Does a workaholic audiophile ever truly go on vacation? Ok, that's obviously a rhetorical question. Admit it, you've been on holiday and went to visit a few high-end stores or the odd record shop (or two, or three). So would one expect any less from Yours Truly? Of course not! And so sitting here with the outside temps reaching 85oF in Singapore as the weather at home looks to be 12oF with major snow drifts, I went and visited three malls this week (not counting the Tokyo airport's three hour layover where I visited two shops). The first mall has the famous Fountain of Wealth that is located underground within the largest shopping mall of Suntec City. The next large mall is Sim Lim Square and the other is The Adelphi. The first is a normal mall where i came across a Bowers & Wilkins store and OPPO. As for the last two, both are known havens for electronics geeks, with the former being a lower-end palace of discount electronics and the latter being a highly-prized shrine for high-end audio enthusiasts.
Our first mall at Singapore's Suntec City had the Bowers & Wilkins store. The staff was very friendly and helpful as i listened to their desktop and home speakers.
Next up was the OPPO store where both Heather and i tried their top-line headphones and amplifier being driven by the BDP-105. While we were there a British lady was deciding between the BDP-103 and BDP-105. Helping as i could, as have worked retail sales for over a decade, she felt the benefits of the BDP-105 fit her lifestyle and preferences over the lower line BDP-103. My wife Heather said i should have received commission on the sale(!). It's interesting as i truly do miss the 1-on-1 interaction with helping others choose what consumer electronics product best suits their lifestyle and meets, to perhaps exceeding, their expectations as their needs grow over the years.
Within the same mall you could experience not 3D, not 4D, not even 6D, but a massive 7D experience! So throw away those 3D goggles folks, as they are so 1950's! Basically, it looked to be a 3D movie with adding real items combined with smell-a-vision. Yes, i remember trying smell-a-vision about 8 years ago and came away unimpressed. Never did try 7D so hopefully they have things well-integrated and smelling all proper this time around.
At Sim Lim are places to get discounts galore, with perhaps a few b-stock items. Adapters galore combined with stores that will fix you mobile phone on-site and SSD storage plus the odd audio store. Sim Lim is a great place for acquiring any audio or video adapter you can imagine. The same goes for Wi-Fi and networking devices. Not really much in the way of high-end audio, yet a great place for picking up 'penny candy electronic toys' as it were.
Wait, Nakamichi makes IEMs? Yes they do. Sadly, looking at the frequency response curve i felt disheartened. What ever happened to the great Nakamichi quality gear i grew up loving?
While visiting Sim Lim Square I came upon Mr. Thushara Weerakumara at Song Brothers Marketing, a store that carries audio gear including Astell&Kern's excellent audio gear. Whilst I remembered to bring my beloved JH Audio Roxanne IEMs, but as bad luck would have it the AK240 is at home on the charger. That's right, I left the AK240 at home by mistake (ARRRRGH!!!!). Anywho, Thushara turned me on to some sweet single-driver IEMs made right here in Singapore, which reminds me i need to contact them for a review sample.
Sony also had a dedicated brand store featuring Hi-Res Audio and their line of personal media players. Alas, they didn't have the new NW-ZX2 there, and neither did the Tokyo airport for that matter, and so my choices are to wait for a review sample or just buy one from Amazon and try it out. Either way, you can count on me reviewing it no matter what it takes to get one of these jewels in my hand ASAP.