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I made the mistake of using my mobile phone to find a map of where the HiFi Show 2018 is being held. It took 8 minutes to discover that it's at the south end of St Kilda Rd and nowhere near the suburb of Albert Park. In fact, it's about 400m from where I work. So I have set about compiling a Guide to the Vicinity so that out of town visitors won't be fooled nor frustrated by website popups that overlay your phone screen and the lack of a street number in the marketing collateral. This Guide is completely off-the-record and off-the-vinyl and un-official. And, although shorter than a fantasy trilogy, it does come with a map.
The Pullman Mercure Hotel is where the blue teardrop is.
Pullman & Mercure Melbourne Albert Park
65 Queens Road Melbourne
Victoria 3004 Australia
Tip: don't go to the suburb of Albert Park expecting to find a Mercure Pullman or a Pullman Mercure Hotel. The suburb of Albert Park is diagonally opposite at the far end of the Lake and is visible from the Hifi Show venue in the far distance, particularly from the higher floors or by use of binoculars. But by a quirk of Melbourne's postcode geography the hotel and hence the show is located just over the road from the Postal Code of Albert Park 3206, for the Lake is fully enclosed by the 3206 postcode. Who knew? Most people think of the area where the Hi Fi Show is being held, as part of St Kilda or the bottom end of St Kilda Rd. This may include taxi drivers and uber drivers. It also includes the Pullman Mercure, which says its address is actually in the VIC 3004 postcode.
So it's St Kilda, not Albert Park. Don't be fooled.
Most of the rest of this discussion is about St Kilda Rd as the main retail axis. Queens Rd is basically an arterial.
To the venue from St Kilda Rd
The Moubray St/ Beatrice St intersection is the part of St Kilda Rd closest to the venue. There's a shortcut walkway between the big curvy apartment building on the corner of St Kilda Rd/ Beatrice St and the building with the superette in it. Walk through that walkway, down some steps past the creche/childcare, and then walk across Queens Lane. Go through the driveway with the new wooden post-and-rail fence. It's part of the hotel complex, in fact it's the northernmost boundary of the Pullman Mercure.
At Queens Rd it's the northern-most of the hotel entrances that is the HiFi Show entrance.
Getting there by public transport (1) tram
"There" is 20 minutes down St Kilda Rd by tram from Flinders St Station.
You can take any southbound tram you like except for the 1, 8, or 72. Remember the mnemonic "1872" and ignore those trams.
Get off at the tram stop on the corner of St Kilda Rd and Moubray St. Or St Kilda Rd and High St if you want a more user-friendly accessible stop. That stop has a myki top-up machine.
Then a short walk along Beatrice St and you are there.
"Metlink Melbourne Journey Planner" is a good web guide for point-to-point travel planning.
For out of towners: to use Melbourne's public transport you need to buy a Myki card. Weirdly, this is not available from bus drivers, and nor is it free like Sydney's Oyster card. You can buy a myki at most superettes and at very large railways stations such as Flinders St Station. You can use it for bus, train and tram.
The Sandringham line train stops at Prahran Station. From there it's a 10-15 minute walk or you can take the #6 tram along High St until it stops at St Kilda Rd superstop or at the Moubray St stop.
The Prahran Station tram stop on High St is to be found on the St Kilda Rd side of the railway bridge.
A bus goes from the CBD down St Kilda Rd to the Alfred Hospital. It's route is past the National Art Gallery and at the Gallery that road has been closed because the City Council is building a park in the middle of the road. As a result, those buses have been stopped from going up St Kilda Rd, in fact the route temporarily is stopped at the Alfred Hospital but anyone coming from the Eastern Suburbs would do well to look at this option of bussing to The Alfred.
The nearest helipad is at the Alfred Hospital. If you are arriving in the area by helicopter you have other things on your mind than hi-fi.
Getting there by car: parking
This varies depending on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The key to unlocking the spatio-temporal distortion that is parking in the area is to recognise that the closer you get to The Alfred Hospital, the more expensive or problematical the street parking. But there is a corollary: commuter clearways have inexpensive rates on some sides of St Kilda Rd, possibly to lull you into forgetting the time and paying up as your car is towed away.
Tip: always check the parking restrictions for that section of parking. The parking wardens are feral, so set your phone alarm.
Tip: take coins. Lots of them.
There are several all-day parking buildings in Queen's Lane. Rates vary greatly.
There might be some parking in Albert Park by the Powerhouse Rugby Club.
Some all-day street parking is available free on Saturdays and (particularly) Sundays.
To sum up, parking restrictions vary by which block you are in, and which lane you are in. For example, south of Moubray/ Beatrice is cheaper than north of Moubray/ Beatrice, except during weekends when the centre parks along St Kilda Rd are free.
Shopping - goods
I've mentioned the superette on St Kilda Rd just south of Beatrice St. There's another larger one on Commercial Rd at the corner of Alfred Lane. Also there's a 7-11 on the corner of Commercial Rd and St Kilda Rd.
For Coles and Woolworths, you can go to Prahran, where Coles is located not far from the corner of Commercial Rd and Chapel St, and Woolworths is behind Coles. On the map this area is shown as Prahran Central. On the other side of Commercial Rd from Prahran Central is the Prahran Market. By public transport take a bus or the #72 tram along Commercial Rd, say from the stops opposite The Alfred Hospital or from the corner of Commercial Rd and St Kilda Rd. (An alternative is the #6 tram along High St to Prahran Station and then walk north to Prahran Central. This route will take you via Greville Records, part of the most expensive tram route in Melbourne)
An alternative is a Woolworths near the corner of Canterbury Rd and Fitzroy St, known as St Kilda Station. This is a 15-minute walk across the Park.
The nearest chemist is just inside the main entrance of The Alfred Hospital.
There's a Post Office on St Kilda Rd 200m north of Commercial Rd. Another Post Office is found in the large newsagent inside the Alfred Hospital.
The nearest Officeworks is by the railway line at Commercial Rd.
The nearest hardware store is a block further down High St from the Chapel St intersection.
Eating - food at weekdays
There are many places to buy lunch during weekdays. All the cafes along St Kilda Rd are open.
In the block between Lorne St and Beatrice St there's a pho place that always has a queue, and a rather good Indonesian restaurant tucked away in an alleyway between two buildings, blink and you'll miss it.
North of Moubray St there's Epicure which does a good trade in tasty food, and again we head up to the shops on the corner of Commercial Rd and St Kilda Rd for eateries - mexican takeaways, burgers, stuffed potatoes, and a French-themed Cafe. This strip is the main shopping in the area.
Behind the service station on the corner of Punt Rd and Commercial Rd is a building that was refurbished for reality TV "The Block" which has a cafe "Mister Zen" which is something a little different. That's a little bit of a walk from the venue.
If you want to travel a few blocks, one of the best cafes in the area is Cafe Safi at 484 St Kilda Rd, north of Hanna St. Say, 3 trams stops towards the CBD.
Food on Saturdays
The Indonesian restaurant/ cafe mentioned above is open, as is a bar "Blue Bar" near it. All the eateries along Commercial Rd are open.
For breakfast, the hotels northwards between Beatrice St and Roy St are worth your time.
Operating almost all day every day, you are guaranteed of something to eat at Alf's, which is the very large food premises on the ground floor of The Alfred Hospital.
I think The Mantra at 568 St Kilda Rd does the best coffee in the area. Not cheap.
Expensive yet giving a sense of value for money is Le Gitane on Commercial Rd. The food and wine list is very good indeed. Bookings essential. Not far from Le Gitane is an Indian restaurant with reasonable food, takeaways, but no atmosphere.
A couple of bars upstairs in buildings near Punt Rd on High St have recently made the foodies columns.
For pub food, the best in the area is the College Lawn on Greville St about two block from Prahran Station. The College Lawn is Melbourne's rugby pub but there are no international oval-ball games on during the weekend of the show, so you should be able to get a table.
A block from Prahran Station on the other side of Greville St is a very good pizza restaurant as well as an assortment of bars.
The restaurant strip of Fitzroy St, St Kilda is within walking distance and has every cuisine you may want, or continue through to Acland St.
Further around the lake, there is fine dining at Middle Park.
There are two in the block between Lorne St and Beatrice St on St Kilda Rd, both within a couple of hundred metres of the venue and open till late.
Further afield are the College Lawn, corner of Greville St and Charles St. The Gunn Island Hotel at Middle Park is worth a visit with friends.
Albert Park Lake is a delight in the sunshine. At the south end is a plaque noting the tree that the local Aboriginal people would meet under for their Councils.
The AIDS Memorial Garden is an island of peace and quiet on Moubray St about 30m east of Ormond Hall.
Please add your own advice. Marc has a lot riding on these shows and it's his web site, so please keep to things that don't need to be moderated. Enjoy the event!
By LWA Staff
Item: Meridian DSP5500 Active Loud Speakers (Re-posted and discounted)
Location: Len Wallis Audio HQ 64 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove NSW 2066
Price: When new $35,000 Our re-posted price $4,500
Item Condition: Excellent 2nd Hand Condition
Reason for selling:
Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only
Shipping: We can ship anywhere in Australia, price is depends on your location
Payment Method: Cash, Paypal, Credit Cards, Bank Transfers
Please note: these where first posted on the 12th of April, 2018 @$5800. We are now re-posting at $4500
(we really need the space in the showroom and must move them to a good home).
Extra info: Meridian DSP5500 speakers. 96/24 configuration. Excellent condition with original cartons.
The DSP5500 is a powerful 3way active acoustic reflex system. The bass system uses two 200mm long throw composite bass-drivers. The cabinet vent s through a floorlevel wide area coupling slot; this configuration along with the active and DSP correction maintains smooth powerful bass in the room down to 30Hz with very low mid range colouration.
The mid-range is mounted in a separate enclosure and uses a custom 160mm polypropylene driver. The tweeter is the Meridian 25mm aluminum dome, silver wire tweeter used in all the DSP loudspeakers. Each of the four drive units has its own 75W power amplifier.
Item: Krell Full Power Balance (FPB) 600 Power Amp (circa. 2000)
Location: Western Sydney
Price: $3990 (includes $40 donation to SNA)
Item Condition: very good
Reason for selling: downsizing (this beast is MASSIVE) to petite Devialet amps in a computer audio setup (a well overdue change after 18 years) with an equally oversized recording collection also being transferred onto NAS
Payment Method: PayPal, Cash on pickup (-3% discount)
Extra Info: no remote
This legendary D’Agostino era Krell FPB 600 amp was purchased circa 2000 from Len Wallis Audio. Though it has served me flawlessly all of these years, I have with some regret decided it is time it must go because, however much of an audiophile’s wet dream it might be, the beast is just too massive. The amp weighs 80kg, but it feels like far more because of the rock-like solidity of the construction. The sheer weight of the monster makes interstate shipping utterly impractical. The heat fins are also rather sharp (see pictures) making handling rather difficult while rendering this model less than child-friendly. Moving this beast is like moving a piano. It requires at least two people to lift it—and preferably three. Len Wallis sent out three burly blokes when they delivered it.
As far as the sound quality goes, it is hard to imagine anything closer to audiophile nirvana. You would think they would sound muscular, and they can be when required, but in actual fact, they are infinitely delicate and refined. With 600W of Class A amplification into 8 Ohms, 1200W into 4 Ohms, and 2400W into 2 Ohms, they drive any speaker load with an effortless aplomb and sweetness without comparison. Any other amp simply sounds like it under severe strain. Yes, the Devialet amp it is getting replaced with is a severe downgrade, but given how massive the Krell amp is, downsizing to the petite Devialet amp will represent a refreshing change. Now I have experienced audiophile nirvana, the time has come for brute pragmatism to win over the blind pursuit of perfection at all cost.
It should be mentioned that there is NO remote to control the amp. It consumes absurd amounts of power at rest and you will have to switch it off after use rather than put it into standby anyway so a remote is of little use to you. Being a power amp, a remote won’t be of use in controlling the volume levels either.
In its time, these were Stereophile Class A amplifiers:
Two-channel, bridged mono, solid-state power amplifier with Sustained Plateau Biasing output stages. Power output: 600Wpc into 8 ohms (27.8dBW), 1200W into 4 ohms (27.8dBW). Power bandwidth (-3dB): 4Hz-20kHz. Output impedance: 0.03 ohms. Input sensitivity: 4.3V RMS (balanced) for rated output. Input impedance: 85k ohms.
Balance XLR inputs as well as RCA inputs
Dimensions: 48 x 25 x 65cm (W x H x D)
Original retail price around $18 000 AUD
The asking price of the amp simply reflects the fact that it is now some 18 years old, but it does mean that this represents a ridiculous bargain. Amplifiers of this quality virtually never come up for sale and you could not possibly ask for more at this price range. This is a once in a lifetime chance to own bragging rights to anything that even remotely approaches such outlandish specs at this price so you'd better hurry and grab them while you can.
I have an over 10-year-old Krell FBP600 power amp, but I really have little idea what the best way to move it on might be. Purchased from Len Wallis a long time ago, I am really wanting to downsize. This thing is huge and takes 2-3 people just to move it, let alone lift it out of the house. It's like moving a piano. It's a pure Class A amp that outputs 600W into 8 Ohms, and doubles its output into 4 Ohms and doubles it again into 2 Ohms. So while it sounds amazing, I am finding it grossly impractical in some ways (runs very hot, takes 30mins+ to warm up but consumes too much power to allow it to idle, sharp heat fins aren't child-friendly). Some of you will think I am crazy to get rid of it as its technical specs are what many an audiophile would drool over.
Part of the trouble is that you need a furniture removalist to transport the thing. So if I list on eBay, it's pick up only in Sydney and many buyers would struggle to load it into their cars. If you drive a sedan, you might need to hire a van to transport it. The razor-sharp heat fins would tear holes in your back seat upholstery if you put it into the back seat. I suppose I could trade it in at Len Wallis for store credit and ask their team to come and pick it up. A beast of this size creates practical dilemmas when selling.
Other than to donate it to you for free (I know someone is going offer to "help" me by sending out a furniture removalist to collect it off me), what do forum members advise? I'd also be interested in views on current market value.