i woke up at 8am today, feeling restless and eager to start the long-awaited rehearsal. meanwhile, my ps audio xstream statement sc power cord has arrived. first listen, it is already better than the old one with more refined highs and sharper focus. my system is going to reach another milestone. yet i am so restless, restless, restless...
roger arrived at my house at 1:40pm by cab. two ladies, regine and yaya, our A&R lady were already waiting while enjoying music thru my system. i must tell you that the ladies were amazed by the sound of my system :-)
having a bad flu, our guitar man is under the weather so i told my producer that we won't stretch him and end the session late. our purpose for the day is to rehearse and test out the chemistry between the singers and roger.
the rain started during our lunch at around 2pm. regine joked that it was a good sign cos rain means money in cantonese hence 2V1G should make it big. she is such an adorable lady.
we reached cheras flyination studio at 3:10pm. winnie came 10 min later. our producer, jin liang, came at 3:30pm.
so the first rehearsal officially kicked off...
first song, "march", sees roger introducing some signature roger wang style. after only 2 takes, we were pretty much happy with his arrangement. it is simple song that does not require much technicality. regine isn't really in top form; she complained of slight throat problem.
we proceed to rehearse "coming home", winnie's signature and award-winning song. this song has won her the astro talent quest 2000 and some think that she sings even better than the original singer, shunza. winnie, being a perfectionist and a real pro she is, wasn't happy with certain parts of roger's arrangement and after a few trials, we sort of agreed to winnie's suggestion. the is a beautiful song only a singer of winnie's calibre can carry. suffice to say that winnie stunned everyone in the room with her emotive and ultra sensitive rendition. i could feel that regine is sweating :-) i was quite shaken. i couldn't believe that she can sing this song so heartbreakingly beautiful time after time.
the third song is a duet "more than friends". jin liang offered a lot of suggestions to make the duet interesting. it was meant as a "competition" between the two ladies and dare i say, both sang well.
by 6pm, we had already finalized the arrangement for the 3 songs and recorded a demo tape for reference purpose. we wanted to end the session early so that roger could go back early and take a good rest.
we reached home at around 9pm (roger is staying with me) and i quickly played the demo tape in my AV system. it became obvious that we are making a great great album. while there are imperfections like regine's throat and roger's flu, it was clear that my vision for 2V1G is spot-on. winnie, in particular, shines like a thorough gem. i bet she would rock the whole industry with this album. don't believe, just wait and see.
my main concern at this point is that the transparent audio power isolator 8 (PI8) is totally new and it would require at least 100 hours to break-in. moreover, our super-duper AKG mic hasn't arrived yet. i have a funny feeling that this session is pure experiment only.
for me, it is an experience of a lifetime to go into studio and witness the whole process, from a to z. i would cherish this for the rest of my life.
if you are a true music lover and audiophile, you really should try making an album of your own :-)
gotta sleep now... so tired. another exciting day ahead tomorrow!
the production team celebrating regine's birthday
the "2V" in 2V1G - winnie ho and regine tai
today is the eve of the recording and we had our production meeting to finalize a few things, most important of all is the key for those songs sung by winnie since she was absent in the last few meetings.
winnie is given the most technically demanding songs, the kind that can cripple any lesser singers. classic song like 太傻 (too silly, by eric moo 巫启贤) is not to be taken lightly. only two singers have dared to sing it before and it is eric himself and mindy quah (柯以敏). the song goes from very low to very high note, requiring the singer to sing the whole chorus without taking any breath. even a singer of winnie's calibre choked herself during the practice. she says she needs to practise hard in order to sing it well. our intention is to create a thick and meaty vocal, so eventho winnie can hit the high note, we rather that she sing one or two keys lower so the overall vocal is thick. so, we ended up choosing A flat, E flat... which is terribly difficult for the guitarist, unless he uses a capo. but for someone of roger's ability, we don't see any major problems.
it is a tremendously enjoyable and enlightening session for me to see our singers scale their vocals to choose the right key.
on the technical side, we managed to loan the transparent audio power isolator 8 (PI8) from tong lee as our reference power management system. i may want to compare the PI8 with hydra and RGPC, given a chance.
the most significant thing is we have bought the AKG C12VR condenser mic! retailing at over RM30K++, it is definitely a heavy investment for us but i have a feeling that it is gonna worth every sen we spent...
a momentous event is going to unfold starting tomorrow...
we are considering buying the famed AKG C12VR mic for 2V1G recording!
if i am not mistaken, this mic is used in the recording of cai qin's "jin pian zhi".
production of the original C 12 ceased in 1963, and over the years it gradually became a sought-after collectors' item, a legendary recording instrument acclaimed worldwide for its exquisite sound. now, it's back. the new C 12 VR is true to the original C 12's electronic and acoustic design with only subtle refinements (made possible by modern manufacturing techniques and improvements in basic circuit components) incorporated to increase overall robustness and reduce susceptibility to hum and noise.
this is how serious we are with this recording.
the new generation of ps audio xstream statement sc power cord promises refinement and delicacy, while retaining the robustness, weight and density of its predecessor....
waiting for my unit to arrive breathlessly...
these wonderful "pills" have done magical things on my preamp and cd player! (and soon power amps)
depending on your system, the positive effect is far deep-reaching than changing an interconnect or power cord.
believe it or not :-)
the production schedule is out - 2V1G recording is gonna kick off next wednesday, 26th september 2007 at flyination studio in shamelin cheras ! There will initially be 3 separate sessions, each in september, october and november respectively. the launch will tentatively be on 16th january 2008.
after months of planning and discussing, everyone is eagerly awaiting its commencement. there has been all talk so far on the possible chemistry between roger wang and our two female singers but we have yet to see it. Oh, by the way, winnie ho won the grand prize of an international singing conbtest just last week, held in taipei. we are so proud of her! go winnie go!
on recording, we find that previous albums produced by our recording engineer still have a relatively high level of background noise (when played on my system) compared to the best of audiophile reference cds. so i am begging CMY to loan me the UK-plug fitted richard gray to be used in our recording studio. chan of CMY told me that they are out of stock at the moment but he will check with his customers if they can loan one unit to us for just 3 days in the first session. i am keeping my fingers crossed.
first day, wednesday, is just practice, practice and practice. our two singers are totally familiar with the songs already; they will have to sing to roger's new arrangements. wouldn't you want to know how roger wang play to chinese pop music?
vocal recording will start late on thursday afternoon. it is normal for singers to "open up" their vocal chords only after late afternoon, even susan wong attests to that :-) i have warned my producer to be extremely strict on the singers - i want them to deliver their best.
tomorrow is my big presentation to the creative and marketing team of absolute CMG entertainment (event organizer)and blackbox productions on how to manage 2V1G and come out with a marketing plan.
my adrenalin is rushing... i am basking in positive vibes and excitement :-)
Just when I think I can sit back and relax, enjoy the music, there comes a series of new products to pique my desire. Here goes!
Yeah, lucky my Thor has got the Mjolner, or else, it would lose his MOJO!
Later, my Mjolner would be put to better use!
I didn't buy this for my little sister.
One day, as she was flipping thru an SG magazine I bought for her, she came across this portable player.
A few days I saw her counting and counting, and finally, she said to me, "can help me to buy this? You can cut from my pocket money."
Now, a really little typhoon is brewing, I wait to see my lil' sis to go hi-end!
I'm going to give you a first hand report on a full AudioNet setup! Very soon, eh, as soon as when the owner is back from holidays! Hehehe...
Oh, a little one is brewing also for Bladelius! First hand report after the potential owner save up enough for one, hahahaha...
This was supposed to be in on Saturday, but due to the darn Streamyx line I have no internet access at home for Saturday & Sunday. Let's hope when I get home, they have sorted out the lines. Called them & they said "due to heavy rain the fibre optics at your area got problem....bla bla bla".
My first Canto-pop concert ever attended - The Jacky Cheung "Year Of Jacky Cheung World Tour" at The National Stadium Bukit Jalil on 14/09/2007. No regrets. But not the most comfortable performance I have attended. First it drizzled and we had to put on the raincoat (which i brought in case it rained). Secondly, after the drizzle, it was warm. No...it was hot. I was sweating though not profusely yet. Thirdly, the seats were basic hard plastic chairs which were not comfortable for the rump after 3 hours. Should have got up and walk around.
Fortunately, the discomforts were compensated for a superb performance from Jacky. This 46 year old man can actually sing for 3 hours plus and also has the stamina to dance on stage. Kudos to him. And he looked fitter than a fiddle too.
The opening number has a rocking edge with some fireworks to cream it off. Jacky has good rapport with the audience throughout the show. He deserves admiration too for still being in top notch form after 23 years in the industry.
The visuals were above average. 4 big screens in all with the center one taking precedence in terms of clarity and visual impact.
The concert acoustics were good in my opinion. No microphone feedback save for 1 quick occassion. The bass could bee a wee bit tighter. You could feel and hear them, but I think it was a bit fat, not taut. Not that bad a thing for me somehow that night.
The songs repertoire spanned 2 decades and were instant hits with the crowd. My favourite number for that night was the 2nd last song. It was from an 80's sad story movie. I don't know the title because my cantonese/chinese is not good. Hahaha... It would have been sweeter too if he also sang Amour Amour Amour. All in all it was a "worth your money concert" and more.
without getting the permission from my producer, i am sneaking one song out from our album for your listening pleasure! i will only do this once, only once, just once....hey readers, aren't you a lucky lot?
this is one song we have finalized for the recording, starting 26th september 2007.
entitled "march" (san yue), it is the movie theme song for local indie movie "third generation"; it is an original composition by my producer, jin liang and sung by our 2V1G singer regine. roger wang is going to rearrange it into an acoustic version.
the youtube video was taken at the live concert (by four of musictoxin singers) at genting and regine was the one singing.
the trial track is a full-band version with some great harmonica and nostalgic arrangement.
let me know if you like the song ;-)
susan wong, an accountant by profession, is an accidental audiophile singer. thanks to keith yip, boss of rock in music, who discovered susan, she has managed to carved a niche within just a few years in the untapped market of audiophile music.
just when fame is building up fast for susan, evo music poached susan from rock in music.... whoever says that there is no future in being an audiophile singer, eat your heart out!
captured in this video interview, courtesy of avbuzz, susan talks about fame, the stigma of being an audiophile singer and how she does her latest recording...
the stage is set, the dust has settled, the king has arrived.... an audio revolution is about to start...of all places, in sleepy ipoh.
read about it in av xpress issue #4, to be released on 15th october 2007!
I have always told my mum, “You have never owned the money you earned until you have spent it (on things that matter to you most)!” I tell the same to my brothers and sister, and I have always been generous with my family.
Today, I met up with Bernard Cheong. He mentioned of one thing, which was in shocking resemblance with what I have always stressed. “Money is just a tool, having money in bank is as good as having no money.” He further added, “Time is finite and there has been lesser and lesser finer things in life to cherish and appreciate!”
Great minds think alike. But to many, our passions just proves fools seldom differ. At least to my dad, I seem foolish enough to spend more than 10K on a CDP when you can get a DVD player for RM99 in Carrefour. I am just an average 28-year-old, what am I trying to prove?!
Just when I think I can rave about myself to have started using ARC at the age of 23, I was humbled with a friend who has bought his first Breguet tourbillion at the age of 28. But what the heck, it is the passion to appreciate the finer things in life that counts!
Yeah, I was foolish enough to didn’t even gasp when a friend handed me his Richard Mille RM005 to look at. But I can’t help to not quote from Richard Mille,
My problem is that I am a bit crazy; I like to push everything beyond the limit.
I promise you, for as long as I am breathing, I will do my best to share what I heard in this space! This is our PASSION to great music appreciation!
Now, if only I can spend some quality time with one ...
for those who didn't follow the progress of the audiophile cd project (code-named "2V1G"), you can click on the right under the tag "the making of audiophile cd" and read all previous posts on it.
yes, we are back! the reason for the long delay is because we couldn't get everyone to agree on a schedule. everyone is busy with his/her things; it is very difficult to commit on a common deadline.
now, we are back in business. the production team (myself in it) is getting ambitious - we want to launch 2V1G (roger wang+ regine tai+ winnie ho) as a commercial outfit which would - hopefully - endorse products, perform regular gigs and company functions. think about it, there has never been a trio like this in the malaysian chinese music scene. 2V1G is packed with originality and creativity.
the process of commercialization and "productization" of this musical outfit includes image creation, packaging and portfolio building. we will enlist the help of the marketing and A&R team to handle such tasks.
we also plan to launch the album with a press conference-cum-mini concert. the most preferred venue would be KLPaC (kuala lumpur peformance arts centre)in jalan ipoh or the actors studio in BSC. the mini concert would be in unplugged format with audience forming a circle around the trio performers. very intimate setting. it is gonna be ultra cool. even thinking of it makes me excited and my heart palpitates.
the deadline? we are trying to make it by this x'mas, failing which it will be st.valentine's day next year. there are just too many things to do from now till the launch but we eager to start rehearsing and record a couple of songs.
we may release a single for the radio to play without revealing the performers' name. we may also have a "teaser" campaign to build up anticipation...
the KLPAc venue (Indiecine, for those who have been there) can only accomodate 100 people so admission is limited. i will give out free tickets on this blog and future issues of av xpress. please look out for it.
you bet it is gonna be exciting!
OK, I am not giving away my old stock!
I am actually buying new for YOU, the readers!
From the 5 titles, I have not managed to get the Susan Wong yet.
From the 4 titles I have, I have not heard the Cherry Ma and Li Shuo yet.
So, these CDs are fresh! Hot! And DESIRABLE!
Oh, the answer is not out yet.
Do get in touch with me at saucywkc alias yahoo.com.
I ain’t no hi-ender, but I aspired to be one. But being a hi-ender is simply not only having a fat wallet, but the confidence to trust your ears and your heart. Don’t be afraid to do so, even though people might doubt your listening skills. Take your time and buy what sounds the most correct to you.
Take it slow, enjoy the music along the way and grow from there. I kept my previous setup for more than 4 years and I have enjoyed and cherished every single day with it. If not because of my previous setup, I would still be wandering and lost in the sea of choices.
But then, I did a big mistake of under estimating my appetite for good sound and relied again on reviews to buy the first piece of gear for my current new setup. Now, at least I know I can shoot 3 reviewers! Never mind that as I would share with you what 10K more could bring you.
The Apollo is indeed no slouch, well, almost great if I was during my start up years. For 4K range, I don’t think many players could rival its fluid and smooth mids. The vocal is textured and well resolved. Violin, in fact most stringed instruments, is having good tonal texture, with a delicate trailing to boot. Back in those years, I was always been told that if there is one range to have, the wise would choose the mids as it’s where most the instruments would paint their sonic presence.
Sorry mate, I have to tell you, those are wise with a budget. I would take all, highs, mids and lows, there is just no way could one forgo any single piece of the frequency range! To have such compromise is such sin to commit if you tell others you are a music lover! Hey, it’s just with 10k more, is it worth a 10k saving to skimp on the highs and lows?! NO WAY!
Compared to the Apollo, there’s such sunlit quality to the mids and highs of G08. The added upper extension just brings more resolution to the mids, the vocals, stringed instruments and high hats. There’s just more heft, density and inner details to discover! With the Apollo, there’s just a summation effect to gel the vocal in smoother and meatier presence. However, it lacks the micro details to let you listen deeper into the emotion of the singers.
With just a magnificent mids, do you think you are able to get the correct image size? With recessed highs and retarded lows, it’s just impossible to get the correct drum size! Great if you can live with a dwarfed drum kit, but you will soon find them lacking! Drum is such important element in determining the speed, rhythm and timing of so many jazz pieces!
Even putting the drum issue aside, the pronounced mids would just make the vocal size gigantic! Can you take a singer with a mouth size that is able to swallow a drum kit? I find it awkward and such an anti climax! The size of the mouth might be correct to you, but relatively, the other instruments are just not in correct proportion.
With the G08, and many other higher priced players for that matter, you are assured of an even extensions at both extremes. No matter how sophisticated your downstream is, there is no way they could produce the extreme extensions that are not there in the first place! And there goes your pyramid of sound!
This is what I am sure separate the men from the boys! Cheaper players simply couldn’t give you this! You know dynamic contrast for sure, the difference between the softest and loudest, however, it’s not enough to just give you the difference in volume level.
Listen to some Le Mon tracks, there are many tracks where she’s building up her emotional “energy”. As she sings from soft to loud, she will gradually sing in greater force applied to her vocal chord. A good player is able to bring you along the passage, showing you greater and deeper emotional force within her vocal.
Not only this, the drummer should also be following the gradual emotional explosion, backing Le Mon from behind and matching her in speed and energy. The Apollo failed miserably in giving you that leading edge transient, making the whole presentation slightly lethargic! The drummer just wouldn't play that much harder!
A good player should reveal not only the sound content, but also the emotional content of CDs! It's there to relay the content, not to dictate and alter the content to its inherent shortcomings! You can pour in more money in isolations and stuff, but that is just adding cost to the player.
This comparison is not meant for only the G08 and Apollo, but they are meant to be a yardstick. They are at least something more substantial for you to comprehend and discover further. If you can’t understand what I am trying to convey, it might be a good thing after all.
For these, I am going to be 10K poorer!
one happy annoucement - we have a new guest blogger by the nick of glySinn!
glySinn will be sharing with us his experience in audio gadgets, budget-to-mid-end hifi and his fave music... we have been waiting for this sort of contents eagerly.....
my vision for this blog is one day we will have many guest bloggers with different domain expertise to share their experiences....only then we can flourish as a multi-faceted blog...
for a start, can you introduce yourself glySinn?
welcome onboard yeah!
Players below 15K that I have heard briefly or extensively, at home or in demo:
Bladelius Freja SE
Anyone who manage to guess which one I would buy would get a free CD from me!
Let me see which CD...
any music-loving audiophile would have come across countless cover versions (or interpretations) of their fave hits by the so-called audiophile singers. it can be a jazz standard (think "fly me to the moon") or bossa nova ditty (think "corcovado") and in the case of chinese music, a popular cantopop or mandarin hit being re-arranged.
my key expectation of a good cover version is that, while it can never exceed the original song, it must be of different arrangement or feel, and it must give the listener a "light bulb" feeling, i.e. "oh, this song can sound like this!" or "hey, this is creative interpretation!".
i think i am pretty good in sizing up if the arrangement is up to par. many audiophile singers (think mainland china singers) can sing well but often times, the arrangement of the song fails them, making it sound ordinary or inferior to the original song.
good arrangers are extremely hard to come by. in the context of malaysian music scene, i can think of only one who has international standards - mac chew. there may be others, most likely malay musicians that i don't know.
anyway, i would like to share with you this mega classic cantopop hit by danny chan (pin pin hei fun nei, it is unlikely that you haven't heard this popular tune before) being re-sung recently by over-the-prime and grossly-underrated HK female singer by the name of chiu hock yee. chiu is a credible singer but luck wasn't on her side.
listen to this light jazz cover of this golden classic. tell me how you like it and i will tell you which album does it come from :-)
I have sunk the ship, there's just no turning back.
The ARC duo is gone and my music room has been transformed to my lil' sis's study room. Even the Mana racks have been retreated to storage racks, and the R8S are back in box already.
I can only push forward and turn a new leaf to my next chapter of audio journey. I conquered the tonal aspect but fell hard in pushing the envelope. R8S might be hard to tame for now, but I'll be back for more.
Heck, even the transition to the new chapter was greeted with preliminary gaging fault. I thought I was easily pleased and settled for something I thought could please. Reading things like "after hearing all the XXX, this is by far the best we've heard" just clouded my judgment.
Stay tuned, as you might be following the journey of a great audiophile to be.