Munich High End 2017 19th May - 21st May 2017 Every year, my hometown of Munich holds one of the biggest audio related trade-shows in the world. The Munich High End. The show is always fun, with Bavarian coziness and almost always amazing weather to boot. Many exhibitors from all around the world join for everything audio-related. Here are some of my personal impressions. The big balloon in front of the MOC. 1) Meze I always start off my journey with Meze. Why? Because they are nice guys. Me and Lorand (@MezeTeam on HF) were talking quite a bit about new releases. In particular, he was raving about the Electrostat from Sonoma. Beyond that, he showed me a prototype of their new upcoming IEM, featuring a custom tuned Balanced Armature Driver (x1). Very competent sounding, although it needs some more refinement in the highs. Pricing should be around 200$-250$. By the way, did you know they are developing an orthodynamic headphone? 2.) Audeze Next up was the Audeze booth. They had their usual line-up of full-sized headphones on display. However my eyes were directed by the new LCDi4. It very much shares the LCD4 line of thought, with their warm and full-bodied sound. Great dynamics. Articulate and with wonderful extension. Pete Aldertons "So Cool" had me toe-tipping. Price is around 2500$. I also listened to the iSine 10s, which are slightly brighter and leaner. I'm hooked. (pun intended) 3.) Shanling Next stop was Shanling. I wanted to get a listen to the M1 and the new M2S. I left disappointed. The UI is slightly convoluted and the wheel feels unnatural to navigate with. Sound was quite good. For 129$ and 199$, they make a good entry level DAP. Interestingly, they had some DUNU and Fitear models available. The DUNU DK-3001 was very impressive, though a touch too pricey for what it does. I also listened to the Fitear Aya. A neutral sounding experience, albeit with underwhelming dynamics. I liked the F111 back in the day, but the Aya was just not for me. 4.) oBravo Then came oBravo. I listened to their eamt-1, eamt-2 and was very disappointed. They had this very bright and piercing treble which was unsatisfying. The guy at the booth gave me a variation with a wooden front-cabinet as opposed to the ceramic front. Very incoherent, even with the more tame treble. Tonality is all over the place. He also showed me their new flagship: The "Ra" (as in the Egyptian god). Very bass heavy, although the soundstage was impressive. They are super source dependent, with the two driver being somewhat mismatched. 5.) final Japan I checked out the new ortho-dynamic prototype. It was very mellow and relaxed sounding. Easy to drive, even from my old Samsung S3. Comfort was not ideal, though. Shout-out to the Ojii-san who spoke some Japanese with me and the guy at final. A very pleasant experience. 6.) Astell & Kern I never found the A&K DAPs interesting. Very unpractical, heavy and too much boutique for me. The sonics of the SP1000 were fantastic, however. I also took a listen to the A&K tuned Beyerdynamics T1. Very nice. 7.) Aune Aune had the "new" M1S on display. Super impressed. So much in fact, I am going to order one. Simple, but fantastic. Stunningly fast U.I., superb sound and for "only" 249$. I really like the simple, no bullsh!t approach. 8.) Fostex Fostex had the TH610 and TH900 on show. The former was really fun and dynamic, coupled with the great set of AMPs, which made for an amazing listen. The HP-V8 is a monstrosity. Such power. The HPA8 + TH610 combo was rather mellow, with male vocals being a joy to listen to. However coupled with the V8, just wow. Superb articulation. 9.) Fiio I checked out Fiio for the X5 DAP and F5 IEM. The X5 was great, but the Android OS seemed a bit mismatched. Build and SQ does punch above the respective price-points. The F5 is alright, quite neutral, although the MMCX showed a lot of weakness. Good value. 10.) Audio-Technica To my disappointment, ATH did not have the LS200, 300 and 400 available. The LS50 and 70 left me unimpressed. I also listened to the DSR9BT, which is similar to the MSR7. A good alternative to the Bose or Sony BT headphones. They also had the W-Series on display. Everything, besides the W3000ANV... 11.) Acoustic Research My top pick of the show. The upcoming E10 dual hybrid sounded exceptional. A touch bass heavy perhaps. Soundstage and instrument separation were amazing. The E10 really gives my FLC8s a run for their money. At 199$ no less. They also had an ortho on display. The AR-H1 was very neutral, but at the same time possessed great dynamics. The 99dB/mW sensitivity was too much (or rather too little) for my phone. Feed it well, and it will response accordingly. Pricing is around 650$. 12.) Ultrasone What a nice looking headphone. The Pro 9 (Tribute 7?) sounded well balanced, maybe slightly mid-forward. Isolation was surprisingly good. Did you know that Ultrasone is a Bavarian company? Me neither. 13.) Furniture? Ahem. I did not ask, but how much is it again? Conclusion: What a blast. While I was unable to get a audition for the Sennheiser HE-1, my overall impressions were quite positive. All the exhibitors were warm and welcoming and many items have left me with a "wanna buy" impression. See you next year!