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AE Spring Dinner 2/20/2011

It was so busy yesterday that I had forgotten to take any photographs. The demo of SRA's Master Reference Vriginia board versus the Ohio XL+2 was mind boggling. We received many calls right after the event.

Another big surprise is the showcase of the Thais Master Reference ground wire (the super stuff). JLam connected it to the Vekian transport and did a few demoes against "without" any ground wire connections, followed by "silver signature".

The fun of this small but growing AE community is all about their "criticalness" in a cosy manner. As the manager of the mega system, I always learn from different opinions. I got to sort out the best recording (good is not adequate enough as the Tidal is able to show all the cracks and tiny fractures of the recordings) to showcase the capability of the system. I am thankful of Mr.Zanden's showcasing his reference recording - the King and I - that brought us to the climax of yesterday before going for dinner.


  • There are some interesting but divergent views on some records:

    On the Rossini recording by Decca, both Mr.DV and Mr.Zanden felt the system plays it very well. Mr.Zanden even commented it is the first time he heard it played so well in positive phase. DSo and PTsang, however, disagreed. Danny felt the strings are not elastic enough. PTsang felt there is some hardness in the mid-range.

    Mr.Zanden felt the bass is a tag too much yesterday (we are not talking to the extent of booming that can easily be spotted) but DSo felt bass quantity is not adequate although the quality of bass is excellent.

    These are interesting new observations. Marvel told me this morning to reverse back to the use of Silent wire HDMI cable - use this one for small chamber music but revert to Wireworld for Orchestra recording.

    There is no one single system that can pleased all but the fun part is always the thought and discussion process.

    Frankly, as the one who manages the system, I cannot agree immeidately with all the comments. I need sometime to digest before making changes. The easiest is the swap back the HDMI cable back to Silent wire because I remember when I first used this cable, Mr.Zanden was able to spot immeidately that bass was a tag more. (He did not know Jlam changed the cable, pure by listening he told me there was more bass.) Yesterday, he spotted it again without knowing what cable did we use.

    Then I will use two Tidal mono blocks to drive the main speaker to maintain consistency and relocate the Analog Domain Calysto to drive the subtower.

    This is already hell of a job because it will create another new energy balance that requires to fine tune the speaking positioning.

    Thanks for all the comments!

  • Thanks for AE's invitation for the nice Spring dinner not to mention the exotic (but lethal!) comparison between the Ohio board and Virginia board and the new Thais Master Reference Ground wire.

    I am the current user of many Ohio boards and the Tripoint Troy ground noise device. Whilst I was prepared to accept the shocking difference between Ohio and Virginia after so many discussions with PT beforehand on his listening experience with Virginia, I was totally not prepared to take the shock by the Thais ground wire. Afterall, I am a believer of cables but never to the extent of a ground wire which only does the job of conducting away the ground noise...comparatively speaking, how much damage can a 'quantity' of ground noise cause to the system compared to the same 'quantity' of power noise or transmission noise? I am no expert to answer this but certainly judging from the results of comparison in the close to 'perfect' AE audition room, I have to speak to Jlam quietly in the corner if I can buy that one being demo-ed. The answer was a straight 'No' as Jlam told me he also cannot do without it in his system so like everyone, I have to wait until the stock arrives.

    In the demo, they put the new Ground wire in the Vekian transport which is the latest masterpiece having a lot of attention already done noises control due to grounding, mechanical vibration. Yet, the result is crystal clear that the new ground wire has a much more depth and produces more 3-dimensionality and contrasts on the images, from left to right, back to forth.

    Virginia board on the other hand, just make Ohio feels blurred and diffusing with a limited headroom. PTsang recalled his comments long time ago that Ohio is blurred and he has to put it on his Craze rack and now I understand what he means...what a master!

    2 secret weapons announced just at the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit, and I see a lot of empty wallets lyiing on the floor, including mine. Not sure how many casualties would end up when it reaches the end of the year! Sigh.....
  • Last night was a very good show and new year gathering! Although, there are always argument on the setting and phrase matter, but the potential of the Tidal system always unique to me. It proofed it is not a dream which an audio system could completely against the real Grand piano and Orchestra. The other Analogue amp also sound quite interesting, looking forward how it sound in full suit in future setup.
  • PT/JLam,

    It was interesting to see much diverging views on the same recording playback on a same system. Here's some of my opinions:

    1. If piano is damn right, others can't be too wrong. There is enough objectivity to judge what is right and wrong on piano playback. I can see Mr.DV understand this more than anymore.

    2. I agree with Mr.Zanden the bass on Sunday is a tad more. That is simply because Jlam intentionally pushed the subwoofer backward to increase bass weight as he told me people like more bass. I saw him doing that at 3pm

    3. The transparency of this system can reveal anything, everything and everything inside the recording particularly with the Tripoint super ground wire. It is better to listen in the central position to a wide variety of recording to understand the whole setup more.

    4. The Rossini recording played damn well. The strings section was particularly impressive. To increase subjective weight on the cello or the double bass weight, the speakers need to be slightly toe-in by another 3-5 degrees. But I don't think it is worthy of doing this for one recording. Because when you listen to close mic cello recording like Janos Starker by Mercury, the balance is now correct. Toe-in to increase subjective weight will magnify the image of all close mic Cello recordings.

    This is a system with a lot of objectivity which is not easy because the whole hi end culture is always about subjectivity - especially in the area of tonality. You guys are already ahead of the curve, I see no reason to go back to tune the system to anyone's favor. You got to trust your judgment.

    My criticism is the active crossover is placing directly on top of the Tidal prescenio. I understand the scarcity of space but your preamp and X-crossover is physically located in the middle of the Sunray. There is the energy field. You put a cloth on top of the X-crossover to reduce reflection is a primitive way. The vibration of the LPX is very severe and it passes onto the preamp.

    Other than that, it is hell of a good job to see you guys putting so much passion into a system showcasing the professionalism of the Hi End audio industry. This is a rare and big feat.

    I recommend using the Analog Domain to drive the Sub Woofer Towers. Use two pairs of Tidal impact mono to drive the main speakers. If possible get Virginia for the Analog Domain. I foresee the impactful of bass will be able to burst out in the air. You will be able to feel energy compulsion in the air, requiring no support from the earth. The reproduction of piano at your place already demonstrated the capability of your system. But orchestra - especially at the crescendo, I can still hear bass anchored to the ground because of vibration of the AD amp. Your deep bass floats in the air because of isolation of Tidal amps feeding the sub towers. But your AD amps hasve no mechanical vibration control and I felt the lower mid bass is not completely in the air yet. But I have to say, orchestra playbacks from the Vekian is absolutely crazy.
  • Mr.DV,

    Could you feel the bass energy is directly from the finger of the pianist but not from anywhere else and yet the energy is so abundant resembling the real instrument to a certain degree? This is high fidelity.
  • Raymond,

    I didn't feel the air wave and I don't believe a good quality bass would create such an effect.

    Only a big sound volume making the bass drivers to cause strong ripples on the air molecules will one actually feel the wave. Of course if we are sitting on a sofa and due to some bass frequency triggered resonance, we feel some 'shaking' of the sofa, I reckon this as a different sensational feel. To me, a genuinely quality bass should be solid, with layers, not blurring the soundstage and no booming. Although less bass does not mean better clarity/transparency on the mid to high, quite the contrary, it actually would expose the harshness and hardness of the mid to high if one's system is not refine enough. Tidal whole suite strikes a very good balance from top to end, at least to my ears and again, I don't feel the mid to high is hard on the Rossini strings music. I can understand DSo's view as I have been in his place several times. His Wavac 833's depiction of bass is different. PTsang could well refer to the benchmark in his home system which have not visited recently. May be we should take the CD to PTsang's place and listen to this again (on Zanden CD as opposed to Vekian which might also explain part of the debate). Are we talking about midrange resolution or harshness? Can we really differentiate between the two when subjectivity comes into the play?

  • Marvel, what I meant is the "wave" in the recording exactly like you described you can feel a breeze on the piano when the pianst is playing very fast via the resolution of the K10. I don't mean the wave when you crack up the volume.
  • I am damn busy cos of bank result seasons. Just now my damn secretary reminded me of another meetings, meetings and meetings again.

    I fully trust SRA and Tripoint. Order already placed to save time. But the feet from the Stanford kids are cutting edge. I mean I am not someone who has the time for stupid feet. I hate moving the gadgets around. All the feet has high coloration. The last feet I bought was the reference feet by Franck Tchang. It is pretty good, airy, and speedy. I didn't buy the Coral feet because of obvious coloration at high frequnecy; undermining bass weight at the same time - good for wavac 833 gangs but not me.

    But sorry, these smart kids from Stanford are just smart. All my life, I deal only with smart people. Put it this way, I have not ever tried a feet that caught me in a seat for 45 minutes. The reference feet from Franck caught me for 15mins, pretty good. I am an asshole that demand an explanation. Don't fxxking tell me because this master says it's good. With a full theoretical background, I read with great interest the science behind the war against mechanical vibration.

    Uncle Ray, your criticism can be solved by using a set of A10-U8 underneath the LPX. I am sure there is no more debate on the Rossini or Kossini or Zossini or whoever.....

    Got to go now; another damn meeting...
  • From veiw of piano reproduce, the Tidal system(Kabi Lareti CD) did shocked me last night. I can’t find word to describe how could this system easily handle the energy and dynamic. Those P,PP,PPP/弱,甚弱,最弱 reproduce in extremely perfect weight and texture, In my past experience I could only heard these details on a real piano, the hammer I heard and feel is richer than I usually heard at audience side, so I guess the Mic is hanging close above the piano! The only downside I felt, is the tone is setting into too sharp.
  • VR, I also used Franck's reference feet with good results. Can you elaborate how does the feet from Stanford better than Franck's?
  • DAY 1

    I have some rare free time this morning. My answer is structured this way.

    Student A: I have made a set of wooden feet that sounds good.

    Professor: Why is that?

    Student A: The sound becomes more natural, more wood feeling, less harsh. Music never sounds as natural as before.

    Professor: Ok, I got you. You are telling me the result but why is that?

    Student A: Hearing is “believing”

    Professor: This is not a course on religion. This is a course on mechanical vibration.

    Student A: Trust me, hearing is believing.

    Professor: I gave it a try then.

    Student A: You will be amazed. Don’t’ trust the engineer and theories because they are all deaf.

    DAY 2

    Professor: I tried your feet underneath the CD player. It is quite good. It works as what you described to me yesterday.

    Student A: I am glad you are not those engineers. Did I get an A for this project?

    Professor: I’ll give you a B+.

    Student A: Why? I should get an A. You said it is good.

    Professor: I’ll give you an A if you can answer me the following questions.

    Student A: Come one, man.

    Professor: How do your feet deal with (1) air-borne vibration (2) floor-induced vibration and (3) self mechanical resonances of the equipment on top of it?

    Student A: As long as it sounds good, there are no needs for such explanations. Hearing is believing.

    Professor: If I had given you an A, I will risk being fired because I am one of those stupid engineers as you mentioned. I risk my professionalism given you a B even though you cannot answer.

    Student A: That’s not fair.

    Professor: You should attend the Religion class instead. You will do great there. There are many believers in this world.

    Student A: You are a jerk. Did you give an A?

    Professor: Yes, I did.

    Student A: To whom? Why?

    Professor: I gave an A to Student B because he can answer my question.

    Student A: Damn it, so are you saying theories are more important than results?

    Professor: I gave an A because he can answer all the questions well and the results are far better than yours. Do you want to try it?

    Student A: Why not? Come one. I am not fearful of stupid engineers.

    Professor: Then, why are you attending this course from the first place? Will you educate your offspring this way?

    Student A: Screw you, Prof! What makes you sure it sounds better than mine.

    Professor: Screw you – hearing is believing! And I can explain why it sounds better.
  • VR

    What an interesting and innovative way of answering a question! You got plenty of time today?

  • It's funny. So what is the name of the feet?
  • It is called Wave Kinetics. I got mine last night and I went to visit Dr.Fung who is also a fellow member of the AE community. We tried using the feet underneath the Zanden phono, the noise platform was reduced and I could hear more musical details floating in the 'still' air. The reason why I fill the air was 'still' is because of a darker background in the soundstage after the application of the feet.

    Please go to to study their theory and belief. I think if the feet can actually tackle the vibrations from all fronts, all it does would be to reveal the true and deep character of the gear that you are using. From the designers, many of the tuning feet out there in the market does not really deal with the vibration properly, they just tilt the vibration / resonance frequency which I totally agree especially those feet which does not have any apparent vibration absortion means. That's why Voy's interesting analogy.

    Having said that, this group of Stanford researchers have identified the so called 'problem statement' and have a clear mind on their design objective. Whether their product can really achieve the objective and to what extent? I think I will need to do more 'hearing is believing' test in my own system as last night was quite rush for me to tour around all the fansy toys of Dr. Fung, including his 21:9 high definition projector!!

  • I spent an afternoon study all info in the web site yesterday, pls notice if stock or display is available.
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