29 May Axpona vs Munich High End Show 2023
Munich, MOC and High End show once again! This time the story will be slightly different. Lets compare European show with North American one. If you are contemplating about whether to visit Axpona in Chicago or Munich High End show in Germany next year, this brief overview might be very handy. In case you follow us and were looking for new updates, please enjoy as well 🙂
All in all we were lucky this year to visit both audio exhibitions, enjoy the systems and simultaneously make splendid cables for our customers. So what is common between these two? It might sound weird, however it’s not much except same audio niche, well known brands and great music all days long from vinyls. In general if you are based in EU attending Munich show is much easier and you’ll get broader variety of high end systems as well as headphone gear. For US audiophiles it depends on time and direct flights. In most cases perhaps it will be Axpona which is noticeably smaller and with less options.
So moving into the details. We spent whole three days at Axpona visiting most of the rooms. Somewhat the exhibition reminded Warsaw show some years ago. Most of the rooms were small and soundwise even with proper acoustic treatment were not comparable to dedicated MOC halls and areas. Axpona had a good organization, it was very easy to check in and start exploring the systems. All took place basically in a hotel and since there were lots of floors, obviously there were queues almost all day long near the elevators. Stairs were an option, however on the highest floors like 16th, for instance, you would still need to wait for the lift. Munich was much better organized in this aspect – everything was placed in huge MOC center where most of the exhibitors were situated on 1st & 2nd floors. There was also a 3rd one with very high end brands. It was easily reachable by the stairs and amount of the systems was rather small compared to overall exhibition.
Munich show offers amazing transportation – busses from the airport, u-bahn from city center, taxis. For Axpona if you stay in Chicago the only option is picking up a taxi since going with public transport might take few hours or so. Of course, arriving with a car is an option for both cases. There is also Motorworld with hundreds of sport cars and free entrance right in front of the Munich show and it is opened till late evening.
Speaking about the size it’s a huge difference here since even 4 days is not enough for MOC in our opinion if you’d prefer to carefully check every listening room, analyze the system and make notes, investigate parts and supplies, attend seminars, etc. It’s kind of a XL size compared to Chicago’s M. Moreover at Munich show you will find noticeably more high end and hi-fi brands offered to the public. The number of Asian companies involved in high end audio is growing each year and this time in Germany simply caught a start from the sky. As an example it was €3.5M+ system (ESD Acoustic) from China that consumed relatively huge space on the last floor and sounded clearly epic.
Particular systems were more balanced and sounded more full bodied at Munich High End show. It could be the rooms and their size as 15 square meters with built in furniture at Axpona, for sure is not the best audiophile approach. Then it might be the lights which somehow decided to join dark forces in US, while at Munich most of the rooms were blessed with great illumination and daylight. Furthermore many rooms at MOC were beautifully decorated and had their own style which harmonically matched the systems. Then we move to acoustic treatments, particular setups and their synergy. Also it clearly seemed that organizational part was better prepared by the Germans though.
Moving further, a dedicated hall included lots of personal audio devices at Axpona. Big amount of headphones and setups. People were open and friendly showing, recommending, answering various questions. It did not matter if it was an owner of a particular company sitting in front of you or a regional manager. All were pleasant to talk with. From the other side it was similar at Munich. Even broader variety of headphones, amps, setups were offered to the audience. At some point of time it might seem that you are at CanJam rather than High End show which is focused more on expensive gear that could easily cost as a new car. Brands line Dcs, Meze, Hifiman, Spirit Torino, etc had private booths as usually. Marvelous approach and very customer oriented as it’s much easier to perform comparisons in less noisy environment.
Another pleasant surprise were cars at Munich show. There is always something very German like Porsche, BMW or Mercedes where you could sit and relax, check the latest models, sound of the systems and simply talk to the guys. This time it was 911 with Focals. Good sounding system indeed, but honestly good old Burmester sounded more revealing and captivating some years ago in Turbo model. There were also some old school cars placed on the first floor inside the halls. For sure it’s not a car audio exhibition, nevertheless it’s nice to have something decent, just to relax your eyes and ears. Besides that you could also rent a sport car like 911 GT3 or M4 or Aston Martin, etc at CaVia located in Motorworld (they didn’t pay anything to us for this ad).
Coffee and German Bagels (Pretzel) were offered for free during first two days. Again, great organization and thanks to Munich. Rooms with candies, wine, water, energy drinks, chocolates, souvenirs – all the stuff was in much bigger variety in Germany.
So all in all the choice is pretty obvious. Enjoy the pics 🙂
Munich High End show
Munich personal audio gear