Best new speaker at € 4,500/pr. Since I didn't get into every room, much less sit down and listen to my own music, this statement is highly subjective, relative and all the other gutless boilerplate qualifications. But, of what I heard and where experience caused an instant recognition of superiority, the Audio Physic Scorpio II was an immediate stand-out. When something is truly good, it takes no time to know. And yes, for that price, the enclosures are sourced offshore.

Audio Exotics client Mr. Wilson in Hong Kong used to own the really big Avalons. The lure of the high-eff field has since had him switch to Cessaro horns. J.Lam, proprietor of Audio Exotics, wants to fly me back this year to catch up, visit the same audiomaniacs from my first Hong Kong RoadTour, document how their rigs have changed since - and meet some of the new converts. Marja & Henk meanwhile caught up with Avalon Acoustics in Munich.

Ayon Audio of Austria has some of its amps and CD players look a lot like Raysonic Audio. Ken Micallef's review of their CD1 -- and his comparison to the Raysonic CD-168 -- proved that the circuitry beneath the sheets is very different.

Ayon's lineup is, like - deep, dude.

And behold, there was a new integrated. Let it be known as the 40wpc Gentle and charge from 10,000 to 26,600 depending on trim, from add-on amplification channels and multi-channel room correction to advanced magnitude, phase, delay, export and import processing. Designer Ralf Ballman meanwhile could be seen in the hallways checking out the competition while employees held down the fort in his exhibit. That bit of recon is essential to stay on the ball but only few exhibitors bring sufficient personnel to facilitate it.

Bel Canto's Mike McCormick talked about their upcoming iDock. Like Wadia, the Minnesotians are working directly with Apple. As of two weeks ago and contrary to appearances, Apple apparently has not made a final commitment to anyone in the high-end. Is Apple hedging its bets?

B is for bling. That's how I'd filed away this gold-ensconced OTL after Henk quipped "Harvey Rosenberg woulda rolled over in his grave". It's Dr. Schwabe's Eternal Arts piece under the Audiophile Gateway brand which endeavors to reinterpret classic products with modern parts and assembly techniques, here the Futterman circuit.

B is for bratwurst. This show is so well organized, places to sit down and refuel with calories of all sorts are under the same roof. This makes impromptu business meetings convenient. Forget standing in hallways. Sit yerself down, have a cuppa joe, a plate of lasagna and enjoy live music to boot. All of this is conducive to business. And while the usual forum morons decry any notions of people making money in this racket, those who spent to exhibit all hoped to return home with new contracts, orders and leads. The Munich show gets it.

B is for chrome. If you're Burmester Audiosysteme. As you can see, the rooms in and around the two atriums were sizeable. This event actually encourages to make good sound, with the ground floor cubicles admittedly far from ideal but cheaper. Oscar Heil's air motion transformer patents long since expired and many German firms in particular have adopted their own iterations of this driver technology, Burmester among them.

Who in high-end audio actually does any volume to speak of when it comes to international sales? Many would point at B&W as a likely leader in the field. Oliver Settertobulte with B&W Group Germany GmBH did the honors and even brought the classic Nautilus.