audio, Lumin, Furutech
Given the overwhelming number of innovative speakers, amplifiers, turntables, and other gear being introduced at High End 2018, it’s easy to overlook new headphones, DAPs, and portable DACs. Unless you’re specifically looking for them, of course, which is something we made a point of doing. Here are a few highlights from the headphones category, which more than once provided us with a moment of peace and escape during an otherwise frenetic show.
I love integrated amplifiers -- and I love integrated amplifier-DACs even more. There’s just something about the simplicity, and cost savings, of having your preamplifier, power amplifier, and digital source all in one box. At High End 2018, there were plenty of integrated amps ranging from the very frugal to the super spendy, but a couple of new models really caught my eye.
Marantz is using the occasion of High End 2018 to release its new SA-KI Ruby SACD player and PM-KI Ruby integrated amplifier. The KI in there stands for Ken Ishiwata, the company’s brand ambassador, who is celebrating his 40th anniversary with Marantz (hence, the Ruby designation).
I first met Gryphon Audio Designs’ Flemming Rasmussen at High End 2001. Back then, High End was held in Frankfurt, Germany, at the Kempinski Hotel. The hulking black class-A amps of Gryphon were new and fascinating to me. Over the ensuing years, I spent time with Flemming at shows and corresponded with him over e-mail. I came to know him as a kind, caring man with a great passion for music and music reproduction. During the past 20 years, I’ve reviewed many Gryphon products and grown a tremendous admiration for the brand in general -- but there was no separating Gryphon and its products from Flemming Rasmussen. He was -- is -- the heart and soul of Gryphon.
Some of my SoundStage! colleagues give me a bit of a hard time because I don’t stream music. Maybe this will be the year that I finally break down and subscribe to a streaming service -- or maybe not. But at this year’s High End 2018 show in Munich, I saw a couple of high-end streaming devices that just might make me change my mind.
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