Okay, so hifideluxe was quite a bit smaller this year and I easily got to see all the rooms. Despite a lower quantity of rooms the quality was there. Some veyr good, some very interesting rooms. I finally got to hear the LX521!

Somehow imgur didn't seem to work. I quickly dumped all the pictures on my site:


Some of my favorites:


I didn't like

I also got to hear the RAAL CA-1a from a Viva Egoista 845 tube amp and their toroidal transformer box. The one with the closed pad ring was far too warm sounding for me and the one with the slits still sounded a bit too warm for me. Plus it didn't seem to fix my main gripe with the SR1a: The bass is still uncontrolled. And it doesn't have HD800 staging, either. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad product, but I expected more.

JMF was much improved compared to two or three years ago, but was similar to last year.

I was a bit surprised to see that the LX521 didn't feature any chamfering around the rear of the midragne driver. Sad!

I didn't really hear any rooms where I couldn't at least detect some issues with the midrange to treble transition. The really werid looking horns had Beryllium drivers and it was interesting to hear, but they ended up sounding too sharp for me.

High End 2023 Saturday

It was great being able to chat with @zottel, not just about how the rooms sounded, but also his experience with headphones, etc. Always great to see that there are other sceptics, who don't just automatically think eveyrthing is awesome ;P

Spent way too much time in the halls retrospectively and also didn't listen to any headphones. I feel like I might want to check out the system zottel mentioned of the Feliks Envy and ZMF Caldera, though.

A couple notes from the first day:

I missed most of Atrium 4.2 today, so I also didn't manage to visit @Priidik, yet.

High End 2023 Sunday

Got to listen to some nice rooms today.

Personal favorites of mine were the other Marten room, Wolf von Langa with a WE755 driver clone as a "filler-midrange" and I have to give Priidik a lot of credit for tuning the Estelon Aura. It was masterfully tuned!

Sunday impressions:


It was fun chatting about speaker design in general, the challenges associated with the rooms and also other rooms/gear.

One thing I didn't quite expect or even think about is how much of a challange it is to get good imaging here. It takes some skill to work with the rooms and get good sound here. And then it takes some taste to play music that's not boring, sounds good and makes for a good reference to judge sound by. While I was there the music selection at Estelon was among the best. As an aside I also liked a couple of the tracks Ines played while I was at Voxativ. Discovering new music is definitely part of the fun of High End.

I discussed with my dad how Troels edge-coates similar Satori drivers with good results, but I imagine it would be insanity to do so in a commercial product. Gotta have someone manually edge-coat, then let the drivers sit and dry for maybe up to a week, then measure and match them individually and also throw away any outliers. Yeah, probably not gonna happen. But I think the idea is cool.

Marten room 2:
(the one with the Engström amps)

Jadis/Davis The Wall


Smaller Lyravox monitors

Wolf von Langa

I heard an ISO Acoustics demo with Focal speakers and kind of preferred the sound with spikes to the Gaia dampers. Strange.

I think that's pretty much it. AudiaZ had an interesting speaker with the Accuton diamond midrange that was reserved to Tidal just a year ago and they may have them beat. Sounded quite clean and clear, although the midrange has its issues aswell with the resonances from the magnet system. Makes the midrange less smooth than it could be. 

Some additional comments:

The power at the show must be absolutely horrid. I watched the voltage drop from 230V to 220V within a fraction of a second all the time, that certainly can't be good for the sound. That is not something you see at home. My idea would be to use a power station that generates an entirely seperate output voltage. But I'm sure lots of rooms do just that.

I got to hear a half a million dollar Børresen setup and there are some things that were really good. Their tweeter is a bit like a RAAL sound-wise. Their midrange drivers never sound harsh.

The problem is that they don't have any bass drivers and the crossover between midrange and tweeter is really obvious. They also still seem to have the weird port tuning for the bass drivers where bass is only one note.

Tannoy had an interesting speaker that I thought was pretty good overall, it just doesn't really image and Tannoys also don't sound the most coherent. But it was neutral, was dynamic as hell and in general managed to sound decently transparent. 845 tube amp.

EgglestonWorks should be right up my alley with their midrange without a crossover, but somehow they weren't. It's really difficult to make a design like that work and if I'm honest I'm not sure if it ever really works. I tried it with a paper coaxial that sounds smooth on its own and even then the dispersion wasn't good.

Maybe it's the driver spacing, the amps, the room, etc.

I got to hear a master tape copy on an HD800S and there was so much life in the sound. But good luck finding your favorite artists.

Smaller Lyravox monitors

Good clarity if a bit muddy in the bass. Basically what you would expect from a tiny Accuton monitor. Tuned quite well, though I think they're active. I haven't looked up the price, but for say 5k they could be a good deal? Images quite well. I wish there was more going on, though.

Would be fun to pit against Hathor, though Hathor has some unfair advantages with its crossover and directivity. If Hathor was a normal speaker with a smaller woofer I would likely prefer this, although going from a 6" midrange to a 1" tweeter is never going to be coherent. FR is not going to look pretty 90 degrees off-axis.

Woops, I looked up the price. Well, get Voxativ Ampeggios instead would be my recommendation. Or PAP Trio 15s with the Voxativs.

(What I'm really trying to say here is that - and if you read between the lines you might've understood - is that it's actually not too bad. I prefer passive speakers with larger woofers, but they do deserve some credit. It's a good speaker. It's tuned quite well.)

The trend seems to be 845 tube amps now and I have to admit that I have a feeling a lot of these unobtainium 845 amps sounded really good. There were even some more exotic tubes around, like massive 212 tubes.

Cube audio used a Tektron 211 tube amp and while their speakers still sound quite colored, the amplifier seemed to be quite good.

I got to chat with Reinhard Thöress. Ever since Troels Gravesen tried out the EHT amp I've kind of wanted to hear one in my system. These amps are crazy and not as outrageously priced as many others.

Quite a few of these high end turntables had obvious issues with cartridge alignement resulting in too much distortion or a channel imbalance.

I feel like you can't leave the turntable set-up to chance and need to actually measure the FR and distortion of the cart with a soundcard and a PC and optimize it that way. But probably nobody does that.

As far as DACs go, it's really hard to say for a noob like me. Metronome didn't impress me. The MSB and dCS stuff I have no idea. I don't quite like how dCS has variable filters and when I heard them on a headphone setup last year it also didn't image as well as it should. MSB has all sorts of firmware revisions that completely change the character of their DACs that you have no idea what you're getting. Voxativ has a DAC now and if anythiing I thought it was a bit weird sounding. But it's not finalized, yet.

It's hard to keep track of all the DACs in the 100k€ range.

There were a couple SB-Acoustics drivers that I thought were very interesting: A 21" OB woofer, two 10" woofers, an 8" full-range, a 4" coaxial, etc. They released a lot of drivers here.


Finally there was a room with the Bacch sound processor that was open to the public and didn't require you to take individualized measurements. I'm not sure how it worked and if there was any head-tracking involved (didn't seem like it), but it sounded about how you'd expect - it's a massive headphone type soundstage. I'm really glad I managed to check out this room since it's just such a unique experience, but I still prefer the normal speaker experience.