Yesterday I chronicled a skeptical vision quest through the realm of high-end audio appreciation. It brought me to one of the darkest corners of the High End hi-fi trade show in Munich. I found myself in a room surrounded by silver-haired purists in front of a bespoke rig by Pioneer subsidiary TAD Labs.

I took a seat near the back in the dimly lit room, trying not to make any errant noises that might distract fellow attendees from their current task: enjoying extremely high-resolution playbacks of ABBA jazz covers. This version of “Money Money Money” had been captured at Benny Andersson’s own Mono Music Studio in Stockholm using the same Evolution One speakers we were now hearing as studio monitors. My position in the stereo field was far outside the coveted “sweet spot,” but even then I could tell that something special was going on in front of me.

I slipped into one of the leather chairs in the center of the room as soon as possible. It was here, with my head in perfect alignment between the $28,000 pair of speakers, that I had my first psychedelic experience at High End.