Not up for discussion was Danish Audio Design's utter gall to call their Spanish co-exhibitors of Kroma Audio at 19:00 on Wednesday less than 24 hours before the alternate show's 12:00 Thursday opening to announce that they weren't coming. Finding themselves without amplification, Miguel and Javier were in a real jam not of the sweet apricot sort. Diesis kindly loaned them spares but the amp proved insufficiently powerful to get the best from their new Elektra flagship speaker. Hearing of their dilemma, Angel Despotov of Analog Domain who lives 25 minutes from the Marriott stepped in to bring a DAC and amp the following day to save it and those remaining.

Since no good deed should go unpunished, here is Angel's system with his very own speakers with custom-modded waveguided AMT tweeters and pro-arena dynamic cones. Playing some Live at Montreux Marcus Miller, this setup demonstrated that if you want amplified live-sound realism, you need the right weaponry. Having organized Rock concerts, Angel owns that reference and designs his gear accordingly. Most show system wouldn't have played this type of music properly. A subsequent tune from Ry Cooder's Paris Texas showed wonderful finesse and those which followed reiterated why for folks with Despotov's sensibilities, high-end shows have really lost their appeal; and it.

Cayetano of Artesania Audio had his new rack which unlike the existing range uses constrained-layer tankwood with Krion. Related models will spawn a new parallel series to the twin-frame metal models.

These amp-stand photos show how the Panzerholz footers can be moved front/back and left/right to meet their intended marks. Because there's a lot more to this Iberian firm than meets the eye, a factory visit for the fall is already planned.

Audionec of France are the spiritual heirs of Mr. Deminière's Janus 50 which itself traces back to Linæum and also begat the Swiss Rubanoide version of Audio Consulting's Serge Schmidlin. Francis Chaillet played their flagship model Diva XL V2 whose 15" woofers bracket their 200Hz-20kHz duo-pole Linæum-derivative widebander. As LampizatOr's  Lukasz Fikus put it to me in a hallway, this was his choice for best sound of show. Because they played a singer he knows personally and has heard at many a concert, he had a most concise reference for that opinion. I was equally impressed and a review of a smaller model has already been arranged to tell the whole story. That includes DSP and Audionec's own electronics.

Audio Physic bowed Midex below which is positioned between Codex and Avanti. It substitutes their invisible box woofers for paralleled front-firing units in a 3-way design. 89dB and an F3 of 30Hz are the main specs. Last year's Codex Structure teaser has become the Structure positioned on the very top of this portfolio above Cardeas 30. Its structural elements include ceramic foam, honeycomb sandwich panels, carbon glass, a 3D-printed dual-basket midrange and improved floor decoupling via VCF V magnetic feet and a new VCT III terminal.

Inventor Zoltán Bay and Mark Beach premiered the svelte Bayz Audio Courante which in the actual just 1mm-thin Carbon flesh was more compact than expected. Despite lack of room treatments in lieu of real-life furnishings which become important for a true omni speaker, this demo showed real promise. When this goes into production, the unique tweeter will already be in its 3rd generation with efficiency at ~90dB. From Anthony Gallo's CDT III to mbl's Radialstrahler, omni tweeters do something very special and the Bayz fit right into this rarefied/airified company.

What goes on inside those expertly crafted half-C sections is just as secretive as the non-ribbon nature of the HF unit. That each Satori mid/woofer is ported was the only giveaway. Learning more will depend on securing a review loaner. For that I expect a lot of colleagues to stand in line. Needless to say, for such an exciting new-tech speaker, I threw my card into the voting box and said a prayer.

The Bespoke Audio Company previewed their new phono stepup unit and showed...

... one of only five 5th Anniversary passive preamp units with footers, remote wand accents and transformer cowls executed in burled wood. Since that can't be machined without crumbling, our resourceful Brits first impregnate it with resin à la tankwood.

For those of us too inflexible to consider things new to us like attenuation transformers for passive volume control; tubes when we're solid statesmen; headphones when we're speaker lovers; digital when we're black licorice addicts...

... let's consider Bruce LeGoat. Called the world's best golf caddy, do you think that at birth, this goat contemplated walking around with golf clubs for a living? If a goat can change careers, shouldn't we remain sufficiently curious how the various other audiophile halves live and listen? It's at shows like Munich where, from Friday to Sunday, regular end users can play endless musical chairs to try on different hardware approaches and various playback schools. It's a far better education than reading reviews. It might even make you grow a goatee.

Practicing just such goatee flexibility (which includes changing your mind by 180°) was Chris Sommovigo of Black Cat Cable. Having just a few short years ago packed up his family and cable braiding machines to relocate to Japan, he explained that everything would move back to the States. With his 75-year old mum living alone unwilling to settle down in a completely foreign country and culture, he'd decided that having her live with them back in America would be best so packed bags it would be once more, re-entering his kids in school and shipping big heavy equipment back. That's how family comes first. It's something many audiophiles might emulate when they decide how to spend their discretionary funds?

Showing how what's not that new can still be far more thrilling than sundry 2018 introductions was Franco Serblin with their petite Lignea, a two-way monitor that's styled like a long-necked lute stood on end. Perhaps the best-looking design of its kind, this was a sterling example for when photos just don't do any justice. The proportions and changing views depending on angle of approach all elude static capture. It's emblematic of the art of designing a true classic. Its appeal isn't subject to the cyclical whims of fashion.

In ultra-current news were tech talks on a "revolutionary transducer technology which doesn't become directional at higher frequencies" by Arya Audio Labs Ltd.; "a new approach to class D" by Cyrus Audio; "DSD-modulated amplifiers" by Andrus Aaslaid and Estelon; "the world's first rigid audio transducer" called acousticWing; and "Carbon-fibre horns and field coils" by ESD Acoustic Ltd.

For active speakers, I must have been asleep behind the wheel to miss Elac's new active fully analogue range but thankfully John Darko's video with celebrity designer Andrew Jones has that story. For Job applications, Goldmund had no new openings but told me of a pending makeover of their fabulous Telos headphone amp/DAC. With a review unit promised to learn all, I didn't bother to ask more detail.