|Mr. Hsieh's Audio System:
||Thiel CS-5i, JBL 4348, Infinite Center, Mirage subwoofer
||Spectral DMA 180 s2
||YBA Signature, Yamaha XA1 processor
||Wadia 8 Transport + Wadia 2000 DAC
||MIT, NBS, etc.
Visiting Mr. Hsieh's home is like going into a show home. Situated on a 2/3 acre land with million dollar view, it is the finest display of a modern luxurious home. Mr. & Mrs. Hsieh both love 18th c. French style artworks and paintings. A tour of their home feels like an art tour at a museum, and all designed and decorated by themselves.
On a Sunday afternoon, I was lucky enough to be invited to Mr. Hsieh's and watch Super Bowl together. Some of you may know that I'm not a die-hard football fan, but watching American finest sport show on a large screen high definition TV with true HD signal is quite an experience. I have to agree that once you have experienced HD, there is no going back to conventional TV. With their warm hospitality and full table of snack and food, this is the best Super Bowl, or any sport event I have ever watched.
If you have a sharp eye, you may already find an Accuphase on the bottom of the TV and a pair of legendary Mirage M1 beside the HDTV (Micro Mega CD player not seeable); which makes many including myself envy. However, it is not our feature system yet; the best is yet to come !
Now into Mr. Hsieh's dedicated theater room, it is a totally different feeling than the rest of the home. This huge theater room is measured 23 x 20; the richness in color and design makes one feel like right in a professional theater; not just a home theater. Filling the huge theater room are plenty of exquisite audio/video components; while I glance each and every one by myself, I suddenly feel like a kid going into a candy store with every bits of excitement. I guess there is always the kid in every audiophile's heart.
About Mr. Hsieh's setup, he puts equal amount of thoughts into 2 channel and 5 channel. Mr. Hsieh complete separate his home theater system apart from his 2 channel audio. In home theater setup, a lying down pair of Infinite speakers is not for repair, but his dual mono center speakers driven by Carver. The triangular enclosure design of infinite speaker makes it a perfect center channel with angle towards audience. (What a perfect thought !) Front channel is handled by Parasound on JBL 4348 with 15' woofer, while rear is another pair of KEF floor standers. Just what I thought there is enough power in this room to shake like a earthquake, I find another 15' Mirage subwoofer handing 65 Hz and below. When Mr. Hsieh demo'ed movie - Stealth, hearing those engine roaring through my ears; I say ~ "Argh, this is what a home theater should sound like".
The heart of the home theater - projector, Mr. Hsieh insists on the superb video quality by BARCO and its conventional CRT projection. I have compared its video quality of a DVD with some of the present day LCD/DLP projectors; CRT is clearly a winner when comparing its video quality and color contrast. Most important, it gives a more live feeling 3-D feelings to films; although its high maintenance, space consuming, and high cost are its flaws.
After reviewing his home theater setup, I can not wait to hear his 2 channel system. For those who may not know, Thiel and Spectral are known for its speed and dynamics. Wadia and YBA are both known for its exquisite and beautiful sound. There is no surprise; his components are all part of audio legend, and still among the best in present day. After listening a few albums, I find the sound stage is wide and deep, and sonic dynamics is ultra fast. The channel separation is superb with massive amount of details. When listening to one of my favorite vocal album (Rebecca Pidgeon's Retrospective), Pidgeon's voice sounds clean and beautiful, and I find the fastest dynamics ever in all the homes I've visited, yet pin-point strike.
If there is anything I personally may add to the system, it would be a bit more spice of bass response, especially the lows below 85 Hz. It may just be how Thiel speakers were designed, or just how I am used to the sound on my system. However, I can not stress enough how great the system synergy sounds here.
To conclude my pleasant day visit at Mr. Hsieh's, I like to thank them again for their warm hospitality, and a wonderful tour of their mansion. Although my mission was to discover an audiophile, but I also find many other interests of Mr. & Mrs. Hsieh - including golfing, art collections, aquarium hobbyist, oil painting etc... To many, audio may perhaps be the only hobby we share, but kudos to all verity of interests we enjoy.