Chia Ti Lik’s Blog

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Sony, Onkyo, Krell, and Naim

Today is 23rd May 2008.

I have been roughly 14 years in the audiophile community. 14 years is a long time to spend in a hobby. It is probably the longest hobby i ever had. Don’t talk about sports, sports are not hobbies. Other than Taekwondo which is a lifelong affair which i have taken a break from for a couple of years, audio has been the centrestage of my leisure life.

These 14 years was a period of discovery and growth. Especially the last 5 years.

I woke up at 5am this morning. As a matter of routine, i pressed the play button on my Naim CD2. The disc that remained was the one which i fell asleep listening to. I quite relished the lively sound of this player – flawed though as it may be, it communicated a certain sense of life into me.

Now a bit of explanation for non-Naim users. Naim Systems operate in Class B – class b circuitry they call it. It runs cool and ever slightly warm only after heavy passage of drums and rock etc. Naim Systems are designed to be left on all the time. They are in standby mode perpetually when no signal passes through them. They are perfect for the busy man who has not enough energy or time to switch on the system, letting it warm up and sitting down to listen after that.

Something this morning made me recollect the past. I recall that there was a period where i had a total of 5 high-end sony CD players: the CDP-338Esd, the CD-557Esd, the CDP-X7Esd, the CDP-XA7ES, the DP-R1, DP-S1. I also had a rare never to be seen before 27kg behemoth of a CD player which i dubbed the “King Onkyo” – the Onkyo Grand Integra DX-G10.

The final sales of the beloved Sony CDP-XA7ES and DP-R1, DP-S1 and King Onkyo went all the way to Kuala Lumpur. The buyer was an accomplised architect, an audiophile and a collector. I was sad that i had to let go of the lovely players but i was happy that i found them a new owner and a new home. I was sure that the buyer would take good care of them since he was fastidious about their physical condition and appearance. That made letting go a little bit easier.

That was the time that I also had the Krell MD-1 CD Turntable and the SBP-32X DAC combo both of which I sold pretty soon after i moved out of my home. There was simply no reason to be hanging on to such stuff anymore when space was no longer a luxury. Come to think of it i did not let go of them because i was short of space, the krell components were slim and broad, but they could be stacked one on top of the other. I only sold them because i had come into contact with Naim. It was also the same reason that all the rest were sold 🙂

I had come into contact with Miss Naim only in year 2006. In the past i dabbled with many a CD player and amplifiers as i was searching. Searching for the life that is supposed to come with the music. I found an inkling of that when i heard the first Naim Combo i bought: CD3, Nac92, Nap90, Epos ES14s. The sound had more groove and swing than my Krell MD-1 SBP32, KSL, KRS 200s, Legacy Audio Signature IIIs. That had started my defection from the established names to Miss Naim.

Since then i have been living with Naim CD players: the CDI, CD2, CD3, CD3.5 and CD5. I let go of the CD3 and CD3.5 with much regret. I am now very happy with my CD2 and CD5.

The Sony players were dependable and never failed me. They had their own shortcomings – a slightly less than perfect artificial glare when it comes to vocals. The lack of the swing in some forms of music. The Naim CD Players came at price – with shortcomings. Sometimes they are tizzy on the ears, some days they sound downright harsh and bright. But most of the time they breathe the life back into music. They make me feel alive.

Naim CD players have one idiosyncracy, their connection cables and points are proprietary, necessitating use of their cables, their amps. Its like when you get Miss Naim, you have to accept her children in tow 🙂 This is how a Naim system falls into place.

Yes Miss Naim croons me to sleep at night and serenades me awake in the wee hours of the morning. And no, I am not complaining. 🙂


May 23, 2008 - Posted by | audiophilia, Life

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