My actual review pair of Crystal Cable Minissimo monitors ruled this Dutch exhibit. Only a closer look revealed changes, namely a diamond tweeter co-developed with SEAS of Norway to use the company's trademark silver/gold wire metallurgy for the voice coil and hookup leads; and biwire terminals (plus minor internal changes to the crossover).

As Gabi's engineering husband Edwin of Siltech explained, this particular diamond tweeter is a vapor-deposited ultra-light affair without substrate which he crosses at a low 1'450Hz with a 2nd-order filter. It's no surprise that this model would be called Minissimo Diamond.

Also new was the "boxer-engine" €10'000 subwoofer with Hypex power...

... and this particular business end...

... and the architecturally styled €10'000 integrated amplifier with Siltech S.A.G.A. tech, a cubic RF remote and backlit detailing whose color can be changed to match Crystal's three Minissimo finishes of blue, orange and white.

The by far most primitive demo of the show came from Devialet's Phantom which was set up in an uneven row of six playing some robotic techno at high levels. The horizontally opposed woofers were flapping in obvious overdrive and with serious audible distortion as though the overriding theme here was to compete with a LoFi Bose demo on how loud and bassy their small speakers can go in front of an Electric Avenue audience. Except of course that this audience came from audio's high street. I didn't bother to ask whether the six speakers were set up L/R/L/R/L/R, LLL/RRR or some other hare-brained scheme. Given the published record breaking of involved brain power and registered patents involved in this product, I was shocked by how barbarian, crude and low-aiming this demonstration dared to be. It killed off all personal interest in the product. I'm serious!

Jumping the alphabet to make a point, the polar opposite of the cursed Devialet demo was the new Kii Audio Three whose launch party occurred in the cinema mix suite of Munich's MSM Studios. With designer Bruno Putzeys at the helm of the MacBook source and fellow ex-Grimm collaborators in attendance, this €10'000/pr 6-driver monitor of 20x40x40cm dimensions yet with 6 x 250-watt nCore modules tucked inside for a total of 1'500 watts per side showed what an intelligently designed active wireless loudspeaker (with wired options!) should do and can be. It uses DSP to control dispersion. Below 250Hz, the rear/sidefiring woofers exploit phase cancellation to drastically reduce backward output. This eliminates the usual pressurization of the front corners and high-amplitude time-delayed bass reflections from the front wall. Above that frequency, a similar but shifted approach nets a cardioid dispersion pattern to, again, focus the acoustic energy at the listener. With the excursion limiters of the production version, this speaker will do 20Hz at reasonably high SPL. Very much unlike the Phantom, these woofers barely moved during big bass transients to show properly damped behaviour without silly antics. It goes without saying that Bruno's music choices were intelligent and civilized rather than ape hangers. This demo fully cashed in on my pre-show excitement to make it my top find in Munich. This is a terribly smart and attractive solution for the future of home and studio hifi! For my alternate 'director's cut' version of this room, go here and be sure to also read part deux.

On a similar high note came EnigmAcoustics' new Dharma headphone and matching Athena A1 tube hybrid amplifier in a repurposed Sopranino glass casing. The Dharma combines the company's self-biased electret electrostatic tweeter crossed in at 10kHz with a Wagami paper dynamic driver and phase-linear high-pass filter. The A1 is a single-ended class A design with a low-impedance Mosfet/BJT output stage and triode drivers. This was my second headphone novelty pick.

Focal's new Sopra range premiered a 2-way monitor and 4-driver three-way compact tower with what company representative Raphael called their most advanced midrange driver ever. It exploits a new exponential profile, new surround created with custom-written simulation software and a Neodymium motor with optimized Faraday ring. The same suspension tech migrated also to the tower's twin woofers, albeit here with Ferrite motors. I asked for a review pair of the towers.

Fono Acustica premiered their new top cables with proprietary connectors literally finished by a jeweler. They also looked it. I had a spirited discussion with their designer—who doesn't use test gear but purely his ears—about bling, pricing and the questionable appeal of luxuriously detailed cable connectors which hide behind equipment racks and loudspeakers to never be seen again. Just so, if there is demand for this type of exotic product, the right person should fill it. Just don't ask me to review it!