1996 "High End" Show Kempinksi Hotel, Frankfurt, Germany

You've seen videos here of the world's largest audio show, "High End" Munich. Back in the 1990s, the show, held in Frankfurt's Kempinski Hotel, more closely resembled a sleepy American affair—as this vintage video demonstrates. It was a very "German" show at the time, musically and otherwise, though even then you'll hear "Take Five" and "Belafonte at Carnegie Hall".

Today's High End show is an international affair held in a convention center venue. It's important to note that the organizers of the original Kempinski Hotel show—hobbyists, really— dreamed big and succeeded probably beyond their wildest imaginings.

There's footage of Speakers Corner's Kai Seemann speaking with Alto Analogue's Joachim Bose. These two plus Jörge Kessler were most instrumental in keeping vinyl records pressed during this time, just as Chad Kassem and Classic Records' Mike Hobson were in America.

Back then vinyl was basically over in America, or just starting its resurgence. It was far bigger in Germany as you'll see in this video, which also includes someone's collection of vintage Thorens turntables and a few vintage jukeboxes.

The lead photo above, shows Spiral Groove's Allen Perkins' original RPM turntable and arm. The look of the turntable heavily influenced many other manufacturers including Clearaudio and Dr. Feickert Analogue just as the unipivot arm design featuring a cup filled with damping fluid heavily influenced arm designs by Franc Kuzma and the late A.J. Conti. The RPM arm, if you can find one, remains one of my all time favorites for many reasons.

abelb1's picture

Very enjoyable, thanks for posting!

Hergest's picture

Very interesting. I enjoyed that, thanks. Glad you don't whistle anymore while you film.