2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 1334 times.

mresseguie

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3306
  • D Sachs amp/pre + Daedalus Audio Speakers = HEAVEN
Hello.

Just a couple days ago I got an invite to attend the 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show. My wife and I only just arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday morning, so this will be a great kick-off to my stay. Today is the first day, and my dear wife has graciously allowed me approximately 5 hours to wander the halls and drool over goodies that I'll likely never be able to afford. I anticipate attending on the 19th if I don't sate my thirst today. There are three or four floors of exhibits with approximately 40 rooms per floor, so there's a lot of stuff to cover.

This will be the second time I've attended this show. Fridays tend to be a bit slow and under-attended (which is fine by me!) giving me a chance to chat with reps and salespeople. I will snap pics of noteworthy equipment - especially when I find gems that aren't normally seen in N. America.

Last year I counted a total of 6 foreigners (excluding myself) during two days of attendance - only one of whom was able to speak Mandarin. I wonder how many I'll see this year.

My apologies, but I'm really not into art, so you'll get no commentary from me on the art displays.

If you have any requests concerning audio gear/brands, let me know. I'll keep a look out for the gear.

Link (Chinese only, I'm afraid.)
http://audio.teca.org.tw

This is a much better link. It shows many of the manufacturers/products that will be presented at the show.
http://audio.teca.org.tw/?page_id=419

mresseguie

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3306
  • D Sachs amp/pre + Daedalus Audio Speakers = HEAVEN
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #1 on: 17 Nov 2017, 07:32 am »
Quick thoughts and/or observations while they're fresh.

Yamaha NS-5000 three-way speakers: even with a lot of acoustics treatment in the room, these speakers were uncomfortably bright. Not my cup of tea.

Burmester: speakers, amp, DAC were all Burmester. The sound was fantastic. The rep in the room didn't know a damned thing about the speakers.

Mo Audio: Taiwan manufacturer...big three-way with dual 8" woofers, Be mid dome and Be dome tweeter. I swear the mid and tweeter are based on the old Yamaha NS-1000 speaker. These sound great, but are priced at $39,000 USD.

Pics later.
« Last Edit: 19 Nov 2017, 10:16 am by mresseguie »

JakeJ

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3029
  • Occasionally mentally constipated.
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #2 on: 17 Nov 2017, 05:31 pm »
Awesome, Micheal!  Thanks for reporting.  Looking forward to seeing your snapshots.

mresseguie

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3306
  • D Sachs amp/pre + Daedalus Audio Speakers = HEAVEN
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #3 on: 18 Nov 2017, 11:11 am »
NS-5000


Check out the classy speaker stands. Look at the poster above the speakers. Do you see the tweeter and midrange drivers of the old NS-1000? Good. Now look at the Mo Audio speakers. You tell me I'm imagining things.


The music coming out of these speakers was (gotta be careful with my adjectives)....phenomenal. I don't use this adjective to describe systems very often because most systems don't sound phenomenal to me. I stayed for classical, Jazz, female vocals, and some Asian drums. I don't know if it was hi-res, MQA, DSD, or ???, but it sounded wonderful. The price tags for the different components individually were higher than my entire system's price tag, so I didn't bother writing them down. Next time I have a few million dollars cash sitting in my checking account (and assuming I already have a Ferrari), I'll remember Burmester. :roll:




The above photo is a pair of speakers made by Mo Audio of Taiwan. When I walked into the room, I did a double-take upon seeing the tweeters and mid-range drivers. I thought I was looking at Yamaha Be drivers from the old NS-500 and NS-1000 models. I still think that's what they are. The guy who was demonstrating them (company owner??) wouldn't say where they came from. He would only admit that they are imported and that both were Be dome drivers. I didn't wish to be rude, so I didn't pester him.

Anyway, they're 3-ways with dual 8" woofers in a cabinet that reminded me of a pair of Salk speakers. The price for these? $1,200,000 NTD (New Taiwan Dollars) which is about $39k USD!! I did not laugh. I just shook my head in shock and thanked him for the conversation. They sounded good, but they did not sound like $39k speakers.


THL Audio is probably my favorite audio shop in Taiwan. It's a privately owned shop that has been in business for something like 30 years. It's a combination of Madisound, Parts Express, and Selah Audio all rolled into one store. You want a driver? They sell most of them. You want Deuland caps? They sell them. You want well made speakers with X, Y, and Z drivers? They'll build them for you.

The above speakers got their start as SBAcoustics Rinjani speakers [ http://www.sbacoustics.com/index.php/sb-acoustics-kits/sba-satori-rinjani/  ]. Then, the head speaker guy reworked the crossovers until he was satisfied with the results. I listened to them for a while. They sound a little tamer than I remember my Adelphos two-ways as sounding, but it may be due to the Elekit tube amp that was powering them. Dunno.

I visit the shop at least once a year just to see what is happening in their 'filled-to-the-brim' showroom. They've got a couple specials on Deuland silver speaker cables running right now. I'm mighty tempted to buy a pair of 2.5m cables to compare them to my TWL cables.



JakeJ

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3029
  • Occasionally mentally constipated.
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #4 on: 18 Nov 2017, 03:07 pm »
Michael,

Thanks for the pics and synopsis of the show.  More if you revisit on Sunday (I guess it will be Monday for you?).

And for pete's sake take some snaps and post them of the "filled to the brim" showroom at THL Audio!  We who do not travel live vicariously through those who do.

Couldn't hurt if you snap a few around Taipei for that matter.

Best,
Jake

mresseguie

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3306
  • D Sachs amp/pre + Daedalus Audio Speakers = HEAVEN
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #5 on: 18 Nov 2017, 04:32 pm »
Hi, Jake.

I've been debating the value of my returning for a second go round tomorrow. This year's show is noticeably smaller than last year's. There must be 30 or so art rooms this year, and many of the big dealers/manufacturers were not present yesterday. Geez, even the number of HT rooms is down this time, and I don't even go into those rooms.

Here are a couple 'discoveries from yesterday:

Some engineer has made vibration absorbing discs that you place under speakers - the spikes rest in them. The outside of these discs is brass. I was told there were other materials inside, but no details were given. [It could be pixie dust.] The price for each was 499 Euros. Of course, one must buy 8 of them for two speakers. WTF? 4000 Euros! Really?  :nono:

There's a dealer who does the audio show circuit in Taiwan - Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung each year. His style is very similar to what a carnival barker or a night market vendor uses. His speakers are all two-way monitors with Audio Technology midwoofers with xxx tweeters. Last year the tweeters were the very nice Transducer Labs. This year they appeared to be Hiquphon. These are all really nice and expensive drivers, right? Well, he sticks them in thin walled cabinets which are poorly braced. He used the cheapest speaker wire connectors. The cabinet finish is okay. Very little music is played. It's mostly the guy loudly telling listeners how great his speakers are. I didn't bother entering his room yesterday.

There are two tube amp manufacturers who really seem to know their craft. They make a wide variety of amps/preamps/integrateds and they have been churning out gear for years. They are www.galatech.com.tw and www.laaudio.com.tw.

There's a different company that makes a couple low powered tube amps, kit speakers and three(?) ready made speakers. One of the speakers looks exactly like the Zaph Audio SR71. I believe it is the SR71, but I'm not going to buy one just so I can dismantle it to prove it. Madisound sells the kit for $369 sans cabinets. The pair in Taiwan costs a cool $1000 USD. The cabinets are cheap quality. They do sound very nice btw. I can see why the SR71 is a popular design.

What else? Oh, Taiwanese audiophiles love Focal, B&W, Dynaudio and Magico speakers. It's difficult for other manufacturers to attract as much attention as these four get.

Oh, yeah. There was a guy who was selling a pair of speakers that are made in Holland. They're ~5 ft tall floorstanders with a big 12"(?) paper woofer and a small super tweeter. They sound great. How great? Eva Cassidy was playing as I walked past the doorway. I'm a sucker for her voice and I've heard it on a good hundred different speakers in the last three years. This time was special - like she was there...resurrected or something. I had to walk in. They're field coil speakers with a massive power supply that comes with the speakers.  They're crazy expensive, but...wow :drool:....Link:  http://madisonaudio531.com/?portfolio=musical-affairs-2

Time to sleep.
« Last Edit: 19 Nov 2017, 10:36 am by mresseguie »

JakeJ

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3029
  • Occasionally mentally constipated.
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #6 on: 18 Nov 2017, 05:42 pm »
Wow! interesting stuff over ther.  Thanks much for posting.

aldcoll

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 584
  • Champagne Taste on a Water Budget
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #7 on: 18 Nov 2017, 06:08 pm »
So will you have your own both next year?

mresseguie

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3306
  • D Sachs amp/pre + Daedalus Audio Speakers = HEAVEN
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #8 on: 18 Nov 2017, 11:10 pm »
So will you have your own booth next year?

LOL! Alan,

I definitely fantasized my doing that last year, but the reality is that it would be a very expensive undertaking and I would very likely make no money from it. Now that my D Sachs gear is going to stay in OR/WA for the next few years, I'm even less inclined to think about a room.

mresseguie

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3306
  • D Sachs amp/pre + Daedalus Audio Speakers = HEAVEN
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #9 on: 18 Nov 2017, 11:20 pm »
More tidbits/reflections:

In the past few years I've heard KEF LS-50 passive speakers four times. Each time was in a different room with different gear. The one constant was my dislike for the sounds I heard. I just couldn't understand why folks like them.........There was a KEF room yesterday that I actually walked right past the first time. However, I decided to check it out on my second round of the rooms. Sure enough, the LS-50s were playing. I told myself I'd give them a couple minutes to try once again to fathom their popularity.

And....

They
Sounded
Pretty
Damned
Good! :o

Only there was one important difference this time - these were the active/powered LS-50 speakers. Holy shit! They do sound good. JLM's comments on his experience with powered vs passive speakers came flooding back into my mind. [Good one, Jeff! You're correct!]

There's another discovery that is lurking in my mind, but first I must have some coffee to get the cobwebs out of my mind.

mresseguie

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3306
  • D Sachs amp/pre + Daedalus Audio Speakers = HEAVEN
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #10 on: 19 Nov 2017, 02:16 am »
My ADD is working overtime...

There was a JBL room in which one could listen to the M2 and M7 (708P) speakers. I walked in three times. The first time there was no music. The reps were still setting up. The next time everything appeared ready, but still no music. Ho hum. The third time they were in the groove. The M2 were playing and they sounded 'right'. You could only listen to their music unfortunately, but I understood why jtwrace bought his and sold off his other gear. [I'm not ready to do this myself.] The simplicity of not having to mess with all the gear and cabling...I can see more companies heading in this direction.


FullRangeMan

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 12066
  • All Tweeters look like a target, then shoot them!
    • Never go to a psychiatrist, adopt a straycat or dog. On the street they live only two years average.
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #11 on: 19 Nov 2017, 02:27 am »
Any exciting SE tube amp Michael:?

J-W

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 5
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #12 on: 19 Nov 2017, 08:25 am »
The end-of-year audio show is unfortunately timed. In the city of Taipei this is the third audio show in the same year. The organizer tried to draw more crowd by combining art exhibitions. This strategy however doesn’t seem to work because consumers of these two sectors differ.

Some local audio equipment makers therefore chose not to participate in the event. For example, Alex Chen of Tube Fan Studio (http://www.tubefan.com.tw and https://www.facebook.com/tubefan) opted out of the winter show, holding individual listening sessions instead in a café nearby. A distributor of Mundorf and other hi-end components, TFS offers their own speakers and single ended amps (300B, 2A3, KT150, etc.) of proprietary circuits. A nice-sounding DAC has just been completed, and a phono stage will be on offer soon. To my ears TSF amps produce a holographic soundstage and excellent musicality. Alex also works with KR Audio fine-tuning their tubes. Not the highest of hi-end in terms of price, but entirely listenable and very pleasant to the ears and eyes. 

This time we also did not have a chance to hear the exquisite sound from the fine amplifiers made by Sideways Eight Audio Labs (http://s8audiolabs.com and https://www.facebook.com/S8-Audio-Labs-vacuum-tube-audio-757020074332297/). I have listened to their EL84 PP and other amps before, which make absolutely gorgeous music when mated with proper speakers. Mr Hsu, owner of S8 Audio Labs, is a knowledgeable tube fanatic who tirelessly perfects his proprietary circuits. His room is always a delight amongst the sea of sterile sound offered by dealers trying so hard to impress their potential customers with chunky equipment and impressive metalwork or exotic finish.

I’m sure you’ve found that reel to reel tape has been on the rise in Taiwan for some time, as with the trends elsewhere. Yu Shao-fa (https://illusionofsound.blogspot.tw and https://www.facebook.com/groups/1727990697428351/) is an R2R perfectionist and now a regular in audio show. When I entered their room yesterday, I thought I actually heard someone singing and humming. His R2R work is first class and produces truly life-like analogue sound that keeps listening fatigue away.

Some other companies, like Arte Forme (http://www.arteformaaudio.com.tw and https://www.facebook.com/arteformaaudio/) tend to join audio shows in Kaohsiung in the south of the island.

Some stick to factory direct mode and don't do audio shows at all, like W&L Audio (http://tubeaudio.netfirms.com). Although I haven’t tried W&L’s amps, I’m very keen to hear their original circuit design based on rarely used tubes that still have plenty of NOS supply. WL-313 Milestones series is their popular low wattage line, which utilizes Western Electricity 313 tube as rectifiers. Their recent offering is a PP amp based on EL86/LL86 with 25w-45w output depending on configuration. W&L is said to have earned a cult following, but for this particular company I guess you will use their 10-day return policy for an audition rather than attending an audio show.


   
« Last Edit: 19 Nov 2017, 02:56 pm by J-W »

maty

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1139
    • Nauscopio Scipiorum
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #13 on: 19 Nov 2017, 10:13 am »
More tidbits/reflections:

In the past few years I've heard KEF LS-50 passive speakers four times. Each time was in a different room with different gear. The one constant was my dislike for the sounds I heard. I just couldn't understand why folks like them.........There was a KEF room yesterday that I actually walked right past the first time. However, I decided to check it out on my second round of the rooms. Sure enough, the LS-50s were playing. I told myself I'd give them a couple minutes to try once again to fathom their popularity.

With my cheap tweaked KEF Q100 the sound is very very good. They need 200 hours or more of burning because the speakers suspension is very rigid! New they sound very very bad. Probably the same happens with the  KEF LS50.

And the KEF LS50 has rear bass-reflex. Over there I have read several times that these need at least 90 cm (35") away from ALL the walls, not just the back ones.

mresseguie

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 3306
  • D Sachs amp/pre + Daedalus Audio Speakers = HEAVEN
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #14 on: 19 Nov 2017, 11:00 am »
The end-of-year audio show is unfortunately timed. In the city of Taipei this is the third audio show in the same year. The organizer tried to draw more crowd by combining art exhibitions. This strategy however doesn’t seem to work because the consumers of these two sectors differ.

Some local audio equipment makers therefore chose not to participate in the event. For example, Alex Chen of Tube Fan Studio (http://www.tubefan.com.tw and https://www.facebook.com/tubefan) opted out of the winter show, holding individual listening sessions instead in a café nearby. A distributor of Mundorf and other hi-end components, TFS offers their own speakers and single ended amps (300B, 2A3, KT150, etc.) of proprietary circuits. A nice-sounding DAC has just been completed, and a phono stage will be on offer soon. To my ears TSF amps produce a holographic soundstage and excellent musicality. Alex also works with KR Audio fine-tuning their tubes. Probably not the highest of hi-end (esp in terms of price), but entirely listenable and very pleasant to the ears and eyes. 

This time we also did not have a chance to hear the exquisite sound from the fine amplifiers made by Sideways Eight Audio Labs (http://s8audiolabs.com and https://www.facebook.com/S8-Audio-Labs-vacuum-tube-audio-757020074332297/). I have listened to their EL84 PP and other amps before, which make absolutely gorgeous music when mated with proper speakers. Mr Hsu, owner of S8 Audio Labs, is a knowledgeable tube fanatic who tirelessly perfects his proprietary circuits. His room is always a delight amongst the sea of sterile sound offered by dealers trying so hard to impress their potential customers with chunky equipment and impressive metalwork or exotic finish.

I’m sure you’ve found that reel to reel tape has been on the rise in Taiwan for some time, as with the trends elsewhere. Yu Shao-fa (https://illusionofsound.blogspot.tw and https://www.facebook.com/groups/1727990697428351/) is an R2R perfectionist and now a regular in audio show. When I entered their room yesterday, I thought I actually heard someone singing and humming. His R2R work is first class and produces truly life-like analogue sound that keeps listening fatigue away.

Some other companies, like Arte Forme (http://www.arteformaaudio.com.tw and https://www.facebook.com/arteformaaudio/) tend to join audio shows in Kaohsiung in the south of the island.

Some stick to factory direct mode and don't do audio shows at all, like W&L Audio (http://tubeaudio.netfirms.com). Although I haven’t tried W&L’s amps, I’m very keen to hear their original circuit design based on rarely used tubes that still have plenty of NOS supply. WL-313 Milestones series is their popular low wattage line, which utilizes Western Electricity 313 tube as rectifiers. Their recent offering is a PP amp based on EL86/LL86 with 25w-45w output depending on configuration. W&L is said to have earned a cult following, but for this particular company I guess you will use their 10-day return policy for an audition rather than attending an audio show.

Hello, J-W.

Thank you for posting this information and providing links.

I'm afraid I have only just scratched the surface of Taiwan manufactured audio gear. I was not aware of W&L Audio, Illusion of Sound, and S8 Audio Labs. These three are all new to me. I will research them before trying to locate them.

By any chance, were the Tube Fan Audio individual listening sessions held at Taste Cafe? I visited it nearly two years ago. I really enjoyed my visit. I only stepped on the carpeted area with my shoes still on one time before I noticed the sign asking everyone to remove their shoes.  :oops:

Again, thank you for posting here. I love learning of new (to me) manufacturers. I have much to learn about tube equipment.

Michael

J-W

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 5
Re: 2017 Taipei International Audio & Art Show Nov. 17, 18 & 19
« Reply #15 on: 19 Nov 2017, 02:43 pm »
My pleasure. Just offering some observations to complement your nice show reports. Yes the TFS listening sessions were in Taste Cafe. Owner is a friendly guy so don't worry too much about shoes. But in your next visit do take a good look at the remarkable Zorin Audio turntable and the excellent air-bearing tonearm (https://www.facebook.com/ZorinAudio/) that are in use.

I chatted with Alex at the cafe yesterday. He patiently smiled at my post-show grumblings before pointing out various problems for dealers/audio makers. Power supply at the Grand Hotel (the venue) for instance can be tricky due to different hotel electricity usage between morning and afternoon. Average consumers like me probably wouldn’t care to think about it, but it has created a huge challenge for vendors.
 
As you can tell I’m a little partial to tube. But on the SS side I've been interested in DA-T’s (http://www.da-t.com) Class D amps. Their most recent products, Q-18 and Q-23, are combinations of DAC and power amp in small-ish cubicles in pursuit of shortest possible signal paths. An intriguing approach, but they did not participate in the winter event so I might wait until next year to hear the results.