Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beauty exposed: Exposure 2010S2 Integrated Amplifier

An article featured in The Star on 14th June 2010

THERE are quite a few Exposure aficionados in AudioFile. I own, and still regularly use, an old Exposure X, the company’s first integrated amp which made its debut around the time the Margaret Thatcher administration ended.

I believe MK Chong has an Exposure XV tucked among his goodies, while new convert Khairan Nasir is discovering the capabilities of his Exposure 3010S2.

The company was established in the 1970s, but I recall it made its way to these shores only around the mid-1980s. My first encounter with its wares came back then, while taking a break from the pinball machines in the old Pertama Complex to cool off in a near-hidden hi-fi shop in the upper floors. The nice assistant fired up the multiple black box Exposure amp combination and all present were astonished at how thoroughly it demolished the best-selling A&R A60 amplifier in just about every sonic parameter.
I subsequently got to meet John Farlowe, Exposure’s original owner and designer, probably about the time local interests first bought into his company (local share-holding continues to this day). He advised me to keep the X, a design he was especially proud of, if I was going to continue to use a turntable. My kinda man!

Shuffle and deal
My understanding is that Farlowe was not directly involved in the 2010 and 3010 designs, these being the first two rungs at the bottom of the current Exposure product hierarchy. Another celebrated name, Tony Brady of Onix amplifiers fame, now helms the Exposure design team.

The 2010S2 is a revision of the well-received 2010S, though just where the changes have been made, apart from the inputs now being relay-selected, haven’t been elaborated on. Externally, the 2010S2 looks similar to its predecessor, the distinguishing factor being no text on the bottom half of the amp’s fascia.

The 2010S2 has six pairs of RCA inputs, a fixed output for dinosaurs (like me) who still make analogue recordings, and a buffered variable preamp output. If inclined to, the user can run a bi-amp set up with Exposure’s own gain-matched 2010S2 power amplifier.

An internal MM or MC board option is available but wasn’t provided – my 100% track record here continues! Local dealer Audio Image will oblige an order for the board but an external phono stage like the Clearaudio Nano available there is more flexible as it caters for both cartridge types and has variable settings, allowing more options going forward. Either route has pros and cons, but Audio Image is offering a sweetened price on the Nano if purchased with the 2010S2.

The 2010S2’s speaker terminals are not switchable and are thus more for bi-wiring. They accept only banana-type plugs which may annoy those who use other terminations on their speaker cables. The Alps potentiometer is motorised so the unit is remote controllable for most of its switchings (not for power on/off, though).

Cards on the table
It didn’t take long for the 2010S2 to come on song and exhibit the traits which have made Exposure a favourite with discerning punters. In a system sourced by a Bastin Garrard 401-Rega RB300-Dyna 10x5-Rotel RHQ-10 phono amp, and driving Sonus faber Guarneri loudspeakers and a James EMB1000 subwoofer, arguably somewhat above the 2010S2’s station in life, the little amp sang for its supper with a passion rarely encountered at its price point.

The midrange sounded spot on, with Don McLean’s take of Roy Orbison’s Crying so well portrayed that my wife, who has heard her share of valve amps, commended the results. Midrange detail gave the diyparadise Eva-Euphonic Research Amp-80 combination, a really revealing combo, a run for its money.

Rhythmic and timing aspects met the expectations set by its predecessors, with Paul Simon’s Rhythm Of The Saints LP playing through with no thoughts on the part of the listener to skip any tracks. Strangely, it is here that I feel the old X may just have the measure of its descendent, but this really depends on personal sensitivities to this subjective musical aspect.

The highs were excellent, showing virtually no grain, grit or hardness that gives away the game for lower-cost transistor amps. Bass was solid and played notes well, none of the mushed-up and homogenised lower end that less well sorted-out designs can suffer playing complex pieces.
Overall scale and low-end extension were good, but not a match for the more powerful (and expensive when available!) Krell KAV300-i and diyparadise Eva-Mesa Baron amps used as comparison to gauge these aspects. I suppose this is where big brother, the 3010S2, or a bi-amped 2010S2 combo, should be called upon.

Call, or raise
An enthusiastic recommendation from yours truly was all sewn up within a fortnight or so of evaluation and comparison.

The 2010S2 is informative, fun to listen to, tugs at your heartstrings and brings all these to the table at a keen price, so you owe it to yourself to audition it carefully. I’m all curious now about how good the range topping MCX system may be.

WHAT IT IS: Solid-state integrated amplifier.
LUST FACTOR: A musical communicator par excellence; option to upgrade to a bi-amp set up.
REALITY CHECK: Plasticky remote; output terminal type precludes usage of various speaker cable terminations.   
PRICE: RM4,250

Separate pre-amp output
Bi-wiring compatible
75 watts per channel into 8 Ohms
Full-function remote control
3-year guarantee

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Triangle Titus Ex

Titus Ex
Number of channels: 2
Loudspeaker type: Bass Reflex
Sensitivity: 91 dB/W/m
Frequency range: 55 Hz – 20 KHz (+/- 3 dB)
Power handling: 60 W
Nominal impedance: 8 Ω
Cabinet dimensions: 320 x 190 x 300 mm
Weight: 6.50 kg
Finish: Cognac
Recommended for a 100-270sq ft room

This bookshelf loudspeaker can be easily integrated into a piece of furniture. Its 5" driver will produce excellent bass and midrange while retaining the dynamics of the characteristic TRIANGLE sound.

Promo: RM3,300/pair for the 1st batch of order only (without stands).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Triangle Antal + Comete 30th Anniversary Limited Edition

An irresistible limited edition

During TRIANGLE’s thirtieth anniversary, discover the ANTAL and COMÈTE limited edition. These two main speakers, which are direct results of the ESPRIT range, combine state-of-the-art technology and a haute-couture finish. ANTAL and COMÈTE offer discerning music lovers no-compromise sound reproduction which will live up to their expectations.

Both Antal and Comete come in luxurious piano black finishing and both feature the solid aluminium TZ2500 horn tweeter. The limited edition models come with seamless cabinet designs and also specially designed front cloth grille. 

Limited to 500 pairs worldwide. Only 5 pairs are allocated to Singapore & Malaysia. 

Loudspeaker type : 2 Way / Bass Reflex
Sensitivity (dB/W/m): 90
Frequency range (+/-3dB Hz-KHz) : 50-20
Power handling (W Rms) : 80
Minimum impedance (ohms) : 4.4
Cabinet dimensions (mm: HxWxD) : 420 x 200 x 335
Net weight (Kg) : 8.5

Loudspeaker type : 3 Way / Bass Reflex
Sensitivity (dB/W/m): 91
Frequency range (+/-3dB Hz-KHz) : 40-20
Power handling (W Rms) : 120
Minimum impedance (ohms) : 3.4
Cabinet dimensions (mm: HxWxD) : 1080 x 200 x 355
Dimensions with plinth (mm: HxWxD) : 1140 x 370 x 380
Net weight (Kg) : 22.5

For more information:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Exposure 3010 S2 CD Player & Integrated Amplifier

Exposure 3010 S2 CD player
Dual mono PCM1704 24 bit DAC fitted to provide very high resolution and separation

Highly optimised audio circuitry with discrete output stage and multiple stages of regulation

Large toroidal power transformer with separate windings for CD transport mechanism and audio stages

Employment of a high-stability crystal clock reference and dedicated, power supply r egulator for the transport and audio stages to ensure low jitter performance

High quality double-sided PCBs for optimum layout and screening

Three-year guarantee

Price: RM 6,700

Exposure 3010 S2 Integrated Amplifier
110 watts RMS per channel into 8 Ohms

Six line inputs

Option to fit a MC or MM phono module

Bi-wiring compatible

Separate pre-amp output with class A buffer stage

Remote control

Three-year guarantee

Price: RM 6,250

Exposure 2010 S2 CD Player & Integrated Amplifier

Exposure 2010 S2 CD player
Single PCM 1716 24 bit DAC fitted to provide very high resolution

Highly optimised audio output circuitry with multiple stages of supply regulation

Large toroidal power transformer with separate windings for CD transport mechanism and audio stages

Employment of a high-stability crystal clock reference and dedicated, power supply regulator for the transport and audio stages to ensure low jitter performance

High quality double-sided PCBs for optimum layout and screening

Price: RM 4,000
Exposure 2010 S2 Integrated Amplifier
Separate pre-amp output

Bi-wiring compatible

75 watts per channel into 8 Ohms

Full-function remote control

Three-year guarantee

Price: RM 4,250

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Room Acoustic

This topic is very interesting especially of late that there are many of our customers beginning to realise the importance of room acoustic.

Never did I realise that the 'bug' start 'biting' each one of them at a rapid rate. I have always stretch that room acoustic is being ignored by most of us. A good system in a poor acoustic room is just as bad as a poor system.

Not all of us can afford the luxury of a dedicated room or a specially designed room for music or home theater. However, all is not lost. We can still do some acoustic treatments (by either DIY or sourcing the acoustic treatment products) to rectify or minimise the problems.

DIY will be the cheaper route to go. Only that you need some tools and a little bit of skill to do that. The end result might not be as good looking as the commercially available products but the satisfaction derived from it is PRICELESS (We shall deal on that later as we are going to cover on the DIY project by a fellow HT enthusiast)

Before that, hold on to your horses. Don't start buying those rockwool, building frames and so forth. One needs to understand acoustic principles before embarking on the 'handyman' DIY journey.

There are many articles online that explain in great length on this topic. Here is one of the website that provides such informative articles.

One will ask what sort of treatment to be used. Well, that very much depends on the room itself. Bass traps, diffusor, absorption panel, etc. are the most commonly found treatment available.

Ethan Winer, the acoustic guru done a very good with his useful website.

It might take some time to digest the many articles but it is very useful. If one understands it and start applying it in his/her room, the end result would be very satisfying.

Having said that, how could the WAF slips my thought?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! Welcome 2011


A brand new year with best wishes for health, happiness, and also wealth.

2011 will see more 3D Blu-ray discs hitting the market. The hardware will see an increase in choices too. We do hope to see more 3D projector to be introduced at affordable price.

Warmest regards.