Saturday, May 26, 2012

PMC's 20/20 vision

The just-launched PMC twenty.C centre speaker for AV systems.

PMC's newly-launched twenty series is a great success and has introduced the British brand to a new set of younger buyers.

PMC sales manager Andy Duffield, who was in Malaysia to visit his distributor AV Designs yesterday, said the twenty series has been selling well due to its price and performance.

"It appeals to existing PMC owners who want to upgrade, but we have also seen younger buyers, people in their 20s and 30s who have successful careers, buying PMC twenty series speakers for both AV and stereo systems.

"They no longer consider PMC to be a conservative and traditional British company.

"The twenty series speakers are designed to be slim and elegant and merges lifestyle with audiophile aspirations."

He said the 5 degree slope backwards of the front baffle is not just for design purposes but also to time align the tweeter with the mid/bass unit.

Andy at AV Designs in Kuala Lumpur.
Beside him is the PMC twenty24 speakers.

He opined that the success of the twenty series was due to the realistic pricing (the range is priced below the FACT series) and the fantastic performance.

"It also matches a wide range of electronics. There is a misconception that transmission line speakers are difficult to drive, but we ensured that the sensitivity of the twenty speakers was high at around 89dB and posed an easy load.

He was in this region to visit his distributors in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia and also to launch the twenty.C centre speaker, which matches the rest of the twenty series speakers in terms of sonic signature for AV purposes.

The twenty.C centre speaker was launched at the Bristol hi-fi show in February and was also on demo at the Munich High-End show two weeks ago.

The PMC twenty.C centre speaker uses the same drive units as the twenty21 and twenty23 -  twin 5½” bass/ mid units and the Sonolex 27mm fabric dome tweeter. And, surprisingly for a centre speaker, it also uses PMC's propretary Advanced Transmission Line technology and has a very wide frequency response of 45Hz to 25kHz and a high sensitivity of 90dB.

* The rrp of the twenty.C centre speaker is RM6,900. It comes in the glossy premium piano black finish which is normally priced higher. But AV Designs will be selling them at normal finishing prices.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Clarity MP branch to open at Amcorp Mall

Clarity MP, the Singapore-based distributor, will spread its wings to the Klang Valley oasis of hi-fi - Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya.

Clarity MP already has a showroom at Jaya One, which sells high-end components  like Mark Levinson and Revel.

Clarity MP GM Cliff Lee said the new showroom in Amcorp Mall will showcase Lexicon and Harman Kardon components, and SpeakerCraft in-wall speakers.

"It will be on the second floor and we are currently renovating the place. It should open by June."

The Jaya One showroom will still showcase the Mark Levinsons and Revels.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Free DSD tracks for Mother's Day

In celebration of Mother's Day, Blue Coast Records is offering three free DSD downloads.

These are DSD Pure tracks which means they were recorded and edited in DSD unlike other tracks which are converted from DSD to PCM for editing.

The tracks are Suzie Daines' Beauty, Keith Greeninger & City Folk's Loving You Always and Garett Brennan's Alta Powder Day.

To get the free songs, click

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bladelius USB DAC: Rich and robust

The Bladelius USB DAC looks like a bar of chocolate.
The Bladelius USB DAC looks like a longish chocolate bar and if I were to judge its sound quality with real chocolate as the gauge, I would say it is as good as Swiss milk chocolate.

Rich and robust with a creamy texture - that's how the DAC tastes, errr, sounds.

The Bladelius USB DAC came with a thumb drive containing its proprietary driver, but I discovered that it could not load onto my wife's spanking new MacBook Air.

After a few phone calls, I was told that the new Mac OS does not require any driver to work with the Bladelius USB DAC.

And so I plugged in the Furutech USB cable and connected the DAC to the Macbook Air, launched iTunes and played a few songs.

I discovered that I had more hi-res files in FLAC than WAV format and since iTunes cannot play FLAC, I had to convert some of the FLAC to WAV files using Media Monkey.

RCA outputs and ...

...the USB input.
The Bladelius USB DAC, which retails at about RM2,500 at Audiomatic at Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya, accepts up to 24/192 and is USB powered. It has a USB input on one end and RCA outputs on the other.

It was connected with a pair of DH Labs Air Matrix interconnects to the Melos SHA-1 headphone amp/preamp which was connected to the Bryston 4B SST with a pair of Alphacore Silver Micropurl interconnects. Speaker cables were Kimber 12TC and speakers were the resident ATC SCM40.

With the latest Mac laptops, it was plug-and-play with the Bladelius USB DAC.

I spent some time listening to a ripped WAV version of Adele's 21 and I noted that it sounded quite smooth and detailed. I also listened to several hi-res WAV files and a couple of MP3 tracks.

As mentioned before, it sounded quite rich and robust with a pretty strong bass. While it was not as detailed, refined and spacious as more expensive DACs, it had a rather 'analogue' sound signature and would definitely be in the Ayre, Rega and Orb category.

It is also one of the few DACs at its price level that accepts 24/192 through USB and it is not out of place in a main CAS system despite its entry-level pricing.