Tuesday, 27 August 2019

EPSON EF-100 3LCD Home Projector Launch Event



   
Coverage By :  Shaiful Anuar Sulaiman

Epson Malaysia launched a new projector model Epson EF-100 3LCD laser light. It is a compact size unit making this to be the world smallest 3LCD projector. The event was held in White Box, Publika between 3 to 6 pm on Tuesday 27th August 2019.

Epson's market target is for those age 20-39 years old who are interested in tech-digital product and the latest in lifestyle gadget.

Second target is for those who like hassle-free and with easy function from their comfort and need minimal maintenance.


  • EF -100 specification:
  • Liquid crystal shutter system
  • LCD size 0.59 inch 
  • WXGA native resolution
  • Laser light source up to 12,000/20,00
  • Screen Size can up to 150" wide and
  • 111" tele 
  • Standard is 60" screen 1.34-1.81m
  • Brightness is 2000 lumens
  • Contrast Ratio over 2,500,000:1


This projector comes with built in speakers with 5W Monaural. Network connectivity includes wired LAN, wireless and Bluetooth connection to support external speaker. Digital input are HDMI and also USB interface Type A for power supply. Type B for firmware update.

This projector can be used at vertical and horizontal for watching at living room and ceiling from bed.

Quality of picture is vivid, vibrant, natural no matter the room is dark or bright.Clear and bright delivery form laser light is breathtaking.

Conclusions:
This EF-100 brings entertainment to next level. It can be accessed from phone ,tablet, BD player and laptop. You can connect to streaming device to enjoy your movies. Gamers  will choose this product because they can enjoy in big screen game play.

Epson EF -100 price is RM3999.00 and is suitable to put at home and became rival with flat screen. It is small, lightweight and compact.

Full of digital connections and up to date with lifestyle item for audio visual enjoyment.

Thank You Epson Malaysia for good, warm and comfort hospitality.

EF - 100 come with 2 model Classy White and Tailored Black

Price is RM3999.00















Sunday, 18 August 2019

KEF LSX Wireless Music System - Compact and Simple System


I remember the time where the users of wireless systems are shunned away by audiophiles and music lovers. The common statement of wireless is inferior compared to conventional wired set up always would be the baseline debate. While there is some truth in it, the technical and quality gap between them have become narrower with time.

While some hifi designers opt for a full deck, cube or soundbar design, KEF stick to what they know best... A wireless music system in a speaker. Take the award winning KEF LS50 speakers, put in wireless module and Michael Young in the equation, shrink it a little bit and voila - you get yourself KEF LSX wireless music system :) . Sounds simple? Well its not that simple if you want to get good sound quality from them.

What Is Inside The Box?

The LSX comes complete with all the required accessories for you to set it up. 
  • 1 Master and 1 Slave speaker unit
  • Power cable for each unit (with 2 pin plug)
  • Ethernet cable to connect the Master and Slave speaker unit
  • 1 remote controller

The Built

Small but heavy. Each unit weighs about 3.5 kg and stands at 240 x 155 x 180 in dimension. Small to call it a bookshelf speaker but big to call it a PC speaker. The review unit came in a grey fabric finishing which was designed to make it look different form the ordinary speakers. And yes, it comes with various colours.

It is sturdily built with no sign of skimming things on quality that KEF is known for. And of course, one can admire the Uni-Q driver array from far away. The design is equipped with a 19 mm aluminium HF driver and  115 mm magnesium/aluminium allow cone. Caution - the speakers need to be handled gently and only to lift it from the rear side.

The remote is moderately sized with all the main functions to control the speakers. Volume, input selector, play/pause/next/previous tracks etc. Even though made of plastic, it feels right in my hands. 

The LSX can also be controlled using the inhouse KEF apps. You have to download 2 apps - The KEF Control and KEF Stream. A bit inconvenient as you have change between the apps back and forth. The latter is to choose and control the music while the KEF control is to choose inputs and control volume.




 


What Can It Do? 

Given the name, the LSX is designed to stream music wirelessly (or you can still opt for a cabled connection) either over the wifi network or bluetooth AptX. Over the network, it reads my Western Digital NAS and SONY HAP Z1 ES with ease. Once set up, you also can pair it with your Spotify and TIDAL account.


         


You can also connect a digital player such as a CD player or an MD player via an optical cable into the LSX. If your equipment is not equipped with a digital out, you can opt for the Aux In port with a 3.5 mm jack.

As for the output, the LSX is designed with a healthy amplification of 70 watts to the LF and 30 watts to HF. It can go loud up to 102 dB. 

Can it play anything under the sky? Unfortunately no. It is limited to a resolution of 192 kHz/24 bit files. Hence, anything higher than that such as DSD, the pair will not be able to detect.

The LSX is also equipped with a special feature where you can set up your own sound profile depending on where you set up the LSX and also your listening area.

For more features, you can download the product info here





The Listening Session

There are various ways to set up the KEF LSX. For my review, I have set it up as follows:

1. Wired ethernet from my router to the Master speaker
2. Wireless set up from Master to Slave speaker




1. S'Wonderful by Diana Krall on WAV 16/44

With standard 16/44 digital file like this, it sounded very natural with the LSX. Diana's vocal sounded soothing and the clarity that this speaker produces really amaze me. Its gives out crystal clear vocal without leaving out the music surrounding it. The music just flow fluently and the LSX reproduces the ambient in a big soundstage compared to the size of the speakers.

2. New York New York by Andrea and Tony Bennett on FLAC 24/96

For a live album, nicely recorded like this track, the LSX delivers the liveliness of a live show with quite airy presentation. It befits the intended sound for a live track. Even though its a live track, the LSX still capable to reproduce Andrea's deep vocal with such boldness and melody. When Tony's vocal came in, the LSX does not have any problem to deliver the a different spectrum of vocal as well. Very versatile to adapt the different depth of vocals. Tony's husky-loungy vocal sounded very natural.

3. Japanese Roots by Takedake on MP3 320 kbps

The wind instrument sounded huge on the LSX and the percussion was also quite entertaining. It digs quite deep given the small size of the cabinet. The highs from the percussion sounded sharp and detailed enough that it does reproduce and overall punchy sound on this track. Surprisingly given the source is an MP3. The LSX somehow injects a different breath of liveliness to this track that people may not realise it is an MP3 file.

4. You Were Always My Mind by Willie Nelson on WAV 24/192

This was the most entertaining track played on the LSX. It sounded big. Bigger than what I thought these speakers can do. Willie's vocal was energetic and extended to give me the goosebumps. It delivers the emotion that this track carry. The piano sounded very melodious where the LSX reproduce the ambient of the song in a very emotional way. 

5. Take Five by Dave Brubeck on WAV 24/192

This has always been my reference track when it comes to highs and lows. Somehow I feel that LS50 DNA is in the LSX where the highs from the wind instrument sounded sweet, sharp and full of energy. No sign of fatigue from prolong listening. The low end frequency however was a bit laid back to my liking. I could use with a deeper and punchier bass response for this track. 

6. My Hero by Foo Fighters on WAV 16/44

For heavier music like this, the LSX belts out quite a raw sound. This particular track is actually quite complex when it comes to the drums. The works on the kick pedal needs a system or speakers that can handle speed and accuracy. While the LSX is capable doing that, the bass response still lacks a little bit of punch. While it delivers quite a high level of energy for this track, it lacks some dynamics to it. It still does really good with vocal where Dave's vocal was reproduced with such rawness which is required for this track. The guitar riffs also sounded energized and delivered with a powerful loudness.

Overall Verdict

Does the KEF LSX ticks all the boxes on my true wireless system? 

Maybe about 90% of it. I am a heavy DSD user. Having to set up Roon to decode DSD before the LSX can play it is a bit cumbersome and will add cost to the set up.

Does it meet my musical expectation? 

Yes for its size and price bracket. It might not be the most attacking and punchy speakers but given its size, use it for the right usage, it will give you hours of pleasure.

Is it stable as a wireless system?

I didnt experience any drop out of music signal in my review. But the app to choose lags a bit when changing from one track to another.

Who would enjoy this KEF LSX?

If you are looking for simplicity but does not want to compromise on SQ and also need vibrant colours for your home, look no further as this is a one stop solution. Not for those who seeks for heavy bass reproduction. Suitable for vocal, jazz, ballad and rock.

KEF LSX is distributed by Perfect Hi-Fi. For a shop demo, please call +603-58821693.

Local RRP: RM 5,699







Sunday, 4 August 2019

Kuala Lumpur International AV Show 2019 - El Hefe's Verdict


So it has been a week since the KLIAV show 2019 drew its curtain down but my FB newsfeed is still full of audiophiles's postings. There is something special about the show this year. Even the most fussy audiophiles whom I know had a lot of positive comments in this year's show. I had given my first impression of the show on Audiofi page here after spending the whole of Saturday at the show.

Now, its time for a more detail opinion on the show.



As usual, my crew and I (Shaiful Anuar and Rafizulkamal) set aside Saturday as our day to contribute to the local hifi scene. Big thanks to Mr. Dick Tan and 3DotEvents for continuously trusting us to cover their event.


The Show Overall

New venue, new expectation. Given that I attended the press conference a few months ago, there was a lot of skeptical opinion on why Vistana Hotel was chosen. Completely new to the hifi scene, the hotel management had a big task to ensure the show does not suffer any major hiccups. 

Venue - Not the usual central location in KL. A bit secluded from major attraction. Limited parking seems to be the main issue that most people complaint about. The public parking on the roadside opposite the hotel also was limited to an extend. Some had to go around for about an hour before managed to get a spot.

Food and Beverage - There were some goof offers for a quick bite. Their coffee house offered a buy 1 free 1 buffet lunch. Their snacks counter on Level 3 offered some light stuff like meehoon, sandwiches, coffee etc. Moderately priced. However, there is a mamak restaurant opposite the hotel, so yours truly and the crew opted for that. :)

Rooms - Mostly are squarish. With exception of the big halls. Acoustic challenges? Maybe...or maybe this is where it can separate between a good sound specialist from others.

Registration counter - Unfortunately the hotel does not have a separate section for this so it was done just beside the check in counter. When there was a long queue, that section seems to look a bit haphazard. 

Elevators - The staff did their best to juggle between show goers and hotel guests. Not much option but have to queue and wait for our turns to go up.

The Exhibitors

A good mixture of the usual European/American brands and Asian brands this time around. A healthy option for the audiophiles to experience different sound signature of top brands from different continents.

Due to the acoustic challenges, I was informed that there was also a healthy camaraderie developed among them as there were instances where they either helped to tune the rooms, visit the rooms and give honest feedbacks and even loan out each other products. This benefited the visitors as I have yet to see comments like - 'This was the worst room' . The comments this year were more about praises and generically describing the sound of each set up.

To be honest, I could not pin point any particular set up that got it all wrong like some from previous shows. Even the newcomers like Aerix, Divini, Lukang did a great job with what they have. The ones that I personally feel could have done much better in Sunway Putra and Marriott, performed really well this year.

The Commemorative CD

I have all of them since the first year it came out. I must say I like this year's the best. Good option of tracks. Special art cover on the sleeve from the works of Joseph Ki's daughter. 



Now..... the set up verdicts:

The Most Improved SQ Award

Its a tie for me between Centre Circle Audio and Perfect HiFi. CCA decided to focus on one main set up as oppose to previous year resulted ina very detailed and focused presentation. The grand set up of Kharma speakers, VPI TT, DS Audio Optical cart and phono with VAC amps, sounded grand , clean with a touch of slam on the low end frequency. The full set up list is shown below. 

CCA made the right decision to focus on one main active set up as oppose to previous practise of having sections for 2 different set up. I believe they are the only who showcase an Optical cart and phono stage in this show.



In my opinion, Perfect HiFi also up the ante with their Nagra HD pre amp and monoblocks, Kronos Sparta with its new PSU driving a pair of Sonus Faber Amati Tradition speakers. I have been waiting for a few years now to achieve a higher level of satisfaction when listening to Perfect HiFi's set up and this year I believe they have done a fine job. The set up sounded lively with huge sound stage without compromising the details and intensity of the bass.






The Best Lifestyle Product Award

Its a growing market but at the same time, audiophiles no longer can tolerate style over substance. Long gone now is the  perception of lifestyle products cannot deliver musicality. This award goes to Aerix Duet. Newcomer to the show, their representative Mr. Jimmy showcased an entertaining demo coming from this unique pair of of wireless speakers, fully equipped with a subwoofer integrated into its design. Aerix is still looking for a distributor here in Malaysia. With its huge room filling capability, I believe this product will be a strong contender to a number of lifestyle products such as BOSE, Sonos etc. Stylish, sexy and comes with exceptional sound quality. Dont quote me but I heard this product cost about RM6K equivalent in Europe. With a CD player built in, bluetooth capability, network streamer, this is one heck of an all in one product. Fully controlled by the DTS Play Fi app, you can stream from a NAS or subscribe to online streaming services like Spotify or TIDAL.






The Best All in One Award

This award goes to the new NAD M10 BluOS all in one amp and streamer.This 100 watter belted out a powerful performance with a pair of Dali Rubicon 8 floorstander. Effortless to deliver fluid sounding music. With a touch screen front fascia, this M10 combines elegance with superior sound quality. It handles Alexa, MQA, AptX BT, Airplay2, eARC HDMI and many more features. It might just be the only unit you need today and for future. 




The Best Managed Acoustic Award

Given the small size room, I must say Analog Solution/MyHiFiShop room deserve this. Honestly, I initially was worried to see the Avantgarde Uno Fido XD being placed in a small room like this. I was expecting the sound to be muddled with too much bass and ear pinching highs. Boy, I was wrong. Issac Ho and his team did an excellent work of managing the acoustic issue. Music was sweet sounding, tonally balanced with high level of clarity and transparency. If only I have the space, this would be on wish list for my next upgrade.




The Best Overall 2 Channel Set Up Award

Taking into account both SQ and aesthetic, I actually really like the Audio Perfectionist room, show casing the full McIntosh system. Although Cary Audio streamer was used but that was just a matter of convenience. I am quite sure if a McIntosh CD player was used, the same experience can achieved. There is just something about those green displays that gives me some sort of relaxation mood. The sound from this set up was impressively good. Warm with huge ambience is what I got listening to this system.




The Best Managed LFE for HT

This award goes to Maxx Audio for his SVS, Marantz and JVC N5 home theatre set up. Compared to previous years where Max set up his showcase with a very punchy and earth shattering LFE with his powerful SVS subs, Max tuned his HT set up to deliver an effective bass delivery in a small venue. The ingenius ATMOS stands was also very effectively placed and calibrated to create the swooping effect. The bass was sufficient to create an effective impact for various type of movies or concert videos.


The Best Analogue Only Award

The analogue only solution showcased by YL Audio comprising Kronos Sparta with its new super cap PSU, Kronos phono satge, Absolare pre power and Sonus Faber Serafino Tradition speakers takes the top spot. The soundstage on this set up was huge as if you are in a concert hall. The new PSU for the Kronos Sparta has brought something new to the Sparta after a few years of its debut here. Sparta owners including yours truly was very happy to hear what this supercap PSU can do to our units. The low noise allows even more reproduction of the source to the listeners.






 


The Most Unique and Promising Product Award

This is for the product that was new to the KLIAV show and should have a promising place in the local hifi scene. I say promising because the product could have been set up in a better avenue than just a makeshift section of a hall. This speaker is one product that I cant shake it off from my head even after 1 week of the show. The Avantages Audio Cesar full range speakers by the designer Frank Tchang. The speakers are brought in by CMY. The soundstage from this speakers was out of this world even in that small make shift  room or cubicle. Driven by a Primaluna amp and Marantz CD player, it was already showing signs that it can handle complex music and deliver a note to note sound reproduction. Bass was not shy too. Ample capability given a bigger and more treated room.

 



The Ultimate Untouchable Award

I believe it is quite unanimous to say that there was one system who ruled them all. Not so much that the equipment used were better than others but its more to acknowledge their skill to set up, tune, calibrate and make full use of their system capability to satisfy the listeners. This was one set up that can deliver both in 2 channel and Multichannel a high level of details, lively ambience, extensive bass response, sweet mids and highs. This is non other than the set up in AV Designs rooms. Comprise of the beautiful PMC Fenestria speakers, full TAD Reference series pre power amps and CD player, Bryston music player for the 2 channel and Bryston SP4 processor and Pro Audio technology subs for multichannel.

Just throw any genre of music to this system and it will just sing to you with such a grand presentation. The bass digs in deeply and extensively. The vocals were presented with such luscious voice with no sign of strain in the upper notes. The subs were calibrated to handle different type of movie soundtrack. May it be a concert or bullets flying around.

AV Designs team have put up such a brilliant showcase that they created a problem for themselves now. The problem is ...How are they going to keep up or match with this year performance in the KLIAV show 2020?






El Hefe's Final Verdict


All the products that were showcased this year were actually all top notch quality and highly regarded brands. Each of them carries their own sound signature and capability. It all depends on what the listeners preference would be. Auditioning at AV shows can be a guide but if you are really looking at buying something or upgrading, I strongly urge you to request another demo at the shop or ultimately if allowed, demo the item at home. These awards given by me is purely based on my observation and listening experience on the 2nd day of the show.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Dayton Audio B652 and Kinter K2020A+ Amp - HiFi Starter Kit



I didnt know what to expect when Tech X request me for a quick listen to this pair. I heard about its raving reviews in the USA. But initially I thought its one of those more hype than essence. Boy I was wrong.


The specs look decent enough. Not so sure why its 6 ohms than the usual 4 or 8 ohms. At 87 dB sensitivity, I can say it should be an easy drive into these speakers.



The Kinter amp is a mini sized amp with just one input available. Providing a 20 watter power to the speakers.






The overall presentation sounds big on this track called Clown by Emili Sande. Her vocal was delivered with quite high energy.  The environment of the live performance can be greatly felt and the energy of her performance can be felt throughout. First most noticeable character of this pairing is level of clarity coming from this mini size speakers.

Next up was Norah Jones singinig Come Away With Me. This further confirms the strength of this pairing lies in the area of clarity and transparency with enough energy to push the emotions across.

Putting on Whiskey in The Jar by Metallica shows a different experience though. I cant get enough the grunt that this track warrants it listener. Drums sounds a bit weak with lacking in low end response. James's vocal also sounded less convincing.

I went back to jazz and put on my favourite track Take Five. It further confirms that the speaker could not deliver sufficient bass response.While the wind instrument took centre stage, the percussion just sounded more on the flat side.

Putting something lighter but has a lot of emotions in the song was Black by Pearl Jam. Eddie's rich voice remains rich and deep. His growls was not compromised as well. The guitar intro and the bass notes were pretty deep and convincing.

All and all, I would recommend this pairing for those looking into getting into the hifi scene. It gives you an introductory exposure on how hifi should sound. Given its price point, I dont see any other pairing can deliver such powerful musicality like this.

Anyone interested can contact Tech X website.