I was invited by Convoy International to the Australian Audio & AV Show 2014 in Melbourne last Friday to pamper my eyes and ears (ears, especially). The cozy room where the guys were at InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto was full with goodies for audiophiles to get excited about.
The room was full with Bluesound Australia, Bowers & Wilkins Australia, JBL, harman/kardon and Classé speakers and headphones with a variety of design and quality. It’s not surprising that the room was awarded the “Best Presented Room” during the show.
The one that captured me most was the Harman/Kardon Sabre Soundbar with around 32mm thinness setup with its 10″ 100W wireless subwoofer. You can place the subwoofer next to your TV table for a visual treat or near you couch for a more ‘explosive’ experience . It brings the entire home theater experience to a new level. It supports HDMI and also Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream your music from the phone to it seamlessly. The good 3.5mm standard jack is also present should you need to hook something up manually with a cable.
The soundbar has an IR blaster input so you can control the TV with your remote without issues (passing through).
Harman/Kardon Aura, which looks like my SoundSticks II’s subwoofer, is actually a wireless speaker system of itself with illuminating LED. It supports DLNA, Bluetooth, 3.5mm input, and even AirPlay for Apple devices. The sound filled the room comfortably as if multiple speakers were set up around me, thanks to its Omni-directional, 360º sound. The bass was also powerful, considering that the subwoofer is fitted within a single unit.
Then there was also the Onyx, a portable, wireless speaker with a unique design – perfect for partying outdoor when you go to the beach. If you are looking for something that can be carried inside your shirt’s pocket, there is the Esquire mini that comes with a 2,000 mAh battery to recharge your devices on the go. The design of all the speakers is phenomenal and I was told how far the team went to get the design right, even to the smallest detail such as having the the speaker grills’ angles to match the angle of the “/” on their brand. I was speechless.
Their new Wireless HD Audio System gives you the ability to add and manage all wireless speakers into rooms and channels (like Sonos) through Wi-Fi. Music, speakers, room setups can be managed via a Controller App. It has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface so you can just drag a music into a setup you’ve set earlier.
I also caught a glimpse of the JBL Flip 2, the successor of the original JBL Flip that I reviewed last year – definitely comes with improvements while keeping the same design and look. Saw it on JB Hi-Fi during my lunch time today if you want to pick it up.
Bluesound, a company based in Canada, is entering the Australia’s market as well. One of its most popular products, the Bluesound Node, was also on the shelf. I didn’t have a test of the sound quality on the day unfortunately, but Whathifi.com awarded the Bluesound Node Best Speaker up to £600.
It would definitely take me hours to go through each of the speakers in the room one by one, especially if I wanted to hear the sound quality and admire the Bowers & Wilkins speakers in Maserati style.
The guys over at E-HiFi kindly gave me a Bowers & Wilkins P3 headphones to review, however, and I couldn’t resist. Most audio enthusiasts know about the P3 and it has received quite a glowing number of reviews & ratings for the last couple of years.
Check back within a day or two for the full review.