Enjoy the music? Not so easy when the loudest sounds at Munich High-End don’t spill from loudspeaker systems but people. For four days in May, the M.O.C. hosts 20K+ visitors and when a few hundred convene in the glass-lined atria or warehouse-like halls, the background din becomes a roar. A problem bent double (for some) when the music we’re exhorted to enjoy is mostly not to our taste or when even the quietest in-room conversation will interfere with a product demonstration.
Why so much chatter? The world’s biggest high-end audio trade show isn’t only for consumers. It’s where manufacturers and their distributors – new and existing – convene to ink contracts and write new business. It’s where dealers come to ask questions about product timelines, journalists about new models and possible review units. It’s where critical listening must play second fiddle to the sound of business being done. Perhaps this is why we saw a sharp uptick in the number of prefabricated meeting rooms this year?
Further, faced with static hardware configurations and unknowable room interference, the savvy reviewer knows not to insult common sense by reporting on show sound. More on that from my friend and colleague Michael Lavorgna here.
For yours truly, Munich 2019 was a chance to run with the conversational wind, not against it. Audio shows are where I swap notes (extensively) with a handful of reviewer colleagues and chat to manufacturers about what’s coming down the pike — no other audio show on the calendar offers such extensive access to product engineers/managers as does Munich High-End.
And with this site’s own show-related product announcements in the bag by the end of (press) day, I was free to focus on exhibitors delivering meaningful demonstrations (usually in the form of A/B comparisons), to talk tech with the wo/men behind the products and, experimentally, to shoot a video of what went on in-between all the business talk. After all, the full Munich High-End experience takes in so much more than just hi-fi:
Further information: High-End Society