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High End 2005

Munich/Germany, May 05-08, 2005

[Italian version]

Show Report by Hartmut Quaschik - TNT Germany
Published: May, 2005
Website with lots of information High End Society.de

This was the second year of German High-End Show taking place in lovely Munich. It took place in a Congress/Show building in the North of Munich. The first years it took place in a hotel with small bedrooms and bad air condition, so the move was called a success from all participating companies.

Well this was quite a big show. Although I spent three days, I rather concentrated on some points of interest rather than browsing through every demonstration. So I am sure that I missed one or another thing, but hey, there are a lot of websites with reports covering the German High-End Show 2005, so at least I won't bore you with the usual suspects, I hope.

My favourite subjects are vinyl replay and speakers which can do a convincing real life size sound. So here we go ...

First show room which I entered was the Garrard-Loricraft room. They had their famous Garrard 501 turntables there, also some refurbished 301 turntables in various plinths, including the simple but elegant looking "skeletal plinth". On one of these 301 there was the odd looking and also rare Golden Gate tonearm. They played music through both of their 501, one equipped with DPS-Garrard Schroeder tonearm, and the other with the new SME M2-9 tonearm. Both tonearms had a Lyra Helikon mounted, but played through different phono stages. Amplification was in-house (Garrard-Loricraft made), and there have been two pairs of loudspeakers, a small floorstander from Joachim Gerhard, who had left his famous Audio Physic company, and the other one was a professional monitoring near-field speaker (Aucos Q-2b). While I wished they had a speaker with the bass of the Joachim Gerhard speaker and transparency of the monitor speaker, I also missed Mr. Iwao Furuyama, who demoed his FAL fullrange planar drivers with neodynium magnets last year at the Garrard-Loricraft room. He was too ill to participate this year, pitifully.

Joachim Gerhard loudspeaker Garrard 301, Golden Gate tonearm Garrard 501, SME M2-9, Lyra Helikon

This beautiful Swiss made Holborne turntable suffered from not being demonstrated in a room, it had to play in the plain show hall through small loudspeakers. Despite the bad situation, the Holborne together with Ikeda tonearm and Holborne/Benz cartridge played beautifully music using a Whest 2.0 phono stage.

Holborne turntable, Ikeda tonearm Holborne turntable, Whest phono stage

Claus Jaeckle from Acoustic-Plan had his Nouvelle Platine with vintage Ortofon tonearm playing an Ortofon SPU, with his new preamp (all transformer coupling) and his updated open-baffle loudspeaker (active bass now). Sound was as excellent as last year.

Verdier Nouvelle Platine, old Ortofon tonearm, Ortofon SPU Claus Jaeckle with his setup Acoustic Plan open baffle speaker Acoustic Plan open baffle speaker Acoustic Plan tube preamp

When I entered this room, I saw a big loudspeaker reminiscent to the 70ies: Stereofone's big fullrange and subwoofer speaker. In particular they use an AER fullrange (based on Lowther design) with a 46cm JBL (that reads 18 inch). Both drivers are mounted in half open cabinets, which allow them to breath. They had a custom record player with Rega tonearm playing vinyl, and a Creek phono stage and a Teac CD-Receiver CR-H220 for the amplification. Now, taking a 15000 EUR speaker and connecting it to 500 EUR worth of amplification is exactly what many people would call a mismatch. Instead of a sonic desaster, this was the second best sound of the show. The soundstage was big and believable, the music had flow and detail, be it sourced from CD or vinyl.

Stereofone loudspeaker Stereofone turntable

Now Clearaudio had a great presentation of products. Though, with some of them, I had kind of "deja-vu" experiences. I had the impression that I saw a concept or idea some time before presented by another company. Look at the tonearm with wooden wand and rudimentary headshell and compare it to the Schroeder tonearms being built for 20 years now. Look at the Clearaudio "vinyl doctor" disc flattening device, and compare it to the Air Tight - DT01 DISC FLATTENING SYSTEM, which had been presented last year. Look at the big Clearaudio turntable and compare it to the big Transrotors Gravita or Tourbillion.
At least they had one cute and clever looking new turntable, the Ambient, which features a lot of layers of wood between 2 sheets of aluminium. It is driven by a separate motor unit with its power generator built-in.

Clearaudio tonearms Clearaudio vinyl doctor big Clearaudio turntable Clearaudio Ambient turntable

At a small booth there was a kind guy from Italy, Mr.Fabio Camorani, who offered excellent espresso, and also sells Unobtainiums, err ... Goto drivers and tweeters, featuring heavy and big Alnico magnets. Mr. Camorani intends to set up a kit with an 8 inch Goto fullrange (reaching 8 kHz), which runs totally without any filters, added with a Goto tweeter. Each driver/tweeter costs 785 EUR, quite a bargain even compared to Japanese prices for Goto. Mr. Camorani is sole distributor for Europe for these two products.

GOTO tweeter GOTO fullrange drivers

Now we come to the best sound of the show. The big Martion Orgon four way horn speaker is really something special. Electrostatic resolution with real life dynamics, give me more, please. If I only had 40000 EUR leftover ... Vinyl replay was with Schroeder tonearm, again.

Mr Martion with his Orgon speaker Martion Orgon speaker Schroeder tonearm at Martion

Rossner und Sohn showed their really big turntable with a platter made from two slices of aluminium (top) and stainless steel (bottom), and also have an adjustable phono amplifier.

Rossner turntable Rossner tonearm Rossner phono stage

Fricco, a dealer from Austria, had a lot of vintage turntables for static display.

Refurbished Thorens TD124, SME3012, Bronce bearing and base plate EMT 930 in suspension frame, with mirror platter

Wavac - presumably the most expensive room heating of the High End 2005 show.

WAVAC power amp with 833 tube WAVAC setup

Hot Sax Club playing ... and every male turned around ... err ... in the background you can detect the booth of the new German magazine "LP", dedicated to vinyl replay.

Hot Sax Girls

© Copyright 2005 Hartmut Quaschik - www.tnt-audio.com

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