It’s trade show season and another great display of tech took place in Germany this past weekend. Munich High-End saw the release of everything from tube amps to turntables. Read up at learn more about Munich High-End 2018 new releases, headphones, DACs and more.
Munich High-End 2018 New Releases, Headphones, DACs
One of our favorite headphone companies, Audeze, was on-site to showcase their newest addition to attendees. Guests were able to experience the rich sound produced by low impedance drivers on the new Audeze LCD-4Z. It is is a specially designed open-back headphone holding a 15 ohm voice coil in a magnesium frame making it very easy to drive and about 25 percent lighter than the LCD-4. The LCD-4Z is decorated with Magnesium rings and gold screens in contrast to the LCD-MX4’s silver screens. This headphone is available for pre-order for $3,995.
Astell & Kern was also on hand to launch two really weird looking music players. But hey, function over form. TBH, A&futura SE100 is actually kinda cool looking rather than odd. It appears to be very slender with the side panel narrowing in near the dial which probably slips easily into a back pocket. The SE100 frame consists of an aluminum body with a glass back plate. In terms of technology, it holds an ESS Sabre ES9038Pro DAC and can handle up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD256. It can store up to 128 GB of data and supports a ten-hour battery life. This sleek player will burn a hole in that back pocket of yours with a retail price of $1699. The SE100 is the first from A&K’s new line of players called A&futura.
A&K launched another, cheaper line called A&norma. The first release from this collection is the A&norma SR15 and to be fair, this is the one that looks really freakin’ weird. Like, why is the display positioned at an angle? Just looking at it makes me feel like I’m getting an on set vertigo. Regardless, if you can brave the LCD-tailspin then this player provides the use of a Cirrus Logic CS43198 DAC and Quad-core CPU for DSD64 and 24-bit/192kHz PCM files all for $699. Both models are expected to drop May and June, respectively.
Chord Electronics released the second generation to their Hugo Table Top DAC called Chord Hugo TT 2. Hugo’s larger brother has been built with two coaxials (24-bit/768kHz-capable), two opticals (24-bit/192kHz-capable), a balanced XLR, unbalanced RCA, three headphone outputs (two 6.33mm and one 3.5mm), dual BNC DX outputs, and a USB Type-B connection which is used for the DAC and can decode files up to 768kHz PCM and DSD 512. It also runs a sophisticated Xilinx Artix 7 FPGA and features 86x 208MHz cores running in parallel to create an advanced 16FS WTA 1 filter with 98,304-taps which is double that of the Hugo 2. Chord Hugo TT 2 will be available in Autumn 2018 for a price of approx $5403.
Pioneer made an appearance at Munich, skipping the unveil of a headphone for an integrated amplifier. The Pioneer A-40AE was manufactured to “reflect the latest trends in stereo music playback” explains Pioneer. First of all, it was built to last and sports a steel chassis while the front panel and volume control knob are made of an aluminum alloy. The amplifier has been built with “high quality components, superlative workmanship, and a crisp, well-defined sound,” adds Pioneer. The amp features two digital inputs (optical and coaxial) to allow for streaming audio players or TVs with digital outputs. The internal digital-to-analogue converter can process sampling rates up to 192kHz, listening to high resolution audio via the digital inputs is also fully-supported. Pioneer A-40AE will be available in August 2018.