Me and My System

Me

I started young as an audiophile, while still in my teens. I still remember the crazy things me and my friends used to do in a bid to tweak and improve our system. When you are young and have little to no money, you have to be innovative.

We had many failed and partially successful experiments, such as isolation using bicycle inner tubes, plumb bobs, squash balls etc, and even more botched cable experiments. But ... we certainly had a lot of fun.

Like all hobbies, I continue to learn new things everyday.

I contribute articles to Stereotimes (www.stereotimes.com) too.

Besides audio, I love to take photos and cook. I also collect fountain pens. Most of the photos in this blog are either taken by my iPhone 5 or my Canon 5D Mk II with one of three lenses, an EF 24-105mm f4.0 L lens, 100mm f2.8 Macro or 50mm f2.5 Macro lens.

My single malt collection is under constant attack by my significant other, while my daughter loves to sing.

My wife's favourite whiskies
My current favourite whisky is the Yamazaki 18.


My System (As at 13 May 2017) 

SYSTEM PHILOSOPHY


My system philosophy ? I personally believe that the speaker (and placement) and the room have the biggest influence on sound. The amplifier has to be up to the task of driving the speaker. While the quality of the source is important, digital sources (especially computer audio) offers tremendous bang for the buck, in comparison to vinyl.

Support and resonance control can be quite critical. The least important are cables. I am not saying that they do not have an influence on sound, or a contribution to tuning the balance of the system. Rather, I do not believe that systems can only sing with large investments in cabling. If a system sounds bad, I would rather address the fundamental problem first, before going on to look at cabling.

Personally, I am quite comfortable with systems with limited low frequency extension, probably conditioned by years of listening to bookshelf speakers. I generally listen at modest listening levels and have a preference for sitting in the near-field.

I listen primarily to female vocals, jazz and classical music. I only listen occasionally to rock, or other genres.

System matching and tuning draws a lot of parallels with cooking. Taking into account personal taste, it is very possible to tune a system that is pleasing to your ears but provokes a violent reaction from your hi-fi mates. Nobody in Singapore can agree on which stall serves the best chicken rice, so why would you expect a consensus on hi-fi ?

MAIN SYSTEM




Source

Melco N1ZH Audiophile NAS
Auralic Aries powered by Soundaffairs Plixir Balanced DC power supply
Calyx Femto DAC
Singxer SU-1 USB / SPDIF bridge (connected between the Melco N1ZH and Totaldac d1-six DAC)
Totaldac d1-six DAC
Soulines Kubrick DCX / Jelco 750D / Shelter 5000 or Denon DL-103R










Amplification

Conrad Johnson GAT preamplifier
Conrad Johnson ART Monoblock power amplifiers
Graham Slee Reflex M / Elevator phono stage




Speakers

Vivid Audio Giya G4




Accessories / Tweaks

Cabling

PLiXiR Signature Balanced Power Cable (from wall to balanced power conditioner)
NanoTec GS305 power cord (terminated with Oyaide P/C-004) (from wall to Oyaide MTB-6 distributor)
Acrolink Mexcel 7N PC-7500 (Calyx Femto DAC)
Sablon Audio Corona Reserva Elite power cord (Totaldac d1-six DAC)
Acrolink Mexcel 7N PC-9500 power cord  (Conrad Johnson GAT)
Sablon Audio Corona Reserva power cord (Conrad Johnson ART)
Acrolink 6N P-4030 (Sound Affairs Plixir Balanced DC power supply)

Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB cable (from Melco N1ZH NAS to Singxer SU-1)
Viard Audio AES digital cable (from Singxer SU-1 to Totaldac d1-six DAC)
Acrolink Mexcel 7N A-2500II RCA interconnect (Totaldac d1-six DAC to Conrad Johnson GAT)
Totaldac XLR to RCA adapter / Acrolink 8N-A2080iii EVO RCA (Totaldac to Conrad Johnson GAT)
Acrolink Mexcel 7N DA-6100 RCA (Conrad Johnson GAT to ART Monoblocks)
Oyaide PA-2075 DR V2 interconnect (Soulines turntable to Graham Slee Phono stage)
Sablon Audio Pantatela Reserva interconnect  (Graham Slee Phono stage to Conrad Johnson GAT)
JCAT Reference USB cable or Curious USB cable (Auralic Aries to Calyx DAC)
Cardas Clear Speaker Cables with Cardas Clear bi-wiring jumpers
Entreq TellUs ground conditioner (Main system)
Entreq Minimus ground conditioner (Digital)
Entreq Eartha silver and copper cables

Stands / Support

Walnut chopping board supported by 3 Aurios Classic Bearing (Auralic Aries)
Mistral EVA-Umini electromagnetic absorber under Auralic Aries
TAOC ASR-4S equipment rack resting on Kripton IS-500ti spike plates
Stillpoints Ultra SS (under Conrad Johnson GAT preamplifier)
Stillpoints Ultra Mini (under Totaldac D1-Dual DAC)
Franc Audio Ceramic Disc Classic (under Calyx Femto and Conrad Johnson ART monoblocks)


Miscallaneous

Furutech GTX-D(R) wall socket
PLiXiR Elite BAC 1500 balanced power supply (feeding the Melco N1ZH NAS and Singxer SU-1 USB / SPDIF bridge)
PLiXiR Elite BAC 3000 balanced power supply (feeding the Conrad Johnson GAT / ART and Totaldac DAC)
Oyaide MTB-6 distributor
Acoustic Revive QR-8 quartz resonators
Synergistic Research HFT
Synergistic Research ECT
Synregistic Research SR20 Fuse (Calyx Femto)
Telos QBT-18 fuses (Conrad Johnson GAT and ART Monoblocks)
Telos Alpha Wave Generator (Quantum Acoustics Diffuser)
Paul Pang Audio Grade Switcher (LAN from NAS to Auralic Aries)
Paul Pang TZ Yun red LAN cable (from Switcher to Auralic Aries)
Diffusion panels and bass absorption panels
DIY speaker filters


BEDROOM SYSTEM

In case you were wondering, my bedroom is far bigger than my modest listening room. I eschew any form of room treatment here, as I have no desire to end up as a victim of domestic violence.

Source

Mac mini 2012 - 16 GB RAM with Pure Music 1.88
Oppo BDP-103D Blu-ray disc player
Pro-ject Audio 2Xperience Acryl with Sumiko Blackbird High Output MC Cartridge (Speed controlled by the Pro-ject Speed Box II)
Antelope Audio Zodiac Platinum with Voltikus power supply

Amplification

Whest Two phono amp
VAC Signature Mk II preamplifier
Virtue Audio ICEBlock M5001 monoblock amplifiers

Speakers

Thiel CS 2.7
KEF LS50
Monitor Audio GX100
JL Audio E112 subwoofer

Accessories / Tweaks

Cabling

Acoustic Revive Power Max 10000 (Oyaide MTB-6)
2 x Oyaide PA-23 power cord terminated with Wattgate 320i/5266i (Virtue Audio monoblocks)
Acrolink PC 6N-4030 power cord (Antelope Zodiac Platinum)

Wireworld Silver Starlight USB cable (from Mac Mini to Antelope Zodiac Platinum)

Acrolink 7N-S1000 speaker cable (Thiel CS 2.7)
Acrolink 7N-S1400 speaker cable (KEF LS50)

Stands / Support

Target 4 tier rack
Partington Dreadnought Broadside speaker stands (Monitor Audio GX100 / KEF LS50)

Miscallaneous

Oyaide MTB-6 R1 distributor
Sound Affairs Plixir Balanced AC power conditioner BAC 800 and 1200
Acoustic Revive RGC-24 ground conditioner
Acoustic Revive RR-777 pulse generator


Head-Fi

Resonessence Labs Herus DAC and headamp
Audio-Gd NFB-10 ES2 DAC and headamp
Audio-Gd C-2 Class A headamp
Violectric HPA V281 balanced headamp
Schitt Lyr headamp
Audeze LCD-2 Rev 2 headphones
Audio Technica ATH-W5000 "Raffinato" headphones
Beyer DT-880 Premium headphones
Meze 99 Classics headphones
Sennheiser HD 6xx headphones
Shure SR-840 headphones
Sony MDR-Z7 headphones

HOME RECORDING EQUIPMENT

Macbook Pro with Garage Band
Focusrite Saffire 6 USB
Canare and Mogami cabling
Shure SM58 microphone
Audio Technica AT2020 microphone
Behringer ECM8000 (for measurements only)
Sony PCM-D100 portable high resolution audio recorder