In pursuit of the finest audio playback system...
47 Lab . Audio Note UK . Air Tight . AMR . Art Audio . Audience . Audium . Avantgarde Acoustic . Blacknote . Boston Audio Design . Constellation Audio Dr Feickert Analogue . Duevel . Durand . Enacom . fo.Q . Golden Note . Grand Prix Audio . Harmonic Resolution Systems . Harmonix . Helius . Leben Lehmann Audio . MIC-sound Acoustics Control . Miyajima Lab . Nitty Gritty . Nottingham Analogue . Ortofon . Reed tonearms . Reiymyo . Rives Audio Shunyata Research . Solid Tech . Sophia Electric . SSC . Stillpoints . Sutherland . Thales . Transfiguration . Triode . Triplanar . TW Acustic . Zerodust
Audio Note Singapore Pte Ltd
1 Coleman Street #03-35 The Adelphi Singapore 179803 T: 65-6334-7639 F: 65-6334-4108 E: email@example.com
Celebrating 20 years of innovations in high end electronics ... ... the new Pass Labs XP-25 Phono preamp
Authorised distributor for Singapore and Malaysia
High End Research
317 Outram Road #01-46/47 Singapore 169075 T: +65 6735 1718 www.highendresearch.com
Audio Components that inspire ...
Wadia 381 CD player
At Wadia Digital, music is the connection between sound and experience. Where engineering and artistry come together to create audio components of timeless design and exceptional quality. Wadia Digital represents the finest in digital audio performance and we strive to develop components that balance our knowledge of technology with a passion for music; to create inspiring musical experiences that exceed every expectation. Our goal is to connect you, the listener, with the sounds, the experiences, and the music of your life. Authorised distributor for Singapore
High End Research
317 Outram Road #01-46/47 Singapore 169075 T: +65 6735 1718 www.highendresearch.com
Wadia 171i transport and 151 power DAC Mini
is the world's premier designer of professional and high end audiophile digital audio systems. Professional recording engineers and organizations use EMM Labs equipment for the best possible performance demanded in audio engineering. EMM Labs audiophile products uses identical technology to their studio gear. With EMM Labs, audiophiles are in the unique position of listening to their favorite music with the same equipment that was used to record it. Experience true digital - with EMM Labs.
Top: MA-1 Digital converter Center: CDSA 2 SACD player Bottom: XDS-1 SACD player
Authorised distributor for Singapore and Malaysia
High End Research
317 Outram Road #01-46/47 Singapore 169075 T: +65 6735 1718 www.highendresearch.com
MD107 Triode Tube Tuner Tunable five stage ANALOG front end: Five stages of RF filtration, providing station separation without affecting stereo separation. As always, the front end is a custom designed and manufactured in-house design. Upgraded Components: Tighter tolerances on all RF filters, improved capacitors and a beefed up power supply are all improvements over the 106T. We've ensured that only the best components from world-leading suppliers are built into the 107. Magic Tuning Eye: Embedded in faceplate for the most precise and accurate center tuning Multiple Bandwidth Settings: The MD 107 FM Tuner offers both Ultra Wide and Narrow IF Bandwidth settings to produce the best SOUND where adjacent channel interference is, or is not a factor. Dual AGC (automatic gain control) stage: This automatic circuit design eliminates the need for a local and distant switch, altering the amount of relative gain that's added to the incoming signal. Auto Blend RF Circuit: Automatically monitors and adjusts stereo separation to maximize "stereo quieting", insuring the quietest stereo signal as possible. This greatly eliminates background noise. Precision tunable matched IF (intermediate frequency) amplifiers -- ensures consistent specifications for adjacent channel separation, alternate channel separation and low distortion Precision Voltage Stabilizers in the Power Supply: Ensures precise tuning of the incoming RF signal Defeatable Mute: Eliminates any interstation noise while tuning Analog Meters: Functional and easy-to-read multipath and signal strength measurements have been upgraded on the 107, using the same precision meters that are found on the 108T. Fully shielded RF section-eliminates any interference from stray signals NEW! DAC Upgrade - This option, which must be purchased with the tuner remote, allows you to control the switching and the display of the combined tuner and DAC. This upgraded version adds an additional double display to the tuner which indicates the input the tuner is currently switched to. With use of the tuner remote control you will see TU (tuner), D1 (digital), D2 (digital) and U for the USB input. The standard configuration for the digital inputs is two co-ax digital inputs and one USB. You have the option of switching the co-ax inputs also to Tos-link.
MD209 Hybrid Receiver
MD109 FM Tuner
Authorised distributor for Singapore and Malaysia
High End Research
317 Outram Road #01-46/47 Singapore 169075 T: +65 6735 1718 www.highendresearch.com
MD307 Integrated Amplifier
KR Audio Electronics hails from Prague, in the Czech Republic offers a line of hand-crafted, high quality tubes (all glass is hand blown by Czech artisans) and audio equipment. KR Audio started as a tube manufacturer, first with the historic Marconi valve reproduction and then tubes for audio as an OEM up-grade option in hi-end audio amplifiers in 1994. Our company began the research to make improved triodes in 1992 and The success we found with our products is a direct result of the comparison between the hand-made KR tube and the mass produced tube made on 60+ year old tube machinery. Given the unique technology developed, KR is able to satisfy the demand for superior 2 channel stereo amplifiers. A KR amplifier in the existing sound system or the application of a KR tube gives the listener increased dynamics, greater detail from the recording, be it vinyl or CD, and an almost tangible imaging.
Kronzilla SXI Mk 2 integrated amplifier
VA340 Mk 2 integrated amplifier
KR continues to manufacture tubes and is the inventor of the Kronzilla, the KR T-1610 tube (left picture) the largest and most powerful audio tube ever made!
Also available as a monobloc power amplifier
VA350 integrated amplifier
Authorised distributor for Singapore and Malaysia
Blk 925 Yishun Central 1 #02-229 Singapore 760925 Tel: +65 6756 5585 www.audioline-hifi.com
High End Loudspeakers at affordable price! Unifield 3 and VR-4 SR Mk3
Mr Von Schweikert
Authorised distributor for Singapore
Blk 925 Yishun Central 1 #02-229 Singapore 760925 Tel: +65 6756 5585 www.audioline-hifi.com
AudioMachina Pure Musical Performance
CRM + CRS + Masterstands The SSA (Solid Slab Aluminum) Cabinet
Each cabinet is precision machined from only two solid thick plates of aerospace grade aluminum alloy, using our own state-of-the-art precision CNC machining centers and proprietary custom software. These pieces are clamped together in a "clamshell" arrangement using an ultra-highstrength bolt system creating the most inert cabinet you will never hear.
MAPS (Monitor And Powered Subwoofer) Technology
By employing midrange drivers capable of superior midbass performance, and loading them in the SSA cabinet in a sealed configuration optimized for both extension and transient performance, MAPS achieves the best of all worlds. The midrange drivers have utterly no crossover whatsoever on the low end, ensuring the highest transparency and musicality. And because of the superior low-end transient qualities of the sealed-box system, the subwoofer section can be seamlessly integrated with the monitor section. The end result is a 3-way system that sounds utterly transparent, coherent and shockingly real.
Fine Analogue Products
Thorens TD 309 with TP 92 tonearm The Thorens TD 309 turntable's innovative three-point-suspension (Tri-Balance) ensures perfect balance in both mechanical and aesthetic terms. Form and function work in harmony to reveal the magic of analogue replay. The TP 92 tonearm, which was specially designed for the TD 309, uses an ultra-low-friction bearing and an innovative magnetic anti-bias system with zero stiction. The arm tube is made from rolled aluminium that is damped using random-mass-reducing technology. The brass counterweight at the end of the arm tube is double-decoupled, and the tonearm is so designed that its centre of gravity is level with the stylus. The Thorens TD309 was awarded European Tunrtable of the Year 2010/2011 by EISA.
Ocean Way Audio (Singapore) Pte Ltd
1 Coleman Street #01-09/#02-08 The Adelphi Singapore 179803 Tel: +65-63381846 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: oceanwayaudio-sg.com
HR-2 and HR-3 Loudspeaker System The HR2 and HR3 monitor systems are designed as high definition reference points to sonically judge and decide intricate musical balances for final mixes. What separate the HR2s and HR3s from other high end audiophile loudspeakers, apart from their use by professionals, is their capacity to provide virtually unlimited dynamic range, while maintaining absolutely matched uniform frequency response between channels. The worldâ€™s finest monitoring loudspeakers are also the worldâ€™s finest audiophile loudspeakers. Now available in Singapore.
Ocean Way Audio (Singapore) Pte Ltd
1 Coleman Street #01-09/#02-08 The Adelphi Singapore 179803 Tel: +65-63381846 E: email@example.com W: oceanwayaudio-sg.com
by Franco Serblin
Dearest Mr. Serblin, I am sitting in front of these speakers and, whilst listening to my album, I felt the need to sit down to write to congratulate you for the quality of these speakers and the pleasure they give me whilst listening. Even my voice seems warmer and more beautiful! A real home theatre, where the singer is right there, in front of you. ...many congratulations for â€œa possession for everâ€?... Andrea Bocelli
T: +65-9735-1718 firstname.lastname@example.org
Orpheus Privilege Line: SACD Player SACD Transport DAC Preamp Mono poweramp
T: +65-9735-1718 email@example.com
EH-TW4500 Full HD Projector High Contrast Ratio 200,000:1
EH-TW3600 Full HD Projector High Contrast Ratio 50,000:1
Main unit - 3 year warranty for parts and labour Lamp kit - 1 year warranty or 1000 hrs (whichever earlier)
KEC Sound System Pte Ltd 1 Coleman Street The Adelphi #01-25/#04-36 Singapore 179803 Hotline: 6564-3188 www.hifibargain.com
Dynaudio Focus All musical details, each diminutive note, every fine sound â€“ with the new Focus series you can experience high end audio on a higher level. The new Focus sounds more open and transparent, more detailed and dynamic and more precise than ever before. While always maintaining the refined natural balance and homogenous sound quality for which Dynaudio is so renowned.
Dynaudio Focus Family
Evidence - Consequence Ultimate Edition - Confidence - Special Twenty Five - Contour - Focus - Excite - DM - Sub series
Dynaudio Singapore Pte Ltd 1 Coleman Street #01-04 The Adelphi Singapore 179803 Tel: +65-6337-6788 Fax: +65-6337-6786
Allnic Atma Sphere Audiodesksysteme Jade Audio Isoduo Karan Acoustics Kuzma Marantz NBS ProAc Walker Audio
161 Lavender Street #01-10 Lavender Place Singapore 338750 Tel: (65) 6292 2773 www.jay-audio.com
Handcrafted High End Audio Components
The Legendary Name in High-End Tube Electronics returns www.hifi.com.sg
Avantgarde Audio 1 Coleman Street #03-35 The Adelphi Singapore 179803 T: 65-6334-7639 F: 65-6334-4108 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Creative Editor Terence Wong
Sales n Marketing Singapore
Wong Ng Lai Leng email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org MOD AudioVideo is published by MODAVI Private Limited 10 Anson Road International Plaza Unit 21-02 S 079903
MICA (P) 169/07/2011 The title MOD AudioVideo, its associated logo or devices and contents of this magazine is the sole property of Modavi Private Limited. Reproduction of either in whole or a part of, is strictly prohibited. Modavi Private Limited is not responsible for any ommissions, errors, unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or other materials. We reserve the right to edit all relevant materials. Modavi retain ownership of all materials received published or otherwise.
to all who picked up this magazine at the KL hifi show, thanks for reading our little publication and we hope you will keep a tab on our progress!
For those who are already with us in SPL! Magazine, this is more than a name change, for the better. Do stay with us, whether in print or the free download. In fact I would encourage you to download the soft version. Go on, give it a try. The future of magazines is soft downloads, once you try it, you will agree it is more convenient and more portable than any printed magazine. In fact you will carry more magazines in an iPAD or a laptop to read as and when you please than you can physically carry. I was told some people read magazines on the throne and cannot bring their laptop to that small room. Really? Now we have tablette PCs, they weigh so little, so portable (and potty-ble) that there should not be any excuses when it comes to saving the environment. Magazines use up a lot of paper and we all know where that comes from, so letâ€™s do your part and help save some trees. I would be most happy when the day comes we stop printing magazines on paper. Meanwhile, we would love to hear from you. Do drop me an email if you have anything interesting to share with us, or if you have any questions. My email is on the mast on the left of this page.
Confidence C4 Signature and C4 II The most refined and best sounding Confidence C4! The new Confidence C4 Signature edition is the best sounding and most refined. Incorporating Dynaudioâ€™s renowned Esotar tweeter, select high-performance woofers, and the finest hand-crafted wood veneer finishes, the new Confidence C4 has been refined from the loudspeaker specialists at Dynaudio in Denmark. Confidence range includes: C4, C2,C1 and Centre Signature
Confidence C2 Signature
Confidence C1 Signature
Evidence - Consequence Ultimate Edition - Confidence - Special Twenty Five - Contour - Focus - Excite - DM - Sub series
Dynaudio Singapore Pte Ltd 1 Coleman Street #01-04 The Adelphi Singapore 179803 Tel: +65-6337-6788 Fax: +65-6337-6786
High End Lust List
Gryphon Mephisto Danish High End company Gryphon Audio has lauched a new series of amplifier called the Mephisto Dual Mono Reference amplifier. Its dual mono really means dual mono with two power cords required! Rated at 175 watts per channel RMS, I suppose it replaces the aging Antileon Signature Mono?
Devialet D-Premier Described as a â€˜hub of a high performance audio systemâ€™ the D-Premier is perhaps one of the most stunning hifi component we have seen in a while. The hub refers to this unit which combines a high end amplifier with a built-in Digital to Analogue converter. The amplifier uses a hybrid ADH (Analogue/digital hybrid) amplifier design and offers power with sonic accuracy. Wifi is purportedly available since early this year which allow streaming of high resolution audio to this unit. A separate RF remote is supplied.
CH Precision D1 SACD Player Based on a modular architechture, CH Precision D1 SACD player offers the highest Swiss made quality in thier first ever product. Using a Teac Esoteric VMK-5 VRDS transport mechanism and slot-in boards for audio output, the D1 can be configured for two channel to multi-channel analogue out put, digital out including proprietary CH Link clocking interface for phase compensated synchronization when used with the future CH clock generator. A forthcoming C1 Digital to Analogue converter is coming to match the D1. www.ch-precision.com
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High End Lust List
Greensound Technology Greensound Technologyâ„˘ offers specially engineered glass speakers that create a natural, high-fidelity sound. By utilizing a patented technology, this innovation provides an unmatched harmony of consistent high quality tone, everlasting performance, and elegant design to fit any venue. www.gstspeakers.com
The Floe Orbis glass speaker is stunning in looks and stunning in sound. With a colour shifting base, there is never a dull moment with Greensound Technology designer hifi glass speakers!
The Circa subwoofer provides an ultra compact design along with smooth bass tones, to compliment any sound configuration for use in a private setting.
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High End Lust List
Dan D’agostino Momentum Dan D’Agostino was founder and chief engineer of Krell Industries, for thirty years. Dan has pioneered countless technologies in amplifier design. Now he embarks on a completely fresh start with a new organization and new state-of-the-art designs. The products now bear his name is his commitment to redefine the high end audio amplifier. The new Momentum is compact yet distinctive and aesthetically friendly. The 300 watt Momentum monobloc is but the first of the many new exciting products from the man and the company that bears his name. Worth keeping an eye on!
finite elemente Mirror 62 finite elemente introduces the sound mirror Mirror 62, the concept is you can‘t actually tell where the music is coming from! It‘s all the more surprising when you discover that there is a complete music system concealed behind the mirror. Excellent sound with Absolutely minimalist design!
The core of the Mirror 62 is based on the audio technology of the Hohrizontal 51 and is optimised for flat-surface wall mounting. Music is supplied to the Mirror 62 from iPods®, iPhones® and other devices via Bluetooth. The perfect sound system for your home, whether living room, dressing room, bathroom or study. Available in three different sizes and colours in black, white or silver or even without frame.
Acoustic Plan Mudra music server
The Mudra is capable in
transporting the essence of the musical performance and emotions of streaming music. The Mudra is a complete two channel music server system, remote controlled from a battery powered wireless 8,4" touchpanel. The main unit consists two hard disks, CD/DVD ROM drive, digital audio interface/processor, D/A converter, analog volume control and a tube output stage. www.acousticplan.de
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Feature recognize the changes in the market – the customer of today may like music and want to have a good system to reproduce music but may not be an audiophile. The high-end audio industry cannot survive from audiophile business; definitely not mass market and even the young generation has different expectations. To them spending anything from $200 - $500 for headphones and iPod is OK, they appreciate the quality and difference equipment can make but they do not expect to wait for the amplifier to warm up!
Giovanni Menato and Sonus faber Amati Futura
Sonus faber stole the headlines
last year when they launch their signature flagship loudspeaker – the Fenice, which was, renamed The Sonus Faber due to some copyright issues with the earlier name. Still, what count is the numerous technology introduced with this flagship loudspeaker, of which only thirty pairs were made. This garnered this speaker the ‘instant classic’ status even before the first pair is sold. At 140,000 Euros a pair, the sale of 30 pairs would generate enough funding not only to pay for its development cost but also enough money left over to keep the design team busy for the next couple of years. But what is really important is the technology of The Fenice can easily be trickled down to the more affordable range of Sonus loudspeakers. And now the Amati Futura is the first speaker to benefit from the speaker technology of The Fenice. To launch the new Amati Futura and also the first public showing of the only pair of The Fenice in Singapore, High End Research undertook its own mini show – three large function rooms at the Holiday Inn Atrium were taken up to demonstrate these speakers to an invited audience. The Fenice were pampered with a Goldmund upgrade – the crossover were bypassed and three pairs of Telos 1000 were deployed to drive the 4-way loudspeaker. In addition, just prior to the event was the official announcement of the acquisition of Wadia Digital by Fine Sounds under Italian investment company Quadrivio who have invested in Sonus faber three years back and just prior to the launch of the Fenice last year, Audio Research Inc. Together the three companies form an unusual tripartite arrangement – while each company will independently pursue its new product development, there will exist synergy for the three companies to coexist and marketed within the sphere of its new owner. Giovanni Menato, the Sales Manager for Sonus faber was at hand to officiate the event. I first met Giovanni some years back at the opening of the new Sonus faber factory and the introduction of the last of Franco Serblin’s designed Sonus faber loudspeaker – the Stradivari. Last year we met again in Venice for the launch of the Fenice. I was keen to follow up with Giovanni on the latest development – the acquisition of Wadia Digital, a company with a very promising future. Giovanni: The acquisition of Wadia completes the circle – Wadia + Audio Research + Sonus faber will represent a new approach to high-end audio. We
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The three companies will continue their independent product development to meet the needs of the market they know best. In areas like marketing, design and sales, it will be centralized so as to seek opportunities when the time is right to create new market niche for instance. The manufacture of the products in these three companies will continue – Sonus faber will still be produced in Italy while Audio Research and Wadia Digital will still be produced in the United States. However, it could also mean new products from Wadia and Audio Research could be designed in Italy and made in America. The future is digital and with Wadia we are looking to exploit opportunities in this area. We have the resources and some of the most famous design houses in Italy so we know we can offer more as a team. Yes, Wadia had a patchy history with regards to customer service and maybe on their products. Mauro Grange, the CEO of Sonus faber is now at Wadia Digital as we speak to clean up the operation. You would expect great things to come in the months ahead. (Hint, hint!) One of the newer products from Wadia is the Series 1 system, we have a new DAC with USB input to match the 170i transport for the iPod. We are looking into adding speakers to complete the system, obviously of Sonus faber origin! The Series 3, 5 and 7 will be maintained as they have respectable and consistent sales figures. There will be a Series 9 using Qsonics media server. TW: Tell us more about the new Amati Futura? Where its similarities to the Amati begin and end. Giovanni: Certainly, the Amati Futura is not replacing the Amati Anniversario, which will continue production. They have a very different sound. The improvement from some of the speaker technology used in the Sonus faber (The Fenice) such as the “Exo-Skeleton” clamps - implemented by the 2 CNC machined avional nickel-plated end-covers on the top and on the bottom of the cabinet, together with two dual avional rear “wings”, that absorb, grounds and
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delete spurious vibrations from the cabinet. Innovations from the Sonus faber (the Fenice) are used: the L.V.T. System, (Low Vibration Transmission), the Stealth Reflex porting system and the T.M.D. (Tuned Mass Damper) where the cabinet resonance is tuned away. Later this year, there will also be a new model – the Guarneri Monitor, also with some of these technologies. TW: What can we expect in the future from the collaboration of design and marketing for these three companies? Giovanni: We have to attract non-audiophile customers, especially in the high-end luxury market. Perhaps in a year or two, we will be able to offer an entirely new approach to high-end luxury audio market, one that is non-audiophile. TW: Does it mean boutique style stores? Giovanni: (With a smile) Perhaps! It’s already happening to many high-end brands in many countries. Sonus faber is distributed in Singapore and Malaysia by High End Research
, you’d probably be thinking about the land of snow, reindeers, Nokia and now we hope you get acquainted with Gradient, the Finnish loudspeaker company. Gradient first burst into the hifi scene with their dipole subwoofer system for the Quad ESL loudspeakers. Marriage between flat panel loudspeakers and box subwoofers weren’t always made in heaven but the fact that Gradient made a respectable stab at it and launched the company into international spotlight. The next obvious thing is to exploit the dipole woofer design with their own speakers (Quad ESLs aren’t exactly mass market products so while a dipole subwoofer seems a good thing, not every Quad ESL owner will accept the Gradient SW-63 without any lingering doubt). That was the Revolution loudspeaker with a unique dipole woofer system that marries a conventional front firing mid and tweeter module placed on top of the bi-polar woofer module. While the Revolution is indeed unique, it wasn’t as ground breaking as the SW-63 subwoofer. The name Gradient faded quietly away. A quick look at Gradient’s website and it seems the company has progressed in many directions – they still make the dipole subwoofers to match Quads ESLs and other flat panel loudspeakers, then there is the Revolution which came out in ’93 has gone on an glacial evolutionary path for the last 18 years into the current form which looks, hmmm… identical to the first one. Then there is the Helsinki 1.5…. now that got my attention! This is one of the most attractive loudspeaker I have seen in a while, something I would expect to see in the movie set of Alice in Wonderland! While the 3-way Helsinki may appeal in a lifestylish kind of way, look closely and you would realize there are sound reasons for the design – the tweeter and midrange drive units come with their own modular enclosure. The 19mm dome tweeter is mounted on a sort of shallow horn which helps controls the directivity of the high frequency output. The 5-inch midrange is mounted on what seems like a shallow enclosure. The two in turn are mounted on a split slab of wood ply – two slabs of thick wood ply glued together to form a frame. The drive units have an up tilt, not so much to time align the drive units but to project the sound away from the floor. The wiring from the back of the speaker to the drive units is cleverly embedded within the two halves of the wood frame so no ugly dangling wires like some DIY kit loudspeaker. There are many wood finish available including bamboo, cherry, walnut or painted black or white. The sample set comes in bamboo finish, which is very nice and matches the satin white finish of the tweeter and midrange module.
Dipole woofer The Helsinki, in a way, is a new interpretation of the Revolution in an ‘enclosureless’ design. The tweeter and midrange offer a more cardioid like dispersion pattern while the woofer is more of a dipole. The 12” woofer is mounted on an open baffle on each side of the left and right speaker’s frame. The recommended placement is to put the woofers towards the outside. Now this is going to present a challenge – being open baffle, the rear wave is out of phase compared to the front wave, how would this work? Would there be some degree of bass cancellation when the in-phase meets the invert phase signal? Gradient’s experience in making dipole woofer systems means they can put this aspect to work in its favour. I was told this arrangement helps to ‘load’ the room better. Taming room acoustics is something of a black art which give rise to many aftermarket ‘solutions’. The design of the Helsinki essentially takes room gain into consideration and reduces the reliance on after market solutions, which treats the problem after it occurs. This directivity of the mid and tweeter is also said to direct more of the sound to the listening area and less to the room, thereby inducing less room related resonance and standing waves. The whole speaker sits on a thick glass plinth while the back has another glass slab, which stiffens the wood frame. The glass accents add stability and give the speaker an element of class. The midrange has a clip-on grille while the tweeter has a mesh grille to protect the dome, the woofer in contrast is totally naked – front and back are fully exposed. The lack of enclosure also has another effect – there isn’t enough space to mount a pair of binding posts, so instead we have a Neutrix Speakon connector. You can biwire the speaker but you need to fabricate an adaptor with four lead out wires. Placement of the speaker The speaker is designed to take advantage of room gain – hence the speakers were designed to be placed close to the sidewalls. This also means the speaker is more suited to smaller rooms if you want to keep the distance between speakers no more than 8 to 10 feet apart. The speaker has no problems with close-to-the-back-wall placement. In this instance, it would suggest the speakers are best served against the room corners for maximum room gain! Spatially beyond reproach Te first thing about the sound that struck me was its spatial presentation. I like a holographic character when it comes to imaging as it’s easier to forgive the other flaws. The Helsinki throws a fairly live sized soundstage which is commendable. Not having the midrange in a speaker box does wonders to the lack of boxiness of the all crucial midrange. The high frequencies are surprisingly sweet, extended and most important it integrates well with the midrange giving a seamless transition. Uncoloured bass The Helsinki extends a nice balance from the low frequencies till way yonder. There is a good bass slam, the lack of a ‘singing’ enclosure sure helps keep things under control! What is impressive is the scale and dynamics which mimic flat panel speakers like Magneplanars but with the greater impact afforded by a dynamic cone type drive unit. Conclusion The Helsinki represents a sort of hybrid conventional dynamic moving coil speaker with the openness of a flatpanel speaker design. Flat panel speakers for what its worth have their own quirks and placement are definitely more critical than box speakers. However fans of panel speakers would vouch for MOD 29 AV
the airy, spacious and non-boxy sound of the Helsinki. Some attention to placement will be amply rewarded with a sonic presentation comparable to more expensive speaker systems. The Helsinki strikes a nice neutral balance between being either too warm or too clinical. But what takes the cake is the Helsinki offers the best of both worlds – the dynamic sound of moving coil drive units and an unboxy sound quality akin to flat panel speakers, which of course it isn’t. For that, the Helsinki deserves a recommendation for being a fine sounding loudspeaker with jaw dropping aesthetics. Pros: Spacious, unboxy sound quality, gorgeous looks Cons: Dipole woofer design needs proper placement for good results Specifications:
GRADIENT HELSINKI 1.5
Bass: dipole Midrange & treble: cardioid 200-20000Hz +/-1dB, 35Hz -6dB 6 Ohms, minimum 4 Ohms 85dB/2.83V/1m 50-250W 1x300mm long throw woofer, 150mm pulp cone midrange, 19mm aluminum dome tweeter 200Hz and 2200Hz Bi-wiring, bi-amping Cherry, bamboo, walnut, black, white 92cm 23kg
Freq Response Impedance Sensitivity Rec’d amp power Drivers Crossover freq Features Finish Height Weight
Gradient Loudspeakers are distrbuted in Singapore and Malaysia by Raindrop Audio
For the Love of Music
What were they listening to before they sort of stumbled into Raindrop Audio? Shiao Ling started laughing – the free ‘system’ the shop throws in when you buy a TV! “They weren’t any good at playing music, in fact it was a complete turn off!” “When we start looking at serious hifi equipment, it was then we realise these good stuff are expensive!” Chris added. Yeah, I guess most people started off along that direction. “The system that was bought from Ray was carefully selected after extended listening. Ray was very helpful when it comes to advising how to set up the system. He introduced to us how important accessories such as cables can make to the sound quality, I would never have believed till I heard it myself!” Chris elaborates his experience when Ray brought around a good outboard USB DAC for his server. He described the difference as very significant even though he took great pains to get a good sound card, in the end, streaming a digital feed to the M-Tech Young USB DAC offers superior performance. The addition of the power supply for the Young USB DAC again made a very significant improvement. He bought the components in the end.
If love is what brings people together, then the love of music is the ties that bind this family together. Such is the case with expat Chris C. Jones and his family whos love for music extends to being musicians themselves, albeit as amateur players. Chris plays the Bassoon (a large low frequency wind instrument) while Shiao Ling, his wife plays the violin. They have performed with The Philharmonic Orchestra (TPO), an amateur orchestra initiated by Maestro Lim Yau. Their two daughters play violins as well as drums and trombone!
Chris was quite proud about his music and movie server. He can access the internet, browse through his music and movie collection with ease, and view the titles via album artwork. Oh did I forget to add he used a Blu-ray drive instead of a DVD drive? Finally Chris added “Being expats, we have to be able to move as and when it is needed, when we first came to Singapore, so it was never in our mind to have an expensive audio system to bring from one place to another.” Now that the place they called home is theirs instead of rented, the Jones has made Singapore their permanent home!
As executives for IBM, the Jones family has lived in this small little island for fourteen years. One fateful day, while patronizing an ice cream shop near Raindrop Audio’s new outlet that they discover this friendly hifi store. Chris has never owned a good high-end system and less so the chance to hear and experience the difference such a system can be had over typical mass-market chain store standard of equipment. Stepping into Raindrop’s showroom was, n search of a better word, a revelation. The level of fidelity and realism a good system could bring their CDs to life suitably impressed both Shiao Ling and Chris! In the course of the next few weeks, Ray the proprietor of Raindrop was a regular visitor to their home, bring equipment to try out at their own leisure. “We were very impressed with the effort Ray did, bringing all those equipment for us to try out. He let the equipment speak for itself.” Says Shiao Ling. “Even before he sold us anything, he came around to our home to have a look at the acoustics of our living room and he advise us on how we can improve upon the acoustics of the room.” “Our room isn’t very ideal” Chris injected. “The room is small, there are a lot of glass panels instead of concrete walls and the living room opens to the pool. The stair well going downstairs and to the bed room upstairs is another potential acoustic nightmare.” Ray suggested a speaker that could work well under such extreme circumstances – the Guru QM60 floorstanding loudspeakers. This is design highly tuned for placement cloise to walls and comparatively speaking, quite immune to placement issues. Chris doesn’t like the idea of having the speakers one metre out into the room. Once the speaker of choice is decided, the rest is relatively easy – all that was needed is an amplifier. Chris settled for the Wyred for Sound STI-500, which delivers an impressive 250 watts per channel from a relatively compact chassis. Chris wanted the convenience of a centralized source - a HTPC for his library of music and movies. The ones available off the shelf was too expensive so he decided to build his own – a LUXA2 LM100 Mini HTPC enclosure with a ZOTAC mini ITX motherboard and Windows 7 OS. The LM100 though small for a PC case, is larger than the undisputedly smallest of small HTPC – the Mac Mini. But the larger case affords the space for a full size 3.5-inch HDD instead of the slower and smaller capacity 2.5-inch HDD. Chris initially bought a 1 TB HDD but soon with movies and his large collection of CDs ripped in WAV, it quickly filled up and now he is onto a larger 2 TB. Chris, I am sure you would have heard of a NAS, right? With a Philips LED LCD TV, the system had provided the Jones with countless hours of music and movies, I asked Chris and Shiao Ling their perspective from a non-audiophile but strong music background (I don't think I have come across anyone in hifi who have
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played professionally or otherwise in an orchestra till now!). Shiao Ling started “I think it may be something about this CD I was looking for and I had several versions to choose from, some were modern recordings but there was this remastered disc from a recording that dates back to the sixties. It was hard to described the differences though it was easy enough which I prefer – the sixties recording.” “The performance was recorded live, I believe, so I can hear the sound of the concert hall, there was this sense of depth which was lacking in the other CDs. This made the performance more realistic, more like what we would have heard in a concert hall. We are friends of the SSO and regular concert goers so we like what we hear in the concert hall to be replicated in our home music system.” “These older live recordings were more realistic but do loose out a little in terms of detail compared with newer recordings” said Chris, “but the new recordings were never as involving”. Touché! I told Chris about the golden age of recordings using a single stereo microphone, simple mix down on analogue tube amplifiers, mixers and tape decks. While I had the impression that Chris and Shiao Ling listen predominantly to classical music, it was a pleasant surprise to know their listening repertoire extends to jazz and vocals, plus a little modern pop (courtesy of their two daughters!) “Music is important in our lives, even though our work does not give us the time we would have liked to spend on music, we attend concerts when possible. There is nothing that can come close to the experience in a concert hall. In fact we get to know which are the best seats in the Esplanade!” Yup, acoustics is a nightmare, even when you have a million dollar budget to treat the concert hall. Incidentally, Chris added with a twinkle in his eye, “the best sound is on the stage!”. MOD AV 31
Many audiophiles upgrade their system
on a regular basis, some when their favourite brand comes up with a new model perhaps. Some when they get ‘tired’ of the sound of their existing system and some upgrade when their existing equipment still have resale value. Choon represents the other extreme – he only upgrade when his system starts to break down. Not exactly what you would call an audiophile, Choon just enjoys music after a hard day’s work. He believes the degree of enjoyment is proportional to the quality of the system and with the means to afford a nice setup, his previous system comprises a pair of Mirage M1s driven with Aragon pre-power amplifiers was his music system of choice since the early nineties. Having had the system for twenty years, the components are starting to show their age. Time to replace the system! Choon called me up some months ago, asking for advice what speakers would I recommend. I rattle off a few names what I would thought would be good speakers, a certifiable upgrade from the Mirage. The major problem confronting
him is - twenty years ago, $10K buys the Mirage M1 or some pretty impressive loudspeakers and there weren’t that many choices. Today, we need to add another ‘0’ to the game and tons of choices to boot. Truly, audio is now in the realm of the ultra-rich. But that doesn’t mean there aren't any real deals at realistic prices. You just need to look away from the ‘stars’ in high-end audio magazines and look a little ‘off-the-beaten-track’ to dig out some qualified gems. His search begins with visits to some of the audio stores to check out the few speakers I have recommended. Be open to suggestions from the stores if they have anything else that would be suitable and most important, be a little flexible in the budget would ease the selection process, I figure. The choice of the Von Schweikert VR-4SR is simple, being used to the larger Mirage M1s, most speakers in the $10K ~ $20K price range are still moderate sized floorstanders with moderate size soundstaging (erm... no names here), albeit with superior refinement compared to the older M1s. The VR-4 in comparison simply have a larger soundstage, very refined sounding, easy to drive and most important, sounds excellent with his choice of music. He liked what he heard in the store and bought it.
Twenty Year Itch
When Bobby from Audioline delivered the speaker, the limitations of his existing amplifier became apparent, and the amplifier used for the demo at the shop, the KR Kronzilla SX1 was loaned for trial. I guess he wasn't warned the two were made for each other – Von Schweikert uses KR amplifiers for demo in audio shows and most Von Schweikert dealers also sells the KR amplifiers. So the budget went out of the window and the KR was bought. In addition, a used Cary Audio SACD player replaced his three month old Creek CD player. In Choon's words – the Cary is ‘a totally different class’ to the Creek. Being an SACD player means Choon started buying SACDs for their superior sound quality. To finish off the whole system, Audioline, who supply the whole system, loan him the new Von Schweikert new 'Master Built' loudspeaker cables. Choon's system is placed in the living room of his semi-D house. Apart from the tallish ceiling, the room is not in any way acoustically treated. Yet there was nary a trace of the room ‘singing’ in unison with the system. The speakers fires down the length of the room, as recommended by Bobby though for his previous Mirage were placed in a different location – firing across the breath of the hall on one side. This makes for a very uneven dispersion – the Mirage M1s being one of the first pioneering bi-polar loudspeaker design would not be too happy with the previous arrangement. The current placement for the VR4s is much better. The sound is rich and effortless, the sound had a nice bloom and filled the room nicely. Choon placed his listening chair halfway down the length of the room. Playing a couple of nice CDs and it is apparent the speakers are pretty formidable. The VR4s are designed for mid to large rooms and here it is in its element. I would suggest, for the performance the VR4 offered, they are darn good value. In fact Choon liked them so much he bought a pair of the smaller Von Schweikert Unifield bookshelf for his upper level TV room. Choon had an old turntable, easily about 30 years old but still working – a automatic direct drive Technics SL1300, the smaller brother of the famous SL1200. A quick check on eBay indicates its value somewhere around USD50 – USD100. He recently fitted a cheap Shure cartridge just to get it going and to play some old LPs. Today, he whipped out a newer LP for me, spindled it to the platter and lowered the cartridge to the lead in groove. No clamps, no special mats, etc.. It was a revelation, it sounds like nothing CD had ever achieved. The VR4s suddenly became more alive and engaging. Suddenly I can sense the omni presence of a singer and band in from of me, which the CD playback only suggest. It wasn't very detailed, the culprit would be
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the cheap Shure (CD is better in this regard) but made music sounded as real as it can get. This was the highlight I had from this setup. Stunning! I am glad Choon have found a good replacement to his twenty year old setup. I am sure it would rejuvenate his interest in music, at least for the next couple of months, knowing how notorious our audiophile ears can easily be jaded in no time. I suppose he didn't expect to stay within his original budget but I believe it is better to pay a little too much and get what you want than a little too little and got nothing. Satisfaction is an elusive state of mind and knowing when to stop is even more important.
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CD2 | FM1 Tuner
DAC1.5 | DAC2.5 | DAC3.5VB
PRE3VB | PHONO3VB
LNS1 | VBS1
S125 | REF150S | REF500S | REF500M | REF1000M
USB Link 24/96 | USB Light Link 24/96
Proudly distributed in Singapore and Malaysia
Sound Decisions Pte Ltd 1 Coleman Street #04-06/07 The Adelphi Singapore 179803 T: 65-6733-8227 F: 65-6733 8229 www.sounddecisions.com.sg
Official Malaysian Dealer
Flagship AV Experience
FF-03, 1st Floor, The Waterfront@Parkcity 5, Persiaran Residen Desa Park City 52200 Kuala Lumpur T: +603-6280 7966 F: +603-6280 7166 www.flagship-av.com.my
Simplicity is what consumers want
for their musical enjoyment today. As the popularity of portable music players such as the iPod and iPhone becomes universal, so is the increasing popularity of iPod docking speakers. Its small footprint, convenience of use and most important, its affordably which makes it a must have accessory for iPod and iPhone users. Extend that to typical hifi components, these consumers would deem such equipment as excessively complicated to operate with too many boxes and consequently too expensive. A good example is the AV receiver – it has everything except when it comes to using it, its complexity is a major deterent. Clearly there exists a gap to be filled – a hifi quality music playback system – able to playback a wide variety of music formats, simple to use, as few boxes as necessary and inexpensive. This is where the Bel Canto C5i bridges the gap. A compact 60 watts x 2 channel integrated amplifier with a built-in digital to analogue converter via the five digital inputs including USB, optical and coaxial. In addition, an analogue line in/out and a phono stage make this amplifier the most comprehensive equipped unit after an AV receiver. Fans of cans will be glad to know there is a high quality headphone input as well. The only missing link is SACD IEEE1394 firewire but today seems a bit passé. With built-in digital processing, Bel Canto went one step further by managing the volume control in the digital domain. All you need to complete the system is the addition of a source – pressed on an old unused laptop or an old Macbook would make a good source component to store and playback your music files. Just clean out all unnecessary files and software in the hard disk, or even better a fresh reload of the OS would be a good idea. That would speed up the computer as well. Make sure you get a good USB cable to go along, something along the lines of Monster or Audioquest would be better than those cheap freebie USB cables. Add a pair of speakers and decent speaker cables and away you go! While 60 watts per channel rms may not sound like a lot when compared to kilowatt mass market ‘boom boxes’, its ability to drive complex loudspeaker loads with its 30 amps peak current and >1000 damping factor with signal to noise ratio in excess to 115 dB, the C5i is a powerful component to contend with.
Bel Canto C5i All-in-one-wonder-component
Recommended loudspeakers for the C5i If you have room for larger speakers, my choice would be the floorstanding Cabasse MC40 Majorca with its ease of drive and big sound. The Majorca would be an excellent match with the C5i. An alternative is the ProAc Studio 140 MK2 floorstander around the same price as the Cabasse if you want a more ‘British’ sound. If your room is smaller, the bookshelf ProAc Studio 115 would be a good buy. These speakers are easy to drive and the C5i would have no problems with them. Both the ProAcs and Cabbasse with their unique driver technology are as impressive as the Bel Canto package.
Specifications: Power Output @ 1% THD: 120W 4 ohms, 60W 8 ohms per channel Minimum Recommended Load: 3 ohms Peak Output Current: 30 amperes Frequency Response: +/-3 dB 1.5Hz-90KHz, 4 ohm load Damping factor: >1000 Dynamic Range: 115dB Input connections: 5 Digital Inputs, MM Phono, and Line Level Analogue Phono in impedance: 47kohms//150pF Output connections: 2 sets of Binding Posts, RCA Line Out, Headphones Size: 216 x 88 x 305mm (W x H x D) Weight: 6.5Kg
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Introducing the Sound of Norway - NORDIC TONE Reference Loudspeakers - EMC-1UP 24bit/192kHz CD player - NEMO AW600 mono-bloc power amplifier
Official Malaysian Dealer
Flagship AV Experience
FF-03, 1st Floor, The Waterfront@Parkcity 5, Persiaran Residen Desa Park City 52200 Kuala Lumpur T: +603-6280 7966 F: +603-6280 7166 www.flagship-av.com.my Proudly distributed in Singapore and Malaysia
Sound Decisions Pte Ltd 1 Coleman Street #04-06/07 The Adelphi Singapore 179803 T: 65-6733-8227 F: 65-6733 8229 www.sounddecisions.com.sg
Cabasse, the French loudspeaker company is best noted for its
‘eye-ball’ louspeaker, which cumulates to their flagship La Sphere and La Ocean. Cabasse has a good reason for this design – a sphere has been determined as a good enclosure and the coaxial design of the tweeter and midrange as one integrated unit ensures it behaves like a good point source loudspeaker. The unique design of Cabasse coaxial driver is proprietary to Cabasse. The distinctive Alcyone, Eole 2 and Baltic Evolution are more geared towards lifestyle-oriented customers with their compact spherical enclosures and subwoofers. However we all know box speakers tend to sound better, at least in terms of superior warmth and body it imbues to the sound. The MC40 series essentially is a Cabasse coaxial driver in a normal speaker enclosure. In doing so, it allows the addition of dynamic woofers to augment the bass instead of passing over to a subwoofer. For an all round loudspeaker for music and movies, the sonic performance of the MC40 is worthy of serious consideration. The MC40 Majorca ($4300) is the largest of the MC40 series – a 3-way 46-inch tall floorstanding loudspeaker with dual 8-inch woofers. The tweeter/midrange coaxial driver – code name BC10 comprises a small soft dome tweeter and a white concave midrange cone. This unit is tasked to reproduce the frequencies from 900 – 23,000 Hz, essentially from the upper midrange to the extreme high frequencies. The two bass drivers are driven in tandem with the bass reflex vent at the base of the speaker. Finished either in light or dark stained cherry, sorry no black. There is a complementary center channel, on-wall surround channel as well as an active 8-inch subwoofer if you want to go the full multi-channel route. Rated at a nominal 8 ohms with a minimum of 3.2 ohms, the Majorca is an easy load, up to 150 watt rms would be perfect, it is capable of handling a peak of 1000 watts should the need arise. The Majorca accepts a single pair of speaker wires, no bi-wire option available here.
MC40 Majorca by Terence Wong
Pros: Solid construction, very neutral and exceptionally smooth sound balance, exceptional dynamic scale with good bass extension, easy to drive Cons: Not the last word in dynamics, lack of fine resolution compared to hi definition monitors. Conclusion: A good step up from entry level loudspeakers. Highly recommended!
If not for the ‘queer’ looking ‘tweeter’, the Majorca may be mistaken as another loudspeaker. It follows the popular curved sides popularised by B&W, then followed by almost every other loudspeaker company. I suppose if it's a good thing, why not? Connected to a full Cyrus setup – the CD8SE CD player, the Cyrus Pre XPd with its attendant PSX-R power supply and the X Power stereo power amplifier, the Majorca offers an insightful and effortless sound quality. The Majorca works best when placed a little distance from the back walls to keep the prodigious output from overwhelming the other parts of the frequency spectrum. Yes, if you like good bass, the Majorca is sure to please. Not just fat and overpowering bass but one that is well integrated into frequency spectrum. Credit must be given to the downward firing port design – it seems to work very well here, the bass quality is superb – deep, extended and well controlled - it gave the sound a sense of scale only big speakers can give. The Majorca is mid-sized by any standards so it would suggest it has a big and voluminous soundstage. If you value neutrality in a loudspeaker, the Majorca should score high in your shortlist. Nothing gets out of control, no signs of splashy or metallic sounding tweeters, or ‘horny’ midrange. Initially I thought I heard a slight honk in the upper midrange but it disappears after a couple of minutes playing. It could be the electronics warming up. The Majorca is that transparent to its partnering amplifier! The Cabasse MC40 Majorca is a viable upgrade from those sub $2000 - $3000 loudspeakers. You will get superior bass extension, dynamic range and resolution. Cabasse is available at www.hifibargain.com
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Distributor for Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore Intercessor LLP 1090 Lower Delta Road #07-07 Singapore 169201 Tel: (65)-62730873 Fax: (65)-62210959
HRT Streamer II New! - HRT iStreamer for iPhone, iPad, iPod
HRT Streamer II Plus
HRT Streamer Pro Balanced output
High Resolution Technologies - Home of the Music Streamer family of products. With HRT 'Everyone can have Great Sound!' All HRT products are designed and manufactured in Southern California. Authorised distributor
100 Beach Road #02-46/49 Shaw Tower Singapore 189702 Tel: 65 6291-1106 www.musiclinkav.com
Vincent Audio, known for their outstanding performance and value for money, their extensive range of amplifiers have won accolades in recent hifi journals like The Absolute Sound for obvious reasons. Here we take you through a selection of Vincent's finest!
V60 Pure Tube Integrated Amplifier
The V60 offers the full tube experience! Using a solid aluminum chassis, within which houses 8 EL34 output tubes delivering 60 watts per channel. For user convenience, it comes with an 'innovative bias voltage and constant current control system' to keep the tubes running at optimal conditions. The large torroidal transformer ensures the power supply will never be a limiting factor in this sublime tube amplifier. With selectable speaker taps at 8 ohms and 4 ohms, the V60 delivers the most tube like experience in the Vincent range!
SA-T8 Symmetrical Hybrid Stereo Preamplifier
Full tube preamp, the SA-T8 is Vincent's flagship preamplifier designed to match with the SP-T800 power ampliifer. With Neutrix XLR balanced input and output, symmetrical layout and the use of audio grade components, the SA-T8 offers great transparency and musicality.
SP-T800 Symmetrical Mono Hybrid Power Amplifier
KHV-1 Hybrid Headphone Preamplifier
Tubes are highly desired for the musical qualities it imbues to the sound. The KHV-1 is first and foremost a tube preamplifier with a high performance headphone amplification stage. The headphone stage is able to handle high impedance headphone loads. The KHV-1 also accepts a line input - from a CD player, a portable media player or any other source. As a stand alone headphone amplifier or as a tube preamplifier, the KHV-1 allows the system to develop and grow from being a headphone amplifier with the future addition of a power amplifier and a pair of speakers into a full fledge audio system.
With a tube input stage coupled with a high powered 200 watt rms (8 ohms) solid state output stage, the SP-T800 offers a power amplifier with immense capability to drive difficult loudspeaker loads. The massive power transformer alone is rate at 500 watts with 80,000uf of smoothing capacitors. It runs on Pure Class A up to 20 watts before switching over to Class AB giving a high purity of sound coupled with a powerful and dynamic performance.
SA-31 Hybrid Stereo Preamplifier
Equipped with a vacuum tube stage, the SA-31 tube hybrid preamp offers a distinctive sound in a slim and compact chassis. Four line level inputs and dual preout allow biamplification for larger speaker systems. Class A technology with low noise and stable power supplies give the SA-31 the winning edge!
SP-331 Hybrid Stereo Power Amplifier SV-236MK Hybrid Stereo Integrated Amplifier
This mid sized hybrid amplifier offers an ideal mix of features that would drive almost any loudspeaker. The MK makes this an upgraded model from the stock SV-236 with voltage stabilization (most critical for the input tube stage) and high power output. The circuit board layout has been improved and audio grade parts substituted such as WIMA condensers. Power output also increased to 150 watts per channel. The performance of the SV-236MK has been substantially upgraded from the SV-236 with all round superior sound quality with improved power delivery. 40 MOD AV
Power with grace, the SP-331 hybrid stereo power amplifier offers a tube input stage with a 150 watt rms solid state output stage. With an oversized power transformer rated at 1000 watts and 80,000 uf of capacitance per channel, the SP-331 delivers clean unfettered power, even down to a 2 ohm load! Dual sets of speaker terminals enable biwiring with ease.
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We specialise in Audio Video and Accessories
Acme Audio Labs - Advent USA - AER Japan - Alchemist Taiwan - Aliante Italy - Ambiance Singapore - Angstrom Canada - AR-acoustic research USA - AS-Acoustic System ATL Taiwan - Audio Analogue Italy - Audio Technica Japan - AudioControl USA - AudioMaster Singapore - AudioPlus Korea - AudioPrism USA - AudioQuest USA - AudioZone Canada - Aurasound USA - B & K Components USA - Beresford England - Blue Horizon England - BrightStar USA - Brilliance Hi-Fi UK - Bryant Products USA - Caig Chemicals USA - Caliber UK - Cardas USA - Carot One Italy - Cascade Audio USA - Channel Island Audio USA - Chord Electronics UK - Clearer Audio England - Clef Audio Thailand - Coral Electronics - Custom Design England - DNM UK - Docet Lector Italy - DVDO USA - Esoteric Audio USA - ETI Australia - Furutech Japan - Goldring UK Gourd Audio Japan - Granite Audio USA - GutWire Canada - Harrison Labs USA - Heliquin England - Hifi Tuning Germany - High Resolution Technologies USA - Hisago Denzai Japan - Hubbell Products USA - Isonoe England - Isotek England - JPW England - Kripton Japan - Lat International USA - Magnet Thailand - Marigo Labs USA Marsh Sound USA - Merlin Cables England - Merlin Speakers USA - Monrio Italy - Mordaunt Short UK - Musical Technology UK - Nanotec Japan - Neutrik - NorthStar Designs Italy - NS-Nakamura Japan - Oehlbach Germany - Okutsu Denko Japan - Olson England - Optoma Projectors Taiwan - OS Screen Japan - Pangea Audio USA PermaPlug England - Premium Label - RCF Italy - Rogers UK - Running Springs USA - Signet USA - Soniclink UK - Soundcare Norway - SoundQuest USA - Sunshine Japan - Symposium USA - Synergistic Research USA - Synthesis Italy - TechSpray Products USA - Telos Audio Taiwan - Tiff Electronics USA - Vibrapod USA - Vincent Germany Vivitek Projectors USA - WBT Germany - Wellfloat Products Japan - XTZ - Sweden
USB DAC RoundUp Alpha Design Labs GT-40
This has gotten to be the most versatile piece of hardware I have ever come across - I am still wondering how Furutech is able to pack a headphone amp, a USB Dac (96kHz/24bit), a line level input and ... wait for this ... a phono stage with MC/MM input all in one compact unit! You need to share the phono stage with the line stage via a switch since it only has a single pair of input RCA connectors. With this unit, you can record your vinyl via the phono stage into the USB input/output to your computer! Available at www.musiclinkav.com
Electrocompaniet Prelude PD-1
Electrocompaniet’s new Prelude PD-1 DAC is the answer to the growing need for a user friendly DAC with USB interface. This new DAC comes with upsampling for all incoming bitrate to 192 kHz/24bit, you can listen to the music from all your digital components - the CD-player, TV/Satellite tuner, iPod or PC/MAC with the highest quality digital to analogue conversion. According to Electrocompaniet, the sound quality from all your digital sources will be improved! You can even add Electrocompaniet’s own USB Music Streamer for RF wireless connection from your computer to the DAC. Available at Sound Decisions.
The DAC2 features the ESS Reference (ES9018) 32-bit DAC chip coupled with a masterful implementation of discrete FET output stage and noise-free power supply. This combination gives the DAC great resolution and a fluid, natural flow of dynamics that is truly compelling. Features: ESS Time Domain Jitter, Eliminator® - Automatic oversampling for precise output filtering - Fully balanced design with balanced and unbalanced outputs - Upgradable Digital, Output, and USB boards (designed for future improvements) Oversized toroidal transformer for solid and noise-free power - 88,000uF of filtering with W4S low ESR "super-cap" - VFD display for input, sample rate, volume control, and configuration viewing Remote control - Defeatable 32 bit volume control HT Bypass inputs (selectable via DC trigger) - 2x Coax inputs, 2x Toslink inputs, 1x AES/EBU input, 1x Balanced I2S input via HDMI cable (not standard HDMI cable format) - 24-bit 192kHz Asynchronous USB input with proprietary drivers for Windows and Mac computers. Available at Raindrop Audio. MOD 43 AV
Feature Audyssey South of Market Dock Merely calling this Audyssey an iPod/iPhone docking speaker is an understatement! Equipped with Audyssey’s sound processing technology to enhance your music listening experience, you can expect distortion free and balanced sound quality even when playing at low levels. Each of the four speakers are driven by its own digital amplifier, Equipped with Bluetooth for wireless playback of music files from your other devices such as laptops, network storage and portable music players. iPhone users can take advantage of the handsfree speaker phone function. Available at www.sounddecisions.com.sg
finite elemente HOHRIZONTAL 51 Not a misspelling, both the name of this German company or the product. finite elemente is better known for her hifi racks, has launched her version of lifestyle iPod/iPhone docking speakers. Looking like an Ikea’s Lack floating shelf, small transducers are mounted on the edge of the shelf while your iPhone or iPod is docked on the shelf. Couple with a 100 watt amplifier, a line-in and USB input adds to the flexibility of the system. Finaly 7 colours to choose from! Prime candidate for an Ikea hack? www.finite-elemente.de
Yamaha TSX-80 Desktop Audio System Styled for contemporary living, the compact TSX-80’s conceals state of the art DSP technology, delivering a powerful dynamic sound. Suitable for docking your iPod/iPhone, equipped with a built-in FM clock radio and extra line input plus alarm, the TSX-80 gently wakes you each morning with the music source of your choice! www.yamaha.com.sg
Geneva Sound System XL Looking rather retro, the Geneva Sound XL (there are some smaller models in the range) houses a complete audio system in one box a three way loudspeaker with six 100 watt digital amplifiers driving each speaker, an iPod/iPhone dock, a CD player and a FM tuner. Finished in a variety of glossy colour or wood veneers to match your decor.
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The role of the AV receiver
has expanded considerably since the days of home cinema with surround sound was introduced some twenty years ago. For an AV receiver to remain relevant today, it must embrace a multitude of functionality and roles – from its basic role as a multichannel amplifier for DVD and Blu-ray discs to networking with computers and other storage devices to playback a wide variety of music and video formats. Pioneer now launched their most ambitious multi-role networked AV receiver, the VSX-1021-K to meet the requirements of audiophiles who have progressed beyond optical media like the CD and SACD to hi resolution digital downloads. Affordably priced for the mass market, the feature set is decidedly comprehensive – 3D ready, LAN network function to play audio files from your PC or network attached storage or internet radio, as a playback hub for iTunes music, supports FLAC the future high resolution audio codec and offers iPhone, iPod and iPad compatibility with the latest version of the free app - iControlAV2 to control this AV receiver. Now compatible with iPad, iPhone and iPod The VSX-1021-K now integrates with the iPAD as well as with the iPod and iPhone. With the new VSX-1021-K, the iPad, iPhone and iPod are easily connected with the included USB/video cable – enable access to all your digital media - music, videos, photos and streaming content stored on your Apple portable devices and it charges automatically each time it is connected to the VSX-1021-K – it is the ultimate plug-and-play integration with your home theatre. Pioneer’s new iControlAV2 will transform your Apple Device into a Powerful
Remote Control. The new iControlAV2 app has been fully redesigned and incorporates everything from basic volume and input selection to advanced features like EQ adjustments and Internet Radio control. iControlAV2 for iPad includes enhanced features like vertical and horizontal orientation, intuitive control of music from networked PCs as well as internet radio control, and a finger EQ adjust screen; simply draw the EQ curve on the 9-band EQ to your desired sound preference. You can also view and analyze the room’s sound characteristics both before and after Multi Channel Acoustic Calibration System (MCACC) room calibration on your iPAD as well. iControlAV2 displays more details than any ordinary remote. It allows you to check the status of your receiver: things like audio signal quality and resolution. It enhances the speaker set-up, using exclusive Pioneer technologies like PQLS, Phase Control, virtual speakers, centre-channel volume and bass levels are quickly and easily adjusted with the swipe of a finger. Smartphone's Music with Bluetooth® and Air Jam The VSX-1021-K is Bluetooth ready for wireless connectivity with the optional AS-BT200 Bluetooth adapter for Bluetooth audio from your iPhone®, Blackberry®, or Android® smartphone or even Bluetooth-enabled sources like laptops. With another free app from Apple, Air Jam, it enables up to 4 apple devices to pair with the VSX-1021-K and create playlist from all the connected Bluetooth devices.
AirPlay® One of the many exciting new features of the VSX-1021-K is AirPlay. With AirPlay you can stream music, wired or wirelessly (with optional wireless adapter AS-WL300), from iTunes music library to the VSX-1021-K and play it through your home theatre system. The VSX-1021-K instantly becomes the hub for playback of your iTunes music from any connected airplay certified device or networked computer (PC or Mac). You can even use the receiver to view metadata including song title, artist as well as album art on a connected display. Download Apple's free "Remote" application and use your Apple device as a remote control.
Connect to your PC Music Files or Internet Radio The VSX-1021-K comes with a rear panel Ethernet port for integration with a home network. With DLNA 1.5 certification, you can stream music files (MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, FLAC) from your PC, laptop or smartphone to your home theatre system. If you are a fan of internet radio, the VSX-1021-K receiver supports Internet Radio with vTuner so you can access thousands of internet radio stations from around the world. Controlled by Pioneer's iControlAv2 app, it makes it easy to find your favourite stations and listen to them through the VSX-1021-K.
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ProAc K6 ProAc has the launch of the K6 loudspeaker. The new 3-way K6 loudspeaker slots below the Carbon Pro 6 and Pro 8 as a more affordable ProAc loudspeaker with their carbon fibre speaker membrane for the bass drive units. However carbnon fibre is expensive because each and every membrane is hand made in the ProAc factory. Instead, the K6 offers an alternative technology – Kevlar membranes. Kevlar benefits from having similar properties to carbon fibre, being light and at the same time rigid. The ProAc 6 1/2” drivers utilised in the K6 feature Kevlar cones made by the same as their carbon fibre membranes; painstakingly produced from a mould by hand, a labour intensive process taking many hours to complete each membrane. To realise the full potential of the new Kevlar drive units, it requires a different porting arrangement compared to the carbon fibre drive units - the bass is loaded by a concealed vent and produces a weighty yet exceptionally fast bass transient response. These Kevlar drivers are crossed over to a 2” dome midrange with a shallow horn loading on an aluminum plate. The same ribbon tweeter as used in the Carbon Pro 6 and Pro 8 is used for the high frequencies in the K6. The cabinet on the K6 is a traditional mixture from ProAc of HDF material of different thickness and heavily damped with bitumen forming a 35mm thick shell. The result is an inert cabinet that allows the stunning resolution of the K6 to shine. The combination of research into carbon fibre and its ingredients have produced a stunningly accurate and detailed loudspeaker, having an electrostatic or panel quality without the drawbacks. Sound is reproduced effortlessly with incredible detail and pinpoint imagery. The K6 is the loudspeaker for audiophiles and music lovers who treasures high resolution across the entire frequency bandwidth, ease of drive even with low powered tube amplifiers yet with a smooth sound with a highly musical and engaging character.
ProAc Response D40R The Response D40R comes from a very successfully model in the ProAc lineup – the Response D38, which has been in production for nearly 8 years. With new cone technology now available to ProAc, the decision was made to upgrade the D38 with carbon fibre drive units and the new Response D40R was born. The carbon fibre drive units in the Carbon Pro 6 and Pro 8 are substantially modified to develop a new drive unit that is able to cover the midrange frequencies as needed by the 2-way Response D40R. The new carbon fibre cone is made from an ultra fine weave of high purity carbon fibre cloth; each thread of the weave is said to be made from 1000 strands of carbon fibre, thus giving both strength and weight to the cone in order to increase the frequency response into the midrange. The new D40R utilises two of these 6.5” carbon fibre full range units for a powerful and extended bass response. A new ‘equalised’ venting system was deployed, using two billet aluminium rods between the cabinet and plinth, which together with the drive unit frames are shaped and coated in a non-resonant material. For the tweeter, the user can choose between a soft dome (the D40) or the ribbon tweeter (the D40R). Although slightly smaller than the D38, the D40 has a more extended and potent bass response, amazingly detailed midrange and a sweet and extended high frequency response. The huge sound stage is bettered only by the Carbon Pro and new K series.
AURAL DESIGNS ... purveyors of fine music Almarro . ARS-Sonum . Auditorium23 . Kondo. MR . New Audio Frontiers . ProAc . Tektron . Vimak . WLM
1 Coleman Street #03-11 The Adelphi Singapore 179803 Tel: +65 6339 0134 www.aural-designs.com
AVNavigator This has to be an industry-first - Pioneer AVNavigator - an interactive owners manual that takes all the guesswork out of setting up your receiver. AV Navigator uses your networked PC (iPad compatibility coming soon) to communicate directly with the VSX-1021-K, walking you through speaker set-up, MCACC room calibration, sound optimisation and firmware updates.
Ready for 3D with the latest HDMI® 1.4a specification The VSX-1021-K prepares for the next generation of 3D video content and advanced HDMI conveniences like Audio Return Channel and Power Save HDMI Standby pass through. With 5 HDMI inputs, there is plenty of connectivity options for the growing number of high-definition sources available – Blu-ray, gaming consoles, media players, cable set-top box, etc.
Ultimate Sound Control The latest Pioneer receivers support all current high-definition audio formats: Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD® Master Audio to give your Blu-ray Disc® superb audio quality. In addition, Pioneer also includes all Dolby and DTS surround formats best suited for the wide variety of entertainment sources, including the newest Dolby Pro Logic IIz height channel.
Advanced Video Processing. Picture Perfect Whatever the Source The VSX-1021-K provides video conversion from composite and component video to HDMI for a simple single-wire high-definition audio and video solution as well as up to 1080p video scaling regardless of the source.
Pioneer's exclusive Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration system (MCACC) provides a new multi-channel listening experience customized specifically to your listening environment. With the included microphone, the VSX-1021-K measures check every speaker's connection, speaker size, and distance from the listening point, sound levels and timbre to calibrate and optimize performance. Compressed audio such as WMA, MP3 and AAC are enhanced with another Pioneer technology, the Advanced Sound Retriever. It works by filling in areas where minute details were left out during the compression process.
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Full-Color On-Screen Graphical User Interface All of the VSX-1021-K's advanced control and connectivity options are enabled with a full-color user interface on your connected TV enabling effortless navigation through the receiver's menu. Neural THX Neural Audio Corporation is now part of the THX Corporation. If you did not know, Neural-THX Surround technology has had overwhelming positive response from the CE community, broadcasters, game developers and other content creators over the past year. Now Pioneer has added Neural THX to the VSX-1021-K to enable the user to experience an engaging sonic presentation of their favorite surround sound content.
Yamaha RX-V_71 series AV receiver
Yamaha exclusive AV Controller App
RX-V371, RX-V471, RX-V571, RX-V671, RX-V771 As each generation of AV receivers evolved with the
changing demands of music and movie lovers, the role of the AV receiver is of increasing relevance as a control center for media management of all current optical as well as future digital media such as high resolution music downloads. Yamaha’s latest entry level 71 series receivers replaces the outgoing 67 series. Fully equipped for 3D video and the latest HD audio formats, the five new models offer full compatibility with the iPhone as well as Bluetooth enabled devices like mobile phones, media players, Windows and Mac computers. In addition, the RX-V671 and RX-V771 are networked ready receivers that enable playback of your music files stored in a networked NAS as well as access the internet for thousands of internet radio stations. These two models come with an exciting new feature – iPhone AV Controller app. It's a free app from Apple store to your iPhone and used to control the RX-V671 or RX-V771 AV Receiver. As always, Yamaha quality starts with the heart of every AV Receiver – even the entry model features high quality audio grade parts like 192 kHz / 24Bit Burr Brown digital processors. The power amplifiers are designed with ‘high dynamic power’, which drive low impedance speaker loads with ease. Technology such as YPAO, first introduced not too many years ago in the flagship Yamaha AV amplifiers, to help setup the amplifier within minutes, is now available even in the entry level model. Advanced audio processing such as Yamaha’s proprietary Cinema DSP, adaptive Dynamic Range Control and Adaptive DSP level brings the performance of even the least expensive RX-V371 well beyond that of many more expensive AV Receivers. Yamaha also understands all the advance features are of little use if the receivers are complicated to operate. As such, an important design feature for
RX-V571 7.1 AV Receiver
105 watts x 7 (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.9% THD) Direct mode HDMI – 6 in, 1 out Analogue and HDMI upscale to Full HD 1080p Change HDMI input while in Standby mode Front panel USB input for iPhone and other USB devices iPod and iPhone song titles display on front panel (English) Wireless iPhone compatibility with ‘AirWired’ YID-W10 Cinema DSP 3D with virtual front presence
Yamaha receivers is the ease of use – turn on the power, select any of the source from the four prominently located buttons on the front panel and turn up the volume. Whether it is to watch a DVD or Blu-ray movie, to watch a TV programme, listen to a radio broadcast or listening to a CD, simplicity means everyone in the home can enjoy using the system anytime. How can this be done? Simple, each of the preset sources, called ‘Scene’, will have its own pre selected sound processing. The need to select the correct sound processing for each source every time a different source is selected is a thing of the past. Stunning features in the RX-V_71 series 192 kHz/24 Bit Burr Brown DACs 1080p HDMI with 3D and Audio Return Channel Scene buttons Auto Lip-sync YPAO sound optimization iPhone compatibility with optional YDS-12 Universal Dock Bluetooth compatibility with optional YBA-10 Wireless Bluetooth Receiver Compressed Music Enhancer Adaptive Dynamic Range Control and Adaptive DSP level Cinema DSP SILENT CINEMA and Virtual CINEMA DSP Eco friendly design Specifications for the different models:
RX-V371 5.1 AV Receiver
RX-V671 7.1 Network AV Receiver Yamaha’s AV Controller App for your iPhone
RX-V471 5.1 AV Receiver
105 watts x 5 (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.9% THD) Direct Mode HDMI – 4 in, 1 out Change HDMI input while in Standby mode Front panel USB input for iPhone and other USB devices
100 watts x 5 (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.9% THD) HDMI – 4 in, 1 out
150 watts x 7ch (8ohms, 1kHz, 10% THD, 1ch driven, JEITA) Pure Direct HDMI – 6 in, 1 out Analogue and HDMI upscale to Full HD 1080p Change HDMI input while in Standby mode Network function – access to music files (MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, FLAC) and internet radio Front panel USB input for iPhone and other USB devices iPod and iPhone song titles display on front panel (English) DLNA 1.5 Certified Wireless iPhone compatibility with ‘AirWired’ YID-W10 Cinema DSP 3D with virtual front presence Yamaha exclusive AV Controller app with iPhone
RX-V771 7.1 Network AV Receiver
USB Direct connection to your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad
YID-W10 wireless adapter for iPhone, iPod Touch
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160 watts x 7ch (8 ohms, 1 kHz, 10 % THD, 1 ch driven, JEITA) Pure Direct HDMI – 6 in, 2 out Analogue and HDMI upscale to Full HD 1080p Change HDMI input while in Standby mode Network function – access to music files (MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC, FLAC) and internet radio Front panel USB input for iPhone and other USB devices iPod and iPhone song titles display on front panel (English) YPAO multipoint sound optimization DLNA 1.5 Certified Wireless iPhone compatibility with ‘AirWired’ YID-W10 Cinema DSP 3D with virtual front presence Yamaha exclusive AV Controller app with MOD AV 51
Setup and control your Yamaha AV receiver with your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad! The free iOS app can be downloaded from Apple App Store now. The AV Controller App enables replication of the remote control including system setup and adjustments, DSP selection, Scene selection, zone selection, etc.
Yamaha NS-500 Series
Sound to Fire the Imagination Yamaha Soavo series loudspeakers set a new standard in loudspeaker design – transparency and depth of sound, deep and tight bass, a sense of rich detail and warmth. From the foundation of the Soavo comes a new generation of loudspeaker – interior friendly, equally adept for music and cinema applications. The new NS-500 series differs from its predecessor with the use of new technology – a new tweeter design and new midrange and woofers in a stronger cabinet construction to create a sound that is purer, cleaner, lower in distortion and free from extraneous resonance. DC-Diaphragm Tweeter Simplify the construction of a tweeter yields sonic benefits – the new DC-Diaphragm tweeter has+ its voice coil directly wound over the aluminum magnesium alloy, thereby eliminating the effects of mechanical strain and adhesive bonding between separate parts of the tweeter. As a result, the tweeter is able to preserve and reproduce subtle nuances of the sound traditional tweeter design cannot reproduce.
A-PMD midrange and woofer cone with solid rubber surround Yamaha’s distinctive white woofer cone is a unique diaphragm material made from an advance polymer injected Mica diaphragm. This technology combines the lightweight of a paper cone with the strength of resin cones. The diecast aluminum basket provides the drivers with a stable and non-resonant foundation. Specially selected rubber surrounds are matched to the mass and resonant characteristics of the diaphragm while a square voice coil wire increases power handling with a larger cross section area as well as surface area. Musical instruments inspired Soavo style cabinet construction From Yamaha’s experience in making some of the finest musical instruments, a lot of attention is paid to the cabinet construction of the Soavo loudspeakers. Now the same cabinet construction technology has been applied to the NS-500 series. Three-way mitered joint construction is used to stiffen the cabinet corners while panel bracing is used to damp panel vibrations. Finally, a new footer spike design assures a stable cabinet that does not move when the drive units undergo extreme excursion. In other words, you hear the speakers, not the cabinet. Advanced YST-II Servo Technology Yamaha’s proprietary Advanced – Yamaha Active Servo Technology II (Y-AST II) delivers big bass from a compact cabinet. The energy efficient 250 watt amplifier exert extreme control of the 10-inch woofer augmented with a ‘low noise’ porting design which controls airflow while minimizing noise inducing turbulence.
The Audition The NS-500s are suitable for multi-role audio applications – as a powerful home cinema speaker system as well as a high performance musical 2-channel speaker system. Traditionally, speakers are subject to compromise if it has to serve both masters. Few, if any, speaker is able to do both jobs competently. If the NS-500 is to be equally adept to Home Cinema and two channel applications, this calls for a holistic re-design of the Soavo, which the NS-500s are based on.
The NS-500 family NS-B500 bookshelf speaker
The new drive units tells a lot about the designers direction – the tweeter voice coil for instance is wound directly onto the aluminum magnesium alloy dome. This enables the tweeter to dissipate heat relatively quickly over the entire surface of the metal dome instead of a former. The lack of glued parts means mechanical failure, a common problem when speakers are used in home cinema applications, is drastically reduced. The midrange and woofer applies a hybrid paper and resin material – paper for good resonant characteristics, which makes for a more natural and musical sound quality, while resin injection stiffens the cone considerably. A rigid and stiff cone, together with a rigid and non-resonant diecast basket is able to convey more impact and dynamics to the sound quality. The use of square wire for the voice coil increases the cross section area of the conductor and improves power handling. The speaker cabinets are braced to reduce cabinets walls from flexing and adding colouration. The combination of features in the midrange and woofers means the speaker is able to play louder, cleaner with more impact and dynamics while displaying with less distortion and less dynamic compression. The NS-500 floorstanders were tested with both an AV receiver and a high quality stereo integrated amplifier of a comparable price point buyers of the NS-500 would probably be using. Playing music through the AV receiver and stereo amplifier is markedly different, even if the former is used in the ‘Direct’ mode, which is the purest sound quality possible from an AV Receiver. This bodes wells for the NS-500, it responds to the quality of amplifier used. The balance of the speakers is towards a vivid and detailed sounding midrange with a nice balanced low end. The character of the NS-500 floorstander is surprisingly polite. There were nary a trace of harshness, unless you have a really poor quality amplifier driving them. The bass end is clean and controlled with a nice gradual ‘turn-in’ obviously the floorstander is biased to work with a subwoofer. This is better solution than some speakers who tries to sound ‘extended’ by boosting the bass end (compared to the midrange level). This may affect the main speaker’s interfacing with a subwoofer result in a boomy bass, a characteristic the NS-500 floorstander deftly avoided.
Used as a high performance speaker for a stereo music system, or used as part of a 5.1 home cinema surround sound system, the B500 achieves a new standard in compact speaker performance.
NS-C500 centre speaker
Using identical design speaker drive units is the NS-F500 floorstander, the A-PMD cone, enables a matching consistent, spacious and dimensional soundfield.
The high frequencies blended nicely into the midrange without undue emphasis, in other words, the NS-500 cannot be faulted for being excessively bright sounding, a characteristic many modern speakers use to ‘impress’ a prospective buyer as ‘musical details’ in a showroom only to grate our ears after we get them home! If there is an area of contention, it would suggest the high frequencies of the NS-500, could sound a little less reticent. Perhaps the Yamaha engineers would rather voice the NS-500 to be a polite loudspeaker than an ‘impressive’ display of sonic fireworks which in time would turn into a sonic harshness! Turning to home cinema, the NS-500 system comprising of the floorstander, the center channel, the bookshelf as surround and the subwoofer sounds an integrated whole. Having identical drive units for all the speakers (subwoofer excepted of course) ensures the surround soundfield maintain identical sonic characteristics, an aspect some home cinema integrators missed especially when mixing with different surround speakers. The subwoofer is definitely voiced for a smaller room - that would be suitable for the majority of us - it sounds tight, powerful and controlled. The active servo amplifier keeps the low bass under control and with good extension. Larger rooms may benefit from a second subwoofer to move more air around. The NS-F500 system, in particular the floorstander scores in terms of build quality, smooth and refined sound quality and a very reasonable price tag. If you are looking at speakers below $2000 a pair, the NS500 floorstander should definitely be in your shortlist.
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With Yamaha's proprietary A-YST II (Advanced Yamaha Active Servo Technology II), the NS-SW500 subwoofer delivers big bass quality from a compact cabinet. The unique port design enables rapid air movement with speed and clarity without attendant noise. Driven with a built-in 250 watt power amplifier.
Of CinemAttic Dimensions
Bernadus and his gorgeous Cinema-in-the-Attic! 54 MOD AV
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It is inevitable, audiophiles do progress with time from hifi in the bedroom or dorm to a dedicated custom home entertainment room - as and when the means to do so comes along. Acquiring a new house or apartment means deciding which room will be the one place where music and movies are enjoyed in exclusivity, anything else in between is merely in a state of transition.
That can only mean there’s a need for professional expertise - builders and sound specialists to design, build and commission the media room. Bernadus, a professional in the finance industry has just rebuilt his house, tucked away at an exclusive residential area. Though he has a home entertainment room prior to the rebuild, he has provisioned for a bigger room this time – to house
a larger anamorphic screen. The attic was his choice – it has the size required as a dedicated AV media room and Sound Decisions, who built his previous home cinema room has once again, been awarded the contract to design and build the new media room. The room is squarish, has a low sloped ceiling Isn’t it an attic?, acoustically the room struck an ideal balanced between too ‘live’ or too ‘dead’. The combination of concrete walls, soft curtains with wood paneling on the walls and floors must have worked to distribute the resonance evenly across the room. The first order of the day is the room control system - here Bernadus’ choice is the Control4 system to automate the Home Entertainment room – the lighting, audio/video, air-conditioning, curtains and blinds are controlled
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The sound system comprises a 5.1 setup using Bel Canto power amplifiers and BG Radia in-wall loudspeakers. There were four BG Radia in-wall subwoofers in the system – two for the front channels and another 2 for the rear channels. The idea of using multiple subwoofers, each subwoofer plays at a lower level than a single subwoofer setup, enables even distribution of the low frequencies in the room to avoid peaks and dips. THX Ultra-2 certification also requires 4 units of these subwoofers. A Marantz AV7005 AV Control unit (meaning this does not have built-in amplifiers but function as an AV preamp) is the system controller - source switching, sound modes selection and so on. The BG Radia inwall loudspeakers are elegant solutions for a multi-speaker
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system. They come in many forms from small 2-way inwalls to full-length 8 feet high inwalls with line source using ribbon tweeters, ribbon midrange and dynamic woofers. The midsized LA-600 is a 3-way six foot height inwall, coupled with a matching CC-400 center channel. The surround channels are the BG Radia CC-LCR. The front Left, Right and center speakers are each driven with a monobloc Bel Canto Reference 1000M while the surround has a stereo Bel Canto REF500S. Bel Canto amplifiers come in small compact ‘shoebox’ cases measuring no more than 12 inches for its longest dimension – its depth! The high power output can be attributed to its design – Class D digital amplifiers. The most powerful amplifier in the range, the REF1000M is rated at 500 watts into 8 ohms and doubles to 1000 watts into 4 ohms. Bel Canto even claims the amplifier is stable into 2 ohms! That should drive any
loudspeakers you throw at it! The stereo Ref 500S will deliver a respectable 250 watts rms into 8 ohms per channel and doubles to 500 watts into a 4 ohm load. All audio cables are Synergistic Research XLR balanced.
Although this media room is where the family and friends enjoy a couple of hours watching movies or games, music is distributed over the entire house via a Netstream audio distribution system located in the living room. Using an iPAD, with the Control4 app for iPAD, the selction of music can be done with a simple tap on its touch screen or if you are old school, using a remote. Everyday, people find new ways of using the iPAD!
The BG Radia BGX-S12B subwoofers are unique – instead of a large bass unit, it uses a bank of 12 small 4-inch long-throw woofers, and each with its own sealed enclosure. This makes the subwoofer system comparatively shallower and as inwalls, requires no more depth than a typical in-wall speaker (not referring to in-wall subwoofer!). It can be in-wall mounted or on-wall mounted. BG Radia claims 4 units of the BGX-S12B is equivalent to a pair of 18-inch woofers! The BGX-S12B is a passive subwoofer, needing a separate amplifier to drive them. BG supplies a matching amplifier – the 2-channel BGX-A2 amplifier that is rated at 600 watts per channel.
A 2-terabyte NAS music server sits in the storeroom and Bernadus can rip a CD into the NAS from the media room itself. The music is then available for distribution over the entire house via the Netstream system – living area, dining area, kitchen, the gym room and even the outside pool. Also, there are enough flat panel displays distributed all over the house, from the living room, to the dining room to the study and bedrooms!
Obviously this is a projector-based system, the latest 3D projector from JVC, the DLA-RS60 with a Panamorph anamorphic lens is ceiling mounted and projects a large image on a fixed 2.4 anamorphic OS Pure Mat II screen. JVC projectors comfortably lay claim to have one of the best image qualities for 2D projectors and now with 3D.
1 - BG Radia LA-600 is taller than the screen 2 - Playstation3 and Oppo Blu-ray player 3 - Below the Audyssey is the two BG Radia subwoofer amplifiers 4 - Control4 unit -takes care of the room automation (lights, curtains, aircon, etc 5 - Marantz AV7005 Controller and the quartet of Bel Canto power amplifiers 6 - The AV Rack where all the gear is housed, NAS excepted of course 7 - The multi-role device of the decade - Apple’s iPAD for music playback
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Post Modernist Multi Media System
Whenever I bump into old friends, invariably the subject matter is always – what sort of system are you toying around with now? I made lots of friends and acquaintances from the hifi trade when I was retailing hifi. I got my usual ‘oh, just blew $50K on my …’ to ‘went single ended, and now I know why I never enjoyed my music as much as I have now’ or perhaps ‘now into home cinema, just got my 3D projector’ and even the occasional ‘give up the rat race, now DIY’. I even met one guy who made his own turntable. Somehow, the pursuit of music and movies brings out the best, and worst in all of us. So when I met an old friend Paul, who has on and off, been fiddling with the hifi for as long as I can remember, has got married and setup his matrimonial home with a nice home theater system. Being the more pragmatic and sensible person, much of the system were acquired slowly with much research before reaching out with his cheque book, his setup is what I would call, the post modernist AV enthusiast system. That is, striking a balance between a good sound system and a good home cinema system, a balance between purity and the need for technology to help things along. Being from an audiophile background, Paul could easily have chosen the speakers that he likes and work the system around it. Instead, he reasoned – the traditional way an audiophile builds his system is always a ‘price vs performance’. With a traditionalist approach, which abhors any form of sound manipulation – eg no tone controls, equalization, digital processing, etc, it would need an extreme qualitative leap in terms of performance to achieve the end result. If he adopted this approach, there will be no end – there will always be ‘better’ equipment if one is willing to up the budget. Instead, he approaches from the 3 basic parameters – 1) what the equipment can do, 2) how does the room allow the system to perform and 3) what our ears can hear. Instead of throwing money to solve problems, he resolved to make use of technology to maximize the performance of the system. For two channel music playback, a good full range loudspeaker sans the presence of the subwoofer is a must. Many home cinema speakers are emaciated sounding when used as a full range speaker, the low bass is often off-loaded to a subwoofer. As such most AV amplifiers, even when used in the ‘Pure Direct’ mode for 2-channel playback, will output as 2.1 instead of 2.0. Paul discovered the Denon AVR-3311 is an exception, it allows the user to decide on the bass management – as 2.0 or 2.1. Coupled with the warmer and 'easy on the ear' sonic character, the Denon was an easy decision. This led to his choice of which loudspeaker to use - the Definitive Technology Mythos ST, the top of the line model in the popular slim line Mythos series. The Mythos ST is a very unique design - it employs a mid-tweeter-mid (MTM) configuration augmented with an active woofer system. The active woofer system uses a single 6” x 10” woofer driven by a built-in 300-watt amplifier coupled with a pair of 6” x 10” passive radiators in a slim aluminum tower of just over fifty inches in height. The active woofer system coupled with the passive radiators, according to Definitive Technology, is equivalent to a 15-inch woofer in terms of radiating area, relives the amplifier of having to drive the full range and especially the bass end, which requires a lot of power, hence it offers a high sensitivity of 93 dB. That is at least a 5 – 6 dB benefit over traditional loudspeaker and for the same sound pressure output, requires only a quarter the power. Definitive Technology claims the woofer system goes down to as low as 14 Hz (- ? dB, they never say). This means the Denon AV receiver, no doubt won’t hold a candle to a good stereo amplifier, will not be the least bit stressed when driving just the upper range. The frequency below this range is of course handled by the Mythos ST active woofer system with its 300-watt amplifier. Effectively the combination of a
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Feature passive upper range and active lower range achieves the full frequency range without the need to be augmented with a subwoofer. This allows the system to be used as a 2.0 music system - without the need for a subwoofer.
In summary, Audyssey is a necessity if you want to hear your music and movies properly, and yes, it works for both 2 channel and multi-channel applications. As always, there will be antagonists towards any form of sound processing. Such Luddites with their purist approach is the reason for the never-ending chase of high end. While I must admit, Audyssey will not turn your five hundred dollar speaker to sound like a five thousand dollar speaker; it is definitely not a cure all. However, sometimes all it takes is a little help from the likes of Audyssey to get things going…. nicely! That these receiver manufacturers have incorporated Audyssey (albeit, with limited capabilities) in the system means we can enjoy most of the benefits without having to pay for a separate Audyssey processor. Kudos!
Now that we need to touch on this very touchy but important subject - sound processing. Audyssey is featured in many makes of AV receivers – Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, etc. Audyssey uses complex algorithms to manage the frequency spectrum to sound correct in the listening environment. In addition, it also provides a very useful auditory compensation for the human ear. It is a known fact that our ears hear frequency in relation to amplitude – in simple terms, we can hear the full frequency spectrum when it is played back at the correct or so called 'reference' level. Once this level is reduced when we lower the volume, we would perceive the frequency extremes, especially the bass end, to diminish at a more rapid rate when compared to the mid frequencies. This is where Audyssey comes in – it provides a continuous compensation for our auditory peculiarity (let’s not call this a failing!) by gradually boosting the frequencies at the bass and high notes as the volume is reduced. This is something very useful when we listen to music or watch a movie when we cannot afford to disturb our neighbours. But that’s not all, Audyssey can also compensate for the room irregularities as well as bass management if you use more than one subwoofers. The former is very important – every room is different and you can be sure the room you are using for the speakers is acoustically and dimensionally different to the room the speakers were designed in. A designer has a ‘reference’ point – the distance he sits from the speaker, the volume level of his amplifier in use and a defined room size. If you cannot replicate that, the same speaker will sound different in your room. To do this, the Denon provides a user system setup kit where a supplied microphone is placed at different locations in the room and a set of tones are emitted by the receiver to the microphone. Once done, the settings are saved into the preset. Paul went one step further by duplicating another preset and then use the duplicate to fine tune the sound to suit his ears, with the original preset as reference, he can then toggle back and forth to compare the changes.
The choice of the Mythos ST means the center channel can only be the matching Mythos Ten LCR. Though it is not an in-wall speaker, it is suitable for wall mounting or shelf placement as its depth is only less than four and half inch. Definitive Technology even throws in a wall mount bracket that lies almost flush to the wall. To physically and visually accommodate the equipment, the Mythos Ten (about three feet length) and the projection screen, Paul asked his carpenter to custom make an equipment shelf.
For Paul the latest challenge is to render his system the ability to playback both music and video file stored in his server. He acquired a Synology NAS, the DS411J that houses four units of 2TB hard disk drives (3.5”). Set to RAID5 for full data protection, should any hard drives fail over time, he simply need to pop out the faulty hard disk and put in a new hard disk and the system will automatically replicate the data from the bits of data spread over the other three hard drives. The only downside of RAID5 is some storage space goes to store the ‘backup’ data and reduces slightly the total storage space afforded by the four hard drives. The NAS stores all his digital media - music, video and photos. To playback the media files, a TIVX media player provides the means to decode all the music and video codecs and feed the digital signal via HDMI to the Denon receiver. Though the Denon receiver is branded a ‘networked’ receiver, it can only handle music files and not video files, hence the TVIX plays a central role in handling ALL types of media files. It transpired after Paul did some research – none of the current batch of ‘networked’ AV receivers can handle video files. As the system is still ‘work-in-progress’ he has yet to implement cover art display for ease of selection of the media files he wants to play. (PS just received an SMS from Paul – he has tried with success a software called ‘TViXiE’ which works with his TVIX media player. It displays cover art and movie synopsis. More details on www.tvixie.com) To distribute the audio and HD video files to the system requires a faster router than a typical 10/100 LAN; you will need gigabit LAN at 1000mbps. To accommodate the ever-growing hunger for internet bandwidth and connectivity – the LG TV, the NAS, the PS3, the Denon AVR and multiple room wire LAN distribution, he has added an extra switcher. The PS3 and Voiis Bluetooth are the final ancillaries for the system, the former for the occasional game and the later for fun when he wants to use Bluetooth to transfer music from his Android Phone or Windows Netbook to the system to playback. Nice setup Paul!
Having the system in the living room means some compromises may be needed when it comes to the surround channels. Paul deftly work around the problem of running cables around the house by using in-ceiling speakers concealed in a shallow false ceiling which also houses the down lights. The 5-inch Di 5.5R in-wall from Definitive technology comes with swivel tweeter mounts to direct the high frequency energy to the listening area. Paul has a choice of using his 46-inch LG LCD TV or his Epson TW3600 projection system. The motorized projection screen from local manufacturer LAV uses a tension system to ensure the screen is flat and wrinkle free while the screen surface is a grey texture and non-reflective to avoid hot spots as well giving better blacks from the LCD Epson projector. The TW3600 is a high lumens projector so the need for complete blackout is not a necessity.
As Audyssey also does bass management for up to two subwoofers, Paul opted for a second subwoofer. Multiple subwoofers allow the bass energy in the room to be properly distributed, minimizing peaks and cancellations. I have heard of extreme home cinema fanatics using as many as six subwoofers in their video room – all playing at much lower level as compared to a single subwoofer! However, setting up two or more subwoofers requires skill and help of measuring tools. The Denon AVR-3311 is a 7.2 channel AV receiver – the .2 designation means it offers dual subwoofer output, working in conjunction with the in-built Audyssey processing to help setup the subwoofers. Paul placed the first subwoofer, a REL Strata 2 up front with the front speakers while the second subwoofer, another REL Strata but the first generation Strata1, at the rear near the seating position.
The LG LCD TV comes with LAN input, the so-called internet TV or SMART TV that is becoming popular lately. Why not 3D TV, as prices is heading south? Paul feels the whole 3D thing is not mature yet – the many technologies – active and passive means no one is certain which direction it would be heading. Also 3D is known to have certain side effects, which makes it pointless – getting sick while trying to enjoy a movie? Perhaps in another few more years when a system revamp is due, then Paul will look into 3D again. 62
MOD 63 AV
Home Cinema and Multi-room Music Given the opportunity to redesign or rebuild their homes, one would find an excuse, for the necessity to include the mandatory home cinema and a multi-room music solution. Far from being a luxury item, many home owners relish the prospect of having their personal entertainment hub for themselves and envious visiting friends! This setup is an extensive yet simple system – using Sonos wireless multi-room solution – every room in this three storey house comes with a Sonos system drawing all the music files from a common centralized network storage or NAS. Wireless allows the system to function even when no wired access is available – wired is of course more reliable but sometimes wireless may be the only way to go. This also allows the system to expand after the house had been completed and there is no possibility of running additional wires without hacking.
The NAS is stored in the home office. Each point in the house – the living room, the lounge, the dining room, the kitchen, the master bedroom, the study and the Home Theatre room is powered by either a Sonos ZP-120 zoneplayer which comes with a built-in amplifier to drive in-wall or ceiling speakers or a ZP-90 zoneplayer in conjunction with an AV receiver for a dual zone solution. There are no shortage of flat screen TVs as well, I counted at least 4, I suppose there could be a couple more! Living room A large LCD display serves the main event – the living room with a ZP-90 Sonos wireless receiver but in this case, CAT5e cable provides a more reliable connection. A Denon AVR1910 AV receiver powers the Definitive Technology D5.5R coaxial ceiling speakers providing a clean uncluttered look. The Denon has a dual zone feature and here it is put to good use to drive a pair of Boston Acoustics Soundware outdoor speakers for the driveway.
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MOD 65 AV
Dining /Kitchen area Sonos ZP-120 wireless receiver is run wirelessly here to drive the Definitive Technology UIW-63 in-wall loudspeakers in both the dining area and the dry kitchen. In addition, a pair of Boston Acoustics Soundware outdoor speakers provide music for the patio. To enable switching between the three sets of speakers from the Sonos amplifier – a 3-way speaker switch from QED – the SS-30 – is employed. Master Bedroom Similar to the Living room, a Denon AVR-1910 AV Receiver powers the two zones – near the bed at the far end and the love seat which is closer to the LCD TV. A Sonos ZP-90 wireless receiver provides the music playback through the ceiling mount Definitive Technology D5.5R.
- ZP-90 Sonos wireless receiver - Denon AVR-1910 with zone 2 output - Def Tech D5.5R in-ceiling for living and lounge area - Boston acoustic Soundware loudspeaker for outdoor patio
- Denon DBP-1610 Blu-ray player - Yamaha RX-V3067 - ZP-90 Sonos wireless amplifier - Jamo C809 Concert floorstander - Jamo C80 CEN center channel - Def Tech UIW-BP/A bipolar in-wall surround speakers - Def Tech UIW-65in-wall surround back loudspeakers - Velodyne CHT-12Q subwoofer - Epson EMP-TW4500 projector - Remaco FIX-130 - 130” fixed screen - Audioquest Cinnamon 16m HDMI - Klicktronics HDMI 15m active
Dining and dry kitchen - ZP-120 Sonos wireless amplifier - QED SS-30 3-way switch box - Def Tech UIW-63 in-ceiling loudspeakers - Boston acoustic Soundware loudspeaker for outdoor patio
Media Room The star of this home is the Cinema on the third level. The large room houses a projector based system – the Epson EMP-TW4500 LCD projector on a large 130-inch Remaco fixed screen. Jamo Concert series loudspeakers provide the front and center channels while the surround and surround back were relegated to the ceiling mounted UIW-BP/A bipolar speakers and UIW-65 in-wall speakers for the surround back. The UIW-BP/A is quite unique being a compact bi-polar loudspeaker. It makes use of dual 5.25-inch coaxial drive units with both drive units canted front and back. Employed as surrounds, the bipolar design of this speaker gives a more spacious sound with the bipolar speaker arrangement. The more conventional UIW-65 in-wall is more directional, used to ‘close’ the rear of the soundfield for better localization of sound sources. I suppose the UIW-BP/A combined with the UIW-65 give the best sonic result – spacious, enveloping soundfield yet precise location of sound sources.
Master bedroom - ZP-90 Sonos wireless amplifier - Denon AVR-1910 with zone 2 output - Def Tech D5.5R in-ceiling – near the bed and for the TV area
Driving the cinema system is a Yamaha RXV3067 AV receiver and a Velodyne CHT-12Q subwoofer. The source components include a Denon DBP-1610 Blu-ray player, Apple TV, Sonos wireless zoneplayer as well as MIO and Starhub cable set top boxes. The projector is mounted high up on a wall shelf behind the couch for easy maintenance without having the need to use a tall ladder to reach a ceiling mount projector. The ceiling is high, this is the attic after all. The long HDMI cable run from the AV receiver to the projector entails the need for an active HDMI cable to augment the first passive run and allow unimpeded progress of over a total of 30 metres of HDMI cables. The system was designed and commissioned by KEC Sound System and I was there only for the audition as well as conduct the photoshoot. While Clarence of KEC was discussing some user issues with the owner, I had the whole cinema system to enjoy. While 130-inch would seem big, especially for a 16:9 screen, it was the relative seating distance that matters more. The 130-inch screen at no time, overwhelms the viewer into a state of migrane. The single Velodyne subwoofer did a very good job conveying the low frequency evenly around the room. I would have thought a dual sub configuration would be better but that option was not offered by the Yamaha receiver. The Jamo Concert speakers are undeniably very adept at its dual role – for movies and music. The sound has a nice sense of scale and power when playing action movies, yet unusually lithe when called upon to play music. I think the owner is going to have an enjoyable time with this system!
MOD 67 AV
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Maestro M3 Preamplifier Sound Processor Designed as the heart of the Home Cinema system, the Maestro M3 offers flexibility and ease of use with multiple audio and video source inputs, 5 HDMI source inputs and the ability to transfer high definition audio and HD video (up to 1080p) data up to 1000 feet of CAT6 cables (Active Balanced driver required) without signal degradation! In addition, the M3 is able to stream audio via Ethernet or USB. Analogue video signals are fully up convert to 1080p and stream via HDMI. The M3 also comes with Dolby Volume technology - it is a volume algorithm modeled after human hearing and provides continuous low volume compensation to ensure the sound quality is maintained at all volume levels. The Audio Control Savoy G3 power amplifier complements the M3 perfectly!
Savoy G3 Home Theatre Amplifier
BVHD-20 Active Balanced driver
Audio Control's most powerful amplifier, the 7-channel Savoy G3 offers 200 watts x 7 using a high efficiency Class H design. The G3 is equipped with Audio Control's LightDrive anti-clipping Protection Circuit eliminates any possibility of speaker damage due to over driving an amplifier to clipping. Equipped with balanced and unbalanced input connections, the G3 is the perfect amplifier to complement the powerful Audio Control Maestro M3 processor preamplifier.
Extends High Speed HDMI with Ethernet signals over dual Cat-6 cabling up to 180 feet. Active and redundant signal processing for connection reliability. Highly tolerant of Cat-6 electrical disturbances Supports HDMI features of Ethernet, 3D, audio return, and 10 bit color. Includes matching RJ-45 connectors for optimum performance. Each unit is individually 100% tested and performance certified for ZERO bit errors.
Audio Control is distributed by MusiclinkAV MOD 69 AV
Concert AVR-1 Home Theatre Receiver with HDMI Maximum performance, simplicity of use and great style, the Concert AVR-1 combines the high performance processor preamp based on the Maestro M3 processor preamp and Savoy G3 7-channel power amplifier into one unit. Rated at 120 watts x 7, the AVR-1 comes equipped with 5 HDMI inputs with full up-conversion of analogue to full HD output via HDMI. Using the same Class H amplifier design, the AVR-1 is powerful yet runs cool and energy efficient!
Vincent SP-T800 The 200 Wpc hybrid amp is a remarkable performer. Its tube signature shine through clearly in the midrange, albeit slightly diluted by solid-state output stage.
Vincent SP-331MK The hybrid SP-331MK delivers 150 Wpc into 8 ohms and 300 Wpc into 4 ohms and operates in pure Class A for its first 10 watts.
Vincent SV-236MK The well-build Vincent SV-236 integrated amplifier combines the best of two worlds by using a vacuum-tube preamp to drive a 150Wpc solid-state power amplifier.
Vincent SV-129 Another barebones integrated, Vincent's SV-129 is a bit dark and grainy but it really delivers the essence of the music.
Vincent V-60 The Vincent V-60 is one of Vincent's new flagship offerings and it's and effort that's beautiful to listen to as it is to behold. From its silken midrange transparency to its airy top-end, this conservatively rated sixty-watter is pure High End.
Vincent SA-31 The SA-31 is a well-made entry level vacuum-tube preamp that provides tone controls and a loudness countour switch.
An upgrade to its SA-31 linestage, Vincent's SA-31MK features a new output circuit with shorter signal paths and improved component parts, including a second set of 6N6 vacuum tubes.
The SA-T8 is one of the most elaborate tube preamplifiers that Vincent has ever engineered at part of its â€˜Premiumâ€™ line of AV components.
It's about the combination of innovation, quality, value and usability Distributor for Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore Intercessor LLP 1090 Lower Delta Road #07-07 Singapore 169201 Tel: (65)-62730873 Fax: (65)-62210959
To create a fully immersive surround sound
(especially for 3D) we need speakers to be placed around us. Placing speakers around the listening area requires running speaker wires from the receiver to each and every speaker. For the front three speakers – left, center and right, is not an issue as most of us would place the AV receiver and other equipment near the display, projectors excepted of course. The speaker cable to the surround speakers, however are the longest, typically 5 times longer than those used for the front. The surround speakers have been a point of contention for many homes that we even have HTIB that comes with 2.1 virtual surround instead of real surround speakers! Of course there are limitations of such surround effects. How nice if those rear speakers can be done away with! One elegant solution to get around the 'need for surround speakers' is the use of a Soundbar. Soundbar are popular for its 'all-in-one' solution. It makes use of a special design passive crossover using phase shifts to simulate sound coming from the side or behind you. As such, the effect is not as convincing as using proper surround speakers. There are more sophisticated Soundbars that use DSP to generate the surround effect, the effect though far superior to the passive versions but once you experience the effect of real speakers coming from behind you, you will strike out this option. If you can’t do away with the use of surround speakers, there are wireless solutions to convey the surround channel signals to a separate amplifier to drive the surround speakers. The problem with this solution is of course the expense of an additional power amplifier for the rear speakers, not to mention the extra cabling. Alternatively you can make use of active speakers (speakers with built-in amplifiers) for the rear channels to save on the amplifier, this would mean having a separate mains and running fairly long power cables to the speakers, especially those using compact wall mount bookshelves for side and surround back. Now there is a third solution – Polk Audio F/X Wireless Surround. With just one speaker unit, connected wirelessly to the receiver’s surround channel and placed behind your viewing position, it recreates the side and rear (for a 7.1 channel system) or surround for a 5.1 system. The F/X Wireless Surround gives the user the flexibility in the placement - on a wall shelf, table level or
even on the floor. With just one power cable, the F/X provides an optimal surround soundfield as if coming from 2, 3 or even 4 separate loudspeakers. The unit is like a small center channel, with four full range 2.5” drive units firing upwards towards the ceiling at an angle. Polk Audio calls this Controlled Dispersion Array. The speaker is marked so as to direct the left and right channel respectively. A single ported 5.25” woofer provides the lower foundation from the summed surround channels. Within the enclosure is a wifi receiver and a 120-watt multi-channel DSP amplifier to power the speakers. All it takes is one power cord and a wireless (2.4GHz wifi) signal for the F/X to come alive. A small wifi transmitter box is included in the system and you don't need a wifi router to perform the task. Though the wifi box and the speaker are already paired in the factory for convenience, you can pair the system again should the connection is broken. The transmitter box accepts line level and speaker level connection. They can be tucked away behind your AV receiver. The only thing you would need to do is to decide how and where you are going to place the F/X Wireless Surround. Polk Audio suggested that for both wall and table top (more likely a sideboard) that you have the unit at least 2 feet above your listening level. The trick is to place the F/X in such a way our ears cannot detect where the sound is coming from. As the speaker fires the sound upwards, there should be no obstruction above the unit. As for the picture on this page, the table shouldn’t be place above the speaker! Setting up the F/X Once you have confirmed the transmitter and the F/X has been paired, the setup for the surround channels begins. Polk has designed the F/X to be setup very much the same way as per passive speakers using conventional speaker cables, you set the level and time delay to create an immersive soundfield. The most important thing to take note of is the orientation of the unit. You need to look at the bottom of the F/X to determine which side to face. Set up incorrectly, eg the left output is fired towards the right, then there will be no soundfield to speak of.
Polk Audio F/X Wireless Surround by Terence Wong
How does the F/X perform? The F/X goes to show why we all still need speakers behind us to recreate the surround effect. The F/X works very much the same way as a Soundbar disperse the soundstage. Yes, the rear center fill is more obvious than the sides, but you don't have the phasy effect of virtual surround, and there is a larger listening area. Virtual surround works for a very small listening area and the effect is usually limited to no more than one or at best, two listeners sitting very close together. The F/X is a halfway house from virtual surround and full discrete surround. You can hear surround effects but the panning doesn’t hold a candle to discrete surround speakers. Obviously it is far from perfect but for many folks who cannot have proper placement of their rear and surround speakers, the F/X is a heaven sent! The F/X sells for a very affordable $639, for that money you get 2 or 4 surround channels, a multi-channel amplifier with DSP, I would say, this is a bargain. Available at www.hifibargain.com
MOD 71 AV
Hi5 for HiAce!
Runabout workhorse, Toyotaâ€™s HiAce potters around everyday delivering goods. To keep boredom at bay, donâ€™t you think a little mobile entertainment would make the day go by faster? It is known for many delivery guys dug deep into their own pockets to splash on a nice audio system for their ride, especially those with a permanent personal assigned vehicle. The only requirement is the system must be able to come off the vehicle completely in a jiffy for obvious reasons.
Not merely decorative, the amps need ventillation!
Passive crossovers neatly wired and laid out
DLS RA Reference series amplifier gives top notch performance
DLS RW12 subwoofer seems a very popular choice
MOD 72 AV
MOD 73 AV
21 Toh Guan Road East #01-24 Toh Guan Centre Singapore 608609 T : +65 6795 3636 www.darrenauto.com
The tweeter pod provides a very stable platform for the tweeters
The Pioneer AVH-P4350 is very popular with ICE enthusiasts
This installation is done by Darren Auto. It is a good example of instant ICE setup and may work, to a certain extent, for passenger cars like hatchbacks, MPVs and SUVs. The amplifiers and subwoofers are built into a single unit, only the speakers and head unit are mounted onto the doors and dash console respectively. I believe the system can be dismantled within the hour, leaving just the cabling behind – snap off the door panels, unscrew the speakers from the mount and disconnect the speaker cables. Ditto the head unit. The amplifier/subwoofer console seems copied from portable DJ style consoles – without the turntable of course. Dual DLS RW12 subwoofers took the center stage for a pounding sensation close to the driver and passenger compartment. On top of the console is a pair of DLS amplifiers – a four channel RA40 and a monobloc RA10. There is even a small storage compartment between the subwoofers! Speakers are passively driven, the front pair, the DLS R6A 2-way components had the tweeters housed in tweeter pods while a pair of Alpine SPG-17CS is housed in the rear of the storage compartment. The source component is a Pioneer DVD/LCD player – the popular AVH-P4350 providing music and movies on the go. Maybe not ‘on the go’ for movies!
Head Unit Amplifiers
DJ Console-like houses all the amplifiers and subwoofers! Notice the extra storage compartment between the subs? 74 MOD AV
Front spkrs Rear spkrs Subwoofer
Pioneer AVH-P4350 DVD DLS RA40 front and rear ch DLS RA10 subwoofers DLS R6A Alpine SPG-17CS DLS RW12 x 2 MOD 75 AV
Custom trims for the pleasure of its owner
A closer look at the amps and passive crossovers atop of the subwoofer console
Images courtesy of KAR HiFi Magazine
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Toyota BB installed by:
QQQ Audio World
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MOD 77 AV
H-1 Monitor Bewith, the innovator of â€˜eccentricâ€™ cone loudspeaker can now be had in a high performance monitor. Perfect precision aluminum die cast enclosure - the outcome of thorough acoustic research and experiments. The ideal form that has no vertical line inside and out minimizes unnecessary sound reflection and diffraction and eliminates standing wave. Front and back aluminum die cast moldings are welded to be monocoque (seamless structure) for controlling precise piston motion of the units. Bewith's premium drive units - C-50 (tweeter) and C-130 (midwoofer) are installed as close as they can be and the enclosure has a lean of 7 degrees for adjusting the sound source. Adopting high quality film capacitor, air-core coil that consists of oxygen free copper wire, and silicon steel plate coil to the analog filter for eliminating resonance completely. Aluminum die cast case is sealed for preventing the effect of sound pressure from behind. Remarkable Base-reflex port of new material and shape controls the frequency reproduced in low range. As an inventor and maker, the units have tested strictly to match the pairs for perfect response. Japanese traditional painting technology "Urushi" is adopted to express the beauty and elegance. Complete silence, enormous amount of information and reproduction, distortion-free clear sound will change the common sense of monitor speaker. H-1 is the ultimate monitor speaker that provides you the most accurate and precise sound you have ever heard.
Confidence - Accurate - Reference Car Audio Speaker Systems
Reference Car Audio Amplifiers
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155 Kaki Bukit Ave 1 #01-00 Singapore 416012 Tel: 6444-7277
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