Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Love affair with 'British' sound continues

Every audiophile who visited Jo Ki's LS3/5A room during last weekend's Kuala Lumpur International AV (KLIAV) show went home satisfied. At times it was standing room only and people had to wait for others to leave before they could get in and even then they could not sit or even stand at the sweet spot.

Jo Ki's 47 Labs CD player/FM Acoustics pre/Quad II monoblocks and his beloved Rogers LS3/5A speakers (he has around 21 other pairs from other manufacturers) have been finely tuned and tweaked - you must have noticed the spikes, granite and marble slabs, and the cute little crystal objects on the speakers.

That's why many people said his room sounded among the best in the KLIAV.

Placing the LS3/5A and AB1 sub-woofer the Jo Ki way.
I think there's another reason - Malaysians love the 'British' sound. Which is understandable since Malaysia is an ex-British colony.

Many older Malaysian audiophiles grew up with Quad, Leak, Kef, Sugden, Tannoy, Wharfedale, Rogers, Harbeth, Spendor and Radford components. Those were the days when the ESL57 and ESL63 were speakers that audiophiles dreamt of owning. When the KEF 104 was launched, it quickly became the reference speaker alongside the LS3/5A that Jo Ki loves so much.

Younger Malaysian audiophiles grew up with components from Arcam, Naim, Cambridge, Meridian, Linn, Rega, Mission, Cyrus, Audiolab, Musical Fidelity, Monitor Audio, Epos, ATC, PMC, Creek, B & W, Castle, Heybrook, Roksan and others.

Thus at almost every KLIAV, there will be a large group who will be attracted to the British components.


It was the same this year as many seemed pleased with Tropical Audio's room which had a Quad 66 CD player, Quad 34 pre and Quad 606 power amp driving a pair of Harbeth 7ES-3 speakers.

Harbeth 7ES-3
Those who liked the Harbeths also liked the Electrades Audio room which featured Sugden Masterclass CD player and integrated amp driving the Spendor SP100.


One comment has to be made - these British speakers have not changed in design since they were launched almost half a century ago. And they all seem to look the same - just check out the Harbeths and the Spendors.

The latest versions of the Spendor SP1/2R (right) and the SP2/3R.
I am pretty sure all the lovers of the 'British' sound - smooth with fabulous vocals/mids, slightly dim highs and not-too-prominent bass - also had good things to say about the Audio 88 room which demoed the YG Carmel speakers with Jungson CD player and Audio Space Reference integrated valve amp; the Sound Precision room which had the Manger speakers driven by Inex pre/power amps and a CEC belt-drive CD player; the Desa Home Theater's room which showcased a Mordaunt-Short 40th Anniversary Performance Series speakers driven by Synthesis amps; the Soundtech room which had the huge Chario Serendipity speakers driven by Clasica-audio amps and A & L Audio Station's room with the Unison Research S9 valve integrated amp driving Elac speakers.

The Mordaunt-Short 40th Anniversary Performance Series
speakers driven by Synthesis amps in the Desa Home Theatre room.
The A & L Audio Station room featuring the Unison
Research S9 integrated valve amp and Elac speakers.
The Audio 88 room demoed the YG Carmel
speakers with Jungson CD player and
Audio Space Reference integrated valve amp.
 Certainly they must have loved the Nagra/Verity system too.

All these rooms featured systems that had a warmish, smooth sound with good vocals. Songs played were light jazz, slow pop and ballads which were also just right for the 'British' sound followers.

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