Thursday, 16 January 2020 14:31

HARMAN at HighEnd 2019 in Munich - News from Mark Levinson, Lexicon, Arcam and JBL

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HARMAN did not have a very magnificent stand at the main fair. But That means nothinng, when they really had something formidable in hand ...

This article was originally posted in Norwegian, at 18. of may 2019

On Thursday afternoon there was an event in the center of Munich, at the Harman Luxury Experience Store Munich , and some invited representatives from the media attended.

Harman Experience Store Munich is a newly opened shop and adventure center in the heart of Munich, in Sendlinger Strasse 46 - one of the central pedestrian streets in the south-west part of Altstadt. It is the first flagship store in Europe, and was designed by Gensler Architects , an architectural firm that has Facebook headquarters in California, Cadillac House in New York and Shanghai Tower on their conscience. Previously, Harman built flagship stores in Tokyo and New York, and Munich's association with the automotive industry was the reason why this city was chosen as an Experience Store.For here, a dynamic combination of heavy HighEnd and music on the go is facilitated. And Harman Experience Store Munich has already housed exquisite exhibition cars with entertainment electronics from Harman Kardon, JBL, B&O and B&W. Harman has previously acquired the automotive division of the latter two manufacturers.By stationary manufacturers, this center holds HARMAN's brands - Harman Kardon, JBL, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, Arcam, Revel and AKG.

The Art of Listening

The first part of this evening at Harman Experience Store Munich consisted of what was perhaps the biggest highlight. A panel consisting of producer Frank Filipetti , Dr. Sean Olive and Dr. Hauke ​​Egerman discussed the art of listening is a dying "art". Frank Filipetti is based in New York, has 7 Grammy wins behind him, and has produced albums for Carly Simon and Rod Stuart, as well as having worked on albums for eg. Barbra Streisand, George Michael, Luciano Pavarotti, Billy Joel, Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, Frank Zappa, Korn and James Taylor.

It must be acknowledged that Frank Filipetti dominated this panel, although the two "doctors" Sean Olive and Hauke ​​Egerman also contributed with high competence.


Lexicon SL-1

The audio highlight consisted of the Lexicon SL-1, which was launched at this fair. It was presented inside the Luxury Audio Studio, which had its opening that day. The SL-1 is a well-rounded, radiant active speaker at 43,000 Euro. The unique thing about the SL-1 is that it has a system that allows you to control the sweet spot, in terms of both width and position. This was demonstrated in the new listening room of 135 m2, a room that was covered with vertical, adjustable wooden louvers for diffusing the sound - a feature that in itself is highly interesting.

With the price tag in question, this is obviously a narrow product, but I discussed a bit with the "boss" in Harman, who confirmed that it may be interesting with a scaled-down version for a slightly wider market.

The demo sounded very compelling, both for the SL-1 as a speaker and for sweet-spot management.

Lexicon SL-1 is expected to be available towards the end of the year. You may read more about SL-1 at Lexicon .

JBL cinema system

In the neighboring room, Harman had set up a powerful cinema system consisting of JBL Synthesis 7.4.4 loudspeaker system with these specifications:

  • 1x Lexicon MC-10 Surround Sound Processor

    • Logic7 Immersion – Natural Sound Upmixer
    • Dolby Atmos & DTS:X with 11.1 Decoding and 7.2.4 Outputs
    • Dolby Vision Compatible
    • 4K (UHD) HDMI2.0a with HDCP2.2 in Main and Zone 2
    • Dirac Live for Lexicon Room Correction
    • Cirrus CS42528 Audiophile DAC
    • Balanced XLR Outputs and 12 RCA Single-ended Outputs

  • 3x JBL Synthesis® SDA 7200 Multichannel Power Amplifiers

    • Class D amplifier
    • 7 channels, 200 Watts per channel at 8 ohms
  • 3x SCL-2 in-wall loudspeakers:
    • Mid/high frequency: 1.5” (38mm) dual annular ring Teonex® diaphragm compression driver mounted to Sonoglass® horn/baffle
    • Low frequency: Three 8" (200mm) cast-frame, Advanced Aluminum Matrix cone woofers
    • Sensitivity 92dB
    • Frequency response 57Hz – 25kHz (-6dB)
    • Crossover frequencies: 225Hz; 1.3kHz

  •  4x SCL-3 in-wall/in-ceiling loudspeakers:
    •  Mid/high frequency: 1" (25mm), annular ring Teonex® diaphragm compression driver
    • Low frequency: Dual 5.25" (130mm) cast-frame, Advanced Aluminum Matrix cone woofers
    • Sensitivity 91dB
    • Frequency response 65Hz – 33kHz (-6dB)
    • Crossover frequency: 1.3kHz

  • 4x SCL-4 in-wall/in-ceiling loudspeakers:
    • Mid/high frequency: 1" (25mm), annular ring Teonex® diaphragm compression driver
    • Low frequency: Dual 7" (180mm) cast-frame, Advanced Aluminum Matrix cone woofer
    • Sensitivity 91dB
    • Frequency response 45Hz – 33kHz (-6dB)
    • Crossover frequency: 1.3kHz

  • 4x S4S in-wall subwoofers:
    • Dual 10” polymer-coated aluminum cones with rubber surrounds
    • Sensitivity 88dB
  • 1x Samsung 85” LED screen

The room had a very extensive cushioning with acoustic panels on the wall and ceiling - a necessary prerequisite to achieve the good result. Harman was one of several exhibitors who played the same clip from Bohemian Rapsody, and they presented the best sound by far on this clip.

It may be worth a visit the next time you are in Munich, but hurry before the adjoining hotel opens - then they must limit the sound level ...


 JBL L100 Classic

This classic speaker which is really a brand new construction based on the design of the old model was also presented. We got a thorough taste of this at the Guttemessen in Larvik (Men & Things) earlier this spring, where Harman's representative Per Magh played on these.

The L100 Classic sounds exceptionally fresh and is well worth a closer acquaintance. They look best on the original stands with unmistakable 60/70 design. The construction of the L100 Classic consists of a newly developed titanium tweeter with the romantic name JT025Ti1. Along with the 105H-1 midrange they are assisted by a JW300PW-8 bass. I've probably said it before, but there are few things in life that can compare to the obvious authority of a 12-inch woofer!

Read more about the L100 Classic at JBL

Mark Levinson 5000 Series

Also Mark Levinson № 5805 which was released along with the somewhat "smaller" № 5802 in Munich is a statement from Larvik earlier this year. That is - it was actually a pre-production model Per Magh demoed to run a pair of JBL L100 Classic. At that time, the digital part was not operational yet, so it was used as a purely analog amplifier. And made a very good figure when it passed the Arcam amplifier.

ML № 5805 is a lavish version of ML № 5802. And, somewhat unusual, there are common power stages on these two models, while № 5805 has a more expensive preamplifier part, with a Class A input stage.

Both models have a DAC from ESS-Sabre, and a nice news is that they are MQA compliant. ML № 5802 stands out by having only digital inputs.

Both amplifiers have a conservative power of 2x125 watts in 8 ohms, which doubles in 4 ohms.

In Larvik, a price of № 5805 was suggested around 85 thousand NOK. And if this is true, it might be tempting to assume that № 5802 will end up somewhere around 70 thousand NOK.

But Mark Levinson had more in their sleeve. The CD / SACD player № 5101 also boasts being a streamer. On our own account we guess that this will end up somewhere between 50 and 60 thousand NOK.



Arcam SA30

At the fair in Larvik we got to know the new HDA series from Arcam. It has so far included the two basic models of integrated amplifiers - SA10 and SA20, in addition to the CD player DCS50. In Larvik, SA20 played brilliantly on the JBL L100 Classic, and they received the signal from the combined CD / SACD player and streamer DCS50.

But now there is a flagship amplifier going on from Arcam. It is not very surprising that this one is named SA30, but the content may surprise more. Arcam has its own Class G on amplifiers, and it is also used on SA30. 120 watts in 8 ohms turns into 220 watts in 4 ohms, and testifies to an abundant power supply. When asked by me, Arcam's technical representative also answers that the power supply is the most important element of a successful amplifier design.

The Arcam SA30 will also support MQA, and the DAC is a HighEnd ESS Sabre ESS9038 DAC. The amplifier supports AirPlay 2 and UPnP, and ARC via HDMI input. On the analog side, phono input is prepared for both MM and MC. Roon support is also present, so this is starting to look very promising.

The biggest surprise is that Arcam has supplied the SA 30 with a room correction system from Swedish Dirac. This is one of the most interesting room correction systems of our time. The price isn`t known yet, but with Arcam's tradition of moderate pricing everything is ready for this to be an amplifier that will be interesting to follow.



Bolandi Trio with singer Regy Heiß

A wonderful, educational and enjoyable evening was concluded with a concert by jazz trio Bolandi Trio, who brought along a talented singer Regy Heiß. The trio consists of the pianist maximilian Hacker on piano, bassist Thomas Ganzenmüller and the distinct drummer Manuel Pliefke. Wonderful music, where the jazz interpretation of Get Back became the favorite song of the evening.


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Karl Erik Sylthe

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