Monday, April 21, 2014

Renovating Sound Fusion Kuching

It has been 2 years since I've been demonstrating in my W13.5 x L23.5 room with a OS fixed frame 100" screen. 

It is time to move on to a totally new business concept. The feature wall holding my 50" plasma has to come down. No TV has the match for a big projector screen (size to price ratio, projector is always the best as compared to television). 

This renovation project should take me 3 weeks for all renovation work and another 1 to 2 months to get all new gears installed and calibrated (HAA and ISF) according to THX specification for home theater. 
Constructing the right wall with a display shelf on the outer portion. 

Wall uses 12.5mm gypsum boards while ceiling uses 10mm gypsum boards. 

A new ceiling design with led strips. 
The new size will be W16 x L27. A 160" Screen Innovation reference lunar maestro G1.1 Acoustic Transparent screen will be used in this new showroom. 

I have short listed to either go for sony 4K or jvc whichever gives me the best bang for the buck. 

Front wall, ceiling and side walls will be treated to make sure the ETC read outs within 350-400ms. 

Tentatively a 9.4 setup with premium pre-amp and 2 units of 7x450 power amp. Equipment list will be reviewed at a later stage. 

Two rows of seats with the rear row with a height raise by 8". 

Karaoke system as well as ECLER professional audio system will be showcase at this new room. 
So stay tuned for more exciting renovation updates. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Moving forward as Custom Installer

Having attended my second HAA session in Shenzhen on 19-22nd March has gained further knowledge in providing Custom Installation with Full calibration service. 

Working closely with our own in house architect and interior design with experience in building high end home cinema without burning too deep into your pocket is our motto. You can be assured that our design and installation will exceed all retailers in the market. 

As an associate member of the HAA(Home Acoustic Alliance) network, we shares technical knowledge and solve common mistakes many others have made. 

Why is HAA different from THX as many has asked me. Well, the simple answer is THX sets all the standards while HAA calibrator will design, build and most importantly calibrate the sound according all the standards set by THX. 

Many may know the standards but many also do not comply during the building stage because designer, builders and contractors aren't aware of the strict standards set by THX and HAA. 

The worse part of audio or video calibration is when your installer uses his eyes or ears to calibrate and completed the calibration without any proven pre and post calibration reports. 

Wondering how a Rm100k system can outperform a Rm1Million system, drop by sound fusion in May 2014 and experience for yourself. Our demo room will be HAA certified studio. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sneak peak into The Starke Sound IW-H3

Starke Sound Halo3 IW version, while settings its own level in the Home Cinema Market, it will be a a different gameplay in all of the HT market. 

Designed & Built from the ground up specially for Custom Installer, it carries a 10 Years manufacturer warranty. This proves how confident Starke Sound has in its product by giving their customers a peace of mind when purchasing Starke Sound.

Carefully packed in a double box packing to protect the heavy (14kgs) speaker panels. You will be amazed by how carefully Starke Sound packs their product; this shows the dedication in product quality. 

All parts are being designed and crafted using high tech CNC Process and hand installed to the greatest precision. 

The exterior is important to attract audience but what really matters is also how the internal component is being designed to produce such prestige speaker. 

There are speakers that utilize horn tweeter but if not careful, it will cause more harm than good. At Starke Sound, the engineers choose a different path by re-designing the best tweeter system to produce a very cinematic feel yet not over exaggerates on the high frequency which can cause annoying yet unfulfilling pitches. 

The front speaker panel is being casted with solid Aluminium to counter vibration and reduce resonance if not being installed carefully. 

Installing Starke Sound IW is a breeze if you have built the front baffled wall in accordance to the specifications being provided in the installation manual. 
I choose to custom made my own enclosures using high density compressed fiber board. Laminating a dual 18mm layered board, I have a thickness of 36mm on all 5 sides. Sealing all gaps with silicon to ensure no air leak is possible. With the Starke Sound Halo 3 IW Series being mounted to my custom enclosure, the nett weight for each speaker is about 30kgs each. 

In my L26xW16xH11 feet room, the maximum SPL for all of LCR can go as high as 110dB with ease.

Starke Sound will be launching its official Halo Series 3 worldwide soon. Please stay tuned for product launch date and information. 

What determines high end?

What truly determines a high end setup? Is it the amount one spent in buying expensive equipment higher than others who can't afford to spend as much as oneself?

Audio & video equipment are important if you want to setup a high end audio room. But who determines what is high end and what is not? Many will buy things based on reviews for one reason only; that is you cannot get to listen to a perfectly setup system in most dealers' showroom. Either the products the dealer is selling is not all compatible with one another or they do not have the proper knowledge to help you design and custom install everything including post installation work such as tuning and calibration. 

Different equipment produces different characteristics and no one can determine if your mid budget system is not as good as a high end system if you have great calibrators at work to assist you in the designing, building, installation and finally tuning and calibration. 

Never judge equipment by the price. Listen and see for yourself. Experience the ultimate true cinematic feel in a properly setup room. You can spent millions but without proper environment and room acoustic calibration, your high end equipment is only good in its price, nothing more. 
So next time when you were to be invited to a friend's house to audit their system, please listen with an open heart and do not ask what equipment they bought and spent. Listen and judge by its performance. It's the same as someone who invited you to take a ride in his million dollars sports car but he's a lousy driver. You won't feel the performance but rather feel like throwing out your breakfast that you just consumed. 

To me, high end is when your system is properly calibrated and with frequency response blends perfectly with the environment and is able to reproduce what movies directors' intention to their audience and people will forget they are actually watching movies but as part of the character in the movie itself. This is what a good high end system should resembles. 

No offense to all high end users but a word of advice to listen with an open heart. Never use money to press among those who can't afford more than yours. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Starke Sound HALO Series SR3

The most common mistake installers and users made is chosen the wrong type of speaker for their surround sound. Many has neglected the surround thinking it isn't as important as long as it's providing the surround effect; who cares about how the sound quality as long as there is sound effect from the Front to the rear speakers.

My visit to many houses have proven the above fact accurate (neglected the importance of matching sound with the LCR). Choosing the right surround is important yet the positioning of the mounting point is even more crucial. Many has installed surround at ceiling corners because they were trying to hide the speakers. When installed at an improper height or position; while watching a race car scene, you can hear the race car passes you and fly towards the sky, how hilarous!

With many surround speakers in the market, which is the best? If you were to ask me, I would say STARKE Sound SR3 as value for money vs performance! WHY? Believe it or not, with the same amout of money spent, you can get better performance when comparing to other surround out there. By utilizing floor stand or bookshelf speakers for surround, you would think it is so much better than a bipole; but you will change your decision once you have heard SR3.

I've intentionally setup SR3 by placing it above a pair of my floorstand speaker (same price range or even slightly higher price range of the SR3). Almost all customers who audited the setup thinks the sound is being produced by the floor stander rather than the small SR3 bipole speakers (turning their heads during the audition because the rear soundstage is so wide that they can't resist but to check out what's going on back there!) But they are amazed on how wide the staging is. This is due to the unique designed by carefully aligning the high and mid range driver on the SR3. When properly done, you can get the SR3 to beat any speakers within the same price range and yet give you much better staging and definition. Calibration is important here to get the subwoofers to properly blend in so that you feel the punch coming from all directions and even from the back. The crossover between the LCR and rear with the subwoofers has to be properly calibrated or EQ to get the best out of the whole setup.

Comparing bookshelf speakers, floorstand speakers and bipole, SR3 gives you the Best Bang for the BUCK! Stay tune for more review on these amazing product from STARKE SOUND HALO Series - A Class of its Own !

The Ultimate Home Cinema Speaker

Introducing the new breed of speaker that stands in a different class, StarkeSound Halo Series 3. 

I was introduced to this thrilling product by a good friend of mine (Spring Qin from Yosemine) who distribute home theater products across the globe. I was searching for decent priced home cinema speakers for my own home but couldn't decide on any of those I am carrying not because they aren't good enough BUT because I wanted something different. Something I can hide behind the screen and that is THX capable with LCR setup. I audited many home cinema products such as MK150Mk2, Klipsch KL650, most floor stand speakers and studio design speakers but can't get one to my liking. Most decent priced European speakers are too gentle for movie and klipsch although loud but sounded a tad too thin  while the new MK sounded a bit on the gentle side and too studio liked when I audited in the Hong Kong and shanghai AV show. For LCR that cost below RM20k, I opted for Starke Sound Halo Series 3.

Finally, decided to give it a try and made a call to my friend who managed to hook me up and exclusively give me a set of starke sound IC-halo series 3(with enclosure).  I had to run through countless hours of testing (getting close mic frequency response vs listening frequency response; while making lots of comparing against other speakers I have) when I got starke halo 3. I feed in both movies with high SPL and concert and music that produce emotional feelings. Tried many positioning and really pounded on the H3 with my Denon AVP/POA setup. 

Testing different tastes of movies from dialogue, animation, action with lots of guns and explosions and not missing out music concerts too. 

Initially I am not really used to LCR because of past experience with floor stand and horizontally laid center speaker. Its hard to position the LCR without blocking the screen but luckily in my showroom, my screen is positioned high enough since it's a showroom. 

I spent countless hours auditing this new product alone and had to playback a lot of demo clips and bd collections I have previously been watching so I know what difference the Starke Sound Halo Series 3 has to offer. 

For the first week, I didn't really like the sound maybe the LCR hasn't been run in yet. But things change when I've used it for almost 2 weeks later. When fully ran in, it changes! 

Continued with manual EQ to blend in IC-H3 into my environment is quite simple with the audio calibration gears I have. PLUS the dynamic of Starke Sound IC-H3, it is easy to EQ the Frequency response to my liking without having worry to damage the speakers because all IC-H3 and in fact from realible sources, all Starke Sound speakers have gone through high standard factory tested prior to shipping. 
With such a flat FR, it will be easy for tuner to calibrate according to one's liking. Blending in my dual sub setup utilizing Rythmik Fv15Hp (front) and E15Hp(rear), I managed to get these babies to reveal the best of sound from action to musical concerts. Not only giving us a cinematic experience when watching movies, few of us (including my customers) are impressed with how mellow these H3 beast can sound. 

Which Brand is better?

Have you ever asked your dealer the same question when you first walked into their shops? "Which brand is better?" (especially when you are only a newbie to the Audio & Video hobby).

What would the answer be? It's obvious they will tell you the brands they are currently selling are the best and that the one you are using or previously owned or planning to buy isn't as good as what they carry in their shop. This is the first rule in business; that's to brain wash you and sell you their products.

The same question has been asked by many customers who walked into my premise. The same answer I throw at them is : A list of questionaires for them to better understand what they truly need. Once they can answer all my questions, they will eventually know the answer. I never and will never ask customer to buy because I am selling it. They will automatically buy when they gain the knowledge of AV and know how I work towards a solution for them.

Brand is important but most reviews out there are bias and being paid for advertisement. Readers who have never audited the system will most likely jump into the shoe and start buying things with 4 stars and 5 stars items and found out that it doesn't give what the review has indicated.

Leason is you need to either learn from the hard way by buying and buying and again ...buying before you start to know what you want. Another simple way, just pay me a vist and we can have a chat where I throw you a bunch of questions and you answer it, in the end, you get what you want and you learn from what I asked :)

We are all enthusiats and there's always new things for us to learn even when we are talking to newbies.