While the M.O.C. exhibition center housing the Munich High End Show generated a lot of heat, only some of it was produced by hot products making their debuts. A combination of record-setting crowds (up 10% over 2016), large tube amps, glass ceilings, warm weather outside, and screens that blocked the limited air conditioning that there was, made me feel like I was in a sauna, at least for the first few days of what has arguably become the most important high-performance audio show in the world. Unfortunately, some rooms were so packed and hot, like the Vandersteen/Brinkmann room so admired by my colleagues, that I reluctantly had to bypass them.

My focus was on cables, power products, and accessories, certainly not the most glamorous of categories, but critical to optimizing sonic performance. While the prices of some of these solutions give me pause, it’s inarguable that the best-sounding rooms at the show also featured several outstanding (and admittedly pricey) new cables, power products, and accessories. There’s some fine work going on here ranging from eliminating high-frequency nasties, to allowing fine details to emerge more clearly, to releasing the stored energy in your system to better approximate the sound and air pressure of a live performance.