Info

a short diary of some part of my life.

I’ve been trying to build a second system for the living room. I scouted many local audio stores. I didn’t particularly find anything interesting at any of them so I went to Singapore. Singapore is famous for its’ vast selections of high-end shops, including hi-fi audio.

Initial Plan

Initially, I was quite certain that I was going to buy Schiit Gungnir (DAC), Wyred 4 Sound mPRE (DAC + preamp), and ModWright KWA 100 (power amp). I’m already familiar with the latter and the former. The mPRE was what I wanted to audition. I was not going to buy them online or had them shipped to Jakarta without knowing how they perform. I didn’t plan on acquiring speakers other than Selah‘s. Dislaimer: I have never heard of how a decent pair of non-directional speakers sound like. The only way to do this is to audition them in person. This is why we need to support audio dealers. They help us make definite decisions.

Raindrop Audio

I visited Raindrop Audio in 16 Waringin Park. The store is located right in the middle of a suburban area. It’s a bit difficult to find, but it’s actually a good thing as it is far enough from city noise. They are the sole distributor of W4S in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Once I called them, informing I would be coming, they set up a listening session with exactly what I was looking for.

The setup: W4S Music Server – W4S mPRE – W4S mAMP (mono amp x 2) – Heed Audio Enigma 5 speakers

Heed Audio Enigma 5

Wyred 4 Sound Music Server & mINT

A Huge Surprise

I was already familiar with a few Wyred 4 Sound products as I’m currently using the DAC-2 and STI-500. This setup is different from any setup I have auditioned. It eliminates the need of a complete room acoustic treatments. Most of the time, with directional speakers, you need to set up the sound to be right in the middle of where the seating position is going to be. Even after the room acoustics are adjusted, you still can’t go around the room and expect the sound to sound just as good as at the seating position. The Heed Enigma speakers solve this issue. The sound is always full bodied and the resolution stays pretty much the same at different listening positions. There may be a slight degradation at extreme angle but I’m sure I will be more satisfied with them than with any directional speakers.

At Heed Audio, we have found that loudspeakers with a non-directional radiation pattern are best able to simply let the music into the room. At the same time, other things begin to happen. Rather than feeling compelled to sit rigidly in the “sweet spot”, it is possible to move to the right and left, forward or backward, up or down, and the music follows.

I came to Raindrop to audition Wyred 4 Sound and now, I think I’m going to buy a pair of Heed speakers. They just got a potentially long-term customer.

Heed Enigma 5

The Enigmas was not only excelling with little room acoustic treatment, they actually sounded pretty good. Ray, the owner of Raindrop played a few classical, they all sounded superb. As stated above, the sound was always full bodied. They did not sound thin or overly thick or heavy, they sounded just right. Usually, with complex passages and vocal, inferior speakers will definitely struggle, they are not inferior speakers, they are superb speakers. The Enigmas produced complex passages effortlessly. Vocal was also produced gracefully without any sign of glares and spikes. This sounds like to good to be true. Then, I looked at the speakers, the drivers are custom-made for them by Morel, one of my favorite brands. Heed does not skimp on build quality and it shows. After looking at the speakers, I went back to more listening sessions. The sound was never constraint. They sounded detailed, a bit on the warm side, full bodied, and never fatiguing. With opera, they sounded big. The soundstage was huge but still believable. The sound placement was great. It’s almost like I was being served by live music, with the performers performing in the room. Or better yet, it’s like listening in a jazz club. They sounded absolutely satisfying.

Wyred 4 Sound minis

No great speakers will sound good if not driven by equally great DAC, preamp, and amp. The digital front consists of W4S Music Server and the DAC section in the mPRE. I suspect, the W4S mPRE preamp section is a great one. Looking at the specs alone, it’s possible that it is equal or better than the marvelously good W4S STP-SE. The power amps are the W4S mAMP, two monos, powered by the newest ICEpower modules inside.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be buying them. I want to combine all those functions into one box, that can be found in a mINT. Hopefully the Heed speakers will sound just as glorious. If not, I can always purchase them.

The music server can be controlled via an iOS app. Ray was standing behind me during the audition and he did not even touch any of the minis in front of me. Everything seemed to run seamlessly. There was an ethernet cable connected on the back of the music server, thus no wi-fi signal interference.

As I said above, the sound produced by the speakers never felt constraint. The two mono amps never ran out of breath. Even during steep up and down, the amps easily drove the Enigma.

I like EJ’s approach in making the minis. They are pretty small compared to today’s huge hi-fi gears. I also like the shape of the box. It does not look like a radical new design, it is still utilitarian with more rounded shapes. The buttons are all well thought out. It’s easy to memorize what those buttons are for. There is a LED on every function. The remote is a cute and functional. Everything on the W4S minis scream quality.

Purchase Decision

I will be buying a pair of Heed Enigma 5 when I travel to Singapore in December. I suspect, most people will also be very satisfied with them as the sound is also a huge change compared to the usual directional speakers and you don’t need to invest heavily on room acoustic treatments. The only room acoustic treatment that Ray had in the room during the audition was a panel behind the speakers. Perhaps, that was a way to show that they only need a little treatment.

Comments

9 Comments

Post a comment
  1. Allan #
    November 10, 2013

    “I came to Raindrop to audition Wyred 4 Sound and now, I think I’m going to buy a pair of Heed speakers.”

    LOL!
    That’s exactly what happened to me!
    I, however, have have succumbed and placed my order, together with the mINT. 🙂

    • November 11, 2013

      Lol. I wish I could do the same but I need to sort out a few logistic issues before I bring them to Indonesia. How is the combo working for you?

      • Allan #
        November 11, 2013

        I visited Raindrop around the same time you did…end October. Placed order then, and have to wait a few weeks. Delivery should be due soon. Waiting (im) patiently for Ray to confirm delivery date.

        Really like the sound of the mINT & the Enigmas, good pairing IMHO, as good as the Heed integrated with the the Enigma. They sounded nice in his room, hopefully they’ll perform as well at my home.

        • November 12, 2013

          It didn’t cross my mind to try out Heed integrated. I guess I was not fully aware of Heed before and the limited time in SG… 😦 Great to know they sounded just as great as when driven with Heed’s own equipment. I thought Ray had a few Enigmas in stock, did you order a special veneer?

  2. Allan #
    November 13, 2013

    I’ve ever heard of Heed until I stepped into Raindrop too.

    Originally I ordered a teak finish (same as the one in Ray’s showroom), but the factory didn’t have stock. So I’ve changed it to a rosewood finish, which I think is pretty nice too. It’s the one pictured in this review.

    http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2012/11/heed-enigma-5-loudspeaker-review/

    One small problem about the mINT is that it doesn’t have a phono input, so I had to buy a separate Heed phono stage (the entry level Questar). It seems to garner pretty good reviews too.

    • November 21, 2013

      Rosewood is a fine choice. It seems like you can’t go wrong with any Heed products. Do let me know how they sound like when you get them all. The waiting is always the hardest part ;p

      • Allan #
        November 26, 2013

        They finally arrived today! Took a couple of hours to set up. Haven’t had the chance to listen to them them properly yet.

        Ray mentioned that listening to online streaming via Apple TV connected to the DAC (using toslink) sounds pretty decent. I know you have a W4S DAC, did you set it up with an Apple TV?

  3. November 29, 2013

    Yes, I have it connected with an Apple TV. I mainly use it for streaming Netflix and AirPlay (Video). I works fine, especially if you like deep integration with Apple products. The sound quality over toslink is also very good. 🙂

  4. Allan #
    December 14, 2013

    After a few short sessions over past 2 weeks, my impression is that the mINT and the Heed Enigmas are a good pairing. Sound quality is good and clear, keeping my untrained ears happy. My hall, where I’ve setup the system, is wider than it is deep, with angular recesses in the ceiling, but there isn’t much bass boom. Testament that the omnidirectional design works.

    The setup sounded a little bright for some CDs, not sure if it’s the recording or the system hasn’t run in. Bass is also a bit lacking in most recordings. Thinking of adding a sub to make it a 2.1 system. But Ray says give it some time to run in before deciding. He says the cable and power makes a difference. I’m using normal speaker cables left over from the previous setup. Maybe cables will be my next upgrade. The sound was a lot better too when the Enigmas were at least 2 feet from the wall, imaging and bass improved vastly.

    One track that really stood out was Pet Shop Boy’s Left To My Own Devices on vinyl. It was quick, detailed and very musical. The system could keep up with the fast beat very well. I have the same song on CD, and it didn’t sound as good. Quite an interesting observation for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS