Marten was highlighting its new Django XL. Priced under €10,000, the entry point to its Heritage Series, the full-range three-way floorstanding design features three 8” SEAS bass units and a ceramic mid and tweeter from Accuton. This was making some lovely sounds in a room shared with Nagra, which was itself showing off its new €12,000 Jazz preamplifier, a complete rethink for the brand.
Ocean Way is perhaps best known as a studio in Burbank and Nashville. It also makes loudspeakers. Big, horn-loaded, studio inspired monitors that mostly sell to other studios and well-heeled audiophiles half a world away. The loudspeakers sounded jaw-dropping in almost every respect; dynamic, detailed and surprisingly accurate monitors, that start at around $50,000 and keep going until you add a zero to that sum. Per channel. Trouble is, the AS-1 and HR-3 speakers played at Munich made you think that would be money well spent.
With all the noise about the KEF LS50, Tannoy’s more restrained room could go unnoticed, but the company was offering advance previews of two of its new ranges; the middle-range Precision series (comprising two floorstanders and a stand-mount) and a new one-driver floorstander in the Definition series that will use Alnico magnets (in the style of classic Tannoy horns of old). These products are expected later in the year.
I made a rookie error at in the YG room. The sound of the ANAT Reference loudspeakers was awesome; deep, controlled, powerful room filling sound. Except it was the sound of the Carmel loudspeakers! Of course, when the two were changed over, you could easily hear that extra depth, range and control. However, the consistency of the sound between the two and the grace of those Carmels was truly outstanding. And I wasn’t alone in thinking this. I spoke to a number of people who attended the show and many agreed; this was a highly praised room by almost everyone who visited.
Zellaton by Podszus is a new/old company. The original patents for the metal dome loudspeaker drivers date back to the 1930s, but the company disappeared in the mists of time. Then, a few years ago, the grandson of the original Zellaton patent holder began making loudspeakers again, using the distinctive hand-made metal loudspeakers. Products start from the Emotion floorstanding loudspeaker at €17,000 right up to the as-yet-undecided Reference model. Having now heard the Grand and the Classic in shows around the world, this three-strong team will make a big splash.
Finally, there were big launches I missed, because there’s only so many rooms it’s possible to do in a few days. But those who visited these launches said I missed out on something truly special. At the entry-point end of things, Boston Acoustics is leveraging the golden ears of the brand ambassador of Ken Ishiwata of Marantz for its new m-series loudspeakers. Ishiwata – who also announced a new up-market stereo range of €3,000 streamer, €4,000 CD/SACD player and €4,000 amplifier range – had the €2,750/pr flagship speakers in a wide, toed-in arrangement to make one of what was said to be one of the best sounds from the atrium rooms. Meanwhile, in a nearby dealer, Magico showcased its new $28,00 S5 floorstander available in a range of finishes (a first for the brand) and capable of both taking and giving out the punishment (a 1.2kW limit on amplification and a 118dB loudness ceiling). Once again, those who heard the three-way, four driver design were deeply impressed.