For The Love Of Music – The Star
Create Musical Bliss – The Star review
CarPlus HK Magazine – Simonte Audio Ferrari Installation
Simonte Legato Link Product Review – The Star
Legato Link – Utusan
CarPlus HK Magazine – Interview with Simon
CarPlus HK Magazine – Interview with Simon Teh (English)
Revolutionary technology for car stereo modification
Does raising sound reproduction significantly – and closing in on High-End acoustic bliss, while retaining the original audio head unit and without having to connect additional amplifiers – sound too good to be true? Well, I’ve heard it with my own ears, and you’d better believe it.
Given my knowledge of stereos, there is really very little difference between car Hi-Fi and Home Audio, with equipment being the emphasis of both. The most effective way of improving sound reproduction standards is to upgrade the equipment, change the head unit and improve analysis capability; then, add power amplifiers to strengthen the drive, and change your speakers to thoroughly change the sound quality.
Those who want to be more professional can also add an electronic tuner, electronic crossover, and line the entire car with anti-shock sound absorption material … etc. In any case, the greater the amount of investment you make in equipment, the better the effect, in general.
Simonte Audio stands out to the contrary. With its brand new concept, it has changed the fixed way car stereos are modified, and the effect was simply astounding.
Don’t believe what you see, believe in what you hear
That day, the car we tested at the TAC workshop was a Toyota Hybrid Prius C. In my opinion, this car was definitely not good platform for testing stereos, with its narrow space and thin door walls; even after multiple makeovers, great sound would remain elusive. I was thinking to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding!”
After getting into the car, there was more to pick on – that really cheap original head unit that comes with the car was still there. When I opened the boot, there were no subwoofer, power amps, capacitors, EQ and the like. Apart from an additional pair of external tweeters each mounted on top of the central control panel and the sides of the back seat, the rest was not much different from that which came with the original car. How could great sound come from this?
Simon Teh, Simonte Audio’s owner, then got into the passenger seat, put a CD into the head unit and pressed the play button. Tracks from excerpts of a few domestic hit discs were played, and something amazing subsequently happened …
From memory, the reproduction capability of the original Prius C was of a very ordinary grade, but the acoustic fidelity of this system, from when the sound was first heard, was extremely rich, and the background, very quiet, with an expansive soundstage; spatially, it did not feel like we were in a small car.
All the musical instruments appeared orderly and clear. In addition to the analysis being relatively meticulous, what really surprised me was the harmony of its high, middle and low frequencies as well as the balance. The treble was smooth and not jarring, while the middle frequency was rich and melodious.
In particular, what I enjoyed most was that in addition to the resonance of the low frequency, the bass that was played also had appropriate pace and vibrance. Another plus for this system is that vocal reproduction felt quite genuine, with both depth and positioning well reproduced.
Next, Simon turned the stereo’s low frequency amplification to about 48 degrees. Under large SPL, the system’s performance was still powerful, with unexpectedly little distortion. The speakers do not seem to show any signs of going out of control or making static sounds.
Although the volume is sharply reduced when Simon narrows the amplification from 48 to a very weak 15 degrees or thereabouts, the overall timbre showed no signs of having weakened. If you listen carefully, each sound, each piece of lyric, each bit of musical instrument extension is exquisite and moving.
Frankly, this is one of the most inexplicable experiences in my life of testing car audio equipment. The wonderful sound reproduction performance that was created inside the Prius C was highly persuasive, but the equipment in front of me is as average as can be. I told myself that this cannot be real, but I really heard it with my own ears. I became confused, and I couldn’t believe my own hallucinations. It was frightening! Do I need a doctor?
Three decades of being the Golden Ear
Simon appeared to be used to my reaction. After leaving the car, he finally began to address my doubts.
“Without realising it, I’ve dealt with stereos for more than three decades, and have accumulated a lot of experience. I’m a Home Audio enthusiast, but because I work in Malaysia, I usually have to drive all over the place. Therefore, I listen to music in the car more than I do at home, but I wasn’t happy with the standard of the original stereo unit. So I often change equipment. I went around in circles, and have spent a lot of money learning.”
“But in the last few years, the stereo systems in new cars are generally build-in designs. It’s not that you can’t modify them, but once the modification of electric circuits is involved, you would lose the original manufacturer’s warranty. In addition, the original also correspond to a lot of the other functions, so there is no reason to change.”
“What method is there to keep the original head unit while raising the timbre? In the last few years, I’ve been studying this intensively, and I finally found the most effective solution. Therefore, I founded Simonte Audio, and shared the fruits of my labour with fellow enthusiasts.”
Simon held what looked like a pair of aficionado speaker cables which was about 1cm thick, with negative and positive poles at each end, flowing through what looked like a large capacitance, filter sort of metal object.
“This pair of cables is the Legato Link. You can call it the fruit of three decades of painstaking effort spent on the field of audio. The high standard of reproduction that was reproduced in the Prius C just now depended solely on them.”
“A lot of people believe that with limited space, no matter what you do, car stereo systems would not be able to produce great sound, but with my experience, the inside of a car is an ideal listening environment, with the two major great sound elements of reflection (glass) and sound absorption (ceiling and carpet), most appropriate for studio-style listening.”
“However, the main reasons for not being able to produce great sound are vibration and interference that come from within the signals. With proper control, you can balance the tones. Legato Link is a special accessory that was built to deal with this. There is a secret concoction of materials inside the metal tube. There are no electronic components; rather, through applying physics and ground connection principles to control vibration and tuning, it can greatly increase sound quality.”
Subsequent tuning is the most important
For the entire equipment to function at its most powerful, Simon said that the post-installation tuning process is often the most important. Most of the time, the placements of the middle and low frequency speakers cannot be altered, so what is most important is the placement of the tweeters, with different placements for different cars.
Tweeters placed in the front are responsible for positioning and vocals, while those placed at the back are to expand the soundstage and for close sound. No precision instruments are required for tuning; only a pair of golden ears and experience to tuning the most desirable timbre according to the client.
The person in charge of TAC said that the installation and tuning procedures of the entire Simonte Audio system can be completed in one day. Spending more than RM10,000 in exchange for such persuasive improvement in sound quality without affecting the original manufacturer’s warranty. There is no need to add additional equipment in the boot which would reduce carrying capacity. For the price of this sound, it is ridiculously cheap.
Find it hard to believe? Listen with your ears by all means! It’s just magical. I guarantee that you’d be speechless after you experience this acoustic bliss.
BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
TEHNICHI AUDIO SDN BHD
No. 31 & 33 Ground Floor, The PJ Highway Centre, Jln 51/205, 46050,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor,
012-391 2662 | 012-297 8226