Munich High-End 2024

Day 2 and 3

By Roy Gregory

Like all shows, Munich is a race against time: time to visit rooms and keep appointments; time to recover and provide copy. It’s a case of constant catch up, with news and new items out-running the ability to post. There’s a natural tail off after the show, but meanwhile here are the on-going highlights:

SJS Audio

Simon Shilton’s electronics were  once again front and centre in the Living Voice room, sandwiched between Kuzma and Grand Prix turntables and the R80 speakers. This time around, the world’s most attractive tube amp (at least to these eyes) took the shape of the all-new Model 10 Premier mono amplifier, sporting parallel single-ended 300B output tubes: all the grace, agility, rich harmonics, natural tonality and articulation of the Model 5 stereo – but with more headroom, substance and – for want of a better word – grunt. And, it has to be said, there’s definitely something about those three, 300b tubes lined up across the beautifully sculpted chassis. Yours for a mere £88,000, plus tubes. Western Electric 300Bs will run you an extra £1,700/pr.

Wadax Studio Player

The biggest digital news at the show (accessibility ALWAYS trumps extravagant prices) was the Wadax Studio player. An all-in-one CD/SACD/MQA disc player with digital and streaming inputs, built into a single chassis, housing the DAC cards from the Wadax Ref DAC and a sophisticated variable output for those who want to run it directly into their amp(s). Note the separate slots for the right and left DACS, extending the Wadax modular architecture and allowing for potential future hardware updates. It’s also worth noting the socket for an external power supply and clock connections. Any guesses what might be next in the Studio line? The Studio player was definitely a recognisably Wadax product when it came to musical performance (on streamed material), which at the projected €45,000 price makes this a seriously attractive proposition. Just how attractive, I look forward to finding out…

Rockport Lynx

Rockport have created quite a stir with their Orion, a pint-sized, double-skin Lyra redux. Now comes the Lynx, bringing Lyra style construction and driver technology to an even lower price point. Pitched at $78,000 USD, the Lynx reverts to a cast aluminium outer shell, similar in some respects to the Lyra’s outer skin, even down to the extensive internal ribbing. But rather than an inner, interlocking element, the Lynx uses a visco-elastic polymer lining, roughly an inch in depth and poured onto the shell one wall at a time. The resulting speaker weighs in at 140kg, which is some serious density given its svelte dimensions and slim frontal area. The bass driver still sits low in the cabinet, similar to the Orion, but its smaller diameter makes for a more elegant (for which read, less pregnant) look. The three way, three-driver speaker comes in two standard satin finishes, but purchasers can spec any colour they like from an upcharge of $9,000.

Graphite Audio