How we launched SIGAO DRIVE at Munich 2024

Posted on 17th May 2024 in Category: News

…and that’s a wrap on Munich 2024! Europe’s biggest high-end audio show may be over for another year, but for us here at Kudos Audio, the work is just getting started. 

Because in Munich, we unveiled SIGAO DRIVE to the world of HiFi for the first time. In this blog, we’ll wrap up all the events that brought us to Munich, and give you a glimpse at what’s next for our brand new, unpowered external crossover. 

If you’re yet to dive into the details behind our revolutionary, unpowered external crossover, we’d invite you to read our introduction blog from just last week. In it, we reveal why SIGAO DRIVE represents an exciting new future for Kudos Audio, and how it makes Kudos loudspeakers compatible with almost any electronics brand for the very first time.

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Kudos Audio at MotorWorld, Munich

For those in premium audio, Munich High End needs no introduction. For one week each May, Munich’s MOC convention centre becomes a veritable ‘who’s who’ of global HiFi brands. It’s an incredible event – a genuine celebration of the very best of our industry. But this year, we wanted to do something a little different. We wanted to get out of the hustle and intensity of High End’s feverishly busy halls, and instead offer attendees a slightly more laid-back alternative – a place to escape the crowds and rest the feet for a little while, all whilst experiencing the very best that Kudos listening has to offer.

We found the perfect location in MotorWorld. Located literally just across the street from the MOC (about a three minute walk, in fact), MotorWorld is a museum and luxury automotive storage facility, celebrating the very best of classic and contemporary motorsport and elite car design. Built in the shell of a 19th century railway engine works, MotorWorld is packed with stunning examples of precision automotive engineering – from 1920s racing Bentley’s to the most technologically advanced modern hypercars available today. It also plays host to a whole collection of cafes, restaurants and bars – making it the perfect place to relax after a long day at the MOC. 

This is where we chose to base ourselves throughout HiFi’s biggest trade show. It proved to be an excellent decision!

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SIGAO DRIVE’s worldwide launch

Arriving in Munich early in the week, we set about transforming the Hans Joachim Suite into something of an audio sanctuary. Our demonstration system for the event was pretty formidable. Alongside SIGAO DRIVE, we had an Innuos server, Linn Klimax DSM streamer, and three Chord Electronics Ultima 5 power amplifiers. HiFi support came from the Quadraspire Sunoko Vent, all cabling and power from AudioQuest, and a pair of Titan 808 Loudspeakers in a special, limited edition ‘racing green’ finish completed a truly formidable listening setup. 

Thursday 10th May – the opening day of the show – was set for our worldwide launch. To celebrate, we invited a hand-picked selection of leading HiFi journalists, retailers, and distributors to join us for a special listening event – the first ever public A/B test of SIGAO DRIVE.

Kudos Audio MD Derek Gilligan opened proceedings, taking the invited guests through exactly why and how SIGAO DRIVE had been brought into production. The demonstration started with playback in conventional ‘passive’ configuration – with the Chord amplifiers connected to the Kudos Titan 808’s via their inbuilt passive crossover filter network. The track chosen for this demonstration was Fink’s ‘Trouble’s What You’re In’ from their 2012 live album ‘Wheels Turn Beneath My Feet’.

You can listen to our entire Munich 2024 demo playlist on Qobuz, here.

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Once the track had played through, the cabling was quickly swapped out. In this new configuration, the SIGAO DRIVE unpowered crossover was introduced in front of the power amplifiers in the signal chain, allowing the (now three) amplifiers to bypass the inbuilt crossover filter via the Titan 808’s dedicated ‘active inputs’, and directly grip the speaker drivers. The same track was then played for a clean comparison. 

For everyone in the room, the results were jaw dropping. Silences became more intense, clarity in the sonic delivery elevated dramatically, and the soundstage became noticeably broader – enveloping the listeners in a wholly new dimension of breathtaking musicality. 

Throughout the weekend, in fact, the feedback from almost everyone who attended our demonstration room was nothing short of remarkable. Guests in subsequent listening sessions remarked on SIGAO DRIVE’s ability to facilitate a “lowered the noise floor”, “improved dynamics” and marvelled at how it “removed the effects of the room”.

The early press reaction was equally fervent – HiFi & Music Source described SIGAO DRIVE’s launch as a “stunning presentation”, whilst in their Munich roundup, HiFi Pig noted SIGAO DRIVE eliciting a “distinct change in sound”.

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We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came to visit us throughout the show in Munich. We loved the opportunity to chat with so many music lovers about the transformative qualities of SIGAO DRIVE. We’re already looking forward to next year’s event!


SIGAO DRIVE – What next?

SIGAO DRIVE may have enjoyed an immensely successful launch, but its journey has only just begun. The first run of units go into production imminently – in fact, we’ve already experienced extremely high demand from retailers and listeners alike for SIGAO DRIVE’s inaugural run. To ensure you’re one of the first to secure a new pinnacle of Kudos listening for your system, be sure to contact your dealer and pre-order today.

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Couldn’t make it to Munich? Don’t fret! There’s plenty of opportunities to see and hear SIGAO DRIVE in the UK throughout the summer. We’ll be running a number of instore listening events, the first of which will be taking place at The Audiobarn in Harlow on Saturday 1st June. Tickets for that event are available now.

If you’re unable to make that event, keep your eyes on our social media and the events page on our website for more information on an instore event near you.