HIGH END Munich 2023 Show Report – Part One

Sooner or later, if you’re a serious audio enthusiast or audiophile, you will attend an audio show. Numerous shows have been held across the world annually, over the years, excusing the interruption that COVID brought. As far as audio shows go, the High End Munich International Audio Show is arguably the largest and most international show in the world that is dedicated to audio and particularly that of the stereo type. High End is a show for serious enthusiasts and audiophiles and those most dedicated feel a calling to attend, if only just once. Over the past decade I’ve had a desire to attend but given life’s complexities, I didn’t think I’d get the chance anytime soon. I was wrong… somehow the stars aligned and this year, I finally did get my chance to go. May 18 to 21st, 2023, the High End Munich show was held and I was able to attend all four days. The experience was nothing less than amazing!

The 2023 High End was held at the MOC Event Center Messe München, Lilienthalallee 40, Germany, as it has been in past years. Exhibitors displayed products over three floors within numerous spaces, including showrooms, open hall spaces as well as within small, medium and large rooms. The attendees included a mix of male and female patrons across a rather broad spectrum of ages. Yet, as expected, middle-aged to older males were the dominant group. High End attracts an international audience…with Europeans, Asians, North Americans as well as other continents represented by show goers. Fortunately for me, English (my only language) is widely spoken at High End, which made communicating a nonissue.

I flew out from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) on May 17th at 5:40 pm and landed in Munich just before 7:45 Munich time on May 18th.

My enthusiasm was so great, I caught the first free airport shuttle direct to High End, getting there well before opening.

I made my way in and got my show pass at the welcome desk before grabbing a complementary coffee and pretzel at the front entrance. The High End show organizers are most kind to the press, providing a Press Lounge that allowed me to sit down, get organized prior to the show’s opening. That morning, in the press room, I ran into a familiar face; someone I’d never met but had seen on YouTube. It was none other than: Hans Beekhuyzen, of The Hans Beekhuyzen (HB) YouTube Channel. I introduced myself and we had a friendly chat about streamers before I began my rounds.

Beginning that Thursday, the crowd’s began to gather and the excitement for the show was palpable.

With my show guide in hand, I began to navigate my way to the first floor, section 3.1.

One of the first exhibitors I got to was Burmester, which was most appropriate given that company’s high-end products and German heritage. There, on the floor, were some examples of the companies Bespoke products, which are customer special order that offer personal customizations. Shown were a pair of BC150 loudspeakers, one was finished in a nautical aesthetic, incorporating paint and actual wood floorboards of the Robbe & Berking yacht company.

A true demonstration of the company’s luxury product capabilities. Burmester was hosting listening sessions by scheduled appointment – and I attended one. The demonstration included their Top Line 217 Turntable, into their all-new Classic Line 232 Integrated Amplifier and B38 loudspeakers.

The new 232 Integrated is a modular design with MC phono and DSD DAC modules and is an exquisitely finished product.

Listening to the Rachminoff Symphonic Dances LP, the sound was both dynamic and gentle. Next up were digital sourced tracks, including Dominique Fils-Aime’s Free Dom and Carolina Low by The Decemberists. Dynamics also were well produced and the opening guitar notes produced impactful pluck, with details and warmth.

had on display their all-new C1000 Preamplifier, from their Evolution Series, along with their D1000TX CD / SACD / DAC, M1000 Power Amplifier and Evolution Two TAD-D2 loudspeakers.

However, the main system in play was comprised of their Reference Series Electronics, including: C600 Preamplifier €42k; M700 Mono Power Amplifiers €97k; D700 CDP €49k; and Compact Evolution One CE1TX Bookshelf Speaker €34k on ST2TX stands €2500. Within this beautifully appointed rooms, the systems sounded very clear, clean and precise and airy.

MOON by Simaudio
was showcasing their all-new North Series of components; a first time demonstration for the all-new line of components that includes 6 new components plus a new remote control, more specifically: 681 Network Player / DAC; 641 Integrated Amplifier; 791 Network Player / Preamplifier; 761 Power Amplifier; 891 Network Player / Preamplifier; 861 Power Amplifier and BRM-1 Intelligent Remote Controls (all prices are on the company’s website). I caught Costa Koulisakis, company executive in front of the North Series, here.

The demonstration system consisted of the new North Series 791 Network Player / Preamplifier $21,000 CAD and; new 761 Power Amplifier $18,500 CAD, playing through a pair of latest flagship Dynaudio Confidence 60 Loudspeakers.

The North Series incorporates a number of first time company innovations including MHP Power Supply within the integrated amplifiers that provides full galvanic isolation between digital and analog; their M-VOL3 electronic gain control and; MDCA (MOON Distortion Cancelling Amplifier) circuit. In addition, Simaudio has also now removed all feedback from the audio circuits i.e. zero feedback. These serve to substantially lower isolation, preserve purity of the audio signal and deliver substantially improved sonic performance over prior models. Listening to Charlotte Cardin’s Sex to Me track, the music was buoyant and liquid with masterful bass weight and natural mid-band.

PART 2: (to come soon)