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Munich High-End 2016: sights & sounds

  • munich_2016The biggest and baddest audio trade show in the world is undoubtedly Munich High-End. It’s where manufacturers from across the globe come to show off their wares, meet the press and entertain distributors.

    For four days in May, the Munich Order Centre (M.O.C) sees its gargantuan internals turned over to some of the best audio products in the world.

    Downstairs, red carpets line the floors of four ‘Halles’, themselves subdivided into pairs by an outdoor beer ‘n bratwurst garden. The Halles are mostly for static displays but are occasionally punctuated by blink-and-you’ll-miss-em prefabricated listening rooms. Above Halles 3 and 4, a pair of high-ceiling’d, U-shaped Atriums almost dwarf the show’s listening rooms proper that line their outer perimeter.

    The Dynaudio loudspeaker built from 26,450 Lego pieces is impossible to miss. It’s sure to feature in almost every publication’s show report.

    Despite once being a German-centric event, Munich High-End has slowly evolved into the number one event on the audio trade show calendar for coverage by the international press. With over 500+ exhibitors in one location we are exposed to eye-bulging amount of audio gear. And people. For context, the bigger Stateside trade shows pull in around 200 exhibitors each year whilst Australia rarely pulls in more than 30 exhibitors per show.

    This is my third year covering Munich High-End but I don’t think it’s only the show’s size that sets it apart from the rest. Judging attendees on appearances, the Munich events attracts a more socially normalised individual; the scene seems less dominated by oddballs and eccentrics. (And I mean that affectionately).

    Take a look for yourself though. The following video compiles snippets from the first two days of the Munich event. Pay attention to what people wear. Despite being 25C outside, jackets and jeans is the prevailing trend. Sock and sandals are very few and far between.

    Listen carefully too and you’ll hear numerous languages being spoken above the din of the background noise. The vibe is genuinely international.

    Rumours abound that 2016 will be High-End show’s last turn at the M.O.C. as the building’s control reverts to BMW. However, I have it on good authority from a German distributor that arrangements have been made for it to continue in its current location. Long may it run.

    Further information: Munich High-End


    DAR 750 x 290

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. It seems that you’ve taken time off from providing equipment reviews as of late as most of what we’re seeing from you are smartphone videos of show venues and city scapes. And the reviews are what people are wearing or what languages are being spoken. It seems that with all the buzz about digital source content & playback equipment, you’d be consumed trying to give us your opinions on where digital is headed.

      • What you’ve seen of my of late? Only one post has been video posts of city scapes. ONE! Because I’m in Munich. How would you suggest I conduct reviews whist overseas?

        Yes, I’ve taken time away from doing equipment reviews because I’m on the road covering two trade shows. Reviews might be what people want the majority of the time but maybe – just maybe – some might like to see shows tackled from a different angle; audio has a cultural context. This is what I’m doing before I get into the show coverage proper, before the manufacturer specific posts kick in in earnest. Besides, there’s very little time for posts when I’m at the show all day.

        If it’s reviews you want, drop by again in 2 or 3 weeks.

    2. Sweet.

      Nice to see Germany being a force instead of a farce as so often (lately) seems to be the case. As for the attendees being socially normal, there’s nothing wrong with that. Respect for oneself guides our morals while respect for others chaperons our manners.

      So many people today are a part of Generation Nothing and that being regardless of chronological age. I am glad to hear that people attending a High End show didn’t behave like a rear end. I look forward to more of your reports!


    The sights and sounds of Munich

    What a high end audio show REALLY sounds like