Hits (And Misses…) Munich High End – 2023

Updated 7th of June – TLA, Rockport and Clarysis

By Roy Gregory, Dennis Davis and Steve Dickinson

How do you cover a show? More importantly, how do you cover a show the size of the Munich high End? With four vast halls (including prefabricated sound rooms) before you even reach the long corridors that surround the first-floor atria, the vast array of equipment is simply mind-boggling. There are those that attempt to cover the ground, separating the wheat from chaff; there are those who simple cover everything, with a picture from every stand and every room; and these days there are even walking tours, attendees slavishly following their phone, camera or video gadget, eyes on the prize 9or at least the screen) rather than where they’re going. All of which is fine, but it’s not what we are about. For Gy8, less is more. We’d rather concentrate on a few significant products and significant trends or themes from the show. As a newbie to the Munich sensory avalanche, SD will give his broader impressions of what is an eye and ear opening experience. DD and I will take a more granular approach, singling out a few key components or rooms, addressing a few specific questions. We won’t be listing every piece, part or accessory in each system. Nor will be drawing definitive conclusions. Instead, this is more about the event and the potential on displays, than actual value judgements. This article will run as a blog with regular updates added over the coming days, so check out the posting dates to see if new material has been added…

TLA TSI-300 Integrated Amp

Last year, TLA (True Life Audio) contributed amplifiers to what many thought was the best sounding system at the show – the Goebel Divin Marquis and Sovereigns. This year found the Greek brand in less sumptuous quarters, sharing a cabin with Canadian loudspeaker manufacturer Gershman Acoustics, who showed a revised version of their impressive Avant garde model, with a more easily accommodated footprint. Smaller accommodations dictate a smaller system as well as smaller speakers and TLA’s two-box pre and mono-blocs of last year had been replaced by an integrated amp – but a very interesting and (in this day and age) unusual integrated to be sure.

The TSI-300 comes from TLA’s ‘junior’ line, the True (as opposed to Supreme) Series. It’s a substantial box, both tall and deep, with TLA’s distinctive ‘horizontal line and twin headlamp’ styling. But it’s what’s inside the box – or rather, what isn’t – that makes the TSI-300 so interesting. This is a simple, four-input, totally dual-mono, hybrid integrated. That’s right – no DAC! In fact, nothing much beyond the absolute basics. You get two, transformer coupled balanced inputs and two single-ended inputs, feeding the tube front-end – 12AU7s used for both the gain stage and the buffer – and solid-state output stage. Bi-polar devices are used throughout the output stage that delivers 300 Watts per channel. Separate power supplies are provided for the tube and solid-state sections. With its complete channel separation and minimalist, analogue- only circuitry, this is that rarest of beasts, a genuinely purist integrated amp. At a weight of 55kg it’s also one you need to take seriously – even if you are only moving it from A to B! At around €30K it’s not cheap, but real quality rarely is and this looks like one integrated that just might deliver on the promise of high-end sound in a single box.

Rockport Orion Loudspeaker

Another success at last year’s show was the Rockport Lyra loudspeaker, used on the end of the CH Precision system. Of course, it benefitted from both the presence of CH’s 10 Series amplification and the extreme care that company invests in set up, but those things simply allowed the Lyra’s impressive qualities to show.