before visiting ck, we (me and hifi kaki)already had some expectations that ck's system is going to be a tweaker's delight since he uses resonators and shun mook throughout and his speaker is audio physics so expectation of a good soundstage is naturally there.

the V.A.L 211 mono

ck's system is based on a marantz sa11 cdp, connected via stage III concepts vacuum gold interconnect, powered by two V.A.L 211 monoblock, which is then connected via a TVC preamp, driving the audio physics scorpio speakers via luminous cables.

his listening room is not big (a bit squarish, in fact) but he has obviously spent considerable time with the room acoustics to come out with a clean and rather conducive listening area.

the first thing that strikes us is how spacious the soundstage is. is is deeper than it is wide; the depth gives a good sense of layering, which is always the forte of audio physics. the initial tone is rather recessed and lacking of highs but ck performed some magic by adjusting his resonator (see pictures below) just millimeter higher up and the system is transformed instantly. we were baffled how this could be so!

soundstage champ - the audio physics scorpio

playing some really dynamic music sees the system coping well with very good rhythm and pace; the details are aplenty and the bass is really tactile and bouncy with no boominess at all. we guess the roomful of resonators has to do with the good bass. it is hard to imagine a SET giving out this sort of bass. however, i felt a sense of restraint when it comes to ultimate dynamic expression - it is as if the system is strangled by some bottlenecks somewhere. with the permission of the kind host, i passed this constructive comment to him in order for him to enhance further in this aspect of freedom of expression of music.

french made resonators - acoustic system

amazing resonators


but you haven't read the best part about the vocal presentation. this is where the magic of SET comes shining through in ck's system. we are absolutely honest about it and we don't mean to butter up the owner to make him happy. using 2v1g's original master cd, the outcome is shocking to say the least. because the recording is minimalist and high-resolution (192KHz downsampled to 44.1Khz), ck's system seems to produce all its glory in the most delicate, detailed and naked manner. it is as if my two singers are singing naked, emotionally speaking of course, in front of us. we could hear every nuance, breath, vocal chord movements of the two singers and roger's delicate fingers' movement on the fret. the level of transparency and details is simply astounding, it even surpasses my own ARC push-pull with maggie 3.6R in the areas of transparency and details. i caught hifi kaki talking, or rather uttering, to himself repeatedly about how great the SET handles vocals. in addition to the transparency, the emotional involvement and the musicality are also worth mentioning. we were pulled into the music uncontrollably but willingly. something is very right about this presentation on vocals. it is amazing. it is the best part about ck's system. i seldom experience this.



ck's system is one that would convince SET detractors that something must be right about SET amplifications. granted, it has its limitations and we shall wait to see how ck can address the weaknesses in the ensuing months. but its forte in communication, transparency and detail rendition is almost in a class of its own.

this is sweet surrender of this most willing kind. i love how my 2v1g sound in ck's system and i am sure ck would buy more than one copy of my cd for his listening pleasure ;-)

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

CK,

Very nice. Tell us more....

Anonymous said...

i noticed the tiny Resonator cup in the middle of the wall :)

harald said...

SET driving the scorpio?That is a first for me !!!What a brave choice

GCK said...

Hi Leslie, thanks for the good write up and honest review. As a matter of fact another visitor 1 week ago also pointed out about the sound not having the last extension if you may call it. Then I took the liberty to make some adjustments with the resonators, but it takes about 48 hours for it to stabillise and I guess more work need to be done.
I am getting a active preamp soon and that will surely change the sound dramatically. And more tuning work is expected.

For those who think Shun Mook and resonators can work together in room tuning, please drop the idea. The only Shun Mook disc I have now is on my equipment AC power cords. Ah.. and the diamond resonators below the SA11.
I had some bad or you can say interesting experience when I started using Acoustic Systems resonators. Prior to the resonators, Shun Mook discs was all over the walls in the room. I did not take out the side wall and the back wall shun mooks and began to place the additional resonators. 5 minutes into my listening, I felt sick and wanted to vomit. I switch off and took a rest. After I removed the remaining shun mooks from the walls, the sickness was gone.

Anonymous said...

HAVE CK SET DRIVE ON FULLRANGE?

km ng said...

Hi CK,

Your room has become the war zone between Shun Mook and the Cups.

And, you're the collateral damage. :)

Have you demoed the cup-in-fridge, cup-out-of-fridge magic to Les and Hifikaki?

With apologies to Rogers Waters, I think they will be Amazed To Death.

Anonymous said...

gck,

I am notice you are using Soundcare Superspikes for scorpio.

Can I get Soundcare Superspikes in Klang Valley or not?

gig said...

Which one do you prefer gck,The SM or AS resonators?How many AS resonators do you use?

THi HA said...

GCK,Congratulations!!!!!

This to me is what our hobby is all about,making most out of what wwe have,and to me the masterstroke is when you choose tubes .

I don't think you can get good soundstage if you use SS because of space constrain.

hifikaki said...

Maggielurva is spot-on on the sonic attributes of CK's system. I’d just like to add my 2 cents’ worth.

CK’s system, while no slouch in other hifi performance areas, was first and foremost a vocal champ. Vocal music played on this system could make an amazing connection with the listeners. The voice had details – every vocal inflexion, every nuance could be heard and this was the quality I believe contributed most to this intimacy that the listeners felt with the singers. The voice was palpable- it was like the artists were in the same room with you.

Minimalist vocal tracks brought out the best in this quality. I was extremely impressed with the way the system handled maggielurva’s 2v1g and his Dennis Nieh CDs.

However, CK’s system is not a one trick pony. It also portrayed an excellent soundstage and had good rhythm. Jazz and other pop music, which we also listened to, were handled pretty well.

I have read about SET magic on vocal for a long time, but this was my first experience where reality matched up with the ‘hype’ (sorry, I am all along a solid state guy :-) ).

But of course it may not be the only factor that contributed to this magic – maggielurva had alluded to the effort that CK had invested in tuning his room with resonators, and there was also the Audio Physic Scorpio – a 7-driver-per-side speakers (1 tweeter, 2 midrange, 4(!) woofers), the Marantz player, and high quality cablings.

It was a very enjoyable night listening to music.

GCK said...

Maggielurva and HifiKaki, I am really previledged to get to listen to a few tracks from the 2V1G CD. I am impressed at the quality of the recording.Some of the tracks were done in 1 take and that made it even more impressive.The singers also sang with emotion and yes I can feel it too.
Just my 2 cents, the recording is very good already, I think too much mastering will degrade the sound.

junichi said...

Ah This Gck is playing like Japanese people!!!

Good system matching and must use resonators,must use them...Room size should not be restriction,adjust resonator carefully;soundstage open up feel like stadium..

ck lim said...

What happen to you SM now CK,are they up for sale?

itoh said...

Mr Junichi inform me about you playing like Japanese people...

Your friend Hifi kaki playing like American people.

but we like resonators because if your equipment change you adjust resonators,American way must built new room!!!

also resonators very important for equipment and speakers.better than spikes.sounstage will open more like live music.

Maybe next time can try Reimyo CDP ,better with SETs than Marantz

jimmy said...

GCK,
If I could trouble you with a few questions:

1]what Power line conditioner are you using?

2]How many room resonators are you using,is ist really difficult to use them?

3]Your Marantz seems to be a bit out of place,compared to the rest of your components,or it is not?

thanking you in advance..

issac said...

gck,
have you consider Coincident Or Living Voice speakers?

These are the classic SET paired speakers......I think Coincident speakers are among the most underrated products in hi-fi.Do you have them in Malaysia?

sid said...

I think your system deserve a really good digital front,Personally I think the Lindermann 820s would fit superbly in your system...Or A meridian G08/808 depending on the budget

jklee said...

gck,
congrats on the system,

What made you try the room resonators?

Anonymous said...

do malaysia got any supravox,feastrex?well....

GCK said...

Hi Junichi, I am still an newbie interms of using resonators compared to you Japanese guys. You are the experts.

Yes, you very right. Yesterday, I adjust the top left and right corner resonators. I moved it higher and closer to the edge of the front wall. Now it sound very spacious and open. I played Dave Brubeck Quartet Live at Carnegie Hall and I feel so much more at the venue.

Hi Itoh, Reimyo is in another league.I heard it is very good.

Anonymous said...

The Reimyo single box CDP is no longer made.....sigh

The Reimyo DAC is using the 20 bit chip and soon it will release a 24 bit chip DAC.......will see

The Reimyo Transport uses a Philip drive instead of the legendary JVC drive.......frown

Ever since JVC got out of CDP, Reimyo is lost for parts. The best Reimyo can do is tune the heck out of it.

The next best Japanese CDP player are Zanden and Accuphase both of which are better than Esoteric and cost more than arms and legs.

Lots of options.....only money is limited.

BTW, this is a journey so we will see what the future holds for digitl playback.

Anyway at this price, pls consider a high end analogue playback.

Anonymous said...

GCK,

Check this out...

http://xcafe.multiply.com/photos/album/27/Malaysia_Audiophile

These are systems up north. These guys loves tweaking with footers, platforms, cables and Acoutic Revives stuffs. You will see a few Reimyo stuffs here.

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

I have been waiting for quite sometime for someone to ask me where did I get those resonators.
For those who wanted to know, below is the link.
Before I proceed, there is just one pre requisite. You must have good and acute hearing. Or else it will be difficult as you won't know what changed. Even rotating the cups 1 or 2 degrees clockwise or counter clockwise will make a difference.

I got mine from Audio Exotics Hong Kong. Below is the link. Call or email to Mr Leung. He has been a great mentor in my Hifi journey

http://www.audioexotics.hk

Anonymous said...

Im buying a pair of these amps, any problems with the stock tubes? apekrhed@yahoo.com