Holy Grail of hi-fi

Twice in the past few weeks I have made my way to a house in Petaling Jaya where I moved to the rhythm of fantastic music from an all-FM Acoustics sound system.

An Esoteric X-01D2 SACD/CD player was linked to an FM Acoustics 255 Mk II preamp which was linked to four FM Acoustics 111 monoblock power amps which drove a pair of FM Acoustics Inspiration XS-3B floorstanding speakers. Interconnects and speaker cables are from FM Acoustics. Such a rig is called an FM Inspiration System. 

The owner loves to play loud - the way I like it - and he has an extensive collection of CDs. We played Herbie Hancock, Dire Straits, Police and lots more.

The small groups of listeners were seasoned audiophiles who have heard all sorts of high-end systems.

Many felt they had found the Holy Grail of hi-fi in FM Acoustics components.

The all-FM Acoustics sound system.

The Esoteric X-01D2 SACD/CD player
and the FM Acoustics 255 Mk II preamp.

The external crossover box of the FM Acoustics speakers.

The rear of the FM Acoustics Inspiration XS-3B speaker has
a rear-firing super-tweeter and gain controls.

Four FM Acoustics 111 monoblock 115-watter amps.

During the second session while listening to head-banging rock music real loud, it dawned on me that despite the loudness of the electric guitars, drum and bass, I could hear other instruments in the mix - they were not drowned out by the loud guitars.

And at no time did the sound harden up and my ears did not hurt even though it was so loud that the plaster ceiling vibrated audibly.

The speed? Well, it was something else. It was like a sonic roller- coaster ride - unlike the previous sonic roller-coaster that I 'rode on' in the form of the JBL Everests, the FM Acoustics system was fast and furious but exquisitely refined.

The FM Acoustics system does not sound 'audiophile' - the imaging is neither pinpoint nor holographic the way audiophiles love them to be and the sound is not warm or 'cuddly' - but the soundstage is wide and deep. The details are there, but they don't sound too etched-out in an artificial kind of way.

The leading-edge dynamics can make your heart skip a beat. Once I was chatting with the owner and was not prepared for the loud thump on the snare drum at the beginning of a song and I was actually startled.

With the FM Acoustics system, the presentation is organic, natural and realistic. After hearing it, there'll be no more arguments about valve vs solid state, SETs vs push-pull amps, horns vs bass-reflex speakers, ribbon vs soft dome tweeters, ceramic vs normal speaker units, etc. With the FM Acoustics system, music sounds like, well, music and rock sounds like, well, rock.

If you ever have the chance to listen to an FM Acoustics-based sound system, quickly get in before the door closes. I can assure you that it will be a different kind of sonic experience. The cost? Don't ask. But the rewards...


  1. I have always said that a good hifi system will be able to handle any kind of music one throw at it but most people refuse to accept that. They only play audiophile discs, female voices, acoustic pieces and sparse jazz recordings. Why? It's because their system can't handle rock and other more complex recordings. It is here that they become a slave to their system. Lam, I believe you can now understand my statement.


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