Munich High-End 2024

Day 4 – Scansonic, Tidal, Cessaro, Kaiser, AudioNec, Rui Borges, Marten, Montaudio and Nordost

By Roy Gregory

BIG value – The Scansonic MB8 loudspeaker

Raidho’s junior Scansonic brand has always represented serious bang for the buck, often from slim, compact enclosures. The MB8 treads that path, but small it ain’t! Driven by a combination of Moon front-end and Pilium electronics, produced big, bold, dynamic sound with some serious scale and authority – at an asking price of €13,000! That’s an awful lot of speaker and even more music for your money…



Just BIG… The Tidal Sunray 3

Stood, mute but imposing in the corner of the Tidal room, was a pair of the new Sunray 3 loudspeakers, available now at an asking price of €350,000/pr. Effortlessly elegant despite its size, the third generation Sunray incorporates major changes: a completely revised cabinet structure for increased rigidity, a diamond diaphragm upper mid driver and three forward-firing bass drivers (in place of the previous twin, side-firing units used in earlier versions) in each of the top-and-tail bass cabinets. Despite the runaway success and super-impressive performance of the Tidal for Bugatti speakers, this is the strongest signal yet of Tidal’s continued commitment to conventional separates systems.



…and even BIGGER – the Cessaro horns

If getting a big system right is difficult under show conditions, getting a big horn system right is a real test. Qudos to Cessaro who pulled it off, using a massive, multi-cell speaker and a mountain of electronics and subs. Playing Rufus Reid presents Caelen Cardello on vinyl, the sound was lifesize, stable and dimensional, the effortlessly natural sense of scale matched by the easy, unforced and unexaggerated dynamics, the music just happening in fromnt of you. You might not be able to afford or accommodate this system – but hey, you can pick up the record. Mine’s already on order…



Pint-sized projection from Kaiser

The enduring fascination with small, stand-mount speakers – despite the fact that sales numbers are shrinking faster than cabinet sizes – shows no sign of abating. Despite the potential benefits of a smaller cabinet and limited but carefully controlled bandwidth, the cost equation counts heavily against the stand-mount format. It costs darned nearly as much to build a stand-mount as an equivalently equipped floor-stander, especially if you throw in the cost of a properly engineered stand. People demand to pay less for the smaller format, creating even greater price pressure, meaning that many of the companies producing such speakers make no great effort to sell them, as they make no great amount of money doing so.

None of which stops the “huge sound from a tiny cabinet” competition continuing unabated… Latest contender must be the Kaiser Kolibri, its narrow, deep cabinet built entirely in ‘Tank wood’ and equipped with two forward firing drivers and a sideways firing ABR on each side. One particularly nice touch was the solid beryllium-copper binding posts. Cost is a surprisingly reasonable €12,000/pr (reasonable that is, in the context of high-quality miniatures, that these days can fetch the wrong side of six-figures!) and the sound was all you’d expect from an excellent compact design. Driven by an admittedly over-specced Ypsilon system, it was fresh, lively, detailed and intimate. Definitely one to look out for – even if you’re not in the market…