October 29, 2007

Shun Mook Update

When you write about audio gear, it always seems like yesterday when a particular product was in your system, even if it was years ago. So I was surprised to realize that I reviewed Shun Mook's Bella Voce Reference speakers over eight years ago. They remain one of the most even-handed, coherent speakers I've ever heard. I corresponded with Bill Ying of Shun Mook recently and was interested by a few developments with the company whose most famous product, the controversial Mpingo Disc, remains a staple for audiophiles who swear by their sonic magic. "Hi Fi is just a hobby for us so we never pushed the commercial side too much," Bill let me know. That might explain Shun Mook's especially low profile over the past few years.

Dr.Yu Wah Tan and Andy Chow are still involved with Shun Mook, but Bill has branched out, offering his services to improve the acoustics of some concert halls in the Far East. "I incorporate the Shun Mook technique of large-space acoustic tuning into architectural acoustic design. We have the most natural-sounding halls in Korea," Bill was proud to say. In the picture below, the black dots in the rear of the stage are Mpingo Discs. Next year when he begins a new acoustics project, Bill will have less time for the hi-fi side of Shun Mook, so if you had planned to order something, now would be a good time to do it.

I wrote Bill initially because I was interested in Shun Mook's longest-running product, the LP Record Clamp, which has been in the company's products line for 16 years. Made of ebony treated with a "secret" process, it is very limited in its availability. "Each requires about one week of work plus three evenings of listening and micro tuning. It is very time consuming," Bill said. Even at its $2000 price, the LP Record Clamp remains popular. Many analog listeners consider it the very best LP weight, and "very best" creates demand. "There is always a short waiting list of customers who will put down a deposit," said Bill. "There is no factory here, just me and a semi-retired machinist."

The Bella Voce speaker is no longer in Shun Mook's product line, but Bill uses a pair of them in his finely tuned system (shown above). I fondly remember listening sessions in the Shun Mook room at CES, and a few people have relayed stories about hearing Bill's system, calling it the best they've ever heard. With any luck, I'll report on using the LP Record Clamp sometime next year.

...Marc Mickelson
editor@soundstage.com

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