Anyone who loves sports and watches ESPN—the United States’ most influential sports-related cable network—and, specifically, commentator Stephen A. Smith, knows what the term hot take means. Merriam-Webster defines the hot take as “a quickly produced, strongly worded, and often deliberately provocative or sensational opinion or reaction.” As I traversed the halls of High End 2022, ate in the restaurants of Munich, or worked in various places on my computer, I muttered myriad opinions both to myself and folks I know in the industry. A thought occurred to me: why should the sports reporters have all the fun?
So buckle your boots. These were my hot takes on High End 2022 (in no particular order).
“The air conditioning was not working very well at the MOC. Thursday and Friday—the trade days—especially on the top floor, were brutal.”
“The Fink Team apparently needs only two drivers to make a speaker sound huge. Go listen to the Epos ES14N and you’ll hear what I mean.”
“The Magico A5s are still the easiest recommendation to make in high-end audio. These $27k/pr. speakers sounded better than most of the $100k speakers I heard at the show.”
“Anyone who tells you they can discern the quality of a digital source component by listening to an unfamiliar stereo system in a strange room at a show like High End is either trying to promote something, disparage something, or just generally doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
“MSB Technology’s Digital Directors actually protect the investment of the company’s customers. In a hobby that requires huge expenditures, building brand loyalty should be paramount. This is a good move.”
“There is more engineering in the entry-level products at High End than in many of the six-figure components I saw and heard at the show.”
“Rockport Technologies’ new Orion loudspeaker appears to be the company’s proper successor to the Altair, which I owned years ago. Rockport has produced the right speaker at the right time. I need to get a pair in soon.”
“The most talked-about product announcement right before High End 2022 was the KEF LS60 Wireless speaker system. It wasn’t at High End 2022.”
“The Audiovector QR 7s just may be the best buy at High End 2022 at €5700 for the pair. Damn, I don’t know how they did it.”
“Streaming and vinyl are it. R.I.P. CD. At least at this show.”
“The Monitor Audio Concept 50 is one of the most ambitious speaker designs I’ve seen in years. Did you hear how they image?”
The Avantgarde speakers are the most accessible horns I’ve heard and seen. If I were moving to horns—and let’s face it, the dynamics and scale are awesome in the real sense of that word—that’s what I would seek out first.
The gent playing the live piano was really good. The truth is that there were systems at High End 2022 that could approximate the sound of a live piano. High-end audio is fantastic!”
See you at High End 2023.