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

The Artiste

One of the things I could not understand when I first met the guru was that he was always commenting about the artiste rather than about the hifi equipment. He would comment, for example, on a singer's vocal technique or a conductor's reading of the music score.

That was five years ago. Last week, I caught myself doing the same thing.

We had gone to a customer's home. The customer wanted to compare the guru's preamplifier with another, very highly reputed brand that costs about four times more.

When we arrived, the customer was playing some music by a Norwegian singer who was unknown to us. Even he did not know her name. But we all thought that she was quite good.

Later, he switched to a CD by a Chinese singer, Cai Qin. She is very popular with audiophiles - not just among the Chinese. I have an Englishman customer who has practically all her CDs. I have seen her CD at an Australian loudspeaker designer's home, I had seen it in the demo room of Czech tube maker Ricardo Kron of KR Electronics.

I, too, consider Cai Qin to be a good singer. But when her music was played soon after the Norwegian singer's, my immediate reaction was, "She's not as good." I realised I was saying exactly what the Guru used to say to me.


Why focus on the performer? Isn't that a matter of personal taste? What has it to do with the quality of hifi equipment?

When I first put these questions to the guru - five years ago - his reply was, "If you don't know about music, you can forget about hifi."

That reply made sense to me. Hifi is only the means, not the end. The end is the music. One is supposed to enjoy the music, not the hifi.

And so I accepted that reply. But about a year ago, the guru offered another reason that made even more sense. This time, it relates directly to hifi.

"If you listen to a third rate singer, he or she will sound third rate no matter what hifi you use," the guru explained. "But when you listen to a first rate singer, then you can tell immediately. If the equipment is not up to standard, the singer will sound third rate. If the equipment is good, you will hear what a great singer he or she is."




Diva team

design philosophy

"factory direct"




power amps

phono amp

cd mod


qi cones