2013 Munich High End Show: Furutech and Alpha Design Labs

I spent a bit of time talking with Graeme Coley, Furutech's Sales and Marketing Manager, about the new ADL H118 ($269) full-size, sealed headphone and ADL X1 ($479) headphone amp. The prototype H118 I heard at CES earlier this year didn't impress, but this time around it sure perked my ears up—can't wait to get one in for an extended listen and measure. The X1 amp was pretty cool as well; it seems more and more people are embracing the concept of taking the digital out from iOS devices, and the X1 is Lightning compatible. The better news is that it's also compatible with some Android devices using USB On-The-Go. It didn't play with my Galaxy SIII, but Graeme assured me they're aware of the opportunity and broader compatibility is in the works.

More interesting to me is ADL's line of headphone related gear, it's quite a bit broader than most for a firm of this type, and I think they're heading in a very good direction. For example, they have a number of short cables intended to help you rig up a portable system, and a pretty cool range of headphone connectors under the Furutech brand. I'd like to see more 90 degree angle connectors and shorter length options options in the iD-35 cable line-up, but it's certainly a fairly impressive array considering the dearth of quality molded cable option in this category otherwise.

Headphone amps are also well represented in the firms offerings. The ADL portable amps can be found by clicking around the nav bar on this page, and there's a couple of cool desktop units here. I'm looking forward to watching Furutech and ADL navigate their future in personal audio—they've had one heck of an interesting start.