Opposite from the DSP and class-D power house demo was the Blumenhofer and Pluto room. Here analog ruled. Eddie Driessen’s giant Pluto 10-A Special with air suspension and a 2A tonearm was the source with an ZYX cartridge. An Air Tight TM3 ran 6CA7 tubes in triode mode. Finally, Blumenhofer’s Genuin FS1 MKII with ported paper woofer and compression horn was in charge of the final result. Camino supplied their Power Harmonizer and cabling. Like many other Blumenhofer displays at various show around the world, the stage setting was pleasant and different from others. Equipment racks were table lifts and half of a giant horn system welcomed visitors at the door.

These visitors could relax in stylish Rietveld-inspired wooden chairs. What we heard was nice, very nice. But, we do have one nit to pick. The combination of FS1 and AirTight monos would not be ours. They accented the mids whilst the bass was sometimes a bit lost when needed. Nevertheless, spinning vinyl is so much fun that whether the sound is a bit off due to ticks and clicks from the record or other reasons, the musical emotions make up big time. Soon we will enjoy one of Pluto’s turntables, the Model 12, in a review setting.

In another sound booth of the German Zu distributor, we listened to a demo with Spatial Audio Hologram M4 Turbo S open-baffle speakers. The turntable was a Calypso MK3 on a Townshend Seismic platform whilst electronics were from Graham Slee, Leben and Audion. Only now did we realize that Spatial and Zu share the Utah home state and that both use Eminence drivers in their products though they get their drivers made to their respective specifications. Spatial pursues the coaxial way by adding a compression driver to the heart of their Eminence. In the smallish sound booth we listened quite close up and the open baffles did not disappoint. The Zu Undertone sub was present but not necessary and would only add the lowest octave which the room might have trouble to digest. In this fashion, the sound was lively and friendly. It seems the M4 is friendly also on room placement. When we saw the price tag stating €3’400/pr, more friendliness added itself. We also encountered new music though from 1978, by then East German group City. If you like psychedelic rock from the era, check it out.

Chord presented their new SPM1050MkII 200wpc amplifier. In one of the larger rooms, this amp combined with their Dave DAC and a pair of B&W 803 speakers. We then heard that the huge B&W company had been sold to a tiny Silicon Valley startup called Eva Automation who focus on home entertainment. Really. Hopefully the new management will avoid what happened to Thiel.

Home entertainment also came from Dutch Kharma but in a much different way. Owner Charles van Oostrum is not only passionate about audio, he loves art as well. As a token of that love, he took a copy of the 450-page 35kg book Rijks which is an elaborate homage to the painters of the Golden Age. The book not only contains high-quality pictures of famous paintings from the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, it also contains very close-up sections of said paintings. This book was so intriguing when leafing through its pages—with white gloves of course—that we almost forgot the music. Flip through the book here. Now to the room. Every year Kharma strives to do something special with it. This year the walls were partly covered with panels of living Icelandic moss. Spray the wall occasionally and the moss stays healthy, the room pleasantly humid and reflections are naturally damped. The addition of some plastic butterflies was perhaps a tad fluttery but colourful it was. Contrary to this green approach were the electronics in use. One of the sources was an UHA Tascam Phase 12 tape deck with outboard power supply. UHA owner Greg Beron was present to operate the deck. Next to it was another rack filled to capacity with four dCS components for just digital playback. From these source components massive Kharma cables sent the audio signal to four Exquisite MP1000 monos and finally the now amplified signal hit the new Enigma Veyron EV-2 loudspeakers. At this end of the Kharma karma, costs are not relevant for either R&D or the final retail price. The name Veyron is probably a wink at the Bugatti model and not to the Swiss river. In true luxury fashion, the EV-2 is built from solid tankwood used to house a 1" diamond tweeter flanked by a duo of 2" tweeters. Then a duo of 7" Omega-F drivers bracket these tweeters for the mids and finally two 11" Omega-F woofers conclude the front array. At the back there is another duo of now passive Omega-F 11" radiators. Wherever possible, these Omega-F drivers are completely made of carbon fibre. Think baskets, cones and voice-coil formers. Say goodbye to eddie currents.

And that was the last room we visited as planned. With a little spare time left, we revisited the Trafomatic/Tune Audio and Grimm rooms. Then it was off to the bus that would take us to a side show presentation which we will cover separately. Thank you High End Society for organizing this event. We had a grand ol' time. Now flip the page for a final mini report on a secondary event. also in Munich at the same time.