QAC Audio Trip around Asia
The intrepid travelers were Peter and Tracy – Trip planners/schedulers, Phil [me] and Craig.
Monday – The trip over to Singapore on Jetstar Bizclass got us in fresh and ready for a curry dinner just off Orchard Road – see pics below.
Tuesday & Wednesday – Tracey got in some leisure and a bit of shopping while we got into the serious stuff down at the Adelphi Building.
Peter had been before but Craig and I stood wide eyed in wonder looking up from the ground floor at four levels of audio nirvana – drool – so many shop – so much gear – so little time.
One of the first shops we walked into was full of Chinese valve amps and “clones” of various types.
Craig scored a lovely little 25 watt valve/hybrid desktop amp which drove some quite large speakers with gusto.
He walked out with tube rolling and tweak ideas to raise this little things performance even further.
We found that in all the shops we went into and we didn’t have time to do them all.
The guys (and some gals) were extremely helpful, full of knowledge and enthusiasm for the gear they were selling.
It was pretty obvious we were generally window shopping but everyone was happy to talk to us and demonstrate their productions and it was usually us who had to pull ourselves away to get to the next shop.
Each level has a second rear corridor to the long sides and in the past they were also stuffed with audio retailers – not so any more as the contraction in the industry even effects here.
So they are turned over to more general retail use but the core or the mall is still strongly audio.
The people and their friendliness and love of audio and willingness to share it with you.
Golden Ear speakers; over the week we heard heaps of speakers and some extremely expensive ones.
But, value for money they trumped the lot. Just something you wanted to keep listening to!
MBL show rooms on level 4. Three gorgeous listening rooms, very helpful staff and their big system – see pics below– Had enough bling factor for anyone – The sound was pretty dam good to!
Valves and turntables heaven – So Peter and Craig were like pigs in mud, they continually ribbed me and my solid state/streaming system but I had just as much fun as they did.
In fact one of the shop owners actually said “solid state/streaming” is the devil and as Peter and Craig laughed and patted him on the back I quietly backed out of the shop – ha.
And there were quite a few of the shops using computer audio and solid state equipment.
Thursday – Morning we did a tourist bus trip around Singapore to see the sight and visited the botanical gardens later both really required more time but we were leaving later in the day for Hong Kong.
Friday – before going to the Hong Kong Audio Show, Peter took us to Wi Wi Tubes – not a place you’d find by accident! But worth hunting down if you are a tubes freak like Peter and Craig.
Two walls of display cabinets just stuffed with every conceivable tube you can imagine.
Well not exactly, the one Craig was searching for they didn't have but no one else did either!
On to the show about lunchtime … wow what a que, still pretty long but like most things Hong Kong they are so well organized and we were processed in less than 10 minutes.
The main hall was heaving but as long as you didn't mind a crowd it was manageable.
Off to grab a bite and although there was only one food outlet it was again fast, very reasonably priced [for a captive audience] with good food – fed we could now concentrate on the main event.
Well, we didn’t leave until late and we must have visited most stalls and rooms on the other two levels this was mainly a sortie for day two where we would spend more time at specific retailers/stalls.
One side of the main hall had “small” constructed room for local retails with a heap of known and unknown audio products.
These tended to be either too small for some of the larger equipment to get a good impression or just simply too crowded to get into or listen in.
But still worth elbowing your way into to see some interesting gear.
The open floor was your usual mix of audio show retailer’s fare! Some very well know equipment and other more boutique gear which proved very interesting.
I was interested in the huge amount of headphones, amps etc on show and the huge amount of interest they got.
I suppose with the local market of small houses and apartments this makes a lot of sense.
Tired and weary we retreated for a sumptuous dinner in china town.
Saturday – Early start and into the show que at opening time yet a bigger que – gee these guys are organized we got through nice and quick.
So the plan was to get into the two other floors were there were larger rooms and do some serious listening. But firstly we hit the CD stalls to buys a few albums to bring home and use for demo listening.
Again the rep’s were helpful and only too pleased to put on tracks we requested.
I will not go into some of the very serious equipment we got to listen to – see pics – but in general we were disappointed in the sounds produced.
And, yes we took into account the crap environment they had to deal with.
In general I was more impressed by the smaller/simple setup than the $250,000++ systems and there were plenty of those.
Although we don’t come away with that wow system we were really yearning to hear.
The HK show is a really worthwhile visit for any Aussie with a lack of local access to more of this exotic gear. As an EVENT is a great two days and you do need this time [and more] to see/touch and hear everything.
Sunday – A lazy day with a trip up the Observation deck at Sky 100 at the International Commerce Centre before Peter and Tracy few back to Brisbane and Craig and I flew onto Kula Lumpur
Monday & Tuesday – All audio’d out we wandered around KL like lost tourists – luxury? But we did happen upon a very nice little HiFi shop in an old mall opposite our hotel that had an LP corner to die for if you’re are still into the vinyl – not a huge selection but really high quality recordings.
So Craig bought a few and even I broke – I now have no vinyl or turntable but I still bought a digital to master 45 LP [Leigh’s a nice fellow – he’ll rip it for me]
Wednesday – and we both didn’t really want to come home – we were getting into this holiday malarkey thing.
However, everything ended on a good note as we got our Optiontown upgrade to Business class on the Airbus back and had our own pods and flatbed recliners for the 8 hour trip back to the Gold Cost – zzzzzz.
Thanks go to – Tracey for graciously putting up with not one audio nut but three for the week. Also for doing most of the planning and booking work for us all.
Peter and Tracey are great people to travel with and have a map for every route you take – a life saver.
Craig deserves a medal, for not murdering me in my sleep – it would appear I’m a heavy/loud snorer.
We shared a room in Singapore and he didn’t get a lot of sleep there – me I slept like a log.
HK, he had his own room [actually hotel] but we were going to share again in KL.
Luckily, he got a separate room so we ended the holiday on good terms [I hope].
For anyone going to Kuala Lumpur, I can recommend the Wolo Hotel, its right in the centre, is just in front of the monorail and is very reasonably priced, the rooms are small but very well fitted and comfortable.
And their café has great pastries J and just across the road is a street with a hundred Chinese/Thai etc street restaurants/stalls.
Here are just some pics of the audio stuff, I will not bore you with the general holiday photo’s …