Joerg Klein's 
Date of "Visit":
05 December 1999

the system

the electronics

amp, speaker and tuner

ASR "Emitter 2 HD" amp


e-mail to:
Joerg Klein

Joerg's web site


During my study time in Germany I was very interested in building speakers. Altogether I built 3 different speakers from Scanspeak drivers, which I must admit have been only so so but a lot of fun and good experience. A small 2 way monitor was the most successful of my own designs. In 1995 I moved to work in Hong Kong and left my system (at that time a basic Rotel integrated amplifier and a Phillips CD-Player) back in Germany. Since a lot of other hobbies were not as easy to pursue in Hong Kong, I spend more and more time and money on developing a new system. The journey started modest and  with a lot of compromises since I had to buy everything at once: Martin Logan Aerius-i electrostatic loudspeakers, a Rotel RCD 990 CD player and an Audiolab 8000S integrated amplifier. As much as I liked the Logan's, I found the stats to be difficult to place under the limited space in the tiny Hong Kong flats and changed the speakers to my current Merlin VSM-SE speakers (see They are so good that I decided to re-built the rest of my system around them. There were many changes to the amplification components, until I finally heard the German hand made Emitter amplifiers (see that were a perfect match to my Merlins. The source changed only once from the very solid performing Rotel to an Audiomeca Transport/DAC combination from French analogue specialist Pierre Lurne. My last upgrade was to exchange the Emitter 1 amplifier against the top of the line Emitter 2 from ASR Audio.

Here are some of my favorite evaluation CDs:

  • Roger Waters - Amused to Death (Imaging in Q Sound)
  • Radka Toneff - Fairytales (Natural voice and piano)
  • Al Di Meola Project - Kiss my Axe (Dynamics and resolution)
  • Various classical 2 point recordings from Denon
System's Components
Sources: - Primary source is digital, I am using the Audiomeca Mephisto Transport
with Audiomeca Ambrosia DAC from France
- An extraordinary looking Primare 203 FM Tuner
- Your ordinary stereo TV
- Even more ordinary VCD Player
Amplification: ASR Audio Systems 'Emitter 2 HD' with battery power supply. This is an integrated 250W amplifier, but actually it's rather a power amplifier with input switching and volume adjustment via stepped precision resistors in 1dB steps. The two main power supplies sit in a separate case for each channel, as well as the battery supply for the input stage. In total this makes for 4 units and a weight of about 130 kilos. It can deliver over 1000 Watts into a load below 2 Ohms. Someone described this amplifier as the 'gentle giant' which I think fits quite well.
Speakers: Merlin Music's VSM-SE speakers with BAM module, floor standing 2 way monitor design, based on the Dynaudio Esotar tweeter and a Scanspeak mid-bass driver in an extremely rigid enclosure. They're about as transparent as any speaker I have heard.
Cables: - Cardas Golden Cross, Kimber KCAG and Apex interconnects
- van den Hul The First as digital interconnect
- Fast Audio Compact 6M speaker cables (double run for bi-wiring)
- Domino Design Powerguard extension bar and power cables
Vibration Control: - Solidsteel 5.3 equipment rack (welded steel frame with fiber boards and spikes) and Solidsteel amplifier stand.
- CD-STR5 String Suspension feet for both amplifier power supplies and the Audiomeca digital gear
Headphone: Grado RS-1 (the woody things) and battery powered Grado headphone amp (only used with portable sources)

Joerg's comments about his System:

AA: "Joerg, how would you describe your system's sound?"

JK: "The main aspect is that the system is extremely effortless without the slightest strain even on very high volumes. It has excellent dynamics, resolution and transient speed, but the sound remains always smooth and musical. As such it is most suitable to indulge in long term listening. Voices and acoustic instruments are reproduced with realistic body and warmth. Another strong point is the good presentation of soundstage with and depth, reflecting the setting and ambiance of each recording." 

AA: "Do you think there is room for improvement?"

JK: "I would already have said no when I still used the smaller ASR amplifier and was shocked how much more the Emitter 2 could get out of the Merlin speakers. So I will be more careful this time and say I don't expect that there is much room for improvement left. I like systems that sound overall very balanced and have no extreme weaknesses. My current system produces the most balanced and musical sound for me so far and I have no intention to replace any of the components any time soon. I think I have reached a point where upgrades would rather be changes instead and costly changes as such...
One thing I would love to improve though is the listening room, but that won't happen as long as I stay in Hong Kong." 

AA: "Have you got plans for upgrading?"

JK: "I am tempted to play with some power conditioning like the PS Audio powerplant and there is also a new battery powered version of the Merlin Bass Alignment Module (BAM) that I am considering to try."