Saturday, 19 August 2017

Kuala Lumpur International AV Show 2017 - Change (Or Return) Is Good!

Mr. Dick Tan officiating the show on Friday 28th July 2017

The KLIAV show this year marked a significant change in the local industry. First, the usual venue of JW Marriot was not available this year due to a major refurbishment works. The show returned to its original venue located in Sunway Putra Hotel (used to be known as Legend Hotel) near PWTC. The venue change brought along a host of changes to this year show:
  • 2 floors instead 5 floors in JW Marriot
  • Various shapes of room offered to exhibitors (more challenges in room acoustics)
  • Brands that have been upgraded to a stand alone dedicated rooms for example Beyerdynamic
  • For muslims, surau now is on the lobby level in between some of this audio room (more convenient as oppose to have to go down to ground and then go all the way up to all the 5 floors again
  • A more spacious environment especially with coffee lounge in between exhibitors. We get to chill and rest, chit chat with friends in between our demos 
  • Ample parking space with cheap valet option
  • Easily accessible by public transport
  • The layout of the rooms however, need some getting used to if you are already familiar to JW Marriot.
  • For exhibitors, apparently the loading procedure seems to be easier than JW Marriot
  • For me personally, this is the first time that I actually attended the show 2 times over the period of 3 days
  • More show case of local products- FV Euroaudio Power bank, Capt Sph SLAT, Rudd Rudy Speaker Stands, Lee BS Speed Controller, YF Fong Headphone amp

A friendly smile awaits you there...

Crowd started to grow in the very first 30 minutes of the show

I am honoured that Mr. Dick Tan actually invited me for a coffee...that lasted an hour. He shared his views on the local industry, how things are changing and in return he asked the question on how the show can help the local DIYers and products. In return, I can only share my views on where is the oil price is heading :) ! If everything goes well, I might be able to visit PMC HQ in UK if I ever get to Munich High End show next year.

The fun actually begin a week before as I received the pre show limited edition CD. Another masterpiece from our resident sifu, Jo Ki have again delivered the 'goods'. But this will be a separate review of course.

....and the work begins... This is my 3rd year on duty as an official press... and it may be the last as well...


HiFi Creations by Victor Pheh

Now, the juicy parts. 

The debut of Yamaha NS5000 monitor speakers in Malaysia. This model was launched in this show by HiFi Creations. It quickly garnered the attention of the audiophiles around as it is claimed that the performance of this Yammies can easily match more expensive speakers. Retailed at about RM65K including stands, these speakers definitely performed beautifully in the show. Blended well with the electronics behind it:

  • Kronos PRO turntable with the new power supply
  • Mark Levinson power amps
  • Absolare Pre and Phono
  • Skogrand cables
  • Frank Power Banks

Fluid, transparent and with extensive bass are just some of the traits that this Yammies have. Simply stunning in looks and sound. From the non stop traffic flow of audiophiles to this room, it was clearly among the top contenders for top sound.

The rest of the gear needs no introduction as it has been the benchmark of the show for the last couple of years. Kronos continue to mesmerise me with its shear clarity, slamming and articulate bass and top notch engineering.

AV Designs by James Tan, Tony Low and Jo Ki

You can see here how El Hefe explaining to Jo Ki how Bryston electronics work :) :). Its alwasy a pleasure to meet the humble Jo Ki and share a few laugh before getting to experience the slamming PMC monitors. Seen with me here is Mr. Foo Marn Hing. Another fellow reviewer with

AV Designs had two rooms for this show.
  • Emerald Room:-
    • Home Theatre & stereo demo.
    • PMC MB3 XBD-A Active studio monitors (latest model) Left, Right and Centre channels.
    • JVC DLA-Z1, Top-of-the-range Native 4K projector, laser light source. HDR-ready.
    • Screen Research 150" wide, 2.40 widescreen format, curved screen.
    • For stereo source:-
    • Bryston BDP-3 digital player + BDA-3 DAC
  • Quartz Room:
    • JVC DLA-X5500 projector
    • Screen Research 110" wide, 2.40 widescreen format screen.
    • Pioneer AV Receiver
    • Bryston speakers
  • Headphone demo (outside the room)
    • Bryston BHA-1 headphone amp
    • Bryston BDP-Pi player and DACs.

On 2 channel, this huge monitors presented a very authoritative bass that says - 'Hey You, Listen Up!'
They are musical even though looks industrial. The most extensive bass I have heard so far. But still delivers  a quite balanced tone when playing 2 channel music. If you have the dough, the space, a must have monitor this is. Especially at this price point.

This is one of the rare moments where we get to see the whole AV Designs workforce. A highly dedicated team that delivers year after year of excellent home theater experience and digital based music.

Maxx Audio by Max Loh, Yoon Tat and Wong KN

Dubbed as the Malaysia King of Subs, Maxx Audio have touched the heart of many HT enthusiasts with their SVS products for the past 3 to 4 years. I personally am using SVS subs, rear and elevation speakers for my 5.1.2 ATMOS set up. So, can vouch for the excellent experience each time I watch a movie.  But whats new this year is the Emotiva new line of electronics, from power amps, to digital transports, MAxx Audio presented a very tight HT experience here. This room must be the busiest room at that show where I had trouble getting in the second round of visit. Jam packed with people trying to experience Emotiva. Definitely a room for those with strong heart to manage the bass experience. 


There were quite a good selection of LPs at this show. High quality ones and some mediocre. But it is with great sadness that this time around, I am quite upset with the price of these LPs being sold here. I must say that a portion of the visitors to this show comes here to have a bargain on LPs and Bluray. Sad to see when there are companies at this show whom actually is taking advantage on the consumers by marking up the LPs pricing by up to RM70 compared to the normal price outside of the shop. Even sadder that it was even applied to the recently local reissues of Zainal Abidin's Hijau album, Search's Fenomena and Wings's Hukum Karam and Belenggu Irama. This actually drove me mad. If consumers right in Malaysia has a strong backing up of the authority, I would have complaint this to KPDNKK.

Because of this, I had to limit my purchase to those LPs that I really wanted.

Had the honour to finally meet and chat with MA Recordings owner, a Mr. Todd Garfinkle. I did a review of his album a few years back and he was well pleased with it.


CMY opted for a more passive presentation this year by showcasing their entire product line. Most of the items are on static display but it gives the visitors the opportunity to physically see each and every product they have. I particularly like the TT podium where almost all type of TT they carry was on display.

It has been 10 years of hifi and HT journey with Steve Chua. Always supportive and always accommodate my requirements.

A&L Audio

I can't go by an AV show without listening to Musical Fidelity. I am now into my 20th year of using Musical Fidelity product. At any time, one of the components in my set up will consist of an MF item. Currently, my amp M6i, M6 DAC, M1 ViNL phono and the superchargers 550K monoblocks are residing in my set up.  And here, A&L have showcased its M6SI amp and M6SCD with a pair of Dali. Built like a tank, they also had on static display the new ENCORE network players. Not sure why these were not on active mode.

 The NuVista is somehow on my wishlist growing old. If funds allow, she will be mine one day.

My HiFi Shop by Isaac Ho, Rizwan and Desmond Poon

My HiFi Shop surprised me with something unexpected. Simplicity in presenting a truthful system. Usually, dealers tend to present the whole she-bang of pre and power or monoblock amps but Isaac et al went for a simple integrated amp with the unique Dohmann Helix 1 TT and Audio Note CD 3.1 as source. With a classy presentation....Musical... hard hitting bass.. Very capable speakers... simple set up with much thought on sound delivery. Nice looking system too.
  • Dohmann Helix 1
  • Lyra Etna cartridge
  • Raidho D2.1
  • Aavik U300
  • Ansuz DTC cabling
  • Audio Note CD 3.1 
  • HRS isolation system


The 4 main Malaysian design that I was privileged to experience in this show was Capt SpH Lenco based SLAT turntable supported by Lee Beng Swee's Speed Controller, Rudd Rudy's speaker stands, YF Fong's tube pre amp/headphone amp on top of the HiFi show benchmark of FV Euroaudio Powerbanks. One more returning product is also Acoustic Platform Solutions (APS) racks.

Capt SpH is very passionate about his SLAT design turntable which a few of the local audiophiles are using it as their resident turntable. Yours truly have also reviewed this unit a few moons back. Capt gave a short summary of his design and all ears on him during the session. His turntable design was supported by Redgum electronics.

YF Fong's cute little product was previously launched at a headphone store in Jaya One. I missed that launch and this time around, I also could not get the chance to test it out. But looking at the built and design, it might outperform some other international brands.

Rudd Rudy's speaker stands was supported by Artisan Acoustics. Rudd's speaker stands and also other AV racks have also been around the market where custom designed can be purchased at a very reasonable price. The performance however is not short of some of the major brands out there.

Returning this year was also APS racks.

Centre Circle Audio by Nelson and Team

I was actually in the market to get a new turntable and was eyeing either the VPI or Clearaudio.  I have resorted to the fact that Kronos will be out of my reach unless I hit a lottery somewhere. 

VPI Prime was indeed a muscular unit. The looks itself made me drooling. The sound was also exceptionally good but I would pair it up with a set of floorstanders.

On the digital side, CentreCircle featured the Kii active speakers which is very eye catching design.  Featured here is also the Chord products which is another industry breaking design with its out of the planet design.

Zu Audio

Perfect Hifi

Perfect Hifi was another retailer that went all out displaying their range of products. The Sonus and Audio Research line of speakers and electronics, dominated their show. Not to forget the classic Linn LP12 turntable as well.

Line Magnetic

JH Labs

The Wrap Up

It was indeed a different experience this year. Different venue gives different challenges but at the same time, it creates its own merit. Happy to see new products to be launched here. To me, KLIAV show have brought back some of the memories of where it all started. But at the same time delivered another stunning shows this year. Kudos to Mr. Dick Tan and 3DotEvent.

Now, for the Annual El Hefe's KLIAV Show Awards:
  1. The Best New Product - Yamaha NS5000 speakers - HiFi Creations
  2. The Best Digital Playback - Audio Note CD 3.1 with Aavik U300 and Raidho D2.1 by My HiFi Shop
  3. The Best Analogue Playback - Tie between Kronos PRO by HiFi Creations and Dohmann Helix 1 by My HiFi Shop
  4. The Best 4K Experience - JVC DLA-Z1 Projector by AV Designs
  5. The Best ATMOS and Sub Management - SVS and Emotiva by Maxx Audio
  6. The Most Promising Award - Capt SpH SLAT Turntable
  7. The Spoiled For Choice Award - Tie between CMY and Perfect HiFi
  8. The I Want More Award - VPI Prime matched with a decent floorstander
  9. The Post Show Must Listen Award -  YF Fong headphone amp
  10. The Most Missed Product Award - HECO Direkt Speakers
  11. The Ultimate Winner - Every single one of you who attended the show
I have to single out this negative award as it really upsets me that this happened to the show this year:

  1. The Biggest Let Down - LP Sellers who marked up the price insanely