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High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes

High End 2024, Part Four: Figures, Trends and Anecdotes

Full of Color - and People

High End 2024 wrap-up, part 4: To conclude the four-day trade fair round-up (meaning our reports, not the trade fair itself), here are some facts and figures about the show, as well as a trend analysis including some anecdotes and stories that we were able to pick up in passing.

High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
The High End 2024 was still quiet at this point: Loewe’s excellent new floorstanding speakers were running in bi-amping mode on two multiroom.amp – what a low-end …

The High End rightly sees itself as a B2B trade fair. Just to clarify: a “business-to-business” event primarily aims to bring trade visitors together. It’s about connecting manufacturers with distributors, distributors with retailers – and so on. But the exhibitors don’t let their customers – the fans and “end consumers” – down, either: both in the rooms of the two atriums and in countless listening booths in the four exhibition halls, visitors could not only marvel at systems and innovations, but also hear and (sometimes) touch them.

High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
Gaming included: Nubert presented the nuPro SP-200 active desktop monitor in proper style with Cyberpunk 2077 …
High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
… but you can also use it with audio software.

My Goodness, it was packed …

The 50:50 division of the trade fair days, which has been in place since the end of the pandemic, proved to be a conceptual – and therefore unavoidable – bottleneck. Thursday and Friday were reserved for trade visitors. Consumers were granted access from Saturday. And it should be noted that High End closes its doors at 4 p.m. on Sunday. The result was an overwhelming rush of visitors on Saturday. It was so crowded that individual corridors and aisles of the atriums were closed at times during the midday hours and curious visitors were only allowed to enter in batches. Meanwhile, the chaos at the entrance to the M.O.C.’s underground parking garage was controlled and cordoned off by police officers who had rushed in especially for the occasion. The many exhibitors in their rooms didn’t notice any of this – they were simply delighted with the packed demonstrations.

High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
Powerful: Lumin is launching a smaller (more affordable) version of the P1 streaming DAC preamplifier. The P1 Mini has fewer connections, but features the manufacturer’s new streaming engine – and hardware controls. The cost: around 5000 euros, less than half the price of a P1.

We can only share this joy: Even if complaints were heard here and there about the crowds and the air quality, especially on the upper floors, it’s still great when a hi-fi show proves to be such a crowd-puller.

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From bottleneck to bon appetit

We do have two small comments, however: the organizer now uses screen panels for the room plans. A great idea, because unlike the printed signposts of earlier years, the digital plans take into account last-minute changes, which happen all the time. However, some of these displays were located directly at the staircases of the atriums, forming impenetrable clumps of visitors, especially on Saturdays. This could be avoided by discreet repositioning. Comment number two is a frustrating observation that is part of the repertoire of almost all trade fairs. Let me put it this way: if soggy 16-euro pizzas or overpriced pretzels from the previous day are your jam, then the catering area “Powered by Käfer” was pure bliss …

High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
In true B2B style, the exhibition areas are complemented by conversation booths. In practice, these are less noticeable than the photo suggests.

It went well!

In many other aspects, we have to take up the cudgels for the trade fair organizer Highend Society. With their well-structured events, lectures and goodies such as free coffee counters (on the trade visitor days), they have worked noticeably on the presentation and professionalization of the show. Munich was virtually paved with posters and banners in the days leading up to the show. And the extensive press service provided information about events, modalities and exhibitors in the days leading up to the show – exemplary!

High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
Latecomer: The Harman Group’s room already looked great on Thursday. What was missing were a number of new products such as the Arcam SA45 integrated amplifier. Apparently, customs took such a liking to the colorful bolides that they only released them on the third day of the fair.

We frequently heard the criticism that the beautiful Atrium 4 has now degenerated into a container village (photo above). But I think this should be considered understandable. Many exhibitors need booths for their business chats. And since I was curiously peeking through the “shop windows” of the exhibition spaces as I was wandering around the atriums anyway, I didn’t really notice the booths – much less in a negative way.

Facts and figures

But now to the cold hard figures that the trade fair organizer released in an official announcement at the beginning of the week:

A total of 22,198 visitors made their way to Munich, 11,237 of whom were trade visitors and 10,373 end consumers. The number of B2B travelers now predominates. In addition to a total of seven FIDELITY colleagues, 581 other media representatives were also on the road.

High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
A place of longing: During the hustle and bustle of the fair, the nearby Motorworld seems like an oasis of calm. Fortunately, several hi-fi manufacturers are represented here with their demonstrations. So you no longer need any excuses to escape the high-end hustle and bustle for a moment …

As in previous years, the exhibition area covered 30,000 square meters – the entire M.O.C. The space was shared by 513 exhibitors from 41 countries, who presented a whopping 1,000 brands. The streak of ever new superlatives can no longer continue, as the exhibition center has hit the limits of its capacity. However, the High End has found a small “workaround”: With (among others) Kii Audio, AVM and GoldNote, more and more exhibitors are making guest appearances in the Motorworld across the street.

High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
A breath of fresh air for the 500 series? Aavik has delivered colossal bolides with its 880 series. However, this makes the air thin for the next smaller 500 series models.A foreboding empty case could be found at the trade fair, a prototype labeled I-588 – an indication of a more than subtle facelift of the former top models with unmistakable borrowings from the 880s.

A detour to hifideluxe

Let’s also not forget that the Marriott Hotel Munich hosted the parallel trade fair hifideluxe with several dozen manufacturers. This year’s exhibitors included 42 brands. We were there with several colleagues (the new products are integrated into the other trade fair reviews). A visit to the Qvortrup family in the Audio Note room was particularly exciting for me. Just a few months ago, we reported on the first hertz beats of the new Fifth Element super DAC. At hifideluxe, it played creamy and silky via the (equally new) AN-E with field coil drivers.

High End 2024, Part Three: Electronics
That’s how you do trade fair: Peter Qvortrup resided in the café of the Marriott Hotel Munich and was happy to chat with guests, fans and customers …

Any trends at the fair?

Definitely. Overall, the number of sensational world firsts was lower than in previous years. This may be due to the fact that manufacturers have become more cautious with announcements – which often end up being years away. Nevertheless, we could clearly see that the price coverage is easing. While there were plenty of superlatives to marvel at with Tidal4Bugatti or Lyravox “Charlemagne”, brands such as Technics (NDA, unfortunately), Monitor Audio (NDA, unfortunately) or Dali did everything they could to transfer the technologies of their “big names” into small, affordable products. Wharfedale takes the cake in this respect with its DIY kits for just a few hundred euros.

High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
A glimpse through the thicket: Tidal4Bugatti’s Royale was also a hot candidate for “Best Sound of the Show” this year.
High End 2024 Loudspeakers
Kii Audio’s new Seven is not dissimilar in concept … but the active speaker costs a (tiny) fraction of the exclusive Royale. Also, it had its surprisingly large demonstration room perfectly under control.

Trend number two is a new bold push for colors. At many stands, we spotted colorful exhibition samples which, according to the manufacturers, were not just “show stoppers” but could actually be ordered. This strengthens our hope that the upcoming issues of FIDELITY might be dripping with color.

High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
Color, the first: EAT’s Fortissimo in bright yellow … behind it, its creator Jozefina Lichtenegger in concentrated conversation.
High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
Color, the second: Burmester’s Bespoke series – the B38 only serves as a “serving suggestion” here. Customers can have their speakers customized according to their wishes.
High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
Color, the third: And Burmester again – the new BX100 at the trade fair comes in colorful covers.
High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
Color, the fourth: This time at HEDD Audio
High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
Color, the fifth: WBT also used coloration to attract attention. It worked – and we really liked it!
High End 2024, Part 4: Facts, Trends and Anecdotes
And finally, a particularly wacky example from Isotek: a British power conditioner in a British paint scheme …


The stated retail price of the reviewed device is valid as of the time of the review and is subject to change.