Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Roundup of KLIAV Show 2016 - El Hefe's Tour and Personal Award

It was the time of the year again where audiophiles, headfi-ers and AV nutheads locally and neighbouring countries would be in JW Marriot hotel to attend the Kuala Lumpur International AV Show, organised by 3DotEvent. Its a 3 days (22nd to 24th July) event and Yes! It was done after hari raya and fasting month. 

Due to work commitment, I could only attend on Saturday 23rd July. I arrived at 1015 am and met up with Mr. Dick Tan first, looking sharp in a suit as usual. 

Again this year, I was given the chance to be in the show as a press member. Thanks Mr. Dick Tan. I went down to the GF to kick start my visit cum exploration.

A bit disappointed that I was not allowed to enter a second time after I went out for lunch. Was stopped by an unfamiliar staff saying that Press was only allowed in on Friday 22nd July.  But at the same time, he didn't really know where and who he needs to clarify with that I was there on duty. He kept asking me to go to the registration booth. It was embarrassing and I kind of lost the mood to listen to more systems. But I kept calm and after about 5 minutes, a senior staff came out and explained to him that its OK for me to go in. A brief explanation from the senior staff indicated that there were incidents where the Press member passed their tag to others to gain free access! 

My personal objective:
  1. To demo 4K display and purchase a UHD BD player
  2. To finally get into an Dolby ATMOS and DTS-X set up and demo SVS Elevation Speakers on its debut here
  3. To demo the combo of Kronos (and its new PSU) with Absolare amps
  4. To demo Musical Fildeity ENCORE system
  5. To find bargain LPs and Bluray discs

The prizes for the lucky draw. I never win though :(


A big disappointment for me and the FB Komuniti Blu Ray Disc of Malaysia as we have to continue to wait for the availability of a UHD BD player. Samsung had a player on demo here but still no news on the launch date in Malaysia.  


Desa Home Theater

The usual bargain section of Desa Home Theater was also there but it looks like the discount level is not as attractive as last year. Maybe due to the weaker currency we have now.


Asia Sound

Asia Sound displayed both static and active Rega TT systems. And what attracted me most was this Limited Edition of Queen's RP1 



Klipsch (especially the 70th Anniversary Heresy speakers) and TEAC Hi Res USB TT were the main highlights presented by Kenny. 


Oppo maintained their booth like last year, show casing their headphones, headphones amp and BD players.


CMY Room 1 - Naim and Dynaudio

CMY One Utama big guy Steve Chua

I was a bit skeptical on this room at the beginning, knowing that the sound in last year's bigger room was not as per my expectation. But, Steve Chua has managed to set up this Naim Statement system with much improvement that made me quite impressed with Naim. Bass was taut, mids were crisp and the highs was just sweet and luscious. Steve have managed to transcend this system to a level that shows more of its potential. Congrats Steve Chua.


The Return of Musical Fidelity by A&L

For those who follow my blog, should know by now what Musical Fidelity means to me. Year in year out, I feel slight disappointment not to see MF in its true glory in this AV show. This year, A&L presented the Nuvista top notch series of MF, coupled with Dali speakers. For a CD based system, I find this set up was quite the sound that I am very familiar with but much more meaty. However, I was looking forward to hear the latest product of MF which is the ENCORE all in one system. Unfortunately, A&L did not manage to get this on time for the show.


Various Systems - ProAc, Naim, Roksan, Dali. Linn, KEF, Wadia, Project etc



Another British brand that I miss dearly in the past few years. This year they came back with a bang. The AVR can really shake one's booty with its powerful bass reproduction. I thought that they installed 2 subwoofers in the room. Turn out to be NO subwoofer at all. However, they should have gotten a bigger room to properly display its true potential.



Another brand that needs no introduction. One of those brands that you will not mistake it for another. From its casing design to its sound signature. Clean, transparent and honest music reproduction.

HECO, BMC, Loit and Magnat by Audio Art

Three rooms! Audio Art took three rooms to set up 2 hifi systems and 1 home theater system.

The Heco and BMC already impressed me last year. And this year, it just got better especially with Eric Suh explaining to me about of the Heco design. The first combo of Heco and BMC sounded really authoritative, good control on low and high notes with quite an upfront mids. Was also surprise that they managed to present the system with high clarity in this small room. Kudos on their effort in acoustic management. 

 HECO Concerto Grosso

With David Kestez and Eric Suh - Who is briefing who?

Behold the glory of BMC!

At this price, it can match a number of more expensive speakers!

The Heco Direkt speakers - my new obsession. I want them to be in my house.

Simple and retro design with punch and poise that can match a number of traditional shaped speakers.

I was fully impressed with the capability of these retro looking speakers. With high WAF and adaptability to a living room deco, these pair could sell itself. The sound was  mesmerizing with high clarity, sufficient bass production and sweet luscious presentation of vocal. Very much the sound you would want to listen to with no fatigue and relaxing mood.


SVS Set up by Maxx Audio

Max Loh and Yoon Tat did it again this year. With an unorthodox approach of subwoofer+speaker+amp wiring set up.For those who managed to experience the surround sound of this SVS and Denon system, you might be wondering on how the bass was produced with such punch and impact bass kick. All I can say, the sub was not connected directly to the Denon sub out as the normal practice. Contact Max for further info on this unorthodox set up.

And of course.... the debut of SVS Elevation Speakers...which yours truly already have a pair as front upfiring speakers for my recent Dolby ATMOS and DTS-X upgrade. ..... and the sound is truly amazing. These are not just acting like presence speakers. Its actually reproduce the atmos signal as it was intended for.


Headfi Galore by Jaben and Star Pickers Audio

The two usual headphones distributor Jaben and Star Pickers Audio made various headphones and headphones amps available for demo and testing. I had another listen of the Audeze EL8 as I was eyeing for it since last year. But again this year, I some how got put off by the 'non-responsive' staff of Star Picker for a second year in a row. Requested for the cable to the headphones and waited for 10 minutes and they just entertained some other visitor who came in after me. The same thing happened last year. Maybe I have to be active again in the headfi scene before getting some basic respond.


LP Galore

To drown my sorrow of non existence of UHD BD player and ownership of Audeze EL8, I ended up with some retail therapy on the various LP stalls. 25 pieces.... and still listening to them.


PMC Twenty5.24 with Bryston Electronics by AV Design

This is what I call simplicity at its best. James Tan and Tony Low have never failed to impress me with how they set things up. These newly launched speakers have definitely leaped into a higher level compared to its predecessor Twenty series. Made me thinking of upgrading my Twenty.23 to these. The slim PMC cabinet and its transmission line technology sounded big even in a decently sized room. No struggle at all to deliver substantial, rich and luscious sound.

Yes Tauke James, PMC is also in my heart.

..................And on the AV side, this is where I experienced the the true 4K experience. AV Design imported a UHD player from US and feed it into the latest JVC 4K projectors and displayed it on to a high curve projector screen. This video does not justify its true magnificent display, but you can imagine how frustrated I am that UHD player have yet to be launched in Malaysia.


Malaysian Debut - Acoustic Platform Solutions (APS)

Happy to see the participation of the Malaysian company APS that provides engineered racks and stands for your audio needs. I reviewed one of their speaker stands a few moons back and I can say that if I ever go back to bookshelf speakers, I will get an APS.


The Mighty KRONOS Pro, ABSOLARE 845s, SKOGRAND and Frank Powerbank - HiFi Creations Increased the Performance Bar 

This must be the new benchmark of audio set up in a show, at least for Malaysia. Not only the sound stage but the overall professional, high class, luxurious look of the room as well. With a guest reception area separated from the main listening hall, it made me feel like walking into a prestigious red carpet event.

Victor Pheh of HiFi Creation have thought through almost every aspect of the show. From having the principal of the Kronos and Absolare brands to the usherettes that woo the visitor with their charm. On the technical side, the power management was done with a series Malaysian pride Frank Powerbank.

The sound from Kronos Pro reminded me of the few months I had the Kronos Sparta in my house for a review. Only that this sound even much much more engaging. Very unfortunate that they had issues with the Absolare amp but the level of commitment from the principal was outstanding. He brought in the technician from Turkey immediately to get the unit fixed and it was up and running again on Saturday by 5 pm. I had the opportunity to listen to both set up of Kronos; with Magnet power amps  and Absolare 845. I have yet to hear any set up that can match this level of sophistication. Some might argue that the system can sing even much better with other speakers, but the Ocean Five speakers still had a unique musical expression. The overall presentation was musical, airy and excellent sound staging. And not forget to mention that this is and still is the quietest turn table I have ever experienced. I do miss having the Sparta in my house. With the new power supply for the Kronos Pro, it upped the ante to a level that is near perfect in my book.

Congrats to Victor, Louis Desjardin, Kerem Kucukaslan, Frank Voon and James Chin.

Yes....it is a hard work for the press!

Yes Victor, I had the Kronos Sparta in my house and now I am missing it!


Seductive Frenchy - Devialet

Devialet went really big this year with a few visitors went home with this BB8-look-alike sensation. It can go loud effortlessly. filling up a big venue with pure excitement and good sound.

Summary and Personal Award

Taken from my summary in audiofi.net:

............ And here is the list of my El Hefe's Personal Award:

  • Best Impact Debut - SVS Elevation Speakers by Maxx Audio
  • Best Bass Management for Home Theater - SVS system by Maxx Audio
  • Best Digital Based HiFi Sound - PMC twenty5.24 with Bryston by AV Design
  • Best Analogue Based HiFi Sound - Kronos, Absolare, Skogrand, Frank PB by HiFi Creations
  • Biggest Disappointment - Non-availability of UHD BD players for sale
  • Best Video Display - AV Design for its full 4K video with UHD player, JVC projector and curved screen
  • Best Surround Sound Experience - Audio Art for its ATI and Magnat THX set up
  • Best Improved System - Naim Statement and Dynaudio by CMY
  • El Hefe's Sleepless Nights - Heco Direkt speakers by Audio Art
Overall Award: Visitors to the show. Without your support, this show will never happen. 

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