SOtM showed with these white Eggleston Works speakers.


Our South Koreans with their growing arsenal of computer-audio solutions also added to their full-size kit with a new power amp which completed the above stack.


Here is that stack in the black finish front and back.


After their Ethernet isolator I just reviewed, I wasn't too surprised to see that they had applied the same thinking to the USB pipeline with this €350 tX-USBhubEx. What hasn't changed is the funky naming convention. That part I could live without 7 days a week and twice on Sundays!


Sounddeco from Poland went to town with an incredible lacquer-finished hand-applied gold appliqué on their curvy flagships [introdoctury price until 30/6/15 €10'000/pr in standard finish, €12'000/pr as shown). Having heard an earlier version at the Warsaw 2014 show, their designer had made certain crossover adjustments to perfect the response of his SB Acoustics driver array. I will review the smaller version in the left front later in the year. Marja & Henk enjoyed their Sounddeco review loaners so much, they gave them an award and had them stay in their digs. I can't let my companions have all this fun, can I now?


TAD played their compact monitors and had the reborn Audio Alchemy as part of their rack. Yet Andrew Jones was noticeably absent as a presenter.


This was the most likely cause for a little rumour that he no longer is with the firm. With Onkyo's buy-in into Pioneer—of which TAD is a division—he has indeed left to join Elac who already launched a new entry-level range designed by Jones. What a catch for the German team in my home town of Kiel!


Now we get at those Vienna Physix horns which were set up on the open ground floor to eliminate serious listening (I tried).


Still, I found them intriguing enough and surprisingly compact and living-room friendly to now have them squarely on my radar.


Holger Adler of Voxativ showed this newer Pi speaker atop a very new H-frame style open-baffle subwoofer. Having enjoyed and awarded the original Ampeggio, here was an even superior solution for less coin but more bandwidth [€20'000/pr for the 4-piece speaker system]. Needless to say, I signed on to review it.


Holger was quick to point out that their bass amps sing in the key of A/B and not D. Meanwhile at the Jo Sound exhibit which has traditionally meant Voxativ drivers in solid bamboo enclosures, I spotted AER transducers instead. I confirmed that Voxativ and Jo Sound had divorced as it were. As is usual in such scenarios, at least one party pays a hefty price. In this sonic instance, it seems to have been Jo Sound.


Martin Schützenauer's Wiener Lautsprecher Manufaktur or WIM for short introduced not only a preamp and mono amps but their smallest three-way tower with vertically opposed woofers.


Finalized just days before the show, those compact towers made astonishingly good sound and did so from a truly house-broken package. This is a box to watch!


With our alphabet finally running out of letters, we wrap this report with Ypsilon from Greece. Playing Perfect8 open-baffle speakers with a sealed bass unit all encased in solid glass, the room had the same refined flavour I heard at the Swiss HighEnd show with Ypsilon's own speakers. It must be the sound of their transformers which injects that very recognizable very suave aroma.


PS. Did I identify my ultimate server with that elusive non-WiFi interface? Not. But perhaps the Orpheus Labs unit with an HDMI-connected touch-screen display will finally wrap up that search with a bow. On the headfi front, AudioQuest, EnigmAcoustics and HifiMan had three terrific introductions. On the active speaker front, there's real action and traction from numerous firms. It's the most disruptive segment to legacy hifi and the way most of us have done things until now. Did I spot a serious memory-card reader? Nyet. The first one will probably be the long-announced LessLoss Laminar Streamer, whenever it finally bows. Ditto for omni super teeters. I eyed nothing new under that sun. For my review schedule and aside from those already mentioned, items from Analog Domain, Beyond Frontiers Audio, Focal, Göbel, Gryphon, ModWright and Viola Audio Labs have added themselves to a list that'll probably stretch into next year. As a show, Munich has grown even bigger than before. But sadly, it's far from cheap to attend. I heard plenty of moans about the high costs which manufacturers must shoulder to attend even in those pathetic sound booths on the open ground floor. It's one reason for the outboard Marriott show which was originally launched by Volker Bohlmeier of Einstein whom I saw at the MOC this year. I gave that renegade do a complete miss this year. I barely finished the MOC in three days. One of its attendees who had gone over to the Marriott reported that on his day, it was practically dead. If so, those opting for the parallel event paid less but likely got very little from it. Sometimes, paying the piper is the only way to whistle proper dixie. Or as another man once said, give to Caesar what is his. It avoids certain issues.


P.P.S. No Munich reportage of mine would be complete without talking about some new musical finds. I no longer really buy CDs what with downloading them or just paying for a Qobuz, Tidal and Spotify+ subscription to stream music. But, once a year, I mosey around the corner from my hotel to the top floor of the Beck department store on the Marienplatz where they hide one of Europe's best-stocked CD shops with numerous headfi stations and a friendly policy to open any CD to let you audition sans any time pressures. This year netted the following.

Indialucia 2 Acatao: My most amazing find of the lot. Top-level Flamenco and Indian musicians collaborate on their second project with truly superb musicianship. Check out the lineup. Miguel Czachowski on flamenco guitar, Avaneendra Sheolikar and Purbayan Chaterjee on sitars, Sadnesh Papatkar on tabla, Jorge Pardo on flute, Kavita Krishnamurti, Blas Cordoba, Macarenda de la Torre, Monica Mata and Anandita Basu on vocals, Ambi Subramaniam on violin, Leszek Mozdzer on piano, the Aukso Chamber Orchestra and many many more musicians. It's a major cultural clash which doesn't repel but mesh and interlink in truly inspired ways. It's conceptually related to Gerardo Nuñez's two Jazzpaña projects or the Chichuelo/Faiz Ali Faiz Flamenco/Qawwali adventure but comes off as an even better fusion I think.
Roby Lakatos & Ensemble, Klezmer Karma: This Hungarian Paganini of the violin/fiddle has long been a music hero of mine. Fluent in all Roma, Jazz and Classical idioms of his instrument plus indescribable hybrid forms thereof, here his ensemble with the Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra and the singer Myriam Fuks with accordion wizard Aldo Granato put the hexy spell on a Gypsy/Klezmer fusion with hints of tango, funk, jazz, waltz and reinvented Jiddish songs. Wicked stuff. Smoke those horse hairs!

 
Azerbaijani Love Songs & Gochag Askarov Sacred World of Azerbaijani Mugham: I love Azerbaijani folk tunes and their style of singing, particularly the high tessitura male voices. Unfortunately, many recordings I can access are quite poor and instead of real instruments, often use massed synths disguised as a real orchestra for backup. A surprise find thus was the Italian Felmay label who seem to specialize on the proper thing instead. The first disc is a 16-track compilation introducing various male and female younger singers of the region. This helped me to hone in on my favourite voice, Gochag Askarov, who is rightly compared to Quawwali legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. As synchronicity had it, Beck also had his solo album. My immersion into this genre would now go past Jaqoub Zooroofchi, Ilqar Muradov, Rashid Behbudov, Agadadas Agayev, Kizi Günel and the old most famous mugham masters I already had.

Nasiba Majnun: The Blue Flame label has been home to many Yulduz Usmanova albums (if she sings in Turkish, she goes by Yildiz Usmonova). I had for years wondered whether there'd be another songstress from Uzbekistan with a similarly crafty take on the EthnoPop genre. (Sevara Nazarkhan would be another of its entries). As it turns out, there is. The lady goes by Nasiba. Blue Flame published her first record Samarkand in 2001 which I still have to find. For now, Majnun will be my bridge into her craft.
Blas Cordoba 'El Kejio' & Chano Dominguez Bendito: I'd first heard the virile voice of Flamenco singer Blas Cordoba on a Vicente Amigo record. With Bendito, I finally chanced upon an entire album. If my quick sampling in the store was any indication, this should be deep stuff à la late Enrique Morente. Olé!
Kal: Dubbed "probably the best Gypsy band east of Paris", the band Kal stems from Serbia and specialize in a modern take on their country's folk music. The word 'kal' means 'black' in Romani to signify 'earth' and a return to the roots. I found their eponymous first album but there are further goodies to be chased down called Radio Romanista and Romology 2013.
Martina Eisenreich & Andreas Hinterseher Andima: No visit to Beck would be complete without at least one record from the wider Quadro Nuevo family of artists on the GLM label for whom there is always a separate table here. This year ace fiddler Martina Eisenreich winked at me through her red mane with Andima where she collaborates with Andreas Hinterseher on accordeon for what I call concertized café music. It's the perfect aural setting for a nice home-cooked meal on the balcony. Which, come to think of it, I'm ready for right about now. Play it again, Sam!