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Benje

2018 Melbourne International Hi-Fi Show - Reports & Feedback

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It is good to read everybody's highlights of the show, so I can compare to my own. I missed the Kharma room but definitely enjoyed the SGRs. A pity it requires $80k to bring those speakers home.

 

One that hasn't got a lot of mentions so far is the Involve Audio room with their Akoustos Sound system. I found it difficult to divorce the sound quality from the quadrophonic trial they were running, but was anybody else surprised by these electrostats and their decent SQ plus the lack of need for a sweet spot? Maybe others have seen them before and so it was not new but, at the lower end of the audio price range they certainly got my attention. Not the most visually appealing, particularly on the industrial looking stands. 

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After much thought my best sound for the show is Osborn speakers.  I hate Mull of Kintyre.  When I walked in and heard it was playing I nearly walked out.  But I forced myself to sit down and listen because it sounded good.  One of the few times I listened to style over substance.  That sounded great. 

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19 minutes ago, GroovyGuru said:

After much thought my best sound for the show is Osborn speakers.  I hate Mull of Kintyre.  When I walked in and heard it was playing I nearly walked out.  But I forced myself to sit down and listen because it sounded good.  One of the few times I listened to style over substance.  That sounded great. 

 

Indeed.   I heard Dire Straights playing on the towers (Epitome) when I first popped in and it was a revelation. There seemed nothing between me and Knoffler's voice.

 

My only reservation in hearing any system at a show is that the exhibitor (quite rightly) chooses tracks that make their system sound good.  In the Osborne room I heard some audience selections which were markedly less impressive, but even that doesnt mean much unless one is already familiar with those recordings.

 

Some wise person within this very thread has said that it is silly to try critical listening at a show, so I think the best bet for anyone so inclined might be to drag one's electronics over to the house of Mr Osborne, who struck me as a most welcoming fellow.

 

 

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A big thanks to Marc and his team for organising  a great show, and also to all the exhibitors who were involved.

 

It obviously takes a lot of time, effort and money to set up and demonstrate gear, everyone wants to get their rooms and equipment sounding as good as possible.

 

I was only able to make to over to Melbourne for the day on Saturday, so unfortunately couldn't attend the dinner on sat night. At the show, I managed to catch up with  few SNAers I hadn't seen for a while.

 

For me, the 2 best sounding rooms were the SGR room with their flagship active system, and the Kharma/Soundsmith room. 

 

Stuart and his team from SGR got that room sounding very very good, but I would have liked to have heard it with the Brinkmann gear that they stock.

The Kharma room with the analogue front end was sublime. I think the magic was in the Soundsmith Straingauge cartridge, as it there was definitely something lacking when they switched to the  digital front end ( ? Chord Dave?)

 

I think my family would notice if the big SGRs turned up at home, but I could probably slip the Straingauge into my system discretely!

 

The other place I spent a fair bit of time was the Telos B&W/Dohman demo near the foyer. While the space wasn't ideal, the music selection was fun.

 

The SGR and Kharma rooms made me wanted to just sit and listen to music. The Telos demo made want to listen to music and drink beer!

 

The VAF room was my pick for "real world" hifi. A couple of their inexpensive systems sounded very good for the price , and did make you realise just how much "diminishing returns " kicks in with this hobby. It was great to see them showing a number of different TT based systems, some of which had the less expensive Soundsmith cartridges.

 

I wished the Dutch and Dutch system, as well as the Huglich/Holton gear, were set up in bigger spaces, as I felt the rooms were too small and overwhelmed by the sound.  There was a lot there to like, but with more space, I imagine they would sound even better.

 

It's fascinating to read the feedback in this thread so far, as we  seem to have quite different tastes how we prefer music to be presented.

 

 I wonder how much of that is due to what/how we listen to at home, which we become accustomed to as "normal"

 

I'm used to a reasonably large room, and I dont listen at overly high volumes, so I guess thats the sound/presentation I gravitate to.

 

Finally, I picked up some goodies at the record fair

 

Overall, a very fun day.

Edited by pine weasel

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Belated feedback here...

 

I took my wife and we both had a great time. I loved CAV's room with the Yamaha system, enjoyed listening to horns for the first time, the SGR's were great obviously but I actually laughed out loud when I saw the price. In my opinion, Osborn's tall speakers (not sure if they were the Eclipse or Monument Towers) are probably the best speakers I've ever heard, at less than 10% of the price of some of the stuff on show. Maybe I just don't know my ears - I don't claim to be an audiophile after all, so I don't see the point in spending 1000% more to gain 1% (of course, that's just my opinion and personality and I totally understand and appreciate anyone who does and would never knock them for it - at all - on the contrary, I applaud their commitment).

 

...and that seemed to be the story of the day really. First of all we went around a did a quick demo to get a feel for each sound "signature". Then we went around to my favourites again and had a longer listen and yet we kept going back to the Osborn room. At one stage I burst out laughing when Greg was auditioning some old classical piece (that I should know the name of but don't) at decent volume and I couldn't believe what I was hearing, I burst out laughing in amazement.

 

That we have a manufacturer of such incredible gear right here in our own backyard is a privilege though, and I can't wait to get a pair into my own home. If that's all I got out of the show, a definitive understanding of my end-game speaker (that one being realistically affordable to boot!!), then it was a very successful event and I'm so glad I went.

I'm also wrapped the missus had a good time. We had to leave a little earlier than I wanted to be cause we got a surprise call from friends who'd just got engaged, so it was immediate party time lol...

 

For the most part, everyone was very friendly and more than happy to answer questions and provide insights and advice without necessarily pitching a sales move on us. There was the Beyerdynamic dude on Saturday though, who wouldn't leave me to just audition the different options without interrupting me and trying to repeat his memorised spec sheet which was in front of me by each headphone anyway. As well as asking me what I did for a living and which headphone he recommends based on my lifestyle, AND how the DT1770 Pro's are only for "sound engineers" and wouldn't suit my tastes. That really F*#N P!$*ed me off to be blatantly honest.  Without going on a full rant, I decided not to purchase them right there which I was quite tempted, purely based on him.

 

Of course, big thank you to StereoNet and all event organisers. Looking forward to the next one.

 

EB571659-57E7-4A0D-AB26-C873E5313247.thumb.jpeg.4da42c736d056871dc3ae7a31377c120.jpeg

 

22AD3F40-1BB7-4567-A96D-766019F5D906.thumb.jpeg.b4a6a7f996a5c30c4c001683d77252ee.jpeg

 

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I can't remember what these white speakers were but they were very good.

 

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Edited by ELYAS

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Highlight for me was late on Sunday, numbers thinning out, in Bill McClean's room, with the Dutch and Dutch active speakers, first Sabbath's War Pigs, loudish, then ACDC louder, and Metallic louder still. just fantastic. it made me love those speakers.

the other startling thing was walking from the food area back to the display areas. I knew the big B&Ws were on my left, but from where I was I could not see them. I also knew that was where live music would be played. then a sax started blowing. and it sounded so good. and I realised I could not tell if it was a band or the speakers. it could have been either.  so I stood and listened. a tantalising audio moment.  it was the speakers.

 

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You make an interesting point @Mickstuh - there's been a bit of criticism of the speakers in what has been referred to as a "bad room". It's actually not 'that' bad at all. Not many speakers will fill a space that size at all. They sounded very lifelike and got out of the way of the music over and over again.


But one of the biggest highlights for me for the B&W speakers in that area was actually that for the majority of the time, Mark Dohmann was playing DJ and playing far from "audiophile" grade track. It was all about the "music" first. They didn't hesitate to play anything and everything, and some things just aren't recorded well. What goes in, comes back out.

 

What you described happened to me many times across three days where from either the ticket desk, or walking back from the Pullman lobby I could have sworn we'd hired some additional musicians!


Anyway, the Mercure Lounge, between the B&W system, Little Wise playing live (she's fantastic!), and the Dohmann seminars was a great 'hub' of the show and I'm glad we utilised it the way we did :).

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10 hours ago, ELYAS said:

I can't remember what these white speakers were but they were very good.

 

Meridian Audio.  About $25K.

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Yep, Mark played some great stuff. It's refreshing to hear music that's not necessarily chosen just for sonic qualities. 

And it really was a breathtaking moment with the B&Ws when that sax blew.

 

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On 15/10/2018 at 9:42 AM, pass the bass said:

....The Krix Esoterix Altum speakers were impressive. If you haven't seen them before: they are standmounts with an external horizontal horn, looking like something out of 'The Fifth Element'. Driven by Vincent hybrid amps, they sounded good. I was told their sensitivity was 98dB. Is it possible to have that kind of sensitivity in a standmount? I thought standmounts have highish impedances and lowish sensitivities due to their physical limitations.....

Hello, I believe they are 89 dB/W

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On 12/10/2018 at 4:30 PM, yamaha_man said:

Mmmm Mmmmm Kharma.

If you aint Dutch, you aint much. 👊

funny how everyone sells them on, they have the TAD curse.....

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On 15/10/2018 at 6:04 PM, Yngvi said:

I do find it interesting that people do critical listening at a hifi show.

 

No harm in saying what you heard at the show, but I figure Hifi shows give you a "flavour" (so to speak) of different equipment, if you are keen on something you would go to demo what you like at the dealer/retailer for critical listening.

 

but then I could be totally wrong.. :unsure:

No you are not. You sir,... are on the money!!!

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On 22/10/2018 at 7:23 PM, Marc said:

You make an interesting point @Mickstuh - there's been a bit of criticism of the speakers in what has been referred to as a "bad room". It's actually not 'that' bad at all. Not many speakers will fill a space that size at all. They sounded very lifelike and got out of the way of the music over and over again.


But one of the biggest highlights for me for the B&W speakers in that area was actually that for the majority of the time, Mark Dohmann was playing DJ and playing far from "audiophile" grade track. It was all about the "music" first. They didn't hesitate to play anything and everything, and some things just aren't recorded well. What goes in, comes back out.

 

What you described happened to me many times across three days where from either the ticket desk, or walking back from the Pullman lobby I could have sworn we'd hired some additional musicians!


Anyway, the Mercure Lounge, between the B&W system, Little Wise playing live (she's fantastic!), and the Dohmann seminars was a great 'hub' of the show and I'm glad we utilised it the way we did :).

Sorry i missed this years show.Hope to make it next time.

Having a live singer is a great idea.

Perhaps next year stay with the Wise theme and have Rowena Wise perform.She is fabulous too.

 

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There were a few disappointed faces to see the Levison No53 monos only on static display at the show.

The story goes that they were setup on Thursday and delivering as you would expect!

Come Friday morning, one amplifier wouldn't turn on. Sadly, the fuses are internal and a show environment is not the right place to go fault finding.

 

I received a photo this morning of the culprit. The eagle-eyed will spot the problem.

 

IMG_4951.jpeg

 

These things only ever happen at shows at the 11th hour!

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4 hours ago, Marc said:

There were a few disappointed faces to see the Levison No53 monos only on static display at the show.

The story goes that they were setup on Thursday and delivering as you would expect!

Come Friday morning, one amplifier wouldn't turn on. Sadly, the fuses are internal and a show environment is not the right place to go fault finding.

 

I received a photo this morning of the culprit. The eagle-eyed will spot the problem.

 

IMG_4951.jpeg

 

These things only ever happen at shows at the 11th hour!

 

 

I don't know anything about this sort of stuff but I'd say that little dead bug shorted the unit and blew that little fuse on the bottom right?

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I would be amazed if that little bug could shunt enough current to blow a fuse - he is not even carbon black!

Edited by Gieseler Audio

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It wouldn't be the first time the world stopped when there's a problem with the cricket...

 

Down here there's often a slug or spider that shorts between the electric fence wire and a star picket. There's a loud whack, whack, (energizers are immune to shorting) until the thing disintegrates. Judging by the sound released, I'd say they're shunting a fair current! (At the ag shows they like to use potatoes - I suppose more Politically Correct).

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