The What Hifi? Sound & Vision show was recently conducted, August 28th – 30th, 2015 at the Ritz Carlton in Bangalore.
There were 3 floors of displays, the 6th floor having the bulk of the demonstration rooms.
Nexus Audio Video and Absolute Sound collaborated featuring a simple system with an apple laptop source into belcanto electronics feeding a pair of tiny PMC db1’s. Stillpoint footers were used liberally. Excellent sound with limited bass though.
Audio Planet’s room featured triangle speakers with Cambridge audio source and Cary electronics amplification. The Triangle Signature Delta speakers were stunning in their bass extension and superb dynamics. My personal choice for one of the top speakers at the show.
Absolute phase was demonstrating the recently introduced Harbeth shl5+ with an Esoteric source and Conrad Johnson amplification. The Harbeths’ sounded very good indeed and at-least to my ears sounded better the previous shl5 iteration.
Rivera International had the Sonus Faber Amati Futuras’ driven by Wadia source and Mcintosh amplification. Excellent sound from this elegant set up but in a second room they were showing the Sonus Faber Chamleon T speakers with their exchangeable side panels which sounded good at their relative bargain pricing when compared to the Futura.
The Octave 6s’ by Morel were being played at the MZ Audio Distributions room. Despite the modest Electronics driving the floor standers, they sounded enticing.
KEI was showing the Elac speakers. Paucity of time and surging crowds did not give me enough time in this room, but the sound was quite good.
ProFx had a large ballroom on the 2nd floor, featuring the Kef Reference speakers. They also had the Blade’s playing on Saturday afternoon paired with Electrocompaniet and Chord electronics. Ultimately though, poor acoustics of this ballroom with its large crystal chandelier and huge size did little to showcase the quality of sound that these speakers are capable of.
Moving onto DNI Home Theater – the main sponsor of the show – occupied a large hall in the basement. They had their halo product, the humongous Focal Gold Grande Utopias on display with an eye watering price significantly north of 2 crores. They also had Focal’s most recent loudspeaker introduction, the Sopra No.2 (the centre speaker) and despite the indifferent placement and pairing with budget Marantz electronics these speakers sounded outstanding, and to my ears, quite easily the best of the show.
Finally I would like to mention the efforts of Invention Audio, a home grown manufacturer out of Hyderabad. They were demonstrating their 2 channel amplifier along with a ladder DAC and the sound was noteworthy. Hope to hear more from these folks in the future
I may have missed some rooms, like the PSB NAD, Sonodyne, Dynaudio etc., but it was more due to the swelling crowds than any lethargy on my part. Overall the show was well organized if you managed to beat the crowds by coming in early. Otherwise it was difficult to try and hear the systems with all the people milling about in the listening rooms. The 6th floor rooms were all decent, acoustically speaking; however the large ballroom and basement were not really conducive for listening. If anyone was interested in the equipment demonstrated in these rooms, I would urge you to audition them at their respective dealers’ showroom before forming any opinion on their capabilities. Lastly I would like to thank Sarin Myneni for these excellent hi-resolution photographs.
PMC – [email protected]
Belcanto – [email protected]
Triangle/Cary Audio/Cambridge Audio – [email protected]
Harbeth/Conrad Johnson/Estoteric – [email protected]
Sonus Faber/McIntosh/Wadia – [email protected]
Morel – [email protected]
Elac – [email protected]
KEF/Chord/Electrocompaniet – [email protected]
Focal – [email protected]
Invention Audio – www.inventionaudio.com