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No B.S  Audiophile CD recommendations  


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5) Foreign Titles:    Asian          


    Title: Ato & Kids, Afterclass                                           Rating: 4.5 / 5

Label: Spring Rains ( http://xxx.itaiwan.net/ato/)

One of the best selling titles at CES 2006.   Another title from 'Hakka'  singer Ato, Hakka is a native language from a region in Taiwan.   Same with his other titles, the songs on this CD are Hakka folk songs which flows from Ato's heart.  Listen to a tune from this CD and you'll know the songs are not products of commercialism.   

Many songs are sung by young children who has no musical training whatsoever, yet they are songs which flows from the heart.   This is a must own title in my opinion.






Title: Wind Red No Kokoro by Koji Tamaki            Rating: 4.1 / 5


Label: Dreamusic Japan


Koji Tamaki was the most popular Japanese singer in the 1980s.  Tamaki's soulful and seductive voice brings forth emotions like no other Japanese pop singer I know of.   While I cannot wholeheartedly recommend other titles by Koji Tamaki or Anzen-Chitai, this title is an exception.


Recording quality is top notch, other than being slightly bloomy.  If your system has bass resonance issues, it will be magnified when you play this CD.   But every audiophile who has heard this CD at my house has asked me where to obtain a copy, hence the recommendation here.


To my surprise, you can order this CD from Amazon.







Recommended to me by

Lincoln..   To see his system:




Title: HK Audiophile Greatest Hits (3) Lincoln's Picks          Rating: 4 / 5


Label: Hugo (www.hugocd.com)


Hugo is an audiophile label from Asia with over 300 titles.  However, this particular title is part of a series of ultra-high fidelity recording branded as LPCD.   


According to HUGO, while XRCD focus on a sophisticated remastering process, LPCD takes one step further by incorporating a special material onto the CD layer itself, reducing the diversion of the laser beam thereby improving the accuracy of the laser pickup signal.   LPCDs are supposed to be as good as LPs.


Does LPCD measured up to its claims ?   You can be the judge for yourselves.    Personally I do not think much of either process, XRCD or LPCD, and I very much doubt the sound of CDs ever coming close to LP.  Many will challenge my opinion.


The title contains 12 of Lincoln's selection.  The best part is, you get 2 CDs for the price of one.   They give you an ordinary CD with the same recording so that you can compare with the LPCD.



Recommended to me by

David Kan..   To see his system:





Title: Yin Cheng-Zong                                                                      Rating: 4 / 5

           Selected Chinese Melodies for Piano

Label: ABC Records Available here: www.abcrecord.com

A great piano performance of Chinese music which were originally intended to for “Gu-Zheng” (a type of string instrument). It is not only unconventional, but also poses great challenges for the performer. Yin’s piano performance on this Steinway Grand Concert Model D, can be described as “out of this world”. An excellent recording done at Petersburg Capella Hull, utilizing 4 B&K 4004 Microphones. A great CD for piano music lovers.

The CD comes in an artistically designed, but totally user unfriendly CD case. I much rather see the good old fashion plastic jewel case.





Recommended by Joe.

To see Joe's system:








Title: (1) Songs of A-to (2) Water Path                          Rating: 4 / 5


Label: Spring Rain Publisher SR-001 & SR-003


Another 2 titles in a language which I do not understand (Taiwanese Hakka).

Ato is probably the only Hakka folk singer with published music. His music is non-commercial and inspiring. Beautiful soothing guitars and light paced folk songs.


The recording is of superb quality. Two of the best CDs in my collection.
These are available through www.malmusic.com


Note: Songs of Ato comes in both Redbook and XRCD version.   We have done extensive A/B testing between the two versions, and most Stereopal members prefers the Redbook version.   I would give the XRCD version a 3.2 /5.




Title: Autumn Yearning Fantasia                                    Rating: 4.5 / 5


Label: First Impression Music XRCD24 053


Available here:  www.element-acoustics.ca


Autumn Yearning Fantasia is probably more popular overseas than in the country which it is produced. This CD was chosen as the Reference Demo CD for the 2003 AES conference. The recording is of exceptional quality, with utmost clarity and dynamics. I give it a 4.5 as it lacks a little ambience, probably because the recording was done in a studio vs a live setting.   




  Title: River of Sorrow                                                          Rating 4.5 / 5

Label: First Impression Music XR24 006

Available here:   www.element-acoustics.ca

Very similar to Autumn Yearing Fantasia. I find the music to be more lively and more interesting. The quality is again, top notch.



Recommended by A.D Lui,

To see his system:



  Title: Story of the Violet Hairpin                 Rating: 4.2 / 5

Label: Crown Music CCD-1210

Certainly not everyone's cup of tea.    I'd say this is opera is the Chinese version of Noye's Fludde, from a sound staging perspective.   This old recording is probably done with minimal number of microphones and old tube gears, but with surprising results.  

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