07 December, 2008



Last Saturday after yumcha I had an appointment with an art/music lover whose "study" (in an industrial building) I had long wanted to visit. His place was close to whlee's place, where we had to be in the evening, and that was why the appointment was made that day.

The host is a person in need of privacy, and so no photos for now. I thank him for allowing sokps and jules to come too. My primary aim that afternoon was to look at the art collection, but then things went quickly the hifi way, and I was surprised by the host's hi-end gear and fever history. That was unexpected as he neve gave me the impression that he was like that!

The loft is hugh and open, but decorated in "retro" fashion and used mostly for displaying the art collection; you can feel the care behind the various installations. Although a museum unto itself, there is still a casual, homey feel, and I like that. I felt intruding when we arrived, as the host's charming wife was playing on the guqing and his mother practising calligraphy! I instantly thought of 风鸣—康格尔,our guqing-playing bookworm friend!

Instead of giving us a quick survey of his art collection, the host eagerly introduced us to his hifi, confined to one corner roughly 20 x 10 ft! As he is an accomplished amateur cellist, he has several celli stowed away in the corners to help with the sound. The system is hi-end but deceptively simple:

--KRELL KPS 25 SC CD player/Preamplifier (the host had tried Rowland preamp before but preferred the Krell's preamp out)
--Rowland 8 Battery powered monoblocks (4 pcs, like Cello Performance)
--DUNTECH Sovereign (website)
--all hooked up with thin "Au" cables unknown to me.

The host told us that after the speakers were unloaded he then realized he could not move them, and so they stayed a few ft from the front wall, about 6 ft apart, surely not ideal placement. BUT, although the system had not warmed up, I was immediately taken by the sound of the monstrous Duntech, at > 6ft taller than any of us. There was at once a richness in layering that only big speakers can (yet often fail to) deliver. Ben Webster, Nat King Cole and Sarah Vaughn were all mellifluous. Belafonte's chorus souded so textured that it shamed reproduction by big Magnepans (owner used Magiies before too).

Most enticing was the stunning reproduction of the piano playing of Pludermacher in this out-of-print Milstein Last Recital.

To cap it off, we requested a big piece, and the fearless host played us Solti's Mahler 8th. Although the Rowland 8 was clearly panting and I heard clipping, this was definitely the piece de resistance of the afternoon. I have never heard such richly layered Mahler 8th anywhere.

The DUNTECH Sovereign is a magnificent achievement. I hope one day I shall have the chance to own this speaker. make sure you click the website provided and also click the reviews (you'll find a blip by HP of TAS).

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