asian audiophiles, hong kong's, in particular, are famous for their tweaks. and shun mook is the epitome of hifi tweaks.

this post is by no means a dummies' guide to shun mook and i am far from an expert on this subject, but rather a personal experience on shun mook and how magically it enhances my system. there are many documentations (old hifi mags, journals) on the magic of shun mook but they are quite hard to find since the peak of shun mook fever was in the 80s to early 90s. i am fortunate to have a couple of old HK mags on this subject.

shun mook was the proud creation of the HK twin terror called bill ying and master tham more than two decades ago. together they terrorised and impressed all and sundry. in their heyday, they toured the region extensively to educate and demonstrate the power of shun mook to the audiophiles. and their reputation went beyond asia. audiophiles from US were also impressed and the hifi media there gave lengthy coverage on it.

my friend, ken, can write you a book on the various applications of shun mook since he has dabbled in almost all variations of shun mook, from the mpingpo disc to the "mooncake" (resonator). here, i am going to share with you on how shun mook acts as a "concentrator" for the all-important vocalist's mouth, a criteria which is important to asian audiophiles. a good vocalist's mouth has presence, is pinpoint, sharp and no larger than a 50 sen coin. the perfect vocalist's mouth can even show the "movement" of the mouth. yes, this is no BS, no snake oil, no voodoo.

when you are reasonably happy with your speaker placement, you will invariably achieve a "vague" vocalist's mouth of height varying from 4ft to 5ft from the floor, right smack in the middle of the wall facing you. if you fail to get a semblance of a mouth emanating from the wall, chances is, your speaker placement is not there yet.

listen attentively, you will find a point source where the voice emanates. place the mpingpo disc (retaling for RM150) on that point source, experiment with upward/downward movement of 2mm at most to find the exact point where the vocals get "focused" and "concentrated" the most. it is akin to putting the magnifier under the hot sun and get a focused heat source. the mpingpo disc has a magical way to focus all the sound energy into one small spot, and voila! you get your vocalist's mouth defined!

in my case, i needed two mpingpo discs (see picture) to achieve maximum effect, ie. the give me the best vocalist's mouth. once you achieved this, listening is made pleasurable as you can visualize the singer better. some argue that it is mere psychoacoustics at play but it is more that that.

the above is only scrathing (5% maybe) the surface of shun mook. it has many other applications and usage to change/alter the tonal balance, soundstage height, separation and other important aspects of your sound. my purpose is just to re-ignite the magic of shun mook, you have to do your own research ;-)

perhaps, master ken can give us a low-down on shun mook. ken, over to you ;-)

43 comments:

tng said...

his is the hardest part to get ..I listened to my friend set-up in HK that has been Mooked,and bought a few myself but I found it difficult to use....until my friend came and tweaked for me..

Maggie you and Ken should write a booh on it ..It will be a bestseller!!!!!

agan said...

Shun mook lost it,s popularity after it went to the west..This white man audiophile guru make such a big mess of it and start giving it bad names....while we here in Asia smile our cynical smile and enjoying our music..

Really those who hasnt heard The Mooks is missing something in their life..

I seconded the agenda for maggie and Ken to write on how to use a guide to tweaking with shun mook

Anonymous said...

Apparently inside the mpingo disk is a crystal which does the work

http://www.uyeyama.com/stereo.html

A mpingo vendor also said so

Gnoh said...

Yep, agree with anon. They have a red color faceted crystal embedded in the Mpingo disk. This fellow in Germany diseccted the disk and found this crystal there. I found it in one of the forum.

Gnoh said...

Les, I believe Tong Lee is selling the Mpingo disk for about RM399. Prices have gone up. Unless you are refering to the pads which could be cheaper but the effect is less bercause there is no crystal in it. If you can get it for RM150, then I want to buy too :-).
I am also hooked on SM stuffs, addicted is the word. The other stuff you might want to mention is the cable jacket, really good at reducing the noise floor of the system.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for re-confirming that a crystal really resides inside the Mpingo disk. I wonder what type of red crystal it is, as if we know what kind of crystal it is, we can probably go to a fengshui/gemstone shop to get the same time to try out.
Incidentally I have been playing with several type of crystals, namely clear/smoky quartz and rutile quartz which are sourced from Acoustic Revive. They work like the Shunmook, Shakti and Acoustic Resonators by interacting with the resonance of the equipment it is placed on. I also copied Acoustic Resonator idea of placing one inside the refrigerator, and the quartz crystal namely the clear quartz had a very profound effect making the system much more dead quiet and more 3d. I bought some cheap tumbled rose quartz stones to try and they also had the same effect in the fridge though not as impactful as the one made by Acoustic Revive. Anyway, it is a good experiment to try, if you already own a Mpingo disk (inside which is a crystal), try putting one inside the centre of your fridge. If you have nothing, try to find a real quartz cystal somewhere and put inside the fridge too and see whether you can hear any effect. Have tried it a few refrigerators in different systems, and the effect has always been beneficial to hifi

Anonymous said...

Latest news on Shun Mook

http://www.soundstage.com/editrl/ss_update_102907.htm

gerhard said...

Hi,
When you talk abt tuning ,it involves 2 aspect;tuning your electronic and toning the room

Tuning the electronic involve processes that prevent harmful interference from entering your system{EMI,RFI,Vibrations} and optimizing the power supply

The second part is tuning the room.You can built a dedicated room with all kind of architectural principles for all you want,but it will exhibit what your system has.

On one hand,The room might sound toodead or too bright depending on yr speakers.There is no such thing as a neutral room..

So what does one do? You use tuning devises.I personallUse the Harmonix range to get the effects.
Everyone should try one.the problem though is to find the right person to give advise.Now in Ken we have found one.

Jim said...

Hi Maggie ,

I use Shakti stones on my Digital source and pre amp.

For the Room I use The Shakti soundfield Optimizer..Peple always ask me does it work?I always say to myself"you think I am stupid to spend my hard earned money on snakeoil?"

It works like Magic.

Personally though,I fell Shun Mook and Harmonix to be better.but I could never figure out how to use them

Anonymous said...

Shakti also use quartz crystal inside, although their new literature does not says it anymore. Here's a link to their old literature that says that it contains quartz.

http://www.tricell-ent.com/Shakti.htm

Many of such tuning tweaks make use of quartz crystal but do not want to state so, because otherwise people no need to buy from them as one can easily buy it from any shops that sell gemstone or crystal products.
For people wanting to try such tweaks but cannot afford, just experiment with natural quartz crystal.

Anonymous said...

I admit that I use a lot of acoustic revive quartz products for tuning, but also find that the natural quartz that I buy from local shops do work to some extent provided they are similar kind to Acoustic Revive's.
As for how to use quartz to tune the room and equipment, here are some ideas from acoustic revive's site. At this brand readily admit to using quartz as the main ingredient instead of hiding it behind some blocks of wood and stones and not admitting their use ;-)

http://www.acoustic-revive.com/english/riq5010/riq5010_01.html

http://www.acoustic-revive.com/english/qr8/qr8_02.html

Anonymous said...

Oops one of the link given above
should be

http://www.acoustic-revive.com/english/riq5010/riq5010_02.html

It illustrates some placement of quartz crystal on the equipment

sam elliot said...

Dear anonymous,

I think it is fine to experiment With DIY stuff but my experienced has been somewhat different..

I find that using the specialized company's product will actually yield better results..

To me it is a matter of penny wise pound foolish...

Junichi said...

In Japan all room,are tuned.everybody tuning rooms.but use japanese product.and need Master to help .sound very ,very good.tuning use crystal .some need wood .some need special metal.Master will know.no need special room for hi-fi. Tuning better than special room.talk to Japanese master.many websites.but all in Japan language

limkh said...

For those interested in DIY project Helmholtz resonators would be better.

If not just buy the original stuff...

hafiz said...

Maggie,
My I wish you and your family a happy and prosperous new year.

If you head home ,do drive carefully.
I wish you asafe journey home and back...

when you come back we'll talk Hi-fi....

Anonymous said...

To Sam Elliot

On the contrary, if you know what's the big secret inside a particular tweak, you will be able to know how it works and thus make a better tweak. Lots of such tweaks are simple to reproduce, and not asking one to build a DIY CD player or pre-amp etc.
As Junichi says, the Japanese are adventurous to try out different things when come to tuning, no need to just buy Shunmook, Shakti which may just be variations of what the Japanese all knew along

Anonymous said...

If one still like ShunMook, try looking for the Japanese Genesis sound product. This one uses gold foil and Japanese cedar wood but without any crystal inside and I am quite mystified by what it does

http://www.gesound.com/10products/index.html

Some English explanations on its use here

http://www.geocities.com/nanok131/Picture.html

Anonymous said...

Btw, has anybody already tried putting a Shunmook/Shakti/quartz crystal tuning device inside the fridge. Would like to know how it works for the rest of you... ;-)
Give it a try and report back here.
Happy Chinese New Year to all..

alain said...

To anonymous,
I am fine about DIY projects but I find tuning to be more demanding than making amp...

anyway I think Malaysians home are closer in environment to the western homes rather than the Japanese home.In france and Us people normally regards all these as snake oil...

gerhard said...

I don't know about France, Alain, but in Germany we tweak a lot. The Harmonix brand is very very popular in Germany. Maybe we in Germany are more like the Japanese. We LOVE our Horn speakers, we LOVE our tube amps & we LOVE our room tuner & resonators. By the way, Alain, have you actually listened to any of the rooms that has been tuned? IF NOT, my kind advice is to listen first before giving any opinions.

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR TO ALL! MAY IT BRING LOTS OF PROSPERITY and even to this blog!

yeowk said...

I cant seem to get the vocalists'focus without the aid of tweaks

I find the harmonix range more easily accesible.I have heard the shun mook name but has never seen or Heard their sound..

I got my harmonix fr singapore but dont remember seeing the s mook

Happy CNY to all.Don't gamble too much guys ,keep some for hi-fi ya

liam said...

Maggie,
when is Ken going to tell us abt SM.....we all are waiting

Happy CNY to you Maggie,

may thye new year bring happiness and prosperity

Anonymous said...

To yeowk,
Other than harmonix tweaks, you can also get in Singapore the Acoustic Revive range as well as the Genesis Sound tweaks.
You can check with Junichi, in Japan Harmonix is just a small brand when compared to Acoustic Revive whose founder Ken Ishiguro is kind of respected as a god of tweaks in Japan. DO try out the Acoustic Revive range next time you are in Singapore.
Note that there are 2 famous Ken Ishiguro in Japan, one is the actor, the other is not ;-)

http://www.stereotimes.com/comm060107.shtml

Anonymous said...

To alain,
I find tweaking to be quite fun to do it yourself as you learn to appreciate the subtle nuances different materials can effect on the system sound. It's a craft that can be learned and not that difficult to master.
The homes in Malaysia (unless you are a datuk or tan sri or Lingam) are not palatial in size, but quite small and should appropriate the home size of Japanese. Americans are typically big and spacious, and as mentioned not the usual size for a typical malaysian house.

din said...

To Maggielurva,

happy New year .may the Gods of music and Hi-Fi protect you always.

May you be blessed with long life and PROSPERITY....

alain said...

anonymous..

I still Don't get all your talks about crystals.where do you put them?In the rooms{at the corner?} or you put them on your electronics.

You really think crystal can make a 1 dollar mouth becomes 50 cents mouth?

Anonymous said...

To Alain,
You can start with putting a quartz crystal inside your fridge to begin with. Below URL shows someone using a small acoustic resonator, a clear or rose quartz crystal can be substituted in its place

http://www.audioexotics.hk/uploads/forums_thumbnails/3118_photo.jpg

(photo taken from
http://www.audioexotics.hk/forum.php
inside the thread called
"Major Acoustic Renovation in the home of Katongkid" )

If your crystal has a flat side, you can also apply them as inside the photos in the below link

http://www.acoustic-revive.com/english/riq5010/riq5010_02.html

Acoustic Revive cuts the quartz into flat disc so that they can be suitably applied below equipment inputs or on top of it.

Anonymous said...

The photo url of the acoustic resonator got truncated, should be

http://www.audioexotics.hk/
uploads/forums/3118_photo.jpg

tan said...

acoustic revive better than harmonix.many other japanese brands....to consider..

adrian said...

you cannot use the tuning part to sort out deficiency in your system

. aif your system is lousy all the shan mook in the world is not going to help make it better

it is the last part of tuning process

chancp said...

Gong Xi fa Cai to all our friends at Desirable Audio Boutique.

Happy Holidays and We truly enjoy the blogs

Gnoh said...

I concur with Adrian. SM should only be use once a system have been optimised. It won't improve vocalist mouth focus if the speaker placement is not right, or system noise floor is high. It will enhance what is already good.

I see a lot of interesting tweaks like acoustic revive and genesis sounds. May pay them a visit if I pop to Sg.

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

gnoh,

sorry, i bought mine from HK years ago form rm150 each.

anon,
interesting link on the update of SM!

adrian,
fully agree with you. you can't tweak with SM until your system is well-balanced

looks like acoustic revive is a brand to look out for, maybe i should use my charm to persuade the malaysian dealer/s to bring them in ;-)

happy CNY, everyone!

GCK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GCK said...

Hi Leslie, that explain the price you mentioned :-)
Hapy Chinese New Year to you and family

Anonymous said...

Even 6moons into Acoustic Revive now...award sighting too..

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/acousticrevive/rr77.html

;-)

Anonymous said...

How can one be sure how big a vocalist's mouth should be? It cannot be that it always has to be 50sen big right? Because I would think it would depend on how the recording was made. If a system always portray a vocalist mouth as 50sen size, is that not colouration/distortion already?

shunmookyau said...

Take a look at Hill system,use a lot of Shun mook tweak, you can find something interest there.
http://www.element-acoustics.ca/homevisit.html

http://www.stereopal.com/HomeVisit/Hill.htm

Enjoy! Yau

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