Monday, December 25, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
It is ,therefore, true that the most expensive part of the "hifi" is the listening environment. With a good room structure and size, it is easier for one to achieve good sound from the system. Secondly, the amplifiers system must be able to match the speakers. Thirdly, I have always believe that any vintage amplifiers must be fully restored in order to be able to listen to the amplifiers true music which is why I have to buy 2 Marantz 7 in order to find one in best working as well as cosmetic condition; 2 pair of Western Electric KS 16608 in order to get one in perfect set; 3 set of TL12.1 in order to get one good set.etc... The process of "upgrading" was very troublesome but that was the only way for one to keep the same number of system but focus on QUALITY rather then QUANTITIES..where less is more. Unless the buyer is an audiophiles who appreciate what they are buying..I rather keep the amplifiers until the RIGHT onwner comes..
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The function of the hifi equipment is to reproduce music in as realistic format as possible. Some of us has a lower requirement with using of a simple mini combo. Others are more demanding in wanting to listen to realsitic, transparent, and music with good soundstage. There is no right or wrong...only the differences in needs and requirements.
Nevertheless, as R33 is an audiophiles forum, the main objective is the pursuit of music excellence where the "demand" from the system is stringent. Using the latest James Bond movie as an example. Some would prefer to watch it in the cinema in order to enjoy the surround soundstage, the big screen and the comfortable environment. Others are willing to make do with a good home system and home plasma TV with original DVD. Some would prefer to buy pirated DVD and watch it at home on TV where the images are not clear and poor sound stage. Everyone of the above is having the same objective of "watching" the latest James Bond movie. However, the "demand" is different..
For hifi, the objective of the hifi system is in the listening of music. Thus, when one chooses to use an MP3 to listen to "compressed" form of music vs. the listening of audiophiles recording CDs, we are talking of different thing. For the latter, the audiophiles aim to reproduce music using the various "best" (in his own standard) hifi equipment to suit his demand.
For me, since I have gone into the hifi arean using vintage equipments, I am hoping to use the equipment to reproduce the sound that I like. The WE 124 + 755a + Fishers 50C is a combo that I would continue to listen and explore in order to bring out the best in its system...
Sunday, December 17, 2006
The Tawanese audiophiles generally prefer US made amplifiers. In addition, owing to the availability of space, they tended to own larger speakers. For some serious audiophiles, many of them would go for the professional hifi equipments such as the Western Electric, Altec, RCA, etc..
I was told that Editor Chan was in Taiwan for visiting of the Taiwanese audiophiles last week. We can most probably read it in next month's issue of Tube world..
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
- Marantz 7 + Brook 12A (to replace KS 16608) + Tannoy Cantebury or LS3/5a 15 ohms
- Fisher 50C + Leak TL12.1 or WE 124 + WE 755a speakers
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and may all your Hifi dreams come true!
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
- The vintage gear must be strong in producing vocal as almost 90s% of my CDs collection are vocal music - e.g. Western Electric 755a & Ls3/5a speakers
- The vintage gear must be in its best condition possible despite the age where quality is more important then quantities - Leak 12.1, Tannoy Cantebury, Marantz 7, WE 124, Radio Craftsmen etc
- It must be a real classic item and flagship of the era - example Fisher 50C, Western Electric 124, Leak 12.1
- It must have collector values and investment potential where prices will escalate with time (examples Leak 12.1, WE 124, 755a, Marantz 7, etc)
With the above simple rules, I am able to cut love many of the other nice vintage items which have note been able to meet the criteria set to other collectors and keep those with the most numbers of "ticks" following the criteria set as above. Using the excel sheet, I am able to work out my top "must have" lists and using that to guide me in my hifi journey. The list of criteria acted like the "map" and my ears and eyes are the "compass".
However, many of the real vintage and classic items such as Leak 12.1, Western Electric 755a and WE124 are so rare that luck often played an important part too! Nevertheless, if one keep searching, one will be able to find them. There are so many pessimist saying that it is impossible to find these items which I have managed to prove them wrong : )
Will I continue to hunt for new items? The answer is yes, of course! The wishlist for 2007 are a pair of 12 watts Brook 12A power amplifier and the Western Electric preamplifier. However, to get the Brook 12A, I will have to adhere to the "one out one in" policy as I do not wish to fill my whole apartment with items that I seldon use and of course the itemmust be in its best condition possible.
For those who wished to build their own "ultimate hifi system", all you have to do is to keep searching and you will be able to find them. Remember "Just do it" and "Impossible is Nothing", taglines from Nike and Adidas..
- Leak 12.1 or Western Electric 124B + Fisher 50C + Western Electric 755a (HKG)
- Western Electric KS 16608 + Marantz 7 + Rogers LS3/5a 15 ohms (SIN - Study room)
- Pye Mozart + Tannoy Cantebury (SIN Living room)
Spares speakers that I would cut love to collectors are:
- Phass fullrange speakers.
I am glad that I no longer participate in the rat race competition of owning the most number of vintage amplfiers! In addition, selling hifi equipemts in teh Review 33 is really a pain. Firstly, there are those who say they would come but didnt turn up. Secondly, there are those who came and spent 3-4 hours listening and didnt want to buy. Third, ther are those who asked you to reserve the amplifier for them but didn't want to put down deposit.
There was one occasion when I advertised for sale of vinatge Tannoy and one guy called Chow came. Aftern much audition, he has mentioned that he was making an audition on behalf of a friend overseas and he could not confirm and still wanted me to reserve for him for 12 hours. I have told him that it will be first come first serve and there will be another interested buyer who is on his way to test the speakers. I have told him that unless he place a deposit, I will let the other interested party view and if the second buyer didn't want, I will then reserve for him for 12 hours. In the end, the other party Mr. Sin paid the $$ and took the speakers.
This incident occuured close to 9 months ago. Unfortunately, Chow has mentioned in the recent R33 post claiming that I have broke my promise. I am always amused that a well educated person can be so self centered that he only see his point of view and claiming that he is right. If he really wanted the amplifier, all he needs to do is to place a small deposit and I would have kept the amplifier for him. However, despite hours of audition, no deposit was placed, plus the undertainties of the need to check with overseas friend before he could help his friend buy. I have sold the speakers in a very friendly and low price in the hope of quick sales. With such customer, who has refused to place deposit and still insist of seller reserving the speakers, I wonder will any shop willing to do such a deal? After such an incident, I have began to see how a person character is not based on his level of education or his job or his wealth but by his manners and the way he carry himself.
I have checked with some of my audiophile friends and it seems that they have similar experiences too.
Phew..What a relieve that I have managed to streamline my amplfiers! : ) My family members will be glad too!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Alot of people has the mis-conception that the Western Electric 124 was made for solely for telephone amplification which was not the complete truth.
According to Huang Sifu, the Western Electric 124 models were made for the US radio stations when the whole US was at a transition from AM to FM stations. As such, the Western Electric 124 was made for the broadcast station usage and meant for audio use first. Later on, with the widespread popularity of the telephone lines, there was a growing demand for telephone broadcast amplification. Owing to the reliability of the Western Electric 124 amplifiers, many tele-comunication began using the 124 for amplication of telephone communication linking the East coast and the West coast. At that time, the price of the We124 was equavalent to the price of three houses, which was expensive.
The Western Electric was produced from the 1940s-1956. The WE124 model was later replaced by the Western Electric license KS16608. For those who long to listen to the Western Electric sound but didn't want to pay too much can opt for the WE KS16608 series as the sound resembles that of the WE124. The only condition is that the set must be fully restored in order for one to enjoy and listen to the sound of the KS16608. I have known a few audiophiles in Hong Kong who own the Western Electric KS16608 and none of them is selling which reflected that it is one of those amplifier that has the potential to escalate in value and the Japanese and Korean have always been on a look out for them as well, especially when the prices of the Western Electric 124 and 142 are on the upward trend...
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
My pair of Western Electric 124B amplifiers have been carefully cleaned & restored by an experienced overseas Sifu using NOS vintage parts in order to keep its originality and ensure it being able to be restored back to its glorious days of the 1950s.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Singapore's set :
- Western Electric KS16608 + Marantz 7 + LS3/5a 15 ohms (while belly)
- I will shipped my Vintage Tannoy Cantebury back to Singapore this Tuesday by air cargo
- Bed room : Pye Mozart HF10 mono block + Phass Fullrange speakers
- Hong Kong's Living room :
- Leak 12.1 or WE 124+ Western Electric 755a + Fisher 50C
- KLH 8 radio + KLH 13
Sold items : Mcintosh MC240, Quad II, Fisher 400CX, Radio Craftsmen C500a
Sometimes, I realy envy my friend John who has a permanent home that could be used to stores all the wonderful vintage amplifiers. He is very close to complele his hunt for the entire Leak collection!
For me, Less is More now..
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Originally I have wanted to stay at Hong Kong area but there are very few newly built apartment there. As the next alternative, I have decided to stay near Tsimtshatsui.
As it is fully furnished, I will have to face the issue of space constraints again. For a start, I will have to ship my Tannoy Cantebury back to Singapore and keep the WE 755a and Phase speakers in Hong Kong. As for the amplifiers, I will need to decide which one I would like to hand carry back and which one I will keep in Hong Kong...what a difficult choice!
Once I have moved into my new place, I could then quickly decide which pair of Western Electric 124 ( 124A or B or C) to acquire. The WE 124 should be my last pair of amplifiers which I will acquire... : ) I have decided to drop the idea of baloon tubes amplifiesr such as the Dynatron, Yamamoto, as the apartment would look like a warehouse once I have itch fingers again...and my Boss at home will sure make noise again..(unless of course, I got promoted and be given a larger housing allowance..ha ha ha)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The good thing is that the Western Electric 124 can also use the same 6L6 tubes!