lately, i have been labeled by my hifi friends as the hifi madman, simply because of my intention to move house.

weeks of bad AC problems have rendered my system unplayable, even after 2am in the morning when everyone should be soundly asleep, it doesn't sound good. plagued with such misery, i have thought of biting the bullet and moving out from this area altogether. i don't think i am insane but many of my hifi friends do think so, except wong tatt yew, my dealer friend, who empathizes with me as he had been thru this path at the peak of his hifi fever. one even "scolded" me for such ludicrous idea. he said, "there is more to life than hifi".

this miserable episode has given me much audiophilia nervosa. i begin to enter the gate of audio hell where my only obsession is to gauge whether the AC quality is good for playing. i play the same old few tracks repeatedly, day in day out, night in night out, to gauge the sound. i lose my music. i suffer silently. no one understands me.

then one bright idea came this morning at 3am. it suddenly dawned on me that i have using the red-colored phase (of my 3-phase) for more than 2 years now. it used to be the most stable (with minimal voltage fluctuations throughout the day) and best-sounding, could it be that it has been overloaded or redistributed by TNB (our national power company)? without hesitation, i sms-ed my electrician at 3am and summoned him to come in the morning.

it took my audiophile-trained electrician less than 5 minutes to change the red-colored phase to yellow-colored phase (the remaining one is blue-colored) and i immediately switched on my system.... lo and behold, it comes alive! that is the true sound of my system! i jumped up in elation and punched my fist in the air! yeah! yeah! yeah! that's the way i like it! (a-hak, a-hak)

the recent furutech IEC plug upgrade, the new meridian g08.2, the new hydra 8 (read later part of this post) all combined to push the previous sound boundary to another level. it is my all-time-best sound i have ever attained. another milestone. marvelous!

the moral of the story is - one must think out-of-the-box in solving critical hifi problems. i have been so obsessed with other issues that i lost sight of the fundamental suspect. it would have saved me so much pain and agony had i realized this simple trouble-shooting skill. i just documented this tip into my hifi trouble-shooting checklist, which i refer to from time to time.

i would urge all users who have 3-phase electricity in their house to periodically listen to each phase and pick the best phase for their hifi. one could never understand how TNB loads and re-distributes each phase from time to time. ultimately, use your ears as the judge. please ask a qualified electrician to do the switching for you.

i am smiling again, so happy that i have gotten back my sound, after 3 months of suffering.

[hydra demystified]

i loaned master ken my shunyata hydra 4 last week. while he was sufficiently enamored, he commented that the hydra's main drawback of slightly duller highs (as compared to his RGPC) prevented him to consider further, and he is not willing to "tweak" it like i did.

readers here should know how much i and hifikaki adore the hydra. to maximize hydra's potential, one has to use good interconnects (silver preferred) to compensate for the highs, which is hydra's only weak point. hydra's seductiveness in the midrange, immense musicality and superb naturalness eand how it retains the full tonal colors of the original sound are what kept both of us enchanted for so long. so far, no PLC can come close in these critical areas.

recently, in tiny dot singapore, i observed many hydras being sold in echoloft. many have converted to acoustic revive apparently. it will be interesting if i can get hold of an acoustic revive PLC and do a shoot-out. i will check with happy audio visual. i will leave my dissection on PLCs for another day but watch out or a PLC "party" coming soon!

i got hold of a hydra 6 from a friend, doubting that it can be any different from hydra 4. voila!, it is actually much better than the 4! there are more details, more energy, a bigger soundstage and even lower noise floor. hifikaki explained that because the 6 uses 3 duplexes (which has a filter on its own) as compared to 4's 2 duplexes only. in fact, he think hydra 8 is even better because i has 4 duplexes!

without hesitation and as a reward for myself for solving the AC problems - at least for now - i upgraded my hydra 4 to hydra 8. this must be the quickest buying decision i have ever made!

the hydra 8 is superbly large-scale, weightier and more expansive and dynamic than either the hydra 6 or hydra 4. it is a worthwhile investment again.

i think it is time to savor my music without getting anal and mental.

this is the uncanny madman signing off with a evil grin - yes, i am mad but i am true to my hifi and my music!


hifikaki said...

Here is my 'theory' as to why Hydra 4,6,8 would sound different. :-)

Shunyata says that each power outlet duplex on a Hydra is isolated and filtered individually.

In the simplest system set up, consisting of an intergrated amp and a cdp, I would doubt that a Hydra 4 would perform differently than a Hydra 6, as each equipment could use one duplex and enjoy its own filtering and isolation from each other.
(though I'd hesitate to speculate that the Hydra 8 would perform the same, because it has the Fe-Si1200 compound and different internal construction).

However, maggielurva's setup has 4 pieces of equipment - cdp, preamp and a pair of monoblocks. On a Hydra 4, his cdp and preamp would have to share 1 duplex and thus probably suffer some cross-contamination between the two (the monoblocks share the remaining duplex). With a Hydra 6, his cdp and preamp can be plugged into their own individual duplex and thus isolated from each other (the monoblocks still share the remaining duplex). So a Hydra 6 sounded better.

On a Hydra 8, with 4 duplexes, each piece of his equipment can be plugged into its own duplex, enjoying maximum filtering and isolation. In addition, I gathered that the Hydra 8 has 'chunkier' and more robust construction inside than the 4 & 6, all these make it the best sounding.

I also tested this myself on my Hydra 8, one equipment on one duplex sounded better than sharing duplex.

Panzer said...


I never said you're mad, just crazy, if not "THE" craziest!


Enjoy your sound now, before the audiophilia nervosa bites again later. Why?

Becoz they alway do!

Congrats! My friend.