Sitting in a hotel in Munich, it is the last day of the HiFi Deluxe show, with one remaining day for High End at the MOC - Munich Convention Center. As the rain taps a syncopated rhythm on the windows of my hotel room, I smile, thinking of the times that we had at this years High End Audio show in Munich.
I first of all want to thank Michael and Nicole of Ibex Audio, Distributors of ModWright Instruments (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) for their excellent representation of our brand and for the fantastic job that they are doing and at the HiFi Deluxe 2013 show.
Between pints of Weissen, Spaten, Dunkel and Dopplebok, I have met many wonderful people here in Germany and had a fantastic time!
Munich is not unlike my home of Washington state, in terms of temperature and weather. It has been sunny, mild, cool and rainy on different days. The city is beautiful with its mix of sophisticated engineering and classic architecture; a contrast of modern ingenuity and historic tradition.
To an American, it may seem odd to step into a Mercedes Benz or BMW taxi. The fact that the Police drive BMW's may also be a surprise. In reality, the Chevy Camaro that I saw parked on the street between Euro luxury cars is actually the MORE EXOTIC ride, in the home of German Automotive Engineering tradition. OK, so I LIKE BMWs…what's not to like?
The people of Germany are friendly and polite. I have found there seems to be an even greater appreciation for music and the finer things in life. Visitors to our distributor's room at HiFi Deluxe sit quietly and take time to enjoy the music. Michael has played a broad variety of music that shows off the system well (Von Schweikert Speakers, Harmonic Tech cabling, ModWright Instruments electronics and EERA digital).
I have had the pleasure of meeting members of the German, Dutch and Polish Press. Thank you to Marek of High Fidelity Poland as well as members of the German press from Image HiFi, Fidelity, Stereo, LP Magazine, HiFi Stars, HiFiStatement.net and others!
Some of the great beer and food I enjoyed in Munich was courtesy of Image HiFi, along with Michael and Nicole at an evening event.
While I did abstain from CES this year - first time in 13 years - I am glad that I decided to attend the Munich show this year. Times change, and I believe the Munich show has become The Central Global Audio Exhibition. I have met with our distributors from Europe, Asia and North America while here. Because of its location, as well as the amount of interest in HiFi in Germany, the show is attractive to manufacturers and distributors from the East and West. It is about 10-13 hours travel time from the West Coast of the U.S., as well as from Asia. Both myself and Ken Koo of Audio Extreme (HK/China Distributor) travelled nearly the exact amount of time to reach the show, albeit scribing directly opposite routes around the globe.
The show at HiFi Deluxe is located at the Marriott Hotel on Berliner Strasse. The High End show is at the MOC - Munich Convention center. Not unlike CES and T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas every year, the High End show is a LARGE venue, where ALL brands of high-end audio and video products are shown, both on the convention center floor, as well as in the high-ceilinged, glass enclosed rooms of the Atrium. The HiFi Deluxe show is a more intimate setting with a smaller number of vendors. The show organizer made a GOOD decision to space the exhibition rooms out such that each room is very quiet and there is virtually no noise-contamination from adjacent rooms as is commonly the case at U.S. audio shows in hotel venues.
The MOC is a brisk center of commerce, advertising and deal-making. The HiFi Deluxe offers a more personal interaction between consumers, dealers and distributors as well as manufacturers. I am pleased that Ibex Audio decided to show at HiFi Deluxe.
Regretfully our time in Munich had to come to an end. The HiF Deluxe show ended on Sat. evening, while the High End show at the MOC ended on Sun. I was able to do some sightseeing on Sunday, after concluding our business at the Marriott.
The day was spent in the city center, Marianplatz. Something that anyone traveling to Germany should know.....ALL stores are closed on Sunday! OK, so restaurants are open and a few places serving food, cafes and such are open, but if you want to do any shopping on Sunday, you are going to have to go to the....airport?
Strange to say, but true. I found that the airport, because it is outside of the city, is allowed to do business on Sunday. This is NOT just a few souvenier shops either. I was quite surprised to find QUITE a number of people at the airport, eating lunch, shopping for grocery and sundries, clothes, you name it! Inside of the airport is literally a multi-story shopping mall. As I said, strange but true!
Well, the 14 hour return trip to the States was comfortable and uneventful, thanks to KLM and Delta airlines. Opposite of my flight in, I had one layover in Amsterdam from Munich, where I then flew non-stop to Portland Oregon International.
Munich is THE international high-end audio expo in my opinion. This year was a fantastic event and I will return next year!
President, ModWright Instruments Inc.