Show coverage is hard work, but sometimes we make it harder on ourselves.

This year marked my second visit to the High End audio show, which was held May 9–12 in the ginormous Munich Order Center (MOC) in Munich, Germany. This is one of the largest audio shows in the world, and by many accounts, the most important. Coming anywhere close to seeing the whole thing in the four days it’s open requires an Olympian effort. Last year, Doug Schneider and I attempted to cover the show on our own. While we went balls-out to do so, in the end, we felt that it would be a good idea to rope in another writer so we could do better justice to this massive exhibition.

MOCMunich Order Center during High End 2024

Enter young gun Matt Bonaccio, who accompanied Doug and me to the Audio Video Show in Warsaw back in 2023. Matt proved himself a good on-the-spot show correspondent, able to keep up with—and this year surpass—my healthy output. Better still, and just as important, he’s a great guy with a well-developed sense of humor who can take a joke and give back as good as he gets.

So the scene of our little play was set. We three flew on the red-eye from Toronto to Munich, arriving at 7:30 on the morning of Tuesday, May 7, two days before the show’s opening. After a trip like that, you just have to get through the first day. Our rooms wouldn’t be ready until noon, so we had a morning’s worth of muttering to ourselves, drinking too much coffee, and wandering around town trying to show interest in the city.

And once our rooms were ready, we dared not sleep! A quick 20-minute snooze is okay, but it’s vital to get on local time. So we showered, unpacked, and met in the lobby to figure out our next moves. Doug got a call from Amadeus Meitner of EMM Labs, asking if we wanted to meet for an early dinner at the Augustiner-Keller beer garden.

Beer hallLeft to right: Amadeus Meitner (EMM Labs and Meitner Audio) with SoundStagers Doug Schneider, Edgar Kramer, Matt Bonaccio, and Jason Thorpe

As we were at loose ends, it seemed like a good idea—but this is where things get a bit hazy. Heavily jet-lagged, I tried to keep up with young Meitner. Not only had he already acclimatized to Central European Time, he’s younger than I am and in far better physical condition. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I downed two beers without doing the math. About halfway through the second “pint,” Meitner looked at me with some pity and mentioned that each beer is actually one liter, which is about the same as three domestic bottles. Still, a big plate of schnitzel made for a good base and I soldiered on.

Doug doesn’t drink that much, being always “on the clock.” But someone must, given that much relationship-building transpires over dinners and the inevitable beer. Or two. So my reasoning goes, anyway. I’m taking one for the team, right?

Amadeus and DougAmadeus Meitner and Doug Schneider

Meitner had other business, and we parted ways at about 10 p.m. Out of the corner of my eye, I noted with satisfaction that Matt had been keeping up with my pace. Doug received another phone call, and declared that we were heading to another restaurant to meet up with the folks from Vivid Audio. A short Uber ride over to the trendy part of town (we were billeted near the München Hbf station, which is considered a bit sketchy—although I didn’t find it so) found us at Wirtshaus Zur Brez’n, where we met Laurence Dickie, Philip Guttentag, Ewald Verkerk, and the rest of the Vivid Audio crew. Young Bonaccio and I fired down two more beers (regular pints this time). I thought I was handling myself reasonably well, until Verkerk, who was sitting opposite me, looked me in the eye and asked: “Why are you shouting?” It seems I was getting a touch tipsy.

Anyway, we left shortly thereafter, and a quick cab ride saw us back at our hotel. I slept like a baby that night and woke up in far better shape than I had anticipated. For breakfast, I headed across the street to the train station. Here was perhaps my favorite feature of Munich. Arrayed across one end of the station were three food concessions, all next to each other. These merchants sold coffee, sandwiches, and pastries. The selection here was superb—split pretzels stuffed with cold cuts, salami sandwiches, schnitzel in a bun, Linzer cookies, strudel—all fresh each day and totally delicious. At between €5 and €6, the sandwiches seemed like bargains to this North American used to Subway and Tim Hortons.


On this Wednesday morning, young Bonaccio was feeling the effects of Tuesday night. He slept until 1 p.m., and surfaced looking a bit ragged. We had planned to visit a couple of museums, but we had to pare it down and so we spent a nice three hours strolling through the Alte Pinakothek art gallery, which was packed full of huge old master paintings and a couple of seriously famous impressionist chestnuts.

Art galleryJason Thorpe

Wednesday night we laid low, grabbing shawarma from a restaurant just around the corner from Aloft Munich hotel, our base of operations. We called it an early night, getting ready for the show which started on the Thursday—you can read our coverage on SoundStage! Global.

On a more constructive note, this year—with the help of Bonaccio’s flexible millennial mind—we figured out how to navigate Munich’s excellent subway system, and discovered that it’s how the big players get to and from the MOC.

SubwayLaurence Dickie (Vivid Audio) and Doug Schneider

EAT makes some moves

As I said up top, you can’t see it all at High End. Not even close, not if you want to get your nose right in there and listen to music on some of these outstanding systems. You’ve got to pick and choose to make the best use of your time.

One manufacturer I missed last year due to time constraints was European Audio Team (EAT). At European shows, I always make it a point to check out what’s going on with EAT, as I’ve reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed three of their products: the C-Major turntable, the Jo N°8 moving-coil cartridge (which I still own and use), and the E-Glo S phono stage. This year I got a guided tour of EAT’s new products from Jozefína Lichtenegger, owner and CEO.

First up was a product I’m really keen to get in for review. The E-Glo II (€8995) is EAT’s top-game phono stage, armed with four ECC83 and two ECC88 tubes. With its separate, full-chassis power supply, the E-Glo II, which is handmade in Europe, puts much emphasis on clean power. It’s an ambitious all-tube design, with a complete absence of transistors in the signal path. The input stage is fully balanced, complementing the balanced inputs for use with moving-coil cartridges. A built-in Lundahl step-up transformer feeds into an amplification stage that provides 46dB of gain. Combined with the voltage gain provided by the transformer, total gain is 76dB. EAT has put a lot of effort into parts selection. Diodes, capacitors, and voltage regulators are all specially chosen.

Phono stage

The E-Glo II is physically beautiful. The company prides itself on producing aesthetically pleasing components, and the E-Glo II continues this trend. As with the E-Glo S I reviewed, the E-Glo II is available with side panels made from real macassar ebony or piano-black lacquer. And (because, heck, why not?), the tubes are illuminated, with selectable colors.

What’s really nice about this EAT phono stage is that capacitance, impedance, and other parameters are adjustable from the front of the unit. Well, not exactly the front. Actually, it’s the front of the top panel, which means that the E-Glo II needs to be placed on a top shelf, or a shelf with a fair bit of clearance, so that you can look near-as-dammit right down on it.

Just above, I mentioned that EAT products are physically beautiful. Well, it’s eye-of-the-beholder time, because High End 2024 marked the debut of EAT’s C-Dur Concrete turntable, which retails for €6990, or €7790 with EAT’s Jo N°5 cartridge. This limited-edition ’table is, as the name would suggest, built around a cast concrete plinth that’s polished to a satin finish, while still retaining some imperfections and surface marks. This guy is handsome rather than beautiful. The Concrete is based on EAT’s existing C-Dur turntable, and it incorporates its 900g sub-platter and 5.2kg platter. The bearing block is chunky also, weighing in at 1.8kg. That concrete plinth? It’s 20kg on its own.


The C-Dur Concrete ships with EAT’s C-Note 10″ carbon-fiber arm, an ambitious design that the company claims combines the benefits of a unipivot and a traditional cardan bearing design. The C-Major ’table that I reviewed back in 2016 was fitted with a C-Note arm, and it was a great tracker, sounded excellent, and was very easy to live with.

As a package, with the concrete plinth, carbon-fiber arm, and polished aluminum accents, the C-Dur Concrete presents as dramatically modern, a piece of art that would be at home in a sparse, minimalist setting. It’s a great complement to EAT’s existing line of well-designed and decor-friendly turntables.

. . . Jason Thorpe