2013 Munich High End Show Wrap-Up

Before I get to the picture above, I'll make a few closing remarks abut my time in Munich.

I went to this show on Stereophile's invitation, and for the most part my time at the show was spent listening to the big rigs for sound that really turned me on. So I didn't spend as much time looking for headphone gear as I would otherwise have done. It was quite a refreshing break from my normal show routine, and I very much enjoyed writing my piece for Stereophile. If you'd like to read it you can find it here:


I did make a point to try to find the new headphones from KEF and B&O. B&O weren't at the show, but I did catch up with the KEF folks and while their new M500 appears to be a very nicely constructed and good looking headphone, the sound wasn't up to snuff in my opinion. However—and this is a big however—it seems to me the rule more than the exception that what I hear when headphones are first introduced is not what I hear six months later once the unit has actually been in production for a while and some of the kinks get worked out. Okay, maybe it's listening conditions at shows as well, but I'm not going to worry too much about the sound of the new KEFs until I hear them at RMAF or CES, and I suggest a "wait and see" attitude is probably the way to go in this case.

Last official comment about the show: A huge shout-out to the show organizers from me. It was by no small margin the most humane and enjoyable event of this type I've ever attended. The venue is marvelous, the audio displays were much better than the normal hotel room listening we get here in the states, but for me the highlight was the comfy press room where I could grab a cup of coffee and a couple of cookies and work in peace. Ahhhhh! That was really nice. Thank you High End Society, I hope I get to come again someday.

Loudest Audio at the High End Show
Now about that picture above...

On Sunday, the last day of the show, as I arrived in a cab with an unusually chatty female driver, she remarked that the bus we pulled in behind was quite loud. I didn't give it a second thought. When I got out of the cab, however, I heard that she had misidentified the bus as the source of the throbbing bass. Someone, somewhere, was playing their system way to loud, but it's an audio show, nothing too surprising about that. I made my way into the press room (which is located at the front of the building just next to where I exited the cab), and after setting up my computer for a little writing, I realized the throbbing bass was continuing and seemed somehow not quite right for sound that might have been occurring in the exhibition hall. I wandered back outside to try to find the source.

By the time I got back to the sidewalk where I arrived in the cab it became obvious that the source of the sound was not in the convention center, but somewhere across the street to the left. I began walking. About 300 yards along, music getting ever louder, I turned down a side street and found a bunch of security people and temporary barricades. I asked one of the guards what was going on.

"It's a three day disco," he said.

"How much is it to get in?"


I saw a little sign saying "Press" with an arrow pointing toward a small entrance. I flashed him my High End Show press badge and said, "I'm press?"

"Oh. Well you can go right in."

I asked him if I could take pictures, he nodded, so I went back to the press room for my cameras.

Have you ever stood next to a speaker that was so loud you could feel the sound waves vibrating your eyelashes? Thank goodness for my V-Moda Fader ear plugs. And so it is that I'll end my report on the High End show with a pictorial of its loudest (nearby) participant. I'd say this particular system had the most enthusiastic listener response.













Auf wiederzehn!

Jazz Casual's picture

Great photos Tyll. Those Germans are sooo buttoned-up. The guy in the beanie obviously doesn't understand English.

ultrabike's picture

I agree with Jazz, great photos! Hope you had a great time!

It's good to see many speaker brand names developing and offering personal audio products. Hopefully this will have a positive impact (sound quality) in the market.

Audioaddict's picture

I absolutely love the faders! Those little plugs are incredable. Although i feel like they reduce the vocal range just a touch.

paul's picture

Did you ever find out what "CUNT" means in German? wink

monetschemist's picture

I'm pretty sure that beanie is the English version.

I'm also pretty sure that's not exactly a "peace" sign offered by the two guys enjoying their beverages.

All in good fun I imagine!

anetode's picture

I wonder what that guy in the third photo is smoking

Beagle's picture

Too bad about the initial KEF impressions. I was rather looking forward to these. But yeah, we'll have to wait and see..

LeeTammera's picture

Hey,All the pics are cool but I want to know one thing that a girl in the above picture has put finger on her mouth,What is she indicating ?or is a pose?Do reply.

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Rex's picture

Looks like you were having fun!

Those speakers look to me like Funktion 1's, a brand quite popular among the house and techno crowd looking for that flat frequency high fidelity sound at serious volume. A lot of course depend on room acoustics and the sound engineers but it has become something of a brand alongside a good DJ when promoting events. The appreciation that good music deserves good speaker systems is taking hold and what's not to like about that? Hopefully it'll spread into adjacent areas.

If you ever pass through London you might want to check out the club 'fabric london', which has a square 'Room 1' with speakers placed a few meters from each corner pointing towards the center. In this center the resolution and speed is a lot like an excellent headphone but with bass extension and feel of no headphone.

They have sound engineers fine tune it every night. Whether the music is any good I can't guarantee but the sound system is very, very impressive. Don't forget the plugs.