Mis à jour le 1 June 2022.
The Munich High End show has opened its doors again much to the delight of audiophiles and high-fidelity fans. After a two-year absence, the largest trade fair for stereo equipment was packed with new products. Hi-fi headphones, HD DAPs, turntables, speakers of all shapes and sizes, subwoofers and high-powered electronics were all on display for 4 days of incredible audio demos!
The biggest surprise at the show was arguably the Monitor Audio Concept 50 speaker. This pair of boldly designed floorstanders commemorates the 50th anniversary of the British brand. With its extraordinary design, it is truly a revolutionary speaker concept that will go down in hi-fi history. As is customary in audiophile shows, the speaker intends to revolutionize the way people listen to music by adopting a cutting-edge design. Few figures have been disclosed, other than the frequency response that extends from 21Hz to 60kHz (-6 dB). The Monitor Audio Concept 50 is a 3-way model with 4 x 8” woofers, 6 x 2” midrange drivers and an MPD III ribbon tweeter. Monitor Audio has also produced a limited edition model of the Monitor Audio Bronze 100 to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
The French manufacturer Elipson also took advantage of this show to demonstrate its expertise once again. Among the new products was a new version of the W35 connected speaker called Elipson W35+. It is a connected multi-room stereo model compatible with WiFi and Bluetooth aptX that can access thousands of Internet radio stations and online music services such as Spotify, Qobuz, Tidal, Deezer… The oldest French hi-fi brand also presented a new version of its vintage XLS 15 speaker with the more compact Elipson Heritage XLS 11. It is a 3-way model equipped with an 8” driver to reproduce low frequencies.
Yamaha also marked the trade show by presenting its brand new connected amplifier, the RN-2000A. For the occasion, it was paired with the latest NS-2000A floorstanding speakers from the famous Japanese manufacturer. Flagship of the connected amplifier range, the Yamaha RN-2000A is a 2×100W model. It features a full panel of connectors with analog and digital inputs, including a USB-B port and an HDMI eARC input. MusicCast and AirPlay 2 technologies provide access to streaming services and music shared via DLNA. Finally, YPAO acoustic calibration ensures optimal sound reproduction in any room.
Yamaha also presented its range of Bluetooth headphones with the YH-L700A and YH-E700A that we recently tested on the Son-Vidéo.com blog. These latest generation wireless headphones foreshadow a wider range of True Wireless IEMs which currently includes the Yamaha TW-E3B. The latter will be replaced in June by the new Yamaha TW-E4B.
The Danish company Dali also stood out with its large demo areas in which it presented all of its speaker ranges, including the Equi wireless models, the classic Oberon and Opticon ranges, as well as a few in-wall/in-ceiling models like the famous Dali Phantom. The highlight was the announcement of the spectacular Dali Kore speakers. These imposing ultra-high-end speakers (€80,000) are the pinnacle of high-end speaker design. Each Dali Kore speaker adopts in-house drivers with SMC (Soft Magnetic Compound) ferrite for the midrange and low frequencies. This technology is now combined with a new type of voice coil called Balanced Drive SMC. It uses a double coil to allow a higher power handling without any distortion. The manufacturer has announced the purchase of a cabinetmaker in Denmark to further control manufacturing costs for these Dali Kore and the rest of the Dali line.
Danish manufacturer Tangent continues to provide us with charming electronics, in line with the best-selling Tangent Ampster BT II (2×50W, Bluetooth aptX, 24/96 optical input, line inputs and subwoofer output). The Ampster range therefore gains the Tangent PreAmp II (€199) hi-fi preamplifier and PowerAmpster II (€269) power amp. The latter announce 2×100 watts and are bridgeable to combine the power of several amplifiers. The Danish manufacturer has even equipped the preamplifier with XLR outputs to ensure a perfect transmission of the audio signal. The new Tangent Pebble Max portable Bluetooth speaker was also announced and should be released before the summer (sales price: €99).
There were also some nice new electronic products from the Japanese manufacturer Denon, which presented the new PMA-1700NE / PMA-900HNE hi-fi amplifiers and the DCD-900NE CD player. Equipped with a power supply with a simple push-pull circuit with a very high current level, AL32 Advanced Plus processing and a MM/MC phono equalizer input, the Denon PMA-1700NE hi-fi amplifier promises great musical qualities with a very high level of details. This next-gen stereo amplifier should be available very soon and will replace the Denon PMA-1600NE. The Denon PMA-900 / DCD-900 duo promises to easily power many different bookshelf and small floorstanding speakers thanks to the Advanced High Current modules. The Denon PMA-900HNE is a WiFi/Bluetooth connected amplifier with phono and digital optical inputs. It also features Heos multi-room, streaming with the main streaming services, AirPlay, Hi-Res and webradios.
Davis Acoustic also had a nice surprise in store for us at this show with the presentation of the brand new ultra high-end model: the Stellar. This reference floorstanding speaker, a 3-way model with 3 drivers, has been designed using tried-and-tested technical solutions from Davis, from the driver cones (carbon fiber, Kevlar and aramid), magnetic motors (TiCoNAl) and internal wiring (pure copper surrounded by silver) to the structure of the speaker (reinforced MDF).
Pro-Ject remains the leading turntable manufacturer with a large number of models with refined designs and trendy colors. The opportunity for the manufacturer to present the new Pro-Ject X1B and X2B turntables from the Xperience range. The high-end Pro-Ject Xtension range also has a newcomer named X8. It features the main elements that made the Pro-Ject X9 and Pro-Ject 10 successful, for a lower price. On the program: a solid chassis, a heavy platter, magnetic feet, a carbon tonearm and symmetrical outputs. Finally, in the series of limited editions, Pro-Ject presented an interesting turntable concept dedicated to the band Metallica!
Headphones and DAPs were also in the spotlight in hall 4 of the Munich High End show. Among this year’s new products, the famous Korean brand Astell&Kern presented all its DAPs, but also its in-ear monitors, including the new Pathfinder model. These wired IEMs were developed with the American manufacturer Campfire and have an innovative dual-chamber and balanced armature design. The Astell&Kern AK UW100 True Wireless models were also present, as well as the unique Astell&Kern Acro CA1000 headphone amp equipped with a touch screen. Astell also announced the release of a new Kann Alpha Max DAP, a more compact, quadruple DAC version of the now famous Astell&Kern KANN Alpha DAP.
Headphone specialist Meze also graced us with beautiful new products, such as the Advar headphones, equipped with 0.4” dynamic transducers (frequency response from 10Hz to 30kHz). The build quality is still excellent, as is the particularly attractive design. On the stand of the Romanian manufacturer at the Munich show, there was also the very recent Meze Liric closed-back headphones. After having seduced many audiophiles with the Meze 99 Classic and Meze Empyrean, Meze is now using its isodynamic transducers for the first time in closed-back headphones. A subtle combination of the founding elements of the Empyrean and new exclusive technologies including the Phase-X System. As for open-back headphones, Meze presented a brand new model called 109 Pro, which we know is equipped with 2” drivers. The selling price should be around 500/600 euros for an availability from summer 2022.
The British company Fyne Audio also stood out by presenting numerous speaker models in many different formats: floorstanding, compact, bookshelves. A wide range of vintage speakers was also presented with a clear affiliation to Tannoy: high-quality cabinetwork, gold finishes, controls on the front panel…
Continuing this vintage trend, Danish company Eltax also presented a very attractive model, a direct variation of the imposing Eltax Monitor PWR 1959 model. The Eltax MTR 1959 is a 3-way speaker equipped with a 12” woofer that supposedly reaches 32Hz. It will be able to handle up to 150 watts with a sensitivity of 90 dB.
The American manufacturer Campfire has partnered with Astell&Kern for the design of the Pathfinder IEMs and has announced new high-end models called Trifecta. These state-of-the-art wired IEMs are the flagship of Campfire’s range with three 0.4” wideband ADLC dynamic drivers per earphone. This beautiful pair of in-ear monitors will be available this summer in a limited edition of 333 units worldwide (selling price: €3,490).
At the Munich High End show, Marantz presented a new hybrid CD/USB player with the latest HDAM (Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Modules) technology. Audiophile playback mechanics, impeccable finish, USB High-res compatible, MP3, WMA, AAC and WAV, FLAC HD, ALAC, AIFF (up to 24 bits/192kHz), and DSD (up to 5.6MHz) are all featured.
Like every year, the Munich High End show had a lot of surprises in store from the industry’s leading brands. The new products that were presented will progressively be available for sale throughout 2022.