Singapore HiFi Show 2005

Soundscape HiFi

Singapore HiFi Show 2005

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2005 International Sound & Sight Exhibition

Singapore 2005 International Sound And Sight Exhibition

 

Room No. 04 - 01 (corner room)

 

A big Thank You to all who visited our room !

 

CONTENTS:

Prelude

 

System Configuration

 

Photos

 

Music Played

Soundscape HiFi

Prelude

 

The 2005 show is over ... we thank everyone who visited our room.  To the numerous visitors who told us that they voted our room as the best sonically, or one of the best, all we can say is thank you and we're delighted that you enjoyed the presentation. 

 

We wanted to minimize the sizzle and bombastic music, but it turned out to be impossible in a hifi show.  Most showgoers tended to prefer spectacular, extravagant, dramatic demos, so we had to cater to the vast majority.  We used mostly tremendously powerful and dynamic music with ample visceral impact to highlight what one can expect from the systems we carry.  We tried to draw attention to frequency balance, transparency and timbral accuracy ... all key ingredients in recreating sound with as much high fidelity and realism as possible with whatever equipment we have.  Unrestrained, uncoloured, sharp when it really is sharp, rounded when it has to be ...

 

A large-scale and full-bodied sound whether with high-power or low power was also highlighted.  Some folks still mistake loudness from low-powered amps as a sign of good performance, but loudness without body is at best half-empty. 

 

From Friday to Sunday, we were often asked which preamp and power amp we were using for the vinyl demo, and we had to explain a lot as well that we were only using the 50-watt Lavardin Model IT integrated amp.  This reminded us of the 2003 hifi show, where some people were looking for the non-existent subwoofer.  This time, folks were looking for the preamp and power amp :)

 

We are not claiming that both integrated amps will drive anything on the face of the planet.  Credit has to be given to the Rockport Mira loudspeakers as well, as these proved to be friendly for both the room and small amplifiers.  We just proved TAS magazine's findings on the Rockport Mira, one of their 2004 Editors' Choice awardees for loudspeakers.

 

As usual, room size was not a problem for us with the Eighth Nerve room treatment on hand.  No excuses from us that the room is too small :)  In fact, we love Le Meridien's hotel rooms, they're just like Singapore home rooms, and a lot of great sound can be squeezed out, even with only 2 days to move in and set up. Just shows that rooms are really of great significance.  The only minor problem was that the non-removable wall decoration rattled on a couple of songs, and that we could not take down the mirror.

 

For those who would have wanted lower volume levels or other music at our show presentation, feel free to drop by our showroom to revisit some of the equipment, where your listening experience will be tailored to your preferences.  It will be more personal where you can play any type of music you want (heavy metal, jazz, classical, blues, pop, etc.).  Just let us know, and we will always be glad to help.

 

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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

We had 4 system combinations played at the show, as follows.  No power conditioning, just normal power distributors, no excuses from us about poor hotel power supplies.  Minimal room treatment.  We probably are the only dealers in the world who love Singapore hotel rooms (no excuses about bad rooms from us), they're made just like rooms in Singapore homes i.e. mostly concrete.

System 1: Vinyl

Loudspeakers

Rockport Mira

Integrated Amplifier

Lavardin Model IT

Turntable

Pluto Audio 12A Special

Tonearm

Pluto Audio 5A Special

Cartridge Pluto Audio One MKIV
Phono Stage (MM) Graham Slee Audio Era Gold + Elevator EXP
HiFi Rack Hutter RackTime Basic racks
Cables / Power Distributor

Lavardin interconnect

Lavardin power cord

Analysis Plus OVAL 8

NHR Audio interconnects

HiFi Builders power distributor

Room Treatment Eighth Nerve Response Line
System 2: Vinyl
Loudspeakers Rockport Mira
Integrated Amplifier Leben CS600
Turntable

Pluto Audio 12A Special

Tonearm

Pluto Audio 5A Special

Cartridge Pluto Audio One MKIV
Phono Stage (MM) Graham Slee Audio Era Gold + Elevator EXP
HiFi Rack Hutter RackTime Basic racks
Cables / Power Distributor

Lavardin interconnect

Analysis Plus OVAL 8

NHR Audio interconnects

HiFi Builders power distributor

Room Treatment Eighth Nerve Response Line
 
System 3: CD
Loudspeakers Rockport Mira
Integrated Amplifier Einstein Audio "The Absolute Tune"
CD Player Einstein Audio "The Last Record Player" tube CD player
HiFi Rack Hutter RackTime Basic racks
Cables / Power Distributor

Einstein Audio interconnects

Einstein Audio power cords

XLO Type 5 speaker cables

HiFi Builders power distributor

 

Room Treatment Eighth Nerve Response Line
System 4: CD
Loudspeakers Rockport Mira
Preamplifier SimAudio MOON P8
Power Amplifier SimAudio MOON W8
CD Player Einstein Audio "The Last Record Player" tube CD player
HiFi Rack Hutter RackTime Basic racks
Cables / Power Distributor

SimAudio MOON cable links

Analysis Plus Silver Oval-In XLR interconnects

XLO Type 5 speaker cables

HiFi Builders power distributor

Room Treatment Eighth Nerve Response Line
 
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Soundscape Hifi Demo Room Photos

 

Click on a photo to enlarge if desired

 

The speakers and CD demo system

Rockport Mira, SimAudio Moon P8 and W8, Einstein Audio's The Absolute Tune and The Last Record Player, Hutter rack

 

From another angle

Rockport Mira, SimAudio Moon P8 and W8, Einstein Audio's The Absolute Tune and The Last Record Player, Hutter rack

 

The CD demo system on Hutter racks

SimAudio Moon P8 and W8, Einstein Audio's The Absolute Tune and The Last Record Player, Hutter rack

 

Rockport Mira loudspeakers

Rockport Mira loudspeakers

 

Einstein Audio's The Last Record Player" CD player

Einstein Audio's The Last Record Player" CD player

 

SimAudio MOON P8 preamplifier and controller, Einstein Audio's "The Absolute Tune" Integrated Amplifier

SimAudio MOON P8 preamplifier and controller, Einstein Audio's "The Absolute Tune" Integrated Amplifier

 

Another view of the SimAudio MOON P8 controller.

Einstein Audio's "The Absolute Tune" Integrated Amplifier is shown at the bottom shelf

SimAudio MOON P8 controller, Einstein Audio's "The Absolute Tune" Integrated Amplifier

 

SimAudio MOON W8 power amplifier

SimAudio MOON W8 power amplifier

 

The Vinyl System on a Hutter rack

Pluto Audio 12A turntable, Pluto 5A tonearm, Pluto One MKIV cartridge, Leben CS600 integrated amplifier, Lavardin Model IT integrated amplifier, Graham Slee Era Gold MKV + Elevator EXP phono stage

 

The electronics used for the vinyl demo, from top to bottom, respectively:

Leben CS600 integrated amplifiers, Lavardin Model IT integrated amplifiers,

Graham Slee Era Gold MKV + Elevator EXP phono stage

Leben CS600 integrated amplifier, Lavardin Model IT integrated amplifier, Graham Slee Era Gold MKV + Elevator EXP phono stage

 

The Pluto Audio 12A turntable system

The Pluto Audio 12A turntable system

 

Higher view of the Pluto Audio 12A turntable system

With one motor and one flywheel

The Pluto Audio 12A turntable system, from top view

 

The Pluto Audio One MKIV MC cartridge

The Pluto Audio One MKIV MC cartridge

 

Pluto 5A tonearm, Pluto One MKIV cartridge

Pluto 5A tonearm, Pluto One MKIV cartridge

 

The Pluto 12A turntable system from another view

Pluto Audio 12A turntable system

 

A closer view

Pluto Audio 12A turntable system

 

The Scheu Tacco MK2 tonearm

The Scheu Tacco MK2 tonearm

 
Click Me! for other photos posted at the Echoloft hifi forum, Singapore's own audio/video forum

 

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Soundscape Hifi Demo Room Music

 

 

Analog/LPs/Vinyl

 

 

Flamenco Fever

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

 

This was the most requested LP.

 

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 visitors to ask which amp we were using.  The 55-watt Lavardin Model IT was used.

 

We played all the tracks on this LP at varying times of each day, some on request from visitors who were familiar with the album.  All tracks are really great, the only M&K LP we like musically.

 

Curtis Mayfield - Live

Curtis Mayfield - Live

 

Tracks played:

 

We've Only Just Begun

People Get Ready

 

Closed-mike, excellent performance and songs, one of the greatest live albums of all time.  Very present, with all nuances caught on recording - spitty sibilance from the microphone at times, the sharp sound of a bell hit hard and long, the beautiful voice of Curtis Mayfield.

 

Neil Young - Decade

Neil Young - Decade

 

Tracks played:

 

Winterlong

Long May You Run

 

After playing these, we found out that few seem to know Neil Young's music, which was surprising. Maybe we're too old :)

 

Anyway, great music from a living legend.

 
Neil Young - Comes A Time

Neil Young - Comes A Time

 

Tracks played:

 

Look Out For My Love

Lotta Love

Already One

 

More great music from Neil Young.

 
Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman

 

Tracks played:

 

Fast Car

Baby Can I Hold You

If Not Now

 

Glad to know some folks were already looking for this album after hearing it :)  Tracy Chapman's best album, all songs superb.

 
Eagles - Hell Freezes Over

Eagles - Hell Freezes Over

 

Tracks played:

 

Hotel California

Love Will Keep Us Alive

The Girl From Yesterday

 

After playing the CD, decided to play this on vinyl and it just showed how vinyl is much more superior to CD.  Usual demo piece by other dealers, but we decided to play the other songs that were just as good, which proved to be a hit with women visitors who stayed throughout the songs.

 
Stevie Ray Vaughan - The Sky Is Crying

Stevie Ray Vaughan - The Sky Is Crying

 

Tracks played:

 

Chitlins con Carne - Kenny Burrell

Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix

 

Outstanding guitar work by Stevie Ray on these covers of Kenny Burrell and Jimi Hendrix.  One visitor commented about the a bit of short "hum" on the track "Little Wing".  Well, that's part of the recording :)

 
Muddy Waters - Folk Singer

Muddy Waters - Folk Singer

 

Tracks played:

 

Whole of Side 1

 

Muddy Waters unplugged !  With a young Buddy Guy, and Willie Dixon.  Acoustic blues that's as good as one can get.  Released in 1964, and still a sonic blockbuster.

 
Ray Brown & Laurindo Almeida - Moonlight Serenade

Ray Brown & Laurindo Almeida - Moonlight Serenade

 

Tracks played:

 

Mondscheinsonate / Round About Midnight

 

Amazing acoustic bass sound from Ray Brown, as well as guitar by Almeida. 

 

New 180gm HQ German Import. Originally Released In 1980 As A Direct-To-Disc Recording On Bell Records, So Rare We Have Never Come Across An Original Copy. Jeton Have Taken A Novel Approach To Reissuing This Album Which Has Paid Off In Spades. Instead Of Using Back-Up Tape From The Original Sessions, They located a pristine, sealed copy of the original LP.  The LP was transferred by Andreas Spreer to a tubed Telefunken M5 Tape Recorder rather than trying to produce a direct cut.

 
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 conducting - Gounod's "Faust" ballet music, and Bizet's "Carme Suite"

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."

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

More soon ...

 
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Digital/CDs

 

Manger Reference Demonstration CD

Manger Reference Demonstration CD

 

Tracks played:

 

No. 15 - The O-zone Percussion Group: Jazz Variants  von La Bamba - Fantastic track, almost everything audiophile is found on this track, except voice.  A lot of visitors asked us what CD we were playing, and one even wanted to buy it there and then.  Well, this CD can be bought from New Disc Village, 3rd floor, The Adelphi

 

No. 11 - Livingston Taylor: Isn•t She Lovely

No. 13 - The Yuri Honing Trio: Walking On The Moon (by The Police) - great instrumental mostly by drum
No. 14 - Marla Glen: The Cost Of Freedom

 

The Burmester Test CD 3

The Burmester Test CD 3

 

Tracks played:

 

Hans Theessink "The Planets"
Hugh Masekela "Stimela"
Yim Hok-Man Master of Chinese Percussion "Poem of Chinese Drums"

 

Yim Hok-Man's Chinese drums and percussion really shook the room !  Another hit at the show.  No boom or bad bass, a great demonstration of what the Eighth Nerve Response Line products can do, and of course the grip and control of the whole system.  Different textures of the drum can be heard, sometimes warm and rounded, then  articulate and tight ... wonderful demo.  One can't be faulted for only hearing the drumming, but there really is more to it than just drums, it's supposed to be a poem after all :)

 

And Masekela's song is really great, describing the life of formerly conscripted coal miners.

 

John Kaizan Neptune with Take Dake - Asian Roots

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 from a black background.

 

Erich Kunzel - The Great Fantasy Adventure Album

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."

 

More soon ...

 
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Singapore HiFi Show 2005