This years What HiFi? Show 2017, held at Hotel St. Regis – Mumbai was one of the best shows organised by the What HiFi? publication. Kudos to them for learning from their past shows and taking constructive criticism on board which resulted in the show being lauded by the AV industry exhibitors as well as the visitors. We will be covering the entire show in parts, which we will keep updating as we go along.

Part 1

8th Floor Coverage:

The Main venue for visitors registration was on this floor and as soon as people entered the floor from the lifts they were greeted with the B&W Nautilus regally displayed, one piece only though sadly only as a static display in the passage.

The five staterooms on the floor were taken by M/s.KEI(Elac, Denon), M/s.Cinebels(Jamo, Klipsch, Roksan), M/s.Harman India represented by Fairdeal Electronics(JBL Synthesis, Revel, Lexicon, Mark Levinson), M/s.Cadence Audio(Nagra, Spendor, YG Acoustics, Siltech, Crystal Cables, SME) and lastly M/s.PTC(Focal, Monster, McIntosh, Sonus Faber, Konig, Origin Acoustics, ATI)

We started with the KEI room, which had a couple of Denon Amps/Receivers on static display along with an Atmos demo set up with Elac Speakers and Denon Electronics

   

The demo was strictly okay, though showcasing of the static display was decent.

We next visited the Cinebels room, which had a lot of equipment on display in a rather haphazard manner. Everything from home theatre set ups to 2 channel set up to static displays were managed in the room. We wanted to hear the Klipsch Cornwalls paired with a Prima Luna Amp & Roksan CD Player. We were informed that the tube amp needs to be kept on for 45 mins to an hour and hence could not be demo’ed as it was currently switched off. We nonetheless requested them to switch it on so that we could hear the set-up once we came back in an hour or so. Sadly, time constraints did not allow us to return to hear them as we had to rush through to cover the rest of the rooms.

    

The Next room was Harman India’s, which was entirely having only static displays of various models of Revel Loudspeakers, JBL Synthesis, Lexicon, Mark Levinson Electronics. Though well represented, the idea of having static display of everything under 1 room was kind of a let down as most visitors would have loved to hear the Mark Levinson Electronics paired with JBL Everest Speakers or Revel flagship speakers. Sadly, this was not the case. Harman India did have a JBL synthesis home theatre demo on the 15th floor though, which we will cover subsequently.

 

We now entered the Cadence Audio room where yet again the room consisted of 2 demo set-ups, one having the YG Acoustics Sonja paired with Nagra Mono Block Power amps, Nagra Pre, an SME Turntable and an old Philips RTR Player. The other set up consisted of a pair of Spendor D9 Speakers with Nagra 300B Tube Power Amp, Nagra Pre and Nagra CD Player. All cabling was by siltech. A couple of Spendor speakers were also on static display which am told were played intermittently. We met Mr. Kerry St. James of YG Acoustics, who gave us a whirlwind tour of what YG Acoustics was all about by means of a ipad pictorial presentation, explaining the processes  and technology used to manufacture their speakers. We enjoyed the same post which we briefly heard the 2 demo set-ups as described above. We rather enjoyed both and would specially like to hear the Spendor D9’s again as they have an engaging sound. Sadly, we had to rush as time was running out.

     

The last room on the 8th floor was the PTC room which was like an explosion waiting to happen. Every bit of space was used up to plonk various items, right from Monster Audio cabling, portable speakers, Focal and Sonus Faber speakers, McIntosh Amp/CD Player on static display,  to a full blown atmos home theatre done right in the middle of the room. We were thoroughly confused as we did not know where to start and subsequently finish. A complete mish mash which made us leave as soon as we could.

  

Continuing with our coverage of the What HiFi? Show 2017, Mumbai – We now will start with the rooms we visited on the 14th Floor, which consisted of the following exhibitors:

Cinebels(Klipsch/Jamo) had a room full of live and static demo’s of their multimedia speakers, amplifiers, sound bars, head phones, IEM’s and so on. Lots to look at and play with. We found the room to be a much better presentation of equipment that one could see and hear.

LG had their room showing their new range of OLED 4K TV’s

Innovative Information Technology Ltd. had the following on display: Image Speakers (Floor Standers and Book Shelfs) with Naim Uniti Atom, SuperNait2, Metronome CD Player, Nordost Cables, Isolation Devices and Power Boxes. A Musical Fidelity M3Si was kept on static display. Alex Brady from Nordost and Dan Poulton from Naim Audio were at hand to give an in depth demonstration of their respective products. The room was always filled with people as both these gents did their very best to captivate their audiences with their in depth knowledge of their brand and products.

Vinshek had a room showcasing the Cornered Audio Speakers showcasing their consumer range of speakers, on static and demo. We briefly heard them and they were nice to look at and sound. Sadly, the speakers were not connected with a subwoofer, so we felt the product was not ideally showcased. Team Vinshek were in agreement and put their hand up to acknowledge this fact. Since this was their first consumer audio show participation, they will learn from this experience.

  

Hermit Audio had an all Gamut demo set up consisting of Gamut speakers and electronics. We found this room to be well setup and both the look and sound of the set up was one of the best if not the best of the show. Mr. Bimal Choksi of Hermit Audio was in charge of the room and gave all the visitors a good idea of what the Gamut sound is all about. We wish Hermit Audio takes part in future shows as well.

 

KEI had 2 rooms, one with Tannoy DC8 Speakers with Hegel AMplifier and Denon CD Player and the other with Elac Unify Speakers with Primare Amplifier and Denon CD Player. Both were set up by a mutual friend of ours and has been doing so on behalf of KEI for all the shows they participate in. Due to paucity of time we could not spend much time in either rooms but what we heard we liked. We personally liked the Tannoy room better, but the Elac Unify speakers also sounded very good.

Lakozy Impex & Audio Excellence had the following on demo at their suite: PSB Image B5 Speakers with BlueSound PowerNode2 whilst the other room was a dolby atmos configured home theatre using Storm Audio Processor, Power Amp with Legacy Audio Speakers. We barely heard the home theatre as it was already full with visitors hence could not get much of an idea of overall sound. The Legacy Audio Speakers were as usual imposing, with the LCR dominating the room.

  • Part 3

Sight & Sound had Aero and Audiostics products on display, mostly static.

Baaroq Designs had a bazaar like display of as many products that they could fit into their room, mainly consisting of products from Mistral, OMZ and Eltek Acoustic. We were pretty much amused seeing the Mistral Speakers which were nothing but clones of B&W Speaker models of yesteryears, in the looks department. More than the demo we were just looking at the amount of similarities in the looks department as stated above and had a brief chat with the persons manning the room. Baaroq Designs have recently been made the distributors for Mistral in India. We wish them the very best in their endeavors.

Shemaroo Corporation had a few Panasonic projectors on static display and 1 model on demo. A couple of Panasonic TV’s also were on demo. They also had a couple of speakercraft inwall, inceiling speakers on static display.

AudioVision India had almost their entire brands on static display. The key word being STATIC. Most of the visitors including us were disappointed to see this sort of arrangement as most often than not the aspirational brand for music enthusiasts has been B&W. A consolation of sorts was that one could atleast hear one B&W product – that being the Zeppelin wireless speaker. Yes, we are being a little bit sarcastic but we can’t hide our disappointment! All we could do is click pics, which we did to make up for the lack of listening pleasure.

The only B&W that was ‘alive’ (pun heavily intended)

The Audio People & Stereo Trend Pvt. Ltd. had a suite having 2 rooms, one had a dedicated Home Theatre and the other a Stereo Set-up respectively. We started with a demo at the home theatre room which consisted of pro audio speakers with dedicated DSP’s for each. Since these were the last 2 rooms we had to cover on the 14th floor and the fact that there was no other visitor present, we decided to plonk ourselves on the inviting sofa and enjoy what was on offer. The clip played also was a familiar one to us (from the movie – Man from U.N.C.L.E), hence we were rather well placed to judge the potential of the set-up. Admittedly, we felt the set up was the best one we heard at the Show as far as a Home Theatre Set-up is concerned, kudos to the people who calibrated the set-up.

The Stereo Room consisted of Monitor Audio PL300II Speakers with Bryston 7BSST Mono Block Power Amplifiers, BP26 Pre Amplifer, BDA-1 DAC with BCD-3 CD Player. We heard a few familiar tracks and appreciated the sound but found it slightly uninvolving and one dimensional. The speakers finish was impeccable and to us they were gorgeous.

  • Part 4
 

At the 15th Floor, we started of with the Rivera International Room, who though had 2 rooms, we could only cover 1 as the home theatre one was filled with visitors, hence we decided to pop in their other room which had McIntosh Electronics with German Physiks Speakers. Though the effort was taken to set up the pairing to the best of their abilities, sadly the sound was not having any wow factor as one would expect with such odd looking speakers. That does not mean that the sound was bad, just that the ‘X’ factor was clearly missing.

The next room was Absolute Sound, who were showcasing the Kii Audio Model 3 Active Speakers which were in an eye catching bright red color. A Bel Canto Pre and CD Player along with a Mac Book were hooked up to the Model 3’s. As is customary for an Absolute Sound Room, attention to detail was evident and they also took the efforts to control the room as much as they could by means of using certain props as sound treatment to good effect. The sound was very good indeed, just that we felt that the low’s could have been better. Maybe the Absolute Sound Team thought that limiting the bass would help them control the room to a large extent.

Sun Group had 2 rooms, one with a lot of multimedia products including speakers and radio’s mainly on static display whilst the other had the Devialet Phantom Gold Speakers and a B&W 803 D3’s with a Devialet Amp. Sadly, at both the rooms there wasn’t any real interest shown to play the equipment at hand for visitors walking in, so we quickly had a look and walked out to the next rooms.

BenQ had a room which was to showcase their new flagship home projector the W11000, which hadn’t arrived yet and so we quickly moved onto the next room, which had Philips showcasing a couple of their sound bars. One of these models was their new atmos enabled sound bar that is yet to be launched in our market. A couple of demo’s were going on so we just had a quick look and moved onto the next rooms. Nedis & Avaaa had a couple of Thonet & Vander Active Speakers and some Radio’s on demo. A short demo taken of both, from which we liked their radio, that was having an old world charm about it and was also very reasonably priced, to encourage radio enthusiasts to look at it seriously.

Nexus Audio were showcasing a Home Theatre Setup yet again, this time with a Mix of Stage Accompany LCR Speakers with OEM Surrounds and Subwoofer. The speakers were hooked up to a Yamaha AVR and Oppo BluRay Player. A couple of live concerts on bluray were played with intermittent movie clips. A pair of small and very interesting looking speakers(Jern14) were also showcased for the first time in India. What was interesting to know was that the sealed cabinets were made of cast iron and were in a industrial looking grey finish. By themselves they had a very clean, dynamic and coherent sound, but keeping their form factor in mind they definitely needed the support of a subwoofer which was connected in tandem to augment the low frequencies. Overall, we did not enjoy the home theatre showcased as much as we did the JERN14’s as we found the home theatre experience a bit too smooth and unappealing as far as surround sound being showcased. We give the benefit of doubt to the Nexus Audio personnel as they were probably aiming to make the live music concerts sound more musical, to which they may have succeeded to a large extent. Maybe we are more critical on Nexus Audio as each year they raise the bar but this year probably were found being complacent.

Sonodyne had a suite as well, 1 room had a couple of static displays and some new speakers with their processor. The other room had a home theatre set-up.

Leviathan Systems Pvt. Ltd. had a Burmester Set and Audiovector Speakers on static display. The gent running the room was playing music from his laptop, which mostly consisted of MP3 files!

Finally the last 2 rooms to cover, those of MZ Audio Distributions, one having a home theatre set up whilst the other being a stereo set up,  which we helped to set up. The home theatre setup consisted of Morel Octave Signature Speakers with 2 Morel Subwoofers with Marantz AV7702 Processor, MM8077 Power Amplifier and UD7007 BluRay Player. On static display were sets of Mission LX Series and Boston Acoustics A360 Speakers. There also was a Marantz TT5005 Turntable that was played on request.

The Stereo room consisted of the following:

Marantz TT15S1 Reference Turntable, SA14S1SE SACD Player, PM14S1SE Integrated Amplifier, NA11S1SE Network Player and Taga Harmony Diamond F200 Speakers. Entire cabling was by Nordost, consisting of Heimdall2 Speaker Cables and Interconnects, Red Dawn Power Cords, along with QX Power Purifier and Q Base AC Distribution Box. All the electronics were fresh out of the box, having cleared from customs the day before the show started and the speakers were also not played for more than an hour. Inspite of the lack of break in of the collective setup, the visitors appreciated the setup. The last day of the show actually showed a glimpse of what the setup was capable of but sadly for us it was a little too late. For the reasons as stated above, we felt the setup could have sounded much better than it actually did.

 

WHAT HI-FI? SHOW 2017 MUMBAI – SHOW COVERAGE(PART 3)

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Sight & Sound had Aero and Audiostics products on display, mostly static.

Baaroq Designs had a bazaar like display of as many products that they could fit into their room, mainly consisting of products from Mistral, OMZ and Eltek Acoustic. We were pretty much amused seeing the Mistral Speakers which were nothing but clones of B&W Speaker models of yesteryears, in the looks department. More than the demo we were just looking at the amount of similarities in the looks department as stated above and had a brief chat with the persons manning the room. Baaroq Designs have recently been made the distributors for Mistral in India. We wish them the very best in their endeavors.

Shemaroo Corporation had a few Panasonic projectors on static display and 1 model on demo. A couple of Panasonic TV’s also were on demo. They also had a couple of speakercraft inwall, inceiling speakers on static display.

AudioVision India had almost their entire brands on static display. The key word being STATIC. Most of the visitors including us were disappointed to see this sort of arrangement as most often than not the aspirational brand for music enthusiasts has been B&W. A consolation of sorts was that one could atleast hear one B&W product – that being the Zeppelin wireless speaker. Yes, we are being a little bit sarcastic but we can’t hide our disappointment! All we could do is click pics, which we did to make up for the lack of listening pleasure.

The only B&W that was ‘alive’ (pun heavily intended)

The Audio People & Stereo Trend Pvt. Ltd. had a suite having 2 rooms, one had a dedicated Home Theatre and the other a Stereo Set-up respectively. We started with a demo at the home theatre room which consisted of pro audio speakers with dedicated DSP’s for each. Since these were the last 2 rooms we had to cover on the 14th floor and the fact that there was no other visitor present, we decided to plonk ourselves on the inviting sofa and enjoy what was on offer. The clip played also was a familiar one to us (from the movie – Man from U.N.C.L.E), hence we were rather well placed to judge the potential of the set-up. Admittedly, we felt the set up was the best one we heard at the Show as far as a Home Theatre Set-up is concerned, kudos to the people who calibrated the set-up.

The Stereo Room consisted of Monitor Audio PL300II Speakers with Bryston 7BSST Mono Block Power Amplifiers, BP26 Pre Amplifer, BDA-1 DAC with BCD-3 CD Player. We heard a few familiar tracks and appreciated the sound but found it slightly uninvolving and one dimensional. The speakers finish was impeccable and to us they were gorgeous.