There were plenty more "wow" products to see on the second day of the Munich High End show. Here are my top-five from day two.
Known not only for its industrial and minimalistic approach, Accustic Arts dazzled me with its new offerings, which include the AMP II mk3, Tube Phono II, and Player 1. The AMP II is a dual-mono power amplifier with dual isolated power supply and 24(!) MOS-FET transistors to produce up to 675 Watts per channel at a stable 2 Ohm impedance. Although being able to produce a peak total of 2,200 Watts from a single chassis, the showcased product runs relatively cool due to the generously-dimensioned heat sinks. When I requested this amplifier to be cranked up to the maximum without any source playing, I could not hear anything, proving the -103 dBA signal-to-noise ratio to be true. The Tube Phono II, perhaps one of the most complete phono pre-amps on the market, is at less than $2,000 (final price TBA) and offers tube pre-amplification, the choice of MM and MC cartridges compatible with selectable input impedance of 47.5 Kilo Ohm (and sub-selection of 60 pF, 160 pF, 280 pF and 380 pF) for MM operation and 100 Ohms, 235 Ohms, and 475 Ohms for MC operation. Last but not least, the Player 1 is not only a CD player, but can also work as a standalone high quality 24-bit/192 kHz upsampling DAC with various digital inputs, including S/PDIF coaxial digital and asynchronous USB 2.0 (price TBA). It accepts various HiRes audio files, such as ALAC, FLAC, AIFF, WAV and DSD64 at 2.8 Mhz word clock.
2.Smyth Research Realiser A16
Canadian inventor Michael Smyth is demonstrating the soon-to-be-released Realiser A16. The unit offers personalized 3D audio for headphones, which can emulate up to 16 speakers in a sound room over regular stereo headphones. This unit comes equipped with four HDMI inputs, an optical input, USB 2.0 input, and even 16-channel analog inputs. During the listening demo, I could not tell that the sound I was hearing was from a pair of headphones. The emulation is so realistic that I thought the sound was coming from the dummy speakers positioned around me. Originally priced at $15,000, this version will be available for approximately $1,500, with built-in capability to render object audio formats such as Dolby Atmos, Auro3D and DTS:X. In fact, this technology is so effective, DTS employs it as the basis of the company's DTS Headphone:X technology, which was first showcased at CES several years ago.
3.DSPeaker Antimode X4
Following the success of its AntiMode 2.0 Dual Core room optimization hardware, DSPeaker updated its DSP room correction lineup with the Antimode X4. Upgraded from the already highly-regarded previous versions, this unit can now do an optimization for a two-channel system running stereo-configuration subwoofers by also including digital crossover, which will eliminate harmonic distortion in the frequency domain and phase distortion in the time domain.
More impressively, the unit also includes a headphone jack, with output that can be calibrated using DSPeakers' proprietary processing to improve sound stage, smooth out frequency response, which in return relieves listening fatigue. Another big improvement on this unit is that it uses a fully calibrated, studio class, balanced (XLR) microphone with 48V phantom-power instead of the generic microphones used in its earlier models. Price is TBA, but expected to be around $3,000, which is a very small price to pay for a perfectly-tuned system.
Plus, the unit also comes with a USB input, three S/PDIF coaxial inputs, three optical inputs AND two pairs of analog audio inputs. With all of that, the Antimode X4 can be used as a control amplifier should one decide to do so.
4.TransRotor Metropolis FMD
This gold-plated giant sculpture of a turntable is the latest offering from TransRotor. The Metropolis FMD comes complete with a perfectly-matched phono pre-amp, gimbals, and pendulum-like counter weights to create a ridiculously solid turntable that's free of unwanted vibration. Available in both polished chrome or gold plated (as shown in the picture), this piece of artwork comes with price tags of $200,000 and $250,000, respectively. Of course, at that price level, the turntable is individually handmade and tuned to perfection. Overkill? If you want the best of the best, you have to pay to play.
5.Burmester Reference Line
Showcased this year is a complete Reference Line, which includes a 111 music player ($45,000), a 069 CD player with external power supply ($60,000), 948 Power Conditioner (at a surprisingly low $10,000), 077 Pre-amplifier with external power supply ($45,000), two 159 monoblock amplifiers ($150,000) and un-priced C500 Concept Loudspeaker (estimated to be between $200,000 to $300,000 - whether that price is for each or a pair was not confirmed). What makes the system so unique is that the speakers have two listening mode: one for regular listening, and another dubbed as "Live Music Mode." With the latter, the side subwoofer panels can be swung open and face the listener for a rock-concert-like music listening experience. Unfortunately, due to the concept nature of the speakers, the Live Music Mode is not being shown. As usual, however, the unique sound of Burmester was clearly showcased in the Regular Listening Mode demo.
Check out David's Day 1 report from the Munich High End Show.
All photos by David Susilo