1. All the amazing headphones on display
Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, Beyerdynamic and AKG all had booths with heaps of headphones on display for people to try out, including some newly launched ones. We personally tried out quite a few, including the AKG K872, Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro, and the Sennheiser HD 599 (Look headphones to match your Noctua fans!) There were also a few nice DACs and amps on display too. And oh, at the Audio-Technica booth, a little birdie told us that the next exclusive color for 2017 could be gold or orange based. But shhh okay? 😉
2. India’s homegrown modular synth company
Modular Analog is a young startup (not even a year old!) that was started by passionate electronic music fans who also happened to be software and electrical engineers. Modular Synths were (and still are, by many) dismissed as a funny, ‘not-real’ instrument used mainly for making glitchy, weird sounds but according to these guys, they are the next best thing in electronic music and after a demo of their unit, we find ourselves agreeing. There is literally no limit to the kind of sounds you can produce from one, with the only caveat being that the things cost an arm and a leg to import. Not any longer though, with MA making their own modules and racks from all locally sourced components. While these synths can do the job just as well (if not better) than big name manufacturer, they don’t comply with the EuroTrack standard for size nor power because apparently, shrinking down the modules requires them to import components. But with how much they cost (about half the price of one you can import) and how good they perform, we are willing to let this slide. Be sure to check out their website, here.
3. Speakers that look as good as they sound
Honestly, we’re tired of seeing ugly black boxes everywhere. Manufacturers have gotten to the point that most large scale speakers sound so good that you can’t objectively differentiate between two different offerings in a blind test. Or even in a regular test, if you just remove the branding off of them.
Void Acoustics aims to change that by making speakers that not only look good but also sound excellent. They have some very unorthodox but seriously cool looking designs, that’s sure to turn heads wherever they are installed. They have a couple of their models in an eye-popping red on display but you can also get yours custom painted to match your interiors. They are made with premium materials (and a ridiculously good compression driver. One of tightest bass we’ve ever heard) and also, unfortunately, carry a premium price tag. But hey, you get what you pay for. Check them out at voidacoustics.com
4. Actually decent 3D home theaters
A few years ago, 3D TVs were all the rage, with nearly every major manufacturer having several offerings each. Those used ‘active’ 3D glasses that were bulky, expensive and required charging, all for objectively worse image quality and not-quite-there popout 3D. Thankfully, that trend died down pretty quickly. If you still yearned for cinema levels of 3D and couldn’t’ always make it there to catch that movie, well there apparently exists a solution. Jokine is a company that specializes in importing passive 3D equipment, especially for uses in the cinemas as well as home theaters. They provide a complete package of the projector, 3D polarizer and a special, highly reflective silver screen as well as installing it and providing a five-year warranty. It’s a wee bit on the pricey side but the end result is not bad at all.
5. Sci-Fi-esque active projections!
Imagine being able to interact live with something that’s projected right in front of you. That’d be pretty rad and MVR has actually managed to make this a reality. Well somewhat. They have several advanced projectors setup to mimic AR in it’s finest by letting you actively interact whatever is being projected on your nearest medium. They had a very limited demo but we had loads of fun playing with it.
6. Channel your Inner DJ
The Pioneer booth also had a pleasant surprise – turntables and DJ decks set out for people to play around with. This resulted in a huge number of people getting in tune (pun intended) with their inner DJ and channel some dank tunes into it.
7. Tunes for your fishies
Core Five is another Indian company looking to revolutionize India’s audio scene and their latest offering is a completely waterproof speaker. Now waterproof speakers aren’t a new thing per se but for a new Indian company to put out such a product (they literally demoed it in an aquarium) is indeed refreshing to see.
8. Lights, Camera…. No wait, just lights
An entire hall in the expo was dedicated mainly to stage lighting gear. The whole thing was a heady mix of bright flashy lights, brighter flashier lasers, fog machines coughing out copious amounts of whatever it is they cough out and oddly enough, bubble machines. We also bumbled our way into a seemingly secret, hidden room where a rather bemused lighting engineer explained to us the intricacies of making all the lights behave. (Threatening them with sticks or stones doesn’t have any effect. We asked). The workshop, for that’s what it was, was surprisingly good and educative and the guy running it was more than happy to answer any questions we had. If you can find the my.lights stall, we definitely recommend going in.
9. The live performances
This year, Harman Live arena hosted a slew of top notch artists like the acapella group Voctronica and music producer Sherin Varghese’s liquid bass project. These performances were powered by the latest Harman speakers which left our ears longing for more.
10. Bose’s DeltaQ showcase
Bose unveiled their latest in sound technology at the expo, the DeltaQ, a next generation array technology. They’ve employed lots of new innovations with the main one being, the ability to control the directivity, or Q of each module in the line array (hence the name DeltaQ) so that sound directed towards walls is minimized and focused instead on the audience. Bose claims current generation arrays require almost twice the number of modules compared to DeltaQ arrays. DeltaQ modules can be used to construct a J array, constant curvature or their proprietary DeltaQ array configuration. Currently, there are two speaker families that use DeltaQ, ShowMatch for temporary fixtures and RoomMatch for permanent installations.
Bonus: A wild climbing wall appears!
And oh yeah, there was a freakin’ rock climbing wall in the middle of the expo. We don’t know why the company even decided on Palm Expo but seriously, thank you. We had a blast trying to summit it and apparently, the surrounding people did too, judging from the various bouts of laughter our best climbing efforts seemed to elicit.