INTERNATIONAL HIFI SHOW SPOTLIGHTS SOUTH AUSTRALIAN AUDIO MANUFACTURERS
Launched in 2016, the Melbourne International Hi-Fi show is on track this year to earn the mantle of Australia’s Best Audio-Video Show two years in a row.
StereoNET publisher and show organiser, Marc Rushton, along with senior contributing editor, Peter Familari, have a history of supporting local audio designers and manufacturers.
Judging by their responses, StereoNET readers are also very supportive of Australian made audio gear. They’ve asked us to make Australian-made one of the features of this year’s show.
We are responding to that request making every effort to encourage Australian brands to exhibit.
Following an intensive recent tour of South Australian audio manufacturers, Marc Rushton has pulled off a coup many thought impossible to achieve.
For the very first time, all of the South Australian speaker brands will be exhibiting their world-class models at the same venue.
The contingent comprising world-famous brands including VAF Research, Halcro and Krix, along with newer manufacturers such as Hulgich Audio, will be just one of the major drawcards at the 2017 International Hi-Fi show.
Those wondering why a revived, revamped and refreshed Halcro, a renowned electronics brand forms part of this quartet, wonder no more.
On his return from South Australia, Marc Rushton saw first-hand that Halcro has added speakers to its portfolio, offering visitors to this year’s show a world-first tantalising glimpse of Halcro amps, driving Halcro speakers, and playing Halcro recordings.
“Big things are happening at Halcro,” Rushton added.
Big as in a large electrostatic speaker that has some special features. It has no crossover so it’s highly efficient. It is also capable of high dynamic contrasts unlike other electrostatics.
Halcro CEO, Mike Kirkham told StereoNET the Halcro electrostatic is based on a design he heard in Serbia that he found deeply impressive.
We liked it so much we sent our own design team to Serbia and worked with them to refine the design. It’s even better now.
Kirkham revealed the Halcro design team has been working on a new series of electronics paying particular attention to the original DM series of amplifiers.
These are still wonderfully lucid and detailed amps. No wonder Wilson Audio and Focal have them. We’ve kept the very best parts of the original design while implementing our own contribution to the sound that we believe is even more engagingly musical.
Proving Australian audio is world-class, Kirkham spoke about the brand’s very own recording label called, Halcro Records.
I’ve just returned from Montana and the famous Snow Ghost recording studio where we worked on talented Australian singer, Mary Webb’s new album called Love Like Planets.
Snow Ghost uses Halcro DM series amps in the studio. How’s that for a bit of serendipity?
If the name Mary Webb sounds familiar, you’d be right. Mary, who also resides in Adelaide, sang to show-goers at last year’s show. Performing live in the Halcro Lounge this year, music and HiFi lovers will have the singular opportunity of comparing her live version with a recording.
Halcro’s new label will feature jazz, alternative and contemporary recordings with an emphasis on musicianship and recording quality, an approach that vyes with Linn and Naim recordings.
Krix will exhibit a comprehensive range of its class-leading loudspeakers and the brand confirms it will also be unleashing the latest and final version of its flagship Heretix model.
As befitting a stereo flagship model, the Krix Heretix loudspeaker has to be seen as well as heard. Visually and sonically it’s a formidable model and puts to rest any cultural cringe suggesting Australian audio can’t cut the international audio mustard.
The Krix Heretix can and does put Australian speaker design and manufacturing on the world stage vying for honours against the globe’s best.
A complete three-way totally active model, the Heretix employs Australian DEQX processing to time align its compliment of drivers and electronic crossover.
DEQX processing is also used to calibrate the Heretix to the room it’s used in, just like Abbey Road and other studios around the world.
Krix provides free in-home calibration of its Heretix to any buyer regardless of where they reside in Australia. The calibration is expertly done by one of Krix’s highly qualified engineering team.
No one can call VAF loudspeakers boring. The brand still harbours memories of a Rolling Stone feature that lavished praise on its speakers, as “the best bass in the world”.
VAF’s craftsmanship is legendary and so is its vibrant approach to audio genres as StereoNET publisher, Marc Rushton sampled on his recent visit there.
VAF is a revolutionary company doing things that are way ahead of any other international speaker brand. The Soundwall speaker concept is still unique and what can you say about its Platform subwoofer that doubles as a furniture piece.
What’s impressive about VAF is the meticulous attention to detail it pays to every model it manufactures. Also unique is its retail profile. Their Kent Town premises has several beautifully finished demo rooms and while stereo isn’t ignored, home cinema is clearly a focus.
VAF will have some surprise new products to please ears at this year’s show.
South Australia’s Hulgich Audio and their flagship 'Astor' floor-standing model has also impressed all those fortunate enough to hear it to date.
Each beautifully crafted and stunningly styled Astor weighs a back destroying 75 kgs and stands an imposing 1.17 metres tall. They are finished in real timber veneers and lucky buyers can have a choice of Oak, Walnut, Jarrah or teak for the sides of the cabinet and a choice of piano white or black for the front baffle.
They won’t fail to stand out from the crowd when they debut to the world at this year’s show.
The Astors have a high end sound quality and equally impressive specifications. The frequency range is 25Hz to 20kHz (+/- 3dB and a sensitivity of 86dB/1m. Impedance is a nominal 4-Ohm.
Build quality is luxurious and includes silver plated copper internal wire while the crossovers use high quality Mundorf and Jantzen components.
Reviewed by Marc Rushton recently, he said:
Across a variety of amplifiers on hand…the Astors are completely neutral. The Astor’s 10” bass driver is highly capable and digs deep when called upon and what became apparent as I delved deeper in to my playlists was the sheer power handling of this 3-way speaker.
From Daft Punk to Pink Floyd, Beatles to Brahms, there is synergy, coherency, an enveloping engagement that is as musical as it is detailed, and portrayed with finesse.
The Astors will be on song at this year’s show where visitors can hear what reviewers are raving about first hand.
There you have it, four world-class Aussie manufacturers from Adelaide and surrounds will join other manufacturers from around the country to wave the national flag this November.
See the South Australian brands in the following rooms: Halcro (Halcro Lounge) - VAF Research (Lake 1/2), Hulgich Audio (Room 1311) - Krix (Victoria Room and C2)
The Melbourne International HiFi Show will be held at the Pullman Mercure Hotel, Queens Road, Albert Park, from November 3rd - 5th 2017.
One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.