Over 500 exhibitors from 44 different countries headed to Munich this year for the largest audio industry trade fair, High End.
In its 36th year, High End 2017 saw a 10% increase in visitors, with over 21,000 people hitting the show floor over four days to see the latest products from the biggest brands in the audio industry.
One of the biggest announcements at High End this year was the establishment of a completely new speaker brand called Fyne Audio. Headed by former Tannoy employees, Fyne’s speakers will target all ends of the market with the entry-level F300 range, mid-level F500 range and flagship F1 range.
Fyne Audio expects to begin selling its first speakers by the end of the year.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Dynaudio have announced the aptly named Special Forty speaker. Combining 40 years of research in a classic design, the Special Forty features a 17cm woofer with a hybrid magnet system for reduced distortion and higher power, as well as a new Esotar Forty tweeter for maximised airflow and low resonant frequency.
The Special Forty will be available in two exclusive high-gloss colours: grey birch and red birch.
Special edition versions of Focal’s Utopia III speaker line are set to offer a range of new features and colours. The Maestro Utopia III Evo and the Scala Utopia III Evo both feature bi-amplification, separating the registers to allow sound to be adjusted to an individual’s preference.
The new speakers also feature Tuned Mass Damper (TMD) suspension for reduced distortion and improved performance, and Neutral Inductance Circuit (NIC) for stabilising the magnetic field. Both speakers are set to be available later this year in metallic blue, ash grey and British racing green, as well as the more traditional black lacquer and Carrara white colours.
Monitor Audio has delivered an almost complete overhaul of its Silver series of speakers. The sixth iteration of the Silver series comprises of two standmounters, three floorstanders, two centre and one surround speaker, as well as an active subwoofer.
A revamped 25mm gold dome tweeter is featured in all of the speakers for less distortion and clearer highs, along with C-CAM (ceramic-coated aluminium/magnesium) material mid-bass drivers and DCF coupling for dealing with roll-off in the high frequencies of the drivers.
Eight new speakers will launch Wharfedale’s upcoming Diamond 11 series. Marking the company’s 85th year, Wharfedale said the Diamond 11 series will comprise of three standmounting speakers, three floorstanders, and two centre speakers for use in home theatre systems.
Wharfedale have incorporated a range of technical improvements on its previous speakers in the Diamond series, including a new tweeter design and changes to the drivers. The speakers will be available in black, white, walnut and rosewood.
Players, Amps & Stereo Systems:
Plenty of technology is packed into Technics’ new SC-C70 compact stereo system, including Jitter Elimitation and Noise-shaping Optimisation (JENO) Engines for eliminating digital jitter, Load Adaptive Phase Calibration (LAPC) for alignment with speakers, and Space Tune calibration software which, as the name suggests, adjusts sound to an individual spatial situation.
The system features a CD player, USB and Bluetooth functionality, and Apple AirPlay support, as well as support for high-res music playback and network connectivity.
Pioneer’s two new high-res network audio players, the N-70AE and the N-50AE, are loaded with features and functionalities designed to appeal to audiophiles. Both feature the SABRE32 Ultra 32 DAC – one in the N-50AE and two in the N-70AE – as well as twin transformers and USB-DAC supporting 2.8/5.6/11.2 MHz DSD.
Chromecast is built-in to both audio players, along with support Spotify Connect, TIDAL and Deezer. USB hard drives can be connected to a USB input, with support for copying music from a computer to the connected hard drive over a local network.
The upcoming A-9150 Integrated Stereo Amplifier from Onkyo aims to deliver dynamic, high-quality sound at a more realistic price point than similar offerings from competitors. Along with a 32-bit/768 kHz DAC from AKM for high-quality reproduction of digital sources, Onkyo have refined the power amplifier in the A-9150 and custom designed two large audio capacitors.
A wide range of inputs are supported: a MM/MC phono input for connecting to turntables, four RCA line inputs, two coaxial digital inputs and two optical digital inputs, all of which are gold-plated.
According to McIntosh, the company’s new Monogrammed Heatsinks in the upcoming MA8900 integrated amplifier don’t just deliver efficient cooling, but also improved sound quality alongside a stylish appearance. Offering 200w per channel, the MA8900 also features an upgraded 8-channel 32-bit DAC with six digital inputs. Signals up to 32-bit/384kHz are supported by over USB input, along with DSD256 and DXD 384kHz.
Alongside the MA8900, McIntosh also revealed the MCD350 SACD/CD player, featuring a balanced two-channel 32-bit/192kHz DAC, balanced and unbalanced analog stereo outputs, plus coax and optical output.
Primare is using three new products to launch its new wireless multi-room system called Prisma. The I15 and I35 amps, as well as the CD35 player, can all playback stored and streamed media over a network using Prisma, and also support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as well as the Prisma app for setting up and controlling multi-room and multi-zone functionality.
Both new amps feature PCM 768kHz and DSD 128 DAC conversion, but the I35 is the more powerful of the two thanks to the new UFPD 2 power system that offers 150w at 8 ohms, compared to the 75w of the I15. Meanwhile the CD35 also supports PCM 768kHz and DSD 128 conversion, and incorporates a new DAC stage with an ESS Sabre chipset.
As the vinyl revival continues to show that everything old is new again, Thorens have taken inspiration from their heritage for the new TD 900 series turntables. Featuring a three-spring sub-chassis design inspired by classic Thorens turntables, the upcoming TD 903, TD 905 and TD 907 are designed to appeal to vinyl lovers.
The vintage design hasn’t been incorporated at the expense of sound quality, with alternating layers of damping aluminium and polyethylene used in the plinth, base plate and sub-chassis for increased sound quality. The TD 903 is Thorens’ entry level model in the series, followed by the TD 905, then the flagship TD 907.
High End 2018 will be held on 10-13 May next year.