The two COVID years prior to 2022 meant no High End show in Munich, Germany. Two missed years were two too many. The pent-up creative energy at work in high-end audio was unleashed at High End 2022. And it was glorious. Anyone remotely interested in audio gear and fine music reproduction was in for a treat in terms of new product introductions and systems singing away. And there were some doozies. All prices below are in euros or US dollars.
Rockport Technologies, based in Maine, USA, announced the release of the stunning Orion loudspeaker at High End. The Orion is a super-ambitious three-way loudspeaker that features a cabinet made from only three components, according to Rockport: “the inner cast aluminum housing, the outer carbon fiber main housing, and the outer carbon fiber baffle shell.” Complex? Yes, but according to Josh Clark, Rockport’s owner, it’s worth it in terms of sound quality.
The drivers housed in the Orion’s unique cabinet include three new bespoke designs: a 1.25″ beryllium-dome tweeter mounted in Rockport’s custom waveguide, a 7″ midrange with a carbon-fiber-sandwich diaphragm, and a massive 13″ bass driver. The 13″ woofer is the largest bass driver in the current Rockport line. The price of the Orion is $133,000 per pair, and it is available for preorder now with deliveries beginning in July.
VPI Industries, located in Cliffwood, NJ, USA, showed the new Vanquish turntable, which was originally scheduled for production in 2019. But then COVID hit and the delay meant three years passed before, well, the launch this weekend!
The tripod-shaped chassis of the Vanquish was designed to house three tonearms, while the Vanquish turntable’s multilayer construction features a sandwich of aluminum/acrylic/aluminum in order to banish . . . um, vanquish resonances. The Vanquish also counts among its many features a removeable machined-aluminum armboard and ruby-anodized chassis components. The latter gives it a distinctive look sure to impress your friends. The price is expected to be €140,000.
Minnesota, USA-based Audio Research Corporation showed the prototype for what will become the company’s new Reference 320M mono power amplifier. The Reference 320M is rated to produce, you guessed it, 320W into 8 ohms. It features an Auto-Bias function, and 4-, 8-, and 16-ohm speaker connections. Inputs include balanced XLR and single-ended RCA.
The 320’s tube complement consists of six KT150s for power output, plus two KT150 driver tubes, one 6H30 input tube, and one 6550 and one 6H30 in the power supply. Audio Research thankfully carries forward the Ghost Meters seen in previous Reference designs. The price is TBA, as is an expected availability date.
Germany’s Göbel High End has released the Divin Sovereign subwoofer, a mammoth effort that is comprised of a single 18″ woofer driven by a 2500W amplifier. The sealed-box Divin Sovereign uses DSP for linear output of the massive woofer, and the sub has a five-band equalizer for tailoring the subwoofer’s output to whatever room it is placed in. A variety of finishes are available, including for the metal parts. The price is €32,500.
Swedish brand Marten introduced the Mingus Quintet 2, a five-driver, three-way design that is priced at €62,400 per pair. The Mingus Quintet 2, like many other Marten speakers, features drivers from Accuton: in this case, a diamond tweeter, a ceramic midrange, and three aluminum-sandwich woofers.
The Mingus Quintet 2 is wired internally with Jorma cabling and uses first-order crossovers. There is also a four-level bass control useful for integrating the Mingus Quintet 2 into a variety of room sizes.