Thus ends our Munich adventure, and what a show it was! I hope our coverage gave you a flavour of this and made for entertaining reading. I completely agree with Carlo’s summing up of High End 2018: it really was something very special indeed. Every corner of the MOC conference center contained some new and wonderful audio treat. Sometimes bonkers, like the Metaxas & Sins skull-shaped amplifier; often cost-no-object, like Dan D'Agostino’s enormous Relentless power amp; and occasionally astoundingly creative, like the Dereneville Modulaire turntable by AVDesignHaus. If anyone needed proof that high-fidelity audio is alive and well – thriving, in fact – High End 2018 supplied it, and then some.

The show was vast, with audio products spread over four halls and three atria, across three floors. Yet even then it overflowed to a hotel elsewhere in the city, with CanJam having to occupy an entirely different space down the street. Despite spending three days roving the MOC, sampling everything we could lay our ears on, High End had more to offer. Throughout the show there was a palpable sense that the great and the good of high-end audio had descended on Munich, eager to share the fruits of their creativity and engineering prowess. There wasn’t any hint of the kind of new and shiny, but ultimately trivial, gadgetry all too common at trade shows. No, High End 2018 was about showing off, and listening to, products that push hi-fi’s boundaries, and immersing yourself in an environment where both vendors and attendees shared a passion for refined audio.

Some of my favourite parts of the show were its unexpected delights. Taylor Acoustic’s Concert 120 certainly stood out, with their beautifully warm sound, as did the remarkable, ultra-high-end, Göbel Divin Majestics. The Audionet and Dynaudio Evidence combo also surprised us, relating a live version of Elvis’s Fever with spine-tingling realism; being the first room we visited, it set the bar almost impossibly high from the get-go. At the more wallet-friendly end of the spectrum, the new Monitor Audio Studios left a positive impression, keeping me listening to Serge Gainsbourg far longer than I would normally. There were, too, some stand-out products that were less of a surprise. The Genelec Ones certainly fell into this camp, being just as good as I’d expected. Paradigm’s Persona 7F also sounded great (perhaps underserved at one point by ‘interesting’ demo music), leaving me jealous of Carlo spending so much time reviewing them! And the TAD room reminded me that hi-fi can look every bit as awesome as it sounds.

On our final day in Munich, we took in some of the sights (and some of the beer) that Munich had to offer. As Carlo said, it’s a lovely place and provided a great setting for the High End show. I’ll leave you with some glimpses of the city. Auf wiedersehen High End 2018 – you really spoiled us!

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17/05/2018
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