Munich High End #40 Breaks Records

What a present. During its 4 days within the MOC occasion heart, the primary two reserved for business and press, Munich High End attracted 22,137 guests from roughly 100 completely different nations. With 550 exhibitors and greater than 1000 manufacturers from 54 nations, they’d a lot to listen to and see.

With the COVID pandemic in (non permanent?) decline, tons extra folks wore far fewer masks. In many rooms, the masks wearers amounted to precisely one: moi. Hey, I wish to cowl many extra reveals and listen to way more nice music earlier than I get the chance to find if the Pearly Gates are an ideal level supply.

This 12 months, the proportion of business attendees elevated from roughly 38% of all company to nearly half. In whole, 10,748 commerce guests, together with 529 photo-snapping media representatives from 43 nations, ultimately joined 10,860 members of the general public on the world’s largest audio present.

The present was so massive that the High End Society could not meet the demand for personal assembly rooms. Part of Hall 1—one in all 4 floor ground exhibit halls stuffed with tables interspersed with enclosed listening cubicles— was reserved for the “World of Headphones.” Famed guitarist Al Di Meola was a headline visitor, and famed music producer Rick Rubin was seen wandering the halls, typically previous gaping-mouthed onlookers.

Yours really did one thing he is executed twice earlier than whereas in Munich: I capped Peter McGrath’s presentation on Day 4 with a dwell efficiency of Verdi’s Aida at Bayerisches Staatsoper. (See my evaluate right here.) Seated in a major orchestra seat in Row 13, I heard sound so dwell, clear, and interesting as to assist put every thing I’d heard at Munich High End in perspective. IMHO, much more essential than the very fact I used to be listening to dwelling, unamplified artists from a major seat was the Bavarian State Opera’s extraordinary acoustic (at the very least from the place I sat). As I reminded myself again and again as I contemplated what I heard in a number of displays, “It’s the room, darling. It’s the room.”

I am unable to fake that this 12 months’s protection was a stroll within the park. Fellow reviewer Ken Micallef needed to cancel his protection plans when he ended up within the hospital with a damaged ankle, and Stereophile editor-in-chief Jim Austin was knocked low by a abdomen bug halfway by the present. Happily, I arrived ready, with lists of premieres organized by location.

Were there way more worthy-of-coverage premieres at Munich High End? Absolutely. But one of many causes I missed them, in addition to the sheer lack of time to do every thing whereas navigating by scores of individuals, is as a result of, in 2023, many high-end firms appear to suppose they’ll skip sending out press releases. Instead, they submit a blurb on their web site or social media web page and anticipate the press to one way or the other discover its strategy to their rooms.

But that is my sole gripe. It was a superb present. Some folks complained of an extreme quantity of speaking throughout music. Somehow, I managed to keep away from distracting conversations in all however one room, I positive hope these males’s inventory portfolios are doing nicely, as a result of they should cease obsessing about their choices and focus extra on the music. As for the fool photographer who flashed away throughout a wonderful recording with out the least concern for these round him, the fiery flames of hell await.

I wish to tip my hat to Munich itself. It’s a superb metropolis. From the meals on the English Garden’s Biergarten (above)—the white asparagus was divine—to the town’s dwell music, surviving and rebuilt structure, and museums. Munich is an excellent place to go to. Readers who’ve the means however have by no means taken the time to go to both Mad King Ludwig’s three fantasy-driven castles or their real-world antithesis, the Dachau Concentration camp, owe themselves a go to. Seeing the sunshine, the darkish, and weird on a single go to is doubtlessly life altering. As is listening to the best tools at Munich High End.

My sincerest due to the organizers of Munich High End, to my pricey business mates with whom I laughed and dined, to Stereophile‘s editor-in-chief Jim Austin and technical editor/show-report poster John Atkinson, and to everybody who cares about elevating the bar in music copy. You are a present.

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