Focal range of loudspeakers were on static display right from the entry level sub/sats to the flagship Utopia series. The only products on demo were the Muso & Muso QB from the Naim stables in the large stateroom. Whilst it was good to see the new focal distributor showing the intent to take things forward, we truly wished that they had taken more trouble to atleast set-up a couple of demos of the top flight models from the Focal & Naim product range . We were quite disappointed at not having an experience of them and also conveyed our displeasure to the concerned personnel at Sahil International. All we can do is hope that their next showing will have addressed this aspect.
The title sponsors of the what hi-fi show pulled out all the stops and showcased their entire portfolio of brands and products, with almost all the popular model ranges covered from each of the brands represented by them. They had two large staterooms with each being dedicated to stereo and home theatre demonstrations. For home theatre, they had Ascendo Immersive Audio paired with McIntosh Amplifiers and Processor/Source, whilst for stereo, they had Dynaudio/Accuphase, Sonus Faber/Accuphase pairings with their show stopper set up having a pairing of McIntosh monoblock power amplifiers, an integrated amp used as a pre amplifier and a dedicated phono pre amplifier connected to a McIntosh Turntable, all hooked up to the behemoth Monitor Audio PL500II speakers. The entire cabling for the show stopper system was Nordost. Yes, this was quite a feat being pulled off but sadly, in our humble opinion not managed or set up in the manner befitting the stature and cost of the entire setup. Out of the entire smorgasbord of exquisite equipment on demo, we particularly enjoyed the Sonus Faber Serafino Tradition which not only looked gorgeous in a wenge finish but also sounded dreamy and melodious, paired with the Accuphase E470 integrated amplifier. We selected this pairing as the ‘Beautiful in Sound & Looks’ set-up of the show. We also look forward to hearing this set-up in depth in the future. To say that PTC went on to make a huge statement goes without saying. We just hope that our constructive criticism/feedback given to the PTC management was taken in the right spirit as we mean well and hope to see such top flight equipment being showcased in the manner it truly deserves.
They had taken another huge stateroom, which was filled with demos of various projectors being run simultaneously at different positions and angles. What BenQ managed to do was quite simple and it was managed beautifully – they completely confused the life out of a visitor entering the room as it was having multiple images being bombarded onto the viewer from all sides and angles thereby making it very difficult to understand or comprehend what was really happening. We quickly were in and out as what we saw was not our cup of tea and to be honest disorienting! A classic example of what happens when one becomes overzealous and tries to cover every square inch of a huge room to maximise the value proposition.
Launched in India during the show, Lyravox was the showcase product by Nucleus Audio. The 2 models on demo were Stereomaster SM3-150 and Stereomaster SM2-200. Both were magnificently mounted on a drywall erected specifically for the show and elegantly wrapped in a wallpaper in silver hue. We heard both the models and quite liked the presentation of what is essentially a uber high end sound bar with lots of connectivity. Lyravox intends to be super exclusive and truly bespoke in offering custom finishes in their models to the very well heeled and discerning elite individuals. A good concept should be well represented by Nucleus Audio.
Burmester India Pvt. Ltd.
The gear consisted of B100 Loudspeakers, 111 Music Center, 909 Mk5 Power Amplifier, 948 Power Conditioner Once again we had the same approach by the person handling Burmester in India. Play it loud and be impervious to the inconvenience caused to the other exhibitors or their sensibilities. Nothing new and nothing has changed either in equipment or in the mindset.
The team showcased how a dedicated room can be well managed by the automation software called academi created by casadigi. A product that is expensive but also worth for a project where no compromise is expected at a cost no object level.
The two rooms had one with static display of Revel range of speakers and subwoofers along with electronics of Arcam and Synthesis. The other room had a JBL Synthesis home theatre set up that had been calibrated by the synthesis team of Harman.
TCST Building Solutions
Showcased state of the art door locking technology, switches, room controllers with OLED displays and motion detectors.
A couple of OLED panels were showcased with the spotlight being on the Signature OLED TV’s
This is a new company that have just launched their new range of Solo E500X bluetooth speaker, which also has HDMI & AUX connectivity. We heard it briefly but could not make much out of it due to too many visitors in the room. We look forward to reviewing it in the near future.
Nexus Audio (Room 1)
This was the one of the two rooms of Nexus Audio, having a pair of Graham Audio Chartwell LS3/5 with a Marantz Melody all in one providing the source and amplification. Unbelievable sound from such tiny monitors that truly defy logic. Our pick of the show for ‘Small is Potent” sound of the show.
Nexus Audio (Room 2)
This is the room that inspite of consciously not wanting to visit more than once, we simply could not do so. The reason was that the set up consisted of Kaiser Audio’s to be launched entry of speakers called the Furioso Mini, in absolute entry level price point of their range (sadly still highly unobtanium for the majority of us) paired with Octave V40SE integrated valve amplifier with Black Box and AVM CS8.2 used as a CD player. We heard this setup evolving from Friday onwards with Sunday being where it became quite apparent that we would have no choice but to give it the ‘Cost no Object’ Sound of The Show, grudgingly so but that’s how the cookie crumbles. Truly magnificent and jaw dropping resolution, attack, decay and timing. We were hoping that we could have some true competition to a Nexus Audio set-up but yet again the man behind Nexus Audio has come, seen and conquered the show.
Showcased yet again with the Kii Audio active speakers with Roon Nucleus, SOtM, Transparent Audio, Still Points and Emotion and Kraft as accompaniments. Team absolute sound went in for the whole hog and won our ‘Stellar Room Presentation’ and ‘Audiophile Sound 100%’ of the show. We just wish that team Absolute Sound should have had a similar approach as the next room showcasing Nordost products similar in principle, to demonstrate how much of a difference still points make in a given setup. Hopefully, next time we could experience the same.
The room where we were in charge of in terms of demos and playing vinyl jockeys for most of the show. We enjoyed our duties in the company of the Nordost sales and technical representative. He truly showcased how much of a difference a good distribution box, power cords, grounding device and resonance control devices can make in a given set up. Sadly, they are frightfully expensive and unobtanium for the majority of us. We are glad that atleast we could hear the difference all the Nordost product range makes as hearing is truly believing. The setup consisted of a Project Xtension 9 with a Ortofon 2M Red Moving Magnet Cartridge(The weak link), Project Phono Box S Phono Pre Amp, Burmester 102 CD player, Balanced Audio Technology VK23SE Pre Amplifier, VK225SE Power Amplifier, Nordost Valhalla2, Frey2, Tyr2 Power Cords, Frey2 Interconnects, QKore6 Ground with QKore Wires, QB8 Distribution Box, Sort Kones AS, AC, BC, TC & SortLifts. Without sounding biased, we found that most of the visitors enjoyed the sound of the set up with the Nordost demonstration being the proverbial cherry on the cake.
Rivera International (Room 1)
Audiovector SR3 Avantgarde Arrete loudspeakers were paired with a McIntosh MA8000 integrated amplifier and MCD550 CD Player. The overall sound of this setup was fantastic and well appreciated by most visitors at the show. We picked this pairing as the ‘Ideal Synergy Stereo’ setup of the show. They also had a German Physics Borderland MKIV on static display.
Rivera International (Room 2)
Audiovector QR series multichannel set up Full of impact and gusto, however we could not spend much time due to the crowds that kept coming to their room.
The room was filled with static displays of the new 7 series of B&W, 8032D3, CI Series, multimedia speakers, head phones along with Soundcast bluetooth speakers which ironically were the only ones available for demo. Most of us were disappointed by not being able to hear the new 7 series of speakers but we certainly were not surprised by what was in store at the room as over the years we have expected nothing more.
Apart from a fancy static display of Denon AVR’s, they had a few Polk Soundbars on demo along with KEF LS50 active monitors. Not much action happening when we popped in hence we clicked a few pics and moved on.
Gallo Acoustic was showcased by team Vinshek in a manner that conveyed the desired effect. Simple & elegant, the Strada 2 & Micro SE models were on demo & static display.
The flagship Q Acoustics floor standing speakers – Concept 500 were showcased with some old electronics that we frankly felt did a lot of injustice to the overall presentation. A couple of systemline multi room speaker systems were showcased in 2 hard cases, assorted QED cables hanging on a stand and a couple of standees completed the room. Overall not the best room planning which resulted in sub optimal execution.
Luxury Personified LLP
Contrasting to the earlier room was this one that went all out to make a splashy statement, not only in visuals but also loud and in your face sound, courtesy a pair of Devialet Phantom Golds, belting out hip hop, trance and EDM. Luxury personified LLP wanted to achieve a certain aura with the placement of a background advertisement wall of images with 3D images popping out of the canvas. A devialet amp was also showcased like a glistening jewel in its display case with illumination. We spent a few minutes blasting metal, hard and stoner rock to the amusement of other show visitors. The Phantom gold’s just go loud without a sweat and keep pulsating to the beat, courtesy their vibrating woofers which just look like they are going to pop out of their cabinets. Loud and more loud, that’s their claim to fame. If you want expensive party speakers, then look no further.
A room that was under a serious cloud of uncertainty right till 24 hours prior to the show kicking off, what with the M&K consignment reaching at the nth hour. Inspite of being under tremendous duress, we were glad that team HSB AV pulled it off! Being the new distributors for M&K sound, HSB AV showcased the new S150 Series of cinema speakers paired with dual X10 subwoofers that were hooked up to a Storm Audio Processor. The set up played music concerts as well as movie scenes with equal aplomb and we must say that the set up was certainly worth being awarded as the ‘Best HT Set Up of the Show’, cost no bar. An entry level set of M&K Speakers were also set up in the room outside along with a static display of inwall speaker models but we did not get an opportunity to spend time listening to this set up due to crowd gathering at the time of our visit.
The focus was on 3 new models that were on demo, namely the PX727-4K, PX747-4K & PX800HD projectors. Viewsonic has an aggressive plan for the above models and we shall soon be having more information on how they intend to get the target audience to experience these models. We also look forward to playing with these models and reviewing them in the near future.
The 2 rooms had the following on demo/static display. The first room just showcased an LCR set up consisting of Definitive Technologies BP9080X with built in Atmos Modules, CS9080 centre channel, SR9080 surrounds and Parasound A52 Power amplifier. This set up just played very loud music clips all day long which to be honest we did not appreciate as invariably the sound from this room interfered with not only the rooms around it but also the rooms on the 12th floor! Not good and something we are sure most of the exhibitors also did not appreciate. The second room was chock a block with static display of Legacy Speakers, Sub woofers, Definitive Technology Inwall/Ceiling Speakers & Sub woofers along with Parasound Amplifiers from their Zone Master & Halo Series. Thankfully, a pair of Legacy Audio Calibre Stand Mount Speakers and Definitive Technology Demand D11 Stand Mount Speakers were available for demonstration via Parasound Amplification. We have heard the Calibre’s earlier and know what they are capable of so took the opportunity to hear the Demand D11’s which to be honest are quite good and need to be heard more by stereo enthusiasts as they have what it takes to be as a good option for listening to music. We hope to hear more of them in the near future if and when we receive a pair as promised for a review.
Lakozy Impex & Services
Another bazaar like scenario with a ton of speakers and electronics from the PSB and NAD stables, with an illuminated display of a Bluesound wall of products. Supra cables & distribution boards were also showcased and on display. Besides a small chat with the Lakozy reps, we clicked pics and moved onto covering the next room as there was nothing new to hear nor talk about.
MZ Audio Distribution
This year the showcase was on Morel in wall home theatre speakers showcased with the new Marantz SR8012 receiver. We were given some demos of clips from you tube as well as blurays but to be very honest the set up sounded really bad and not worth talking much beyond. Highly disappointing is an understatement.
As soon as we walked in, we realised that this is going to be a good experience as immediately we felt involved in the ongoing demo that was underway. Inspite of standing and not being ideally positioned to enjoy the demo, what we felt was something special, which was confirmed by whomsoever we asked with regard to this very set up. Truly a commendable effort from team AV Nirvana as their entry was completely last minute and unplanned. We have no hesitation to state this set up as the ‘Best Home Theatre Experience’ in a defined budget. The equipment used were Phase Tech inwall speakers, with a Pioneer AVR.
That covers our report for the recently concluded What Hi-Fi? Show 2018 held in Mumbai. We hope that we have covered the entire show barring a few instances where we did not have the opportunity to visit/see & hear. Our coverage is very much so unbiased and relates to what we as AV enthusiasts first & foremost felt, saw and experienced. We now look forward to experiencing more during the next show that tentatively will be held in a few months from now, stay tuned!