High End Munich Trip 2022

After last year’s cancellation and a two-year hiatus due to the covid pandemic we were finally able to make our regular yearly visit to the High End convention in Munich to explore all things HiFi! High End is the biggest HiFi convention in Europe with an endless list of the world’s best brands aiming to flex their HiFi muscles and really put on a show. With everything from headphones to ludicrously expensive systems there really is something for everyone.

Our trip started early on Friday with myself (Josh) and one of our Directors, Mitch catching an early flight from Birmingham to Munich to catch the end of the IPS trade show. This was only available for trade visitors and was a great opportunity for us to meet with some of the existing suppliers that we use such as ETI and Audio Quest, as well as being a good opportunity to build relationships with prospective companies within the industry ranging from cable and connector manufacturers to those working with the components and the chassis.

After the rest of our group arrived late Friday night, Saturday was show day! We split off into different groups, all with a different goal based on their experience within the business. For our engineers JJ, Mark and Director Mitch, it was all about R&D. Exploring what the current trends were within in the industry and what we could potentially explore doing in the future. After pounding the show for seven hours, it’s safe to say they came back inspired from their trip!

For the rest of the team it was either brush up on all things HiFi or for myself exploring the crazy world of high end HiFi systems for the first time. This included the incredible Avantgarde Acoustic Trio G3 with their futuristic SpaceHorn design, DCS’ new and improved Apex systems and a very special 50th anniversary exhibition system from Mark Levinson which was effortless in its presentation. For me it was fantastic to experience the best in what HiFi can offer at the top end of the market.

The standout for the R&D team was the Golden Ear Triton reference speakers, a relatively unknown speaker brand in the UK that have impressed us so much that we are considering them for our future listening room. We also enjoyed PMC/AVM stand with the Fenestria speakers and the Verity Audio stand (both a little out of our price range).

Naim and Focal’s stand was downsized this year, a shame given it was the 10th anniversary of their partnership. They had a 252/300 setup which was ruined going through the Focals and sadly no Statement to be seen. Some of us actually liked the limited-edition cases but we were disappointed that these could only be purchased as a package with the speakers.

After a long day at the show and more HiFi systems than you could shake a stick at, it was time to for a well-deserved beer (or three…) at the world famous Hofbräuhaus to toast what was a very successful trip.

Until next time High End!

 

 

18 thoughts on “High End Munich Trip 2022

  1. Colin stuckey says:

    What a great informative blog, sounds like you had a eventful day, am interested in your expansion on Naim 252/300 “ruined” into focal. Is this not a good match, I gave 252/300, and was considering the focal route, as an upgrade to my Russell K’s

    • Hal Rollason says:

      I have a NDX, 282, 300 going into a pair of focal scala Utopia 2 speakers and love the sound. Months of listening to Naim into other speakers convinced me nothing was better than this utopias. 

    • Mitch Kite says:

      They are only paired with Focal because the two companies are owned by the same VC firm. We find the presentation to be on the clinical side. 2nd hand Naim SBLs are the best value speaker you’ll find, SL2s are great too. If you want new then have a look at Kudos, PMC and GoldenEar.

  2. Gary Smith says:

    Would be nice to put a name to a face on the photograph…….glad you enjoyed your trip and are exploring new vendors etc

    • Mitch Kite says:

      From left to right: JJ (lead engineer, ex-Naim), Mark (founder, ex-Naim), Chris (shareholder), Josh (customer care), Stuart (non-executive Director), Nic (founder, Director) and Mitch (Director)

    • Mitch Kite says:

      All focals I’ve heard including the grande have been a clinical presentation, unfortunately this is the way Naim is moving too but they used to be about musicality and PRAT.

  3. Amer Saad says:

    Great blog, thanks. Like Colin would be interested why the Naim setup didn’t work well with Focal – the advertising suggests that Naim use Focal as their reference now. I too like the grey finish on Naim, it’ll be good if they offered this a paid for change for current systems.

    • Mitch Kite says:

      Naim wasn’t paired with Focal because of sound, they’re paired because the venture capital firm that owned Focal purchased Naim. The combination is purely profit based and the sound signature far from classic Naim. This is why they discontinued their excellent speaker range at the similar time.

  4. Richard says:

    Nice write-up Josh. Interesting new fact (to me at least) that AQ is one of WH’s suppliers. I agree with Gary that it would be nice to put names to the faces on the photograph. 

  5. Ken Donnelly says:

    Hello Josh, Mitch and the others in the photo line up who I have yet to meet.
    Thanks for your 6th of June post, my 28 year old Naim Nait and cd 3 are both still kicking and continue to impress due no doubt to your continued servicing and support.
    Please let us all know in more detail about your concerns regarding the Naim/Focals package and name the
    other Witch Hat members in the picture.
    Good to hear from you and thanks for my inclusion.

  6. Tim Walker says:

    Interesting comments about the Naim setup and Focal speakers, I assume the Focal Sopras, as they were allegedly developed with Naim in mind. I have the 252/300 and trialled them with the Sopras and B&W 803 D3’s and found the Sopras too cold and clinical, whereas theB&W’s, to me gave a more natural and involving sound. Feeling reassaured that at least re the Sopras I was vindicated in my choice, and continue to enjoy the wonderful experience I get from my set up.

    • Mitch Kite says:

      I would be surprised if Focal weren’t using Naim for their development amps now but it just comes down to preference and the type of sound that the engineers like at Focal.

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