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The weird and wonderful stuff we saw at Munich High End 2024

Munich High End 2024 ended on the May 12th, so we’re a little late at getting our show report up, but there was so much to see and hear that it’s taken us a bit of time to compile our thoughts.

High End has become the show for audio brands to show their wares, becoming the CES for audio products as brands come from all over the world to launch their latest products.

We were there to take in the sights and sounds of the MOC event centre in Munich, and here is the weirdest, wildest, and most wonderful audio gear we saw at High End 2024.

Aeries Cerat

Aeries Cerat horn speaker
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Let’s start with a speaker system that summed up how weird, wild, and wonderful High End can be. The Contendo II is from Greek audio company Aeries Cerat and has, as far as we can tell, been out for a couple of years; but seeing it up close is a sight to behold.

This three-way horn system looks utterly ridiculous, with some parts of the system taller than a human being in a space that’s closer in size to a conference room than your standard living room. It fetches a price well over €1million and sounds fabulously natural once you’ve stopped gawping at the size of the horn speakers.

ESD Acoustics

ESD Acoustics Super Dragon
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We’re sticking with the theme of horn speakers, especially horn speakers that look like they could shoot a person from one side of the room to the other.

ESD Acoustics (who label themselves as “one of the best audio hi-fi manufacturers” on their website) had its Super Dragon system on show, and while not as ornate in appearance as the Contendo II, it was still stupendous in size.

How did they sound? Well, those who were sitting seemed to be listening with reverence, while we saw a video from another journalist that showed someone kneeling and bowing in front of the system. It’ll cost you just a snip at €811,111.

Final

Final X8000
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After a string of affordable, mainstream efforts, Japanese headphone brand Final previewed their latest high-end headphone in the X8000. As per usual from Final’s more expensive models, it’s ambitious headphone that reaches for the stars.

It’s designed to be ultra-lightweight for a pair of wired headphones (only 220g), comfortable to wear (whether you’re male or female) with its unique looking headband; as well as newly designed diaphragm for the 50mm drivers.

These headphones have taken inspiration from the springs in watches to the connecting cables used by supercomputers. If there were a pair of headphones you could call ‘space age’ in terms of design, the Final X8000 would fit that label.

They’re due to go on sale Q4 2024 for around €5000.

Q Acoustics

Q Acoustics 3000c 3050c
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British hi-fi brand Q Acoustics announced its new 3000c series of loudspeakers at the show, acting as an affordable entry-point into its line-up. Incorporating technology that’s trickled down from its 5000 line-up and M40 speakers, a brief listen to them in Munich confirmed that they’re a polished line-up of loudspeakers that are very much in the Q Acoustics’ mold.

Loewe

Loewe high end speakers
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Loewe are best known for their TVs and soundbars but that’s all set to change in 2024, marked by their first appearance at Munich High End.

They’re bringing out two pairs of hi-fi loudspeakers though the name escapes us at the moment. One is a floorstanding unit and the other is a standmount, with both featuring AMT tweeter and fancy looking woofers (although these appear to be just dynamic drivers).

No word yet on pricing or release date, but we do know that Loewe will build all the speakers on-site in Germany.

DALI

DALI RUBIKORE
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DALI’s Rubikore speakers draws inspiration from its KORE series, featuring five different models that allow owners to configure it for hi-fi or home cinema listening.

Though they look familiar, everything inside is new – the drivers, crossovers, ports etc. The demo session we heard revealed a musical sounding performance with an excellent sense of fine detail, fast response, and a well-judged performance whether playing quietly or loud. A speaker series to keep an eye on when they launch in June 2024.

Pro-Ject

Project EVO 2 turntable
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Pro-Ject Audio Systems had a rather large space in one of MOC’s halls, and right at the centre of it was its new EVO 2 turntable which, at least in the context of the promotional materials, looked bloody great.

Replacing the original EVO, the EVO 2 will arrive in a range of colours, is able to play records at 33.3, 48, and 78RPM (via electronic speed change), and comes with the Pick It MM Evo cartridge. Otherwise there’s not much more info to part given the EVO 2 debuted at High End.

FiiO

FiiO TT13 turntable
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Sticking with turntables, FiiO exhibited the TT13 automatic turntable. It changes colour depending on its operation mode, supports Bluetooth streaming, features an Audio Technica cartridge, and after spending a few minutes in its presence, it’s very simple for users to operate with just the touch of a button getting your record up and running.

That’s all we know about the TT13, other than a mooted release date of July 2024.

Clearaudio

Clearaudio Statement V2 2024
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An updated version of Clearaudio’s Statement V2 turntable (which first launched in 2016) is incoming for 2024. It’s constructed out of aluminium, stainless steel, and bullet proof wood (yes, bullet proof wood); and supports 33.3, 48, and 78RPM speeds with the press of a button (or two).

Considering the previous model was priced at nearly £100,000, you can expect this one to be in a similar realm of expense.

WiiM

WiiM Pro streamer
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We got a closer look at WiiM’s new streaming amp and streamer at High End, but for more in-depth details on specs and price, you can read this article over here.

Focal

Focal Hadenys
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Focal had two headphones at the show with the Hadenys and Azurys, and you can read more about them over here. We hope to go more in-depth with our first impressions in hands-on with the former.

Goldmund

Goldmund Asteria
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Swiss audio brand Goldmund had the Asteria active wireless speaker on show at High End, and compared to the massive horn speakers at the show, this speaker exuded a more graceful and minimalist presence.

Powered by 600W of power from its built-in Telos amplifier, the Swiss brand say the aim is to deliver a “spectrum of crystal-clear and accurate” sound, with the speaker’s DSP aiding this effort with its support for 24-bit/96kHz audio. Weighing 70kg each, the speakers are delivered in a flight case. Not only do they look stylish, they’re delivered with pizazz too.

Marten

Marten Coltrane
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Swedish brand Marten were displaying the Coltrane Quintet, which looked like the type of rockets people imagined they’d be back in the 1920s. A four-war bass reflex floorstanding, the Coltrane Quintet features a custom pure diamond tweeter, custom pure beryllium high midrange unit, a custom convex carbon fibre mid-bass unit as well as a Aluminium sandwich bass unit.

The cabinet is 25% bigger than the original for better low bass response, while also being more rigid to control resonances within the speaker. There are seven finishes to choose from, which include piano gold and matte oak.

Quad

Quad Munich High End
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Not much info to write about here, other than to say Quad revealed its new 303 power amplifier and the 33 preamplifier at the show. All will be revealed at an unspecified point in the future…

Sonical

Sonical modular headphones
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The type of contraption that you’d have to see to believe it. Sonical have come up with what is probably best described as series of modules that can be attached the headband of your headphones. You can swap these out for different modules but the configuration we saw comprised of a DAC, transmitter and the Remora Pro module that allows you download apps/plugins.

You could turn your wired headphones into wireless ones, or rather than download apps to your phone, download them straight to the module. Our concern is that it’ll make headphones look a) even bigger and b) it’ll make you look a bit daft, but it’s an interesting concept.

Stein Music

SteinMusic Bob
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More stylish looking horn speakers were provided by Stein Music’s TopLine series, which consisted of the amusingly named Bob L, Bob M, and Bob XL.

They feature DSP controlled active subwoofers for the low frequencies, while the mids and highs are managed passively for a “cohesive sound profile”. The diaphragms are treated with carbon composite with high quality crossovers for low distortion and high fidelity performance. They can be partnered with amplifiers starting from 30 watts, which suggests they’re fairly easy to drive.

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