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Benje

2018 Melbourne International Hi-Fi Show - Reports & Feedback

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I thought a lot of the systems displayed didnt reflect their price levels and I imagine lot of that came down to room issues.  I wont blame anyone for that, when it took me at least 4 months to get my own speakers sounding ok in my loungeroom.  Even so, some systems did sound surprisingly bad at the event. 

In terms of value for money, from what my ears could hear today, I thought the Osborne set up with new release (Elite range) speakers and consonnance amps was impressive. While I loved me some Dean Martin through the Kharmas and John Lee Hooker through the Kii3s, that did involve more serious coin.  Revel was basically a no-show, I heard they blew their amps, so that was annoying.

Overall, the event was very well run, with a friendly vibe and all the exhibitors were all helpful and knowledgable.

Will be back next year.

 

 

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3 hours ago, unclemack said:

unlike another iconic 12” 3 way, the JBL L100. They were in the worst possible room, right next to the Krix HT room and had someone running the room that just didn’t seem interested in being there. Crappy music, poor demo. Biggest disappointment was the sound of the big Revels.

 

 

+1.  Awful sound and manned by someone who couldn't have cared less.

Edited by Kaynin

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7 hours ago, Kaynin said:

+1.  Awful sound and manned by someone who couldn't have cared less.

Pretty much. Worst sound for the money by far. As I said earlier, I thought the speakers might have even been plugged in out of phase...

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For me show was great but what was even better was to meet some new faces. As usual 90% of what was played didn't engage me and man if I hear Keith dont go one more time i'll loose it so it was refreshing walking into the Osborne room hearing some Lou Reed. Was chatting with Stuart from SGR a bit (gee hes a great bloke) discussing music selections and we both agreed that your never going to please everyone and most of the time no one!

 

Biggest disappointment for me was the Krix demo (there I said it). Too much talking and not enough demoing but the icing on the cake was after having to secure your spot weeks in advance we were told they were reducing the volume by 10db as there were a few kids in the room (OH&S apparently) and as such also only played kid friendly clips so with all that potential in the room I never got to experience it 😭

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Analog planet did a review of Dream with Dean maybe worth a read for those who enjoyed the album

https://www.analogplanet.com/content/are-you-ready-dean-martin-record-your-collection

I find Michael Fremer to be pretty good on his album/ pressing reviews with respect to SQ

Drew
Great article, thanks

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I went to the show and enjoyed it for the most part. After getting home I turned on my humble system and was surprised that it didn't suck! However, my 65" tv just doesn't cut it and I feel (or can't feel) that my subwoofers are just not potent enough anymore for HT.

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This is my first Hi-Fi Show, and I thought it was interesting, and worthwhile - Didnt get to attend the Krix show as I missed the memo about having to book separately :(

 

To be brutally honest  I wasn't blown away by any of the systems I heard.  I found most of it pretty fatiguing. (esp the Revel system I heard - ugh) I didn't get to hear the Kharmas for some reason - there was one room that was always impossible to get into, and I must have forgotten to go back to it.  Oh well.

 

I did like the new M8audio's, Yamaha's, Sonus Fabers, and newest VAF i91's.  

 

Hated the Revels and was a bit disappointed by the sound of the SGR, Osborne, and Hulgich setups.    The Osborne floor standers I heard had impressive bass, but sounded unpleasant when female vocals came on.  The SGR and Hulgich systems just didnt inspire.  If I was going to spend money, I would have got the Sonus Fabers and two Rel subs :)

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Second year attending, and first year exhibiting (Lucie Audio, room 1202 - shared with Jean-marie from Microphase) for me.

 

A really enjoyable three days, good on you @marc for your dedication to promoting hi fi at all levels. A really switched on crowd this year, saturday in particular was pumping!

 

In future I think it would be great to keep the show going into the evenings - particularly on friday, more might be inclined to come down after work if they knew they could get a few solid hours in.

 

Music selection is always a difficult one, but I tried to accommodate requests via tidal and skewed the music to my personal tastes. Some hated it, but many loved it and discovered some new artists (Agnes Obel got some new fans) so I think that worked. 

 

Similarly to last year, it's impressive just how much Australian manufacturers of all sizes are bringing to the table. Nick and Anthony at Hulgich / Holton particularly never fail to impress and I have huge respect for their work. Same goes for Rod at Legend. 

 

I'm pretty sure I'll be back bigger and better next year, Jean-Marie and I managed to co-share the room pretty well but most punters didn't quite get the idea and it caused a bit of confusion.

 

To those that came through 1202 when I was in session, can I ask you for your impressions? This was the bamboo or black bookshelfs on tall stands with the orange and dark grey electronics.

 

Cheers!

 

-Rick, Lucie Audio

 

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Their seemed to be lots of vinyl players but very little vinyl being played. 

 

I guess lots of folk use digital sources these days so it makes sense there was plenty of digital being played.

 

I noticed it was hard to get into the rooms that were playing vinyl.

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Cor blimey! After 2 days of slogging around the Pullman like a travelling salesman I can now sit down to reflect:

 

My overriding feeling is "I wish I could have heard more of my music", or other visitors' music for that matter. I got tired of hearing a song called 'Similar' performed by 'Whoever'. Their titles may vary, and the artists may be diverse, but when it comes down to it, they all had that sameness of sound: slowly drawn out lyrics, Aunt Agony themes, recordings so closely-miked you lose all sense of perspective. I don't mind hearing them twice or even three times...I would like more fun music, like the Kraftwerk they were playing in the foyer, things to get my feet tapping and me jiggling in my seat.

 

I, too, was not wowed by the B&W 800 speakers. The midrange was quite abrasive. It may have been the space perhaps? However, it did prove that no matter the gear, if the music is good you can still have fun listening to the music...

 

...even if they come out of vintage radios, in mono, and crackly. A two-thumbs up for the Historical Radio Society of Australia. I walked in the room and there was this long table laid out with wonderful retro radios clad in wood veneers, bakelite, curves which showed they were designed with the eyes, and knobs that moved this vertical thin line across a little window when you turned them in your hand (I did ask for permission first). The three curators sipping tea were the most chilled out people at the show. The sound was different, but thoroughly enjoyable.

 

I was more impressed by the synergy of the Hulgich speakers and Holton amplifier combination. Did anyone else notice the 2.5kW transformer on the Holton amp? I haven't seen these specs since Peter Stein's ME amplifiers, and they used 2kW transformers. In these days of minitiarised class-D amps, I thought it unusual. Bravo, bravado, brave, brazen!

 

I enjoyed the SGR sounds at last year's show, but this year they were just cycling through the few same tracks, so I didn't linger. I spent more time listening to the headphones playing through the Chord Hugo2, Hugo TT, and DAVE/Mscaler through Sennheiser 820S. Am I the only person to have listened to the Hugo 2 (on several occasions) and not been impressed? It's certainly good, but not as natural sounding as the DAVE.

 

The Kii 3s sounded too etched, lacking lower end balance(I was curious because of all the press they have been receiving). I was more impressed by the bass coming out of the narrow Aequo Audio Stilla speakers. They are shaped like giant baguettes. Their big sound, belying their diminutive size, was due to active amplification. Is active amplification, class D amps, DSP, and Dutch design the future of audio? Let's hope their hifi is better than their cuisine.

 

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.

 

Speaking of another Australian manufacturer...I listened to the Legend Kama (2.5 way, 2x mid/bass, 1xtweeter) demo not knowing about them. These are handsome small-floorstanders with dark wood veneer and faux-leather baffles. I thought they sounded good for $20K speakers. Until I discovered they cost $2K. In hifi, I look for the 10/90 ratio like the visual artists and speaker-installers have their 'golden triangle' ratio: how to get 90% of the sound for 10% of the cost of high-end heavy-weights, eg. KEF LS50. It is not surprising, as I later discovered, that they won the 2017 Stereonet 'outstanding value' award.

 

Commiseration goes to Bill Mcleans. It was heart-wrenching seeing him struggle with the streaming/network problems (also suffered by other exhibitors on Sunday morning). He always works hard to beam beautiful music into the room (a perennial favourite with show-goers). It did make me think how the apocalypse might pan out. It won't be fires, angels of death and the Grim reaper wielding his scythe. No, it will be something more prosaic like losing wifi, not being to access Tidal, and withering away to a Hell where no music is playing (or only Diana Krall is allowed. Sorry - she's not bad for a song or two, mind you).

 

Finally, I would like to thank everybody who made it possible to experience all of this, good sound or bad sound (not being sarcastic there, I really mean to thank them all).

 

Enough said. Time to tidy up the house a bit.

(I don't believe in emojis.)

 

 

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2 minutes ago, coffeemachinist said:

To those that came through 1202 when I was in session, can I ask you for your impressions? This was the bamboo or black bookshelfs on tall stands with the orange and dark grey electronics.

 

Cheers!

 

-Rick, Lucie Audio

 

 

Hi Rick,

I'm not sure i caught the full session as I don't recall hearing anything about the electronics, but I was definitely impressed with the little Studio 2 (black) stand-mount speakers. Unfortunately I didn't get to hear the Studio 1s as I was only at the show for a few hours so had to rush through a few of the rooms.  I had not heard of Lucie speakers before, so it was great to see yet another local manufacturer on show. Well done.

 

Despite having to rush through many of the rooms, and completely missing some, I REALLY enjoyed the Dutch & Dutch speakers - incredibly impressive for their size.

The short time I had in the Kharma room was also immediately enjoyable. Effortless, nuanced, dynamic at all volumes. Mind-bogglingly expensive.

The Hulgich/Holton room, SGR, Osborne, Krix (& Selby) and Sonus Faber rooms were all enjoyable too.

 

Disappointments included the VAF room - not the speakers themselves, but after last year, the room/set up and presentations were a step down in my opinion.

The Legend room - only because I found the bass quite boomy when I was there. Obviously the room wasn't ideal and I think the source at the time wasn't exactly A-grade.

The Kii speakers didn't do much for me but the worst sound, for me, were the Meridian DSP-5200 speakers. Sounded like someone had put a wet blanket over them whenever they were played.

 

Yet again, a great show organised by @Marc and his team. I would have loved to get more time to wander, listen and chat so will hopefully be able to do so next year.

 

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Like many others I was blown away at the little Legend floorstanders once I knew the price. I think the show special was something like $17XX . Just an absolute bargain. I guess if @Marc is giving out prizes again Dr Rod will walk away with best value again.

 

For me the biggest disappointment were the Avantguard Duo's but did note they had very little if any room treatments in there. Having said that I thought most rooms sounded very good but not necessarily to my taste. Several Hi-End rooms had very detailed, highly revealing sound that lacked realism and body IMO. I refer to this as being too HiFi and thought the Hulgich and to a lesser extent the SGR's were guilty of this but that could of just being music played when I was in there. I also note Melody couldn't get that room singing either in previous years so this could be the issue. It's a sound signature I tire of quickly despite being initially impressed but I guess many people crave this. Somebody earlier mentioned rooms lacking tone. We may be talking of a similar feeling.

 

Very impressed with the Isoacoustics demo and bought some monitor desk stands for my office setup which will get installed this arvo.

 

Anybody else experience the $10k Selby room? That Optoma projector was throwing rainbow effects every few seconds. I had to work very hard to hold my tongue when the salesman asked for feedback as he seemed to have some potential purchasers in there. If they couldn't see the rainbow effect good luck to them. I'd never seen rainbow effect before but it was so distracting it drove nuts.

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5 minutes ago, superaaaa said:

Any photos from the Krix demo room ?

wasn't much to see except some bloody huge subs and black on black isn't best for photography. These speakers aren't made to look pretty or be on display. In a permanent HT room they'd all be hidden away behind AT fabric

Edited by blybo

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15 minutes ago, superaaaa said:

Any photos from the Krix demo room ?

Can't see that much but there you go.

This was during computer game hour. 

IMG_20181013_161339.jpg

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