high end 2016 - munich

High End 2016 - Munich - Part Thirteen - Best Sound

High End 2016 - Munich - Best Sound

Elac Concentro was selected as Hificlube Editor's Choice for Best Sound by Mr.&Mrs.Henriques

ELAC Concentro/Burmester

It sounded consistently marvelous every single day with any kind of music. Perfect balance, timing, tone and timbral accuracy. Well, maybe a little smooth for some tastes. I just loved it and my wife did too. Most probably the most musical and natural sound at the show, if not the best tout court: A+

Runners-Up (in alphabetical order)

B&O Beolab90

My colleague Martin Colloms wrote a long feature article about the Beolab 90 for Hificritic. Still I wasn’t ready for what I heard. An immersive holographic sound even when I was sitting no more than 5 feet away from the loudspeakers. Excellent focus, amazing localization of musicians and singers in the huge and deep soundstage. Maybe a hint of upper mid emphasis. To say that I am amazed is an understatement. It gets an A verging on the A+…

Gryphon Kodo/Mephisto

Kodo drum power, bass extension and control (listen to the opening drums), voice projection, focus, 3D soundstage and presence is absolutely devastating. For the competition, that is. Yet the power is so clean even Greenpeace would approve of it. Some might find its transient edges a little too sharp. An A+ performance for the Vikings!


What can I say? This is highend sound of the best kind. Just listen. Now imagine how it sounded in the room. A/A+

Magico M Project/Soulution

Easily one of the best sounds at the show. It has everything in spades: body, natural tone, timbre accuracy, resolution, dynamics, wide, stable and precise soundstage. Some might contend it can sound mechanical at times. Well, blame it on the recording engineer…

A magical A+ for the M Pro driven with soul by Soulution.


As it happens every year it is almost impossible to get a seat at the MBL room. For many it was the best sound at the show. However, they have tuned them up better in previous years, if my memory doesn't fail me The XTreme could sound heavy at times with the bass overwhelming the room. But they did pull out a neat trick just when I was recording this video. Listen: it’s a musical piece for saxophone and organ, probably recorded in a church. And you can hear the reverberation around the instrument with uncanny realism. Had it not been for the room conflict with bass I would have given it an A+. I’ll stick with A/A+ though.

Wilson Audio Sasha II/McIntosh

The best Wilson Audio performance at the show. An all American dream team playing with excellent timing and aplomb. An A/A+ and kudos for ol’ blue eyes and Lady Sasha.

Honourable mention


Unlike Robert Harley I don’t think Bob Stuart invented the ‘wheel’. And yet, there is no doubt 'it moves' and he is heading towards something great with MQA. The sound of the piano and Dylan’s voice sounded so natural, so present, so right that MQA cannot be, er, wrong…

It sounds fluid, liquid, clear, time coherent, with a full bodied midrange like good analog. This video does not do MQA justice. It sounded so much better in the room. Could it be that by (re)recording it I upset the delicate MQA time ‘alignment’?... A for the video sound, A+ for the sound in the room.