Even over the two years I have attended this grand High End Society Show in Munich, I have noticed an increase in presence for the personal audio domain. By large it is still dominated by your traditional 2 channel set ups that we will look at next week but it is without doubt in my mind that headphones are getting more attention. So lets have a quick look at a few other brands that stood out to me in this sector of the industry.
Astell & Kern
The AK booth was better than ever, it was a grand show with a spacious open listening area showing off no less than 50 DAPs to demo, all from the 3xx range. Not an AK Jr in site! They also were attached to the JH Audio IEM listening bar and had all their Beyerdynamic/AK headphones to listen to as well. As for new products there was two. The AK300, which looks similar to both the 320 and 380 but only features a single DAC chip and is much more modestly priced (roughly £700).
They also had the AK Recorder, another attachment peripheral for the 3 series that lets you both record live sound or connect to a turntable to digitise your vinyl. One of the cool catches was that it will do all file formats up to DSD 5.6! They let you listen to some of the vinyl recordings it made via their AK500N stack but I will save that for when we get into speakers!
Obviously they also threw a great press party and had to be candidate for one of the best drinks of the show, with their own branded Imperial Stout…. mmm! Cheers boys! I will have to once again give a shout out to Cambridge Audio and their range of beers that always went to down a treat!
I was surprised to find some Colorfly products at the Horch House reel to reel stand. There was both their new player and a full sized amp with built in headphone stand and balanced outputs. It was not working so I did not try and I could not find a name but it was made for their 20th anniversary and could be worth keeping an eye on!
Final (no longer Audio Design)
I have always been a fan of these crazy Japanese folks and while last year held a big focus on their new range of Sonorous headphones, this year they had a couple of new designs for in your ears!
First up was the LAB 2, a 3d printed metal design that looks and works similar the infamous Piano Forte series. This is a limited run of 200 units and while I know it won’t be cheap, it looks fantastic. Sound was very different to what I imagined owning a Piano Forte X-CC, with a lot more bass for a start. I have heard rumours of prices around £2700 and that doesn’t surprise me.
While the above will soon be unobtainable, the other new IEM will be around to stay and I am glad of that. While their headphones and even the aforementioned LAB 2 way a tonne, the idea of the new F7200 is being light and small. The super thin, 2 gram earphone features a single balanced armature driver and looked amazing. It still managed to incorporate removable cables and the sound impressed me and blew away Josh. It had the balance, details and coherency single drivers are known for and also had BIG dynamics. There will also be a tip option that is a long foam tip that completely covers the earphones barrel! I want to play with this one a bit more. It will be priced around £330 but there will also be a cheaper F4100 and F3100 which I have not seen but am under the impression will follow the same/similar design.
Turn the Page for Kennerton, Labkable, Questyle, Woo & Lotoo