A fortunately timed conference brought me to Singapore, it was a good opportunity to hear some speakers I have been considering and meet up with some fellow SBAF members. Firstly thank you to members @HitmanFluffy, @jelt2359 and Nostalgia (discord) for taking the time to meet up with me. Particularly HMF who fetched us from the airport, led us to authentic food and gave us a great tour of the audio offerings of Singapore! Second, a disclaimer,I am not that experienced with speakers. I have heard a few systems, but I am no expert. I've been looking at getting high efficiency speakers as I move away from headphones. Thoughts: Custom horn: These guys build custom horns, offer custom made drivers as well as recycle some legendary drivers/cabinet designs. System: Rockna>Line magnetic pre/power > custom huge bin woofer/WE horn replica + fostex super tweeter Insane bass, this woofer was snappy as hell and really articulated the drums in a ferociously powerful way. The horn was a tad mid-range shouty and sharp, it was very reminiscent of a lot of the Japanese horn stuff I spent time with. However, it was still utterly phenomenal. This system redefined ‘exceptional bass for me. Nagra cdp and amp > Varety: lovely timbre and tone with strings, bass was not super punchy, a little too much mid bass and lower mid suck out. Speakers could have been a bit better dialed in for the room. Very pleasant otherwise. Headphone Tax: AK > Dave > Wa33: The wa33 was surprisingly good considering woo audio’s past work, the wa33 dug deep on detail, highs were impressive for push pull, upper mids were a tad hard and sharp. Really a poor combo with the hd800S as it seemed to inflate the hd800s normal peaks. I imagine the elite edition with a NOS quad of 2a3 would be a rather special amp, in the same league as totl DN + EC stuff. Dave: Distinguishing DAC nuisances under these conditions is not ideal. A lot of hype surrounds this DAC. I’ve heard it described so many different ways since its release. My take, was that it’s relatively neutral, leaning on cold and analytical. Detail was good, it was not harsh or suffering audible digital glare. The built in amp was able to drive the HD800s to healthy volumes however it is a very mediocre sounding amp. Due to the price though, I would lean towards a TT than get a Dave. Susvara: Unremarkable really, it’s good but really doesn’t wow. I felt about the utopia the same way when I first heard it, so maybe a longer audition with my own system/music would have been better, however, nothing from this short audition made me want to splurge on it. Voxativ pi 9.87 system or pi2: HMF said it best, “music from a box”, the speakers don’t completely melt away. Staging was less enveloping? It is still technically remarkable, with far superior bass response to the ampeggio, however it was also brighter, mids were leaner an it sounded a tad more forced than the ampeggio. Voxative Ampeggio: Paper driver: Incredible micro detail, very accurate staging and imaging, bass roll off is severe. Almost no horn shout, it really doesn’t sound like a horn speaker. The engineering in this speaker is truly remarkable and it has to be heard to be believed. Wooden driver: HMF said he felt this had a more effortless mid-range and was slightly smoother than the paper driver, I have to agree. Bass response may have been a tad better but still very rolled off. We tortured these systems with Rage against the machine and Propellerheads and they somehow held up. Typical BLH has some remarkable qualities, however it also has some huge draw backs usually to do with honk and shout. The ampeggio suffers from no midrange strangeness and the single driver was far more competent than I expected. Even the upper bass was fairly well articulated, the mid bass and sub-bass needs help. With a well-integrated subwoofer this system would be hard to beat. Ideally something like that large bin woofer we first heard would be spectacular. However I imagine it would not be easy to integrate. Apparently voxativ will sell a 2.1 Ampeggio signature however the active voxativ subs are very pricey. SFT-1 SE > Forsell Air Reference Dac > Kagura (Kondo-AudioNote) 211 Tube amps > discontinued Pro ac speakers Apparently, these amps are from the Japanese branch of audio note with all silver wiring everything. Mega money gear here. Tonality and timbre were great, I really couldn’t pick any issues. The detail was phenomenal and the whole system was digitius free, sounds seemed to emerge from nowhere and lingered perfectly. The transients were remarkable. I asked the owner about the DAC and he explained it’s a vintage one bit DS DAC from a discontinued Swedish company Forsell. It was a totally unfamiliar system however I was getting tingles and I’m 90% sure the DAC was a little bit magic. Similar tonality to SFD-1 but cleaner and a little sharper through the mids. I found a seller in Aus, but I'm on the fence since he wants $2000aud. Other systems: Focal: nothing super special, slightly warm with mid-bass bump. Audio note: We didn't spent much time here. DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/96 loudspeaker: Tonality was totally off with these. Given the great price point and the amazing finish was really hoping these would live up to some of the hype from reviews. Full MBL system. this was a pretty interesting. I always assumed the design would lead to some strange stuff or a really 'off' tonality. However these were actually very nice. Singapore audio stores were fantastic, they really went out of there way to let you try everything they had to offer. In Japan, service in high end stores is often a bit cold, Joseph in the Astra Suite at the Adelphi was wonderful, actually arranging to swap the wooden drivers between the Ampeggio and the pi so we could hear both at there best! Thanks for reading!