Munich High-End 2024

This is essentially a garden variety stacking rack, in which one layer gets stacked on another until you have the number of shelves you need. It’s a practical, versatile and adaptable solution – which is why so many rack companies offer something like this. But the operative words are “something like”! The Montaudio rack combines solid, polished stainless steel uprights with elegantly profile points that run on huge threads and lock – and I do mean lock – securely. The shelves are constructed from laminated Walnut faces with layered birch cores. The corners of each shelf extend out into not quite Mickey Mouse ears that are pierced by the uprights, lightening the look and adding a well-judged touch of understated style. Each shelf is also heavily profiled through its centre section, a Giant’s Causeway of different height hexagonal blocks creating a disruptive/dispersive matrix – and yes, that’s where the Manuka reference comes in… The only downside is that, at least for the most part, the rather beautiful hexagonal rebates are going to be hidden beneath your equipment.

Unusually for a product like this at a show, I actually got to play with the Manuka HR during the set up days. The thick shelves and solid uprights make for incredibly sturdy levels – and I use the term advisedly. Once set up the rack remained utterly stable for the duration of the show as it too, contributed to the overall performance of the system. Getting the individual shelf elements level and rock stable was surprisingly easy (compared to other such racks) and the end result is as purposeful as it is attractive in appearance. A lot of people passed appreciative comments about the way these racks present – musically and visually. More importantly, none of them quailed at the €2.5K-a-layer price tag, which is well in line with other racks that actually deliver the sonic and musical goods.

Adding further to the overall sonic performance and visual appearance, Montaudio also brought along their Wanaka G grounding boxes (seen on the floor in front of the system), built into matching, striped wooden cabinets and their Rangitoto R1 polished stainless steel couplers (you wouldn’t want the CH spikes gouging the surface of those lovely shelves now would you?). The names of these products, mainly drawn from geographical locations in their home islands might seem strange to Northern Hemisphere tongues, but believe me, what they do in musical terms is nothing if not familiar. These are seriously impressive products from what is (in Munich Show terms at least) a young and energetic company. I suspect Montaudio is a name that’s going to become far more familiar in the next few years, improving the looks and the sound of systems along the way.


And on the subject of cables – Nordost announces the Leif 3 Cable Line

Nordost’s Odin 2 shows no sign of relinquishing its grip on high-end cable sales., helped along by the introduction of Odin Gold! But if even standard Odin is beyond your means, at least you can buy into the cable loom concept established by Nordost, and execute it using their technology, by moving down the range. Not given to dribbling product onto the market, Munich saw the arrival of a whole new Leif family.