Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tulip in full bloom

In some ways, the BFA (Beyond Frontiers Audio) Tulip is like the Devialet D-Premier - both are high-end integrated amplifiers, both have built-in DACs, both cost about the same and both sound very good.



I spent more than an hour listening to the Tulip this afternoon at Acoustic Alchemy, the newest hi-fi outlet in town, which has set up a home-environment listening room in a single-storey bungalow on Jalan 11/16, Petaling Jaya. Driving a pair of Triangle Genese Quartets, the amp sounded on the warmish side of neutral with a full and rich sound.


Since I had reviewed the Triangle Esprit Altea Ex earlier (see http://hi-fi-avenue.blogspot.com/2011/05/french-connection.html), I knew that Triangle speakers need an amp with plenty of power to control the bass. Lesser amps would produce loose and flabby bass. But the Tulip was in full control of the proceedings and the bass was full, deep and tight.


The Tulip is a hybrid integrated amp/DAC with a tubed gain stage and a current output stage using Sanken bipolar transistors. Its power output is rated at 180 watts into 8 Ohms, 360 into 4 Ohms and the amp is able to drive 2 Ohm loads.




Owner of Acoustic Alchemy Danny Lim.

The Triangle Genese Quartet speakers and BFA Tulip integrated amp/DAC
and Acoustic Alchemy media streamer system.

The black version of the BFA Tulip integrated amp/DAC in the showroom.

The silver version of the BFA Tulip integrated amp/DAC.

It has a USB, four line level and two coax inputs. Its DAC section uses 24bit/192kHz resampling Cirrus Logic and Burr-Brown chips and all audio data is converted to 24/192.


BFA is a new company based in Serbia which was founded in 2009 by Zdenko Zivkovic, who formerly worked with Canadian high-end firm Sonic Frontiers (hence the name Beyond Frontiers). BFA products are designed in Canada and assembled in Serbia.


Danny Lim, owner of Acoustic Alchemy, revealed that he has been appointed the BFA distributor for Asia-Pacific and the Tulip integrated amp, which is priced at about RM60,000, will be on demo at the KL International AV Show.


"For the KLIAVS, BFA will also be launching its balanced tube DAC which is designed to sound better than the Clearaudio Statement turntable," he said.


That bit about sounding better than Clearaudio's best turntable may sound too ambitious, but we will find out soon enough.


At the KLIAVS, BFA will debut three products for the Asian market - the hybrid integrated amp SE version, the Tube DAC SE version and a solid state balanced amplifier.


Danny said he will have another showroom on the mezzanine floor of Crown Regency in Kuala Lumpur which should be open by April 9.


That showroom will be open from 10am to 6pm and will have two rooms.


"One room will be for home theatre featuring the JTR Captivator sub-woofer (he is also the distributor), Triangle speakers, Onkyo AV amp, a JVC projector and a 110-inch screen. The other room will be for stereo demos featuring the BFA Tulip integrated amp driving Triangle Antal speakers.




Danny is also the distributor of JTR Captivator sub-woofers.


Danny, who has an IT background, also designs and manufactures media streamers according to customer's requirements.


He will maintain the showroom in Section 11, Petaling Jaya, for by-appointment-only auditions so that audiophiles can listen to the Tulip-Triangle combo in a home environment.


Acoustic Alchemy has a third showroom in Penang which will also sell Rythmik sub-woofers.


* Petaling Jaya:
18, Jalan 11/6, Section 11, 46200 PJ.
Danny Lim : 016-2187398


* Penang:
B16-05, Grand View Condo, Tanjung Tokong (Opposite Gurney Drive)
Calvin Fong : 017-2235599


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