Product Review

By: Joe Lee

Independent Journalist, Singapore
6-20-2003

Joe Lee Says -

Usmanto's case

This is just one of the many 'Sistrumed' stories,
except this is the first one happened in Singapore

Usmanto is one of the luckiest audiophiles. He has a pair of 'Golden' ears and he can distinguish clearly what is right or what is not right; he is enthusiastic and... fussy, always chasing the best sonic quality and never stop to seek for improvement; he is innovative and daring, willing to try all sorts of new stuff regardless of whether they make sense or not (for example, Joe Lee's amber tweak); he is not filthily rich but he has the capibility to spend; and most important is, he has a good friend  called Joe Lee who is willing to help him to tweak his system for more than ten times in the past six months.

His system comprises of

CD player: Meridian 588
SACD: Sony SCD XA777ES

Preamp: Jeff Rowland Synergy IIi
Power amps: Genesis Servo amp for the bass towers
Classe 401 for the mid/high towers

Speakers: Genesis 200

Power Cables:
Audience powerchords on CD/SACD/Servo amp
Wireworld Silver Electra 5 on Preamp
Classe powerchord on Classe 401

Interconnect:
Wireworld Gold Eclipse III+ from CD and SACD to Preamp
Straightwire Crescendo from Preamp to Servo Amp and Classe 401

Speaker Cables: Straightwire Crescendo

Usmanto's listening room is very well acoustically treated. All the while his system produced warmth, dynamic and huge sound, giving almost life size imaging which is very rare for a room sized like his. The effect managed to stun everyone who first visited his system but not many were interested to audition again. Their comments were more or less the same:

It is exciting, but it is not musical.

I must admitted that even after my numerous tweaking and fine-tunings, his system was still lacked of delicacy and "expensive feel". It was difficult to put in words but he fully understood what I meant. The system was a bit wild and wooly, uncivilized. It is superb in Jazz reproduction, but when come to classical music, emotion and elegance were insufficient. Or they were simply just not there...

Since it is not my system, it is easy for me to give up. ?Too bad, Usmanto, that's life!? That's what I told him. Although I could sleep tight every night expecially after a couple of beers, I believed Usmanto was suffered from many sleepless nights.

Two months ago he told me about Audio Points and Sistrum Platform and asked for my opinions. I told him I have no comments. Your system will surely sounds different, that's all I can say. Even a thirty dollars Ikea chopping board can changed the audio spectrum of a system entirely, now you are telling me that you are going to spend a few thousand bulks. Of course I expect a difference!

Anyway, after a few weeks, he told me that his system was almost completed 'Sistrumed' with all his components resting on a Six-Selve and a few individual SP-101. I went again on a Saturday morning.

Honestly I really could not believe in what I heard. To cut it short, the system transformed itself entirely to become a different system; a real highest-end system that should cost one a fortune. With Sistrum Platforms everywhere the system was dead quiet, made me felt like listening to a precisely setted pure LP system with no digital component hook-up. Every musical instrument and vocal was so real and nicely presented. Nothing overwhelmed, and nothing was missing. The ambience was so pleasantly rich, tonality was high-class but not elaborated, and the musicality was neatly emitted.

I was very happy for him. He made a good investment!

Two weeks later without a crane but just a little bit help from his friend he further 'Sistrumed' the gigantic Genenis panels and woofer towers. To me it is like mission impossible. But what he did was correct again. This time the four platforms really made his system performed like a system from another planet. They are no longer any Genesis that I am very familiar with (I've been playing with G1, G2 and G5 systems for years...). I would say if the overall improvement of Usmanto's system, before and after 'Sistrumed', was a 1000 percent, "Sistruming" the speaker system contributed at least 500.

Like most of the reviewers, Usmanto could not live without Sistrum anymore. Nowadays he enjoyed listening to his system so much. Perhaps in his mind there is something next but I guessed he is already one of the happiest audiophiles, if not happiest, at least happier than many who spent a few hundred K on their system but still ends up nowhere.

To many audiophiles Sistrum Platform perhaps is the best solution. The pricing may be a bit scary when you first look at them, but just think about that a decent amp can cost 8 to 10K, an over-priced cable can ask for a few thousand, Sistrum worths every single cent.

Usmanto welcomed those who are interested in Sistrum Platform to audition his system. Email me to arrange.

Joe Lee

Independent Journalist, Singapore
20-06-2003