With the cancelled Munich HighEnd 2020 show, here’s what Métronome’s Jean Marie Clauzel and Artesanía’s & Kroma’s Cayetano Castellano planned on showing in art-meets-sound style.

Mårten Design. Like their Danish colleagues at Børresen Acoustics, our Swedish team sport in their name a letter which for Brits and Americans isn’t on the keyboard. Like the Danes, it’s become a stylized part of their logo. Another mark of distinction goes to a long-standing collaboration with German driver supplier Thiele & Partners aka Accuton. Like Tidal in Germany and Albedo in Italy, Mårten champion their ceramic and diamond transducers over all others. So it’s no surprise that in their newly introduced middle range replacing the prior Heritage models, the three-deep Parker series goes all ceramic again, even offers an upgrade path to a diamond tweeter…

10 secrets to the best sex ever. 5 secrets to a toned body in just 30 days. 3 secrets to the perfect omelet. If there’s a subject, there’s a self-help book or weekend workshop. So here are my little secrets about how to assemble a personally fulfilling hifi system…

Pop went the weasel. There goes our weasel word musicality. Kapoof. Good riddance. That’ll be John Darko. He hates it. Rightfully so. “How was your food?” “Delicious!” “How was your weekend?” “Just fine.” “What did you think of those speakers?” “Awesome, dude.” Throwaway answers of no real meaning are legion. Using them to convey subjective listening impressions with any degree of specificity is impossible. How to express meaning with meaningless words? Calling a hifi “very musical” is like calling your car “very automotive”. A hifi plays back music. Of course it’s musical and not agricultural, medicinal or antiseptic…

We all know how strategically placed wall mirrors can make a room feel bigger and better distribute available light. German company Arakas—their name is an anagram for Acoustic Room Sound System—apply the same principle to sound by offering acoustic mirrors using an undisclosed surface material that’s stretched under tension over round and square frames…

An opinion piece about an opinion piece about a review in Stereophile. With that segue, any reasonable readers will have buzzed off already. They can read and think for themselves. They don’t need a third party to explain a review they’ve already read elsewhere. Still, indulge me for a few minutes. The article in question is…

The no-show report. I’m fond of saying that nobody ever needs to shoulder the expense and inconvenience of show attendance just to spread product news. This year that personal sentiment came home to roost with the cancellation of the annual HighEnd show at Munich’s M.O.C…

“If I don’t practice for three months, the crowds notice. If I don’t practice for three weeks, my students notice. If I don’t practice for three days, the cognoscenti notice. If I don’t practice for three hours, I notice.” – Indian master teacher’s proverb. In all art forms, there are levels of appreciation which require great involvement and intense intimacy to acquire. If we define audiophilia as the love of music playback not mere gear fetish, the same holds for our hobby. At its most rudimentary level, any hifi is a mere appliance. As long as sound comes out when turned on, it works just fine. Mono or squashed stereo, marginal bandwidth, dubious linearity or anything else are of no concern…

The Bristol show this year was busy, buoyant and upbeat with a really nice vibe. Our Living Voice presence was a collaborative affair and genuinely good fun…

Separate. Activate. Stuff it. What’s that? A call to civil disobedience? A secret invite to pig out at an endless buffet? Neither. Today is about active sealed woofing. Inspiration came from two recent back-to-back reviews. First to arrive were the Polish Cube Audio Nenuphar Mini BASiS. That mouthful stands for 8″ Neodymium-powered ported widebander monitors. Those sat atop 10″ sealed sidefiring active woofer cabs. From Lithuania the next day came 8mm audiolab’s new Linga. That was a conventionally passive 5-driver 3-way with dual sidefiring 12″ woofers each ported out the back.

Working the waves. Riding them is for surfers. Bending waves is for German Physiks, Manger & Co. Falling somewhere between was the Linæum driver. Slightly evolved, it reappeared with Impact Technology’s Airfoil. When that disappeared, eventual descendants like the Swiss Audio Consulting Rubanoïde and all the current French Audionec models revisited the concept with their own executions. However, the original inventor of that driver’s concept, Paul Paddock, is back now with MC Audiotech and his Model Forty-10 speaker. Its first number represents…

Conceptual sympathy. With it, we buy into particular design philosophies. They’re those which to our way of thinking and education make the most sense. This individual selectivity applies itself to any component category or tech: tubes/transistors, planar/dynamic, box/open baffle, 1st/4th-order filters, digital/analog, DSP/purist, low/high-mass turntables, direct/belt drive, NOS/max oversampling, PCM/DSD … the list is an endless circle jerk.

Fresh off their rave reviewed/attended summer tour of Magnepan’s 30.7 flagship, the feisty duo of Wendell Diller and lovely wife Galina were back by popular demand to hit the road again and introduce the prospect of a very different Maggie speaker. Officially billed the 30.7 for condos, it is far more than that. It constitutes such a departure for Magnepan that critical audience input gathered during this tour will determine if there is a marketable future for it.

The sirens of Warsaw. Sex in the city…

Since 2012, the Russian high-end audio time table at the beginning of winter is reserved for Moscow’s Hi-End Show. From November 8th to 10th this year, the hotel Holiday Inn at Simonovsky Val was the center of attractions again for the connoisseurs of hi-end sound and music lovers both from the metropolis, the outer regions and even abroad. According to my impressions, the share of young people attending increased. As before there were plenty of interesting presentations, a lot of vinyl and live music. This year, the expositions saw added space one one floor with three spacious halls and lower lobby.  The domestic manufacturers demonstrated their achievements within the circular listening framework where several sound systems installed in the hall took turns…

Directional bass? Low bass propagates omnipolar. That means equally in all directions. The result is that we hear it more than once. First we hear the direct sound which hits our ears without bounce. Next we hear—whatever comes first—the ricochet off the side or front walls, ceiling or floor. Finally we hear the last reflections from the farthest boundaries. Depending on involved time delay, our ears either sum all this data into one, albeit with slightly blurred edges; or our brain processes the late signal as a ghost aka room-induced reverb/echo. What if bass could be made more directional and without massive DSP like the Kii Three does it?

A visit to Aalborg to learn about Ansuz, Aavik and Børresen …

The speaker builder’s sandbox. How to print a speaker cabinet. Between each other, Ondrej and Martin have many years in Skoda’s R&D department and shorter projects at Aston Martin, McLaren, Honda and Airbus under their belts. This has them fluent in the disciplines of design engineering, prototyping and 3D printing with selective laser sintering, fused deposition modeling and stereolithography. Between their Akemake prototype to Deeptime the Czech design studio and its first commercial project, five years were spent on R&D into acoustics and the hifi industry. This included learning how to print from sand and master so-called binder setting. In general, this type of printing was used for casting molds, not finely finished freestanding objects. Hence Deeptime had to develop their own compound hardener to turn an otherwise fragile silica structure into a strong acoustically inert object…

Magnepan 30.7 and the art of the road show. It’s been a sizzling summer of hot cross country tours by the legends of music. Not to be outdone by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Magnepan has likewise been on tour with their legendary new 30.7 flagship speaker, offering short 30-minute listening sessions at select dealers, hosted by 46-year Maggie veteran and Marketing Manager, Wendell Diller. Not to disparage the stage presence of Jagger, but he doesn’t have quite the moves like Wendell so when Adrian Low of Audio Excellence asked if I’d be interested in attending, I booked my time slot and strapped on my reviewer gear.

Innovation. You’d think that well-funded firms with a big cadre of engineers and access to or even ownership of the latest measuring soft/hardware would be the ones to advance the state of the hifi arts. Perhaps that’s true. But it’s certainly not exclusive. Today we highlight six more recent discoveries—the Raal Requisite true ribbon SR1a headphone having been covered in its own earlier feature—which come from very small outfits…

Celebrity entertainment mags and blogs have ’em. I’m talking of those “who was there wearing what” featurettes. And it struck me. Most show reports are…

Can you see the northern lights from Glastonbury? With iFi Audio’s new Aurora, you can hear them from anywhere in the world. Because that’s what this advanced project, originally code-named Glastonbury for the popular annual music festival in the UK, is now called. Spearheaded by chief designer Thorsten Loesch who also handles their Abbingdon Music Research line of very high-end electronics and speakers, this is iFi’s all-in-one wired/wireless complete system. It sits in sustainable bamboo which nattily suspends in a pyramidal aluminum frame based on a concept by French designer Julien Haziza who apprenticed with Philippe Stack and was inspired here by the architecture in Tokyo’s districts of Omotesando and Harajuku. Eight drive units including two passives are managed by 32-bit ARM Cortex microprocessor brain power then driven by a hybrid 6N3P-tube/class D amp of 320 watts total whose 1.5MHz switching frequency is sync’d or clock-locked to the 32bit/192Hz ESS Sabre D/A converter’s sample rates. The output filter’s bandwidth is 300kHz, that of the amp’s 150kHz, suppression of the switching noise is 120dB.

Definitive Audio, the distribution and retail arm of speaker house Living Voice, were relinquishing their long-standing Kondo franchise for the UK. “We have always followed our heart because that’s where music communicates. It is fundamental that we feel a powerful connection to the brands we represent. Over the years we have enjoyed a good working relationship with Kondo and it is now time for us to move on and make way for someone who feels as passionate about their new designs as we do about their originals. We wish them well for the future. We, of course, continue to offer backup support and service on all of the Kondo equipment we have sold over the last 16 years. In this news blurb hide a few thought-worthy points. The most interesting perhaps pertains to…

What to do in Munich – stop N°4. As covered in last year’s show report of the HifiDeluxe in Munich, Bayz Audio there premiered their unique omnipolar Courante speaker which curved a thin-walled carbon-fibre tube into an upright C whose open section was bridged by their proprietary pulsing-rod tweeter. For this year, inventor Zoltán Bay has announced his flagship Counterpoint model…