It's that time of year when all of the best audio companies from around the world descend on Munich to show off the absolute best in sound and engineering. This year Struan will be out testing, searching and quizzing these manufacturers to bring the best selection of products back to Hi-Fi Corner stores.
For a number of years, we have been jetting off to Bavaria every May, this time during 11th-13th. This is where we seek out the best new hi-fi components from established favourite brands and newcomers alike, whether that be DACs, headphones, network streamers or tonearms.
Follow this blog to get updates from the show.
Arcam's new HDA range
A first look for me at the new Arcam HDA range consisting of; CDS50 CD player and combined streamer, sitting beside the SA10 and SA20 stereo amplifiers. Certainly look much nicer in the flesh than from their initial photos, but unfortunately they were not playing in the room so the jury is out on the sound.
ATC’s new CDA2 Mk2 CD / DAC / Preamplifier
Overnight ATC has become not only a favourite of the team but also our customers. Playing the brand new CDA2 MK2 CD player in their room, through a pair of 150A loudspeakers, their new CD player features a 32bit DAC and an improved power supply amongst many other improvements. Rear coax and optical inputs (192kHz compatible) as well as high resolution USB that handles DSD playback, ideal for connecting a computer, streamer or high resolution source. Two analogue inputs complete the plethora of connection options qualifying this as fully fledged pre amplifier.
Audiolab's new 6000 series amplifiers and CD player
Audiolab’s new integrated amplifier and CD transport look pretty awesome for sensibly money. The 6000A amplifier is £600, and the CD transport is an astonishingly priced £380. Looking at the internals of the amplifier it seems like a LOT of amp here, and the CD transport can connect in digitally to the amp along with your streamer and/or computer. Didn’t get a listen to these, but I’ll definitely have them in store to test as soon as they are available.
Audio Research's new top performance valve amplifiers
Audio Research launches the new Reference 160M monoblock power amplifiers. This is an exciting product for me, being a big fan of another well know tube brand which is switchable between ultra linear to triode operation and auto-bias, I can’t wait to have these in the shop. The 160M probably has the biggest array of features of any Audio Research product, and the new style is both respectful of that classic design but with a modern twist.
AVID's new SME-beating tonearm
For years, AVID have been using SME tonearms (amongst others, but let’s face it - an SME series V is a world reference product), on their beautiful and incredibly engineered turntables. This year we will see the first AVID tonearm AND their own cartridge. Watch this space for more details.
AVID are also now offering a new colour option - anodised black, as shown below, in addition to the regular black and silver finishes. On top of that, custom colours for the components of various products are now available, as demonstrated below in the stunning copper trim finish. Compare these to our model of the Diva II in store, pictured on the right.
Along with these brands (which we already deal with), we will be on the hunt for new products which fulfill our criteria of top performance at their price level, reliability and sound quality. If you can't make this show this year and want Struan to check anything out on your behalf, you can email him here, otherwise stay tuned to see updates here, or on Instagram and Facebook.