《毅德》Artist 喇叭線


《發燒音響》授權轉載

《發燒音響》創刊超過廿年以來,我曾經試聽和評論過數十款不同牌子的接線產品,對我來說,外國的月亮並不特別圓,高級接線的市場一直為外國產品盤據,純粹係因為外國的接線設計家在創意和校聲方面著著領先,近年中國大陸的Hi-Fi製造業起飛,出現了一些細規模的接線廠家,

我試聽過它們的產品之後,發現個別的出品甚有潛質,在用料和造工方面都有水準,但就欠缺「臨門一腳」的校聲功力,以致我過往聆聽中國大陸產製的發燒線時,經常有恨鐵不成鋼的感受,到最近,我終於聽到了第一款由華人設計而有國際級High-End水準的接線,以價論聲, 它甚至在現今接線市場中「打遍天下無敵手」,是為香港音響設計師梁文光親手繞製的ARTIST喇叭線。

梁文光早年創立《毅德音響》,以經營二手和古董器材為主,他也精通膽機線路,經常為發燒友摩改器材,近年他開始代理大陸製造的Hi-Fi產品,例如廣州《志平》的膽機和喇叭與及JS各款調聲產品近期就令《毅德》其門如市,令他忙得不可開交,不過,我近兩、三年與他比較相熟之後, 就知道他的Hi-Fi本領太高,最終必定自立門戶來產製自己設計的器材,舉例而言,他兩年前曾經拿一部自己焊製的真空管前級來本刊試音室聽聲,此機貌似DIY土炮,但焊功一流,每個焊點都飽滿晶瑩,據他說,機內採用的每一粒零件和每一段接線都經過悠長的校聲程序,結果開聲之後, 音效之佳令我震驚,其音色之通透、細節之多和重播大場面之宏偉氣魄甚至勝過試音室內兩部鑑聽前級——HERRON VTSP-1和MARANTZ 7,由於膽機焊製需時,而且建立品牌來做膽機涉及比較複雜的市場因素,所以這部前級迄今未見面世;

此外,他曾經將一部經過大摩特摩的《斯巴克》CDT-22 CD機送給我,裡面改動太多, 不必在此細表(連機蓋也換上一個有「疏薩」間格的品種,令聲音「通」一點也),總之它一開聲就已經不再是《斯巴克》的產品,而是一部聲音過萬元的CD機,而最令我難忘者,係梁文光千萬叮囑我要保留跟機那條外表極不起眼的電源線,說這條軟身的電線係德國古董,無它不行, 換上其他電源線必定「變聲」無疑,我初時不大相信這條電源線有這樣大的影響力,我家裡的電源線品種繁多,我就不相信其中售價上萬元的外國名線就比不上你那條貌似街邊檢拾回來的平價貨式, 但結果經過比試後我無話可說,因為確如梁文光所言,那條德國古董線係經過他校聲之後才選用的,一旦換上其他電源線,無論有多昂貴(包括NBS和VENTURE),都即時敗下陣來,經此一役,我就知道梁老闆身懷驕人校聲本領,不愁設計不出靚聲的音響器材!

不久之後,《毅德》推出第一款咱家產品,是為ARTIST訊號線,我當時試聽過之後,認定為市場上最抵買的發燒線,平心而論,ARTIST訊號線的分析力並非最好,高低頻伸延也比不上一些外國名牌產品,但它的中頻質感和整體音樂感靚絕,令人聽到難捨難離,ARTIST推出之後, 銷量之大成為過去一年本港音響淡市中的奇蹟, 據我了解,有個別發燒友買完一對聽過之後「不夠喉」又再添食,結果最高紀錄是一個發燒友買了16對之多,ARTIST訊號線聲音魅力之強已毋庸置疑。

ARTIST訊號線銷售期間,梁文光一直在研究發展喇叭線,原因是有些發燒友購入ARTIST訊號線之後聽得過癮,就希望喇叭線也改用《毅德》出品(很多Hi-Fi友都有此心態),到最近ARTIST喇叭線終於大功告成,與此同時,《毅德》正在推銷《志平》12吋全音域大喇叭(見本刊上期評介),

一般初聽此喇叭的發燒友(包括我自己在內)都覺得它聲音生猛活潑之餘卻有些緊張生硬的氣息,可能是那個12吋全音域單元未煲熟的緣故,然而,梁文光說,他把ARTIST喇叭線接上《志平》喇叭之後,聲音豁然開朗, 不但原來的緊張生硬一掃而空,而且音色變得圓滑暢順,不似是一對剛剛開聲的新喇叭,我要求他把一對14呎長的ARTIST喇叭線送來本刊試音室給我詳細試聽。

在本刊試音室與《志平》喇叭匹配時,正如梁文光說的,這對原本音色有些沙石的新喇叭變得開揚順滑,音色和感情都給人三級跳的感覺,理論上一對喇叭線是不可能令一對新喇叭迅速「煲熟」,我初時猜測一是可能ARTIST與《志平》特別「夾聲」,又或者是ARTIST聲音質素奇高, 將一對新喇叭的優點發揮盡致,為進一步求證,我將ARTIST接上試音室的鑑聽揚聲器ROCKPORT Mira Grand來試聲,Mira Grand已經播唱了兩、三個月,不能說已經煲熟,但它匹配室內多款萬元級外國名牌喇叭線時展現的豐富音樂感和高低頻伸延已經令人讚嘆不已,ARTIST上陣之後音效之佳可謂懾人, 它重播天碟錄音的活力、感情與音色鮮明度都好到令人吃驚,而爆棚時氣魄之大和爆炸力之強勁亦與萬元級外國名線不相伯仲,

總而言之,在AB比較時,ARTIST的整體音效完全可與比它貴幾倍的外國名線平起平坐,ARTIST喇叭線有此卓越表現,令我有驚喜莫名之感,一來表示華人設計製造的接線終於達到最頂級的High-End水平,
二來ARTIST係香港人道地的手工製作,貨品由製造者直接交到用家手上,中間減去了重重轉折,所以價錢可以比較相宜,在近年越來越淡靜的音響市道之中,發燒友逐漸傾向相信自己的耳朵多過受到名牌效應影響,在此形勢下,ARTIST訊號線的聲音質素和價錢具有強大吸引力,足以令人「一聽傾情,難以自拔」!

 

 

 

《 The High End Audio Journal of Hong Kong 》 C opyright Reprinting Permitted

 

Since the publication of this magazine some 20 years ago I have tested and provided reviews for loud speaker interconnects for a few dozen brands. Traditionally, high end speaker interconnects have been dominated by the western products. This is simply due to their excellent marketing strategy, which helps to set the market direction and most importantly, the underlying global benchmark. Through this robust marketing drive their ingenious designs, plus sound and consistent product quality, enable them to gain global recognition over their competitors.

Personally, I do not think western products are better than ours. In recent years the Hi-Fi manufacturing industry in mainland China has blossomed. Incidentally, a few of the small manufacturers have developed various new interconnects for loud speakers. A few years ago I was invited to review some of these interconnects. The outcome totally exceeded my expectation. Not only was I impressed by the sound quality, the construction materials and workmanship equally impressed me. In all respects the potential to do well looks extremely good. However, there is one major problem with interconnects produced in China. Without a sound marketing strategy they are confined to selling their products in their local market. Outside of China nobody has ever heard of them or knows anything about them. Hence the lack of global recognition. Honestly, I have a mixed feeling about this. I have a hard time convincing myself why anyone would want to spend money on a product that does not yet exist in the market outside of China. This is like gambling and one would always rather spend their money on a globally tested and accepted product.

Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to a pair of speaker interconnects which are the world first designed and manufactured by a Chinese company to meet the international “high-end” standard. The “ARTIST” speaker interconnects are specially produced in accordance to the requirements of our Hong Kong designer (Marco Leung Man K w ong). On the basis of value for money, I strongly believe these speaker interconnects will be the future market leader.

In 1991 Marco Leung started his own business in Hong Kong, ARTIST HI FI CO. In his early days he specialized in Engineering Equipment Installation & Maintenance (Audio Maintenance Service). Today, Marco's main interest lies in developing the second hand Hi-Fi and vintage Hi-Fi equipment market. His other specialties include valve or tube amplification. Many “high-end” enthusiasts in Hong Kong come to Marco for advice. On a number of occasions Marco helped these “high-end” enthusiasts modify their equipment to suit their tastes and surroundings.

In recent years Marco has become agent for a few mainland China Hi Fi brands. P opular examples are “GRE PIN” tube amplifiers, JS loud speakers and other brands from Guangzhou, China. These products have helped him promote his business significantly. Although business is booming this can't be the plan for him, right? In the past two to three years since becoming close acquaintances, I have discovered that Marco is a man with exceptional Hi-Fi knowledge and capabilities. The more I get to know Marco the more I believe that one day he will enter the international “high-end” market with his own products.

Two years ago Marco planned a listening session in my music studio. He demonstrated a tube pre-amplifier and was determined to show me that this experimental pre-amplifier would make a substantial difference to my system. The appearance of this pre-amplifier looked like a DIY from a back yard shop, but on closer examination all the jointing was found to be high quality. According to Marco all the components of this preamplifier were carefully and intelligently selected and wired. This pre-amplifier was the result of the many soul searching hours of iterative sound correction and testing in his laboratory. When I switched on the music I was amazed by the sheer sound quality. I didn't need any convincing and my attention was glued to the music immediately. My first impression was that the sound was extremely transparent, smooth and very pleasing to the ears. The dynamic definition and the associated musical ambience were definitely superior to the two reference pre-amplifiers, HERRON VTSP-1 and MARANTZ 7, in my music studio. In view of the complex nature of assembly, this particular pre-amplifier, was sadly the one and only example to exist in the world.

Apart from this Marco gave me his heavily modified “SPARK CDT -22” CD player from Zhuhai, Guangdong. Since it was heavily modified I will not go into details about this CD player. All I can say was that even the cover was intelligently modified to enable the sound to appear a little bit more transparent. The moment this modified player was switched on I could readily tell the difference between this player and an original SPARK CD player. Personally, I would place this modified CD player in a price range in excess of HK$10,000. Before I move away from this CD player, I wanted to reveal my most unforgettable and valuable lesson from Marco. After handing over this CD player to me, Marco instructed me that whatever modification I wished to do I categorically must never replace one of the relatively simple looking power cables. This cable was selected after long research and listening tests. He said this particular soft bodied power cable was a special German vintage power cable and swapping it would jeopardize the sound quality. Initially I didn't believe him and couldn't see how a simple cable which might have come from a back street could make so much difference. Since I had many cables from well-known international brands which cost in excess of HK$10,000, I decided to ignore Marco's advice and perform my personal comparison test. The results could be summed up in just one word: “DISAPPOINTING”. None of my cables could challenge this German vintage cable. No matter how expensive the cable I used (Including NBS and VENTURE) they were no match for this old German cable. After this incident I upgraded my assessment of Marco's “high-end” knowledge and capability from “GOOD” to “GREAT”. With his tremendously exciting experience and great patience in searching for the best “SOUND” I know Marco will go on to produce much interesting and exciting “high-end” equipment

Shortly after this, ARTIST HI FI CO launched their first Hi-Fi product, the ARTIST audio signal cable. After testing this cable I personally believed that this is the best buy “high-end” audio signal cable in the market. Although this cable does not give the best analytical definition, as its high and low frequency extension are inferior to some international brands, the musical feel and the overall texture will be uniquely attractive and desirable to many music lovers. In a relatively subdued Hong Kong Hi-Fi market a year after the launch of this ARTIST audio signal cable it has miraculously pushed sales to a new level. I believe that one “high-end” enthusiast was so satisfied with this cable that he eventually bought 16 pairs.

After enjoying the wonderful and satisfying music from the ARTIST audio signal cable many of the Hi-Fi enthusiasts have requested that Marco develop other audio products. In fact, after launching the ARTIST signal cable Marco has been quietly doing some research on loud speaker interconnects. Driven by overwhelming requests from his fans Marco dedicated his effort to developing this loud speaker interconnects and finally completed his work. During this period ARTIST HI FI CO was also promoting the “GRE PIN” 12 inch loud speaker (Refer to our last publication review). Many of the Hi-Fi enthusiasts (including myself) who have listened to this loud speaker are impressed by the liveliness of the sound but there is a breath of over-excitement and tightness in the overall texture. This may have been due to the fact that the loud speaker has not been properly “burned-in”. In spite of our reasoning Marco removed the original cable and replaced with his new ARTIST loud speaker interconnect. This time the sound was truly transformed and all the shortcomings disappeared. Not only was the over-excitement and tightness gone the overall tonal quality had become much smoother and did not sound like a NEW loud speaker yet to be “burned-in”. Subsequently, I requested Marco to lend me a pair of 14 foot ARTIST loud speaker interconnects to enable me to perform a detailed comparison test in my music studio.

Back in my music studio, after connecting the ARTIST loud speaker interconnect to the GRE PIN loud speakers I was immediately hit with the same experience as in Marco's place. The familiar original grainy sound texture of the GRE PIN loud speaker had been replaced by an open and extremely smooth sound. With the considerable improvement in the timbre and the overall musical feel it just felt like moving from a long jump to a triple jump. In theory it is impossible to “burn-in” loud speakers in such a short space of time. Initially, I thought this might have been a compatibility issue because the ARTIST and the GRE PIN are ideally made for each another. Or maybe it is due to the ARTIST's exceptional high qualities thus enabling the loud speaker to perform to its best. In order to satisfy my curiosity I decided to use the reference loud speaker in my music studio (ROCKPORT Mira Grand) to do a comparison. I had been playing with the Mira Grand in my music studio for about 3 months. Although the pair of Mira Grand are probably not fully “burned-in” they produced pleasantly warm sound with superb dynamic definition when matched with loud speaker interconnects from other well-known international brands costing in excess of HK$10,000. When I tested the Mira Grand with the ARTIST loud speaker interconnect I could only describe the experience with the word “awesome”. The music was extremely lively, smooth but “juicy”. The sound texture was exceptionally transparent with a well-balanced dynamic definition. As far as the acoustic ambience and the overall musical feel I would put this ARTIST alongside some of the popular international brands costing over HK$10,000. All-in-all during the AB comparison test the ARTIST was able to perform head-to-head with those international brands whose prices were multiple times dearer. The outstanding performance of this ARTIST had honestly presented me with a sweet surprise. Firstly, this test helped to prove that a Chinese made product has finally attained the ultimate “high-end” standard. Secondly, being a Hong Kong made product this ARTIST can be purchased directly from ARTIST HI FI CO without having to go through retailers or agencies. Without a middle-man this locally made product can be purchased at a much affordable price. With the continuing global economic downturn and the sliding sale of audio products more and more Hi-Fi enthusiasts are becoming selective and are relying on their ears to make purchases rather than simply buying popular brands. In this kind of situation the ARTIST audio signal cable will definitely be a strong contender in view of its superior value for money. Once tried, the temptation is difficult to resist.

 

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