Simon

Dubai, UAE

Simon describes his listening room as ‘a portal’ to other worlds. It is almost impossible to enter this space and not relax but with a sense of anticipation about what record will emerge from his vast collection. Although Simon’s work life is very demanding as a CEO of a major healthcare organisation, his general demeanor is very relaxed and inviting, characteristics that he attributes to his love of music.

Simon recalls having an old ‘beaten up’ transistor radio as a child that would never stay in tune. It was the 70’s and the radio waves were infused with Disco, Progressive Rock, Punk, New Wave, Funk and Soul. It set off a love affair with music that would set him on a course of collecting vinyl and ultimately, becoming an audiophile. Simon laughs at how much time he spends searching for and buying rare vinyl records. “I think my local record store has bought a bed for me in case I stay the night….”

Before moving to Dubai with his family a few years ago, Simon lived most of his life in England. Growing up with predominantly British hifi equipment gave him a particular perspective which he expanded as he began to experiment with all sorts of gear from around the world. Simon decided a few years ago that he really enjoyed the sound of a well set up pair of horn speakers for their immediacy, dynamics and realism. He also loves various vintage gear like the iconic JBL Everest loudspeakers of the early 80’s. Although his listening room is multi-purpose, he is meticulous with how he sets up his system and enjoys listening to the effects of making small changes from time to time.

Simon values the emotional connection with the artist above all other experiences and over time, has developed less interest in ‘audiophile language’ and more interest in simply ‘feeling like the artist is real, connecting with what they are communicating with their voice or instrument”.

He mainly listens to analogue with digital being mainly used for music exploration and background music. He has owned many turntables in his time and has kept a few in his collection because of the memories that they hold. Simon discovered the Döhmann Audio range of turntables two years ago, and after a short demonstration in his home, bought a Helix One, which he calls “one of the world’s best kept secrets”.

“I thought that my previous turntable was ‘the one’, you know, the turntable that would never leave my room. But as soon as I listened to the Helix One, my whole paradigm shifted. I didn’t realise that music could sound so real. Two years later, I am still re-discovering my music collection.”

Simon doesn’t like talking about ‘favourite music’ because for him, it changes all the time. At the moment, he is listening to a Ry Cooder & V.M Bhatt album called ‘A Meeting by the River’, the classic jazz album by the Ray Brown Trio called ‘Soular Energy’ and the Khruangbin album ‘Con Todo El Mundo’. No doubt, in a few days, it will be something different.

System details

Turntable:

Döhmann Helix One

Tonearm(s):

Schroder CB9

Cartridge(s):

Phasemation PP-2000

Analogue Accessories:

Digital Sources:

Oppo Blu Ray Disc Player BDP-105AU (Highly modified with transformer output), Innuos Zenith MkII Server, External SS Hard Drive with DSD files

Other Sources:

Bluetooth receiver to connect with iPhone

Phono Preamplifier:

RCA Sensor 2

Preamplifier:

Ypsilon PST 100 Mk II Silver

Amplifier(s):

AM 833S Mono Blocks

Speakers:

Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Mezzo XD

Cables (Signal):

Audience Front Row throughout

Cables (Power):

Shunyata Research Python/Cobra

Power Accessories:

Shunyata Research Hydra

Rack:

Custom

Room Treatment:

None

Listening Room Dimensions:

5.2m x 7.8m