Acoustic Sounds
By: Michael Fremer

May 21st, 2023


Hi-Fi Shows

Munich High End 2023 Show Coverage Day Two

specialized turntable, phono preamp and cartridge coverage

High End 2023 day two for me began as a panel discussion participant in an event titled "Future-Fi" hosted by Olaf Adam, Chief Editor of the German hi-fi website The other panelists were Ljubiša Miodragović from Serbia, who writes for "Hi-Files Audio Video Magazin", and from Great Britain, Hi-Fi Pig's editor in chief, Stuart Smith from Great Britain. We were there to predict the future of audio.

We had a full house for a lively discussion. I began my participation by saying that if predicting the future was easy, we'd all be at the race track. I quoted something I'd written mid-'80s in the Los Angeles music magazine Music Connection, which was "Compact Discs are not the future. They don't sound better than records and soon very few people will still have CD players," which was a direct refutation of a "futurist's claim back then that CD players are the future, that CDs sound better than records and that soon very few people will have turntables." It took quite a while for my prediction to come true, but it has. Here's the photo accompanying the story, which included a disclaimer at the top stating "This story does not reflect the views or opinions of the publisher and editor of this magazine" (or very similar words) because what I'd written was so controversial:

compact discs sound terribleFollowing the "Future-Fi" event I had to run across the convention center and up the stairs to catch the Wilson-benesch press event debuting the company's GMT One System turntable that has been under development for more than a decade. While the company showed an unfinished version at last year's show, this time it introduced the final production model and played records on it throughout the show. This video includes press conference highlights.

Of course the turntable is priced out of reach of most viewers, and no doubt some will be outraged by its price, but for vinyl fans the education provided in the video clip about what constitutes good turntable design and what Wilson-benesch and its team did to address and solve the problems, many of which most of us have never considered, will cost you nothing to watch and it will be time well spent for when you decide to buy a new turntable regardless of price.

By the time that press event concluded half the day was gone and it was over to the CH Precision, TechDAS room where TechDAS's introduced its Air Force 10 pivoted air bearing tonearm and provided me with an excellent backgrounder and sonic demonstration. This is a major product release sure to find its way onto both TechDAS turntables and many other brand turntables. The price, like the air bearing will be stiff!

Air Force 10 tonearmCH Precision debuted and actively demoed its new P10 phono preamp available in two box stereo and 4 box dual mono configurations. That demo for me came on day three and will be in an upcoming video.

Among the other products you'll see in this video is Mo-Fi's super-versatile phono preamplifier designed by Peter Madnick, one of which is headed my way late June, though it's already shipping to dealers, as well as Dietrich Brakemeier's high mass technologically sophisticated Astellar turntable priced at $88,800. For what it appears to offer, that's a "bargain" price.

MoFi Phono preamplifierAcoustical Systems Astellar turntableA few copyright strikes forced me to mute the sound in a few rooms and add a "ticker" crawl across the bottom. In one I inadvertently omitted mention of a Grand Prix Audio direct drive turntable. Apologies to Grand Prix Audio's Alvin Lloyd.