High End Munich 2019: Odeon Audio or Why HiFi Is About Much More Than HiFi (a story)

My father and I had our differences, who doesn’t with theirs?, but our meeting place, the thing that always brought us together, was hifi and music.

He was an MSEE building tube amp kits and speakers from before I was born. As soon as I was old enough to crawl through our crawlspace, over which the hifi lived, l was the cable runner. With each new component or system, we would sit and listen to his favorite music together which usually included Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Johnny Smith, Chet Baker, and so on. The goal, his goal, with changes was to connect to these beloved musicians even more than before.

As time went on he became more successful and his hifi reflected this financial success with increasingly more costly stuff. I would take mini-trips to Florida, where he had retired, to help him setup his systems in a new home or move around his newest monolithic speakers or monstrously heavy monoblocks. I noticed as did he, that over time his focus moved from music to hifi—things became tweaky with endless adjustments and ‘upgrades.’

One day he announced he was done. He was done with his increasingly costly, fussy, and complicated hifi. A week or so on he called late one night, this was not a regular thing, brimming with excitement over his new, simpler, and less costly hifi—the Odeon Audio Double Six speakers, the first Acoustic Masterpiece integrated amp, and BAT CD player.  This ended up being his last system and I know he enjoyed listening to music through it until the end.

His excitement translated into mine as I had been reading Art Dudley’s sorely missed Listener Magazine and was seriously jonesing for some high-efficiency speakers and low-powered tube amps. I traded in my system for a demo pair of Odeon Double Six speakers, unseen and unheard, and a Sun Audio SV-300BE amp. This was the only time in my life I made such a costly hifi purchase before listening for myself—I trusted my father on these matters.

On my way out of the Odeon Audio room at High End Munich 2019, I mentioned to the Odean representatives that I used to own their Double Six speakers because my father bought them first and how he’d called me one night thrilled with their sound. As I left, a woman handed me their very nice brochure as she said, “This is for your father.”

I found a quiet place to sit, reflect, and regain my composure before moving on with my show coverage.