Monday, 26 October 2009

Tinkering with my hi-fi system

Quite a busy weekend for me. About two weeks ago, I got my hands on a pair of second-hand table-top Wharfedale 9.1 speakers from a hi-fi enthusiast in Bukit Mertajam. They were still in pristine condition and going for a very good price. Problem was, I didn't have any pair of decent speaker cables on hand. The existing cables for my Bose Acoustimass 5.1 speakers were all running behind my wall cabinet and it would be impossible to strip them out.

Rummaging through my box of cables uncovered only some black, nameless cables from the past. Ah, well, perhaps they'd do for the moment. Unfortunately, the Wharfes sounded truly horrible and terrible. So much so that I avoided playing my music through them. There was no choice but to source for some good speaker cables.

They finally arrived last Wednesday, six metres of the basic QED Micro speaker cables, but I was required to collect them from the local post office. WTF, I muttered to myself. As if the wait for the cables to arrive from England was not long enough, I now had to wait an extra day to collect the package. A friend in Kuala Lumpur, who ordered from the same online store two days after I did, received his package on the same day as me! But of course, he lives in KL and I live in the nation's backwaters known as Bukit Mertajam.

Anyhow, I managed to splice them up carefully and then connected the Wharfedale speakers to my old Technics SU-A900 amplifier with its output of 90 watts per channel, put a few of my regular compact discs through my old Arcam Alpha One CD player and a few records on my old Rega Planar 3 turntable, and turned up the volume. Yes, I know, all my hi-fi equipment are old stuff but I assure you, there is still life in them and they will give any new equipment a good run for the money! Boy, was I blown away with the new sonic experience. Admittedly, the in-your-face sound was different from the old, spatial Bose experience.

I'll tell you some of the CDs I was listening to: Dave Grusin's Mountain Dance, Weather Report's Birdland, Diana Krall's The Look Of Love, CSN's Helplessly Hoping, Noel Quinlan's Middle Kingdom, Harry Belafonte's Cu Cu Ru Cu Paloma, The Dave Brubeck Quartet's Take Five, The Three Tenors Concert of 1994, the Hongkong Welsh Male Voice Choir and Wynton Marsalis playing Haydn's Trumpet Concerto. Enough for me to salivate for more.


stephen said...

A friend of mine who's really into HiFi makes speaker cables, interconnects and power cables.I dumped my straightwire virtuoso,MIT and audioquest diamonds for his cables.They were that good.Amazing sonic staging and outstanding vocals.
Use separate cables for the low and high speaker inputs to fully realise the capability of the speaker.The highs especially will sound airier.
My present system is rather old too, Wilson speakers,Audio Research VT150 monoblocks,Reference Two preamp,SonicFrontiers CD and some power filter I can't remember.I don't listen to them nowadays,rather i get high on my JVC minicompo with wood speaker cones!! Wish I could get my money back!

Quah, Seng-Sun said...

Stephen, you put my little system to shame but then, I never aspire to compete with other people's hi-fi systems. That's why I've been stuck on my entry-level equipment for so long and only decided on the new secondhand speakers just because they were going cheaply!

Monoblocks. Wow!

Mini Compo Purist said...

hmmm... I wonder how much better my 1989 Sharp Mini Compo with double cassette decks would sound if i replace the speaker 'wires' with them QEDs..... hmmm...