I have not listened to my system for 2 days due to work commitment. I fired it up again yesterday and was pleasantly surprised with the changes. My, my, the occasional brightness that I noted earlier was gone, and the mid bass took on some more weight. I got back almost all of the bass weight that I enjoyed before. An even better thing was that the bass now presented even more details, with speed and impact that was approaching the bass performance of higher grade disc spinners (like Esoteric SA60 and Audionet ART G2) when they were coupled to my previous cables. Pairing the Sky with these high performance players should prove to be an ‘ear-opener’, but alas, they were no longer with me.

I believe the DBS on the AQ Sky worked, because it was the only additional thing that was ‘on’ in my system for the last 2 days (as usual, the CD player and monoblocks were in standby and the pre-amp was always on). I don’t know whether this means that the DBS has fully charged the dielectric, let’s see whether there will be further changes, we should know in the next few days.

There were other improvements – I was already happy with the Sky’s performance during the first listen, but apparently they still had something up their sleeves. I was listening to 2V1G, and it slowly dawned on me that the disc has never played with such conviction in my system. On Winnie’s ‘Coming Home’ (track 1), the improvement in midrange and treble transparency allowed all the nuances in her singing through vividly. Her angst and yearnings on this track was so clearly conveyed that its impact was almost overwhelming. I have never experienced this level of emotional intensity from this track before in my system. Impressive performance, impressive recording!

Next up, I’d probably try some dynamic stuff and see where that leads.


km ng said...

Hi Hifikaki,

Be the first audio reviewer in the world to do this.

File in a Statutory Declaration(SD) to declare what you heard (and not hearsay).

I, Hafikaki,(NRICxxxxxx-xx-xxxx), a Malaysian Citizen of good hearing ability and residing with a high end audio system in xxx, Malaysia, do solemly and sincerly declare as follows:-

1. I have not listened to my system for 2 days due to work commitment.

2. I fired it up again yesterday and was pleasantly surprised with the changes.

3. My, my the occasional brightness that I noted earlier (in my first SD dated July 1, 2008) was gone...

Cheers everybody.

I think our hifi systems don't lie that much. Even if it does, it's sweet music to our ears.

Anonymous said...

So a US2.5K interconnect has made your not very new, not very famous and not very well known Copland CDP move to the likes of Esoteric and Audio Art? I would not believe you even if you made a SD.

Anonymous said...

Everything is relative. If the Sky IC was in his system with the Esoteric and Audio Art earlier, it would have taken the system to a higher level. The gap between sources remains.

hifikaki said...

km ng,

Being able to tie a hobby like hifi to the political situation in our country is definitely creative and non-conventional.

Well, I think there is the normal 'adjusting' process over some time whenever something new is inserted into one's hifi system. Some would say this is 'burn-in', some would say it is purely psychological. My opinion tends towards the former.

anonymous 1,

I used the words 'approaching', may be it gave a wrong impression, but I did not mean to say that my CDP's bass performance now EQUAL the SA60 or Audionet. It was to mean that the bass performance now is moving closer towards those two on the old interconnects.
There is still of course gap between the Copland and the others like what anonymous 2 said. :-)

Richard-Expat said...


Why not?

Often time CDP s are designed to a price point,and having owned a Copland in the past ,I can tell you that the Gap is not as massive as you made out to be.

What you have forgotten is that Esoteric is just a TEAC,just in different stripe.

Now ,up till recently ,ESOTEric has been thought to be all hype little substance.The price difference can easily be explained by the amount of publicity,and advertisements they have to pay for.

I would feel sorry for you If you would snub a player like COPLAND because it is not FAMOUs enought,I think the only one to lose would be you,Iand having live in Asia the past few years I do notice that to a lot of Asian audiophile s;the Snubb and bragging factors sometime take precedence over sonic performance.JMO

lim said...

Richard ,

I bet you that even A Cambridge Audio Azur would rival TEAC[I mean ESOTERIC},except it is not expensive enough for some people...

shah said...

Does anybody remember Ah! NToe Tjoeb?

It is essentially a soup up Marantz,but not only it humbled MARANTz highest models it also was bvregarded as one of the best irrespective of price.

And all the designer did was tweaked it a bit and add a tube here and there.

So Could A COPLAND sound like ESOTERIC and Audionet?I would say,it could sound better,if tweaked well...

chris said...


If you think that COPLAND is less famous than ESOTERIC you are grossly mistaken,or you haven't been around.

In England,for every ESOTERIC CDP sold there will be at least 3 COPLAND[nothing to do with price]

And COPLAND has been used in the reference system of UHF,which is regarded as the most neutral magazine around;

I thought you have been swayed by the marketing gizmos that the JAPanese are very good at.After all no decent audiophile would listen to ANY of the esoteric stuff before souping it up;it isn't just good enought...

As fior COPLAND;it only need 3 things:

1]Decent PC

2]Good IC

3]Decent Stand

ric said...


Do a search on Esoteric CDP for sale on audiogon,you will see how fast people wants to get rid of them.

On the other hand it is very rare to find a Copland cdp on the 2nd hand market.
surely that say something,Right?

sid said...

AQ seems to get serious aagain.

I think For a while they seems happy breaking ground in home theatre.

To AQ,I say welcome back.we have missed you

hafiz said...

To anonymous one,

Nobody is forcing you to believe anything ,it is a free world after all.

having said that,I personally has been enjoying Hi-fi kaki's review;it has always been very accurate ,honest and I think the blog has been a better place with his input.

Richard is absolutely right .Unfortunately Malaysian audiophiles ,like mr anonymous 1 spend very little time actually auditioning different equipments,listening to different cables and UNDERSTANDING the importance of system synergy.

It is blogs like this one that has helped us ,dissect what is in between the line when one read magazines that do not like to offend big companies like ESOTERIC;which has a humble origin as alow class tape deck player.

So do I believe the change that Hifi kaki described?ABSOLUTELY.This guy know his stuff!!!!

B Raftery said...

AQ has been in the heart of many innovation breakthrough ,but it is just too overpriced to me .

I prefer small cable boutique manufacturers that has tight quality control.

I understand that a lot of manufacturers has moved to China to keep the cost low,but I think they are taking a big risks there.Too many counterfeit products get infused in with the real thing.

jay said...

If you have awell set system ,like Hifi kaki's ,you do not need much change to take it to the next level.

A lot of the time it is a cable change,a resonator here and there;i have even seen a sytem completely changed just by cleaning the cables terminal with Deoxit gold.

Remember JA review on stereophile on PSB entry level speaker?well I am sure if you have a Sckeptic like the first anonymous;you wouldn't believe him when JZ he could happily live with the speaker[lee than 300 bucks!!!].

but I belive JA completely.It just show his skill in Coaxing out the best and understandingthe importance of getting thge best out of the system.It was pure masterclass.

And if you have a transparent system,you could really appreaciate the small nouances that is the joy in hi-fi.

to Quote MR KM NG,your system do not lie.Unfortunately most people equate Big bucks system as big bucks performance.It is not .The first thing you need is humility to learn from others.And I can say straight here that I have learned from Hifikaki,Maggielurva and some of the wise readers here immensely.

viggo said...

hi fi kaki,

No question about it ,the dbs certainly works..

ktlee said...

To anonymous no2

have you heard of system synergy?

Just because the cable sound good with the COPLAND -PASS combo,there is no gurentee that the same would be true with the ESOTERIC.

And I would certainly agree that a lotv of people buy things on hype

Anonymous said...

System synergy is there especially more so when you have mid to lo fi systems.

At the higher fi, the better cables brings out the best in the sources, amplification etc.

In this case with the Sky, how would you know that the Esoteric and Audio Art will not sound even better in the same system?

From a pure source stand point, how do we rate the order of superiority?

Putting a side cost of these 3 and if you get to pick one up for free, which one would you pick?

ktlee said...

anonymous .
I think you are absolutely wrong!!!!

It is actually the other way around,system synergy doesnt exist in the entry level,and becomes more important as you upped the playing field.

In fact ,if you read this month of Stereophile by John Atkinson,you would really realized the importance of of things-we-take for granted like CDp voltage output.

If I was given a choice,I would have a listen to each player in my sytem,and choose the best sounding one!!!I am sure some would choose the most expensive one{probably Esoteric} and end up selling it in A'gon.....

rishi said...

Anonymous 1

You haven't heard of COPLAND CDP?

pierce-expat said...

system synergy is important at every level.

it certainly becomes more obvious in the ultra hi-end system.

Certainly in a true reference system,even 'small'thing like cable elevators could change the sound.for better,or for worse.

and lastly,high price certainly means high hype but will not gurantee hi performance....JMHO

has said...


You mean the review about primaluna CDP?If it is I certainly agree that i learned a lot from it too.Eye opening piece

Anonymous said...

Yes, trying out in one's system is the best way to select any item to be part of the system. But we need to start some where.

If we already have the system minus the source we could then try out each CDP and pick the one that sounds best.

But what if it's the other way around? Ok, ok so we pick the CDP last.

Then again, how are all the top CDP manufacturer going to design and manufacture their top CDP? I am sure they must have their in house system to start with.

And i am sure they cannot rely on system synergy with everyone's system out there, right?

If they have decided to design at a price point like say USD15k retail, i am sure they would know which system their CDP will end up in, right?

So everything should be designed and made to a price point right?

So far most if not all reviews say good things if not awards Esoteric the highest they could.

If you look inside an Esoteric you will also see where the cost go into, right?

The Esoteric may not synergize with your system but can it not synergize with others?

All things being equal, would the Esoteric not be a better player than a Copland?

Anonymous said...

To a price point, we should pick several choices to be tested in our system.

At another price point, there will be several other choices.

Certainly we are not going to pick a $5k player to compare system synergy with a $15k player right?

stan said...

Anonymous I think you are completely confused!!!!!!

I hope you subscribe to Hifi+,a very respectable UK publication,because in this month issue there is another important article by RG on system synergy,how terrible Gyraphon[cd and amp]sound with NOrdost VALhalla[!!!!!]you are talking about one of the best SS electronics and one of the most Expensive cables ever made;and they just sound terrible together!!!!

Incidentally,in the same issue there is a long write up on how digital[REAd BAD]ESOTERIC top of the line sound.I know exactly what the folks in Hi fi + meant,I couldn't bear the sound of ESOTERIC,it is just so forward.

So there you go.There are a lot of 5k CDP that sound infinitely better than a 15k CDP.And ask Maggielurva honestly why he hasn't thought of upgrading after listening to the esoteric.I'll give you the answer.The entry level Meridian[G06}sound infinitely more musical than the most expensive ESOTERIC,let alone the highly regarded G08.How do I know?I,ve listened to both.I suggest you do the same instead of findings your facts on internet

ktlee said...

To answer your Questions anonymous;

1]All things equal the Esoteric sound better than the Copland.WRONG!!!!I think the Copland is a much more musical player.Better looking maybe,better sound certainly not .

2]So where does all the money goes?ADVERTISEMENT!!!!!!!and endorsement!!!who do you think has to pay for all that?The consumers of course.They also give superb margin to the dealers.

3]Look no further to our MR Ooi,that was profiled by hi-fi kaki recently.He still use an old loudspeaker[APOGEE}but i just get goosebums reading about his system.Very,very well thought out.And I am sure you were not impressed because his speakers are not new enought...

2V1G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

arguments aside, i am glad that some smart readers can read between the lines and guess what we like/dislike. in the name of diplomacy, we have left a lot of room for readers to make their own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Is Esoteric that bad? Glad i didn't pick the X-03 a while back. Thanks for re-affirming my decision. heh, heh.

jim said...

Esoteric plays SACD very well,but the Cd playback is pretty average IMO.

If you have a lot of SACDs sure ,go for it but the house sound is details,details details and after 1-2 hrs you'll jump out of the listening chair[at least I did]

having said that,you could 'tame'it by using high quality low powered SETs and with the right speakers,it still could sound magical.

good or bad,in the end would be a matter of taste.Just like our appreciation in women,some of us like them noughty,some of us like them classy.....

Anonymous said...

Yes, i can easily agree with Jim. The amp type (tube or solid state), cabling etc influences which source to choose etc.