After two years without Upscale Munichthe internationally acclaimed annual audio expo did not disappoint – and if you’re looking for the best audiophile headphones money can go by, there’s no better place to start your search.
So what did we see and what did we like, at least at first glance? Without further ado, we’d love for you to join us for a virtual tour of the best High End Munich headwear. Then, if you’re feeling inspired, keep your eyes peeled for a local dealer to test out your favorite pair. Feeling super adventurous? You can always check flights to Munich for next year. We will meet over there…
1. Campfire Audio Super Moon
Supermoon was a timely release from Campfire Audio, having launched days before the actual lunar event on May 16th. Audiophile’, which offers a shallow seal depth, or a classic ‘Artist’ fit – but this is the Portland Oregon-based company’s inaugural planar magnetic driver design.
Supermoon features a single full-range planar magnetic driver in each earbud, which is surrounded by a patent-pending solid body using the latest 3D printing technology. Delicacy, expansive soundscapes and detail across all frequencies are the name of the game here – and they’re yours for $1,500 (about £1,200 or AU$2,124).
2. InEar ProMission X wired in-ear headphones
If you haven’t got to know this charming family business yet, allow us to introduce you: InEar launched in 2000 and Marius Schmitt, showing us the flagship of this dedicated headphone manufacturer’s offering, proudly tells us that his dad Andreas Schmitt is the founder of the company.
The ProMission X configuration includes no less than 10 (yes, Ten) drivers in a four-way system. The cases are crafted from jet black purple wood in your choice of finishes (our favorite is definitely the shimmering sky blue pearlescent acrylic) and although a smaller size is available, Schmitt is confident that the universal fit will fit – the basis of InEar’s universal case designs was created by digitally “layering” hundreds of different ear molds.
At the end of development, a universal in-ear monitor was created which the company says is “almost perfectly matched to the anatomy of the ear”. And we can tell you that they certainly suited even our little ears when we tried them on.
Interested in pricing? Good product. ProMission X sells for €2,100, which is around $2,225, £1,780 or AU$3,145.
3. T+A Solitaire T
German premium hi-fi brand T+A Elektroakustik’s latest wireless benchmark headphones are called Solitaire T and aren’t even available to buy yet – they’ll launch in July for $1,600 (£1,200, approximately AU$2,120) in your choice of white or black finishes.
That’s the ultimate claim: sound that’s just as detailed and enjoyable when listening wirelessly with active noise-cancellation deployed as with the supplied wired connection.
To achieve this, the Solitaire T features special cellulose transducers and 42mm drivers, as well as an optimized bass system. To better match the wired performance level of headphones but using a Bluetooth connection, these 326g / 0.7lb cans also include support for the latest Bluetooth codecs, including LDAC and aptX HD, using a chip Qualcomm QCC 5127 and Esstech ES9218 Saber. CAD.
The Solitaire T’s active noise canceling circuitry can be activated as desired. Since they were presented to us in a case, we can’t vouch for these wireless music chops just yet, but we’re definitely intrigued.
4. D8000 Pro Final Edition
Even a cursory glance at the machined aluminum and magnesium alloy housings of these premium over-ear headphones leaves no doubt that we’ve entered high-end territory.
The D8000 Pro Edition is billed as the on-ear to finally marry the sensitive high ranges of planar magnetic designs with the volume and open bass ranges of dynamic models. Final explains that the amplitude of the low range is always the challenge with conventional planar magnetic designs and, since the diaphragm here is in contact with magnets, the engineers have raised the frequency of the low tones to a level that unity of command can reproduce. Final has also implemented a new exclusive AFDS (Air Film Damping System) and the inside of the pads have been hermetically sealed, with the front part of the diaphragm now a closed space. Why? It’s the same idea as small headphones with sealed ear cups – these have to reproduce low frequencies despite their jewel-like nature.
Compared to competing dynamic models of the same diameter, the D8000’s diaphragm is also a third lighter, as the super-thin aluminum coil has actually been etched onto the extremely lightweight film diaphragm, and as such, no adhesive ( which could potentially have a detrimental effect on sound quality) was necessary.
Final’s D8000 Pro Edition over-ear headphones are priced at €3,999 (about £3,395, $4,238, AU$5,995) and while we can’t fully vouch for these sound claims, we’ve found something to enjoy first. …
5. Campfire Audio Trifecta
Another entry for the dedicated helmet craftsmen of Portland Oregon, but they deserve it; they’re a very different proposition – and not just because they’d look as glorious presented in a black velvet jewelry box as they do next to our phone.
Trifecta’s transparent nylon enclosure provides a window to the three 10mm dynamic drivers nestled within, each crowned with gold-plated chronograph-like enclosures, but said vented drivers face each other in a unique triangular configuration. This creates a remarkably comfortable shape in our ear, aided by the high-purity silver-plated copper flat cable that winds nicely around it. This is premium kit, though: when Campfire Audio’s Trifecta in-ear monitors become available to buy on July 30, 2022, they’ll cost $3,375, or around £2,710 or AU$4,800. …
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