Best Audiophile Award in 2011

Best Audiophile Award in 2011

The award goes to “CASSPH” in 2011. Based on PT’s assessment over the past year, his system performance has leapfrogged straight to the “super hi end” region. Most importantly, Cassph is a frequent concert attendee chasing the stardom of Berlin Philharmonic and other alike in the league overseas. He is very sensitive to the tonality of French horn and pointed a few times to PT that the tonality of this instrument reproduced at AE1 was not ideal because it is far from what he experienced at real concert hall. We had taken his observation seriously in August and PT had tried hard ever since to fix the bug. It is a case to illustrate that we are also learning from our customers constantly.

His music preferences are not restricted to classical music only. He always likes Canton-Pop Music. This has also inspired PT to start playing canton-pop CDs via the Tidal mega system. This is unusual for PT as he has long taken a view (bias) that recording quality of canton-pop is subpar. But cassph has seemingly changed his view on this by playing a song called 漩渦 - a duet by 彭玲 (Cass Pang) and 黄耀明 whenever he tests new gears including the Vekian OPUS suite and the latest cost-no-object Artemis amplifiers by Analog Domain. It is a song with very complicated electronic music at the background with very interesting rhythm. The vocalism of Cass Pang is undeniably great. PT has subsequently chased back all the recordings by Cass Pang and his favorite of the favorite now is her mandarin song 困鳥 recorded long time ago. He even goes as deep as comparing the version sung by GEM 鄧梓琪 versus Cass Pang for a period of two weeks. It is not an easy task to change PT’s mindset. But you did. He always brings some canton pop CDs to test some mega systems now.

A good system should be able to play ALL kind of music well. Cassph’s diverse musical interest alongside his live concert experiences have driven him to build a system that is primarily neutral without precluding rich tonality when the voice/instrument calls for it. Of course, his system has always room for improvement but we also understand that a living room environment has plenty tangible and intangible constraints. Still, Cassph’s system performs very well despite the acoustics development limitations.

With a state of the art Trinity phono in the chain running true and full balance operation through the Robert’s Takumi K10 and Angel’s Artemis, his vinyl setup produces big dynamic swings alongside a well structured sound-staging. Micro details are all present without being highlighted. The overall stability of the imaging is rock solid without being dead. With a supreme audio infrastructure, he has decided to go further into the uncharted area. He will also be the first owner of Joel Durand’s masterpiece tone-arm TELOS in Asia in Feb 2012.

It is a pleasure for me to present AE’s best audiophile award to CASSPH in 2011. We shall present a prize to you later.



  • Given PT's standard is very high nowadays, you must achieve something very special in your system. Congratulation! I am curious to know what is the prize this year.
  • The presence of Artemis in the chain is "immense". I can imagine the performance somewhat even without knowing the acoustics. And the Trinity phono is out of the typical equivalent flagships' performance range.
  • I am truly surprised when I read this. I am honored, gratetful, but highly conscious that I am not deserving. Good (and expensive) components do not always bring good music, as members of this community often stress; at the same time I am grateful that JLam and PT brought us this year many products and enhacements that stretch our horizons. Some are expensive but many are not(like the great wave kinetics feet), and they invariably make music so much more enjoyable.

    Wish all of you a great 2012 and a great year for music.
  • Cassph,

    I have briefly listened to the Durand tonearm with Kansui. With Telos and your mega scale turntable feeding into the Trinity, I am sure you will raise the bar of vinyl playback by a few notches! Look forward ti a home visit which I have missed a few months back.

    Congratulations to receiving this award and seeing what you have done to improve your system chain, I think you are well deserved!

  • Cassph,

    Great job. You don't have to be humble in this space. We all know the playback standard of AE. Both Jlam and PT will not do anything without justifications. I was on the line with PT about 30 mins ago. I asked him straight why I have never get this award. His answer is simple enough: "Because you have not spared the effort to improve it. The previous winners such as DSo and Mr.Zanden had put in a lot of effort to achieve something. Though the results may not be universally concurred by all, it is the spirit that counts here."

    I am going to retire soon, truly sick of the banking industry, and dislike most of the assholes including myself.

    Happy new year!

  • 幾時到我?
  • Cassph,

    Good job. You do change Mr.PT. The canton-pop recordings were seen by him as "waste of time" in the past. Now, he always tests canton pop in anyone's system. If you listened once the performance of Beyond and Jackie Cheung at AE1, the testing of such CDs in other system including mine made me feel very bad because it really sounds like shit in my own system. But not his!

    I dropped by HK unintentionally before the Artemis amplifiers were delivered to your home. I had a chance to listen to this pair of super amp. And Mr.PT just played a few cuts of canton pop. I was speechless, totally speechless especially on Beyond and Jackie Cheung. Well, I can't say the recording quality of them is great but what made it tick is it connected my soul instantly. I believe this is what musicality is all about. It brought me back the musical culture of the late 80s/early 90s.

    When I returned to my own system, the connection is not there at all. The usual accuse is these canton pop recordings suck. But a short demo changed my bias.

    Cassph, can you recommend some more of decent canton-pop recordings?

    Good job!
  • Dear WChow

    Some of the Canto pop music/recordings I enjoy would include 1) Sandy Lam in concert 07 (one of the best concerts ever and a diva at her peak of powers; check out esp track 13 芝加哥的故事 with excellent dynamics and feel 2) Khailil Fong 方大同 "Timeless", in either CD or better still LP. Track 8 記得 is a cover version of 張惠妹's song, but way better 3) Eason Chan who all of us love, but one of his best albums must be 我的快樂時代 from more than 10 years ago, and esp track 10 反高潮

    Happy 2012
  • edited January 2012
    The followings, in my opinion, are pretty good Canton-pop recordings that can be used as system-testing CDs:

    1. 彭玲精選, Track 2, 3, and 5
    2. 彭玲給唱過的男孩們: K歌之王, 瀾泥
    3. 許冠傑 - 半斤八両 - (the whole album)
    4. 張學友- 天下第一流 (track 1, track 2)
    5. 張學友 - 三年兩語 (Track 9 - 望月)
    6. 泰迪羅賓 - (Teddy goes to the movie, the whole album)
    7. 陳潔儀 - 心頭歌 - Track 2, Track 4
    8. Eason Chan - Get-A-Life Live Concert (3 CDs set)
    9. 黃家駒 - 不死精神 - Track 1, Track 2, Track 5
    10. 蘇永康 - So I AM Live Concert 2-CD set
  • Continue....

    王菲 LPCD 45 - Track 4, Track 8, Track 16
  • I visited Cassph last night and realise time really flies when he was awarded as the Best audiophile for last year and my acclamation to have a home audition a little less than half year ago!

    So finally, I met Telos stationed firmly in the mega turntable together with the Trinity phono. Artemis is already serving in the power amplification position replacing the amp that I last heard a year ago. To my great interest, I find that Cassph's system has a number of similarities with mine, we use the same preamp, same phono, same CD source, same brand of power amp, similar brands of cables...that really helps me to understand and contrast his system with mine staying as a 'control'.

    Vekian Opus CD combo needs no further introduction in this forum in terms of its supremacy on CD playback. Cassph uses a laboratory class active platform for the vibration control of the transport which I believe is extremely useful and sensitive. Over the 2 hours of listening, no matter whether we were listening to Cd or vinyl recordings, I could see some light flashing intermittently on the platform indicating some sort of vibration has been detected! Overall CD performance in the presence of K10 and Artemis in the amplification chain is exceptional. This formed a benchmark for me to gauge the performance of the vinyl in relationship to the room acoustics, speaker characters and positioning, etc.

    Cassph has selected a few recordings which he has on both CD and vinyl. That helped significantly for our comparison between the 2 sources. Soundstaging obviously expanded 3-dimensionally when we listened to Telos and Trinity with much more dynamic contrasts and coherence. I have heard Telea 2 running with Trinity in AE showroom but this is the first time I heard their flagship tonearm performing in a 'home environment' which really shocked me on how a tonearm can transform the listening experience of vinyl playback. I wonder how it would sound in others' setup using the direct drive NVS turntable. Cassph mentioned to me that he has not fine tuned the setting yet so expects there would still be some headroom for improvement!

    It was genuinely an ultra-end experience to me last night and if I have to pick one thing, I believe the acoustic treatment on the rear wall would help dramatically in piercing through the z-axis which I believe the system is up to. Again, this is a home environment and we all have to strike a comfortable balance.

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