Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Interesting hifi blog from Poland

For those of you interested in knowing the hifi atmosphere in Europe, please visit the blog by :Wojtek

Monday, November 27, 2006

Moving Apartment

After staying at Lam Tin Sceneway Garden for nearly 18 months, I have decided to move to another area in order to fully experience another part of Kowloon. After much seraching, I have finally found a fully furnished serviced apartment at Harbourview Horizon at Hunghom, which is a newly built one ready on 1st December. As I would have to give the my current owner 1 month notice, I can only move at the end of December 06, which give me about a month to plan for all my logistics of moving (especially for the vintage amplifiers)

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

6L6GA tubes

I have started to hunt for NOS 6L6G tubes for my KS16608 and I was lucky to be able to get one set of NOS National Union and another set of made in UK, 6L6GA tubes by B.T.R.W at reasonable price for my Western Electric KS16608. Currently, the KS16608 is using vintage Brimar tubes and the sound is exceptionally sweet.

The good thing is that the Western Electric 124 can also use the same 6L6 tubes!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Western Electric 124 - Another look

The Western Electric 124 is really my dream amplifier. I have been dreaming of it for many months. During these months, I have also tried to "force" myself to give up the idea of wanting to own WE124 amplifiers owing to the high costs as well as the need for constant maintainance for these vintage amplifiers.

After much deliberation, I have finally decided to put the Western Electric as the ultimate power amplifiers that I will try to find for 2006/7. The costs of the WE 124 is about HK$100,000 or more depending on condition which is really alot of $$ to pay for... : (

But I am sure the joy of listening to it will compensate for the investment we put : ) Moreover, WE is a true vintage amplifiers with very good reputation and collector value. Since I am a collector of vintage fountain pen and watches, having the Western Electric 124 will complete my little dream plan of owning the best (In my view) and focusing on Quality amp that matches well with my speakers and my taste of music.

After much searching, I have managed to hunt down three set. There is one set available in Hong Kong, one set in Guangzhou and another set in Taiwan. One of the set is Western Electric 124a, another 124B and the 3rd set 124C. Which is better sound is the key qesution and answer I need.

I am hoping to learn as much as possible and see which set is in better condition and better sound and try to save $$$$ to get one of these nice amplifiers! This is going to be an interesting chase....I am enjoying the journey of searching as I can feel my adrenaline and blood flowing very fast even when I am writing......

Good Vocal CD recommendation

This is a good vocal CD with from Taiwan. All the songs are in Hakka dialects with guitar as the main instrument.
Many of the songs are full of emotion and feeling. Even though one may not understand much of the lerics, the emotional expression of the songs will totally touch the heart of the listeners.
Listen to his emotional expression of the songs..especially during quiet night and you will be touched! It will also be a god test of your vocal representation in your hi fi system.
A nice CD!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Plan for 2007

For my hifi system, I have more or less confirmed with the following arrangement and direction:

  • Singapore's set : Western Electric KS16608 + Marantz 7 + LS3/5a 15 ohms (while belly) (may upgrade to Rogers Gold Badge, if I can find in 2007)
  • Hong Kong Bed room : Pye Mozart HF10 mono block + Western Electric 755a
  • Hong Kong's Living room : Set (A) Leak 12.1 + Fisher 400CX + Tannoy Cantebury
  • For the study room : Set (B) Radio Craftsmen (In the future Western Electric 124.. still cannot forget..) + Fisher 50C + Phase Fullrange speakers

I have come to realise the cruel fact of "playing with hifi". If one wants to "play", one would have to constantly listen and try the different amp and different combination of set up in order to know the system. Playing with hifi is the same when my son plays with his gameboy. One minute he is playing with gameboy, the next with Xbox, then followed by PSP. I have often asked him why can't he just choose one (i.e PSP or Gameboy) and play with teh various hgames.Upon sharing with him, I then realised that for the video game industries, such as PSP, Xbox, Netendo, all three has different charateistics of game and types of games.

For hifi, the combination is even greater i.e by countries (UK, US, German made), by tubes type, by circuit (Single ended,troide, etc) and not forgeting different pre amplifiers + different types of speakers.

Hifi system I am eager to try : WE KS16575, Yamamoto (my friend is buying one set so I may get a chance to try them with my 755a), Dynatron L58

Spares for sale to raise $$ for WE124 : Mcintosh MC240 ($28,000) / Radio Craftsmen C500a ($18,000). need to raise $100,000 : (

With this goal, it will make the hifi journey an enjoyable one as once in a while, I can dream a little..., hunt alot..and continue to explore new toys..

Sunday, November 12, 2006

聽過就可以了, 無須事事擁抱

聽過就可以了, 無須事事擁抱..

I have been trying to listen to as many amplifiers as I could. To really understand the charateristics of the amplifiers, one would need to actually bring them home and matches them with the other equipments and listen to them in a "home environment".

Very often, when I travelled along the hifi path, I have to rely on my friends' advices and the forum to start. After much audition, one can then truly understand what one needs. At one time, I have wanted to collect all the top five 6LL6 amplifiers namely Quad II, Leak 12.1, Radio Craftsmen C500, Mcintosh MC240 and the Western Electric 124. I have almost managed to complete collecting all 5 amplifiers but the journey of collecting has been a very tiring one both in term of time, efforts and resources.

One of my first priority is to find the amplifiers in as pristine conditions as possible as I believe in QUALITY rather then quantities. For the Westren Electric KS 16608, I have to find two pairs in order to get one pair in near mint condition. Similarly, I have to buy 3 set of Leaks TL12.1, two units of Marantz 7, two units of Pye mozart in order to get one perfect set respectively. Fortnately, for the Mcintosh MC240 and Fisher 400CX, there are in such good condition that they became truly a collectors items.

With the constant changing of gears, many of the audiophiles could not understand what I was trying to do which is fine as hifi is a very personal hobby as the only condiseration is one should be happy with one's game.

Now, I have more or less found my true love in Pye mozart HF10 (using EL34 tubes) with Western Electric 755a; Tannoy Canterbury & RogersLs3/5a 15 ohms with WE KS16608 (using 6L6 tubes) & Leak 12.1 (using KT66 tubes) with Marantz 7 & Fishers 400CX or Fisher 50c.

I have sold many nice equipements away such as Siemens & Lafayatte single ended amplifiers, Coral Beta 8 speakers, Quad II, Pye Mozart HF20s, Rogers 11ohms, pusedo 15 ohms, Rogers Black badge, Tannoy Chartsworth, RCA & Telefunken full range speakers, leak 10, like what they say, 聽過就可以了, 無須事事擁抱..

However, rather then collecting all the 6L6 amplifiers, I do wish I could create more space to find ampifiers using EL84 tubes, and some ballons tubes amplifiers..

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Items for sales

Hifi is about matching. Following months of matching and trying, I am streamlining my items and letting go the following as part of my year end cleaning:

  • Radio craftsmen C500a mono block amplifiers in fully restored condition HKG$18,000 without tubes. - SOLD!
  • Phass 4 inch fullrange speakers HKG$4000
  • Mcintosh MC 240 with complete original box, papers, certificates, test results $28,000
  • Sound Master integrated amplifer HK$2000

Like what they say, 聽過就可以了, 無須事事擁抱. :)

Great CD - A BING Er Hu

This is the second traditional Chinese instruments Er Hu CD that I like. It differs from the first one as the former was the horse head Erhu, while this one is the traditional Erhu.

A Bing (1893-1950) was a talented musicians who life was hard and he was blind at a later stage. However, his blindness has not stopped him from performing not in the concert hall but in the streets. I can imagine life must be tough going through the foreign invasion of China, Revolution and the endning of the Ching Dynasty, the Japanese occupation and the internal civil wars..

The music from his composition reflected the hardship and sadness that surrounded A Bing..

Using the Fisher 50C preamplifiers, the emotional sadness is really strong..

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pye HF 10m monoblock amplifiers

I have always regretted selling my Pye HFS20 single ended amplifiers. This weekend, I have managed to find a nice pair of Pye Mozart in a mono version called Pye HF 10M . It uses one ECC83 as the driver for a single EL34 to give 8W. I have seen a pair in a hifi shop at Central but the condition was not very good.

The condition of this pair is very good as it comes with the original cage as well as the metal frame. The internal conditions are also good making it one of the best buy for the sound! These pair has been carefully selected by its previous owner Micheal, and he has managed to pair them up from 5 other units of Pye HF10 to ensure that these selected are the best of the best.

I have tried using 5W Lafayatte single ended amplifiers for my Western Electric 755a but I find the sound sounded slightly "weak" compare with these 8W mono block Pye amplifiers. Pye amplifiers are not as well known as the Rogers, Marmat, Mcintosh, Fishers. However, Pye was responsible for many military equipements for the British government in the early days making them very reliable and good sound. There are not many affordable and good single ended amplifiers and I must say the Pye HF 10M is exceptional!

There are three versions of the Pye Mozart and their estimated prices depending on conditions are:

  1. Integrated version with separate power HF20; Price range between HKG$9000-10,000

  2. Mono Block version of HF10; HKG$9000-13,500

  3. Later All in one Integrated version HF20 HKG $9000-$10,000

The Mono block HF10 is slightly more costly as the sound is much nicer then the HF20 as it has one additional output ( 2 each while the HF20 has 3 output being shared by both). The prices of these are getting higher and higher as there are many DIY who buy the amplifiers but stripped off the amp for the output transformers as valuable parts for their DIY.

Thus, for those who has high effeciencies speakers and looking for nice single ended amplifiers (at affordable price), the made in UK Pye should be your top selection!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

KLH Radio

The KLH radio was a legend. The most famous model is the Model 8 tube radio. The reception from the KLH Model 8 is really remarkable!

In 1960 KLH introduced a high fidelity vacuum tube FM table radio. The speaker was sold with the radio and was specially matched to the radio's output amplifier. The KLH 8 might best be described as a cross between a hi-fi receiver and a table radio. It was designed by the late Henry Kloss and set a standard that may other companies have tried to match.

The KLH Eight was designed to work with a stereo adapter before a multiplex standard was adopted. When a standard was chosen, the KLH Model 13 transistorized adapter was introduced. The KLH 8 and KLH 13 are shown here side-by-side.

For detail of these KLH radio, please visit:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tak Fak Mongkok

For audiophiles visitors visiting Hong Kong, one of the must visit place is Tak Fak Mongkok
Tak Fak shops selling hifi used to be a very hot and popular place. One of the most friendly and reliable shop is Wei Lee with chen Sifu. He has many Fishers pre amplifiers including the Fisher 50C, 400CX. For Mcintosh lovers, he has the MC275, for Marnartz lovers, he has the rare Marantz 5, 8b; In addition, he has the rare Acxiom 80 speakres, Altec amp, Lafayatte pre amp, etc
The number of visitors have reduced as much as 70%. In the past, at around 7pm, many professionals lawyers, doctors and executive will be waiting to get into the shops. Now, the place is so quiet around 7pm.

The reduction in number opf people may be due to competition from the world largest hifi shop - EBAY! Much of the business have been taken away from ebay which may and may not be a good thing as there are risks involved when buying from ebay.

In addition, some of the other shops owners' attitude really frustrate any potential buyers as unless they are very sure you are keen to buy, they would not be interested to entertain you. Nevertheless, for audiophiles tourist visiting Hong Kong, this will be a good area to visit as you may be able to find interesting vintage stuff...but one must be prepared to pay and bargain..