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HIGH END 2022 ⸜ Monachium

Dates: May 19-22
Addresa: MOC München
Lilienthalallee 40
80939 Munich/Germany




images Wojciech Pacuła | Dirk Sommer

No 218

1 czerwca 2022

HIS YEAR'S HIGH END SHOW, organized in Munich by the HIGH END SOCIETY Service GmbH, took place from 19 to 22nd May and was the first one after a two-year break caused by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). As the organizer declared before show’s commencement, about 500 companies from 40 countries were expected to appear there. The number of bookings was to be of the same scale as during the last show in 2019.

Mr. Stefan Dreischärf, managing director of the HIGH END SOCIETY said:

People want to meet face to face again and can't wait to finally experience the products for themselves after such a long separation period. The point is for them not only to not miss the business side of things, but also, in particular, the personal contact (more HERE).

The face of the exhibition in 2022 was ALAN PARSONS, who initially agreed to be the guest of honor at the fair, which was to take place in 2020. During the event, he was present at the press conference, at selected product premieres, and - on days open to all visitors - he signed autographs.

The whole truth about the Show

In fact, the High End Show 2022 appeared to be much smaller than the previous ones. I do not know the statistics yet, but the number of exhibitors was, in my opinion, significantly lower, just like the number of people from the "industry" - I was in Munich for the first two days, intended for the press, distributors, etc. I remember well the event from three years ago and, if I'm not mistaken, it will be hard to repeat that success. So the numbers given by the organizer to me seem to be exaggerated.

Moreover, in the corridors there was a completely different vibe. I would describe it as "exhaustion." There was no trace of the excitement known from previous years and it was a bit like a chaotic spinning around its axis, with no direction and no destination set out. A good illustration was this year's catalog, which was a shadow of the catalogs from previous years. Not everyone perceived it that way, there were also those who were satisfied with the event. In my opinion, however, I was satisfied not with the how the show looked like, but with the fact that it did happen at all.

Everything that I wrote about is completely understandable to me. It is hard to expect an event of this scale and rank to recover right after the catastrophe, which was a pandemic, and that it would immediately regain all its vitality. The more so that some of my interlocutors indicated that during these two years they did not need the show at all and they were even happy that it did not take place. Some of them simply did not return to Munich, focusing on small events organized by local distributors.

What I completely do not understand, however, is the hypocrisy of the organizers pretending that High End 2022 is happening at normal times. They did everything to prevent anyone from associating it with the war in Ukraine. I have not found a single flag, banner, or even inscription that speaks of unity with the attacked. I cannot rule out that I missed something, but if it was so, it was even worse for the organizer. That is, they didn't want it to be seen. I know that among the exhibitors there were Russians working for them, not immigrants, but citizens and residents of the Russian Federation, and nobody was bothered by it. This is extremely unethical behavior, downright disgusting to me.

And again - from the conversations I had with my friends and acquaintances from Germany, there emerged the shock related to the events beyond our eastern border and sincere sympathy and compassion for the Ukrainians. A huge Ukrainian flag hung on the Munich city hall, and from time to time you could see posters about solidarity in the city. At the same time, however, the German government lied about arms shipments, prolonged talks and, together with big German business, played a game called "business as usual".

⸜ The only brand from Ukraine at the Show – Copra Acoustics Systems and Hydra speakers

As reported on April 14th by Politico, trade with Russia declined as a result of the sanctions following the annexation of Crimea, which explains why Berlin has not only turned a blind eye to Putin's actions, but has become his leading defender in the West. What's more: "Besides gas and oil, Germany has a wide range of commercial contacts with Russia - from Mercedes to breakfast cereals." As the authors conclude, "the main reason Germany Inc. is attached to Russia is probably something more: money" (MATTHEW KARNITSCHING, NETTE NÖSTLINGER, How Germany Inc. played Russian roulette - «and lost», "Politico" April 13th 2022).

Why am I writing about these things in an audio magazine at all? The answer seems obvious to me: audio and music are part of the reality we live in. One must not pretend to live in an ivory tower. It ends badly. It must be repeated over and over that Russia must lose and that Ukraine must regain all its lands. And then both the Russian state and the Russians themselves must be held accountable for their actions. Without denazification, it will still be a rogue state that threatens all of us. And we must all understand it, including our friends in Germany.

That's why the presence of Zavilink Records, a tape publisher from Moscow, was like a slap for me - it's a shame! By buying products from Russia, we indirectly finance the war in Ukraine. As the director Agnieszka Holland said in a recent interview in Cannes, it was unacceptable to admit a film from this country to the competition. "It's not fair," she said, "but it’s right."


STILL, Munich has been, is and - in the foreseeable future - will be the center of high-end audio, not only in Europe, but also in the world. No wonder that also this time many companies chose this city for the premiere of their most important products. The most visible were the premieres of the new speakers.


⸜ Audio Physics MEDEOS are an advanced design, and are said to set a direction for the company for years to come

The most energy and resources were spent on presenting the powerful MEDEOS loudspeakers. The presentations took place in a separate room with Alan Parsons participation. When asked for a few words of comment, he only said that "audiophiles like such a warm sound", and the sound of his system "is more detailed". As Dirk Sommer, who knows Parsons and who left right after him, told me, the money earned by the musician were donated to one of the charities fighting against childhood cancer.

Weighing 200 kg and costing 150,000 Euro, the giants are a show of the company's technical capabilities. They use as many as eight woofers, four of which are active, and the rest - depending on the taste and acoustics of the room - can be activated by a switch. As emphasized during the presentation, the most important thing, however, is a new type of midrange driver whose super-light foil diaphragm is stabilized by a special matrix made using a 3D printer.

The presentation prepared by the Monitor Audio was a surprise. This company, previously known mainly for its loudspeakers belonging to the basic and mid-price range, presented the CONCEPT 50 loudspeakers for the first time. It is still a prototype, but its technical assumptions and appearance are extremely interesting. They consist of two elements connected, with a visible from the front aluminum element in which the new MPD tweeter and six midrange drivers are mounted.

This system is called "The Array" and works with four woofers facing each other, the pressure from which is directed outwards through a gap in the front of the cabinet. The speakers are expected to cost $ 62,150 plus taxes. They were prepared for the company's 50th anniversary.

⸜ Acoustics TRIO G3 are not only about re-designed drivers, but also a new way of how the horns are mounted

The third speaker system from the price stratosphere that I would like to mention is the Avantgarde Acoustics TRIO G3. They seemingly resemble the already known Trio speakers, but they are a completely new design. They are built around 18 cm horn for the tweeter, 57 cm one for the midrange, and another, 95 cm one for the low-midrange driver. The set includes Basshorn XD subwoofers. Price? - 76,000 EUR.

Please note the prices of the new flagship models of these three brands - they are astronomical. High-end has never been cheap, because good things cost money, but this year prices have skyrocketed. The producers indicated an astronomical increase in prices for materials and components as the main reason. The problem is their availability itself. Six-month subscriptions for cars waiting for chips are nowadays also common in the audio world. And this further complicates the economic situation of manufacturers.

⸜ Audiovector QR7, the new flagship from QR line

That is why I was so pleased to listen to the new Audiovector loudspeakers, belonging to the basic series of this manufacturer, the QR7. They are the top model in the series, but cost just 5750 Euro per pair and offer great value for money. They resemble the smaller QR5, but in a larger cabinets and with larger woofers. They were designed by Mads Klifoth, the son of the company's founder, and have a chance to share the fate of the other models - that is, become a hit. By the way: congratulations to Mads, who has just become a dad once again!

| Statement in High Fidelity ⸜ German Edition 2022
The Award Ceremony

The HIGH END 2022 SHOW was an opportunity for us to present the STATEMENT IN HIGH FIDELITY ⸜ GERMAN EDITION 2022 awards. For us, that is, for Dirk Sommer, editor-in-chief of magazine and myself, representing Polish HIGH FIDELITY.

⸜ Pan Hideki Kato (SoulNote) with truly yours

Let me remind you that this year the awards were given to the Børresen 05 Silver Supreme Edition loudspeaker and the SoulNote P-3 SE line preamplifier. After an evening with Birgit Hammer-Sommer and Dirk, we rushed together the next day, right after the Show’s gates opened, to the SoulNote and Børresen rooms.

Mr. Hideki Kato, Chief Engineer, and Michael Børresen, Founder and Chief Engineer, and his friend Lars Kristensen, received the award on behalf of the former. Together with the Ansuz- and Aavik- brands, it is part of the Audio Group Denmark, jointly founded by Michael and Lars.

⸜ Lars Kristensen and Michael Børresen (Audio Group Denmark) with Dirkiem Sommerem

Munich was the third occasion in the history of the awards to spend an evening with the winners, which we were happy to take advantage of. Sitting in a classic Bavarian restaurant somewhere on the outskirts of the city, we talked about the war and the Russians (obviously), about music and audio equipment, and above all about food and alcohol. We did not agree on everything, but it was my declaration of the superiority of Compact Discs over files that truly heated things up. Michael is a fan of files and he didn't hesitate to make it clear to me. It ended with an amicable draw and the challenge of inviting each other to listens to the other’s one system so that we could find out with our own ears what our interlocutor was talking about.

Congratulations to the winners!

TO FINISH THE PART CONCERNING Loudspeakers, let me tell you about the presentation, which sounded great and during which the smallest and largest loudspeakers of this company were shown - I am talking about the Raidho and the X1T Super Mini Monitor speakers, as they call them, costing 5800 Euro, as well as the TD6, for which you have to pay 200 000 Euro. By the way, Michael Børresen mentioned above was one of the co-founders of Raidho Acoustics.

The small X1T sounded incredibly good, delivering big sound. But there were some serious technical solutions implemented in them, such as a ribbon tweeter and a fantastic mid-woofer, the diaphragm of which is reinforced with ceramics and - this is a novelty - tantalum. Despite the fact that the speaker measures only 32 cm (height), its frequency response goes down to 70 Hz, and at the top it reaches 50 kHz.

⸜ Raidho X1T Super Mini Monitor and top TD6, with Simaudio by Moon electronics – a crossover in the TD6 features Nordost cables


CABLE MANUFACTURERS had a lot of new products in Munich, but I would like to tell you about one brand, i.e. two, which showed something special. Let me explain: it's about Siltech and CRYSTAL CABLE. Yes, not about CrystalConnect, but about Crystal Cable, which we have known for many years. This is one of the most important pieces of information, ending several years of turmoil in the company. It was all the more interesting that the show featured new cables from the Future Dream series, as well as a prototype implementation of a new development, which can be called a "buffering amplifier".

I saw its almost finished form during a visit to the company's factory and heard it in the company's flagship loudspeakers. The idea is that before each driver there is a digital amplifier with properly calibrated DSP, but having a gain of 1, thus working as a buffer. At the show, it was in the form of a black box to which the signal from the amplifier's loudspeaker outputs was fed and than fed to the Crystal Cable loudspeakers via speaker cables. The sound was great, even though these are tiny speakers. In the future, the buffer is to be integrated into the base.

Let me add, that Siltech reorganized its "royal" line and changed the Double Crown model, equipping it with new plugs.


IT SO HAPPENS THAT THIS YEAR the most interesting sound source was the Polish product, the LampizatOr HORIZON DAC. It was used in three very good sounding rooms, it could also be seen at the company’s stand, where its creator, Mr. Łukasz Fikus, was available. Another important novelty was the module by FERRUM named "Heart". It will be offered to other manufacturers, and it includes a USB receiver, MQA decoder, digital input switch, etc. As the head of the company, Marcin Hamerla, told me, small companies have a constant problem with this type of modules, because they do not have proper engineering resources. And Ferrum has just hired another two R&D engineers ...

⸜ „Heart” by Ferrum

The analog sources were represented in many rooms by reel-to-reel tape recorders, but there were - as far as I remember - fewer than before the pandemic. Therefore, I paid more attention to turntables. Among them, the most important for me was the listening session to the wonderful NAGRA Reference Anniversary machine, designed for the brand’s 70th anniversary. What a great sound! On the other hand, in the Avantgarde Acoustics system, I noticed a new SME turntable. This is a new flagship with a completely different suspension solution. The tonearm - the new VA model - features a new tube made of machined resin instead of a magnesium alloy. The SME 60 is expected to cost £ 50,000.

Since we are talking about tonearms, I cannot fail to mention another Polish accent, the 9-inch version of the J.SIKORA tonearm. As the designer told me, he had many inquiries about such version, especially from the USA. Thanks to its lower height, it will fit a wider range of turntables. The Kuzma company showed an equally interesting novelty. It is a 9-inch tonearm with a bearing taken from the 4Point model, but with a tube made of artificial sapphire. Mr. Kuzma told me that its production is extremely expensive, hence the price: 20,000 Euro.

⸜ Mr. Franc Kuzma with his new Safir 9 tonearm


THIS YEAR I DIDN'T FIND too many amplifiers that would capture my attention. Most of the devices of this type, presented at the show, were already known products. Therefore, I listened to the SOULNOTE M-3 monoblocks with great interest. With Mr. Kato, their designer, I talked the day before about the newest remaster, released by EMI in 1963, of the Edgar: CelloConcerto… with Jacqueline du Pré on cello. He played me his favorite version, PCM 24/96, available on, and there was something to it. I will have to take a closer look at the new Esoteric releases.

I also liked the sound in the ESTELON room, with the flagship Extreme Mk2, costing 110,000 euro, driven by MSB monoblocks. A novelty in them is the ability to adjust the depth of the diamond tweeter using the remote control - it helps to focus the sound wave at the listening position.

At the stand, where I could not hear much, I noticed the new MOONRIVER phono preamplifier, the 505. But during a classic listening session, I had the opportunity to take a look at the new MARK LEVINSON monoblocks, the ML-50 model, designed for the 50th anniversary of this American manufacturer .


In the SHOW’S SUMMARY, sent by the organizer, the HIGH END SOCIETY Service GmbH, its director, Mr. Stefan Dreischärf, says:

HIGH END is back and we are thrilled about it, it was a huge success. The feedback from our exhibitors, not to mention the industry audience, visitors and the press, is amazing.

In my opinion, this is quite an exaggeration. The organizer gives the following numbers: 28,000 m2 of exhibition space, 450 exhibiting companies from 40 countries, which is quite good, although the numbers are lower than expected. It seems to me that if we really want to restore the interest in audio, it is high time to think about new forms of presentation of the equipment, as the old ones seem to be already "worn out". Perhaps the time of mega-exhibitions has passed, and it would be worth focusing on smaller events?

And the key thing for me: the morality of the audio industry. While we can appreciate the show more or less, in this respect, the High End 2022, by completely ignoring the war in Ukraine, by allowing companies from Russia to participate, and accepting the presence of representatives from this country, was a huge disappointment for me. Pretending that nothing has been happening, being an attempt to caress the reality, although normal for the German economy, for me, a man from Poland, is difficult to explain.

As in an interview published in the last issue of the "Newsweek Polska", the Nobel Prize winner, OLGA TOKARCZUK, said:

We live in a critical moment for the world. We are all soldiers, even if the murderers are not attacking our homes and families now.

⸜ TOMASZ LIS, Czuły narrator w trybie wojennym źle się czuje, „Newsweek Polska” Numer 21, 23-29.05.2022, p. 12.

The next Munich High End will take place between 18 and 21st May 2023. It is time to wake up!

  • High Fidelity Statement Award at the BØRRESEN booth.
  • GIK ACOUSTICS panels.
  • TEKTRON TK Two 211-1 amplifier, with 211 tubes.
  • AUDIO ANALOGUE Absolute integrated amplifier, released for the brand’s 25 Anniversary. It can work in Class A or Class AB - that’s user selectable.
  • A beautiful RIVIERA APLO 1 SE tube preamplifier.
  • Marcin Hamerla, the head of FERRUM, with „Heart” in his hand :)
  • PHILIPS PRO 12 tape recorder at the STS booth.
  • STS tapes using small reels – these are cheaper than their „big” counterparts.
  • MOONRIVER AUDIO Model 505 phonostage.
  • ROSE RA180 integrated amplifier with mechanism similar to that of a watch.
  • Small speakers you can hang anywhere, a product prepared by ONCE.
  • AXIOM Titan G.C. tonearm featuring tube made of titan, tungsten, and magnesium.
  • PATHOS presented a large, powerful Inpol Legacy amplifier. It delivers and output of 100 W in Class A, weights 100 kg and will set you back 50 000 EUE plus VAT.
  • WESTERN ELECTRIC 91E amplifier with 300B tubes, by Western Electric, obviously.
  • A new, at least for me, preamplifier from CANOR, the Hyperion P1.
  • The beautiful GRAHAM AUDIO LS5/5F speakers.
  • The Polish presence at the High End this year was unusually strong – the photo presents Audio Reveal amplifiers, AC power strip, and rack by BASE.
  • Morten Kim Nielsen from RAIDHO, presenting a crossover for the TD6 speakers.
  • New cables Future Dream from CRYSTAL CABLE.
  • A ‘refreshed’ SILTECH Double Crown line, now in black.
  • Mighty planar speakers from ALSYVOX…
  • And LAMPIZATOR Horizon from the same system.
  • Retro style strikes back – ‘refreshed’ MISSION 700 loudspeakers next to the new version of the 778x amplifier by the same company.
  • Unusual, horn speakers ARIES CERAT with electronics from the same company.
  • Very interesting, module loudspeakers, the GERSHMAN ACOUSTICS Posh. Also in this system the main source was a LampizatOr DAC.
  • An important representative of the Polish audio scene, Mr. ŁUKASZ LEWANDOWSKI, an owner and chief designer of the hORNS (loudspeakers in the back).
  • At the Show many CD and SACD Players were presented, although in most cases they seemed to be purposely hidden. It seems to be a result of industry’s hysteria… The photo shows PIER AUDIO CD-880 SE costing 1800 EUR.
  • A beautiful system with electronics by the Japanese Phasemation. Loudspeakers by Wolf von Lang.
  • One of the most interesting proposals, a SACD player, files player and digital preamplifier in one - METRONOME TECHNOLOGIES Kalista DreamPlay X.
  • ENGSTRÖM electronics in all their glory together with the MARTEN Mingus Orchestra speakers.
  • The new linestage from Bulgarian THRAX AUDIO, Libra, a balanced design with four 300B tubes (!).
  • A room with only one king – J.SIKORA Standard Max Black turntable featuring a new, 9-inch tonearm.
  • ESTELON Extreme Mk2 with the MSB electronics.
  • dCS presented the already known electronics from the VIVALDI line, but with a brand new software, the Apex version.
  • My favorite, ESOTERIC Grandioso T1 turntable.
  • And another flagship, the SME 60 with VA tonearm.
  • One of the surprises, new EPOS ES14N speakers designed by the FinkTeam.
  • That’s just a prototype, but already beautiful, the GRYOHON EOS 2 loudspeakers.
  • That’s one of the real reasons I go to these shows – NIC POULSON, the owner and chief designer of the Trilogy.
  • And yet another very nice meeting, this time with Mr. PHILIP SWITH from Spendor.
  • The CHORD COMPANY can be proud of two high-class AC power strips.
  • These tiny speakers are a new proposal from JBL – these are Model 4305P active monitors. You can use them to stream music using Google Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth.
  • Mr. KAZUO HAMAGUCHI, DS Audio designer, with a new product, the ES 001 Eccentricity Detection Stabilizer - a stabilizer for vinyl records.
  • New MOFI ELECTRONICS phonostage with VU-meter.
  • And the whole NAGRA system with Wilson Audio speakers.
  • Eye-catching, isn’t it? PRO-JECT Metallica turntable, a limited edition (1599 EUR).
  • HOLBO turntable with a new air pump, behind it, Mr. Bostjan Holc, owner and chief designer .
  • The most interesting sounding headphones – planar-magnetic model, the SR1s by RAAL.
  • Jonathan Weiss at one of the most interesting presentations – new speakers by Oswald Mill Audio (OMA), sold under Fleetwood Sound Company (FSC) brand and their electronics, including Special K power amplifier, and K3 turntable. A slightly different system was featured in the „And Just Like That” TV show.
  • The amazing OMA K3 turntable with its custom rack.
  • A mighty power amplifier, DAN D’AGOSTINO Relentless Epic 800.
  • We will test these soon, the TAD E2 speakers.
  • A very interesting turntable from Japan, the AP-0 by YUKI.
  • And another Polish brand - SVEDA AUDIO Blipo Home active speakers (14 500 EUR).
  • An inside of the latest ORTOFON’s Diamond cartridge’s body.
  • Great sounding active LYRAVOX speakers.
  • A new era in the history of YG ACOUSTICS. Photo shows a stand-mounted model named Cairn with BURMESTER’s electronics.
  • That’s what every one talked about, the two-box WADAX Atlantis file player.
  • A fantastic room with SOULNOTE electronics driving Borg speakers by FINKTEAM.
  • That’s how I tried to spend my time - with friend. Photo shows ANDRIJ ĆURKOVIĆ, the chief editor of the Croatian „HiFiMedia” magazine.
  • It was a long, but interesting conference – the new, top headphones from FINAL Audio, D8000 Pro.
  • Another Polish accent, the beautiful headphone amplifier by FELIX Audio named Envy.
  • And finally, a digital, multi0chanel integrated amplifier QA Quadro-Amping by Ukrainian company COPRA ACOUSTIC SYSTEMS.