Forgot to mention some of the odder highlights of my trip to Korea, head-fi-wise: Got to try a FAD IEM for the first time, either the Heaven IV or Heaven VI, albeit in kind of weird circumstances -- it was in the Kyobo bookstore in Gangnam, and I didn't have any music handy so I used one of the environmental sound reprocessing applets in RjDj
, which is pretty much useless for any kind of meaningful evaluation, but it made me want to try it again in earnest some time in the future. Kind of a shame that it's hard to audition good IEMs in the States.
The Yongsan market was also an eye-opener. Imagine something like the garment district in New York, only for electronics. And bigger. One floor of a major-hospital-sized building was given over primarily to vendors of high-end equipment; single-room shoe-shop-sized storefronts packed to the freaking gills with every major high-end product you could think of, said packing exacerbated by the indulgent scale of many of the products which would be considered room-filling even in your usual sparsely-furnished dedicated listening room: Wilson Audio products rubbing shoulders with unfurled Magnepan screens, Altec Lansing theater horn arrays peeking up from the back, their black rectangles overshadowing the colorfully packed circular profiles of Avantgarde horns, shelves with stacks of massive monoblock amps, and dressing bureau sized Clearaudio turntable, all glass and chrome, with the massive flywheel counterweight hanging from a shaft down the middle of the structure, tucked in a corner for lack of room. And then you take a few steps and there's another room packed similarly but with entirely different stuff, and then again, over and over, as you keep walking along... To get there we went through the ground floor, passing by one room that only sold wire, another that only sold circuit switches, another that only sold RF chokes... there's over two dozen buildings just like this one, some cleaner and nicer than others, some old and dirty and closed-in, where you can't window-shop because the building is composed of hundreds of windowless rooms, like an old faculty office building with armored doors and piles of electronics stacked in the hallway for lack of room.
To get there you take a walkway from the train station (which has its own built-in mall, too, a multi-level girlfriend's bench, so to speak), through an electronics market building filled with mostly prosaic phones, cameras, computer equipment, down to the ground floor where you'll walk past a convenience store stocked primarily with instant ramen and an industrial-sized hot water dispenser for the miserable, hungry otaku in dirty shirts, saving their money for the mini figures or games stocked in the distant building where the computer and console game vendors congregate.
We only had a couple hours to spend, not enough time to dedicated to an earnest search for things I wanted and needed; now that I'm back home I've been working out the frustration on shopping lists to buy the things mailorder, and it's not the same because of knowing how much I'll spend on shipping and vendor markups and the inability to dicker, feeling a little lost for the lack of the sense of immersion and tactility that being there provides.Edited by ardgedee - 10/31/12 at 4:35am