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Audio & Video Calibration – Why it is Required?

Most people are under the impression that whatever configuration of Audio & Video components that they have purchased, they will be delivering the experience right out of the box once they are installed. That there is no need for any sort of tinkering with the said equipment as it should be all done with by the manufacturers themselves. The truth is that each component that is selected by the end user is never calibrated to a set parameter due to the designer’s of the individual components not knowing the details of the end users specific rooms where their components are going to be installed, thereby it is next to impossible for an end user to expect that they will be getting the desired AV pleasure that they have dreamed of without getting the same calibrated by experienced & knowledgeable calibration experts. Unfortunately, the majority of these end users do not believe in the calibration process thereby missing out on the accuracy & clarity of the AV components for which they have spent a tidy sum of money! Most of these end users suffer from ear fatigue & in extreme cases do no enjoy the experience for which they have invested in due to absence of the desired calibration of the entire installation.

Content creators of movies, music, sports broadcast etc., have put in a lot of efforts to provide the entire experience to the end user, which unfortunately most of the end users do not realize, nor experience as desired.

The end users are under the impression that their respective dealers/system integrators, have done the necessary optimization of the set up that they have installed, but it is very rare that the same takes place as they a) haven’t been paid by the customer to do the needful or b) do not have the relevant experience & knowledge base to do the same.

Each component of a set up has certain criteria that needs to be factored in for calibration as the results vary for any installation right from when it is new, to having had certain amounts of ‘burn-in’ achieved by the number of hours the entire set up has been in operation. Hence the calibration is extremely critical & invaluable in achieving the desired levels of performance from the set up.

We at hifihunt.com have now established a team of professionals to do the needful, to not only ensure that the results of an individuals set up is optimised either from the beginning or subsequently get involved post installation of a setup done by others. Listed below are the Services Rendered for Residential & Commercial Installations:

Design

AV Integration

Acoustics Design

AV Product Selection

AV Consulting

Projector Screens

Wiring & Accessories

Distributed Audio

Hi End Audio

Hometheatre Solutions

Public Address Systems

AV Calibration

To get in touch for any of the above requirements, one can drop an email to “dave@hifihunt.com” post which we shall proceed with the requirements.

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AV Blog

PLAYING RUSSIAN ROULETTE ON PURPOSE !

I had recently written an article about the importance of a relationship between a Hi-Fi enthusiast and a good Hi-Fi Dealer. The benefits to both concerned lie in ensuring that both nurture their relationship. But what happens if the Hi-Fi Enthusiast decides to go astray and get in touch with a direct to customer brand entity that dangles the carrot to the Hi-Fi Enthusiast, by means of providing a home audition in exchange for paying about 50% of the cost of the product availed for demo(refundable if not liked/purchased and returned by the listener, minus shipping costs)?

A good question to ask as currently, the established brands and their representatives (distributors & dealers) in our AV Industry, do not entertain such possibilities except for a very small 0.5% of brands representatives that deal in super hi end brands, who do offer this facility, but then they know that the said client is a genuine and bonafide prospective buyer. But what about those who aspire to the lower end of the av segment? So far, this segment is not entertaining this idea, for most part they being justified as our market hasn’t genuinely matured or evolved to the level of those mature av markets abroad + the fact that we the people are known to not be respectful to such offers and more of than not abuse such a facility to their advantage. Here lies the conundrum and also the opportunity for direct to customer selling brands. We have recently seen the propagation of such direct to customer brands trying to attract prospective buyers with their home demo offerings at the cost of the prospective buyer paying 50% of the value of the product offered for demo. I recently experienced such an arrangement thanks to a friend of mine, requesting for certain equipment that he wanted to try out in his Hi-Fi set up. What happened in his case was also quite intriguing and shocking but I shall leave that story for another article!

To cut a long story short, the fact that such a facility now exists is quite appealing to the Hi-Fi enthusiasts at the moment and am sure that there will be cases of both +VE & -VE experiences, but we shall be seeing some movement in this direction for sure. How will the established distribution/dealer network react to this scenario will also be interesting to observe. Change is constant and in most cases for the better BUT expecting change just for the sake of it, is not at all a good thing. Time will tell for sure!

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AV Blog

THE IMPORTANCE OF A HI-FI DEALER & THE ART OF A HAND SHAKE

Many a times we have come across instances where we see stereo enthusiasts going round in circles, pondering on what to do with regard to their stereo set-up, why they are not happy or ideally listening to the music, rather than doing the converse (listening to the individual components in the chain)

A good case in point and example to quote in this context is the case of Dr.Al C Ohol(yes he exists), a renowned child specialist in his field who is known to diagnose ailments of his patients but sadly does not have the luxury of having similar judgement whilst choosing his hi-fi gear. Why? Simply because he does not have the luxury of having a genuine Hi Fi dealer in his list of acquaintances.

Luck by chance, he initiated contact with a renowned Hi-Fi dealer, Mr. Wind(He too really exists), who has reached his position by sheer hard work, tenacity and intent on showcasing Hi-Fi gear of the highest order to his clientele.

The two of them meet, interact and the good Dr. hears a configuration based on his specific requirements. Post demonstration, Dr. Al is convinced that he is in the right hands of an equivalent specialist (Mr. Wind) and they take things forward with regard to the Hi-Fi gear in context and conclude the deal on mutually agreed terms.

Now, this is what we would like to see replicated amongst other Hi-Fi dealers as well – pan India, who do not sell solutions purely on the merit of lower price or on the higher commission they are offered by a relevant distribution company. The focus should be to ensure that a prospective buyer is  – A) given the experience and B) sold the correct configuration based on all the factors that are to be kept in mind based on affordability, requirement and long-term relationship being established for future interaction be it via upgrades, recommendation to friends & family or just plain friendship based on the foundation of trust and mutual respect.

We look forward to seeing Dr.Al & Mr. Air friendships blossom and replicate on a larger level for the growth of the Hi-Fi Hobby in India.

Amen!

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AV Blog

NIGHT WATCHMAN RETIRED HURT – NEW INNINGS BY REPLACEMENT WATCHMAN!

Back at my friend Makesh’s place, who since my last article was seen suitably content with what the Akai(Night Watchman) was doing, but as is usually with life, there was a proverbial spanner thrown in the works. The Akai developed speed issues and was sent to a gent who was supposed to be an old hand with rectifying vintage turntables among other equipment. Days become weeks, to months, but no sign of anything productive happening which makes Makesh quite frustrated and forces him to get the Akai back from the old hand. In the meantime, the old hand had done more damage than good and now the Akai is deemed to its morbid fate. Makesh is back to square ONE again! With no sight of the Lenco L75 coming to life in the near future, he decides to call for a replacement to the erstwhile night watchman, yet again in the form of another old warhorse, I mean watchman, I mean turntable. This time, he lands himself with a Trio 4100, yet again with a darkened dust cover(maybe he has a fetish for them?)Anyway, the said turntable arrives from God’s own country and that too in a state of disrepair! I was summoned to ‘help’ set up the turntable but only when I reached, did I realise the obvious had taken place. Since the intent to diagnose the issue was omnipresent, we started investigating with what might have caused the issues to be created in the first place. We start with the disassembly and identify what was one  probable issue almost immediately. The said Trio model was an automatic, which had been converted to a manual by the ‘expert’ back in God’s own country. The said automatic portion of the tonearm was fouling with the tonearm movement thereby rendering it incapacitated.  On taking pics of the same and forwarding them to the seller, he advises Makesh to open the underside cover of the turntable and set aside the fouling piece. We are now ready for ‘Surgery’ to do the needful and ensure that the offending piece is put into its moribund resting position, post which check the movement of the tonearm, which thankfully now is moving freely thanks to removal of the impeding piece. We put the undercover back and cross fingers prior to connecting the turntable to the rest of the setup. It turns ON, Hurray!!! But does it turn OFF??? Nope! Another call is made to relay this bit of information to the seller who says, it has a ’30 second’ delay system post which the turntable will switch off. 30 seconds turn to 3 minutes, but no sign of it turning off. Yet another call to the seller, who now says that we might have disturbed some wire when we opened the table for ‘surgery’. Fair point, but now that the turntable is operational, I insist we atleast spin some records to see if there are any other issues with respect to playback. Makesh brings out a ‘sacrificial lamb’ record, we play it and all seems fine for it to instill confidence into Makesh to play some better records from his collection. So, we are back in the running with the replacement night watchman, who has already had a very shaky start into his innings. Time will tell how long he stays at the wicket and what further adventures we shall participate in with him. Makesh is in that bittersweet position again and I know that the story ain’t ending here so shall continue writing about the saga, at a later date. Stay Tuned!

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AV Blog

RUSSIAN ROULETTE WITH ANALOG – WIN OR LOSE?

  • WRITTEN BY DENOM

So we are back at my friend Makesh’s place, this time with a new scenario. Makesh has ditched his Technics SL1210 and is looking to replace it with something new, err old. When good sense says that he should buy a new turntable, he defies logic and sticks to being stubborn with his intent to buy an old and abused piece or pieces in his case but more on that later.

He takes the arduous route of scanning for some junk err I mean used equipment and finds a pair of Lenco L75’s which he decides to buy sight unseen, simply because they are offered for cheap which makes him happy, so he pulls the plug on both, one is in its original stock state whilst the other is a pile of parts which he intends to use as a donor for fixing issues if found with the one intact.

Since these L75’s are going to take time in reaching India, he decides to look for a stop gap turntable that he can use to spin his ever growing collection of records. He finds one that strangely appeals to him due to its darkened dust cover(which is broken and hence colored to hide this aspect – tricks of the used equipment trade you see) and also due to the fact that the tone arm shape appeals to him. Great! Off he goes and pulls the trigger to acquire this Akai turntable.

In the meanwhile he hunts for a cartridge which ironically he wants to buy new, but here too the twist of fate ensures that the order placed on Amazon is cancelled and he lands himself with a used and what was declared as Nagaoka MP50, but no it’s an MP30, Splendid! Now comes the cameo role that I’ve to play as he needs an audio hack to fix the cart and get the Akai going so am off to his place to do the needful. All connected and we spin Al Green’s Greatest Hits, But 1103/04, we have a problem! Al ain’t sounding too happy and nasally, which leads us to the good ol’ Lehmann Audio phono pre which is still in MC setting as per his Denon cart back with the SL1210 days, which we have conveniently forgotten to change as per the Nagaoka’s MM requirements. Out comes the Lehmann Audio manual which says, hey we are German and we like to do things that are difficult and confusing, so Makesh advises me to change the switch positions as per the manual. Still no joy! Being impatient as usual, I play with the switches much to the chagrin of Makesh who is now getting dismayed at his choice of purchases and of involving me in this scenario, but wait. All is not lost, the fingering of the switches on the Lehmann Audio has suddenly done something good, Al Green sounds as he should, his nasally voice is now in full force and so is ARR with Vande Mataram, followed by Explosions in the sky, Shaan OST, Razia Sultan OST, DSOTM, till Makesh gets a little side tracked and switches sources to his Philips CDP, but that does not last long as now his rig with the source set to analog sounds alive and kicking. I tell that to him but he is still not sure of it sounding good and as is in his nature, he wants to change interconnects, gain settings on the Lehmann Audio and so on, his eternal search for something else continues….

I leave in a happy frame of mind whilst Makesh is back to his doubts and with a what next question mark in his mind. The battle rages on….

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AV Blog

RONTEK SYSTEMS – 20 YEARS OF MAKE IN INDIA

  • WRITTEN BY PULASTYA

During the recently held Palm Expo 2017, we met with Jacob Abraham, who is the founder of Rontek Systems, Bangalore. We have known Jacob for almost 2 years now and each time we meet him, he comes across as an unassuming gentleman who is passionate and focused about achieving certain goals in life.

Jacob took part in the palm expo for the first time and during our interaction with him and on learning about his amplifiers, power conditioners, sequencers and management control systems we decided to write an article on him and his company.

Jacob was always into the music scene and in his teens made his own guitar amp which lead to him making amplifiers and speakers as a hobby. His friends pestered him to make the same for them and that’s how Jacob realised that he had an opportunity to make a career in the electronics manufacturing industry, thereby leading him to start Rontek Systems in the year 1996. Since day one, Rontek Systems had an inhouse R&D team and manufacturing facility with the focus being on need based solutions power electronics. Initially focusing on supplying to the telecom and electronic weighing scale manufacturing industries, Rontek Systems shifted its attention to the audio industry, as that was where Jacob’s passion really was. The product range of amplifiers and speakers initially focussed on the home audio front but subsequently also catered to the retail and hospitality segments, with products specifically designed with meeting their requirements. In the following years, the role of being consultants and system integrators was added to their repertoire with the focus being on dedicated home theaters, during which they also represented certain foreign AV brands. Jacob however, was passionate about designing and building products in India under his own brand which led to Rontek Systems coming full circle and going back to its roots. Inspite of growing demand, Rontek Systems still manufacturers inhouse in India with all inputs from an evolved R&D team consisting of musicians and sound engineers.

What is also very noteworthy about Rontek Systems is the fact that the majority of the workforce consists of women through a ‘Social Enterprise’ Model, that empowers women from weaker sections of the society coming from bangalore city and certain surrounding rural parts of India. We really appreciate and commend Rontek Systems for having the vision of not only training the workforce with skills that ensure that they can earn a decent living based on the same, but also to give back to the society in a desirable manner.

Rontek Systems currently are present in three verticals:

Audio Equipment for Commercial Installations

Dedicated Home Theatres

Professional Audio

Website:

Rontek Systems

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AV Blog

PALM EXPO 2017 – MUMBAI

  • WRITTEN BY DENOM

The 2017 edition of Palm Expo took place from 1st to 3rd of June 2017. As has been our customary practice for the past 6 years, we visited on the 2nd day of the expo and as usual we covered the same via pictures taken as seen below:

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AV Blog

DAVID VS GOLIATH

  • WRITTEN BY DENOM

Two boxers both from UK have been assigned a boxing match. One is from Salisbury, the other from Essex. The Salisbury boxer weighs 64kgs and is currently the flyweight champion. The Essex boxer weighs 130kgs and is a respected cruiser weight boxer. The fight referee is my friend Makesh and the venue is his home.

All expectations are that of the Essex boxer having it his way over the Salisbury boxer and that the match would not last long, or so it seemed in the preconceived notions of the spectators. What happens is actually quite the opposite. Not only does the Salisbury boxer hold his ground but ensures a technical knock out (TKO) in the 6th round of the match! The match is over.

The Salisbury boxer is none other than the Naim Nait 5i and the Essex boxer is the Rega Elicit-R.

The accompanying equipment’s in ‘the ring’ were as follows:

Source: Technics SL1210 with Denon DL103 MC Cart / Philips CD750 Speakers: Merlin TSM BME Cables: Interconnects: Belden VDH / Speaker Cable: NAC A5

So why did the outcome not go as perceived? On paper, the Rega Elicit-R has 2 chief advantages: 1) It outputs 105Watts @ 8 Ohms 2) It weighs 13 kgs

The above were the reasons that made Makesh consider the Rega Elicit-R as a worthy replacement over his current Naim Nait5i which ‘only’ does 50watts @ 8 ohms and weighs 6.4kgs.

What did we learn from this match? 1) Power alone means nothing and 2) Just going by weight of the equipment could also be misleading

Makesh felt that there could be a couple of reasons why the Rega Elicit-R did not fare well in context of the boxing match, one of them being that the Naim Nait5i was well burned in, whilst the exact burn in period of the Rega Elicit-R remains unknown. Second was the presence of the NAC A5 could also be one of the contributing factors that went against the Rega Elicit-R. My answer to both of his reasons say the contrary but then let’s leave it for another article!

Moral of the story – All that appears isn’t true, so make your own conclusions based on merit & performance alone, as most often than not, they are the only way to know for sure whether you are headed in the right direction or not. Am already looking forward to the next boxing match!

PS: Just cannot get the song ‘Get In The Ring’ by Guns ‘N Roses out of my head and wished that I had carried my Use your Illusion II CD along to play this tune during the boxing match.

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AV Blog

WHAT HI-FI? SHOW 2017 MUMBAI – SHOW COVERAGE

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.

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AV Blog

OFF WITH YER HEAD!!! – RIP SUBWOOFER

  • WRITTEN BY PULASTYA

 

 

No subwoofer(s) in a home theatre you say, you must be joking? That was me asking a person I have known well & call him ‘Guruji’

He says no, I reply, you must be mad!

Yes, that is exactly the conversation had between me & the guruji a fortnight back.

I had gone to experience a demo with some new components to an earlier set-up but was not told about the omission of the almighty subwoofer in the chain. The demo began, first with some concerts then of movies, all on blurays/dvd’s. This continued for a couple of hours, all going well, the enjoyment factor was at a very high level and all was hunky dory, till the question was asked about the subwoofer being the same as earlier. When guruji replies that there is no subwoofer, the mind immediately rejects the answer received, no it cannot be possible, am not believing what you say! The start to search for the subwoofer begins. Knowing where the earlier one was placed, nope that void is empty & gone! Some head scratching and then you start getting nervous as you know the place well, you know that there is no other place to place the sub in that room, yet you continue to search, albeit with no success. I slump into the recliner and continue doubting what just happened. Guruji is watching and having a hearty laugh, bordering on the evil kind. Just then the gent who owns the place, Mr. PS walks in, sees that look of discomfort on my face and says,  ‘ hi, you just learnt that there is no subwoofer in the room, correct?’ I look at him dazed and confused, he has a wry chuckle and continues, ‘yes, that is what happened to me as well – infact I still cannot believe that guruji pulled this off’ More laughter from guruji and Mr.PS continues to share his experience whilst am lost in my thoughts & in my mind I am starting to say in a looped chorus  ‘We are not worthy, we are not worthy’.

This then was my experience of a home theatre done, minus a subwoofer. Something that is considered sacrilege in the minds of the industry stalwarts. Hey, it’s possible. Yes, there are couple of factors to be kept in mind in order to achieve this. Is it going to be done cheaply, I don’t know – yes ofcourse I know, No it can’t be done cheaply!  As the saying goes, all good things in life are expensive holds true.

Now I am a believer – am here to state this to whomsoever is willing to listen, please do experience what I just experienced. Just connect with me for arranging the same.

Welcome to the new world, welcome to the new age !!!

PS: Pictorial references given to this article as I found it pertinent to connect the ground making movie ‘A Orange Clockwork‘ as the theme of the article.