High End Society

Published: 01/06/2024

Author: Karsten Hein

Category: Explorations

Tag(s): High End Society Germany

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HiFi (High Fidelity) devices of superior musical quality have been referred to as "High End" since the early 1980s. And with Rolf Gemein's Symphonic Line RG9-MK3 tonally capable integrated amplifier, eiaudio has also found its entry to the subject of High End. Rolf Gemein was among those who helped to establish the term and was also among the founders of the High End Society, an association with a long history and tradition.

What is known as the High End Society e.V. today was founded on 18 December 1981 as an interest and advocacy group under the name "High End Interessengemeinschaft für hochwertige Musikwiedergabe e.V." in a small hotel in Alzenau, Bavaria. The initiator of this first meeting was Dipl.-Ing. Klaus Renner from Munich, who was at the time undertaking preparations for his new audio magazine "Das Ohr". In his eyes, conscious listening (an audiophile pastime activity for the experience of the joy of sound) deserved a much higher status than it was given by the predominantly mixed audio/video consumer trade fairs. A separate trade fair especially made for the High End audio sector was to rectify this situation. The twelve founding members of this interest group were:

High End Inaugural Meeting

(Frankfurt am Main, 10 December 1982)

  1. Klaus Renner, "Das Ohr" magazine (Munich)
  2. Christina Puschmann (now Ishizuka ), P.I.A. HiFi-Vertriebs GmbH (Mörfelden-Walldorf)
  3. Dieter Burmester, Burmester Audiosysteme (Berlin)
  4. Kurt Wolfram Hecker, Kurt Hecker GmbH (Frankfurt am Main)
  5. Rolf Gemein, Vernissage Laboratorium (Duisburg)
  6. Branco Glisovic, Pirol Audio Systeme (Böblingen)
  7. Jochen Rebmann, Taurus/Clear Audio (Nürtingen)
  8. Hermann Hoffmann, Audio Int'l GmbH (Frankfurt am Main)
  9. Werner Schmitt, AVP GmbH (Hanau)
  10. Helmut Püllmanns, Püllmanns GmbH (Cologne)
  11. Dusan Klimo, D. Klimo GmbH (Reutlingen)
  12. Thomas Deyerling, Audio Arts (Frankfurt am Main)

1982 - The first High End Audio Fair is held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Düsseldorf. The trade fair opens its doors from 19 - 26 August and already manages to attract a large number of visitors.

1983 - The High End Audio Fair relocates to the more spacious Kempinski Grand Hotel Gravenbruch in Neu Isenburg, near Frankfurt am Main. This hotel offers more space than the Intercontinental, suitable for the growing number of presenters and visitors.

1990 - The name is changed from the rather complex High End Interessengemeinschaft für hochwertige Musikwiedergabe e.V. to the more internationally recognisable "High End Society e.V."

1995 - The "High End Society GmbH" is founded to build the much needed framework for the growing operative side of the business.

2003 - Founding of the new "High End Society Marketing GmbH" for the professional organisation and coordination of the trade fair, attributable to the persistent rise in membership and visitor numbers.

2004 - Relocation of the High End audio fair to the more versatile MOC exhibition centre in Munich's Freimann district. This move is again a result of the increased need for space. However, the new venue cannot quite hold a candle to the former Neu Isenburg Kempinski Hotel, neither in terms of its central geographical location nor its more general ambience.

2014 - Renaming of High End Society Marketing GmbH as "High End Society Service GmbH" to better reflect the broader scope of services rendered.

2019 - Sees a further expansion of the range of services: For instance, the newly formed “SoundsClever" label aims to make High End listening pleasures affordable to audiophile beginners, despite a general trend towards rising prices in the industry. To make this possible, ready-to-play HiFi packages are offered at attractive set-prices of around EUR 5,000 and this with some genuine High End qualities.

2022 - Start of the IPS (International Parts und Supply) section, a fair-in-the-fair venue for Original Equipment Manufacturers in the audio industry. In the meantime, the Munich High End has advanced into the world's most significant trade fair of its kind, with around 20,000 visitors and 800 brands from 450 exhibitors representing 40 different nations.

Source: Uwe Mehlhaff, "Hörerlebnis" - Das Magazin für High Fidelity, 2022

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