Saturday, June 11, 2011

ST's hifi system

To build up the readers' enthusiasm as
I progress along with the write up, I
thought I will start off with a 1st
impression: the emperor's throne!!!!
(The sweet listening spot) Majestic looking
isn't it? The all important listening position
in the hifi room! Lighting was subtly warm
with a tint of yellow. The entrance to the
sound room is a double doored feature with
double walls. Well I thought the sound
will be kept well 'sealed in' and all
extraneous external noise will be unable
to enter the room! Marvelous design for
a hifi listen room!

The side wall featured a combination of
reflective and deflection type wall
treatments. Height and size of which
have been determined by calculations
confirmed with sound measurement
via a purpose made microphone and
recorded & analyzed with computer

The initial construction of the room size,
the height, width and length of which have
been carefully planned out with the assistance
of a friend who understood the working
of room acoustics and know enough about
concert hall sound performance aspects.
The ceiling treatments included a build
in foams and rock wool combination in
a recessed ceiling design. And computer
generated reflection and deflection
panels were used at specific positions
determined after careful measurements
and listening tests that followed.
This's one room where the reverberation
time (RT) have been carefully worked
out in order to suit the listening
behaviour of not only listeners in
their prime age of 40 plus but also
catered for the listening patterns
of aged or elderly persons probably
up the the age of 70 perhaps, I
reckoned. As I'm already approaching
my 60's and I do find the listening
experience very comfortable & lack the
usual extraneous noises that I heard in
so many other sound rooms, where the
RT have seemingly behaved much longer
& had caused muddling and overlapping
of sound especially of the low hz areas!
That's 1 bass notes overlapped into the
next bass notes gave me the impression
of a much longer bass note! And I
thought this always happened to me.
This do not(did not) happen here in
this sound room!!!!! A marvelous
piece of work done, and worth
every effort put in by the owner!
In one simple sentence: Bass Boom
was completely not heard in this
sound room!!!!

All right then, let's look at the main hifi
system. The speakers were a pair of Harbeth
HL5 Super with a pair of ribbon super
tweeters wired up too! The speakers sat
on open frame stands that came purpose
build by Harbeth's local dealer Sam Chan of
Tropical Audio, Setapak, Kuala Lumpur.

The electronic equipments were placed
in the middle spaces between the 2 speakers,
and seated on racks with isolation from
air borne and structural vibrations, all
round and wire cables were kept apart
and from the ground suspended by
rubberised cables. Computer generated
designed foams (diyed) were placed
strategically where the disturbances
in the sound were kept to the minimum!
And confirmed by measurements with
sound picked up microphones and
analysed on charts and graphs!

The source, a Marantz SACD player the SA11S2

The main power came from a Classe Audio
twenty five and the digital to analogue duties
by a Theta DSPro Gen III

Preamplifier: The Chardonnay valve pre amp unit
from Supratek

During the visit, 2 acoustic panels were used on
the floor area, under controlled condition for
experimentation & fact finding purposes!

The overall sound was pleasing and comfortable
with slam on tracks such as Fleetwood Mac's
Dream track. However with tracks such as
from Gorillaz and Blues pop group, the
music punch/slam wasn't sufficient to
bring up the blood pressure, not that
I wanted to burst a few blood vessels!
On classical music replay of Leonard
Berstein's Music at an Exhibition, The
Great Gates of Kiev, from Crystal Cable's
Arabesque Album, I could perceived the
Grand presentation of the whole orchestra
works! With Chinese Music with drums,
the low hz came thru very nicely & with
enough realism of the drum sound
provided by the recent addition
of a Rythmik Audio F12 SE subwoofer!
However, vocals still needed some
work, probably some fine tuning
here and there which is not a
serious issue, and could be
worked out given some time
to work on the setup. Overall the
sound is commendable irrespective
of those minor issues mentioned.
It's a hifi system worth your time
to go listen and to pick up some
good pointers from the owner.
Those who already have the Rythmik
subwoofer and looking into
taming the subwoofer presentation
would well benefit from a listen
to this system. And those who
have bass boom problems
will also benefit from a 1st
hand study and listen to this

The above pictures provided,
courtesy of the owner.
Leica 4/3 system.


  1. Hi ST,

    An eye opener system in treating the room.ST doesn't just use diffuse and absorb but also reflecting.
    1 of the system who doesn't need any rear speaker to be surrounded.
    I can still remember the dog bark that almost come from the rear side.


  2. Hi Kenneth, the reverberation time of the room is already very acceptable to an old geezer like me, so it's probably also a very comfortable listening space even for the much younger listeners too.

  3. Hi Ken and Uncle Vic,

    Sorry guys I didn't thank you guys for the review much earlier. I wasn't so sure of the definition of the right vocal and kept meddling with the system till I have forgotten all about this write-up.

    Anyway, despite the reflector, the dogs are still barking behind my back.


  4. Nice room. Would love to listen to it.

    Btw, there is no such thing as a Leica 4/3 system. Perhaps you mean to say taken with a Leica 4/3 lense?

  5. Hi Anonymous, yes the 4/3 system is a Olympus proprietary system, the other lens manufacturers that signed up with Olympus were then Leica, Sigma and Panasonic. Well I can't really called a Panasonic 4/3 a Olympus 4/3 maybe the closest I could put accurately as Lumix, 4/3 system mounted with Leica lense. Sure it reads longwinded....but....if photographers wanted it the way it should be read....why not! You sure know your photography well!

    About that listen, sure I could arrange with ST, give me a howler: unclevicmy at