In Simmerath-Strauch, a small village in the district of Aachen, Germany, an exclusive midsummer event was held in an old kindergarten school that’s been completely transformed into the new headquarters of Cinemike. In 2004, the company was founded by Michael Krehl and Michael Schiffers. Unsatisfied with the quality of standard audio and video equipment they started their quest to provide their customers with the very best picture and sound quality in the business. How? By dissecting already high-end electronics, replacing mediocre parts with better ones, shortening the signal path, fitting in additional filter stages, … . If you think about a possible improvement, they’ve probably done it. So what does the summer show has in store for us. Let’s find out.

Next to the entrance hall is the only non-dedicated room with a typical 5.1 living room system from the likes of Arcam and Dali.There was too much chatter in the background to perform any critical listening but the image was truly outstanding. Will this finally be a worthy upgrade for my beloved Pioneer Kuro? Perhaps, but I’m too curious about the next generation OLED displays.

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Moving on to a small room in the back of the school. This one is called “the Vintage/Baroque room”. The pictures are self-explanatory but the crystal glass chandelier, the beautiful red wallpaper and the velvet theater drapes set the stage for some good old-fashioned nostalgia. The surround set that normally resided in the room made way for a great sounding stereo. This visiting system consisted of the “Stereoplay Highlight” Cabasse Murano coaxial speakers and the Denon PMA-2500NE, a premium integrated amplifier with DAC module partnered by the Denon DCD-2500NE SACD player. What struck me most was the huge realistic soundstage these small speakers threw. Impressive to say the least.

Leaving the room with a warm glow from the past I retraced my steps to the lobby. Gazing again at the wall of art I was imagining what was behind the door that clearly resembled the one of Monsters, Inc. one of the top animation movies of the 2000’s decade.

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A pathway to another world? In a manner of speaking it was. Opening the door uncovered a beautifully crafted room from the mind of Cinemike. Although this wasn’t the reference room a full surround set of silver-colored Kef Reference speakers sprung to my attention. Slightly tucked away in the back of the room one couldn’t overlook the massive black box sitting on the floor. It was their newly developed 18” subwoofer, the Cinemike T-1800. The naming convention is a nice wink to the Terminator saga. The speakers were driven by a modified Denon AVR-7200WA acting as an AV preamp and Aurum M10 power amplifiers. Peter Hess from JVC showed off the DLA-X7000 projector and the Samsung UBD-K8500 4K player with scenes of Exodus: Gods and Kings and Deadpool. The image was vivid, detailed and natural. The drama of the battle scenes was conveyed to the spectator unstrained and uncompressed by the supporting sound system. Just one minor gripe to report: the center speaker is placed quite low which gave the impression that the dialogue seemed to originate from the speaker instead of the screen. But this is actually nitpicking: the front soundstage was very cohesive albeit the small shift downward of the speech. I was truly enjoying the movie rather than dissecting the performance which is always a good sign. At this time I was wondering what to expect from the reference room.

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Visit the Cinemike website.