Singapore HiFi Show 2003

Singapore HiFi Show - 2003

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2003

International Sound And Sight Exhibition

 

Le Meridien Hotel

Oct. 17 - 19, 2003

Room 504

 

 

A big Thank You to all who visited our room !

 

 

 

CONTENTS:

Prelude

 

System Configuration

 

Photos

 

Show Reports - press, private, and forum feedback

 

Music Played

 

 

Singapore HiFi Show 2003 : Soundscape HiFi And Music

 

Prelude

 

The 2003 show is over ... we hope that the debut of our products in an Asian public exhibition has at the least provided some musical enjoyment to so many who have never heard them.

 

This year, we didn't get the chance to choose a slightly bigger room like we had last year, and were scheduled to move into the hotel room only half a day before the actual show.  So the simpler system we had in mind fit the bill, lesser problems with the imposed constraints of the show.  We just estimated a position for the speakers, simply mounted some room treatment, and moved the center seat around to find the best spot.  We could not possibly mount room treatment on the  back wall, as these would have been knocked down by visitors standing near the walls. 

 

As usual, many are still timid to grab a seat :)  The seats would have been the best place to listen, away from the walls.  Visitors should really always take the opportunity to grab an empty seat in hifi shows, it provides a better perspective into the system on demo.

 

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System Configuration

Graham Slee

Era Gold MKV, Elevator EXP, Gram Amp 2 SE, Solo, Jazz Club, etc. ...we have a phono preamp stage or headphone amplifier to suit -  Click here

Loudspeakers Living Voice OBX-R2
Integrated Amplifier Lavardin Technologies Model IT
Turntable

Scheu Premier MK2 with 80mm platter

 

Living Voice Mystic Mat turntable mat

Tonearm

Scheu Classic unipivot 12" tonearm

* unfortunately, the Schroder arm did not make it for the show.  In any case, the Classic arm is a wonder by itself *

Cartridge Jan Allaerts MC1B
Phono Stage (MM) GSP Audio Era Gold
Head Amplifier (Step-Up) GSP Audio Elevator EXP
CD Player Naim Audio CD5
HiFi Rack Hutter RackTime Basic 2
Cables / Power Distributor

Lavardin Technologies speaker cables

Kimber Kable 8TC speaker cables

Lavardin Technologies interconnect

NHR Audio interconnect

Lavardin Technologies power cord

HiFi Builders power distributor

Room Treatment Eighth Nerve

 
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Photos

 

Below are some pictures we took of our demo room.  Not much, being such a simple setup. By the way, we didn't choose that garish curtain :)

 

Living Voice OBX-R2 speakers in rosewood with their external crossovers

Eighth Nerve Floorstander in between, and a stacked pair

of Framed Responses at each corner

Living Voice : Singapore HiFi Show 2003 : Soundscape HiFi And Music

 

Living Voice OBX-R2 : Singapore HiFi Show 2003 : Soundscape HiFi And Music

 

The equipment and rack

Eighth Nerve Seams on the side walls

Scheu Premier MK2, Lavardin, Jan Allaerts, Hutter : Singapore HiFi Show 2003 : Soundscape HiFi And Music

 

Photo was taken before the show. 

We added four more chairs during the show.

Singapore HiFi Show 2003 : Soundscape HiFi And Music

 

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Show Reports

 

SixMoons.com

The Echo Loft

 

New!!  Best Systems at Singapore 2003 HiFi Show. 

 

Forum: The Echo Loft Singapore hifi forum - Feedback - Click Me! to read

 

Press: SixMoons.com Report - Click Me! to read and view very nice photos

 

 

 

Music Played

 

This year, we tried to play various types of music to demonstrate the versatile, all-rounder qualities of the system.  While others stuck to their simple music material on repeat mode, we cycled through a more demanding set of music, mostly vinyl/LPs.  Included are some pop and rock music that no other show participant will dare play, except probably the Naim or Genesis room, if they wanted to.  One visitor was so sick of all the same music from Cai Qin or Norah Jones being played over and over that he came by to request for rock music, which we gladly obliged with. 

 

Of course, visitors have different tastes, so if one missed the music type preferred at the time of his/her visit, one can always drop by our showroom for a longer audition (the hotel room has better acoustics, however, like what we have in our Singapore homes).  Like we saw one magazine writer taking down notes, and noting down that like last year, we were once again playing complex "attacking" music, in the positive sense, and that we are known for this.   So we told him to come back later for the mellower stuff if he had time, as his generalization was already wrong - although we admit to prefer fast, kickbutt  music :)

 

But in our humble opinion, many systems right down to the much cheaper hifi can play the simpler stuff like vocals reasonably well, and that a better gauge of a system would be more demanding music, unless one's music preferences really does not include this.  Like some could not appreciate the Home Theater demos which we thought were reasonably good, where only a HT fan can understand the loudness, the sizzle, the blast, the picture, etc

 

Below are some of the albums we've played, mostly on vinyl.

 

Analog/LPs/Vinyl

 

 

Flamenco Fever

Felipe de la Rosa - Flamenco Fever - M&K label RT-107, Live Direct To Disc, LP

 

Track played:

 

Hands And Feet - a true torture track, where many systems/speakers will crumble, at near live volume level.  A rapid and long combination of castanets, pounding shoe heels on a wooden platform, bass, and drums. It demonstrates both the speed, bass power and handling, and especially composure  of a system at higher volume levels. 

 

This track prompted our neighboring rooms to come over and listen.  One was looking all over for the subwoofer, which of course did not exist.  Another could not believe we were using a puny 55-watt integrated amplifier, and outright claiming we had an equalizer somewhere :)

 

Ray Brown : Soular Energy

The Ray Brown Trio - Soular Energy - Pure Audiophile reissue label, 180g LP

 

Tracks played:

 

Exactly Like You

Cry Me A River

 

These two tracks demonstrate the visceral power, impact and twang, the definition of the acoustic bass.  Likewise, the tone of the piano up close with superb backing on drums.  All three instruments had their fair share of solos as well.

 

Listening to this album also easily demonstrates the scale of sound between systems. 

 

Midnight Sugar

Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio - Midnight Sugar - Three Blind Mice label, tbm-23, 180g LP

Tracks played:

 

Midnight Sugar

I'm A Fool To Want You

 

This album demonstrates the percussive qualities of the piano convincingly, with bass and drum in the background backing the pianist as he lays his composition layers through over 11 minutes of music.

 

Rage Against The Machine - Bullet In The Head - 12" single, picture disc record, Columbia label

 

One of our favorite rock tracks.  It has all the essentials for tickling that primal nerve for rock - voice, bass, guitar, drums. A demonstration for scale as certain passages really bring forth a huge soundscape, as well as for speed, separation, and instrument tonality.

 

Fiedler / Offenbach - Gaite Parisienne Cover Art

Arthur Fiedler conducting - Offenbach's "Gaite Parisienne" and Respighi's "La Boutique Fantastique" - Classic Records reissue label, 180g LP,  original was by RCA Living Stereo

 

Track played:

 

The entire side 1, Offenbach's "Gaite Parisienne".  This album was claimed as the cream of the crop of the RCA Living Stereo line-up. Recorded in 1954, it's still a stunner technically and sonically, even by today's standards.   Highly spirited, this track demonstrates several audiophile qualities, in large doses - dynamic contrasts, slam, detail, separation, speed  ...

 

Even those who don't normally listen to classical will take notice.  A great way to introduce classical to audiophiles, and tear down the myth that classical is boring :)

 

Alexander Gibson : Carmen / Faust

Alexander Gibson conducting - Gounod's "Faust" ballet music, and Bizet's "Carme Suite"- Classic Records reissue label, 180g LP,  original was by RCA Living Stereo

 

Track Played:

 

Carmen Suite

 

Another spectacular classical recording, also one of RCA Living Stereo's gems.  The sound comes in very broad brush strokes, with detail leaping out of the mix.  In effect, a huge soundstage is drawn out from the system.  Tonality of instruments are likewise rendered well.  Slam is abundant throughout, a thrill ride designed to be played loud.  But, aside from the superb sonics, this is a musically superior album. 

 

"Musically, the Carmen Suite is superior, and is also performed spectacularly well. For an extra treat, RCA added Gounod's charming Funeral March of a Marionette, known world-wide as the signature tune for the Alfred Hitchcock TV show. The clarinet tone on this cut alone is worth the price of admission."

 

Led Zeppelin I

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin - Classic Records reissue label, 180g LP,  original was by Atlantic Records. 

 

Track played:

 

Babe I'm Gonna Leave You

 

Another superb recording, with the reissue being given the thumbs up by Jimmy Page himself, Led Zeppelin lead guitarist.

 

On the above track, the song starts with the lead male vocal accompanied by a beautiful slow acoustic guitar melody, which suddenly shifts to a kaleidoscope of sound, a demonstration of the system's separation qualities and transparency, while retaining the essential rhythm.  The formula is then repeated until the song ends.

 

Janis Ian - Breaking Silence

Janis Ian- Breaking Silence - Analogue Productions, 180g, mastered by Doug Sax

 

Tracks played:

 

Breaking Silence

 

A Stereophile Record-To-Die-For by reviewer/writer Martin Colloms:

 

"Apparently out of the blue, this has come to be regarded as a high-fidelity reference. For vocal accuracy, focus, dynamics, deep, powerful bass, and great rhythms, look no further. However, to describe it thus would do a great disservice to Janis Ian, who sings superbly on this record. All 12 songs are either written by Ian, or in association with Joe Vezner, Kye Fleming, and Jess Leary.


The sound is really clean; only after listening for the first time did I read the liner notes, which state, "No synthesizers, vocal limiters or samples of any sort were used on this album." Why can't more rock be recorded this way?

For a show-stopper, try the title track as loud as your system will cleanly deliver. (XVII-1)"

 

This album easily demonstrates which systems are muddy with indistinct or poor bass definition.

 

Sarah McLachlan - Surfacing

Sarah McLachlan - Surfacing - Classic Records, 180g LP

 

Tracks played:

 

Witness

Angel

 

A demo of female vocals, of the atmospheric kind, folk-rock with electric guitar riffs.

 

Aaron Neville - Warm Your Heart

Aaron Neville - Warm Your Heart - A&M label, Holland pressing

 

Tracks played:

 

Everybody Plays The Fool

Somewhere, Somebody

 

Mastered by Doug Sax, an audiophile favorite - probably for its very good recording, the unique voice, and the melody.  Ably supported by Ry Cooder, Jim Keltner, Rita Coolidge, Linda Ronstadt, Larry Carlton, etc.

 

RHCP - Blood Sugar Sex Magik

Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Warner Bros. 2-LP set

 

Tracks Played:

 

Blood Sugar Sex Magik

Under The Bridge

 

The above tracks are enough reason why RHCP is considered to have one of the best rhythm sections in rock.  Sonically superb, and exemplifies how pop/rock recordings should be recorded.

 

Dave Brubeck : Time Out

The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out - 180g LP, Classic Records label reissue, originally Columbia.

 

Tracks Played:

 

Take Five

 

This is claimed as probably the most popular modern jazz single in history.  This 1959 record once again defies time, and will challenge many modern recordings for high sonic quality, kudos to Classic Records who have done the original master tapes proud.

 

The highlights here are the tonality of instruments, and of course Joe Morello's drum solo, which has a very natural tonality, an amazing recording from 1959!

 

Louis Armstrong - Satchmo Plays King Oliver

Louis Armstrong - Satchmo Plays King Oliver - Classic Records, 180g, originally on Audio Fidelity label.  We used the 45 rpm version of the single below.

 

Tracks Played:

 

St. James Infirmary

 

This is a tribute to analog.  Louis Armstrong sounds like he was just recorded yesterday.

 

"Audio Fidelity brought out the very first commercial single groove stereophonic LP back in l958 and was one of the first audiophile record labels. Their recorded quality brings Satchmo to our ears with a lot more impact and clarity than any of his many Decca and Columbia recordings. The presence on his voice and trumpet is almost astounding; it's as though you can even hear him wipe his face with his giant white towel."

 

Doug MacLeod - You Can't Take My Blues

Doug MacLeod - You Can't Take My Blues - Audioquest label, 180g

 

Tracks Played:

 

One Good Woman

 

Now for the blues, from the "Torchbearer of The Acoustic Blues".   We could have played the more "audiophile" "You Can't Take My Blues", but wanted to hear this song again:

 

"...I didn't need no book.  You see, with one good woman, I say Lord that's all it took.  She say don't know 'bout no fishin', I'm gonna teach you how to drop your line ..."

 

This album received the prestigious Golden Note Award from "The Academy For The Advancement Of High End Audio" for the Best Original Recording 1997.

 

Click Me! for more raves on this album, by non-audiophile publications.

 

Mighty Sam McClain - Give It Up To Love

Mighty Sam McClain - Give It Up To Love - Audioquest label, 180g

 

Tracks Played:

 

Give It Up To Love

 

A soul blues song, from the comeback album of Mighty Sam, thanks to Audioquest's Joe Harley for the effort.  The highlight of this track is Sam's rough voice, super soulful.  Backed up by very good musicians and a great recording, this is a musical and sonic treat of a high order.

 

Click Me! for more on Mighty Sam.

 

Eric Clapton - Unplugged

Eric Clapton - Unplugged - Reprise label, original, not 180g reissue

 

Tracks Played:

 

Layla

Running on Faith

 

A Stereophile R2D4 and a Grammy Album Of The Year.  Some light music played after 6:30 pm, the cut-off time for playing loud at the hotel room :)

 

Las Ketchup - The Ketchup Song

(actual cover not available yet)

Las Ketchup - The Ketchup Song - 12", Sony label

 

Tracks Played:

 

The Ketchup Song (Spanglish version)

 

Just having some fun :)  In audiophile terms - great bass, rhythm and pace  ... simply, the song is so catchy that it makes one feel like dancing.

 

"The Trio of Pilar, Lucia, and Lola are the daughters of Famed Flamenco Guitarist Antonio "el Tomate" Fernandez.. hence The moniker of Las Ketchup."

 

Unfortunately, we only got to play it once, as one very serious audiophile bought the single.

 

Destiny's Child - Survivor

Destiny's Child - Survivor - Sony label, 2-LP

 

Tracks Played:

 

Emotion

 

A remake of the original Bee Gees song popularized by Samantha Sang.  The voice trio arrangement is very good, and the recording is great.

 

Also only played once, got sold together with the "Ketchup Song" above.

 

Test Pressing

Jazz group - LP, 180g, produced by Absolute Sound Singapore

 

Will update band's name later which has slipped our minds.  A nice collection of  jazz pieces.

 

Tsai Chin - Jin Pian Zi - Yi: Tian Ya Ge Nu

Tsai Chin - Jin Pian Zi - Yi: Tian Ya Ge Nu - Made in Japan 180g LP, songs in Mandarin

 

Tracks Played:

 

Track No. 5 on Side A

Track No. 1 on Side B

 

One of music's greatest attributes is its universal nature.   Tsai Chin has a great voice, warm and full, and the arrangement on this album is very accessible being jazz-oriented.  Even vocal lovers who can't understand Mandarin will fall for this album.

 

We chose Track 5 / Side A  for its simplicity and beauty, acoustic guitar accompanying her voice, always a great combination.

 

Track 1 / Side B has more instruments, with the acoustic bass and drums/cymbals providing wonderful dynamics and timbre.

 

"Many years later, her warm, rich voice, and moving style, have firmly established her place as a "treasure" in Chinese vocal music ... This album brings new life to some of the best Mandarin torch songs from the 1930s through 1960s." - YesAsia.com

 

Fong Fei Fei

Fong Fei Fei

Chinese Singer

 

LA 4 : Going Home

Celine Dion : Titanic

Terminator 2 Soundtrack

 

Chinese Singer

Bobby Brown

Lipps Inc

 

 

Digital/CDs

 

Take Dake

John Kaizan Neptune with Take Dake - Asian Roots - Denon PCM recording

 

Tracks played:

 

Japanese Roots

 

Still a favorite CD of the crowd :)  the use of silence to highlight the palette of sound from bamboo instruments is utterly delightful.  Emerging out of the black background, the micro and macro dynamics are rendered very well by good systems.

 

Brent Lewis - Pulse, Where The Rhythm Begins

Brent Lewis - Pulse, Where The Rhythm Begins -

 

Tracks played:

 

Mumbo Jumbo

 

Another crowd pleaser - slow, yet pulsating, intoxicating percussion music within a deep and wide soundstage, with detail leaping out again from a black background.

 

Erich Kunzel - The Great Fantasy Adventure Album - Telarc label

Erich Kunzel - The Great Fantasy Adventure Album - Telarc label

 

Tracks played:

 

Track 19: Terminator: Cybergenesis

Track 20: Terminator: Theme, by Brad Fiedel

 

The unforgettable Terminator 2 theme for audiophiles who also like movie soundtracks, the above tracks are souped up versions which  include appropriate sonic effects.  Great to play loud.  However, not for all systems:

 

"Caution: Digital Sound Effects of high levels with infrasonic frequencies to 5 Hz. Please establish safe playback levels before playing tracks [3], [5], [19], [20], and [21]. Excessive playback levels could result in damage to equipment."

 
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Singapore HiFi Show 2003