Confucius say, don't be confuse. Shit happens. It's how you respond where the pedal hits the metal to separate the boys from the men, the wankers and whiners from the doers. Armin of Avantgarde Acoustic is a true macho man then. He was sharing with Marja & Henk how their special company truck had given up its ghost in Munich. All the tools and boxes to disassemble and repack their exhibit were in that truck. Whether a replacement of the right size was available to rent was suspiciously questionable still. Worse, Avantgarde had a distributor meeting planned on the day after the event, meaning they had no spare time to improvise. While recounting the story, Armin just about cracked up. Marja & Henk watched on incredulous. Armin gets a big Tao award for good humor under duress!

As an ex Duo listener -- Marja & Henk remain current -- we were curious on new products here.

How about a phono stage? Check out the lower right for the Model 2 Phono.

Different loading options.

The innards of the big One Control Avantgarde reference preamp are not what you see every day.

Airtight shared an open-floor exhibit with Bel Canto and meeting the Minnesotian's Michael McCormick [behind the little speakers below] and chitchatting about their new iPod dock had me forget to pay my respects to Miura-San entirely. Two years in Cyprus by now have done their mellowing work. Or call it dysfunctionality. It's all the fault of the weather!

Allnic Audio showed with the high-eff Cessaro hornspeakers and could be the only audio firm in the world who presently makes a 40-watt interstage-transformer'd, quad-parallel single-ended 300B mono amp.

There's a smaller stereo integrated and a preamp as well. Cessaro's Ralph Krebs shared that the above monos were made specifically with the Cessaros in mind whose very large woofers seemed well controlled by the Koreans. Respect!

Almarro's new 40-watt 6C33C monos with adjustable current (left control dubbed damping factor) and negative voltage feedback (right control) played in the large WLM exhibit. In that system, they sounded terrific (though WLM's Hannes Frick admitted that an active preamp -- RedWine Audio's anticipated Isabella hadn't materialized in time for the show -- would have gone farther yet). I was sad to hear that Yoshihiro Muramatsu was apparently quite ill with advanced diabetes. But then an e-mail from Japan explained: "Maybe Hiro incorrectly explained my situation to Hannes-san but I am okay. I had eye problems recently and so we thought I am ill. But after I had the doctor's inspection, we found out that my blood sugar level was closer to a vigilance zone but it's not so serious. The real reason was my crazy over-working, like 16 hours per day without a day off for months. Still, I am so happy to do my work that I won't regret if I die very soon." Not, Yoshi. We still need you. Simply work less!
While final pricing for the monos remains TBA, € 5,500/pr appears a quite realistic expectation and target according to EU importer Hannes Frick.

Amphion of Finland showed Anssi Hyvönen's new Krypton 2 flagships on two sides of the room to demonstrate different finishes and electronics on 'em. Pricing is € 12,800/pr.

AMR importer Darren explained that the CD-77 I'd reviewed was now 3 generations removed from the latest plug 'n' play replacement boards he had just received and installed in his machine. The difference is apparently significant. [Abbingdon Music Research's Vince Luke below, with Danny Kaye of Positive Feedback Online and Sonic Flare to left.]

German panel speaker import specialist Dipole Studio showcased the Analysis Audio ribbon speakers from Greece. Even though the physical resemblance to the Apogees of yore might suggest brutish load behavior, these Grecians are easy to drive. I formally reviewed a smaller model a few years ago and was amazed.

Herr Nienhaus of ASW Lautspeaker GmBH had a large exhibit. Accurate Sound Wave stems from Vreden in Germany which did not mean I'd heard of them before. Munich had tons of products and brands. It's the European CES.

As is becoming more important in the heavily crowded loudspeaker segment, expanded finish options broaden sales potential. One hopes, for ASW and all the other brands competing for market share.