The March 2017 edition of What Hi Fi show in Mumbai had lots of two channel stereo rooms, which was great! I did not manage to get to all the rooms, and missed the JBL Synthesis room (no sign outside), which many felt sounded great. However, here is a quick impressionist tour.
The big speaker on the ground floor was the YG Acoustics 1.2, driven by Nagra solid state and a SME 20/12 turntable. Felt the sound was transparent, albeit a bit lean. Wish those fancy valve Nagras were used – the Nagras do look like audio jewellery. Also on display, though not heard, were the Spendor D9, and Spendor 200 and 100 (my first big hifi splurge was the S100, and felt sad that I couldn’t hear those). (Exhibitor: Cadence Audio)
I also briefly listened to the Roksan, Prima Luna and Klipsch in the ground floor – a very warm sound, perhaps lacking in transparency. Voices in a choir sounded more a whole than individual, but a lovely listen. (Exhibitor: Cinebels).
The room that I wish I hadn’t walked into was the one where they demonstrated the Nordost cones. A really good demo with and without cones, and a combination including brass tipped (used where there are transformers), the less expensive aluminum tipped and the more expensive titanium tipped. It is to be used in combination, and with it, the sound was richer, less boxier and more vivid. Need one, need 3! However, try it at home before splurging – the huge difference in sound may not be to your liking (Exhibitor: Innovative Information Technology, using Metronome CD player, Naim integrated amplifier and Image Speakers).
For me the most natural and best sound of the show was the Gamut system. Very natural, organic and befitting the top dollar price. Carried by the friendly proprietor of Hermit Audio.
Exhibitor KEI had two rooms, one with Elac and Primare and the other Tannoy and Hegel, both with Denon CD players. The Tannoy and Hegel room had a better sound (more organic), and I did miss the magic of Elac and Norma that was played last year. The Elac and Primare had a punchy sound.
One more product which was fun to listen to was the Blue Node Soundbar, used mainly with television, and versatile with audio as well. Was it audiophile? No. Did it make music? Yes.
The Audio People and Stereo Trend Pvt Ltd exhibited a Bryston based system with Monitor Audio speakers. The sound was big with plenty of dynamics, but this wasn’t my favourite combination as far as tone goes. The Bryston gear was well finished and would have loved to hear them with a different pair of speakers (and perhaps vice versa).
KII Audio was a lifestyle product with great sound. Very clear, and happy to play loud, they were nice looking. Suited rock and jazz a lot. This was demoed by Absolute Sound and if you want a good looking minimalist approach, your money is well spent here.
Sun Group brought in Devialet paired with B&W speakers. Now how I wish I could make a mocking remark about Class D – however, this did sound fine, transparent and effortless. There was warmth, but no bloom – I missed the latter.
Burmester demonstrated a sound that was polished and very high end, with good resolution. I am normally used to warmer sounding equipment, but this was great. Exhibitor was Leviathan Systems Pvt. Ltd.
Marantz room spun vinyl using the Marantz TT. The Marantz 14 series components (CD player and integrated amplifier) were also in use with top of the line TAGA Harmony speakers being used. The combinationworked well with rock, but did not bring out the superlatives with solo classical- overall musical. Worth again listening with different pairings to get a flavour of each of the component. Exhibitor MZ Audio Distribution.
There you go – that was most of the show for me. Loved the Gamut. Felt like I needed to get the Nordost home. Leched at few more. Lots of people and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
Photo Credit: Joshua Singson and Santosh.M