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What an impressive headphone store in Taiwan!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am back in Taiwan for vacation and strolled into the largest headphone dealer in Taiwan, only one block from my high school.
Their website is impressive (http://www.hifi.com.tw/adm_root/index.php), but
I must say I am pleasantly surprised by the actual store.

First thing I see: a wall of full-size cans, probably 40+.
I see hi-end Senns, AKGs, Grado/Alessandros, Beyers, Ultraones some woody ATHs.
Plus a dozen of headphone amps for auditioning including Corda, Lehmann, ATH, and even an RSA Raptor.
Sources are CEC and Onix CDPs and Benchmark, Lavry and CEC DACs.
All these toys available for auditioning in a quiet, comfortable environment.
I was able to compare HD595, HD650 and K271S.
I am impressed by HD595 (yeah, Sennheiser sound minus the veil) and want to buy one soon.

After chatting with them, I realize their pricing is very honest, too. They actually sell Benchmark DAC1 a bit lower than US price (should have bought mine there). But Lavry is a lot more expensive due to the distributor. Market price mainly determined by the distributor in Taiwan. As such, CEC stuff is a lot cheaper at their store than in the US. They also sell Ray Samuels amps at near-zero profit by individual orders, just to provide an extra service to zealous customers.

They also sell headphone accessories of their own brand: Hou-Fen, which is actually the owner's name. The famous Grado carrying case from Taiwan is their house product. They get lots of group orders from overseas. I bought three today I also listened to their Hou-Fen solid state headphone amp ($110), and I did not notice anything lacking. I did not compare it to other amps, so I hope some Taiwanese head-fier could review this unit. It seems to be a promising product.

The staff is very knowledgeable and enthusisastic about headphones. I had a pretty long chat with him. I asked them if they have heard of Zhaolu DAC, and he said one zealous customer brought a modded unit from Hong Kong to compare to Lavry DA10 and Benchmark DAC1. Zhaolu was clearly inferior and no one was zealous about the Zhaolu after the side-by-side comparison. The store carries Lavry abd Benchmark so he may be biased, but his conclusion about Zhaolu agrees with my own. He said he likes Lavry more than Benchmark because it sounds more balanced and easier on listen, while Benchmark highlights too many things. As we spoke a guy walked in, decided to buy DAC1 over DA10, and walked out with a DAC1 in 10 minutes (what a decisive person!).

Another interesting comment the staff made is that they tried RS-1 with evry amp in the store and it sounded best out of Benchamrk DAC1. They also tried all kinds of headphones on Benchmark and didn't like the amp. There appears to be a special synergy between Grado and DAC1, an opinion widely held by Taiwanese headphiles. I came to the same conclusion about a year ago after a meet and bought my first Grado thereof.

This store is also the distributor of Corda amps in Taiwan. They attend CES every year to see if there is exciting stuff on the market. They also rely on head-fi as an important source of information. Overall I find the store to be exceptionally professional when it comes to headphone stuff. I highly recommend any head-fier in Taiwan to visit the store if they haven't already.
post #2 of 17
Sounds like a great store. Hope I find a similar one in Hong Kong (moving there in a week).

No such stores where I currently live (Canada)....just stereo shops with used car salesman pushing Skull Candy and low-end Sennheisers at inflated prices.
post #3 of 17
Is this the same store that Elephas talks about? It sounds like it because he has a bunch of those Grado cases and I think he bought the Lavry and Raptor there.
post #4 of 17
Sounds very nice. It's near impossible to find a decent headphone store in the Northeast.
post #5 of 17
it is a darn good thing that this store is absolutely no where near me!!! with that said - i'm insanely jealous you get to go there!
post #6 of 17
Its address/phone no. is in my list. I even printed a map.
post #7 of 17
That's it. Someone start a store like this in NYC please!
post #8 of 17

hifi in Taipei

Quote:
Originally Posted by Borat
Is this the same store that Elephas talks about? It sounds like it because he has a bunch of those Grado cases and I think he bought the Lavry and Raptor there.
YES...albeit not very easy to find for first-time visitors, since it is nestled inside an apartment building (a common solution for businesses in Taiwan that cannot afford a proper, on-the-street storefront).

They carry Stax gear, too -- I got my 2020 and sr-001 there -- official distributor's stock but I don't think they have any updated new product (4040II, 2050 etc.) in yet
post #9 of 17
ooh i'd be sure to check it out thx for the tip
post #10 of 17

whats the big deal?

A store is never great without sexy salesgirls....
post #11 of 17
I'm going to check out this store when I go back to Taiwan.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masolino
They carry Stax gear, too -- I got my 2020 and sr-001 there -- official distributor's stock but I don't think they have any updated new product (4040II, 2050 etc.) in yet
Problem with Stax is that high humidity in Taiwan makes them corrode easily.
You need to keep them in a dehumidifying cabinet when not in use.
post #13 of 17
Sounds like an awesome store, wish there was something like that near me.
post #14 of 17
Been there during my taiwan trip last year . Very good place but a bit hard to find. Need to take the lift up.. Friendly staffs.. since then got 5 sets of alessandro and conducted the grados case MO from them
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferbose
Problem with Stax is that high humidity in Taiwan makes them corrode easily.
You need to keep them in a dehumidifying cabinet when not in use.
I heard from experienced users of Stax here that foams fare the worst and occasionally pads go bad....otherwise things hold up fine for years with little extra care needed. There is probably some truth in the statement since Japan, home to Stax, can be quite humid as well. But a dehumidifying cabinet would stilll definitely be a plus, no doubt about it.
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