Jump to content
  • entries
    17
  • comments
    756
  • views
    12787

Finally, an audio show to visit! Sydney, 2023


fas42

After something like 8 years, a proper exhibition of many setups - and, it was, for me, something of a surprise. Last show the hit rate was about 1 in 10 - that is, systems that were worth listening to, more seriously, counted for a single finger on two hands; this round, it was probably better than 8 out of 10 ...

 

So, what happened? Well, probably a combination of everything moving forward - exhibitors had a better handle on what to do, the designers of gear are steadily discovering, gulp(!!), accuracy :D, and the source of the music was more consistent: nearly everyone was using a streaming service, Tidal, and that was a very rough constant. But it didn't help exhibitors that the network in the hotel was in pretty bad shape; lots of complaining, and major hiccups in the delivery of tracks to rigs, at times.

 

What did they sound like? Umm, music :) ... I wasn't constantly being reminded that "rigs have signature!!"; I felt a lot closer to the recording, without severe distortions of it being the takeaway.

 

Several highlights: first taste of the Dutch & Dutch 8Cs, and they delivered; couldn't fault the sound - as a setup should do, they just got out of way, and everything that they revealed of the recordings was very clean. Probably helped that the demonstrator really knew his stuff; he mentioned at one point that his own rig once used Apogee Duettas in a very complex combo to get the sound he was after, and that he now uses D&Ds to deliver the same experience, with "everything in one box".

 

Then, turntables were once again in top form! Previous show, they were consistently awful, in the "why did they bother!" category - most this time were at least highly enjoyable, and one that ticked every box was an all Yamaha, high end combo - nailed the classic Brubeck Time Out track.

 

No Atmos, etc, was there - or I didn't come across it. But the Elementi 'home theatre' rig made up for it, :). This is created by a mob who do full blown commercial move complex setups - and it showed! Monster screen, with probably the best projector you can buy, and monolithic speakers around you - think surround sound, with about an extra 20dB of level added to the equation. Ran clips of movie song sequences, and live music shows; 'limitless' weight to the sound - your typical cinema wasn't anywhere in the race! Was it, 'perfect'? Unfortunately, the PA style mangling of voices was quite evident; but so long as it stayed in the realm of spectacular instrumental sounds, it did fine ... no cigar, but for those who want the Ben Hur experience, it ticked a lot of boxes.

 

Downers? A few had the crazy, too much bass badly out of balance with treble, accuracy of anything was nowhere in sight; some booming rooms. Devialet with Vivid speakers, first time I've heard these, were just OK - would have thought they would have done better ...

 

Overall, a pleasant surprise - significantly higher standard than I anticipated. Which shows we are getting somewhere ... I'll add some more thoughts, in further posts.

4 Comments


Recommended Comments

On reflection, it was really pleasing to see the SQ moving in the right direction - decades ago, systems weren't even in the ball park, nearly always; they were way down the road, living in some other universe :). The previous proper show I went to had a couple of rigs in the right space, but this time the 'weird' and really off ones were the exception rather than the rule.

 

Okay, a brand I was keen to seek out was PS Audio - I've mentioned their stuff a few times recently. Took a bit to hear something that told me more - like many on the day, vinyl was ruling the roost, playing jazz; which always sounds good ^_^. The bloke almost took exception on being asked to kick off their new version of the DAC - but got it. Jazz was fine, but a bit of classical told the story: solid tonality, but the final edge of 'grace' wasn't in place. To put it in perspective, the top of the line dCS digital stack nearly 20 years ago sounded atrocious on the same type of material; this was far advanced - but it didn't have the "I want to keep listening to the music" quality to it; to be a bit more technical about it, the sweetness and drive of a string quartet that draws you in was missing. Yes, very unfair because it was show conditions - but I'm talking about pretty expensive gear that was highly rated by others, so key aspects should be in place.

 

Bass. Like every time I have ever listened to other rigs in the past the sound was either balanced, or the bass thing stood out like a sore thumb :). A dealer who did the Magnepan speakers in the last Sydney show, and was a highlight then, for some strange reason decided to throw in a subwoofer this time - badly out of whack, gave up after a couple of minutes ... a good system makes you aware of the bass line in the music, rather than that the room is throbbing away for some reason possibly to do with the track :D. The humungus home theatre setup I mentioned before had thunderous bass, but it also had thunderous midrange, and treble - it was, ummm, balanced.

 

There was a Crown reel to reel in one room, with ultra exotic tubes amp - the radio transmitter variety :) - and likewise speakers: single fullrange driver with clear plastic(?) horn extensions - very 'elegant' sound, easy on the ears.

 

Again, what was pleasing was that there were very few setups that were severely or obviously flawed - generally very solid stereo SQ, that could quite readily be evolved to the next level of fully convincing replay on any half decent recording.

Link to comment

One interesting room ... a local, as in Sydney, manufacturer who does speakers - a good lineage with previous products, of the people in it. Walked in, very small bookshelves, same size as my Edifiers, giving a good account of themselves - the chap made a point of how these speakers were "just thrown on a table, zero setup", and driven by a tiny prototype amplifier. Obviously one of the good class D modules around now, inside - "not Purifi or NCore!!" he repeated several times - but wouldn't be drawn on any of my guesses at to what it indeed was, :). But, minimal gear, and room fussing, maximum sound - he understood the equation.

 

Ah, he had a CD player, on the other side, driving more ambitious speakers - let's try The Mojo Corner, driving R&B ... hmmm, rather lacklustre; the sort of sound where you feel you have to apologise for giving him a, er, "bad recording" ^_^. Gave up fairly quickly, on trying more stuff, it just wasn't flyin' ...

 

Mentioned doing my own thing with Edifiers, and he gave the proverbial audiophile sniff - "Well, trying to do anything with that low grade stuff is a ...", etc, etc, etc.

 

Just now, fired up the Edifiers first time since the show, with that drivin' CD - ah, PRaT, size, clarity - all the stuff that gone missing, 2 days ago ... Bev, who had come along to the show, and had been in agreement with what worked, and what didn't, just laughed ... "Is that the same CD?!!" ^_^

 

Meaning? The gear in that room would have been fine, with a bit of work on them - the speakers he had were good; but the driving chain, as is, wasn't up to it ...

Link to comment

One room, which was huuuge, had Kyron and Halcro - the latter, reborn, could have meant somewhat special SQ - I walked in while it was doing the, sigh, Coal Train track, on some incredibly expensive turntable - ummm, I've hear this before, done so much better; this time, showy, biiig, but not very 'musical' ...

 

The following clip, obviously not at this show, still gives a good idea of the "house sound" they're after - not for me ...

 

 

Link to comment
Quote

Several highlights: first taste of the Dutch & Dutch 8Cs, and they delivered; couldn't fault the sound - as a setup should do, they just got out of way, and everything that they revealed of the recordings was very clean. Probably helped that the demonstrator really knew his stuff; he mentioned at one point that his own rig once used Apogee Duettas in a very complex combo to get the sound he was after, and that he now uses D&Ds to deliver the same experience, with "everything in one box".

 

There you go, just shove them against a wall, wherever, :) ... photo from elsewhere ...

 

20230430_115336.thumb.jpg.bca854199e3ebc38f947cca8140b3df2.jpg

 

Interesting, other people, on another forum, also found the Devialet and Vivid combo to not do a thing for them ... is it, that terrible "synergy" thing?! :P

Link to comment



×
×
  • Create New...