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Brussels HiFi Show

Discussion in 'Shows & Events' started by emperorz, Oct 3, 2005.

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  1. emperorz

    emperorz
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    Since I live just up the road from this event, I thought I'd drop in. It was a US style Hotel show with lots of little hotel rooms full of equipment plus a few open exhibition areas.

    In the usual Belgian style the whole thing seemed designed to stop you buying anything. For anyone who hasn't tried shopping in Belgium, it's like they all saw the Monty Python "Cheese Shop" sketch and took it very seriously. So my apologies to any manufacturers who get dis'd. Your kit's probably great. But not here.

    So, TEAC room playing Esoteric's through TAcT amps (why?) and a pair of giant ProAC floor standers. Diana Krall jazz standards (tum te tum). CD sounded nice with that touch of wrap-around sound that really good stereo has. So I asked "got any SACD?". Nice man said: "It'll be here in an hour". Presumably the cat ate it. Bass was bloated. Lots of grain and digital smear. Not much better on SACD. Shoulda used a decent class-A amp and some resolving speakers. Had pictures (!) of their other kit including the Rubidium clock for 18K ish. Nice little radios though.

    So, noone had tried to sell me anything, and the reps were guarding the coffee from plebs such as myself. I did get some mints from some dodgy cheap speaker company (Canton) who were trying to blow some old dear's wig off with a wall of sound. At least it wasn't bloody Diana bloody Krall or even worse bloody awful Phil go-to-hell Collins. Who will figure more later.

    So, up the stairs, second floor. Faced by what looked like a Science Museum exhibit of Vincent kit. Looked lovely. None of it plugged in. Speakers that loooked remarkably like B&W Nautilus kit. Huge prices. Utterly utterly pointless since you weren't allowed to hear any of it. Possibly the prettiest headphone amp though with a glowy tube and everything.....hifi for the profoundly deaf?

    Next up, Hitachi. Crappy plasmas, dodgy projectors ("why are their faces green mummy?"), absolutely no product collateral at all. Pathetic. Another room with some boring speakers. Showing Phil Beelzebub Collins singing about some bird who left him. She should have killed him. Oh well....

    A bunch of cable guys (WBT connectors looked cool, and Chord were there doing, errrm, chords). Lovely. And pointless. Cos you couldn't actually buy any of them.

    Sennheiser room which was spookily empty. Same museum atmosphere. Same old-dears looking a little confused like they were looking for the Bingo.

    A big room with some pictures of Tannoy speakers. A nice man who played a CD (something jazzy and awful, but at least he took the godawful Enya hold-music off). A Chord clam-shell CD player through a dinky Chord amp (lovely 900 quid(!!!) remote control) through a pair of ugly ugly Tannoy Turnberry speakers (with A Rel bass helper).

    Absolutely sublime sound. Big room helped, but those speakers are fantastic. Also expensive, but at least they work. Total wrap-around 3-D sound. Mid-range like chocolate and just enough bass to flutter the heart. As opposed to trying to kill large animals at 100 yards, but that comes later. Also look like your Grandads speakers, so nul points for style.

    The new Tannoy home-theatre titchy speakers (Arena?) were okay, but in the big room got lost, plus they were next to the fabulous (if homely) Turnberrys. Need auditioning in a small room I think. Nice pictures of their less ugly coaxial range. So might be good if they've got an ounce of that full-range coaxial thing going on. Did I mention the Turnberry's?

    Some other rooms I forget, mostly playing Phil the C Collins, or Diana sh*tbag Krall, or just full of sales reps mooching in the corners hoping noone will ask a question. Occasional smug Russian type (polo neck, gold chains) with slightly "done" blonde being schmoozed. Maybe they'll drop 90 grand on the Teac Esoteric stuff.

    Pioneer were there. A rather jolly chap took time to talk to me. It turned out he was Dutch, putting off some reverse culture-shock. Anyway their screens were okay, albeit playing more dodgy music videos. This time Eagles who apparently reformed just to make a DVD for annoying people with an ounce of taste. First screens to really get the 3-D thing going. Helicopter shots over cliffs made your stomach go funny, and the colours were very nice. Best picture here with a 506 showing Astra 1080. Bloody lovely, but grass went all smeared and horrid on movement. Maybe my viewing distance of a foot or so didn't help. More likely this is a compression and processing artifact. Deinterlacing of 1080 is not so good maybe. 'Merkins tell me thats why they like 720p.

    A room full of Naim stuff where the reps actually turned away and hid. I was starting to worry about my personal hygiene. Darkened lights so you couldn't read any of the labels on the equipment. No catalog. Nothing plugged in except for a CD and amp (plus power pack). A curious 'all-in-one' prototype (NV something, it was a bit dark to see) trying not to be noticed on a stand and some jazz playing at background levels. Absolutely pathetic. Lovely equipment stands though! I might get some.

    Bunch of CD's, albums, t-shirts "I went to the Brussels HiFi Show and it was ****!!!!" etc.

    Up to the 27th floor. Lots of little rooms. Room with strange speakers with wooden flying saucers on top. Sounded, well, woody. Room with some of the nastiest speakers I have ever clapped eyes on (Terrazzo?). Who knows what they sound like? Not anyone at the BruFi show as they weren't plugged in.

    Audiac gave me the giggles. They had a pair of WATT Puppies driven by a million watt pair of Mark Levinson amps plus ML disk players in a tiny room. About twenty people sat down and they did an American demo. Diana Krall (aaaaaaaargh!!!!) just about popped the windows out with the first double-bass note. I believe they were demonstrating dynamics to deaf people. It was a joke. Bloody loud though. Definitely gave you that stomach churning gig feeling. Which was nice.

    Another room filled with Ellipson speakers. Sounded quite nice actually. Ugly as sin unless you like 1920's abstract sculpture crossed with Dr Who black plastic. Clips of Phil Collins, however. So didn't stick around to give them the full earing.

    Fujitsu were in the house. Had all their screens out, at double the price of their neasrest competitor. The Panny ones looked nice, but the others were washed out and horrid. Probably set on factory torch mode since faces (clips of Transporter 2) looked a bit deathly. The panels come with a really disgusting dun metal box for plugging stuff in. AVM2 has a common problem of plasmas and LCD's in that still scenes look lovely, but moving scenes just go to mush. I think manufacturers need to have their heads bashed together. Its been known since the twenties that you need blanking between frames. Instead we get horrible sample-hold, even on the Plasmas. The projectors seem to be less bothered. Perhaps they add some flicker with their spinny wheels or something.

    Fujitsu didn't display their speakers. Shame. I'd have liked to hear their TDz bullet speakers. On the PJ was Star Wars (hooray!). This was the second favorite clip after Phil ****ing Colons and his sweaty scalp.

    Finally, 30th floor. Passed the Belgian equivalent of those girls who lie across ferraris and yachts to entice you to sign on the dotted line. Except these were sullen and determined to prevent you ever considering buying a new hi-fi. Maybe they get special "**** right off" training or something. Up here we had some Totem speakers. The funny shaped ones. They were in a nice big room, sounded detailed but flabby and congested in the mid. Probably because the cunning French had introduced some Einstein (I kid you not) semi-tubed sources and amplification. They were rubbish. A terrible match for the speakers which need something with a bit of grip and muscle. These were reflex floorstanders after all. The guy winked at me and, with a flourish replaced some strange but interesting Brazilian music with, god damn those French to hell and back, Diana bastard effing Crawl!! I had to leave before I killed someone. I swear no jury would have convicted me, but I was wearing my new jacket and one must keep up appearances.

    Next door was the second best sound in show. In a vast room with just some frightened sales peeps pretending to be invisible behind some plate-glass windows converted into furniture, was a little stand with a NAD CD player, an ikkle flat Nad amp, and a pair of Dali Ikons. Music was nothing special, but most importantly wasn't the She-Satan. But these speakers are awesome. The hybrid tweeters are just lush. Lovely lovely sound. I'd like to hear more ribbons if that's what they do.

    There was a room with a huge screen driven by A Sim2 3 chip thingy. Very loud cooling fans! Showing (wait for it) Star Wars (hurrah!) and looking a bit on the rosy pink side. Lexicon doing duty as in all the home-theatre setups. So the sound was strong but somehow a bit boring. Sorry Lex fans, but they just don't do music as standard. Possibly the US voicing which tends to midrange warmth over detail. Most obvious thing was just how crap DVD resolution looks on a big screen. 'Film-like' seems to mean flat and lacking detail. Roll on hi-res.

    And that was it. Interesting to see the tech. Even nicer to hear it. I do hope other exhibitions try a little harder, but even this one gave me room for thought. Coaxial speakers, or those ribbon tweeters. Hmmm.......
     
  2. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    Wow, very comprehensive review! :smashin:

    Btw was the Sim2 you saw, the C3X?
     
  3. emperorz

    emperorz
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    I'm guessing it was. It was a little difficult to tell due to the setup, but it was waaaay better than any other projector there, very bright and no artifacts even on the big screen they were using. I'm guessing with hi-res material it will be unbeatable except maybe by other 3-chippers or CRT pjs.

    "comprehensive" :) Tee Heee, it reads a little harsh, but I wrote this in a hurry (lunch-break) and the show didn't know what it wanted to be! It certainly didn't make me want to rush out and buy the kit on show, except for the good speakers and a Pioneer 506 fed by 1080 material.

    Also apologies to any Diana Krall fans. No apologies to Phil Collins fans :p
     
  4. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    The C3x seems great value for money. I'm hoping to see it in action at the What Hi-Fi show next month, don't know why I torture myself though, I just don't have that kind of money...!
     
  5. Music Fan

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    I'm belgian. What do you mean exactly ?
    Have you had several bad experiences with shops in Belgium ?
     
  6. jendo

    jendo
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    lol I think you are wasting your time, this thread is almost 4 years old and the op hasn't posted for 3 years.
     
  7. Music Fan

    Music Fan
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    :oops:
    I hadn't seen that he didn't come for a long time.
    Anyway, i would be curious to know what do strangers think of belgian shops.
     
  8. Julie

    Julie
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    :eek: On that note I think it's time we closed thread.
     
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