The Italian shoe fair in the fall is just one of the many events which take place in Munich's convention center.

It's an open secret. Many in the hifi press and audio manufacture consider Munich's annual HighEnd show the event of the year. Add us to the believers. HighEnd keeps growing without giving up on its under-a-single-roof appeal. Why does word on unhappy manufacturers persist who can't secure exhibit space whilst empty halls and corridors of the giant M.O.C remain closed off? That is a mystery. Being Germanic, it's far less so why the show would be so well organized that by 2015, a free smart-phone app contained the entire show catalogue and maps to make finding things in the sprawling convention center easier than ever. With Thurs-Sun hours—the first day just for the press—a productive individual can cover the lot due to the single location. Bumper to bumper bodies during the three public days do interfere a bit. Any efficient lone wolf keen on doing it all must exercise focus, determination and being in a constant hurry. I've been there and done that. More than once. It rather comes at the expense of fun and quality time. This year I'd be far more selective and slow. My focus would be on spending quality time with supporters. After all, 6moons isn't a charity. Ours is an outfit for profit. Here it's the ad sponsors who keep us going. Personal thanks are important. I also wanted time for contributors like Ralph Werner and Jörg Dames of and their team; Joël Chevassus from France's online magazine; John Darko and Edgar Kramer from Down Under. The latter would attend for the first time. It'd be our first meet in person. This reality of online publishing is often overlooked. Our writers live in the US, Canada, France, UK, Scotland, Holland, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Switzerland and Australia. We don't congregate in a shared downtown office somewhere. Some of us have never yet met.

In my role as hardware truffle hunter, my long nose would be down on a few personally desirable items. One of those was an ambitious server/streamer solution that didn't require WiFi to navigate a library without any loss of convenience (including display size and quality, Qobuz/Tidal streaming and Internet access to shop for online music and locate artwork missed by auto grabbers). Last year hadn't really netted a find. This year, reader Fred Crane thought that he had seen an ad for the Diesis Audio Lecteur Tevere, with an IR option for WiFi-allergic people like us; and HDMI for an external monitor. That I had to check out to see how interactive and useful IR navigation via monitor would be. In fact, my perhaps ultimate solution would be a very simple SD card reader with an HDMI monitor output and—vital!—display options closer to iTunes & Co. (sort by artist, album, track, alphabet, file density etc) than a basic FAT32-based readout. That turns to mindless scrolling with large-capacity cards. I think that SD card playback might be our best-sounding future. The Invicta from Resonessence was there years ago already. When I reviewed it, their display for card browsing was simply too small and the FAT32 listing of a card's content not attractive enough to abandon iTunes. Another item of personal appeal would be a compact omnipolar super tweeter à la Elac and Expolinear ribbons. Given my fondness of Nelson Pass's FirstWatt SIT amps, I was curious about novelties with vertical power Jfets or so-called static induction transistors as output devices. I also meant to play the patriot card and pay special attention to Swiss brands and their products. An obvious layover would be at the downstairs Swiss Affair hosted by Martin Gateley of soundkaos in collaboration with Nagra and Vovox.

But the biggest appeal of any show really is the X factor of surprises. It's the entirely unexpected meetings with people and products which counter any potential for that green jadedness, of déjà vu from last year's show. Let's be honest. A lot of it is repetitive. That includes the very same locations. You just know what's coming down a particular corridor. Leaving room for the unexpected is why I don't book appointments, much to the chagrin of those manufacturer who ask for them. I have to go with the flow. It's how I stay accident prone for that chance encounter, including readers who have a question or just want a moment. I knew going in that Goldmund, Rethm and Trafomatic wouldn't be there. Goldmund couldn't get a room. Rethm's Jacob George was focused on US shows to support a new importer. Sasa Cokic would cruise the show incognito and save lots of money. What surprises might HighEnd 2015 hold in store?