2015 Sound and Sight Exhibition
Unicorn Sound & Vision were doing a live demonstration on the beneficial effects of the Audioquest Jitterbug. A notebook PC was being used to play a music video (the PC was hooked up to a larger TV screen) with two Jitterbugs. The first bug was used in series with the Dragonfly 1.2 DAC, and the other was plugged into a spare port. There were obvious improvements in the lowering of the noise floor, as well as the addition of a sweetness to the sound and smoothness of the video (I kid you not). I bought a pair on the spot.
Eighteen 77 Pte Ltd had Roksan electronics on show, with the B&W 685 S2 and all-new 805 D3.
AV Intelligence ("AVI") had a number of rooms. The more interesting room was the Raidho Acoustics room. Michael Borresen was doing a demonstration of the XT-2 loudspeaker, paired with the Aavik U-300 amplifier. Ansuz's new Diamond DTC cables were also being used in the system.
|Raidho XT-2 speakers.|
|The cobra like cables are the new Ansuz DTC cables.|
AVI's second room had the Linn Magik 140 system which comprises of the all-in-one Magik DSM and Magik 140 speakers. A small pair of Penaudio speakers were also available for comparison.
AV One had PMC speakers paired with the Arcam Solo Movie. The latter is an all singing and dancing wonder - Bluray, CD, SACD playback, network play support via UPnP, Bluetooth play and 6x50 watts via Class G technology. I sat through both a movie (with full surround sound) and music demonstration. The Solo Movie proves that you can have your cake and eat it too. My dashed home theater ambitions could have turned out a lot differently if the Solo Movie had been around then.
CDA Professional Audio Asia Pte Ltd had a simple yet very effective set-up. A pair of ATC SCM40A speakers were paired with a Prism Lyra DAC. A notebook PC was feeding the Prism with volume control in the digital domain.
Power, control, resolution and precision - this setup had it all. Think of how good this setup could be given more ambitious equipment.
Raindrop Audio carries a lot of interesting products and is quite effective at showcasing the strengths of their systems. This year was no different - with the SPEC Corp ampliifer driving the Boenicke Audio W5, and the Son of Ampzilla II amplifier powering the Soltanus ESL speakers. The source was an Ayon streamer, while power conditioning was handled by Gigawatt. Also on display were SOtM products.
You could hear the gasp from the audience when the W5 was in play - could you really get such big sound from such a small speaker ? Unfortunately the gentleman next to me looked shocked and dismayed when he found out the price of the W5.
|Boenicke Audio W5.|
H&R Home & Professional Audio deserve special mention for strangest room. From what little I could understand, the tweaks were addressed at resonance control, acoustic and ground treatment.
The wood blocks and cones were decently finished, while the other products looked "interesting". The gathering crowd gave out loud exclamations of astonishment in Cantonese as the designer demonstrated and explained the tweaks. My Cantonese fluency unfortunately is non-existent (I probably know less than five swear words), so the explanations were lost on me.
|Visitors with itchy fingers kept on knocking over these tweaks.|
Audio 88 had plenty of eye candy on display. The Lumin streamers and Gato electronics were really beautiful in the flesh. The very glossy Enigma Acoustics speakers were eye-catching too.
|Gato Amp 150 - Love those meters !|
Leo Research AV Pte Ltd is an old player in the industry. They exhibited a number of tube amps and speakers. The products were affordably priced and the sound of the setup was quite decent.
Sky Audio had a number of new things this year, including a new turntable from Taiwan, turntable cartridges from Japan and speakers from Germany.
Steve Sai demonstrated both analog (Tien turntable with a Hana SL cartridge) and digital (Sky Audio's tuned Mac Mini, connected via Astin Trew's powered concord USB cable system to the Concord USB). Amplification was the DA&T A38, and power conditioning was handled by multiple DA&T mains filter units. The DynamiKKs! Monitor 8.12 completed the setup.
Both the digital and analog rigs were closely matched, and those drivers really moved lots of air. The visitors to the room certainly had a lot fun with the entertaining and dynamic choice of tracks and records played.
CD Acoustic and Horizon Acoustics - Jimmy Goh was manning this room with the Harbeth SHL5+ on demonstration. A Modwright modified Oppo 105 served as the source, while amplification was handled by the Zestos Leto preamplifier and BIA 120 power amplifier. Cabling was from High Fidelity Cables.
AV One had another room with a Hegel and PMC setup. A representative from Isotek was demonstrating the difference between a stock system, and with power conditioning handled via the Isotek Polaris, followed by the Aquarius. Cabling changes were done at lightning fast speed (he should consider an alternative career as Formula One pitcrew), and there was a noticeable improvement in background quietness, bass tightness and reduction of high frequency glare with both products.
|The gentleman with the lightning fingers. These products really work.|
Modular Audio was my last stop on the seventh floor. Raymond and Chee were enthusiastically demonstrating the effects of tweaks from IPC.
Their choice of analog equipment was a Thales rig. This was my first encounter with their unique tonearm that adjusted the headshell angle (to reduce tracking error) as the tonearm moves across the record.
Digital was taken care of by the Lindemann Audio Musicbook 25 CD player / streamer and preamp, and Musicbook 55 monoblocks. Speakers were the Audes Excellence 5. I would not have guessed that the Musicbook 55 used class D technology - they sounded great. This was also a very enjoyable setup with very good performance from both analog and digital playback.
Returning back downstairs, High End Research had swapped out the Goldmund speakers for the Sonus Fabers. Amplification had also been switched to the Audio Research Ref 6 and Ref 250 monoblocks.
I stopped by X Audio's room to see how the Vivid setup was coming along. It was now performing very well (much better than Day 1), and comfortably familiar to my ears as a Vivid speaker owner. Wonderful sound and a very nice way to finish the show.
Big thanks to Mr. Tham of Sound & Sight Journal for inviting me, and all participants for the hard work put in.
See you all next year.