High-End Munich 2022
By Jim Garrett
Senior Director, Product Strategy and Planning
HARMAN Luxury Audio
From May 19-22, our Luxury Audio team participated in the High-End Munich 2022 exhibition with a commanding presence on the show floor. Over the years, the Munich show has grown into the largest hi-fi show in the world and is a key venue for manufacturers to showcase their newest products to a large global audience. As a four-day event, the first two days are dedicated to trade and press, providing an ideal environment to meet with our key customers for the EMEA region as well as some of our international customers attending from locations far away. It was great to be able to meet in-person and to be able to demonstrate the amazing audio products we have brought to the market over the last six months. We also took the opportunity to make global announcements of several new products arriving for the second half of 2022.
Our location for this year’s fair was a high-profile spot in the atrium of Hall 4 at the Munich M.O.C. event center. The large space gave us plenty of room to display a large selection of products from our JBL, ARCAM, Mark Levinson and Revel brands. Attendees entering our space were greeted with a showroom window display of a wide assortment of JBL loudspeakers including our best-selling models from the Classic and Studio Monitor series, as well as our newest streaming audio products: the L75ms music system and the 4305P powered streaming bookshelf loudspeaker system. This is also where we introduced the forthcoming Stage XD indoor/outdoor loudspeakers. The two new models – Stage XD-5 and Stage XD-6 – offer high-performance JBL sound from an “Extreme Durability” design that meets IP67 waterproof certification for survival in the elements. The new models include sustainable packaging and product content and are one of the first IP67 rated loudspeakers that can be repaired if necessary, allowing them to have a long life far beyond a traditional competing product.
To the right of the JBL display was a showcase of our Mark Levinson electronics as well as a listening station for our award-winning № 5909 premium wireless ANC headphones. At the show, we highlighted recent German press awards that were received for the № 5805 integrated amplifier and № 5101 CD/SACD streaming player. Of course, the 50th Anniversary celebration of our Mark Levinson brand continues, and Munich was the first time the public has been able to see the limited-edition ML-50 monaural amplifier package. These beauties attracted a lot of attention - and cameras! And while they are a feast for the eyes, they are also a joy for the ears as could be heard in the next part of our display.
Moving further into our space, attendees were treated to demonstrations of a flagship Mark Levinson system featuring the ML-50 anniversary amplifiers along with a № 526 preamplifier and № 519 and № 5105 source players, and a pair of JBL DD67000 Everest loudspeakers. The acoustic prowess of this reference-level rig impressed attendees with its crystalline details and lifelike dynamics. At the other end of the scale, we alternated listening sessions with the JBL 4305P Studio Monitor. While expectations were understandably high for the Mark Levinson system, the small and mighty 4305P truly shocked listeners with its ability to fill such a large space with high-resolution dynamic sound and powerful bass response. We heard many attendees saying they had been told by friends that they simply must come listen to this remarkable new model. Several even said it was the best thing they saw and heard at the show!
In the back of the listening area, we had displays of our Revel Performa Beryllium loudspeakers and a large selection of ARCAM electronics including our best-selling SA20 and SA30 integrated amplifiers and our newly updated AVR range with HDMI 2.1 capability and support for 8K video resolution. Our music-first approach to sound in our AVRs has made them the choice of music aficionados demanding the best sound for their home theater system.
Directly across the hall behind our listening room, we had a private space for dealers and distributors where we could host and discuss business. In this space, we presented the new range of JBL architectural loudspeakers including the global announcement of the JBL Stage Architectural range and the JBL Studio 6 Series of in-wall models. The new Stage Series includes eight models of in-wall and in-ceiling that take advantage of our patented JBL acoustic technologies and our stylish zero-bezel grilles and XL-2 installation mechanism. Two new “CSA” footprints provide a unique solution with an off-axis design that is ideal for in-ceiling LCR and surround channels, or height channels for immersive audio systems. This high-value range is certain to become a staple of the JBL architectural portfolio.
Our private dealer area included background music from a tidy package of JBL L52 Classic bookshelf loudspeakers connected to the ARCAM Solo Uno streaming amplifier – an ideal package for those tight on space, yet big on sound. Attendees could also see for the first time a pair of the limited-run JBL 4312G Ghost Edition loudspeakers featuring a unique all-white cabinet with black drivers. Our hospitality room was a welcome respite from the crowds on the show floor and allowed us to have meaningful conversations with our customers and suppliers in a face-to-face environment that has been unavailable to us all for too long.
Traffic was high for all days of the show including the weekend customer days available to the public. For our Luxury Audio team, being able to meet our customers and suppliers in person is invaluable, and to be able to demonstrate our latest products to the press was simply “wunderbar”! Our EMEA sales team wrote a significant amount of orders and signed up new customers as well. The demand for products is high and the love for our brands is strong! All in all, the show was big success for everyone and showed us all the continuing value of in-person events in the growth of our business.