Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Panasonic HT projector on offer

AV Designs is offering a special for the first 10 customers.

Special Promotion for latest Panasonic home-theatre projector, PT-AE8000
• Full-HD / 3D
• 500,000:1 Contrast Ratio
• 2,400 ANSI Lumens
• Automatic lens memory selection for use with 2.35 screens

The Offer:-
Buy the AE8000 at Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of RM 14,999.
1. 100” wide 2.35 format fixed screen from Screen Research worth RM 4,900.
2. 2 pairs 3D eyewear (TY-EW3D3MW).
3. ISF-standard video calibration using pro-grade Konica-Minolta CS200
4. Delivery and installation in KL/PJ.
Offer Price do not include accessories; e.g. mounting brackets, cabling, etc.
Option to increase screen size by topping-up the price difference.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Stock Clearance Sale at AV Designs

AV Designs is having a Stock Clearance Sale starting today and will last till stocks are finished,

Items include new and demo units of PMC speakers, Pioneer and Denon AV amps, Blu-Ray players, Sony projectors, speaker cables and interconnects.

Discounts range from 25% to 70%+, with most items at 40% - 60% off.

See you there!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Xeo - the wi-fi solution

Everything is going wireless these days and to keep with the trend, renowned Danish speaker manufacturer Dynaudio has launched the world's first high-end wireless stereo system.

Called Xeo, the speakers come in two models - standmount (Xeo 3) and floorstanders (Xeo 5). Both are active with built-in DACs and digital amplifiers.

They communicate with a processor, a small box that accepts digital and analogue signals from sources as diverse as turntables and iPhones. Inputs include USB, Toslink, coax and analogue RCA.
The signals are transmitted digitally on the 2.4 MHz bandwidth to the speakers.
The maximum resolution is 24bit 48KHz and higher resolution files will be downsampled.

Dynaudio's CEO Wilfried Ehrenholz

Dynaudio's CEO Wilfried Ehrenholz, who was at CMY's showroom at Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, last week, says it is the same bandwidth as wi-fi routers, but there is no interference.

So far there has been one case in Dusseldorf, Germany and one in Russia where the owners experienced drop-out issues.

"We still don't know why it happened. The drop-outs result in a clicking sound," he said.

When Dynaudio launched the Xeo system at the CES in Las Vegas, Wilfried said he found there were 240 wi-fi networks in the area, but the Xeo played without any issues.

The Xeo system can handle three sources simultaneously. That means you can have three sources playing at the same time - for e.g. a CD player connected via Toslink, an iPod on a dock connected via coax and a laptop connected via USB and the songs can be streamed wirelessly to three sets of speakers, for e.g. one set in the living room, one set in the upstairs bedroom and one set in the kitchen.

Wilfried showing how small the transmitter box is.
Playing with the Wadia iPod dock.

Xeo 3 (left) and Xeo 5.

The operational range depends on the location. Outdoors, the range is 300 metres while indoors, the signals can go through two or three walls.

Wilfried says the Xeo speakers are surprisingly not fussy about the type of room they are placed in.

"They sound good in all sorts of rooms and I am not sure why," he says.

Dynaudio's CEO Wilfried Ehrenholz and CMY's John Yew.

The wireless Xeo system is Dynaudio's answer to how to capture the young market where 95 per cent of youths listen to music on smartphones and headphones.

These days youths listen to mostly MP3 downloads, Internet radio and music files in computers.

Judging by how successful Dynaudio's solution is, the Xeo looks set to be the route for young music lovers to migrate from iPods to high-end stereo.

CMY's John Yew said the Xeo 3 costs RM9,120 (list) while the Xeo 5 is priced at RM17,360 (list).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Winnie Ho sings at Singapore hi-fi show

Jazz songbird Winnie Ho

Winnie Ho, Malaysia's rising Chinese Jazz songbird, is a guest singer at next week's inaugural MOD Digital Audio Convention (DAC), to be held on Aug 25 and 26 at Raffles Convention Centre, Singapore.

Fresh from her appearance at the just concluded Tianjin Jazz Festival, Winnie Ho will be singing some songs from her popular album "The Jazzy Sounds of Teresa Teng" and at the same time, promoting the latest "Definitive Audiophile Edition" to audiophiles in Singapore. 

The album sold well in the recent KLIAV and Taiwan's TAA Hifi Show and the Singapore's distributor for pop pop music, S2S music, hopes to expand their Chinese repertoire with this strategic partnership with pop pop music.

Winnie's showcase time:

Saturday, Aug 25: 3pm and 5pm
Sunday, Aug 26: 3pm and 5pm   

Friday, August 10, 2012

KLIAVS 2012: Bryston's star performer

For headphone enthusiasts, Jaben was around again in this year's edition of the KLIAVS.
While that was quite welcome, what was more exciting was the Bryston headphone amp.
At the AV Designs room, I saw someone testing it and waited patiently for him to finish.
When it was my turn to test it, I heard music through a pair of Denon headphones.
Then I tried the AKG701and finally, the star performer - the Grado PS1000.
I did not spend enough time playing with it, but I know for sure that it can drive anything with its 3-watt output. Even the infamous AKG K1000 can be driven by the Bryston.
James said he would pass it to me for a more comprehensive review after the show and I am actually anxious to compare it with my resident tube Melos SHA-1 headphone amp/preamp.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Exciting new turntables from Rega

Roy Gandy

Rega fans, start drooling.

First there will be a 40th Anniversary turntable to be launched by June next year.

The price? 25,000 to 30,000 pounds. So you can be assured not very many will be made.

Rega's Roy Gandy, who had dinner with hi-fi bloggers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday night, revealed that the 40th Anniversary model is a radical design.

After much probing, the bloggers managed to extract juicy bits of information from him - its spindle will be made of zirconium which costs 1,000 pounds each to manufacture; and it will be named after a song.

That song will also be recorded and released in a special vinyl 40th Anniversary set.

Roy declined to confirm if the plinth would be skeletal and if carbon fibre would be used. He also did not say anything about the tonearm.

He only said it is a "radical design" which uses different materials and something about "reduced mass".

Rega will also publish a book on turntable design in conjunction with its 40th Anniversary.

Roy also announced that the RP8 and RP10 turntables will be launched in October and the P9 will be discontinued.

The RP8 will cost 1,600 pounds while the RP10 will be priced at 3,000 pounds.

The RP8 will use a different platter while the RP10 will have the same platter as the P9.

Again Roy declined to confirm if they would look like some of the turntable designs that had been posted online.

It seemed a bit ironic because the chat with one of the best turntable designers in the world actually started with a discussion on CD players and the Apollo-R.

We were chatting about how much further Rega could improve its CD players and he said there were fewer companies working on CD players especially on the processor chips.

Rega had found a model that worked well sonically and bought 40,000 to 50,000 pieces of it before the company went bust and that amount would be enough to last another 10 years or so.

He said the chip was more powerful than those found in other CD players except that used by Meridian and it could get more information from the disc.

"The only improvements for the CD player would be in the DAC, output stages and filtering," he said.

Then we started talking about more controversial things like streamers.

Roy said he could not understand why anybody needed a streamer when a laptop can be used instead.

He said he had asked even the experts what streaming was and they could not give good definitions.

On whether a CD player sounds better than a laptop with DAC, he said: "If everything is right, the computer with DAC can sound better using a music player like Audacity." 

He opined that this is because the computer does error correction better than a CD player.

But the streaming must be via USB rather than SPDIF.

On why the Rega DAC could not accept 24/176.4 kHz music files, Roy said it was because such files were not around when the DAC was designed.

"But the problem has been fixed with a firmware upgrade and the later batches of the DAC can accept 176.4 files," he said. Owners of Rega DACs from the earlier batches can send them to their respective Rega distributors for the upgrade.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Leslie does Malaysia proud

Leslie Loh of poppopmusic, the producer of audiophile CDs, has done Malaysia proud again.

He announced on Facebook that "Taiwan's Biggest and Oldest Hi-Fi Dealer, Taifu Audio Group will be giving out a FREE compilation audiophile CD to those who buy the new Dynaudio "Xeo" wireless Speaker, and pop pop music has been proudly selected as one of the contributors to the CD!

"And there's a commentary on Winnie Ho's "A Thousand Words" by famous veteran Audiophile Dr. Cai. The highly authoritative and widely respected Dr. Cai is the choice person when it comes to audio commentary in almost every compilation CDs given out by Hi-Fi dealers or Hi-Fi show organizers."

Well, kudos to Leslie and may there be more audiophile CDs and (free) downloads.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

KLIAVS 2012: High-end CD player designed by Malaysian

Designer of the Loit Passeri CD player Kam Lup Yoong.

The high-end Loit Passeri CD player.

One of the surprises of the KLIAVS was that a high-end CD player on demo was actually designed by a Malaysian who is now a PR of Singapore.

The CD player is the Loit Passeri and the designer is Kam Lup Yoong, who hails from Johor Baru and whose parents are still living there.

He explained that the motor is a Philips CD-Pro 2 which is attached to an aluminium frame which rests on gel isolaters.

"The power supply is also well designed with the analogue and digital circuits individually separated from the power transformer," he said.

Kam also explained that the patented current to voltage converter uses a pair of 6H30 valves and that the CD player uses carbon fiber as its 'skin'.

Certainly the Loit Passeri looked and sounded impressive.

I had to ask him why the player was made in Singapore and he said it was because the project was funded by the Singapore government.

"But I'm from JB, and I still go back regularly to visit my parents," he said.

Actually I felt at once proud and sad - proud because a Malaysian (by birth) could design such a CD player, but sad because Kam is a fine example of brain drain.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

KLIAVS 2012: Odd stuff

The Elipson system.

The 'wok' reflects sound from the speaker at the top of the sphere.

There were at least two components that I saw which I thought were odd.
One was the Elipson BS50 Tribute speakers which were not only spheres, but had something that looked like a radar dish or a wok which acted as a sound reflector.

The other odd thing that I spotted was a valve amp with the valves glowing in green light. It turned out to be a McIntosh MC275 LE 50th Anniversary and it apparently has LED lights beneath the valves to light them up in green. However, it is not cheap to be a greenie in this instance - the amp costs RM32,200.

KLIAVS 2012: The best of...

The following is a list of stereo systems that were impressive. Please note they are listed in random order.

Swedish Statement/Audiomatic

The Vitus/Marten Byrd 2 system.

Sperling turntable with Ikeda tonearm and Ikeda cartridge.

An English audiophile had alerted me that the system in this room sounded good to his ears, so I made my way there yesterday evening.
Eugene Ngoh was fiddling with some knob when I walked into the huge room and I knew immediately that any sound system would have to be up to mark to fill all that space with good sound.
The system comprised the Sperling turntable, which looked like some spaceship, with the Ikeda tonearm and Ikeda cartridge, Vitus RP101 phono stage, Vitus SL102 preamp, Vitus SM101 monoblocks and Marten Byrd 2 speakers.
My previous encounters with Marten speakers have almost always left me feeling rather unmoved by its cold sound.
This time, it was different - the sound was warmer and more endearing.


Mission/Audiolab system.

Recently, CMY became the distributor of Mission and Audiolab products.
Naturally, CMY dedicated one room solely for its new range of products.
The system comprised Mission 796SE speakers, Audiolab 8200 CD player, 8200Q preamp and 8200 monoblocks.
This system could rock and sounded quite good.


The ProAc/Naim system.

Next door, CMY had set up a system comprising ProAc K6 speakers biamped with a Naim SuperUniti for the tweeter and a NAP 250 for the bass/mid.
The ProAc speakers cost about RM70k and they sure sounded like high-end speakers which, of course, they are. This system sounded dynamic and punchy.


The Sugden/Spendor system that sounded quite good this year.

The Well-Tempered turntable. Note the golf ball.

Normally, I don't quite like the sound of Spendors driven by Sugdens as it would be rather dull and boring.
But this time, the system comprising a Well-Tempered Labs Versalex turntable, Spendor SP2/3R2 speakers, Sugden LA4 preamp and Sugden Masterclass AA power amp sounded surprisingly dynamic and punchy.

Acoustic Alchemy

The BFA Tulip hybrid integrated amp with DAC.

New kid in town that brought in Beyond Frontiers Audio. Danny Lim teamed up the BFA Tulip integrated amp with Triangle Genese Quartet speakers. The source was a cheap BluRay player spinning CDs but the DAC was the BFA Balanced Tube DAC. It was quite an impressive debut for the new kid. 

Maxx Audio

The Triangle/Exposure system.

Right next door to Acoustic Alchemy was Max from Seremban who stuck to the simple and safe route of using Exposure CD player and amp with Triangle speakers.
Not much can go wrong with this combo.

Jo Ki's room

As usual, Jo Ki chanted some mumbo-jumbo and sprinkled star dust on his LS3/5A-based system which left listeners bewildered by how the small monitor speakers could sound so big and bassy.

Acoustic Arts
The Epos Epic 5 speakers were affordable and sounded quite good,

The BAT Rex/Epos Encore 50 system sounded much better but was very expensive.

One of the best bargains in the show was found in this room and it came in the form of the Epos Epic 5 speakers which cost below RM3k. They gave the best bang for the buck in the show.
But next door, the higher-end system sounded much, much better.
The flagship Epos speakers - Encore 50 - were driven by the BAT Rex pre and Rex monoblocks with the BAT VKD5 SE CD player spinning the silver disk.
As usual Vincent made the system sing.

Audio Note

The Audio Note system.

The speakers were pushed to the corner of the room.

Last year, the Audio Note system was one of the best sounding in the show. This year, a lower-end system was set up and it comprised a CD2, Oto SE (10 watter SET) and AN E2X speakers.
Though the all-Audio Note system's sound was not as seductively impressive as last year's, it still deserved a mention as one of the better-sounding systems this year. 

Perfect Hi-Fi

Audio Research/Sonus Faber system.

The Sonus Faber Aida speakers are huge and need lots of space.

On Level 4, Perfect Hi-Fi had set up its signature system comprising a pair of gigantic Sonus Faber Aida, Audio Research Reference CD 8 CD player, Audio Research  Reference 250 power amps and Audio Research Reference 40th Anniversary preamp.
Though the Sonus Faber still had a sonic signature on the warm side of neutral, the match between the Audio Research and Sonus Faber was better than last year and the system sounded quite impressive. 
The price? Well, the speakers alone cost RM550k.

Perfect Hi-Fi

KEF Blade and the LS50.


In the KEF room, there was another bargain buy - not the beautiful KEF Blade speakers but the KEF LS50 which cost around RM4k.
Not only was it a bold design just like the Blades, but it sounded pretty good too. But bear in mind the other components in the chain - dCS Puccini CD player and Pass Labs amps.

KLIAVS 2012: Long list of firsts

Malaysian audiophiles were lucky enough to hear some components that made their debut in Malaysia at the KLIAVS 2012.

Among these components were:

* the Weiss Medea+ DAC
* the Weiss MAN301 Music Archive Network player (both in the  Rave room)
* The Beyond Frontiers Audio Tube Balanced DAC (it made its Asian debut)
* the Loit Passeri CD player
* the Ktema Accordo standmount speakers
* the Avantgarde pre and power amps
* Marten Byrd 2 speakers
* Sonus Faber Aida speakers
* Sperling Audio turntable
* Bryston BHA1 headphone amp
* the Wyred 4 Sound media streamer
* Dali Epicon 6 speakers
* Dali Fazon F5 speakers
* Wilson Benesch Vector speakers
* Exposure DAC

Weiss MAN301 media player and Medea+ DAC

Wilson Benesch Vector speaker

Beyond Frontiers Audio Balanced SS integrated amp

Beyond Frontiers Audio Balanced Tube DAC

Beyond Frontiers Audio Violet hybrid integrated amp

Loit Passeri CD player

Wyred 4 Sound media streamer (left)

Volent speakers

Avantgarde preamp

Avantgarde power amp

Sonus Faber Aida

Bryston BHA1 headphone amp

Sperling turntable with Ikeda tonearm and Ikeda cartridge.

Eugene of Audiomatic standing beside the Marten Byrd 2.

The Dali Epicon 6 and Fazon F5 speakers.

Unico 50 hybrid amp.

Unison Research Simply Italy SET valve amp.

Ktema Accordo 

Some components that were new to the Malaysian market were on static display. These included:

* Beyond Frontiers Balanced solid-state integrated amp
* Beyond Frontiers Violet hybrid integrated amp
* Volent CL2i and CL3 speakers
* Unison Research Simply Italy valve SET amp
* Unico 50 dual mono hybrid amp