Friday, 26 October 2018

Music For Health: El Hefe, Maxx HeadFi and PETRONAS Collaboration

Back on August 15th, I was requested to give a talk on my health transformation journey and part of that journey involves music and my passion in hifi. For that talk, Maxx HeadFi was gracious enough to provide a sponsorship to promote healthy lifestyle for all PETRONAS MPM staff. Not only PETRONAS staff will get 10% discount on any headphones purchased from Maxx HeadFi but also 2 units of JVC sports earphones were given to award the most improved male and female runners before the big Putrajaya Night Run marathon event on 27th Oct. This marked the very first collaboration between El Hefe, Maxx HeadFi and PETRONAS.

Today, 26th October, the winners of the award were announced in a small informal event in the PETRONAS Twin Towers office. Max Loh of Maxx HeadFi was kind enough to be present in the event where he presented the 2 JVC earphones units to Sharina and Nghi as the top female and male runners with regards to mileage.

Special thanks to Max Loh who came all the way rom Seremban to hand over the gifts to the award receipient. We hope to see more involvement of hifi companies in promoting music as part ofthe health therapy.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Custom Made Solution - Can It Provide the Satisfaction?

In the local HiFi scene, I am thankful that I have always had the opportunity to review some of the local products such as Stoner Acoustics DACs, KOGA amps, Doc TT SUT, Captain Sph SLAT TT, HiFiCreations Arpaggio, Frank Powerbank etc. Each of the product have its own flavour and I know,  there are many local and international audiophiles have them in their system. But this particular product is one that I have never had my hands on. Mainly due to logistic challenges as the designer is based in Melaka, about 3 hours drive away and his product is huge and heavy. 

Ben's Audio is a name that have been the talk of the local customs made amp group for the past few years. Although I am in contact with the designer off and on, but we have never had the chance to collaborate for a review to be done. One particular lucky audiophile in Melaka went through a custom made journey with Ben and his monoblocks are now residing as a reference to the owner Faisal or fondly known as CB. It is paired with a pre amp, also designed by Ben and Gyrodec TT, Trichord phono and Harbeth and Audio Note speakers to complete the set up.

Last Saturday, 6th October 2018, I had the chance to spend 3 hours listening to these monoblocks. It was not a critical review session but more on a first impression, for fun and giggles with the owner. I also had the pleassure to listen to them with 2 different pair of speakers. 

I didnt bring my recording microphone along, hence the sound quality may not be representative. So, to make it more interesting and fun, I have combined the videos of the 2 speakers being played with Ben's monoblocks and I will let you guess which speakers is represented by my description below.

First up, this Sheila Majid LP was presented in a huge soundstage and airy ambience. You can feel that the monoblocks elevated the overal sound to be a bit more orchestral. The percussion sounds more dispersed rather than splashy or hard hitting. I could do with a little bit more low end bass. But the detail and clarity is of the higher level of transparency.

After about an hour or so, we took a break and enjoyd a cuppa with local curry puffs courtesy of the Mrs. Then the next set of speakers were hooked up. Now, this is acompletely different presentation. With the second speakers, the music flows naturally with a smaller staging but it came with a solid body sound. Bass was tighter with loads of grip. It hits harder and digs deeper while retaining that valve sound. 

Now, both speakers have high-ish sensitivity, 86 and 93. And the monoblocks were delivering 20 wpc. However, I feel that monoblocks was less of a match for the speaker with the higher sensitivity, mainly due to the lack of subtance in low end frequency. 

We played other LPs as well just to ensure the comparison was evident with other higher quality LPs and the similar sound character was experience in both speakers.

On the whole, Ben's Audio monoblocks does match beautifully with one of the speakers. A journey which took the owner Faisal and Ben over a year to get that fine tweaks in the design to match well with his choice of speakers. It provided Faisal the body of the music that he desires and at the end of the day, we let go of any technical approach of the session and just enjoy the music. And at one stage, when I start to get goosebumps and I just close my eyes and let my head shake and feet tap to the rhythm of the music, thats the ultimate satisfaction that I got from this custom made monoblocks and the set up of Faisal. And I am quite sure he enjoys his set up a lot too.