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High End Munich 2019 – The Best Sounds

These carefully selected systems were considered for the Best of Show. And the ones I revisited the most. It was a very difficult decision as these world-class systems all have their own special qualities. This is the type of sound that is emotionally involving – and naturally convincing. But what they all have in common – is superiority in the reproduction of music.


The following systems will be awarded the Certified Sizzle award.

Luxman, Ascendo, and Isotek
Although many systems strive to reproduce the feeling of a live concert – it’s rarely the case that it does. Especially at a show. Well, the Luxman, Ascendo, and Isotek room was quite the rarity. It brought me to Madison Square Garden in New York City for the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2013.

While listening to the Ascendo Live 15 loudspeakers on the Luxman turntable, the word that comes to mind is “perspective.” As Eric Clapton was performing Tears in Heaven, there’s a depth and color to the cheers of the audience. This also applies to the vocal overlaps and multitude of guitars in play. As such, the harmony of this ballad is held together by stringy and tactile rhythms. Given its context, it was appropriately somber – yet beautiful. And 100% convincing.

Interestingly, these 1,650 watts/channel German-made active loudspeakers also have digital inputs and DSP built-in. The presentation was quiet – yet powerful and dynamic. This could also be attributed to the power conditioning provided by IsoTek. Their new IsoTek EVO3 Super Nova (made for front-end components that have constant current draw) is one thoughtful piece of gear. It even has UPOCC copper with IsoTek’s VAD (Virtual Air Dielectric) for each of its 8 outlets.

A wonderful sounding system with fantastic synergy all around.

  • Ascendo Live 15 loudspeakers
  • Luxman PD-171A turntable
  • Luxman PD-151 turntable
  • IsoTek EVO3 Titan One
  • IsoTek EVO3 Nova One
  • IsoTek EVO3 Genesis One
  • IsoTek EVO3 Super Nova


Posted by Jay Luong