cable manufacturers are a creative lot. after they have exhausted with mountains, jewelries, animals, they have now gone to use fruits as the name/brand/model for their cables.

latest to hit our shores are pear cables. by using the name "pear", we could guess that the sound must be juicy, succulent and sweet!

pear's designer, adam blake, likes to backup his cables with all things scientific; he doesn't believe in snake oils and voodoo. a look at their technical write-up proves that the pear cables are fundamentally sound, in fact, a bit modest and down-to-earth, without the usual glamor and glitz of their competitors. adam believes in machine-made cables, citing consistency and repeatability of results. pear cable has direct control of the process from beginning to end, enabling them to perform quality control measures at several distinct points in the process.

pear offers copper, silver and gold cables, in ascending price scale. we must say that their price is most reasonable. consider their comice silver RCA 1.0m interconnect selling at RM1,600 and you would know they are not rip-off.

andrew lim, the distributor of pear cable in malaysia, would like to entice you with a free, no-obligation, home trial of his cables. call him now at 012-2178031 if you want to quench your audio thirst with a pear.

we can guarantee that the pear cables are not rotten apples ;-)

we have the good fortune of auditioning the dCs scarlatti in a friend's house just now. he also owns the oh-so-expensive krell evo 1 and 2 pre-power amplifications. the total cost of his hardware can easily buy us a corner house in bandar utama.

i told him that if i were a thief who breaks into his gem-packed house, i would lug away his scarlatti first rather than his krell evo 1&2 not to mention the fact that scarlatti is 3-piece whereas krell evo combi is 8-piece.

the dCs scarlatti is everything that the critics said - shocking precision and top-notch resolution. i hear things i didn't hear before in my cds. it digs deep into the recordings with plenty of details and nuances. it scores excellently in both the macro and micro aspects.

i don't think i miss my dream machine, the meridian 808, anymore.

why so serious? that's what joker repeatedly said to his nemesis.

indeed, why take yourself so seriously? one dealer had tea with me and he uttered the following words - many audiophiles have fallen sick; the industry itself is sick and even he himself is sick. being in the industry for too long exposes him to all the problematic traits of local audiophiles. being in their company for too long also made him a cynic.

this hobby is no longer fun with bad-mouthing, back-stabbing, ego-bashing and mud-slinging bickers happening all the times. is it a malaysian problem or is it a global problem? gone are the days where audiophiles congregate together on a weekly basis at the coffee table to share, exchange and generally have a good time. nowadays many discerning and intellectual audiophiles (especially the high-end ones) prefer to play in solitude, just to distance himself from the rascals.

we think that today's audiophiles lack hands-on knowledge, self-confidence, assurance and depth of character. too many armchair critics. too many sour grapes. too many with "communist " mentality (as opposed to "prosper-thy-neighbor" mentality) .

the local situation has gone so bad that many dealers want to look beyond the audiophile community, and start to do business with non-audiophiles, the genuine music lovers who are less problematic and easier to deal with.

call me an audio rebel. i don't believe hifi has to be monotonous and political. why can't it be naughty and fun just like car audio with plenty of eye-candy? besides, there are times i couldn't find a fitting photo to insert into my post!

if no one has done it (to mix women with hifi), why can't i be the first one in the world?

do we need a hifi doctor to cure all the sicknesses?

[the smouldering pace wu]

Our goal is to represent manufacturers who develop products with cutting edge technology, and precision workmanship. Companies that stand apart from the mass market, and have a greater love for the art, and products that enrich your lifestyle, and make you proud to own.

we like the intro of aaudio import, a specialist importer/distributor of high-end audio in the US. unlike many distributors, aaudio is selective on the products it represents. it only focuses on niche products that are cutting edge, in a class of its own and against the tide of mainstream.

the designers of such products are normally small-time cottage industry owners but heavily devoted to the art of advancing high-end audio. you may think that they don't have the money to splurge on advertising or big-scale manufacturing but that's to ignore their perfectionist attitude towards their products. they have seen too many examples of audio companies losing their competitive edge the moment they go mass-market. their non-compromising attitude prevents them to be part of the audio bandwagon.

most of these designers are not motivated by money and some of them are even struggling but it doesn't not stop them from pursuing audio excellence. it is great that aaudio can house them under one common roof.

how many products you currently own that fall into the "minority, niche" category but you feel they deserve the full accolades by merit of their outstanding performance?

[child-woman jolin cai]

the cd pirates now have gone shopping in taiwan and hong kong. either that, or they are now shopping in yes asia, the largest online chinese cd web store in the world.

they now bring into malaysia many titles well in advance of the malaysian market. (at least 1-2 months ahead). this is something unheard of in the past. and some titles so uncommercial that you wonder why they bother.

it is obvious - the pirates are looking at the bigger global picture now - they want to rule all and sundry.

scary sh*t.

it is a sad day for music. the music industry and record shops in malaysia are promised of an expedited death.

oh, btw, just in case you ask - 2v1g has been pirated. what an irony in all sense of the word.

it's heartbreaking to see that the world doesn't care or give a damn about saving it for future generations. that is depressing. but I am not gonna throw my life away because everyone out there is sleeping. i've already given my life to this collection. if nobody out there understands what i've done and what i have and what i've offered, then we have to give it up.
paul mawhinney has diabetes and is blind. he has over 1 million of LPs in his collection and he is asking 1.5mil lock stock and barrel. he has already closed his record shop record-rama early this year.

claimed paul : "eighty-three percent of the music that i have on those shelves you can't buy at any price, anywhere!"

apparently his collection is worth 50mil but paul is willing to let go at 3mil and yet there is no buyer. the truth is, paul has been trying to sell his collection for at least a decade. cd now offered him $28.5 million for the collection, before going bankrupt. That was in 1997.

In 2002, negotiations with the library of congress also fell through.

paul is heart broken. he couldn't believe that there is no music lover serious enough in buying.

we would like to know:
[1] what kind of titles does paul has? could they be so old that it is only good for historical and archival purposes? most importantly, do these titles attract the typical audiophile/vinylphile, who is the only buyer of LPs nowadays?
[2] does paul sell piece meal, instead of lock stock barrel. if so, what is the average price per piece?

we are not trying to be cynical, there must be reasons why those records are not moving.

having said that, if audiophiles don't like his titles because the recording is not good or they don't make it into the HP's list, then it is really a sad day for music.

Need we say anything more of the world's best-selling Jazz superstar.

Performance Date: 2 OCT 08
Time: 8:15pm
Venue: Plenary Hall, KL Convention Centre
Ticket Price: Stiff!! RM888, 588 & 288 (add RM3 ticketing fee/ticket). Visa cardholders enjoy 10% and 15% discount.

Ticket sales commencing: 26 Aug although I saw an advert in the Star that Visa cardholders can call 012-318 4162/4175/4193 now to book tickets. Alternatively, check out daily for any sign of ticket sales launch.

Pre-show Review:
Great jazz music and normally above average sonics, Diana Krall's CDs are practically present in most jazz audiophiles' music collection. This is your chance to catch the live act. Those who previously caught Fourplay live at the Dewan Philharmonic Orchestra, KLCC will know a live act is very different from listening through your stereo.

The performance venue is as plush and comfortable as you can expect. Sonic-wise it is comfortably above average (which is extremely good for Malaysia) though not satisfying.

[the curvaceous fala chen]

it is confirmed - city square, the adelphi-wannabe of kl, is going to have a major face-lift and all its hifi tenants will have to seek new homes.

there was a time in the early 90s when city square was touted to be the adelphi of malaysia. the av centre did attract a number of hifi tenants then and with metrojaya store being the anchor tenant, the dream came close to fruition. close, by never quite there yet.

with the exit of metrojaya in the late 90s, city square soon lost its attraction. husbands could no longer bring their families to city square with the pretext of hifi shopping because the wives and kids have nowhere to go.

the last 5 years saw city square being relegated to a 3-rate shopping destination. there was hardly any attractions. but half a dozen of hifi tenants stayed put as they believe the location does attract a regular stream of loyal customers.

rave, music by design, audio perfectionist, valve and vinyl, asia sound, zest audio would now have to look for new homes. would they all go to amcorp mall, the current home of many hifi dealers, or another building would house an av centre for them? plaza low yatt did at one time want to house an av centre but the IT-centric mall doesn't quite entice hifi dealers.

the dream of having an adelphi-like centre in kl remains a distant one.

ok, i am a bit late in discovering kokokaina - the latest singing sensation from boleh land. but what a voice! since we already have malaysia's michael buble in sean ghazi, now we have our own norah jones. she has the same shock factor as joanna wang due to her young age. some say she is better than norah jones - she is our own junior billy holiday!

check out this video - which has close to 700,000 views in youtube.

amazing talent she is. wish i could sign her up!

[the delicious carmen soo]

[1] you can tell one person's character from the way he treats his competitors. the local chinese magazine, after much pressure from the dealers and the market forces, has started a website. in two of his articles, the computer-challenged editor attacked yours truly by saying that "hifi bloggers are full of nonsense, deceit and irresponsibility" and that 2v1g is "a low-budget production with ordinary recording and unknown singers". am i supposed to retaliate? not worth it. i shall leave such low-life with his own opinions. he is not worth my attention. the discerning audiophiles would know who's the one having the substance and mettle.

[2] meridian is having a major shake-up worldwide with the addition of a new investor. (i haven't googled for info on the net yet). malaysia, hong kong, japan and france distributors have relinquished its distributorship. it is not likely that absolute hifi will take up distributorship for malaysia because meridian is never their cup of tea. so my 808 will remain a distant dream.

[3] one dealer has instigated the idea of forming "an association of hifi dealers in malaysia". i don't know what's the benefit of such move but i already see major obstacles ahead to unite the dealers. too many politics and very little in common. but i will see what i can do to help the initiative. someone also made the suggestion to "buy up av xpress" in an attempt to "commercialize it" and "beef up its contents". hey, you mean my magazine is for sale?

[4] 3,000 copies of 2v1g have been snapped up and we are into our 3rd pressing. hooray! to those who support us - thanks a million!

(Sorry-lah, I can't make the picture of a pair of audio interconnects look like the photos in maggielurva's last 2 posts ;-) )

I have had the Kubala-Sosna Emotion interconnects in my system for the last 3 weeks, and am halfway through writing up a review for the next issue of AVXpress. But hey, there is still some way to go until the next issue, so maggielurva asked me to share some of my impressions of them on this blog first. So here we go.

I put on the K-S between my Copland CD player and my Pass Labs X2.5 pre-amp. The first impression was that they were not the kind of cables that grabbed your attention outright. Music just came forth from the system with a very even-handed manner, there was no one sonic area that screamed for my attention.

If I had given up on the K-S at this point, that would prove to be a big mistake indeed, because after 3, 4 days of listening, I started to realize and appreciate my system’s performance with the K-S in it. The K-S slowly got through to you rather than knock you off on first listen!

The biggest effect the K-S had on me was that I felt more relaxed listening to my system. The way the K-S handled musical flow reminded me very much of my impression of the Meridian G08 CD player (I do not mean to say that the K-S made my system sounded like the G08 though, but just the rhythm/flow/ timing part). What I blogged about the Meridian G08 (under ‘A Tale of Two CD Players’ a couple months ago) could be borrowed here, so pardon me for my laziness while I steal from there to describe the K-S – the K-S lingered a bit over the music to allow you to savour the full development of the musical notes, sort of like letting you ‘smell the roses’ on the way. I find this to be quite charming, as it gave me a new perspective on the music. You might get slightly less adrenalin rush but gain insights into the music. In this sense, the K-S comes across as composed and mature in my system - and also ‘sophisticated’, if I may add. It is also important to note that this obvious sense of relaxation did not seem to diminish the musical message or details.

With the K-S in it, my system’s bass performance went up a notch, it went much deeper and I felt that my EgglestonsWorks The Nine loudspeakers' bass capability was fully utilized. The bass was focused and impactful, the Native American drum tracks on Bill Miller’s The Red Road were the best I have ever heard on my system. The K-S mid was another area they excelled in, it had body and richness. The highs were smooth and quite detailed, they were also nicely integrated well with the rest of the sonic spectrum. I thought they were also nicely a little self-effacing, and because of this behaviour, they made many of my CDs quite listenable (bad recordings still bad, but more listenable). Like maggielurva mentioned in his previous post, the K-S may match better with modern amps, if you think your modern amps are a bit shrill or thin, try the K-S,I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

There are a few more areas that the K-S did quite well, like the coherence that they always imbued all kinds of music I threw at them. I’d elaborate more of these in the full review write-up. I’d end this sneak preview of the K-S with a passage I have written for the review article – “The listening experience with the K-S was analogous to sitting in a chauffer driven Mercedes sedan - it was luxurious, smooth, secured and comfortable. The sound, like the ride of a Mercedes, had a high level of maturity and sophistication that was very appealing. It was hard to forget once experienced”.

[the puurrfect 10 - lin zhi ling]

mystery solved.

a helpful audiophile friend - after various experimentations - confirmed the peculiarity of kubala-sosna emotion cables - that it only likes modern (read post-2000 production) amplifiers and speakers. it works fantastically in kharma and marten speakers and the latest krell, rowland, pass labs and ARC. it doesn't work in older krell and audio research. the sound in older amps is bloated and bulky, like what i experienced earlier.

that also explains why it works so well in hifi kaki's pass labs xa60 and not in my 20-year-old ARC.

i hope kubala-sosna fans will rest easy now.

i am not sure if joe kubala himself knows about this. hope he reads this blog.

[the beautiful charmaine sheh]

a dealer advised me to tone down my exuberance in this blog, for many dealers have become very "worried" of what i said in this blog. he cited several cases:

[1] i tend to make conclusive remarks too soon - i tend to side certain products.

[2] i should avoid doing shoot-outs in the future for malaysian dealers don't like it

[3] i am too opinionated and that i should have more reviewers to review a particular gear before i publish it in this blog. i should have at least 10 sets of systems before i am qualified to comment on a product.

with regards to comment [1], i make no apologies, for this is my blog and i have my own personality and style. i have always maintained "the caveat emptor" condition - you read with knowing what i like and dislike. the last thing i want to be is a "mr. please all", to satisfy all the dealers but myself. i loathe selling-out.

i still maintain my huge enthusiasm for stage III asp gryphon and no one is going to change my mind. i still maintain that it sounds superb in my system. so if you don't agree with it, stop believing what i write and stop reading this blog.

so, it is important to know the blogger's biases (and whims and fancies) before you take his words seriously.

the addition of hifi kaki and other bloggers in this blog also shows that i am open enough to have varied opinions.

so i beg you - readers and dealers alike - read with caveat emptor.

with regards to comment [2], i admit it was my mistake. because i am an industry figure, i have a responsibility to educate and inform. i shouldn't pit one product against another. i shall stop doing shoot-outs in the future. readers are encouraged to read between the lines. and i believe my readers are smart.

with regards to comment [3], i make no apologies again. which revered reviewer does not have an opinion? would you rather read a wishy-washy article (like in many magazines) rather than one which has a clear opinion (like hifi+)? as i have said, the fact that i invited hifi kaki and master ken shows my intention to broaden the perspectives of this blog (and magazine). but maggielurva would always be maggielurva, that is having an opinion (not opinionated, mind you) and honest to his art. is it because malaysia is not ready to have a writer like me?

having 10 systems before i qualified to review hifi? come on, stop kidding yourself, even robert harley or jonathan valin doesn't spend time evaluating a piece of component in 10 different systems. everyone knows system matching is important. if i said a component does not sound good in my system does not mean it does not sound good in hifi kaki's system or master ken's system. you have to take my criticsim with a huge pinch of salt. again, no one forces you to believe what i write. if you don't like what i write, then why are you reading this blog?

so, in summary, i promise to be more diplomatic in the future but within what i think is fair, without compromising my integrity. it is a fine line between commercialism and honesty and i am still learning the balancing act. but just so you know - in politics, i rather be a lee kuan yew than an abdullah badawi. in hifi, i rather be a roy gregory than a ken kessler.

i am just an honest and straight forward guy, so please don't bother me with all these politics.

oh, btw, don't you think charmaine sheh is highly desirable?

what audio component(s) that had the most impact in your audio life? much like your first love.

my first love was when i was 17 (that was a long long time ago) and it left an indelible mark in my life. that was the sweetest and most innocent chapter in my life.

in audio, it is definitely the audio research classic 30 and that happened in 1990 . i was too young to appreciate the past giants of ARC like sp-11, d70, d250 and all those models that preceded the classic series.

i used the classic 30 to drive the legendary ls3/5a and i had a good few months of audio nirvana before i upgraded the ls3/5a to spica tc-10 (remember spica in the 80s?).

the classic 30 simply has the sweetest sound among all the ARC amps i have ever heard. not only that, it taught me about high-end values.

high-end values that i hold dear and are still applicable till today. the bland and analytical tube sound of today is nothing like the glorious tube sound of yore.

tell me about your first love audio.

If we were to financially budget according to sound quality contribution of each audio component in the overall playback chain, I would challenge you to the following:

  • Source: 12.5%

  • Amplifier: 12.5%

  • Speakers: 17.5%

  • Cables: 12.5%

  • Supports: 7.5%

  • Room: 17.5%

  • Electricity: 12.5%

  • Others: 7.5%

The numerical values of the % are completely arbitary – I do not have any proper methodologies, let alone scientific basis in arriving on the % values. There is no scoring method for the matter either. Forget about the values. What I want to illustrate is the “relative contribution/ranking” of each major audio component/accessory category to the final sound quality that we can discern from an audio playback chain.

My points are these:

  1. The room and loudspeaker each contribute and influence the audio signature of any audio system the most. Together, e.g. 35%, the room-speaker interaction/pairing will dominate the sonic character of the audio playback system and will immediately make-or-break the perceived sonic fidelity of an audio playback system.

  2. Cables and electricity quality (voltage, noise, dynamic current availability) are each by themselves as influential as either the source or amplifier in determining the resulting sonic quality. They are all ranked equal, e.g. 12.5%. In suitably transparent systems, the magnitude of sonic differences that can be heard from cable changes or mains conditioning/enhancements is as great as if one is changing sources or amplifiers.

  3. Paying attention to the supports for your audio equipment yield surprisingly significant dividends. The likes of Mana Acoustic racks, Black Diamond Racing cones, Shun Mook platforms and the endless home experimentation with granite, ceramic, wooden, blue-tack and air-suspension contraptions all come to mind.

  4. Other factors, mainly tweaks in phenomena which have not resulted in widespread audiophile acceptance, collectively also yield surprisingly significant dividends. These include cable elevators, any sort of RF noise-busting/shielding devices (especially with digital components) and ‘static charge buster’ devices/pratices. There are many more examples in this category and no doubt there will still be more to be discovered.

If one has not experienced the magnitude of changes as I alluded to above for variables like cables, electricity, room, supports etc., it may be a combination of the following:

  • one’s system overall set-up and interaction masks the magnitude of the changes due to these variables (a topic I will blog about the next time which I hope will not be too dry for some)

  • one is not sensitive to the type and/or magnitude of the changes brought about by these variables

  • one is psychologically biased against these variables because of what one can/cannot see with the eye/mind (e.g. a source perform a complex function but a cable’s function is so simple – so cable changes cannot yield profound sonic differences) or previous preconceptions/notions of these variables. Only blind A-B tests can eliminate/expose one’s biases in these areas.

Now, irregardless of the validation offered by your experience on the above issue of “relative contribution/ranking”, we need not necessarily allocated $$$ and spend in accordance to this principle. I am not aware of anyone who would spend their audio budget according to the “relative contribution/ranking” concept. Neither will I.

But it is possible to get good sound for little $$$. For example, if you believe the room indeed contributes significantly to the final sound, it is possible to get staggering improvement in the overall sound quality with comparatively little dough since room treatment and speaker placement can be had at low outlay. Of course, you can have the whole she-bang and spend a lot on a customized room for audio (a previous project of mine which I hope to blog about in the future).

In the end, I say you should ‘blow-it’ as you financially can afford to in order to explore areas that interests you (just like traveling the world - some like scenery, others on the culture & way of life, others yet on adventure – ultimately whatever grabs your fancy but certainly constrained by your budget). Just don’t regret. Do you?

ah teo, an aspiring audiophile, after reading this blog, was impressed that they are still gullible people spending RM24K on some unknown cables (which he claimed to best all cables in the world in 30 seconds), so he quit his ice kacang stall and started his cable making biz in a make-shift factory in jinjang.... the rest, as they say, is history.
whoever says hifi is boring and not fun needs to check with teo audio.

in recent years, many cable manufacturers have come up with "proprietary" technology to keep up with the competition. audioquest's DBS, harmonic tech's "lighting", to name but a few. now add "liquid conductor" to the game and you will have teo audio as the first to pioneer such weird technology.

hailed as the first revolutionary idea in high-end cables, teo audio employs patent-pending liquid metal conductors, claimed to breakdown barriers in electromagnetic signal transmission. teo's liiquid cable interconnect cables also claim to be best characterized by their absence of character.

we are not sure how the cable looks like and how to terminate the cables manually?

will the water leaks out if we terminate it manually by local technicians?

more importantly, is the chief designer a chinese hokkien? ;-)

we are looking for a female jazz vocalist for our new album...

check this out!

yes, bright idea strikes on the auspicious date of 8th of august 2008 - the born of a new jazz duo, tentatively code-named "JZ8". yeah, my fixation on numbers ;-)

i have found a gifted jazz pianist who really plays to my style and preference. i need an excellent female vocalist to complete the duo. she comes in the form of meeia foo [符琼音]- astro talent quest (ATQ) 2005's runners-up.

meeia delivering power-packed covers of "power of love" and "coming home" (2v1g album's 1st song)

so who's better? winnie ho's "coming home" or meeia foo's "coming home"?

unlike 2v1g's winnie ho, i have not much info on meeia except that in the same year she won "the most beautiful voice" award in the world's meet of talent quest held in hk. from youtube, i could see that she is active in china in various singing contests. i don't think anyone has signed her yet so the chance is 50/50.

while my pianist is eager to work with us, we are not sure about meeia. JZ8 is going to be very different from 2v1g but they cover the same genre of mandarin pop.

will she agree to do such a groundbreaking project with us?

i have cast my net to hunt her down.

with experience gained in making 2v1g, we are approaching JZ8 with so much more confidence. another great pop/audiophile crossover album in the making?

E.g. “How much should I spend on audio cables?” This was a much often quoted question in the 1980s when interconnects and speakers cables were trying to shake off their ‘snake-oil’ image and make a transition into the realm of bona-fide audio components, backed with scientific research and correlation to sound quality. The likes of Audioquest, Van den Hul, Sonic Link, Kimble and Monster Cables were notable pioneer in ‘brain-washing’ the audio community at large that cables do make a meaningful difference in sound quality.

Cables were by-and-large considered by audiophiles as ‘secondary’ issues – they lie slightly above the realm of ‘tweak-land’. The belief then was that the effect cables had on sound quality would be minor compared to the source, amplifier or loudspeaker. Of course there were times when sound quality differences were so minute during cable changes that some would swear they heard no difference. I am sure this belief still persists today amongst some but judging by the sales of specialist audio cables around the world, I believe the transition has been successfully made – cables deserves meaningful attention as part of an audio playback chain though most will not spend as much on cables as they do on the source, amplifier or loudspeaker.

I remember the often answer bandit amongst British hi-fi publications was: 10%. During the 1980s, an audio playback system was often thought to consist exclusively of source, amplifier and loudspeakers. So if you have a system where these three components costed, say RM10,000, then the answer is you should be prepared to spend about RM1,000 for your cables.

How much would you spend?

in the movie "the dark knight", joker uttered to batman these corny borrowed-from-jerry-mcquire words - "you complete me", words that i thought i want to reserve for my future woman but alas, i have to use it here to draw attention.

close friends know why i have been silent on the hifi front - i am queitly and patiently breaking in my stage III concepts ASP gryphon interconnects.

to add anymore superlatives to my experience would tantamount to selling out and that's not my style. but i must open the eyes (and ears) of those who steadfastly hold on to the belief that cables are only accessories and are to be taken as an after-thought.

i have said many times how real and complete the soundscape created by the gryphon is, compared to the rest of the cables i tried. its presence in the system is highlighted by its absence. or to phrase it another way - a good cable is like no cable. you only get drown in the music. is this the highest accolade a cable can get? u bet it is.

as it is slowing opening up, the gryphon adds plenty of juices and headroom to my 110-watter triode amp. you may think i exaggerate but it turbo-charges my ARC tube amp and makes it sounds like a 300-watter. and those who didn't consider maggie as their choice speaker because "it doesn't have enough bass" or "it can't rock and roll", you are more than welcome to come to listen to my maggie (at a later stage when the gryphon fully breaks in) and eat your large piece of humble pie.

liew, the distributor of stage III concepts in malaysia, said that the bass from my maggie is even better than his behemoth focus audio top-model floorstander driven by krell evolution combi, fed by dCs scarlatti cd combi. i don't need to doubt liew for he has no reasons to polish my shoes. even master yong once said my maggie's low bass is better than his ATC, and that was before i have the gryphon. but why is that many maggie owners can't coax the bass out of their maggie (and ended up giving up this gem of a speaker)? and those in the rest of the world who always preach that maggie needs powerhouse solid-state amplifications to sound good, you are just dead wrong! if i had my way, i would like to bring jim winey to my house and share with him his pride and joy!

RM24K per pair is a crazy amount of money in trying times like these. it would especially leave a bad taste on those who are not earning much in low-wage malaysia. i would like to apologize if i have offended those lower-income audiophiles. i have never meant to brag or blow my own trumpet. even if i were to buy this cable, i would need to pay by installments. it is just part of my quest for perfection and my desire to share good things with your readers. hifi is rewarding because it drives us to be a better person. at least, i am motivated enough to work hard to earn the moolah to feed my hobby. we all need to work hard if we need to get good things in life.

which leads me to think hard - how could cables make so much difference to a system? how could cables make the amp sound so much more powerful than it is? and if i were not to spend on these exorbitant cables, i would never realize the full potential of my system. not only that, i would never know that a mid-fi system can sound that convincing! in fact, i haven't paid liew yet; he gave me 3 months to audition. at the same time, i am being offered a used meridian 808 at RM24K by another friend. i don't need to hesitate for a minute - i would invest on the gryphon and not the 808. 808 wouldn't give me the quantum leap that gryphon would.

to those cable naysayers (and there are many of you here!), i urge you to be more open-minded and give yourself a chance to explore good cables along your journey. of course, your system must be fundamentally right first before any good cables would make a positive difference. hifi kaki is never a cable investor but now he is a convert because i showed him the way.

i am always a believer but this time, the gryphon makes a cult out of me ;-)

rega's gone lifestyle - it is so good that one can chew on it!

btw, is tong lee still the rega distributor in malaysia? i doubt it...

Daring, Artistic, Reliable, Elegant and Definitive - this is dared amplifiers for you frugal audiophiles!

dared's origin is from an audio company called danyigao audio equipment limited in shenzhen, china. featured here is their dared vp-16 12-watter push-pull class AB integrated amp with 6V6 power tubes.

eugene of audio matic (012-3222698), amcorp mall is one dealer who has high standards and he thinks the dared is good enough to meet the demands of money-tight audiophiles.

another tube amp to dare your shrinkng wallet? fret not, this is is not only beautiful, sonically pleasing but financially agreeable as well.

i dare you to try the dared!

what a stylo pose ;-)

the day we posed for this group photo (after the photo shooting) was the same day that the AKG C12VR mic got stolen.

looking back, the journey was filled with bittersweet memories.

we are now looking forward to the making of the 2nd album with much more confidence.

cmy has issued this challenge to you - for under RM1,500 a pair, please find fault with usher s-520!

the S-520 is the entry-level two-channel bookshelf speaker from usher audio technology, a taiwanese company that manufactures more than two dozen two-channel speakers (not counting their home-theater models). i am not saying that for under Rm1.5K, you can't find many worthy contenders. you can't find a contender with this kind of craftmanship and looks! kudos to the taiwanese for making such beautiful products affordable.

rave reviews from all over world confirmed that this tiny usher trashes anything below RM3K and that included brand A, brand B, brand C and brand D. so bring forth your wharfedale diamond, dali royal minuet, xavian mia, AE1, epos and many other similar monitors. usher s-520 is afraid of no one!

if you have the guts, call CMY (03-21439406) now and bring home a pair to audition.

the pair i saw in CMY comes with glossy piano finish and it is lustily desirable! just how did usher do it at this price point? the mind boggles!

younger audiophiles, who started their hobby in the last 5-8 years, would always need to catch up on hifi history, especially on the golder era of hifi in the early 80s to mid 90s.

there was this UK speaker brand which was very popular in malaysia called monitor audio (MA). the reason why it was popular was MA was the first one to use metal dome drivers in its speakers. the quest of high frequencies supremacy started way back with MA. i remember that a local hifi editor used to own MA speakers for years.

today monitor audio has become the world’s foremost expert in developing metal dome drivers. metals have amazing properties for more life-like sound reproduction when treated correctly. MA's design team is led by experienced speaker engineer dean hartley, and the english speaker company has been producing a range of excellent, affordable speakers since its management buyout in 1998. convinced that metal would revolutionise driver performance, MA experimented with tweeter domes throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s. the landmark design came in 1988 when MA released the gold alloy dome tweeter. It represented a technological leap from single-metal domes which, almost without exception, sounded unconvincing. The R352MD loudspeaker used an aluminium-magnesium alloy dome that sounded significantly clearer and smoother. these radical design elements formed the basis for successive generations of ceramic-coated aluminium magnesium (C-CAM®) metal domes.

the tweeter technology is the fiercest of competition in high-end speakers today. MA has led the game all these years. isn't it time you reacquaint with this 35-year of speaker glory? call ann of ban leong and she will be happy to talk to you about MA.

malaysian sole distributor:
ban leong bros sdn bhd
563, jalan 20,taman perindustrian ehsan jaya
taman ehsan
kepong 52100
tel: 62772799