Munich High End 2016

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by Serious, May 3, 2016.

  1. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Pyrate BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,673
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    High End 2015.jpg
    Anyone going to the Munich High End show this weekend (friday to sunday)? I will be there mainly for speakers, the only headphones I care about are the Senn Orpheus 2 and the Campfire Audio Jupiter (I don't think Campfire Audio will be there), maybe the LCD-4 and STAX L-700 for fun (doubt I will have enough time).

    Stuff I wanna hear (in no particular order):
    • The huge 1920s room - always interesting
    • Marten Coltrane 3 (missed them last year, hope they will be there)
    • Marten Supreme II - the rooms the last two years were pretty bad, so hoping these are there and sound better this time around
    • Other Accuton Cell speakers
    • B&W 80XD3 - already heard the 805D3 and thought it was better than the 805D2, though I'm not familiar with them and it was from memory
    • Vivid Giya G - never thought they were that good
    • Audio Physic speakers - I want to hear what Anax was talking about
    • new Martin Logan Stat (Renaissance ESL 15A) - active + DSPed bass o_O
    • various turntable rigs
    • full range speakers - I can only remember the super wide baffle voxativ which sounded like super wide baffle speakers (like shit)
    (EDIT 2016-05-17: I thought about huge circular baffles with their comb-filtering effects. This makes me look dumb now. I do know that these Voxativ speakers have a huge 10db 2kHz peak and a rough, rising response, especially (of course) on axis.)
    • Lumen White speakers - only heard them in the most crappy room at the show and even then they were decent
    • Raidho speakers - heard the X1 and thought they were quite good
    I will be going all 3 days. I hope to be able to learn more, so that this helps me decide which speakers I want to get for my first speakers. I was never super impressed with any of the setups at the high end show. Most rooms sound unbearably bright (and LOUD!). The other speakers usually have super complex x-overs which makes you fall asleep while listening. Usually only a handful of speaker rigs actually have decent imaging, etc. etc.
    (Speakers I'm considering: Fostex FE168EZ in a BLH (or open baffle with, say an Eminence Beta 15); open baffle with Accuton CELL midrange + accuton tweeter; Quad ESL 63)
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  2. iDesign

    iDesign Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    230
    Trophy Points:
    63
    While visiting Sennheiser's display be sure to post more information about the new HDVD 800. Its rumored to be moving from the PCM 1792 to the PCM 1794 DAC and now capable of DSD but few other details and the release date have been explained. A Japanese site quoted Axel Grell as saying the sound of the HDVD 800 has been "improved" so there may be other changes. There has also been no mention of an updated or black version of the HDVA 600. Munich High-End is likely where Sennheiser will announce the updates to their amplifiers.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
  3. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Pyrate BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,673
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    I was at the hifideluxe today. Unlike the High End, the hifideluxe already opened to the public on thursday (today). Free entry! You could say the hifideluxe is a more traditional or maybe more american show because it takes place in a hotel. Even though I knew of this second show in munich that always takes place at the same time as the High End, I never actually went there because I was too busy with the High End. I figured that because I couldn't go to the High End today anyway, I would go to the hifideluxe and I'm so glad that I did.

    More to follow, I'm tired (some pics for now)...

    Living Room (Studio 1):
    (no pic)
    This was the AER room. They were playing at super low volumes as a sort of background music. I kept telling myself to check back whenever they actually started playing music. The few times that I went back there, nothing changed, still background music. FWIW, I felt what I heard was pretty good, a full range sound that didn't stab my ears while still being relatively resolving and tonally correct. Really hard to tell when the music is at a lower volume than the people talking.

    Studio 2:
    (I think my friend took a pic. No pic yet)
    FM Acoustics. These were the pyramid looking speakers. I don't really remember much other than that these sounded like a hollow mess. The cabinets sounded like a resonating POS in the lower mids.

    Studio 3:
    (no good pic)
    Dipole. Dipole Bass and a ribbon or sth. I would say they had some issues with the crossover region, which would not be very suprising. I like the dipole bass sound but in this case it wasn't enough to completely eliminate room modes in the bass. They were very far in the corner of the room.

    Studio 4:
    S4.jpg

    I think the speakers were the Sonus Faber Aida. Clearaudio Maximum Solution TT. TW Acustic Raven 10.5 tonearm with (I believe) the same Ortofon Venice cart pictured. I forgot what the tube amps were. This room really was all about the room treatment. Basically the same kind of room treatment pictured here. I was able to hear the beginning(? can't remember) of "Rattle That Lock" on vinyl, a recording I am not intimately familiar with (but better than nothing), while sitting in the sweet spot. You really had to sit in the sweet spot to appreciate the special spaciousness. Almost "3D" sounding with reflections from behind and above. I thought that this room sounded pretty good, far better than any untreated room. Obviously you're not going to get rid of bass problems in a room of this size. but the mids and treble were pretty balanced in terms of decay. They used a lot of diffuse reflection instead of absorption. I prefer a slightly more dead room sound, but then again these Sonus Faber have a rear firing midrange and tweeter. I generally do not like rear firing drivers. Makes stuff sound too diffuse. Generally images were more diffuse than I would like. These Sonus Faber speakers also seemed to have some cabinet resonance issues in the lower midrange like most speakers. The power handling (he played them pretty loud) wasn't perfect but much better than most other speakers. Overall I quite enjoyed the sound of this room.


    Studio 5:
    S5.jpg

    Omega Audio Concepts room. They were playing from their own(?) turntable. I did not care for this room at all. Are these 5-way speakers? Even when sitting in the sweet spot all the sounds came exactly from where the speakers stood, or from a diffuse image in the middle. 3 blob soundstage for speakers. I also never liked it when the tweeter was below my head and the bass above. I'm just not used to that. Also sounded like some enclosure issues in the mids. Maybe I'm wrong and these are the 2nd coming of Waldo.


    Studio 6:
    S6 (1).jpg

    JMF Audio room. These were the HPM500 speakers. This guy kept talking about how fantastic his blu-ray audio discs sounded and how awesome hi-rez is. When I asked him to play Hell Freezes Over (listened to Tequila Sunrise), he told me how bad it sounded, and that his music sounded so much better. I told him that the HFO isn't perfect (dynamically compressed) but that it really helps me to put the system into context (or something like that, or maybe not). I already had the suspicion before, but that basically confirmed everything: Horn coloration in the treble (I think it was actually more neutral to the sides), resonance at the upper end of the big driver (probably around 2kHz) (which was already readily audible with the piano stuffs he was playing before). Soundstaging and Imaging was better than Studio 5, but everything was too diffuse sounding. Room issues in the bass. BUT: the real showstopper Issue: ALL OF THE AMBIENT INFORMATION FROM HFO WAS MISSING! Only redeeming quality was bass extension, which was good but not great. I loved how the guy kept talking about hi-rez and stuffs when these speakers weren't resolving at all. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing a blind test between 500kbit/s .ogg and 16/44.1.


    Studio 8:
    (pic turned out super shitty)
    Sigma Acoustics MAAT. I thought that they were using the MSB Signature 5 dac from the looks of it but I could be wrong. I really don't care what the setup was:
    Oh god. They played the Nils Lofgren "Keith Don't Go" track. This track is bright but not unbearable on my USB -> Wyrd -> Gungnir (delta sigma) -> Ragnarok -> modded HD800 setup. It was unbearably bright on this setup. I left after less than 1 minute (and I tried to be polite and stay longer than I really wanted to). Actually this track isn't very bright on my setup. My modded HD800 was probably warmer than all of the speaker setups at the hifideluxe show.


    Room 517:
    MalValve MalStat Four.
    "Keith Don't Go" again. Waaayy too bright again. Left after less than 1 minute. I don't know which speakers were brighter, these or the others.


    Room 518:
    518.jpg

    MiTec estats. Einstein Audio amps. These were fed digitally. Something about ceramic electrodes and nanometer diaphragm stuff.
    I sat in the sweet spot when the Rodrigo & Gabriela version of Stairway To Heaven (from the 2006 album) came on. I'm relatively familiar with this track. Pretty much all of my impressions are based on this one track. (This track usually tends to sound good, so also take this with a grain of salt):
    Clarity, resolution, all technicalities much better than all of the other speakers here. Very neutral balance with good timbre. Maybe slightly bright or forward compared to my HD800 setup (not really sure in this regard). These had a certain estat type of bass. I would say that I would prefer a good dynamic bass over estat bass, but even in this regard they were probably the best sounding speakers of this show. Really helps that they are a dipole so room modes are avoided as much as possible. Maybe actually slightly bassy compared to my HD800 (which is slightly light in the sub-bass).
    I still think these have the typical problems I associate with estats (or very thin, light diaphragm planar magnetic drivers): slightly soft sounding overall, with transients noticeably smoothed over. The imaging was also less precise than I would like with much taller images (makes sense, as estats are much taller than normal speakers). I would prefer a point-source for imaging alone. I also thought that they were noticeably less resolving than my HD800 setup. I had this feeling while listening to it there and then also had the same feeling again when I listened to this track again at home. Resolution was probably also limited by the room.
    The really interesting thing was: Do I feel that the good Accuton driver based speakers (Marten) are more resolving? I would think yes (without a direct comparision).
    I kept returning to this room but I was never able to get the spot in the sweet spot. Listening to estats off axis is not fun.
    Because they were pretty resolving, I'm not sure how much of the speakers and how much of the amps I was hearing.


    Room 618:
    618 (1).jpg

    Viva stuff playing from a TT (I forgot which one it was, but I could look it up).
    Actually, pretty good coherency and low horn coloration. I didn't expect this. Not too many room issues. Soundstage was surprisingly good (might've been the TT). Really hard to say more without music I'm familiar with.

    _______________

    Headphones:
    I actually didn't go there to listen to headphones but they had quite a few in Room 517:
    517 (1).jpg
    517 (3).jpg
    517 (2).jpg

    Very brief impressions:
    I had less than 30 minutes for all of the headphones combined. These were usually very brief, mostly only listening to parts of one or two songs. Take these with a huge grain of salt. Read the impressions of more knowledgeable people than me. My headphone journey is over with my modded HD800.
    All of these headphones were driven by MalValve headphone amplifiers. I forgot what the CDP/DAC was.

    Ether
    First impression (with Get Lucky): Marv was too nice on them: No real headstage and treble issues; way too bright with Get Lucky; bad bass quality compared to my modded HD800
    2nd listen with Eagles - HFO: Hotel California: Actually not that bright; instrument timbre still seemed off, with an emphasis on mid treble. The measurements don't show this, so I could be wrong. What was most disappointing was that so much of the ambient information in Hotel California got lost. I would guess that the MiTec Stat speakers were more resolving than this. Maybe HD600 is more resolving.

    Ether C
    This seemed warmer. Like with the Ether, you really can't listen to these with glasses. Also not very resolving. I felt that the fact that it was closed made the midrange timbre sound slightly off. Could also just be me.

    Ether Stat
    I liked this better than the other two Mr. Speakers headphones. This seemed like the clearest and most resolving. It probably also had the best tonality. Still 0 soundstage.

    LCD-4
    Small soundstage. I generally agree with Tyll's take on the FR. However this is probably the best sounding Audeze I heard (keep in mind that I probably heard less than 10 individual pairs). Not offensive like the LCD-X I heard at CanJam a year or two back. Going from memory I would easily take the Abyss over it.

    Dharma
    Bass (muddy) with sizzle. Weird upper mids emphasis. I really didn't like these. @Hands was right.

    DIY Stat thing
    These must have a super low free air frequency resonance. Yes, they are the thing in the 3rd pic. Yes, there is no headband. You were supposed to hold them in your hands. I really didn't listen to them at all.

    Out of all the headphones, my favourite would've probably been the Stax SR007mk2.5. My modded HD800 was probably the closest tonally to that one (but without the 1kHz emphasis that I hate so much). The stats were driven off some transformer thing. I really wonder how much of the "0 soundstage" thing was due to the setup.
    ___________
    Will update with impressions later (probably after High End). These are mostly very brief and should be taken with a grain of salt. Most of the time I wasn't familiar with the music they were playing. I guess noone is expecting super in depth reviews for every single component in every system based on a 5 second audition with music you've never heard before.
    I'm not sure if I will go to the hifideluxe again this year, depends on how busy I am at High End.

    Updated with some impressions.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  4. Chris F

    Chris F Boyz 4 Now Fanatic - Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    805
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    For turntables I would try to check out the following rooms:

    Techdas - New AF1 "Premium" http://techdas.jp/topics34.html I'm not sure what the delta is but Hideaki Nishikawa will be on site demoing it
    Kronos + CH + Goebel - New supercap power supply and isolation base for the Kronos Pro, Louis Dejardins will be on site somewhere
    VPI + Nordost - Avenger (mag drive?) in Halle 4 Room 114
    Kronos Sparta + Nagra + Wilson room
    Kuzma - I saw a big booth in Fremers preview video. Go check out the 14" 4 Point arm.
     
  5. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    14,574
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    I cancelled. Just cannot get booth babes, even when I tell them they can keep the implants.
     
  6. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Pyrate BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,673
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Updated my post with some impressions (not all of them). Keep in mind that I could be full of shit with all of them. I'm not as experienced as most of you guys.

    I will probably not be able to do that. I went to Sennheiser, saw that they were running some "private members" thing for the Orpheus 2 (I kinda expected this already) and went again. After reading @jmcmasterj's impressions on the Orpheus 2, my interest immediately sank to 0. I will probably not go to the headphones area again. The headphones are really the least interesting part of the High End.

    Thank you for this. Unfortunately I didn't look on SBAF while I was there today, so I missed most of these. Will try to check them out tomorrow.


    I was able to listen to two Marten setups today and they completely blew away everything else on the show for me. More in a few days.
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    90,849
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    :D And people keep saying we hate Dan.

    Yup. The Ethers seem to be missing a lot of musical information.
     
  8. bixby

    bixby Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,076
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Northern Colorado
    Pro series - iCAN
    Endgame, fully-balanced Class A Headphone Amplifier only $1699

    I hate the word ENDGAME, should appeal to lots of the bits are bits folks
     
  9. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    14,574
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    What, ifi iCAN? Oh my god I'd hate to see the headfi thread on that. I bet it does octoquadroinfinite amplification and blows people's brains out.
     
  10. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    14,574
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    Audioboobs went tits-up before it even started. Project cancelled. Investors will receive a full refund. Oh, wait... there weren't any.

    Back to procrastination. And wishing I could visit international audio expos, even thought I'm not an audiophile any longer!
     
  11. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Pyrate BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,673
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    When I asked on sunday, the Senn representative basically said: Wait until it gets released.
     
  12. Chris1967

    Chris1967 Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Greece
    I visited the show all 4 days. I had very good company (i am personal friends with the Parttimeaudiophile crew) and had an excellent time.
     
  13. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Pyrate BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,673
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Ok, mostly done with writing this. It's likely some minor edits will come.


    Keep in mind that I went there to find a speaker that I liked, so that I knew in which direction to go for a DIY-project. I'm not as experienced as most of you guys, especially when it comes to amps and source equipment, so again take all of these with a grain of salt.
    I have to split this post up in 4 parts, because of the 10 pics per post limit.
    (I know that all of these pics are really shitty. That's not what it's about.)

    With that out of the way, let's get going:


    Munich High End Show Impressions 2016:

    Part 1:

    Setups that I listened to my own digital recording with (Hotel California):

    Atrium 4.1 – F121
    Tidal

    F121 (5).jpg
    (Tee-Dahl)
    Tidal 30k NOS Ladder DAC > Tidal reference amps > Tidal Akira
    This setup was bright, no way around it. Would be interesting to see if it's their speaker or their electronics.
    Otherwise I really enjoyed the sound of this system. For me, this was probably the best of the show. These use unobtainium Accuton 5" CELL diamond drivers. Their website says that the crossover frequencies are at 150Hz and 6000Hz, which would mean that these use much steeper crossover slopes than the Martens. Would be scary to hear what a good analog source could do to this setup.
    Impressions:
    In my opinion this was the most resolving setup on the show. Most likely the best inherent driver capability on the show. I told him to play "Hotel California from Hell Freezes Over", he chuckled and said "sure". I can't rule out the possibility that he might have used a different master (I'm not familiar with the different masters for Hell Freezes Over), but I doubt it since these impressions are very consistent with those of other songs.
    I heard subtle claps on Hotel California that I heard on no other setup here (these claps aren't exactly "plankton"; they are more macro detail, but if the swively shit on Talking Heads - This Must Be The Place (2005 remaster) is micro detail, which is obscured on some setups (it really isn't), then this is plankton). I heard subtle things that I couldn't hear on the SR-009 setup (more on that later). The thing is that, because this setup was bright, it also brought these things, especially the subtle claps, out more. I also didn't hear all the subtle things that I hear on my HD800, but the ambient noise here was much higher. In a way these have both amazing resolution and a lot of "fake detail".
    The soundstaging was also super impressive: Super precise with great layering, especially considering that these were exclusively driven from a digital source. I really wonder what their DAC sounds like. I felt that with Hotel California, I heard the reverb coming from a different, more diffuse and further back space than Glenn Frey's voice. On the other setups the reverb seemed to be part of the voice.
    I would say that the midrange driver also sounded faster than the ceramic version.

    I would really like to see what Marten could do with the diamond midrange, because for some reason these speakers didn't disappear as much as the Marten ones. Anything could've been the cause for this (gear, room, specific recording, ...), but I feel like at least part of the reason for this are the steeper crossover slopes in the Tidal speaker. Of course this is all based on speculation. Unfortunately this driver is exclusive to Tidal.


    Atrium 4.2 – F214
    Marten Mingus Quintet

    F214 (16).jpg
    F214 (17).jpg
    F214 (18).jpg
    MSB Select Dac II (two power bases) > Analog Domain amp (looking at the website either Calysto or Artemis?) > Marten Mingus Quintet
    These had more of the weird acrylic things (compared to the other Marten room), but they were further away from the speakers. This seemed like a better approach to me.
    These are the new Marten speakers. The back said "Bird SE", which is really what they are. I think they use the 5" Accuton Cell midrange, the midrange driver I am most interested in buying for a DIY project.
    When I found this room on friday, some guy brought his Thales Easy turntable, so they could play their new Marten Supreme Recordings 2 on vinyl (they had just gotten it on vinyl on that day and this was the first time they played it). I didn't know these recordings, but I was taken aback by how the speakers simply disappeared. Sitting in the sweet spot, you could not tell that the sounds were coming from the speakers (well, you could, but it got really close). A huge part of this is obviously the recording, but this impression was consistent even with lesser recordings.
    After listening to Hotel California on the Tidal setup, I went back to this room to listen to Hotel California on here. They used the MSB Signature Data CD IV (at least that's what I think it was), so this should've been a really awesome setup.
    Impressions:
    Overall this setup has a more neutral balance: less bright and bassier and although the bass is slightly excessive, I find this more pleasing and more fun to listen to. I would still like to turn down the bass a little. (I think the Mingus Quintet might actually sound bassier than the Coltrane 3, at least in their respective setups and rooms.) The bass was super quick and actually went really deep, especially considering that these are 7" drivers! This setup might have actually had better bass quality than the Tidal room (less room modes and possibly less enclosure resonances). Now on to the bad part:
    I didn't hear the same small details that I heard in the Tidal room. To be fair (and this plays a huge role, on all of the following things), the room was more reverbant, but this should still not completely obscure those things. Those acrylic things on the side might have also had a negative effect on the resolution. The imaging, while better seperated from the speakers, was much more diffuse and much less layered than the Tidal room. I would have really liked to compare to these two setups in the same room, or even the two speakers from the same setup. The soundstage and imaging was fantastic with the Marten recording and the turntable.

    The thing is, I also came away with similar impressions from at least two other setups with the MSB Select DAC 2 in place. I'm not saying that the Select DAC 2 is bad, or that this is necessarily the DAC's fault, but this is something to note.


    Atrium 4.2 – E224
    QUAD

    E224 (5).jpg
    Quad Artera play as CDP and DAC (I believe) > LUXMAN L-550AX > QUAD ESL-2912 speakers
    (LUXMAN M900-U amp on saturday)
    I really didn't expect to see these at the show. As I thought about buying Quad ESL-63, this was perfect. There are no dealers in Munich with Quad speakers and this was my first chance of hearing Quad ESL speakers.
    They should have been more angled towards the listening position, at least for better sound at the sweet spot. I think they also had some room mode issues in the bass (might have actually been the speaker).
    I think it sounded better with the big amplifier that I heard them with on saturday, but I can't really tell as I didn't listen to the same recordings.
    Hotel California impressions:
    Amazing tonal balance; probably the most neutral speakers at the show for my preferences.
    I thought the lower midrange and bass sounded a little slow, especially in comparision to the Marten Mingus Quintet. They also sounded very clear and resolving, but I still think the accuton driver based speakers are better in this regard. The best part about these is probably the great imaging with super depth. I would really like to hear these from a better setup, to see how much they scale.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
  14. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Pyrate BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,673
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Part 2:

    Setups that I didn't listen to Hotel California with:
    (Take with a huge grain of salt.)

    Digital:

    Atrium 4.2 – F228
    Wilson Audio + MSB Select 2

    F228 (6).jpg
    ReQuest Audio The Beast > MSB Select 2 (Single power base) > MSB M204 > Wilson Alexia
    I went in there when Daft Punk - Giorgio Moroder was playing (at around 2 minutes); managed to get a seat in the sweet spot.
    Impressions:
    This setup also seems to lack some of the nuances that are in this track. Diffuse center stage. Great tone however. Think this had a pretty dynamic sound, not sure. This is consistent with the impressions that I got with the MSB + SR009 setup (see below). I also think that the Wilson speakers just aren't as resolving as the expensive Marten ones. I would say the drivers are the limiting factor.

    I was in this room multiple times. I thought that it might've improved with other tracks. I'm not sure but it could be that with High-Res tracks the soundstaging improves, as the Select 2 is a NOS dac.


    Atrium 3.1 – C119 or C120
    Canton

    (no pic)
    These used Audionet amplifiers
    I could not get a seat in the sweet spot, so I couldn't judge soundstage/imaging.

    I really like Canton's presentations: The guy seems to know what he's talking about (he always talked about how awesome the new midrange driver is and that you should really listen to all these nuances in the mids that it can reproduce) This setup was bassy and bright, but not to the point where I wanted to leave. I should really have checked the back to see what the speakers were set to (there are switches for bass, mids and treble). His "very loud volumes" weren't super loud by High End standards: It was still bearable unlike some of the other presentations (but the lamps did start to rattle). To be honest, I really wanted these to be better. My dad has Canton speakers from the 90s (Ergo 120DC). Those are very neutral (closely match B&K target at listening position). For an HD800 guy the new K1 were a little disappointing tbh. He kept talking about these fine details in the mids and that you could never hear these songs in the same way again, but they still missed many of these details. The accuton stuff is probably better. He also talked about the fast bass that this driver could reproduce but where I sat the room modes were terrible. This is always the case with the Canton room at the High End show.

    For what it's worth, they were probably a great value (speaker alone; not the whole setup) at their 22k€ pair price, compared to some of the other speakers.


    Atrium 3.1 - D106 or D107
    Burmester

    D107 (5).jpg
    500kg concept speaker. These look like a party gag for the rich: You can move the mid/treble part further upwards and turn the bass panel, so that it is foward facing, instead of facing towards the sides. In the normal mode only the upper pair of drivers are activated, so one of the midrange and one of the bass drivers wasn't playing.

    I really hated this sound. I never liked the sound of the Burmester room. These have a super fatiguing treble. Hard to explain. The Stereophile measurements for the Burmester speakers show no ringing (not that I expected that; but it does sound similar to that), so it is entirely possible that this is either a system characteristic or a high-volume distortion problem. For what it's worth I generally prefer the treble presentation of a good dynamic driver over ribbons, AMTs, estats, etc. . They used a 15" bass driver. Bass quality of the speakers seemed decent, as far as I remember, but they had more room issues than most of the other speakers.


    Atrium 4.2 – E208
    E208 (5).jpg
    Goebel Epoque Fine
    I went in because Hotel California was playing. I already knew from past years that I didn't like the Goebel bending wave driver.
    Way too bright. No depth to the image and diffuse center image, no layering. Not very resolving: most small details were obscured. The bass also wasn't that great.


    Atrium 4.2 - E228:
    Genelec

    (no pic)
    Genelec 8351 speakers
    I didnt listen to these for very long at all, but from my short impressions I would agree with what Marv once said:
    You can throw away your Yggdrasil if you're gonna use a DSP
    I left after a short time.
    (As I said, I'm not really sure how accurate this impression is. It might have just been my mind telling me that there's a DSP in there.)


    Atrium 4.1 - F114 or F115 (I forgot)
    New Martin Logan Stat

    F115 (3).jpg
    LOL, these have a super slow bass. Walked in, heard driver coherence issues and generally soft sound from the panel and walked out again. The funny thing is that I felt that the Accuton bass drivers were faster sounding than some estats in the mids and treble, let alone in the bass.
    (Not sure if these impressions are accurate)


    Atrium 4.1 – F115 or F116 (I forgot)
    Martin Logan Neolith

    (no pic)
    This one sounded better. I didn't really listen to it much. The room was always super filled. When I heard them at the High End 2014 I thought that they were very clear sounding. I would say that I prefer good dynamic speakers.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
  15. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Pyrate BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,673
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Part 3:

    Analog

    The thing that I regret the most is that I didn't bring my own records. Because of this I can't really comment on the sound of the turntable setups. I would say that the turntables were mostly a better source than the digital sources, but I didn't really like the speakers in most of these rooms. Take these with a huge grain of salt. (Actually, I should probably leave this section out.)

    Atrium 4.2 – E217
    E217 (9).jpg
    Kronos Sparta (ZYX Premium Omega) > ? > Nagra ? > Wilson Alexia
    This was probably my favourite analog room. This was also the room that Louis Dejardins was in (I think). I think the Wilson speakers are noticeably less resolving than the good Accuton based speakers, so I preferred that room.


    Atrium 4.2 – F221
    F221 (5).jpg
    TechDas AirForce Two > ? > CH M1 > Vivid Audio Giya G1
    Was not familiar with what he was playing and took no notes. It could entirely be possible that I would prefer this setup to the one above with the same music.
    Before he played vinyl he talked about how his 1600$ glass CDs sounded better. I asked him if it was from the same master/if the same files were on the CD. I'm not sure if they were. Then he played his UHQCD. He even admitted that it was a different master, as he had to adjust the volume.
    Great, next time I will say how much better my MFSL gold CDs sound because they are golden. Right.


    Atrium 4.2 – F208
    Zellaton room

    F208 (1).jpg
    Super bright. I couldn't listen to this. This is unfortunate because they always played music that I liked. I also read that the sandwich eliminates the resonances. I would not say that this is the case. I also read that the Zellaton loudspeakers are super resolving. I'd also say no, just super bright with tons of fake detail. Fatiguing.


    Atrium 4.1 - F109 or F108 (I forgot)
    Martin Logan Room

    F109 (7).jpg
    VPI Scout (Ortofon 2M Blue) > Moon Ace > Martin Logan Motion 60XT
    listened to that Dire Straits sampler record (or something)
    I really hated these Martin Logan speakers. Maybe I just don't like the sound of AMT drivers. Otherwise this seemed pretty good. Emotionally involving. Would be interesting to see how the VPI Classic compares.


    Atrium 4.2 – F219
    Marten Coltrane 3

    F219 (9).jpg
    F219 (10).jpg
    They had one of these crazy high-tech BACCH-SP 3D sound processors in the room but it was set to bypass when I arrived there. Would have been really interesting to hear what that can do.
    My dad and I had just been at the Gauder room where they premiered their RC8 speakers. I've never been a fan of Gauder speakers with their 54db/octave 9th order crossovers, so I told my dad that we would go listen to what these drivers are really capable of and listen to some Martens. On my way to the Marten room (F214, which is further back a few rooms), I saw these Marten Coltrane 3 speakers. They were playing from some Transrotor table (don't know the phono stage) and used some tube amps (http://www.thelars.se/#type2). Like the other Marten room, they also had these weird acrylic things on the sides of the speakers. Holding my ears to those was weird, similar to tubes of a certain length resonating at a certain frequency. I would say they were used to slightly delay parts of the signal to give the impression of a wider soundstage or something, but I really can't be sure. When I came there and sat down in the sweet spot I was blown away. I wasn't able to listen to this setup with my own music, so these impressions should be taken with a grain of salt:

    These presentend a deeper, more holographic soundstage than any of the setups I'd listened to before. They were also easily more resolving than any of the other speakers and had a better tonal balance than nearly all of the other setups (not as bright). This whole setup just vanished more and let much more of the music through than the other setups I'd heard before.This was just a very emotionally involving experience, in fact the only thing my notes say is "holy shit", because I listened to music rather than writing my impressions down. When I got out of this room I got distracted by the other Marten room, so I never found the time to write down my impressions for these.

    By now it should be obvious that I really wanted to return to this room later, but every time I went by I saw that there were way many people in there


    Atrium 4.1 – E114
    VPI Avenger + Audio Physics Cardeas 30

    E114 (5).jpg
    I can't really say anything other than that these had a pretty neutral tonal balance and great layering in the sound stage. My dad actually said that it sounded too warm for him (they used the 3D tonearm). I actually wouldn't disagree with him in a specific way.

    This was also a Nordost demo room. They swapped some cables and there were some noticeable changes.


    Atrium 4.1 – E115
    E115 (4).jpg
    E115 (5).jpg
    Kronos Pro > 2x CH M1 amplifier > Goebel Epoque Reference
    This should've been a great setup. The problem is, I don't like Goebel's iPad fullrange driver. I think I went there on friday. I wasn't familiar with the music they were playing, so I can't really tell. The Kronos Pro is probably one of the best turntables at the show.


    Atrium 4.2 – E216
    Absolare room

    E216 (6).jpg
    Kronos Pro (with super expensive Zyx cart); Absolare integrated; Rockport Altair 2
    This is supposed to be super awesome. I didn't like the speakers. Left the room after a short time. No notes. Maybe it was the music they played. It was clear that they had room mode issues in the bass. Many people love this speaker, so maybe I'm wrong.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
  16. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Pyrate BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,673
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Part 4:

    Stuff that I missed
    • Dipole with Lowther full range and Eminence bass drivers
    • EAR room when they were playing from tape
    Stuff that I avoided on purpose
    • Magico (Last year some Magico speaker that's supposed to be the most resolving and transparent speaker everyone has heard lost focus on some Rodrigo Y Gabriela track – a track with exactly two guitars. Might've been the room or just me. Oh - and it was super bright)
    • Omni speakers like MBL
    • Nubert
    • B&M (in the prior years they kept talking about how resolving and low distortion their stuff is; I tried hard not to laugh)

    What was most disappointing to me was that many of the speakers had less precise imaging with a less layered soundstage (relative to the size) than my modded HD800 setup. Keep in mind that I am not even using a SUPER amp or a very good dac. I also thought that none of the speaker setups came even close to the resolution my HD800 setup has. I might get a turntable first and avoid speakers for now.


    Headphones:

    I also found out that you could get on the list for an Orpheus 2 audition, had you asked on friday. Oh well, wasn't interested in the Orpheus 2 anyway ... I seem to prefer dynamic drivers over planar ones.

    Hall 4 – U11
    Headphones on the AudioValve Solaris/ Goldnote CD-1000

    (no pic)
    I keep meeting the AudioValve people. For those interested: I don't know how their amp sounds. Would be interesting to compare. He used a Goldnote CD-1000 as CDP and DAC. I also have no clue how this sounds.
    Ergo AMT:
    I was pleasently suprised by both the comfort and the sound. This obviously lacks the lowest bass. Otherwise this sounded pretty darn good. Probably warm tilt to the treble. Some coloration in the mids, depending on how you wore it on the head. This obviously also affects the soundstaging. I would've preferred more distance from driver to ear. The headphone not only touched my ear, it seemed to rest on it. With a thicker cushion in the back, you could probably improve upon midrange naturalness and soundstage at the cost of bass. It was way too loud to judge the resolution but I would say that the Stax Omegas are probably better at that. How much does this cost?
    HE-6
    I think this had the stock velour pads. Too bright for me. Great subbass extension. The modded HE-6 is one of the 2 headphones that I would consider keeping in addition to my modded HD800 and HD6X0, the other being the JPS Labs Abyss. Midrange seemed laid-back in the upper mids, around 2kHz. This was probably my favourite headphone of the ones that I listened to on this setup, even unmodded.
    SR-507
    I don't like this at all, no matter what amp I use it with. Too forward in the upper mids. Makes Glenn Frey sound super unnatural, I can't stand this at all. I think all STAX headphones have this to some extent, I much prefer the midrange tonality of something like the HD650 or my modded HD800. Sharpness in the treble (9kHz?). Bass, while great extension, has no impact.
    Beyer T1v2
    I also briefly listened to this. I never liked the T1. From memory, this sounds like a T1, but with more bass.


    Hall 2 – D13
    Shure KSE-1500

    (no pic)
    I used my Geek Out 450 as a DAC, to eliminate as many variables as possible. They had the yellow memory tips with the flat front. I listened to more tracks than only Hotel California. I think they had no EQ enabled (Can you even use the EQ with the analog in? Does this have a DSP? I don't know.). Unfortunately I didn't have my UERM with me to compare. Overall I can see why many people would like this sound, but it was not for me:

    Way too much bass for me. Seems to be controlled and extends deep. Clearer sounding than UERM. Good midrange tone in an IEM, no diffuse-field sound. I still prefer the UERM midrange (keep in mind that I love the UERM midrange). Treble peak somewhere. Sibilance. This is actually worse than my custom UERM. At the same time also a coherent, single driver sound. UERM doesn't compare in this regard. But I also think that it has an "electrostatic" sound.
    I always feel like electrostats (and thin diaphragm planar magnetics) sound too soft. They also always seem to lack "grain". We had this discussion back on changstar. I would say good dynamic drivers are the most realistic to my ears. BA drivers tend to sound "raw". Kind of the other side of the spectrum (compared to estats). So this is more of a matter of personal preference. I could easily see how someone would prefer these over every BA IEM. For IEMs I tend to prefer the multiple driver BA ones over dynamic driver ones.
    Soundstage and imaging was surprisingly good, comparable to UERM. Overall probably slightly less resolving than UERM. Would be interesting to see how these scale with a better amp.


    Atrium 4.2 – E221
    SR-009 with overpriced MSB tech

    E221 (8).jpg
    E221 (9).jpg
    This is the moment I've been waiting for. I was super happy to see this room, but not for the reason you might think. When I saw this room I already had the impression that I didn't like the MSB Select 2 DAC, so I thought this was a perfect way of listening to this DAC while eliminating many variables. As you can see, they used their new MSB Select Electrostatic headphone amplifier. Compared to the DAC, this is quite the bargain at around 40k$. The DAC had the Femto33 clock installed, but it used the single power supply. They used some small MacBook as a source. I listened to Hotel California in this room multiple times and I always had the same impression, so this should be fairly accurate, but they also blasted their speaker system (which was also in the same room) from time to time. This was especially annoying on Sunday when they turned their speakers louder than the music I was listening to.

    Impressions:
    Claustrophobic soundstage size with diffuse imaging. Deal breaking issue. Great, realistic ("analog") tone. In this sense obviously superior to everything Delta-Sigma. Overall slightly warm sound, but this might be the amp. Bass, while dynamic, seemed not as precise as I wanted. I felt like it sounded more similar than different each time. Hard to say. I couldn't hear most of the claps and ambient sounds/reverb seemed smeared or left out. This is also deal breaking but this could very well be the loud ambient noise in the room. I listened to the part from 1:45 to around 2:10 5-10 times and could never hear all of the claps. I turned up the volume each time. The ambient noise in the room also lowered siginificantly before I started listening to this part specifically. I think Larry Gullman had a weird look on his face when I did that. When I listened to it for the 8th time or so, I put the headphones down in disgust. 140K$. For the price I'm supposed to be blown away.

    Overall, it's hard to say which device dictated my impressions. It is entirely possible (even likely) that their electrostatic amp sucks. I came in with really high expectations for the DAC and left disappointed. It could also simply be that the HD800 is just so much more resolving than the SR-009. I never thought that the difference was that big (to make ambient sounds on HFO vanish). I also don't think that the SR-009 is solely responsible for the small soundstage size. It could also be that the MSB Select 2 (being a NOS DAC) fares better with higher sample rates.

    The clarity and the absence of any texture "between the notes", that "dark background" are all attributes ascribed to this DAC. (MSB website)​

    LOL, this is actually probably accurate. I felt like it made the background darker than it really was, by leaving out small ambient information (this is not actually what this sentence meant, but you could understand it that way).

    Because my general impression of the Select 2 isn't consistent with what other people said, I'm not really sure if it's accurate. I also don't have an uber DAC to compare.


    Hall 4 – T17
    Kuzma booth

    T17 (7).jpg
    Kuzma Stabi XL DC with 4point 14" and CAR50 cart on a Zerovibe 6050P active platform > ? > Audeze The King amplifier > Audeze LCD-4
    Wish I had brought my own records. I'd say that this sounded really good.
    What was most interesting to me was the active platform. I love it when high-tech like this finds its way into audio.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
  17. Chris1967

    Chris1967 Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Greece
    I would like to ask you, what is your reference system at home, in order to try and understand how you are getting to the conclusions you are getting, about the sound of the rooms in Munich.
     
  18. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Pyrate BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,673
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Wyrd > Gungnir Delta-Sigma > Ragnarok > modded HD800

    using XLR for every connection

    I modded my HD800 to sound a lot like my dad's speakers in terms of tonal balance (B&K target), so most of the systems at high end were brighter.

    I'm sure that most of the rooms had much better source equipment than my Gungnir, it's just that they're held back by the speakers.
     
  19. Chris1967

    Chris1967 Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Greece
    I don't agree with you. All the rooms had FAR SUPERIOR dacs than the Gugnir, to start off, and secondly HD800's are not reference for speaker systems, because they portray a wide but headphone type soundstage. All hiend speakers have a more accurate soundstage than the HD800's.

    Your speaker reference is also not equivalent, not even by a long shot with the most modest system there.

    So your reference point is not on par, so any comparison is unfortunately very personal and according to your reference and current experience only.

    In this way you are doing injustice to things you disliked, only because your reference is restricted, and this may lead you to wrong conclusions.

    System synergy is key in the mixing and matching in the rooms, so is the acoustics that are very far from perfect. It is not always that perfectly matching equipment are used, rather what is available by the dealerships. And bear in mind that this is a trade show mainly.

    I don't mean to be nasty in any way, and please forgive me, you are doing a great effort on this presentation, but using your own words, this should be taken with a grain of salt.

    I read you want to go diy for speakers... i can tell you unless you go for one way and a known cabinet design any other option is not going to produce an accurate speaker... a pleasing one to YOUR ears maybe but not accurate.
     
  20. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

    Pyrate BWC MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,673
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    near Munich, Germany
    Overall I don't disagree with what you said.

    True, I never used that speaker system as a reference (only for tonality, FR can easily be measured and I did that many times).

    Also true. But do keep in mind that the mods make the staging less wide and more precise. I never said that the good speaker rooms had worse imaging than my HD800, just that many rooms did.

    This is probably true as well, but ,,,
    This. In a well setup room, most of these speakers would have better soundstage and imaging than my HD800. Unfortunately, most of these rooms were pretty bad.


    This.png
    I would say this pretty much sums it up. "the best speakers resolve at HD600/HD650 level on a good day and with some luck."
     

Share This Page