Gary Karr is one of the world's foremost contra bass player. Here, he appears with his long time partner, Harmon Lewis, accompanying with either and grand piano or piped organ.

This CD is a selection of songs loved by audiophiles, like me, which includes tracks like O Holy Night, a popular Christmas Carole and Playful Rondo, which is my favorite track. Others like Air from Orchestral Suite No.3 in D Minor, which is a popular wedding song and Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.

I first heard this XRCD in a trully super high end rig, comprising of top range Burmester CDP and Pre amp, feeding a pair of 4pc McIntosh mono blocks rated at 2000W, sound coming out thru a pair of Wilson X-2 speakers. All cablings are MIT Oracle! I remember as Air from Orchestral Suite No.3 in D minor was played, Gary was indeed standing in the room, playing his contra bass in life size presentation and the pipe organ companion, just behind. Somewhat behind the studio wall, I actually heard the compressor, powering the pipe organ start and stop in between the music. It was surreal....., as if I was in the studio!

That experience was really and ear and eye opener! I started to look for this XRCD soon after, but never could find it. Until last Friday, I saw it on the bargain bin(price RM$45.00/pc) of a music store in 3rd floor, Endah Parade, Seri Petaling called Action Valley Trading(I'll try to find out the shop's telephone no., so as to if interested, readers from Klang Valley can go and get it).

This version is the better XRCD2, well at least to me it is! Compared to the original XRCD releases which I was never a fan off. Whilst XRCD2 has just as much details emphasis as the original XRCD, the presentation of the said resolution is more organic, and better integrated in to the overall musical coherence, unlike the original, which can sound distracting and lead to fatigue if listened for longer periods of time.

I asked the shop owner, why is this excellent CD in the bargain bin, when it used to cost RM$120/pc? His reply was that this CD is hard to reproduced properly, and many systems do not have the necessary low end extension to carry it thru convincingly, and hence shunned by most audiophiles whom are using bookshelf speakers.

I had no trouble enjoying this XRCD2 thru my system, despite it being on the side of smaller scale and a relatively modest set up(compared to the super high end rig mentioned above!). What matters most is musical presented honestly and enjoyably.


Ken said...

Hi Panzer,

You should try to get a cd by a singer name Skye titled Deep....Blue (Harmony Records HR0002-2). Skye is a Singaporean and sings mandarin songs. This disc was recommended to me by KC.

Skye is the most emotional singer that I have ever heard. She really pour her heart out when she sings. This is the only cd I have heard that has no background noise. This disc will test the macro and micro dynamics of your system which is staggering!!!

To test your system ability in reproducing the mids, soundstage wideness and depth, try track 3. You can listen to her at normal spl or loudness level but if your system can handle high spls, please listen to her louder. Then you will hear the full potential of Skye's singing. I find that in most tracks, she starts by singing softly and then becomes louder as the music progress. If your system gone kaput, it's not my fault.

This disc is recorded by Todd Garfinkle of MA recordings.

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...


i wrote about skye quite some time ago... check the tag on "music review" on the right.

however, jo ki doesn't think they did the direct-2-track well.

to me, the recording is pretty good but skye is not my cup of tea.

Ken said...

Hi ML,

You did mention Skye? Oh, I didn't recall seeing it in your blog. I only remember reading about Chiu Hock E in this blog.

I can say that you won't hear the full potential of this cd if you only listen to at normal spl.

I feel this album really comes alive at higher volumes. The mid is so pure. At higher volumes, the sound becomes more transparent, soundstage will open up. You will also hear more depth. I can say that Skye has a huge vocal range.

Panzer said...


ML did mentioned about this CD here sometime ago. I saw it yesterday, when we met up but did not ask to listened to it as I did not want to interfere the tuning session too much. Let the proceedings go on, as they say.

Good to have met up with you and lil KC.

Ken said...

Hi Panzer,

Actually it was my fault.
I bought only the jewel box to Hifikaki's place cause I forgot to put the cd back after I have listened to it in the previous night:-P
That's why we didn't play it yesterday.

If you want to test the transparency of the mids in your system, get this cd but you need to listen to it at higher spls. But if your system can't handle the high spls, then don't crank it too loud (usual disclaimer here). But this will reduce the enjoyment of this cd.

Like ML said, it is a good recording.

Anonymous said...

I have noticed K2 with MF label. There are cheap, clearly made in china and found in places like Popular. As these for real?
Panzer your CD is a good example.

Anonymous said...

There is a Japanese pressed version, that's the gem, not those XRCDs

This CD was highlighter in, a singapore based hifi group in the past

wps said...

is this the jap press u r talking about?

Anonymous said...


I get you the Japanese Cd no when I get home. I remember it is under King's record or something like that

Anonymous said...

hi wps,

It's NKCD1074, King Record Co. Japan

wps said...

nah, i couldn't find the jap press with that number NKCD1074, where could it be found?

Panzer said...

Anonymous 2.43pm,

Note, the picture on the posting is for illustration only. I used it because it was the biggest, clearest one I could find on the www. It's not the sample I bought.

The sample I bought is NKCD6005, 2002 by King Record Co. Ltd. XRCD2 made in Japan is printed on the cover.

Real or fake? It has an ORI hologram sticker on it issued by FINAS. I do not know, but I've been buying CDs from that shop for the last 10 years or so.