Ayon and Lumen White – Munich High End 2019
If there is a real problem in Munich, that is money. Most of the systems are so expensive that they make no sense for most of us, in fact a few years back I went on and crafted my personal high-end currency, the Whatevers. Point is, if you care to know if the price is in Euros or USD, or even GB pounds then, I am so sorry, but you cannot afford it. Which makes two of us. Anything above the tenths of thousands of Whatevers is probably prohibitive and most of the upper floor rooms cost in the hundreds of thousands Whatevers. Most but not all.
Ayon is the almost affordable high-end brand you were looking for. The sound, if you enjoy tubes, is up there with the best and while not as expensive as certain boutique brands it still is expensive-ish but not absolutely prohibitive. The show system comprised of the CD35, the Auris II preamplifier (10.000euro) and the new to me Epsilon Evo mono power amplifiers working in class A and good for 20.000 euros per pair.
Ayon despite producing speakers on their own used the ones from sister company Lumen White, the White Light Anniversary which sport some proprietary bass reflex ports in the back with state of the art Accuton ceramic drivers and beautifully shaped cabinets that minimize standing waves inside. They retail for 70.000 euros and this is a bit steep but nowhere close at what other brands charge for this kind of driver/speaker cabinet quality. The only non-Ayon piece of gear was a Stromtank S2500 power conditioner, a common trait of many systems in the show. My favorite piece from this stack is the CD 35 which doubles as a stand alone DAC and offers exquisite performance for the money.The system sounded particularly open, detailed but not clinical, with a touch of air on female vocals. There was flow in the way it reproduced jazz music, and adding this kind of performance to the almost affordable price was a clear winner in my book.