Saturday, 21 May 2016

Rusty Blade Ulang Tahun ke 30 - EP 786 Ikrar Perwira

Rusty Blade.... kepada peminat rock kapak di rantau ini.... nama kumpulan ini semestinya tidak asing kepada mereka. Kugiran rock yang amat berpengaruh suatu masa dulu ini, sudah berusia 30  tahun ini. Untuk meraikan pencapaian ini, Dream Studio telah mengembalikan zaman kegemilangan Rusty Blade dengan melancarkan edisi terhad EP pertama mereka 786 Ikrar Perwira EP dalam bentuk piring hitam. Piring hitam ini dipasarkan oleh Dream Studio dan telah dilancarkan secara rasmi pada 16 hb Mei baru-baru ini.

Sejak kebelakangan ini, peminat piring hitam tanahair sering mendapat berita mengenai rancangan beberapa syarikat rakaman untuk memasarkan kembali album-album klasik kumpulan rock di sini seperti Search, Wings dan sebagainya. Walaubagaimanapun, berita hanya tinggal berita buat masa ini. Dengan adanya usaha Dream Studio yang dimiliki oleh Dato Zaharul Annuar ini, agak terubat rasanya perasaaan menunggu para peminat rock kapak dan piring hitam tanahair. EP ini menganduingi 5 buah lagu: 

Lampiran A
  • 786 Ikrar Perwira
  • Gadis Lincah
  • Darah Muda
Lampiran B
  • Pemuda Rock N Roll
  • Pertama dan Terakhir

Mengenai mutu pencetakan semula album ini, ia boleh dikatakan berada di tahap yang amat memuaskan. Ini termasuk juga kulit luar yang agak tebal dan 'glossy'  dan juga poster yang lebih menyerlahkan keistimewaan piring hitam ini. Piring hitamnya sendiri merupakan kualiti tinggi dengan berat 180 gram di mana kebanyakan orang melabelkannya sebagai tahap 'LP audiophile'. Mutu bunyi pula amatlah memuaskan di mana adunan gitar, dram, bass dan vokal begitu padu dan terperinci. Kekuatan LP ini pada saya adalah lebih kepada vokal Yantzen yang timbul walaupun adanya petikan atau gorengan gitar Khalid yang sememangnya rock. Amat memuaskan!

Kepada peminat rock tanahair dan serantau, ini adalah satu EP yang tidak boleh dilepaskan peluang untuk memilikinya. Lekas-lekas lah hubungi Dream Studio di talian 03-62010372

Diharap juga syarikat-syarikat rakaman atau peminat seni individu di Malaysia lebih bersungguh-sungguh untuk memasarkan kembali album-album rock kapak dari era 1980 dan 90 an.

Dipersilakan untuk mendengar sampel lagu dari EP ini.

Friday, 20 May 2016

MUCK - Ipoh Mali Local Trash Heroes

In the past few years, the vinyl revival have hit the local scene as well especially the non main stream artists. With pioneers like Sil Khannaz, The Bollocks, Langsuyr, FTG etc... all of them have reissued or press some of their newer materials on LP, no surprise that others will start to follow.

I accidentally became friends with a fine gentleman named Fairuz via our similar passion of good music reproduction system a.k.a HiFi, but only after about 1.5 years that I know he plays in a band back in Ipoh. MUCK is the name and refreshing tunes is their game. Recently, MUCK has announced that they will be launching their very first album in style...... An LP + CD package with goodies for the pre-order units. I immediately pre ordered one without really knowing what kind of music they play. But in the spirit of supporting local non main stream artists, I did not hesitate to pre order it. 

Finally last week, I receive the beautifully packed package complete with a poster, postcard and button badge. And I got number 37 out of limited 300 pieces. Immediately I started spinning it and yes... I like what I hear. I cant really figure out how to classify their musical genre (no... they do not play thrash music)... the first track Where Only You Belong... sounds like they are influenced by fuzzy Brit pop like Supergrass and Ocean Colour Scene. This by the way is my favourite track.


Music is subjective. You need to listen to it by yourself and decide whether you like their music or not. I like it but don't sue me if you don't :). This album was recorded in Damansara Perdana and mastered by Jack Endino at Sound House, Seattle. The LP itself was pressed in Australia.

How about the sound quality of this LP? For a first attempt, this is indeed a good quality issue. As the music is more raw with lots of guitar effect, it sounded fresh and not over cooked with too much digital influence. Guitar sounds really fuzzy and authoritative. The drums sounded hollow in a good way, presented in its own hard hitting pace. The highlight for me was how this LP+mastering+music arrangement manage to shine out the details of the bassline. The bassist must be smiling to hear his works at this very detailed level. Vocal was also very clear and was not overshadowed by the grungy and shrieking guitar works. I say, this was a properly sound engineered recording and nicely pressed into a memorable first album for MUCK. And at the price they were selling it, it can easily put some of the main stream artist shoddy pressing and mastering quality to shame. Overall, it really reminded me of my short stint in a recording studio back in the UK. Managed to to record and release a 3 songs singles.... before I left the British band.... to avoid from flunking my studies :)

Congrats to this Local Trash Heroes who hails from Ipoh.... Proud to own one of your masterpiece.

Monday, 2 May 2016

The Black Pearl of Vermouth Audio - Another SEA Audio Pride

This part of the world have their own audio world secrets. Ranging from power amps to power conditioners to speakers to DAC to racks and now, I get to review speaker cables from Bali, Indonesia. Check out the video above to know a little bit more about Vermouth Audio.

After my recent revamp of my hifi system, I wanted to see whether I can squeeze even more from my current hardware. As I am not so much of upgrading hardware nowadays, but I am gamed to try new things to hear some changes in the system. First up is the speaker cable. The Siltech Classic Anniversary 330L have been my reference speaker cable for the past 5 years or so. When I purchased that cable, my system was in a dedicated room where I had a challenge of boomy bass. The Siltech helped to balance things out for me. Now that the system is out in the hall, I find that it is now the opposite. While the bass is warm and punchy, I would not mind if it can dig a bit deeper and also some sweeter mids. Hence, Victor of HiFi Creations suggested to try out Vermouth Audio's Black Pearl speaker cable. And I say, why not?


Vermouth Audio products are built to order. For the Black Pearl, it took just over a week from order to the item arrived at my house. It came in box, complete with certificate and a protection bag. Very professional indeed.


Both the spades and banana plugs are sturdily terminated to the cables and it is of cold forged tellurium copper rhodium plated. The non woven fabric although very smooth, it has a certain hardness to protect itself from rough abrasion for those whom are less bothered to the terms 'handle with care'. The overall built is top class and have the right stiffness to easily handled for the installation of the back of your amp and speakers.


Now that I am back to my original set up, its back to a sound reference that I have always been familiar with.

  • Clearaudio Concept TT
  • Musical Fidelity M1 ViNL phono stage
  • Musical Fidelity M6i integrated amp
  • Musical Fidelity M6 DAC
  • Sony BDP750S BD Player (I have opted for this to spin HFPA instead of the usual Musical Fidelity M1 CDT)
  • ProAc Response D18 speakers
  • Alfonso Soliano's rendition of Lompat Si Katak Lompat (LP)
  • Alfonso Solianos's rendition of Kejujuran (LP)
  • Diana Krall's rendition of Besame Mucho (HFPA)

Straight out of the box, the Black Pearl sounded quite muddled. Bass was a bit rough and the highs and mids a bit flat. I could not figure out what was going on but within an hour or so, it started to open up and the notes started to fall into the appropriate spectrum. Not there just yet.....


I let the Black Pearl to run in for about 100 hours before I started to do some serious listening. By the time this review was written, the cable has seen about 300 hours of music.

Alfonso Soliano's rendition of Lompat Si Katak Lompat

This track, although its a traditional folklore, the arrangement can really test your system. With the Black Pearl, this track sounded openly airy but still allow a good portion of the bass line to emerge where it matters. The cymbals and wind instruments sounded sufficiently sharp. It also brought up the very detail of the soft hit on the cymbals to create that continuous ringing sound, making the track to sound energized.

Alfonso Soliano's rendition of Kejujuran

On this track, the overall song sounded livelier than usual. The highs was really at the right level in which this track can sometimes reach an ear pinching level. The Black Pearl allows quite a balance between the low end and high end notes; not compromising any details in between. The saxophone sound was so melodic and full of energy flowing through music. At this stage, I am already falling in love with the bass and openness of the Black Pearl.

Krall's Besame Mucho

Now something with vocals. I purposely used a HFPA medium to test this speaker cable. And sure enough, the Black Pearl continues to impress me with such graceful mids, allowing the vocals to roam free in my hall with enough energy and texture. Her vocal sounded deep and it still carries the same traits of detail from previous tracks as well. 


Suffering from lifeless sound? Need some good low end notes to kick in your system? I believe that the Black Pearl can allow your system to open up more; bringing out the necessities of good bass, luscious mids and sweet highs. For those whom is still curious what your system can do, try this speaker cable out especially if you are looking for that little extra bass. It can do wonders to your listening pleasure. For about half of the price of Siltech, this might be one of the valued pricing I have seen in the cabling section of this hobby.

If anyone interested to audition, please contact Victor Pheh of HiFi Creations for those in Malaysia. For others, you can visit Vermouth Audio at Their Website