Acoustic Sounds
Seminar participants Leif Johannsen, J.R. Boisclair, Mark Dohmann, Craig Milnes and panel moderator Michael Fremer
By: Michael Fremer

May 21st, 2024


Hi-Fi Shows

High End Munich 2024—Tracking Angle's Day Three Coverage

the day included a "future of analog reproduction" panel discussion

Day Three included two breaks in the normal convention coverage flow: first in the A.M. I moderated a seminar titled "Has Vinyl Playback Technology Gone About As Far As It Can Go?" with participants Mark Dohmann (Dohmann Audio), Craig Milnes (Wilson-Benesch), Leif Johannsen (Ortofon) and J.R. Boisclair (WallyTools/WAM Engineering).

All over the past decade have advance the art and science of vinyl playback, so their take on the question was interesting and the full house appreciated the answers. I'm still waiting for the video to be published on the High End site and when it is it will be embedded in an article here.

In the late afternoon I did an hour long "Meet the Expert" session in the Nagra room, this year with big Stenheim speakers. Always fun! But of course that's two hours plus, during which time I was unable to circulate in the convention center. No matter, there was still plenty to cover as you'll see in the video.

After the Nagra engagement I went over to Hi-Fi Deluxe 2024 at the Marriott where I saw some impressive exhibits you'll see in the video. And that was Day 3.

Among the highlights was finally checking out in the Vienna Acoustics room the new Supatrac Nighthawk tonearm. Inventor Richard Braine upgraded the pillar to stainless steel and greatly improved the fit in the sleeve so the arm doesn't list when the grub screw is loosened. That's but one of many differences between the two arms. Another is the much larger "Thrustbox". The original Blackbird remains in the line. The new arm's price at show time had yet to be finalized but it will be around $9000. Don't hold me to that price!

Supatrac BlackhawkOrtofon introduced a new line of Concorde "plug in" cartridges modeled after the 2M series but with one big difference: here you can start with the "red" and by changing styli move all the way up to the LVB (Ludwig Van Beethoven) Shibata, which features a nude diamond mounted on a boron cantilever. None of these are meant for DJ scratching!

Output is a generous 6mV, with the generator making use of silver plated oxygen free copper. Each model's suspension system uses different elastomer material to enhance performance. Prices are: at $149 for the Red, Blue $249, Bronze, $399 and Black, $599 USD. The LVB250 sells for $999 USD. This is a smart move by Ortofon as it allows those who don't want to mess with setting overhang to experience the benefits of the many sonic and performance upgrades.

Over at there Marriott Hi-Fi Deluxe show, and in a static display at MOC, HSE exhibited its jewelry-like and said to offer spectacular sonics, Masterline 7 phono preamp designed by 30 year Studer/Revox veteran Robert Huber. Following Munich High End I visited HiFiction's Micha Huber at his Turbenthal factory, where he manufactures Thales turntables and tonearms and EMT turntables and tonearms. He also introduced a brand new Thales Magnifier $40,000 phono preamp/preamp designed and manufactured in a collaborative effort with Stellavox/Switzerland. Much more about this in an upcoming post but while at the factory, and following a factory tour that will be posted, I overheard two visitors saying they were going to visit HSE so I hitched a ride and that visit and video too will be posted here. There was so much great stuff to see and video during this trip!

HSE Masterline 7


  • 2024-05-21 05:47:02 PM

    Mr. Audio wrote:

    Thanks for showing the Transrotor Darkstar Reference! My dream table with a Kuzma 4Point arm and a Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum cartridge...some day!

  • 2024-05-23 02:14:23 AM

    Paul Faughnan wrote:

    If Ortofon is working with a boron cantilever and Shibata /hyper-elliptical styli they should make an updated version of the Technics 310 MC p mount cartridge and it's rare higher end brother

    • 2024-05-26 05:11:22 AM

      Sloan Lamb wrote:

      Technics 310MC…cannot quite tell from your note, do you like it? At the time I bought it seemed like the only P-mount MC ever…

      • 2024-05-30 02:35:59 AM

        Paul Faughnan wrote:

        It had tracking issues. Unlike all other pmount items/brands ,it could not track at 1. 25 grams and the SL10 had no way to set the tracking force above 1.5 grams. Ortofon would have to find out how to deal with this.(better stylus?)

  • 2024-05-30 05:00:29 PM

    Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

    2 things- clean rooms or something close to it.. all of the dust is issue. 2nd- Let the damn records cool down. Screw your timing and requirements- Warping wasn't happing like this back in the 80's, 90's etc. Rushing is the issue. Putting out shit product means you don't deserve the profits you make.

    • 2024-05-30 05:05:18 PM

      Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

      3rd- Make sure the records are concentric. If you get the 1st side right, you can get the 2nd side right. I also don't believe SRA VTA is a huge deal. Most records are spot on if you have 91 or 92 degrees figured. There are exceptions and those companies not paying attention do suck.