Manger S1 Customer Testimonial

Below are the exact transcript from our happy Manger S1 customer. Many thanks to him for giving much time and thought in writing this. Pictures are taken from our recent visit to Munich High End Show 2016. Full text is published with kind permission.

Munich Show 2016 S1 pic3

“I have taken a while before penning some thoughts on the Manger S1. Living with these active loudspeakers for about 2 months now, I can safely say that:

I am pleased with their performance and do not have reservations in this aspect

I believe I made the right choice as I did consider Dynaudio active range and KEF Reference 5 and others before deciding on the Manger.

The S1 is small-room friendly and easy to place which is important to me and many who live in small apartments. There is no trace of any bass boom despite the speaker’s ability to produce the low end very well.

I don’t have to play loud to benefit from the speaker’s capabilities

The speaker’s rendition of voices is top notch and the highs are great

I first ventured into hi-fi in the mid-1970s and have gone through matching the likes of Rogers, PSB, Thiel, Amphion, Harbeth and Odeon loudspeakers with various amplifiers. It is a long journey and the Manger is in my view, a worthy destination.”

July 2016

Munich Show 2016 S1 pic1Munich Show 2016 S1 pic2

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Oyster’s 2015 New LPs

This year we saw small, new indie vinyl shops added to the community and the continual shrinkage of big guys like HMV. New vinyl sales continues to grow contributed in no small parts by better new music as well as quality reissues. Indeed, this is a very good year for vinyl retailers going by the many must-buy titles from artistes like Nils Lofgren, Roger Waters, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey, Eva Cassidy etc. Incidentally, Eva Cassidy’s 4LP Nightbird live set gets my vote for LP of the Year.

Here’s a rundown of some others I’ve got…

lp ACDC Rock Or Bust 2015AC/DC has been making the same type of record since their debut. The difference in this one vis-à-vis ‘Black Ice’ is that the songs are more memorable, more catchy and production is tad more sleek (LP cover especially).
Brian Johnson still has the angst but I can’t say the same of Angus’ solos.
lp Beyond Greatest Hits 2015Demand continues to outstrip supply in the pre-owned Cantopop LP scene this year. Now, even new but deleted titles of just 12 to 18 months old are asking for silly money. I am not a Beyond fan but this LP has the essential hit – 海闊天空. Sonic wise, regrettably painfully digitised.
lp MM Pale Emperor 2015My first and probably only Marilyn Manson title I may ever buy. Credit goes to the music recording and production. The part I couldn’t sit easy is the meaningless, often repetitive lyrics. The use of strong tribal rhythms and MM’s painted face remind me much of Adam Ant.
Nonetheless, this is not a listen once and stash away LP.
lp ChetBaker Chet 2015I got the affordable OJC version and was very much blown away by the sonic.
At Munich this year, I chanced upon a deleted, unplayed APO version and couldn’t resist. This time, I was also blown away – by the price.
Whichever issue, this is a desert island jazz LP worth being blown away.
lp Bob Dylan Time out of mind 2015Music Matters LPs are always priced lower even though they may come from the same pressing plant (RTI) as the other premium labels like ORG.
The digital signatures are everywhere on this one which is a huge letdown.
I missed buying the original and once you missed the boat, you’ll miss it.
LP Out of Mind.
lp Toto XIVFirst of all, Toto XIV is not a Toto V. To a good measure, the songs are almost as good as Fahreniet or The Seventh One. Toto’s ability to fill up an entire LP with new, quality materials would be an envy to many pension ready classic rock groups. AOR fans or Toto fans will be pleased with this one – I know I am. LP pressing wise, its not quite Toto’s usual standards though
lp ToniAmos Little EarthquakesProbably the happiest reissue LP this year.
Happy to finally own this in vinyl
Happy to no longer having to wait or pay for an original at eBay
Happy for the sound (well done!) with absolute absence of digital hardness.
lp Christopher Cross Cafe Carlyle SessionsThis 2LP studio remake of Christopher Cross’ music (2014), is my surprise find this year. The music may be tad soft and popish to some but the high quality recording / pressing may make the whole experience worthwhile.
A possible future reference pop LP (German pressing)
lp GovtMule DSOTMCan a tribute LP be more enjoyable than the original?
Better sounding than Pulse and in many parts more likable than Roger Waters’ In the Flesh, this one is literally as close as it gets.
The 2 standout tracks are Shine On Your Crazy Diamond and WYWH. Correspondingly, there are also 2 bump tracks to hurry you to lift up the tonearm.
lp LedZeppelin SRTS remasteredThat CD shop sold me this and ironically, that was the last time I saw them because shortly after, they closed the Raffles City branch.
You’ll find things to like in this Jimmy Page remastered series. I like the previously unreleased tracks, which make this  legendary live event complete. But I don’t like some of the new mixes on the guitars and live ambient. It confuses my brain.
lp RogerWaters Amused2Death APOThis lp along with Nils Lofgren’s Acoustic Live are perhaps the most anticipated releases of 2015.
Is the 2 years wait worth this reissue? In view of the ordinary sounding, original Sony label going for silly money, this deluxe reissue in extreme sonic could cause a price crash of the original. Buy this for the cinematic experiences and Jeff Beck’s guitar solos. Every which way, it’s a winner.
lp Lowell LoFans who grew up with his originals may find it hard to accept the reinterpretations. Nevertheless, it has none of the cliché jazz remake which is so yesterday now.
I enjoyed this thoroughly probably because I am not a fan and do not have to relearn the songs.
Somebody at Universal Music (HK) finally got it right.
lp David Gilmour Ratter that LockI enjoyed this more than DG’s last solo outing. David maybe finding it harder and harder to reach the higher registers but music wise, I like this more.No Doug Sax (anymore) for mastering but still keeping the Floydian standards.
lp ELO Alone In the UniverseI end my year with possibly the best of the comeback lot.
My interest in Jeff Lynne’s music was rekindled recently after watching ‘Mr Blue Sky’ documentary.
Literally, a one-man-band, the songs here are as melodic, as catchy as what he has been done in the past. While many classic acts are over the hill, Jeff Lynne is still up there.

 

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乙木 Analog Journey

不知不覺玩HiFi已經幾十年, 很高興影音風雲能給我一個機會與大家分享我玩HiFi之感覺與經驗.

我不是時常更換器材之人, 通常一件器材我會用上好幾年. 當然遇到好器材時我會像大多數HiFi發燒友一樣忍不住升級. 其實玩音響最終目的是用來聽音樂, 所以我花費在軟件(包括LPs及CDs) 上的金錢也不少. 幸好在這幾十年之HiFi生涯中我已購買了自己喜歡之原版LPs及CDs (現在約有3000張, 其中2000多張是LPs), 我可以安心的坐下來欣賞我喜歡之音樂. 我喜愛之音樂種顃其實也很雜,包括古典音樂, Jazz, Classical, 廣東歌, 英文流行曲, New Wave, 中樂, 及粵曲等. 要我之HiFi組合能播每種音樂也能達到一定之水準其實也不容易. 因為每個牌子之器材及線材通常都有其個性.怎樣才能把不同之器材及線材配答成如無間道中梁朝偉說的中音甜, 高音準, 低音勁 (總之就係”通透”), 其實也是一種樂趣. 其實我的音響系統之要求很簡單, 一定要人聲很美, 播出來的音樂要夠快, 但要有音樂感. 很多發燒友追求的是音效, 但對我來說, 一套音響系統分析力及音效一流, 但無音樂味的話, 那便不是一套好的音響系統. 何為音樂味呢? 就是要聽者感受到演奏者或歌者所表達的感情. 聽者會隨著拍子踏腳. 有沖動一張一張唱片或CD聽下去. 不會找尋所聽音響系統之短處, 只會沉醉在音樂之中. 說來很容易, 其實也並非很容易做到.

一套音響器材中那個環節是最重要呢? 這是很多HiFi發燒友常問之問題.我會說一頭一尾最重要.  尾當然是指喇叭, 頭就是source. 喇叭其實是整套音響之靈魂, 其音色, 音場定位, 高低頻之兩極伸延, 及速度要能夠表達音樂中之感覺. 對應個人之口味. 所以選擇一對好聲而又適合自己的喇叭是非常重要. Source當然要能夠把唱片或CD之訊息及動態無損失及忠實地還原出來, 如玩唱盤的話我會用一個很好(相對地貴價)之唱頭及一部夠班之唱頭放大器. 其實唱頭放大器在播唱片是被很多人忽略之一環. 試想唱頭輸出是何其細小(MC是在0.3mV-0.8mV之間,MM是在2.3mV-4mV之間), 唱頭放大器要忠實還原音樂訊息而又有很低的噪音是不容易的. 我以前用的唱頭放大器是Audio Research PH5.  雖然這是一台膽唱頭放大器, 但是非常靜而速度亦夠快. 由於是膽機, 所以人聲及泛音都很好. 我十分喜歡PH5的聲音, 它陪我渡過好幾年之HiFi歲月. 直至最近換了一部比PH5貴一倍有多之Whest PSR.30RDT SE後, 整套音響系統的聲音好像升了兩級, 人聲更有韻味(真奇怪,Whest是原子粒機, 但比以前用之膽Phono更有感情及韻味), 音樂背境更寧靜, 更有動態. 還有此部機可以唱MM及MC, 阻抗及Gain之調較範圍很廣, 而不須要像膽機須要每次聽後也要關機. 可長煲使其聲音長期穩定靚聲  我現在重聽以前喜歡聽之唱片, 都有不同之感受. 現在我之音響系統的聲音就有我所追求的音樂味. 不只提升音效這麼簡單.

講完硬件現在講一講軟件,我每次都會介詔我近期聽過而又喜歡之唱片. 以下是我今次想介紹的三張唱片, 不是上榜名碟, 但錄音及音樂都非常好. 而價錢亦不會很貴, 應該頗容易找到.

lp Liszt Mazappe這張唱片我最喜歡聽的是第二面第一首Ungarische Fantasie, 此鋼琴協奏曲是由老一代鋼琴大師Shura Cherkassky演奏, Karajan指揮. 旋律非常優美, 在HiF角度上, 鋼琴solo時其動態無與倫比. 比一些audiophile唱片更audiophile. 每次我聽些段曲目後總有一聽再聽之沖動.

Liszt: Mazappe, etc. (DGG 138692, Karajan)

 

lp Yip葉振棠是一個老一派的香港歌手. 出道時是唱英文歌起家, 後來廣東歌在香港70/80年代成為主流後, 他無奈地也轉唱廣東歌. 其獨特的唱功有很多歌迷很喜歡他(包括筆者). 他唱歌音域很廣而有獨特之韻味, 很有感倩.  此碟之歌詞寫得很好. 我喜歡 “夢之洞”, 主題曲“再等待”, 及 “難為正邪定分界”.

葉振棠/再等待 (EMI EMGS0092)

 

lp SpandauBallet GoldGold是Spandu Ballet 之名曲, 這張Remix之音效一流, 但最重要是演譯一流, 其中一段鼓Solo (可能是非州鼓) 的節奏咸真的很好, 使人隨著拍子踏腳. 與原版很不同, 我個人更喜歡此個版本.

 
Spandau Ballet Gold (Special Extended Remix)

 

 

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5 Things You Might Not Know About IPC LP Energizer

Modular Audio Have A Hand In It

The first version of LP Energizer was a no expense spared, high-end product. Designed like a record player with luxurious piano black finish and the use of a precision cut crystal ‘platter’ for efficient projection of the PVA fields. Despite its jaw-dropping effectiveness (during our show demonstration), the asking price of US$3900 was simply too steep even for vinyl diehards. Soon after, numerous customer requests  were received for an affordable, no-frills version and this was when it prompted us to explore with the manufacturer IPC (HK), to develop a new LP Energizer that you see today.

AER LP Energzier

Designing a new LP Energizer that is portable, user-friendly, affordable and effective is no small deal. It took IPC’s honcho Vian Li and his team over 1 year to complete a stable prototype for Modular Audio to test and feedback. We are also proud to tell you that we are also very much involved in conceptualising the initial product – the record weight looking design. During product testing, we insisted that the new LP Energizer must be no less effective than the original i.e. 3X priced version. We are happy to let you know that this is very much achieved to everyone’s satisfaction.

Works on 2 LPs

The PVA fields emitted from the LP Energizer would treat a LP fully (both sides) regardless of which side the LP is facing the device. But did you know that you could treat 2 LPs at the same time? To do so simply stack the 2 LPs and do the treatment together. Now how about 3 LPs or more? We have tested this too, and found that the 3rd LP (i.e. most bottom one) would receive only partial effect.

LP_Energizer small

Using Outside of Turntables

Owners of spring-suspended turntable have a valid concern that this not light-weight LP Energizer may disturb the balance of their turntables when used directly on it. The fact is, there is no difference in effectiveness in treatment whether the LP is energized on your turntable or outside of your turntable. The reason for treating a LP on your playing turntable is that the PVA fields would benefit the surrounding components of 1 metre radius e.g. cartridge, tonearm cable. This additional benefit can be easily verified, so do try it.

Using with Furutech DeMag and DeStat

Stereotimes reviewer Stephen Yen tested the LP Energizer after he has both Demaged and Destated LP. Stephen was not expecting or did not want the LP Energizer to work and he was “disappointed” (in a good way). You may review his review via [this link].

Works on CD Too

Per Vian Li, the PVA fields are tuned for the material that is being treated i.e. poly carbon (CD) and plastic (LP), hence the necessity to create 2 distinctive products. Nevertheless, using the LP Energizer on your digital media like CD/CDR/DVD or vice versa, the Disk Energizer on LP, sonic enhancements are still noticeable although the effect will be limited.
LP Energizer

Now you know the interesting history and story behind this irreplaceable, LP tweak that is IPC LP Energizer.

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High End 2015 Munich

Munich 2015 prelude 4
This show is well publicised as one could find advertising billboards and posters of this annual event in strategic places

Munich 2015 prelude 3
As close to live music as possible is what we audiophiles strive to achieve

Munich 2015 prelude 2
Munich – a city so rich in history and the arts

Munich 2015 prelude 1This in season strawberries are so fresh that I could almost taste the soil where they just came from. 1.50 EUR for this basket. Absolutely yummy.

Munich 2015 pic1
Alto-Extremo’s Volker Behrens making me look so small


Munich 2015 pic4
 Nessie Vinylmaster lp cleaner’s convincing live demonstration. The LP is deliberately dirtied and then cleaned as you watch the live broadcast on the large Apple screen showing all the microscopic details. A-B testing couldn’t be any simplerMunich 2015 pic147″ and 10″ (optional) cleaning kit are now available. Application of lp solution however would be manual
Munich 2015 pic12
Manger P1 passive loudspeaker. The plaque on the floor (right) is from HiFi Review (HK) for – 2014 Products of The Year Award

Munich 2015 pic7
Getting perfect alignment with the new Thales Easy tonearm (linear-tracker) is as easy as A-B-C

Munich 2015 pic8
Thales TTT-Slim making its debut at the show. Thales shows that you don’t need to overbuild and over engineer to achieve a well designed, excellent sounding high-end turntable

 Munich 2015 pic6Simple (on the outside), beautiful and user-friendly
Munich 2015 pic13
Lyn Stanley live performances in the PAD sponsored room. Good sound, shame on the rocky horror show lighting
Munich 2015 pic11
Bergmann Audio’s turntables were found playing in 2 other rooms
Munich 2015 pic11a
Bergmann Magne in piano white. Platter, record weight and tonearm in gun metal finish aka Batman colour
Munich 2015 pic9
Bergmann Audio’s flagship Sleipner turntable serving up the analog duties
Munich 2015 pic10
This room has my vote for one of the best sounding at the show. Huge soundstage, natural 3D music filling up the big space. Also the music selection is wide and always interesting. Perfect8 speakers (Sweden), Yplison (Greece) and of course, Bergmann turntable (Denmark) amongst others

The undisputed greatest audio show on earth is destined to grow bigger each year. You seriously do need a pair of walking shoes to visit/audition every single exhibit.
See you again in 5th – 8th May 2016 

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Remember The Times

In the SG50 mood of reminiscing all old but cool things of Singapore, I would like to share with you one of my favourite playgrounds when I was still a growing teenager. Having got past the period of recording radio programs and pirated music cassettes, where to next? Head to the coolest record shops which was what I did. Before I step back my journey, I must first thank Ricky Ang, ex-business owner of Kwang Sia Record Shop (hereafter KSRS) for the flashback and so kindly sharing the archives and memories.

The furthest I could remember, although faintly of KSRS was when they were at Level 1 of Ming Court Hotel Shopping Center (now Orchard Parade Hotel).  I was a small boy, visiting my dad for fun during weekends where he was working just opposite them. Years later, in 1978, I was about tall enough to reach for the deeper record shelves,  I bought my first LP, Who Do We Think We Are? (Deep Purple) from them at the basement of Colombo Court. It was a proud moment because this LP was entirely financed with my own pocket money and a chance to show the sales staff that this kid meant business, not just someone who would come so often to comb through every piece in the “New Release” section.

This undated advertisement from New Nation newspaper (1981?)

Back then, my music textbooks consisted of – Billboard Hot 100 clippings pasted outside of record shops; some not too current issues of music papers like NME from Times bookshop and of course, Rediffusion.

 

In today’s prices, these LP would retail about S$50?

 

 

 


Entrance to KSRS at the basement of Colombo Court.

Besides KSRS, regular homage was paid to Supreme Records, Sing Records, EMI Music Centre, Yu Yi Emporiums and C.K. Tang

 

Back in those days, you could test just about any new, unsealed records. You hand them what you want to try, they DJ, you listen through headphones

 

 

 


Can you spot ONJ’s Totally Hot, Blondie’s Parallel Lines, Art Garfunkel’s Fate For Breakfast, UFO’s Strangers In The Night and more…

Think I need a time machine and set the clock to the year: 1978 🙂

Archives used with permission.

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Don’t Believe A Word

Famous webzine hi-fi reviewer, Steven R. Rochlin of Enjoythemusic.com was on vacation in Singapore recently. He visited us briefly amongst many other electronics, hi-fi shops. You may read about his interesting trip [here].

In the short paragraph about his visit to Modular Audio, he mentioned a ‘mystical audiophile tweak’ that was demonstrated to him. Obviously, he wasn’t pleased with the tweak, alleged that it was ‘snake oil’ and implied that sellers of such are a part of swindlers and deserve ‘canning’.  Some serious allegations from a guest, albeit a famous one.

I would like to respond here what happened that day so that readers have a full picture. As the owner of TriTone, Mervyn and his business partner Edwin Teo were also present at that time, this story is easily verifiable.

The ‘mystical audiophile tweak’ in question was none other than IPC LP Energizer. Upon Mervyn’s request for a quick demonstration, I played Norah Jones ‘Lonestar’ (Side B Track 1 of Come Away With Me, Quality Record Pressings) on Funk Firm’s LSD/FX3 turntable. After some 30 seconds, I lifted the tonearm, stopped the platter and treated the LP with the LP Energizer. The same track was repeated after removing the LP Energizer from the record.

Shortly, Steven gave us his verdict. He said he heard a difference – “Her voice has become smoother, more space, not as coarse”. But he added that he could not say if it came from the tweaking device.  The difference, Steven said, could be due to the weight of the LP Energizer having ‘pressed’ onto the record making the smoother sound. He also pondered if this could be due to the pressing of the LP as her vocals become smoother as the song progresses. Due to the short test with just a single track, nothing was conclusive.

To be more certain, with repeatable result, I offered Steven to test the LP Energizer again using my other showroom turntable systems (we have 3 others, all ready to play) but the offer was not taken up due to lack of time as we were just one of his many brief stops.

So from nothing conclusive to accusing the device snake oil and (us) selling such a tweak, amounts to cheating, I find such comments unjustified and uncalled for.  I understood from him that he has had several past negative encounters with ‘quantum physics’ related tweaking products but isn’t it wrong to pass such blanket statements and condemning all? When such groundless conclusions could be derived in such hasty manner, what do you think of the other professional reviews?

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Oyster’s 2014 New LPs

This time, I blew my budgeted number of new LPs purchase for 1 year.  In this trade, we are often accused or blamed for ‘poisoning’ customers. But do you know that it works both ways too? As dealers, we are also constantly exposed to your temptation and instigation. Some of the titles below certainly came from your undue influence 🙂

Oyster's 2014 New LPI settled for this 2 in 1 reissue knowing that I probably wouldn’t find an original copy at the price I am willing to part. A very fitting holiday season music. Very decent sound too.
Oyster's 2014 New LP BuyThe Beatles is still making good money from the fans and likely to do so in years to come.I bought this in anticipation for the mono box set and possibly seen less of my turntable now. A fans-only record.
LOyster's 2014 New LP Buysike Searching for Sugarman, I got this after watching the feature film rockumentary Big star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.A sadly overlooked band, sadder story, lousy debut album cover, not a very appropriate record title (#1 Record) but certainly very good music. Highly recommended although my reissue copy is a tad warped.
Oyster's 2014 New LP BuysThe only “new” music in my entire year’s purchase. I watched this movie twice and enjoyed the soundtrack just as much.Highlights include the cute, remix version of Space Oddity and Escape (The Pina Colada Song). Gosh, still the old hits championed.
Oyster's 2014 New LP BuysUltra heavy, gloomy music that I bought for sentimental reasons.To me, Ronnie James Dio is the greatest metal vocalists of all time.
Oyster's 2014 New LP BuysI bought this 180g reissue knowing the original issue would sound better but harder to come by. Chance came and an original surfaced just weeks after (luck?) and the heavier vinyl was soon relegated to B-division.
Oyster's 2014 New LP BuysThis 2nd LP outing culls tracks from her past CD hits and presented here as a greatest hits package. Sonic wise, the digital signatures is rather obvious but nonetheless, still a decent addition to the market. My pick for her 3rd LP release if I were her business manager – how about “想像空间 Live”?
Oyster's 2014 New LP BuysProbably the only hi-fi disc I have bought in the last 7 years. I got this during the Munich Show (price not any cheaper). Looking back, I must have fallen prey to another Bob Dylan cover and wanting to find out how Chris Thompson’s voice (Manfred Mann Earth Band) has aged.
lp Beatles mono box setThe mother of all box-set and the probably the most anticipated and most important re-issues in 2014. I do not have to add a single line to the already overflowing excellent reviews you can find online. What I want to say is such a serious re-issue production deserves all your support. It is as rare as a total solar eclipse.
lp REM Unplugged 2001I am a sucker for the MTV Unplugged series LP. This single disc release of their respective decade apart unplugged concerts is hence a no-brainer for me. Sonically, this Rhino reissue isn’t an Eric Clapton Unplugged but good enough for me.
lp LeslieCheungLeslie Cheung is an A-list darling of HK canto-pop era singers. The current high commercial value of anything from him probably prompted all the recent LP reissues let alone this title, easily regarded as one of his best. Judging from the sound, this pricey 1st time in LP format likely came from a digital source.

 

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International Sound & Sight 2014 Preview

We are about a week away from International Sound & Sight Exhibition (ISSE 2014) and we are now all set. Here’s a quick post to let you know what we have prepared for you:

World Premiere of the “Magic Mushroom”

This newest analogue tweaking device is brought to you by the same company, IPC, which created numerous award-winning products namely, Disc Energizer, Acoustic Energizer, Acoustic EQ and Sound Power. While the original version was all dressed up serving only serious vinylphiles, this new version emphasizes on portability, ease of use and value. The new LP Energizer is designed and operates like a record weight but is as effective as the original deluxe version. All you need is a few seconds and the sonic improvement is very apparent and in our tests with several customers, we were told it achieved a jump by some 20 to 30%! We are offering our first shipment at a special price at the show, while stock lasts.

Newest from Funk Firm and Ortofon

Flamenca  We would be exhibiting the newest entry-level Flamenca turntable, the very well received LSD with the latest mid-end FX3 tonearm in room 735. Flamenca w/ F6 tonearm is Funk’s assault at the sub $1800 price point and based on our assessment so far, it punches way above its weight and matches really well with Ortofon cartridges.

OrtofonWhile we’re on the subject on cartridges, we have been officially appointed as a premium Ortofon dealer and you can now buy the full-range of Ortofon products from us. Should you still be sitting on the fence looking out for a good sounding, easy to start turntable package, watch out for our show bundle deal which consists of Flamenca/F6, Achromat and Ortofon 2M Red MM cartridge.

Show LP Offer

LP SaleWe have allotted some space in the exhibition to clear some 500 selected pieces of used vinyl – Jazz, Pop/Rock, Chinese, Classical, Oldies, Soundtrack and even some sealed ones. All of them are clearly graded (conservatively) and attractively priced. Due to show condition, individual inspection is not allowed but knowing us and how we serious we are into vinyl, rest assured every piece is playable on your good turntable. We expect this lot to go fast hence, be there early.

Meet the Designer – Johnnie Bergmann

Johnnie BergmannJohnnie and Eva Bergmann of Bergmann Audio will be joining us in the show and this is a great opportunity to ask Johnnie, all your burning questions regarding his extreme air technique turntable and tonearm design.

Thank you for reading and see you all at:

 

 

Place: PARKROYAL at Kitchener Road
Date: 28 Nov – 30 Nov
Rooms: 734 and 735

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Agents of Fortune

I asked a Taiwan Hi-Fi dealer I met recently to comment on the second-hand, original Chinese pressing LP scene back home. He replied in Chinese “已經失控” (already out of control). Indeed, this never before phenomenally high demand meeting very limited supply created market havoc. While this is certainly a boon to LP sellers who have kept plenty of old stock, LP late-comers could get heart attack.

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At the going rate, unless one has deep pockets or couldn’t care less about price or value, most would turn to new reissues only. Reissue is not a dirty word and when done well, it helps to cool the market for originals too and brings some saneness back. However, the opposite is true for inferior reissues.

lp commentary1Looking at the fast and furious reissue releases lately, the reissue LP companies are doing brisk business, pitching the “here today, gone tomorrow” or “you better not miss it this time” mind-set of audiophiles. Nowadays, you could get up to 4 versions of the same reissue title in a span of months. First is the limited prints with serial numbers, next on the calendar is a batch without serial numbers (may not sound as good), then comes the limited box set in picture disc. If you’re not dead and dry yet, the piper’s last wave in 45rpm double LP, should do you.

Putting price and collectability aside, it all boils down to sound quality isn’t? Given the undisclosed source of the masters, there is really no telling until someone takes the plunge first and tell you about it. The pressure is always to grab it first, worry about not seizing an early copy rather than catching a booby prize – you know those that sound so digitized that you wouldn’t listen a second time.

It’s rather woeful that we couldn’t expect better sound reproduction (other than the beautiful package) even though they don’t come cheap. Unlike English reissue titles especially classic Jazz, where the new dog could beat the old, the chance is really slim in Chinese reissues. It has come to a point that as long as they are half decent, not too bad, the buying community would bite.

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Perhaps, we need folks like Kevin Gray or Chad Kassem to do the job. Or perhaps there isn’t any original analogue masters to begin with? (note: there are plenty of examples of excellent sounding digital recordings, so no blame here). Or is it because we let these trashy reissues go “unpunished” and our continual support means more of the same to come? I have had this exact conversation with an LP customer and his reply was “if I don’t buy reissues, what else to buy?”

lp_BOC_Agents_of_FortuneThe demand for Chinese LPs is not expected to cool off anytime soon. This hungry and lucrative market certainly could accommodate more and better players. Here’s wishing for some good fortune (telling) and be dealt a good hand.

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