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. Buying HIFI guide Go back
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skareb

Joined: Joined: 23 Jun 2006
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Post Post subject: Buying HIFI guide
I'm not sure where to put this write-up but I guess this will fit temporary and hope we can all contribute a little from our HIFI journey. This tread are for those who are about to start their hifi journey if they haven't already bought the wrong things.

I was at a hifishop yesterday and I overheard a sales pitch from the ladyboss. She was doing the demo for the poor customer and he seem so impressed with the setup. For a not so experience listener it'll be first class hi-end sound. I too had fell for it initially when I went out to buy my first setup. There he sat on the sofa centerstage, and the music was so pleasing. It was crystal clear, you can hear the clinggggg and dingggg. I guess the first move to hifi disaster is to shop for transparency. And the trick of the trade is always to play slow audiophile music like jazz.

First timer will always be charmed with the crystal clear and forward or bright sounding setup. And they'll think all their passed collections of CDS will perform the same when they take the whole load back home. Chances are slim that they already own audiophile CDs but instead of the latest pop songs of horrible mix. Chinese genre are to be single out for total nightmare with such bright sounding kit as the mix are I've no idea why but extra bright.

The poor guy will be so dissapointed, when he put in his favourite CD back home, he'll wonder what hit him, why it sounded so over hifi.

Lets analyse what happen. Partly the fault goes to the buyer for NOT doing any research, or maybe he did do his research but
sometimes you cannot blame the buyer entirely as he may not fully understand what it mean being musical, or timing, forward sounding or laidback. And sometimes its the shops fault for not being entirely honest.

Take a look at the behind scene! were the speaker cable used are as thick as TNB's cable? are there hugh power-conditioner and off market powercords and RCA that probably worth more than your entire hifi setup? The shop's demo room are definately tune perfectly with sound damping, carpeting and diffusion board. The speakers are placed far away from back and side walls, please take all these into considerations as they'll make or break a setup. They most likely will make your simply entre level hifi sound like a real hifi becoz these behind things will cost easily few times more than your entire setup.

Why I say sometimes the shop being dishonest? becoz I heard the lady boss telling the buyer the whole setup will only cost him RM5,000.00. But what she didn't tell him was he just audition a RM25,000.00 setup.

Then comes the demo CDs, of coz the shop will play their best behaved CDs for you to audition. So take your own CD for the audition.

OK gotta work now I'll leave the rest to other guys here...

Timing, dynamic, musical, laidback etc etc
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hi5

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Is it at Tong Lee?......
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sonyman

Joined: Joined: 23 Feb 2006
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dont lah like that, say tong lee, though it is really sound like in tong lee, and most of the time tong lee are the ones that dont really tell u the entire setup .
but somehow i didnt buy in the shop.

i bought in the audio show, but i just bought it blindly, but that really paid off with loads of modding and money spend on it.

anyway thats my way.


good guide for those startes at least they will be more carefull and dont blame and suare words to the shop later.

as long as the buyer understands that the moment u put into your so call hifi room , they will never sound the same in the shop.


on the other point of view, how would the shop sell u more things if the setup is plain and simple. and usually a china made amps like soundstage, without proper setup and tuning and modification, they cannot be listen, and you can never impress a walk in customer to stop and listen and buy.

thats y after you buy, then u ask the shop "how come like this one the sound" then the secret reveals itself.

the shop goes," of course lah, you have to add this and that to improve the sound mah."

then the buyer argue back. "then ur shop no put this and no put that"

then the shop says" no no, ur room is smaller not same size, so the sound not the same. thats y the bass like that. then u need to add this and that to improve the sound loh"

the buyer got no choice then say "ok lah how much. this and that, "

then the shop make another few hundred to a thousand more loh

thats the picture.
kind to think of it, im also one of the poor victim.

the other argument is that, if a guy which is looking for a first hifi set, usually wont know much about all the hifi terms, they might have the slightest idea what they are looking for.

but once the guy settle down with what he has, then he start to compare and understand what he wants when he makes that mistakes and spends loads of money to rectify, and consultation from various kind of ppl.

later he will find himself liking one kind of music and just stick to it, thats even worst, hifi is for music enjoying, not for you to restric urself to one kind of music. thats crazy ! in my opinion.

later then he will hate his system when he listen to something better, then he will try to upgrade in no time. well my advise is, b4 u upgrade, look at the pocket first. enought to makan a not b4 u spend.
unless u just listen to ur hifi and dont eat for the rest of the month or so.

then when u have that upgrade u still not satisfy with the current one, the more shops u visit the more u learn how low end ur system is, but always have a clear mind that ppls setup cost different and very different in the price u paid for ur system.

of course, if u have the money, by all means buy the best equipment every now and then, then suddenly all the shops are ur best friend.

what im try to say here is to those mid income ppl with other commitment. so we must face reality.

hopefully this can help clear some ppls mind, so that they understand the process of buying a entry level hifi system,

why i can write this, cause i was the victim! hehe
sonyman

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but kind to think of it, after the bumpy roads to develop the sound that i want to listen to has come a long way. i have learn a lot, a lot, though sometimes i jut find it very tiring to listen to transparency, depth, solid vocal and so on and so on, i just want to go home, pop my favaourite cd and listen to the system and relax with it, i dont want to put my head closer and concentrate on the sound listen whether got staging lah and this and that, once the setup is like this then just enjoy it for the moment.

a lot of consideration must take place as the more u add to the current system, the better it becomes, and every item u add must have improvement. if not it is a waste of money.

next is that, we must have more of skareb's regular sales guy from cmy to let us borrow the equipment to bring back to audiotion the actual sound not in the shop as they are two different worlds, so remember guys, look for who is that person in cmy that lets u bring the system back to test and pay when u want. of course u must take care of the loaned items lah.

of course many ppl have many experience, i think saucy will have much experience to share and also vic. these ppl have achieve nirvana in the audio world, they are like the buddha of hifi.

what i would suggest is that maybe, a systematic approach guide to educate new ppl to buy their first equipment. i can only share a bit on consoling the buyer, as my tech knowledge is rather poor.

but everyone has a distinctive taste. so different ppl setup u might not like, but u know what u are looking for.

how about we make this thread as a guide?

we can use the following
1) valve or transistor ( price per ratio,)
2) room tuning
3) music taste
4) equipment selection pairing
5) speaker placement
6) equipment tuning
7) power conditioning. sharing of other sources like aircond
Cool equipment placement to reduce magnet interference
9) choosing the correct wiring for the equipment
10) how to enjoy the music that u have.
11) setting the mood
12) and so and so forth.

how about it guys.

but technically i would say this would be a rough guide to start of, of course i may be wrong, but what do u guys think of.
skareb

Joined: Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 141
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Wah you guys very sharp ah, well I wont mention name but I can only say I was in the place next to Sg. Wang Wink

I would say the tactic are deceiving, eventho you get what you paid for but they should at least let the customer know that the system they audition was "Turbo charged", instead the poor fella thinking his Rm5k system sounded like that and I can imagine the dissapointment he is into Very Happy

Anyway, you should be very careful when auditioning a system, dont let transparency catch you. It maybe impressive the first few song later in the week you'll grow to hate your hifi. Choose your hifi wisely.

I believe a professional shop (who behave professionally) is a better place to shop, they take care of their customer and they plan to keep you for a long time. But 1st you must built your repo with them also la. I remember I first just walk in blindly into CMY at sg. wang and CK Ng serve me, I told him there and then I just Kepoh only I dont have any budget to buy any hifi but the guy was kind and professional and started introducing me to this and that. He even set up a budget system for me to audition and I spend 2 hours chatting and not buying a single thing and I dont feel any pressure from him either. From then on we became friends and 2 years later I became his customer.

But seriously when you go to a more reliable place they not only sell you things but they are there to solve your problem. Even after you purchase your whole setup and a month later you realize the setup is not to your liking which to your surprise it always happen, you can trade in your set with no penalty. Ok la sound too much like an advertisement already, you just go shop around and try to strike this kinda deal to safe guard yourself.
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saucywkc

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Hi Skareb,

Pls dun mix up transparency with brightness.

Many audiophiles, new or veteran, still DO NOT know how to differentiate between the two.

Brightness covers only the top frequency range while transparency covers the whole spectrum.

Brightness is something bad while transparency is something to strive for!

When one dabbles into serious cables only one would realise what transparency is. IT IS NOT more hi-fq, it is a clearer and deeper view into music.


Regards,
KC
skareb

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Ok sorry my mistake, Surprised Surprised Surprised
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hi5

Joined: Joined: 01 Apr 2006
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My last experience with Tong Lee about last year when my friend about to demo/purchase the 2nd Plinius power amp. Cash is ready, but the way the ladyboss (is it Helen?) treats/answers our questions was unacceptable.

Yeah, we just wearing T-shirt/jeans. Do we need to dress full office attire with neck tie or perhaps with blazer in order to look genuine buyer?.
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Vic

Joined: Joined: 08 Mar 2006
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Cool Hi Guys, KC is rite about the transparency thingie. May I add
that transparency is like ' looking thru a vortex(a big hole) thru to the
music, so real as if there is nothing between you and the music and
the hardware has disappeared! What remains is you and the music,
nothing in between to distract you from the music, the more realistic
the music presentation the more 'transparent' will the sound be
perceived! By the way there is a formula for this..........
the more $$$$ you could spend and more time invested to get
things right....the more 'transparent' the sound......will be....
and the more you feel like listening to your system!
Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
sonyman

Joined: Joined: 23 Feb 2006
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Location: Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia
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hi5 wrote:
My last experience with Tong Lee about last year when my friend about to demo/purchase the 2nd Plinius power amp. Cash is ready, but the way the ladyboss (is it Helen?) treats/answers our questions was unacceptable.

Yeah, we just wearing T-shirt/jeans. Do we need to dress full office attire with neck tie or perhaps with blazer in order to look genuine buyer?.


i think she is jenny, the plump one is it ?
sonyman

Joined: Joined: 23 Feb 2006
Posts: 238
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Vic wrote:
Cool Hi Guys, KC is rite about the transparency thingie. May I add
that transparency is like ' looking thru a vortex(a big hole) thru to the
music, so real as if there is nothing between you and the music and
the hardware has disappeared! What remains is you and the music,
nothing in between to distract you from the music, the more realistic
the music presentation the more 'transparent' will the sound be
perceived! By the way there is a formula for this..........
the more $$$$ you could spend and more time invested to get
things right....the more 'transparent' the sound......will be....
and the more you feel like listening to your system!
Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy


very simple, just close ur eyes or the room light loh, then there are no distraction of the image.

i do that. dont know is that call transparency.
if i turn the light on, i still see my speaker.
hi5

Joined: Joined: 01 Apr 2006
Posts: 109
Location: Kuala Lumpur
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sonyman wrote:
hi5 wrote:
My last experience with Tong Lee about last year when my friend about to demo/purchase the 2nd Plinius power amp. Cash is ready, but the way the ladyboss (is it Helen?) treats/answers our questions was unacceptable.

Yeah, we just wearing T-shirt/jeans. Do we need to dress full office attire with neck tie or perhaps with blazer in order to look genuine buyer?.


i think she is jenny, the plump one is it ?


yes..yes..Jenny!.....but, who's helen..ops Very Happy
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skareb

Joined: Joined: 23 Jun 2006
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Actually reading those hifi mag is a good starting point, you can narrow down your endless search for speakers, amps and CDPs. From your shortlisted shopping list then you go audition each of the equipment. And decide for yourself what you want.

If you're lazy to spend long hours of auditioning then you stand a risk of buying the wrong things or getting the best value for your money. This is nobodys fault but your own.

Almost always, we upgrade from our 1st set up, because after buying our equipment we're happy only for a moment and we realize this and that is not right. Its not to say bad but we learn and our taste become higher. For my personal opinion I find this to be fun, UPGRADING time!!! Very Happy
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Vic

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Cool Sometimes the missus not so happy with the upgrading mood, loh! One look at her face you can get the whole picture! Laughing


Another way around this 'need' to upgrade is to tweak the equipments,
your listening space, visit the ENT doc to have ears clean(no kidding,
the ears could hear so much better after that!). Laughing


Yet another way is to go visiting and see what else are out 'there' and
we will be contented and feel happy with what we have. However, the
sisk is there that we may also want to upgrade somemore after
listening sessions that tell us the 'truth'!
vincent_audio

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Post Post subject: Re: Buying HIFI guide
skareb wrote:
I'm not sure where to put this write-up but I guess this will fit temporary and hope we can all contribute a little from our HIFI journey. This tread are for those who are about to start their hifi journey if they haven't already bought the wrong things.

I was at a hifishop yesterday and I overheard a sales pitch from the ladyboss. She was doing the demo for the poor customer and he seem so impressed with the setup. For a not so experience listener it'll be first class hi-end sound. I too had fell for it initially when I went out to buy my first setup. There he sat on the sofa centerstage, and the music was so pleasing. It was crystal clear, you can hear the clinggggg and dingggg. I guess the first move to hifi disaster is to shop for transparency. And the trick of the trade is always to play slow audiophile music like jazz.

First timer will always be charmed with the crystal clear and forward or bright sounding setup. And they'll think all their passed collections of CDS will perform the same when they take the whole load back home. Chances are slim that they already own audiophile CDs but instead of the latest pop songs of horrible mix. Chinese genre are to be single out for total nightmare with such bright sounding kit as the mix are I've no idea why but extra bright.

The poor guy will be so dissapointed, when he put in his favourite CD back home, he'll wonder what hit him, why it sounded so over hifi.

Lets analyse what happen. Partly the fault goes to the buyer for NOT doing any research, or maybe he did do his research but
sometimes you cannot blame the buyer entirely as he may not fully understand what it mean being musical, or timing, forward sounding or laidback. And sometimes its the shops fault for not being entirely honest.

Take a look at the behind scene! were the speaker cable used are as thick as TNB's cable? are there hugh power-conditioner and off market powercords and RCA that probably worth more than your entire hifi setup? The shop's demo room are definately tune perfectly with sound damping, carpeting and diffusion board. The speakers are placed far away from back and side walls, please take all these into considerations as they'll make or break a setup. They most likely will make your simply entre level hifi sound like a real hifi becoz these behind things will cost easily few times more than your entire setup.

Why I say sometimes the shop being dishonest? becoz I heard the lady boss telling the buyer the whole setup will only cost him RM5,000.00. But what she didn't tell him was he just audition a RM25,000.00 setup.

Then comes the demo CDs, of coz the shop will play their best behaved CDs for you to audition. So take your own CD for the audition.

OK gotta work now I'll leave the rest to other guys here...

Timing, dynamic, musical, laidback etc etc


trust me, even if u buy every single item back to your house including the sofa and carpet. The sound will not be the same. This doesn't mean it will sound bad or good.

Most of us who are into Hi-Fi knows that room acoustic is an important factor. Room size, shape and ur wall thickness !!! hehehe. Even with the same room size and make, it's still the skill of the person who setup. There are just too many factors which contribute into good music besides the gear.

Getting the right gear is the first step. The journey will never end Smile

sometimes you cannot say the shop is not being honest. To engineers, cable is cable. I have friends who laugh at me because I spend thousands in cables. You try to tell them how a RM100 is different from RM1000? no way they will buy that. A lot of ppl doesn't even know wat does a power regulator does, as long as they get 230v, who cares about the quality of the power? Try explaining that to them, they will think u r trying to sell more stuff to them. You will sure scare them away.

some kids in Lowyat.net forum thinks they can make better cables than cardas and transparent, wat can i say. The secret according to them is the braiding technique. Rolling Eyes
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