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HighEnd Suisse is an offshoot of HighEnd Munich. Same organization, same Zürich-Regensdorf Mövenpick Hotel as last year's first installment covered here. Today's report is more of an adjunct to the previous report as many of the same firms attended even in the very same rooms. With a tip of the hat to Avantgarde Acoustic (who showed an electrically improved Trio and are still working on the Series 2 electronics), Ayon, Cabasse, Dynaudio, Focal, Naim, Weiss (who is redoing his passive preamp for automatic impedance matching) and many others, here are specific items and companies that attracted my attention this year. These are arbitrary snapshots then rather than any comprehensive report.

As a Swiss event, according seniority to the Swiss seems only in good taste. And who is more Swiss than chocolate, Gruyère and Emmenthaler cheese, fine watches and Nagra Audio? Their long awaited 300Bi finally lives and is now in production. As though to make a point that this just shy of CHF 20.000 machine requires no kid's gloves and sissy loads, the exhibitors decided to leash up B&W speakers to these push/pull 300Bs driven from a transistor input stage.

To share more details on this launch than I did in my factory tour exactly one year ago or can do here, a mid November visit to Nagra's Lausanne lair is already booked. For $60.000, you could also buy into the Engstrom & Engstrom Lars2 to get what on paper at least seems a very similar 20-watt balanced 300B concept but considering Nagra's entrenched history, I'd lean their way. There's of course also the small matter of price - not that the Nagra is by any stretch casual.

For a company whose engineers are known to love their test bench and insist on measurable excellence for anything that carries the Nagra badge, embracing a 300B triode amp seems like a contradiction in terms. Department head Matthieu Latour assured me it's not. Given the brief show sampling, he is most likely right. An eventual review is planned.

On the opposing side of the Nagra phenom—corporate, established, famous, iconic even—lives Sven Boenicke, an ambitious young Swiss who is heavily into wood, organic materials, purist location recordings and loudspeakers. Whilst demonstrating his SLS speakers introduced last year and reviewed here (but now adding his own DSP-controlled amp into the mix), the real attraction were two new speaker models and the Swingbase.

The Swingbase gives a stiff middle finger to spikes and sundry by advocating "minimal friction, maximum effect" in the horizontal plane. Meant to support loudspeakers, the contraption consists of sliding rods whose length adapts to the speaker's foot print. These rods then are suspended from height-adjustable corner pillars by thin steel ropes which can support up to 280kg per speaker. Conceptually related to roller blocks, the implementation is very different and according to the maker audibly superior. Claimed improvements include reduced bass boom, larger soundstaging, minimized muddiness and smearing and an elimination of mechanical coupling to the floor and vibration-sensitive equipment.

For speakers, Sven Boenicke fancies solid wood from which he carves out internal lines and chambers. For his minimum crossovers, he prefer Duelund parts. That's naturally a recipe for disaster when punters are short on green. To move down market for new customers, Boenicke Audio's new models combine solid wood with Plywood and internal bracing. Prices start at CHF5.450/pr for the B8. "By eliminating all crossover parts, I can save considerable money. As to the losses of a very clean DSP-controlled digital crossover vs. premium analog parts, it seems to be a wash mostly."

To demonstrate just how petite these new Boenickes are—Gallo's new Classico III and Zu's new Omen follow the same trend—I asked Sven to pose with one of his babies in the foyer. For width, remember that those flat-diaphragm Tangband tweeters are just 3 inches in diameter. How's that for domestic appeal? Naturally a review in the new year is planned.

One of the most civilized demos occurred in the Swiss Piega room. Here their 92dB dipole MasterOne with their proprietary dual-concentric ribbon and dual 22cm woofers in a solid aluminum baffle held court in front of svelte Marantz mono amps.

Impressed not only with the product but the obvious care that had gone into the setup and the presenter's very graceful touch on the volume control and music choice—very much unlike the folks across the hallway—I suggested to a gent from the firm that a factory tour might be of interest to our readers. While their marketing director wasn't in just then to confirm return interest, I left my card. After covering Nagra and Soulution with in-depth reports and Audio Consulting with a shorter one, Piega would seem a natural next in my ongoing location coverage tour through the best of Swiss-grown hifi.

Here is the piece de resistance, the dipole-mounted dual-concentric ribbon array (or coaxial seeing how these are square and rectangular devices rather than circular).