Among the Audio/Video shows happening this year, the What Hi-fi Show was one that was much anticipated and as is customary, there wasn’t much information shared about what would be shown or who would be participating this year. We at HifiHunt are very well versed with this format maintained by the or-ganisers of the show wanting to keep as much under wraps as possible and so weren’t surprised to experience such yet again.
This year too, the show venue was ‘The St. Regis’, located at lower parel, Mumbai and we are only too familiar with the hotel layout and its idiosyncrasies. The pandemic hasn’t been too kind to the hospitality industry and it showed with the venue quite tellingly. Most of the rooms need a renovation as do the overall aesthetics of the hotel. Exhibitors were unhappy with the lack of proper wi-fi networks provided by the hotel, thereby forcing them to make their own arrangements to get the internet working to showcase their wi-fi enabled products, namely with streaming features to play music from lossless services as is part and parcel of the stereo playback platform these days. Poor air conditioning in the rooms only made matters worse and tempers rose!
With a pretty poor participation and support from the AV Industry being apparent, another very big Commercial A/V Show taking place on same dates (Pam Expo), major cost cutting was the only way for the organisers to get this show going and it showed in the way it was managed with the hotel, which sadly made matters worse and did not bode well for the future.
We attended on the first and second days of the show and it became quite obvious that the show wasn’t going to be a popular one with the music and movie enthusiasts visiting the show, with quite a few being disappointed with what they saw and heard. This was amplified by the lack of interest shown by the majority of the exhibitors to attend to what they wanted as their main focus was to network with the industry members be it dealers, system integrators and such. Therefore, this show really doesn’t make itself attractive to end users to experience what they want in the truest sense.
Making matters worse is that most of the equipment is on static display which hardly makes any sense for one to make the effort to visit the show to see such as one isn’t interested in such displays. What the need of the hour is for the visitors to see, hear and feel post which they can make an informed decision to connect with the respective brands dealers to proceed further with their interest in the said products post which make a purchase through them. Static displays therefore never help anyone and ideally should be done away with honestly.
Showstoppers are supposed to be experienced, not to be just seen as static displays! When does one get an opportunity to see & hear these in their lifetime? Rarely if ever at all and hence why not give that experience to the visitors so that they feel the effort made to attend such shows is well worth their time & monies?
What does one do with a relic from the past kept as a showstopper yet again as a static display? How does it add value? Is this a vintage AV Show? So many questions, with no answers!
A systematic downslide of where this show is headed is what really is the outcome as far as we are concerned. Truly disappointing to say the very least as for us such shows are doing more harm than good for the growth of the AV Industry and that’s why it really hurts us more!
With that being said, we nonetheless have to cover the show and have tried to do so to the very best of our abilities and being as neutral as we can.
8th Floor Coverage:
Learning from PTC, BenQ had also taken a large hall to showcase as many projectors as they could, leaving no wall without projection! New models of note were the V7050i UST 4K Laser TV Projector as well as the LU960UST that is a 5200 ANSI lumens WUXGA installation projector. Quite a variety of models to confuse any prospective buyer, but then that is the name of the game as far as projector brands are concerned! We quite liked what the LU960UST does and definitely need to see its performance capabilities at a later date.
Preeti Trading Corporation(PTC):
As is customary of PTC, who offlate have been on a brand acquisition spree, were the major sponsors of the show and yet again showcased all their brands in a large hall that was completely loaded with various brands products leaving no room to spare, thereby fully recovering the monies they paid to the organisers. Lets break up their contribution to the show, Brand wise:
The entire gamut of entry to mid level models from Monitor Audio were on static display including some CI multichannel amplifiers, streaming stereo amplifiers and a turntable from Roksan Audio, which also is part of the Monitor Audio umbrella these days.
The Stage, SCL and HDI Series of JBL were on static display, along with a separate HDI series LCR set up on demo with a Denon AVR. Revel’s Concerta Series range of speakers, subwoofer, were also on static display.
The new Emit Series of speakers, subwoofer and a few CI speakers were also on static display.
Bowers & Wilkins:
Having recently acquired joint distribution of the brand, alongside the erstwhile distribution company(really don’t know why brands do such things as it does more harm than good when two distribution companies are in the picture) showcased the 600 Series of speakers as static displays alongside a stereo demo with Denon Source and Amplification. Static displays of their CI series of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, subwoofers and M1 Satellite speakers were also part of the floor space occupation.
Ascendo: A multichannel demo of their speakers and subwoofers was on offer.
With the current shortage of AVR’s, Static displays of the higher model range, including the 110th anniversary models that include an AVR, a stereo amplifier and a SACD player were all on static display, alongside a few on demo with whatever speaker brands that were given demo duties.
Classe: Static display of their Delta Series.
Having to showcase Onkyo and Pioneer that they have very recently acquired distribution duties of thanks to the parent company of Klipsch/Jamo owning these erstwhile illustrious brands, Cinebels went all out to show as much as they could by means of doing a ‘PTC’, using entire floor space of 2 large halls to cram them with everything from Klipsch, Jamo, Onkyo and Pioneer models that they could lay their hands on.
Static displays of Speakers, AVR’s and demo set ups of soundbars, home theater speakers, multimedia speakers and stereo were all fighting for one’s attention in both the halls. Jamo’s famous legacy speaker the R909 (circa 2008) was on Static Display outside the entrance of the 2 halls taken by Cinebels and adjoining these were a wall display dedicated to sharing the history of the brand by means of a timeline dedicated to models that denoted milestones towards 50 years of its inception. A quick view of everything and we were off to the last hall on the 8th floor.
Aero digital showcased pretty much everything they offer in the form of interactive displays, mirror TV’s, video walls, kiosk displays, digital standees, Smart TV’s and Lift Panels. They have a lot of customised displays to offer at varying sizes, price points and are always keen to be part of any project be it commercial or personal, to offer cost effective solutions.
Intelligible Tech Solutions / Milan Sales Corporation:
Their suite showcased Savant Systems, Gest, Intesis and Milan Screens. Their star attraction was the Savant Pro Remote that is voice controlled, can be customised to the individuals requirements be in color and or applications wise. Milan screens were pretty much all over the show used by the projector companies in their rooms.
Aytexcel Pvt. Ltd:
XGIMI range of projectors along with a soon to be available for sale ‘Formovie’ brand of wifi router sized projectors were on demo. We were impressed by the small form factor of some of the formovie brand of projectors that were on demo. A nice option for those wanting to take their movie viewing experience with them when traveling, This segment surely is getting heated as most of the big brand projector companies are also introducing models to compete with such yet not very well known Chinese brands that are plentiful.
Epson India Pvt. Ltd:
Epson showcased their newly launched LS12000 4K Procinema Laser Projector that is their current flagship model. The LS12000 is laser driven and is capable of 2700 ANSI Lumens brightness. We could not really get a decent look at its PQ, but hope to do so in the near future.
Pro Audio Video:
New entrants to the home AV segment, Pro Audio Video are dealing with pretty much all the popular mass market AV brands and had filled their room with whatever they could get from their partnered distribution companies sent them for static display. KEI, one of the distribution companies supporting them kindly lent a couple of ELAC and Fyne Audio Speakers to demo their Tonewinner brand of AVR in their room. Something better than nothing is all that we can say!
Luxury Personified:They had 3 rooms dedicated to Devialet, Sonos and Bang & Olufsen(B&O)
Aside from the Phantom range of speakers, they had the recently launched Dione Soundbar that was on demo. TheDione is highly touted as one of the best soundbars out there and it better be as its tentative retail price is 2.6L but it sounded quite average when we heard. It could be due to the way it was set up so we shall reserve our final judgement until the time we hear it properly in the future. The team handling the room were suffering from internet woes and were not able to get it going as desired.
Band & Olufsen:
The following B&O products were on demo: Beosound Stage Dolby Atmos Sound Bar, Beoplay A9 – 4th Generation Multiroom Speaker, Beosound Level – Portable Wifi Speaker, Beoremote Halo, Beolab 28 – Hi-Res Wireless Stereo Speakers, Beolab 19 Wireless subwoofer and the Beovision Harmony OLED TV. We have seen these multiple times at the Mumbai experience store and hence do not have much to add on these.
The entire range of Sonos Speakers, be it soundbars, wireless speakers, Subwoofer, In-wall, In-ceiling & outdoor speakers were on static display. On demo were the soundbars and the wireless speakers.
Little Nap Recliners:
Their recliner chairs across price points and customizable options were available for one to sit and relax. Pretty much the same as is seen every show they take part in.
MZ Audio Distributions India
Surprisingly, only one demo room was taken and they had showcased Loewe Soundbar, Surround and Wireless speakers, which were on demo. The soundbar was quite good and definitely should be heard by those looking for a good soundbar. MZ also had a stereo set up on demo that consisted of a pair of Heco Celan Revolution 9 Speakers with Marantz PM8006 & ND8006 amplifier + CD with streamer driving the speakers. The set up sounded quite good and honestly speaking a surprise from MZ who usually focus more on home theater demos when they take part in these types of shows. A couple of Episode In-wall and In-ceiling speakers were kept on static display.
A number of projector models were on demo and the focus of the room was on the newly launched X1000-4K+ & X2000B-4K UST Projectors.We definitely liked what we saw, PQ wise, of the X2000B-4K and would love to see more of its capabilities in the future and recommend this to those looking for a compact UST 4K lamp free projector. Pricing of this model is yet to be finalized.
We could not cover this room as it had entry by appointment only. It becomes very difficult to cover such rooms as time is always of the essence and one simply cannot be held to ransom by having such high handedness imposed by such exhibitors. We would like to share what we received as an honest opinion of one of the visitors of the show who had the following to say about their experience with Sony.
“Sony had a secretive room kept locked up, open only at select times for a select audience for some hi-tech demo organised by MI5, x-KGB, Mossad, CIA, combined. The crowd outside the room flocked more to eye the mini-skirted legs of the non-English speaking bimbo placed outside for so-called shock value!!!”
We think that these views aired were apt and to the point!
NOTE: Pictures taken by one of our friends and kindly shared for our article purpose only.
Two models were on demo, namely the very recently launched Cinema X – D2 4K UHD HDR Cinema Laser Projector, that is basically the P2 with a few features minused to reduce the price and make it more appealing to the end user from the cost effective point of view. A price of 3.45L was advised to us by the company reps. Another model on demo was the UHZ50 Smart 4K UHD Laser Projector. The visuals created by this projector were truly stunning and one that can safely be shortlisted for those looking for a long throw projector.
Vinshek Private Ltd:
Dynavoice speakers and subwoofers were on demo as well as static display in a home theater configuration. We could not hear them much due to paucity of time but we liked what they did and certainly found them upto the mark with regard to delivering the punch that most want from such setups in a home theater configuration. We wish team Vinshek all the very best for their new brand acquisition.
As is the usual practice, a bunch of cables, connectors and accessories were on display from brands that include Nedis, Profigold, Bandridge, Sinox and Techly. They also showcased some cheap Chinese all in one type turntables under their Nedis branding.
McIntosh C22 Preamplifier with MC275 Power amplifier and MB50 Streamer were paired with Sonus Faber Electa Amator III Stand Mount Speakers and played wonderfully to their respective strengths.Static displays included a couple of Arcam AVR/Stereo Amplifier, Edwards Audio Turntable, McIntosh Speaker and Sonus Faber CI range of Speakers.
Acoustic Portrait/MS Corrson:
Shiva and Jeya of Acoustic Portrait/MS Corrson showcased the same set up of Amplifier/DAC and speakers that they did during the last show. A couple of changes to the preamp section were the notable new additions. We have heard this combination set up costing in the range of 12L and hence did not spend too much time here. We were actually disappointed that the new stand mount speakers and swara integrated amplifier were on static display only as Shiva advised that he did not find the room conducive to playing them.
Rotels Michi Pre and Monoblock Power Amps were paired with Sonus Faber Olympica Nova III and sounded quite nice. Since they had intermittent wifi network issues, they switched from streaming Hi-Res music files and connected a Rotel CD11 CD Player to continue their demos. Sonus Faber Omnia Soundbar was also on demo but the wifi network issues put paid to us getting to listen to it, hopefully we will in the near future. Rotel’s A11 Amplifier with CD11 CD Player was also on demo, connected with Sonus Faber Lumina I Stand mount speakers.
Static displays included Sonus Faber Sonetto V floorstanding speakers and Rotel A12 MKII Integrated amplifier.
That then completed the coverage of the What HiFi Show 2022 Mumbai. We can only hope that the next one doesn’t slide below the quality of this one.