Wednesday, 4 September 2013

A Visit to The Adelphi, Singapore...

As promised, I managed to visit The Adelphi in Singapore to have a listen. It's quite close to the City Hall MRT (their 'subway' system), down the street from St. Andrew's Cathedral.

One day, I hope to get to check out an audio show like maybe the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Until then, it can be very difficult to listen to good high-end gear in North America. But this is thankfully not the case in other places like Singapore.

Over the years, I have come by to visit some of these stores whenever I've been in town (at least 3 times now, maybe more). Previously I have come with my dad, brother; this time with my 8 year old son to audition some of the gear. On a weekday, it's not busy and at most we ran into maybe another customer or two at any one time. Each time, the shop keepers have always been courteous and for the most part, they're happy with foreigners snooping around taking photos...  Good audio discussions with very knowledgeable folks as well - no pushy sales lines here and they're happy to let the music run while off doing something else. I suspect this is a better ambiance than what I hear about some of the audio shows :-). [I wish all the proprietors in Vancouver could be like this.]

Due to limited time, I only got a chance to check out a handful of the audition rooms. For the most part, they're set up very well and include room treatments like absorption panels and bass traps. As on previous trips, I brought my own CD to have a listen to some "standards"...

McIntosh / Focal Room (ONG-AV Specialists):
Focal 1028be paired with McIntosh MC601 monoblocks (600W). Nice sound. The beryllium tweeters sound fine. Good treble extension on pop tracks like Michael Jackson's "Black Or White" without harshness.

Love the analogue power meter on these things. Note the Richard Gray power conditioner in the back (upper photo). I can't remember which McIntosh CD player was being used.

Audio Note / Avantgarde Room (Audio Note Singapore):
On the other side of the equation there's also this room - very high sensitivity 104dB/W Avantgarde Uno Fino horns with low power Audio Note Quest Silver Signature 9W Class A mono amps.

Preamp was the Kondo KSL-M7, fed by an Abbingdon CD-777.

Sounds pretty good but I thought it was leaner than the McIntosh system above. Also, didn't push the volume too high... As usual, hard to evaluate systems in unfamiliar and different room setups.

Constellation Audio / Eggleston Room (Audio Note Singapore):

We've got the 250Wpc stereo Centaur amp up front. Virgo preamp mid-right of the rack, and an Audio Note CDT Five transport hooked up to an Abbingdon Digital Processor-777 DAC. Speakers are the Eggleston Fontaine Signature.

Sounds good to me. Similar to the McIntosh setup above I would say...

mbl Room (Coherence Audio):
One of my favorites over the years has been to check out the mbl showroom. I've heard the larger system here a number of times consisting of the Radialstrahler 101 E Mk II with accompanying dual 9011 as monoblocks (440W, 8 ohms), 1621A CD transport, 1611F DAC, and 6010D preamp. Without question, this is amazing sound. These speakers are all passive with sensitivity of 81dB/2.83V/m so a powerful amp is a must!

In the back in that picture above, you see the huge bass module for the 101 X-treme speakers:
Unfortunate these guys weren't hooked up.

I see on this visit they have the mbl "Corona" line of electronics hooked up with the 116F Radialstrahler speakers:
The 2 monoblocks in the lower shelf are 500W (into 4 ohms) C15 Class D amps, accompanied by the C31 CD player, and C11 preamp. Again, sounds great although I think they could use some more bass traps in that room; I noticed some irregularity in the bass line on Rebecca Pidgeon's "Spanish Harlem" for example.

Other interesting gear:
Triode TRV-88SER integrated amp. 45Wpc I believe into 8 ohms. Didn't get to hear this but very nice eye candy.

 Kondo Ongaku-Pre KSL-M77 for you boutique analogue Japanese gear lovers...

Now a couple of "omnidirectional" speakers from Duevel - the Planets and Enterprise.

Interesting looking designs. Not sure how this would sound and would love to see some measurements!

Even though I didn't get the time to peruse through the collection of goodies, there are some music shops as well carrying good collections of LP and audiophile remasterings like MFSL and Audio Fidelity...

I also had a good listen to some B&W 802 Diamonds with the Olive 6HD server thanks to the folks at Eighteen 77 but didn't get a chance to take some photos. Playing with the Olive unit, I remain impressed by the Squeezebox in terms of speed and flexibility. IMO, the Squeezebox server system remains the best I have used.

There's also a very nice headphone place which I had visited on previous trips. Nice. A good afternoon of window shopping for the boys while the girls go off to find shoes, clothes, etc. :-)

Hope this whets your appetite to visit The Adelphi for those thinking of going to Singapore.

Well, vacation time over - back to school for the kids and back to work for me :-).


  1. Just up the road from the Adelphi, in Bangkok, Thailand is the Paragon Centre. It's a luxury shopping mall on a huge scale. Level 3 (I think) offers a range of very high end HiFi / audiophile shops. Not as extensive as the Adelphi, and not as inviting, but well worth checking out if you're in Thailand. It's plum in the middle of Bangkok. Of note, however, are the showrooms alongside the 'out of touch' HiFi: Lamborghini; Rolls Royce; Maserati, and others. A gazillion $'s worth of toys all within a few paces of each other.

    On a more prosaic level, the coconut cake in Starbucks in Bangkok is absolutely sublime. If the hi-fi and fast cars don't doo it for you, the coconut cake surely will.

    Have a good day,


  2. Thanks for the tip Bob!

    I haven't been to Bangkok for 10 years now; much has changed I'm sure (as is the case in Asia in general!).

    Will remember this next time I'm out there :-)