July 27, 2012

KLIAV 2012, My Favorites And Other Top Contenders.

As with previous year's post KLIAV show discussion, many asked about my favourites. Take a look at the systems listed here, one common denominator are the speakers of European make, majority British too! The other factor shared about the systems listed here is that they are mostly three component systems, consisting of a source, integrated amp and speaker. Simplicity is better?

Who knows. It may also show my personal preference with a disposition towards simpler, less ambitious, and typically British sound. What ever the reason, congrats to all those who set up and demo-ed these systems listed below.

My Favorites, the top 3 systems on demo:
Swedish Statement/Audiomatic really made a statement this year, by making my joint favorite KLIAV 2012 demo, there's a caveat, this honour only goes to it when demo-ed with the excellent Sperling turntable! The Vitus Signature  series electronics and Marten Design Bird MKII speakers are certainly up to scratch, when it comes to sound quality stakes. However with the Sperling turntable as source, this system went from sounding very good to musically extra ordinary! Here's another tip, despite being bombarded with sub-sonic frequencies from the AV demos on both sides of the room, Koo continued to play music at reasonable volumes, instead of competing with the AV demos, smart move! 

Why declare a joint favorite? My heart was smitten by this little system, demo-ed by Audio Definition, comprising of Orpheus electronics and Ktema speakers. Again this joint honour comes with an exception, that only when the little Ktema Acordo is used on the occasion. Otherwise, this system may not have made this honour, if still a rather good sounding system.

1st runner up goes to the Pro-Ac K6 speaker, powered simply by a Naim digital media player and integrated amp. Again, this system was not trying to compete in the loudness war, but injected digital music with the kind of PRAT and tonal colours that only the British can do. Congrats to Chuah of CMY Audio & Visual for doing a fine job!

Perfect Hi-Fi may not be perfect, but Jepson took his time setting up this demo, comprising of top drawer equipment list like, DCS Pucini CD player, Pass Labs amps, and KEF Blade was impressive. However, it was the KEF LS 50  speaker that was designed to celebrate KEF's 50th Anniversary in the business, caught my attention and out shined it's big brother. It's quite possibly the best budget speaker in the market retailing for under RM$5k today!  

Other Top Contenders.
This simple system presented by Acoustic Alchemy, using Triangle Genese' Quartet and BFA amplifiers was said by many of my buddies as their "Fav" and I understand why, it's an easy on the ear system, that does little if no major sonic errors. There's not much sonic "handle" on this very neutral, yet non clinical sounding system either. Again the demo was done at very sensible volumes, by non other than the rep from BFA, Bosko Pjescic himself! I threw him 10 Qs too.

If this looks familiar to you, it's because you're indeed familiar with the LS3/5a speakers, done KI method! Yes, it's Jo Ki's excellent sound quality and musical demo, and he has done it in consistent fashion, year after year! And by the way, this guy is non-profit, but he does profit from the joys of music sharing and passionate hifi ideology exchange, all the more commendable for his noble deeds and contributions to the KLIAV show, music and hifi hobby.

This Maxx Audio demo deserves a mention, especially when doing the Exposure electronics & Triangle Color speakers. The sound has pleasant tonality, subtle texture cues often missing in bigger systems. It's my "budget system demo of the year!"

Sound Gallery demo-ed his Estelon speaker which not only looks impressive, but sounds accurate too,........

Just like it's musical partner in crimes, th Absoluta integrated amp & Loit Passeri CD player. It a beautiful looking and great sounding system, which reflects the owner's personal style for the finer things in life. Audiophile lifestyle does not come better looking than this! 

Hi-Way Laser makes our top contender this year with an active ATC SCM 50 and pre-amp, partnered to the Ayre DX-5 AV engine. The secret weapon of this system was the Trinnov DSP room correction system. The sound was smooth, detailed and highly involving, especially with Pink Floyd tracks!

After making a splash last year, Mario Binner and Audio Note, may have decided to go low key with this entry level demo, consisting of Audio Note CD 1.1X and OTO SE Signature integrated amp with the Snell type J inspired AN-J speakers! while the sound lacks detail and subtle harmonic cues compared to last year's demo, the simpler system is no less musically involving. And Mario's music demo choice is spot on as usual.  

AV Designs decided to focus on the PMC Twenty series speakers this year, again mated to Bryston electronics and JVC's state of the art D-ila 4k projector. Pictures were crisp, detailed and contrast brilliant, yet colours were projected naturally without bleaching or saturation. While this system runs away as the winner on the visual stakes, the audio side was actually rather enjoyable too, especially with that Simply Red "Live" concert take. If your idea is audio and visual in one system, then look for the guys called James and Tony.

I wish to congratulate everyone listed here for doing a fine job at the KLIAV 2012. The shows a winner and the organising chairman, Dick Tan deserves a pat on the back, for his un-tiring efforts to make every show, just a little better every year.

And by the way, some may not agree with my choices of top demos listed here, if so then kindly share your top 5 rated systems in the KLIAV 2012, just for a bit of variety's sake. It would be fun!

Here's looking forward to the next KLIAV 2013.

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