Kuala Lumpur, or "KL" as it is commonly
known, is Malaysia's capital. The city where the famed Petronas Towers
are located, one of the world's tallest buildings with a height of 1453
feet, symbols for the astounding growth that has taken place in Malaysia
over the last two decades.
This show is Malaysia's biggest one for the
year (* one feedback came in that it should have been called the "KL
International Av Show"). Unlike last year's report on the Bangkok (Thailand) show,
two-channel playback takes a real far backseat in this show. While
most other major shows in other countries had more balanced presentations,
this show was dominated heavily by home theater systems - approximately 90%
of the demos/displays were on HT. The usual
mass-market hifi were in full force - Mission, Mordaunt-Short, NAD, etc.
High-end two-channel systems were very conspicuously absent, with only a
handful of representatives. For us interested in the higher-end
two-channel products, it was quick to tour the whole show looking for
high-end 2-channel demos, and we had to start all over again and just enjoy
the home theater offerings :)
Vinyl playback was likewise not represented
here. There was only one turntable we found playing, at EAudio's room,
the Linn LP12, hooked up with a Graham Slee phono stage combination.
Add in a couple of J.A. Michell budget turntables with some Trichord phono
stages only on static display at Millenium Hi-Fi's room.
CDs/DVDs/VCDs galore were on sale, and few vinyl, with the best collection
in this show at Music By Design's room.
We heard from someone however that typical local
audiophiles are more into vocals, and more vocals, like Norah Jones, etc.,
whereby the superb Blue Note reissues and other great music are ignored by
vinylphiles, but probably they just need more exposure. However, after
going around listening from room to room, vocals and drums and lethargic
warmth were indeed the order of the day. The Naim Audio room was one
of those who stayed away from this status quo, delivering better music.
We also heard that the LS3/5A room was a great room, unfortunately we got
sidetracked on our way to the room.
At any rate, our favorite home theater system
was a Pioneer all-in-one system on sale, costing about SGD 1200 / USD 750.
Amazing definition and dynamics for the price compared to the mega-buck
"high-end" home-theater demos, mostly bass sounds with recessed midrange and
with a lack of macrodynamics - no "kick". Video hardware were superb,
however, in almost all fronts. The advancement of video technology is
easily evident. And Malaysia's home-grown LCD monitor brands are very
competitive and on par with the usual foreign brands.
In general, sonics were average for most
rooms. Of course, show conditions play a part, but they could have
done better. Below are some photos of the show. We didn't have
the chance to take photos of all rooms as we did our rounds, as some were
too cramped and crowded.