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International Sound and Sight Exhibition
- Sound 'n' Sight Fantasy 2009
In keeping with the tradition for the past two decades, once again the annual event of the year for audiophiles and music lovers alike descended upon our little island state of Singapore. This year’s event was graced by a large number of visiting manufacturers giving seminars; live performances; and some pretty cutting-edge technology not quite ready for prime time yet but a prelude of things to come.

For the three days of November 6 – 8, the thousands of visitors that annually throng the Park Royal Hotel on Kitchener Road were in for a treat of great sound, great picture and many new products launched and showcased at the exhibition. The live performances were a first for this event and well received with long queues. The other highlights included a demonstration of 24/192 ‘HD’ audio recordings as the way of the future, a 3D LCD TV demonstration and for the first time, computer audio!

Let’s start off with the first room. Audio Note Singapore was demonstrating the substantial Avantgarde horn speaker called the Duo Mezzo. The Duo Mezzo is by no means a ‘Wilson Alexandra’ in size yet the sound field it can generate belies its dimensions. Sounding big and effortless, the Duo Mezzo driven from just 22 watts of a 211 Air Tight amplifier had no problem filling the large room. On display were the new Avantgarde Nano G2 and AMR’s line of electronics.

In the Audio Note room, Mr. Kazuo Kiuchi from Combak Corporation of Harmonix/Reimyo fame was at hand to speak to fans of his über-delicious and über-expensive audio tuning devices. Why are Harmonix products such expensive accessories? To answer this question, we have an interview with Kiuchi-san planned for a later part of our domestic edition.

JVC showcased their display devices of RS-15 and RS-25 which replace the RS-10 and RS-20. The new models continue the evolution with 12Hz Clear Motion Drive technology, another term for video processing to smooth out the jaggies. As ever, the picture quality was jaw dropping especially when displayed on a full anamorphic 150" screen! Together with the B&G in-wall speakers and subwoofers, this room was one of the best sound and vision demonstration highlights.

On another front, JVC drew a bemused audience with their 3D LCD demonstration. That’s right, ‘step right up folks and bring the 3D experience straight into yer livin’ room!’ The $14,000 LCD TV (3D software is non-existent at the moment so only samplers with short snippets were shown) comprises two sandwiched LCD panels and two engines to drive the picture. The mandatory 3D glasses are a tad large for kids but reasonably comfortable for an adult for the duration of a movie. Hint to JVC – get your vendor to come up with smaller 3D glasses, kids are the ones that will like this kind of thing. This product was specially flown in for the show from Japan whence it returned afterwards. Kudos to JVC for making the effort to bring something cutting edge to the show. Now it remains to be seen when the product will enter the market at a more acceptable price point and oh… the 3D software as well. In Blu-ray and nothing less, ‘kay?

Like most things Swiss, Goldmund is known for extreme quality at anything they do. At ISSE ’09, Goldmund boss Michel Reverchon was at hand to demonstrate their new flagship Mimesis 32 digital preamp driving six—yes, sixTelos 1000 monoblocks into the active Epilogue loudspeakers – one pair for the tweeters, one pair for the 6-inch midbass drivers and the third pair to drive the bass bins (4 x 8-inch woofers in isobaric configuration).

Overkill? Maybe. But aren’t most ambitious things hifi overkill?

Michel gave seminars throughout the first two days (he doesn’t work on Sundays!) on the new preamp with built-in Alize DSP processor; why he went active for the Epilogue (obviously not just to sell more amplifiers!); and to highlight developments such as the Media room concept to the audience. Again an interview in a later part of our Singapore edition is planned. And in case you need to ask, earlier passive versions of the Epilogue loudspeaker can be upgraded to active. Do give High End Research a call for more details.

Mr. Raveen Bawa from dCS was on hand to speak to fans of the dCS line of high-end digital electronics. I got together with Raveen for an interview which will be out later. Interesting insights coming up soon!

After giving up on the highly competitive market of plasma TVs earlier this year, Pioneer has since reorganized around its core competencies – audio/video for both home and car audio. Showing its strongest line of home AV products, Pioneer launched the ‘mini’ Susano AV receiver, the SC-LX82. Selling for S$4499, the LX82 comfortably comes in under half the price of the LX90 Susano while featuring most if not all the technologies. This is to be expected as technology marches on. The price vs performance value goes up and consumers are better off with the latest products.

Over at Absolute Sound, the distributor of many fine high-end brands including Naim, FM Acoustics, Boulder, Wadia and Roksan set up two demonstrations – an FM system and a Meridian AV setup. Let’s start with the FM setup whose new addition to the Resolution lineup are the petite FM108 monoblocks. Rated at 70 watts into 8 ohms, the power rating rises to 200 watts into 2 ohms with a peak power output of 400 watts at 2 ohms. This indicates the superb underrated power supply design that in no way places any limits on the dynamic capabilities of the output stage. Four units drove the FM Acoustics XS-3 loudspeaker in a vertical biamp configuration. Surprising was the choice of the Roksan Radius 5 as the analogue source. To know why you will have to wait until I am done with my interview of Roksan’s head honcho Touraj Moghaddam. Elsewhere in our Singapore issue is an interview with the very nice gentleman from FM, Mr. Manuel Huber.