Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Kuala Lumpur International AV Show 2013

Book your calendar, increase your credit card credit limit, sell off your gold.... And come and spend your money on hifi bargains...and help Malaysia's economy...hehehe....

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Oppo iPhone/iPad App

I have been using the Oppo player for a good 1.5 years now....and only now that I found out that the player offers an iPhone/iPad app to fully control the unit. Not that the supplied remote cannot do that but after trying out the app, I find that the player is more responsive to the app rather than the remote unit itself. As long as your player is connected on the same wifi network with your phone, the app will detect the player.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Bryston Middle T Has Arrived

The younger sibling of Model T has arrived. One can demo it at AV Designs now.

RAVE Systems Post Launch Event: Frank's Power Bank/Distribution Box

Clean power to hifi is like clean air to human :) Thats me trying to be philosophical heheheh...

My last but not least focus was on the local power hero Frank's power supply equipment.

The power bank....as explained by a fellow forumer in hifi4sale.net, is to imagine the power bank to be a water reservoir. Whenever there are shortage of water supply, the reservoir will top it up. So the power bank basically will supply the enough juice to the hifi system.

Anyhow, these units are making a wave in Malaysia hifi scene. Its like a 'must have' unit along with your precious hifi system. During the launch event, Frank set up a DB and also ground filters with the power bank.  I was informed that the standard power supply from the hotel's wall socket is just insufficient to power up the set up that RAVE have put in the show. 

I cant really comment on how the power bank affects the entirety of the SQ from the hifi set up as I have not listened to the hifi set up without the power bank, but testimonial from Gary Koh himself....and I quote:

'Color me impressed too. Considering that we were in a hotel room at a show, I was quite surprised by the excellent dynamics and quietness the system showed. Definitely the Frank Power Bank played a part.'

I have yet got the opportunity to try the Power Bank in my system, but just looking at the built quality of the unit, I can see that Frank pays attention to details. And speaking to the man himself, I have nothing but utmost respect to this local hero to many Malaysian audiophiles.

I am always intrigued by the clean power supply theory and do believe that it is important. But I have a lot of concern on power surge and how it will damage my set up, hence still using a surge protector as the front guard...namely the PureAV PF50.... Most audiophile will curse me for putting a surge protector in the my hifi set up....but....if this set up is damaged from lightning...it will take me another few years before I can start up another set up.

I think I better consult Frank for further advice :)

Frank's unit are made to order and from what I hear, customer will have to wait to get their orders made. Not because of poor customer service.....but there are that many orders that Frank is working on.

For more details of Frank's Power Bank and other product, do visit his website www.frankacoustics.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

RAVE System Post Launch Event: Tombo Audio - My Toys

Opposite the Genesis 2.2jr demo room, lies another smaller set up of Jadis, Wilson Benesch speakers, Genesis Series 7 speakers, Viola, Stello CDT....and the product that I wanted to see/hear about ...the Tombo Audio tweaking items...

Tombo Audio Passive Power Conditioner underneath a Stello CDT100

Tombo Audio Isolation plate

Tombo Audio Cable Elevators/Lifters

Tombo Audio XLR and US Receptacle chargers

Tombo Audio RCA chargers

Tombo Audio Magic Spike

Mr Vattana is as his usual obliging self, explaining the benefit of these products. There are a few members from our local forum www.hifi4sale.net asked me the question on the impact of having these items...and also the cost and where to purchase them. To some or many, these items can be just another snake oil.

The main idea of all these items is to tackle the ever famous vibration, resonance etc issues. All the items were already set up so I didnt get the chance to compare the set up between with and without these tweaks. What a predicament...so what did I do????

I got a few toys for myself ..hehehhe...Got myself 4 pieces of RCA chargers for RM250 and a pair of cable lifters for RM160.

The RCA chargers, I suppose act similar to caps on unused RCA inputs/outputs on your devices. I only tried  using them on a MF M6 CD player (RCA output) and M6 DAC (RCA output).

The cable lifters is made of wood and has a unique design of one steel and one brass ball bearing inside it.

Putting these 2 items into my system, a slight different in the overall detail of presentation was quite evident. I played Song bird by Eva Cassidy, there were percussion sounds that I could not hear before. Very odd. Not sure whether its the RCA chargers or the cable lifters.

Been using them for 5 days now....and I swear every track I play, there were details that I could not hear before. I kid you not. At first I thought my mind was playing tricks on me but listening to my system every day..... with different tracks....there is just something in these Tombo Audio product that is giving the really crisp details of music. As if that it took away some restrain from the tracks and just let the track flow.

Tombo Audio is based in Thailand but slowly but surely have started to build its reputation amongst Malaysia Audiophile scene.

RAVE Systems Sdn. Bhd. is kind enough to be their representative in Malaysia. If anyone is interested to try to these items out, you can visit the shop at Loy 1.4, Level 1, PNB Darby Park, No. 10, Jalan Binjai 50450 KL. You can also call Uncle Edwin and Mrs. Agnes Tan  on 03-21632818 or 012-3241745

Also visit www.tomboaudio.com or find them on FB.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

RAVE Systems Post Launch Report - TechDAS Air Force One TurnTable

TechDAS Air Force One - One for the Black Disc Lovers

Seriously....I would have bought this TT just for its physical look......if I had the money of course :)

Another session where language was no barrier for hifi and music lovers. Mr. Hideaki Nishikawa had a translator present to assist him explaining his masterpiece. This TT maestro used his previous experience in Stax and Micro-Seiki into this high tech turn table. 

My full salute to him for still being energetic at his age.

There are tooooo many features to mention here but it looks like he took into account every element of a TT to come up with this design. Among the unique features that I fancy:

1. 4 different utilization of air element...bearing, vacuum, suspension and chamber

2. For the suspension...he also fluid/gel + air

3. 10" and 12" tone arm can be used and for the special sizes like 10.5", it can be custom designed to fit.

4. It offers 3 different upper platters and to the question why asked by yours truly, Mr. Hideaki explained that this was to give owners the freedom to choose different material to suit their listening preference. In summary, the 3 upper platters give different sound characteristics:

  • Duralamin...provides accuracy and 'high speed' audio
  • Stainless steel - deep old analogue sound
  • Metachrylate - sweet like european sound.

I would describe this TT provide such a clean static free sound. It might be a clean vinyl but one would question whether it was CD playing if the unit was tucked away in another room.

Playing lounge jazz, the sound of the percussionist hitting the crown on the ride cymbal was so natural sounding without any painful high pitch sound. The hollowness of a jazz tuned tom2 made my head shake in disbelief how this unit can transform and deliver such a pleasant jazz atmosphere into the room.

The piano notes was also well presented with precision and balanced sound.

Vocals was where my heart just melted listening to the mellowness and yet full energy of one of the tracks played.

Playing Miles Davis ...Live Around the world LP again delivered and experience where liveliness of his trumpet sound but still maintained a sweet and easy on the ear melodic sound.

And I know it was the unit that stirred my emotion because I was not familiar with most of the tracks. So, listening to tracks that had no sentimental value to me but yest managed to stir my emotion...it must have been the unit...and matched with the other kit, it made me understand why it is called Air Force One....

Just look at this diagram.... such detailed overview....

RAVE Systems Post Launch Report: Genesis 2.2jr Speakers

I was counting the minute on Friday 3rd May to finish off my half day work day so that I can hit off to The Gardens hotel for this unique launch event. Unique because its not just one kit that is being the centre of attraction but a number of it. I personally was focusing on 4 main items (with no order of preference):

1. TechDAS Air Force One turntable
2. Genesis 2.2jr Speakers
3. Frank Voon Powerbank
4. Tombo Audio tweaking products

....and its not just another hifi dealer trying to showcase products...Its full of knowledge and experience sharing and 'hifi' friendly people. Plus...its not done in a hifi shop...it was set up on the executive lounge of the hotel on top floor (29th floor)

I arrived at about 10 mins to 3 pm...Was immediately greeted by the good man TK Han from RAVE Systems...and was first introduced to Gary Koh (Genesis maestro). He was already started to showcase the Genesis 2.2jr, so I opted to listen to the speakers first.

So, first and foremost ...a BIG CONGRATULATION is in order to the whole RAVE team especially TK Han, Edwin and Agnes Tan and the invited speakers...Gary Koh, Frank Voon, Vattana Prastenasung and Hideaki Nishikawa. The event was set up professionally (they also had a 'press' package with hi res photos of products!!!) but yet, feedback I hear from a few guests was that it was a relaxing but informative event.

Genesis 2.2jr Speakers

Before I attended this, I have been reading about the features of this speaker and the one that struck me most was its ability to provide a' blanket' of sweet spot rather than listener have to find that one special spot to get the best performance. So, the first thing I did in the first 15 minutes was sitting/standing at different parts of the room. And YES.. The 'first impression' feeling was literally the same regardless at which spot I was. One may argue that it might because it was playing loud. Nope.....it was playing at moderate volume but the effect of livelines and soundstaging can be experience from different spots in the room.

My first 10 mins listening this monstrous but elegant tower speaker made me realise how important the right setting and listening atmosphere is to a system. Playing Joe Cocker on TechDAS Air Force One TT gave me an impression that these speakers were design to deliver what and how the music is intended to be listened to.

I would summarise this speaker to be a one of a kind design which delivers music transparency, coherence and one of a few truthful speakers. Among the tracks that was played that I was familiar with was Miles Davis rendition of Time After Time. And I never heard this track as I heard it through this speakers.

There was a mixture of source used to showcase this speaker both from the TechDAS TT and also CAS. And it needed serious focus to differentiate between them.

Gary Koh High Resolution Talk

One of the highlight for me at least was this talk by Gary in which was really informative and unbias between analogue and digital source. Withe several examples, Gary showed how important a good quality recording and pressing is.

Sample A: A tune recorded at 24 bit 44.1 kHz and mastered from 7 mic recording into 2.

Sound was full of warm and natural bass. Alive.

Sample B: The same tune pressed onto a CD at 16 bit 44.1 kHz.

There was bloated bass...a bit muddled...slightly compressed...however a bit more extended but not involving.

It was actually easy enough to differentiate between them especially that Gary mentioned the 2 different quality before hand....so indirectly, people was already looking for a better sound in the 24 bit.

The best part came next.

Sample C:  A wonderful piece which I could not recall the track.

All the audience agreed that it was so involving, emotional, alive track....and of course everyone said yes when Gary mentioned that it was a 24 bit 192 kHz recoding....

NNNNOOOTTT.... it was actually MP3. Lots of people were stunned.

The message is of course.... A good quality recording is vital but also the transfer made to the CD/vinyl.

He also mentioned that amongst his principle in speaker design includes the focus on low end frequency as thats where the emotion of music usually comes from. Also,he makes sure everything is coherence and his design does not break the coherence of music. Even the speaker is blocked, you wont experience the soundstage collapse.

I wish I had more time to listen to these speakers. But of course a 2 hour session was also a great experience especially when you have someone like Gary engaging with the guests.

And a sample of how it sounds: