If the Hifi Guru Says So...
Thoughts on musicality and the art of hifi


This book is a collection of essays on the ART of high fidelity according to DIVA designer T S Lim.

Hi Fi is an art. It involves the creation - or rather, the re-creation - of something beautiful, something that touches our hearts and stirs our souls.

Not many people see it this way. Just as not many people consider the framing of a picture to be art, or the way pictures are presented in an exhibition, to be an art. But as you can well imagine, even the greatest paintings can look awful if badly framed, or anyhow displayed in an exhibition.

The same with music. Great music can sound ordinary - it can even sound bad - when played through a hi fi system that is not up to par. On the other hand, a good, well-set-up hi fi system can bring out the specialness of even "ordinary" music.

Not many people practice this art of hi fi. Because not many people know there is such an art in the first place. Or, they think it is financially beyond their reach. They think that one has to spend huge sums of money in order to get good sound and good music. The existence of hi fi systems that cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars only serves to put many people off.

A hi fi artist, however, is able to achieve excellent music reproduction with equipment costing relatively little money.

Also, most people regard hi fi as a science - the science of electronics. Even though science is involved, it is more than that. The same set of hi fi equipment, in the same room, will sound very different when set up by two different people.

The hi fi artist will be able to achieve reasonably good sound with practically any equipment, under any room conditions. The non-artist quite often ends up with bad sound even with the best equipment and the most "ideal" room acoustic conditions.

The room is the "canvas" of the hi fi artist. The equipment - CD players, turntables, amplifiers, loudspeakers, cables, etc - are his media. His artwork is music - and sound.

T S Lim is one such artist.

The hi fi artist needs talent, skills and experience. He needs to know, for example, how sound reproduction changes when loudspeakers are moved, even by just a few millimetres. He needs to know how placing an amplifier over, say, metal, glass, granite or various types of wood will affect sound reproduction. How different equipment interact with different cables and power cords. How things like bookshelves, sofas and other items in the room affect sound.

And so on. But most importantly, the artist must have a strong sense of aesthetics.

Like any other form of art, the art of hi fi take years to master. Not everyone will have the patience to pursue this art. Just as not everyone has the patience to learn how to paint, or to play a musical instrument.

However, lots more can appreciate the art. As Lim's co-writer in this book, I write as an appreciator of the art of hi fi. The appreciator needs only to know what to listen for - to judge what is "good" and what is "bad" music reproduction.

Many people already appreciate music. Yet they listen to music through either poor quality or poorly set up hi fi systems.

By introducing you to the art of hi fi, Lim and I hope you will derive much more pleasure from the enjoyment of music.




Diva team

design philosophy

"factory direct"




power amps

phono amp

cd mod


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