Friday, January 26, 2007

The Important of tubes or amplifiers?

I have always been puzzled by the question: is good tube more important that amplifiers? There are some audiophiles who would buy relatively cheap hifi amplifier but they are more the willing to buy tubes that costs 4 times that of the amplifiers?
Even though in the ideal world, one should have both good vintage tube with good vintage amplifers. However, as resources are limited, given a choice, my prefernce would be to get a better system first then followed by the tubes as the amplfiers built and circuit is like the engine while the tubes are supporting item.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Western Electric 100f & KLH Radio set

Many audiophiles tend to concentrate their efforts into the pre-amplifiers and amplifiers set and often neglect the fun of vintage radio set.

The KLH 8 radio is a the famous radio (earlier version of the much famed Tivoli radio). It strength lies in its very good reception. The KLH 13, on the otehr hand, is the "add on" speakers unit inorder to achieve stereo sound effect. Besides listening to the Radio programe using the KLH 8 radio, the KLH13 also allow one to plug in CD as external source as well. The sound from the KLH 8 + 13 + CD player is very warm and its sounded very similar to the normal tubes amplifiers.

The Western Electric 100f amplifiers set from the 1950s are often neglected by many audiophiles as well. During the 50s, like many amplifiers, they were sold as mono unit. Thus, one has to pair them up in order to use them as "stereo".

The Western Electric 100f is an amplifier set that comes with a built in5 inch Jensen alnico magnet speakers. Thus, all one needs to do is to plug in the CD source to both the WE 100f, one can immediately enjoys the stero tube sound!
The costs of the WE 100f varies according to condition, especially the cabinet condition as well as whether it comes with the original knobs and metal cage. One hifi shop in Prince, Kowloon is selling them at HK$30,000 per set because it bears the name Western Electric (and not OEM).
According to the Hong Kong hifi magazine, one readers bought them at HK$15,000 in order to enjoy the Western Electric sound! Normal ebay unist per set is about US$400-600 and shipping is about US$200. Thus, one can expect the price to be in the range of US$600-800 (about HKG $4500 - $6000.
Bearing in mind that many of these units owning to age often are "sold as it is" these requires servicing by Sifu which costs $3500 - $4000 depending on the extend of repairs. Thus, one can expect to pay for HK$8000-9500 for a perfectly matched and working set. For a price of $8000,one can enjoy the Western Electric seems like a good deal!
Happy hunting!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Western Electric 124 Vs Leak TL12.1 amplifiers

Last week end, a few audiophiles high hand came over to my place for the listening session on the WE 124 & Leak TL12.1

The set up are as follows:

  • Leak TL12.1 (using GEC KT66)+ Fisher 50C + Tannoy mini + B & O CD player
  • WE 124 (Using WE 350B tubes) + Fisher 50C + Tannoy mini + B & O CD player

Richard has worded it nicely with the following comments:

Compared with the TL/12.1, 124B is more like a very bosom young lady, probably in her late twenties, who had inmaturely declined a number handsome, wealthy young men including 李家誠 and had a lot sorrows and happiness to tell. Her listeners would be attracted to pour out all from their pockets and to spend the rest of their life to study her! You feel warm and peace.

Before the WE124B, TL/12.1 appeared actually like a 18歲 扑扑趣 whom you want to enjoy (more than her look). The TL/12.1 is so energetic and playful that you might even worry yourselves that you can't chase and follow her tightly. But you would still cling to her, using up all your energy without regret.

With 2 pair of amplifiers, comparison between the two in term of performance is inevitable. However, given the variables factors such as different tubes used and circuits, an A B comparison will be difficuilt. Using the analogy of the motor vehicle, perhaps the WE124 is like the Mercedes, elegance and smooth while the Leak TL12.1 is like the BMW with much more energy, force and punch. Both the Mercedes and BMW will ultimately bring you to the destination but the experience of the ride will be different indeed..

In the end, I think I would try my best to enjoy hearing the Music in the special way each system presents hifi equipements' obejective is to help us to reproduce the music to our ears..for enjoyment!

With the lisetning session last weekend and the acqusition of the Chartwell LS3/5a, I have more or less complete my hunt for the equipments. Having to manage 2 sets of amplifiers plus 3 set of speakers will really sufficient to keep one busy. Thus, I have made up my mind in not wanting to acquire the Brooks 12A using the 2A3 tubes as it will be like moving into another arena again. Instead, my aim is to focus my time on listening and improve the soudn from the exisiting system by trying outdifferent tubes and different combinations in order to bring out the best in its system.

Chartwell LS3/5a

I have always heard the name Chartwell when menioning the LS3/5a. There are some audiophiles who find the Chartwell's sound the smoothest among all the LS3/5a. Owing to a strong demand, the prices of the Chartwell has always been high. Other then the Rogers Gold Badge, the Chartwell is the next most collectable LS3/5a followed by perhaps the Ram, AudioMaster LS3/5a.
I was fortunate to be able to find a nice matched pair made in 1977 Chartwell LS3/5a with close serial nos 1580 & 1581 from a serious and experienced audiophiles Richard who has the complete range of Rogers LS3/5a. From the circuit board, one can see the closely matched crossover as well as the components.
To make space for the Chartwell LS3/5a, I ahve cut love my pair of Ram LS3/5a to a close friend. The vocal from the Chartswell is very smooth which also matches very well with my WE124 as well as the Fisher 50C.
Good luck in your search for vintage items. If you find hard enough, you can find your dream items! Cheers

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Made in Hong Kong smallest amplifiers

One of my office colleague Wendy who visited my home was poisoned by the sound system. She has requested me to help help her set up her hi fi with the following criterias:

- It must sound good,
- The system must be sleek looking
- It cannot be too big
- It must be able to plug and play with ease of use

With these in mind, I have requested her to start with the selection of speakers. I have recommneded Tannoy Mini autograph, LS3/5a speakers, and Phass piano wood speakers. Her choice of speakers is the Phass fullrange speakers.
With the selection of the fullrange speakers, I have asked her whether she wants tube or solid state amplifier and size became the main criteria. To ensure sweet vocal, matching of these high sensitive fullrange speakers are essential. Thus, the power watts for these fullrange speakers cannot be too powerful. In the end, I ahve chosen the made in HK World smallest's amplifiers made by a DIY high hand.
The sound testing is fantastic as even though the amplifier has only a mere 3 watts, it has sufficient power to drive the Phass fullrange speakers. Cheers

Saturday, January 20, 2007

LS3/5a collection - start of a new journey

Recently, I have received some encouragement from my friends to start a small collection of the LS3/5a speakers. As the values of these are always on the increase, plus its small size for convenient storage, I have decided to give it a try...sort of like a small "investement"..

As mentioned previously, I used to have 4 pair of Rogers: 15 ohms black badge, 15 ohms white belly, 11ohms, and pusedo 15 ohms. With the desire to acquire a pair of Tannoy & WE 755a, I have sold off 3 pair and keeping only the white Belly as reference. Recently, by chance, I have managed to find a pair of rare Ram LS3/5a 15 ohms. Among the LS3/5a, there are two other so called "champion" LS3/5a namely the vintage Chartwell LS3/5a and the Rogers Gold Badge.

With this clear targets in mind, I will try to find these 15 ohms Chartwell LS3/5a and Rogers Gold badge to "complele" my LS3/5a collection. The objective is to focus on the 15 ohms and as there are simply too many variations to keep, I hope to go for the rare ones as key!

Wish me luck!

Hong Kong CDs recommendation

I have always liked Adam Cheng's show when I was young. This afternoon, I have found some NOS Cds from the the 90s.
The 2 CD by Adam Cheng is highly recommended. The vocal and the instruments played were exceptional plus it will bring back fond memories of the yester years.
In addition, there is another Cd adapted from the LPs of the 1960s which is also highly recommended for ist witty and funny singing combination between the 3 artist. One can visualise the sound stage when listening to the 60s "stereo" CDs..

GEC U52 tubes

According to Tim, the expert in vintage tubes, the GEC U52 (or the GEC version of 5U4) is not the 100% identical or same as normal 5U4G. It only draws 2.25A of filamanet current instead of 3A and it went easier on the power supply. The WE274B tubes draw about 2A of filamanet meaning that the U52 will be a closer substitutes then the other 5U4G which draw 3A. There are a few version of the U52 with the black based being earlier then the brown based.
As such, I went out this afternoon to source for another set of the early black based U52 as spares. Even though it was costly, I have decided to bite the bullet and acquired the black based U52 set as these black based version are so rare and difficult to get. In addition, the prices in ebay is same or higher then getting it from the shop in Hong Kong. One seller in ebay is asking for 140 UK pounds per set...

Friday, January 19, 2007

We124 with 350B, GEC U52 & GEC 6J7 tubes

After my business trip to Beijing last Wednesday till Friday, I have managed to come back home to play with my system. This evening, I have decided to match my WE124 using the WE350B and the GEC U52 tubes with the GEC 6J7 tubes, which sounded fantastics!

Looking at the R33 forum, I can see many audiophiles buying lots of interesting vintage gears. I am currently very contented with my WE124 & Leak TL12.1 power amplifiers and Fisher 50C pre-amplifiers in Hong Kong and trying to bring out the best in them.

The Western electric 755a speakers are fantastics for producing vocal with strong mid. The Tannoy mini autograph, on the other hand, is a very versatile pair of speaker being able to sound relax and at the same time take on the the heavy base music and full orchestra music. Its ability to have wide soundstage reminded me of my pair of vintage Tannoy Cantebury..which is the key motivation for the purchase of the Tannoy nini!

Tomorrow, Richard and his friends will be coming to my place to audition my WE124. Hopefully, the system will not dissapoint them. However, since taste in music is a very personal all depends on their music prefernce as well.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

LS3/5a collection

Previously, I have 4 set of LS3/5a namely the Rogers LS3/5a 15ohm black badge, Rogers white belly 15 ohms, Rogers 11 ohms, Rogers LS3/5a pseudo 15 ohms. To experience the sound from other form of speakers (i.e Tannoy & WE 755a), I have sold off the 11 ohms, 15 ohms pseudo, 15 ohms black badge.
Recently, I have more or less found what I want. I was hoping to find a apir of the Rogers Gold badge or Chartwell LS3/5a. In the end, I found a pair of Ram LS3/5a. My friend KY has collected quite a number of nice LS3/5a which has given me the inspiration to collect them as well as it is relatively easy to keep (owing to the small size) and maintanance free. Moreover, the prices of these LS3/5a keep escalating making it a nice form of "investment" as well.
Should I try to pursue the great wall of LS3/5a?

Monday, January 15, 2007

RAM LS3/5a

I have not planned to buy any Ram LS3/5a. Initially, I was supposed to be getting a pair of Rogers Black badge with number close to the Gold badge. However, owing to circustances beyond my control, the pair was not available and in replacement, my friend has passed me the rare Ram LS3/5a 15 ohms instead. Something that Ihave actively chase such as Brooks 12A, was not available while the unexpected ones tended to appear.
The Tannoy Mini autograph was another as the price was really very attractive that it was not possible for me to say no..
This evening, one of my office colleague (a non audiophile, who used to listen to the Ipod MP3 music) visited my apartment. I took the opprtunity to let her audition my system. Immediately, the music immediately captured her attention. As a consequent of the listening session, she has given me a budget to help her set up a simple Hi fi set up using tubes amplifiers and full range speakers. Thus, I will cut my Phass fullrange speakers to her and help her source an integrated amplifiers for her apartment this coming weekend.
With these arrangement, the number of speakers that I have now in Hong Kong will be reduced from 4 pairs to 3 ( leaving only the We755a, Ram Ls3/5a, Tannoy Mini)...otherwise, my items will start to "grow"by itself again!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Western Electric KS 16608 amplifiers at ebay

The prices of the Western Electric families of vinatge ampilfiers have increased quite a fair bit during the months.

When I first get to know the KS16608, it was selling at HK$10,000 Recently, a pair of nice WE KS16608 was sold for US$2025 + US$275 (Shipping) = US$2300 (HK$17,250) during the weekend reflecting an increase in awareness over these non "household" amplifiers system.

As these were made for amplification usage by tele-communication company, they were built to withstand long hours of usage. I have bought two pair of these KS16608 amplifiers in the past and I only sold off one pair away to make way for the arrival of the Western Electric 124 amplifiers. Many has claimed that the KS16608 are not good sounding amplifiers which I disagree totally. I wonder how many of these critics have listened to these fully restored KS16608 before making such judgement?

For me, it is because of these nice sound from the KS16608 that has given me the encouragement to go for the Western Electric 124! I still kept one set of near mint condition KS16608 in Singapore. The Western Electric using 6L6 tubes is better value and sound then many other vintage amplifiers and if you are a connosieur, you will know what you are buying. The Korean & the Japanese were the first few who has an open mind to accept these Western Electric licensed products. Why can't we have an open mind and open heart as well? Of course, for it to have good sound, it must be fully restored and one must use vintage coke bottled 6L6G tubes and coke shaped 5U4G.

In my mind, I think many will wait and continue to be sarcastic and "complaint" until the WE KS16608 crosses the HK$20,000 price point benchmark before they realize the "true values" of the KS16608. By then, they would have missed the boat!

I have seen it happended before for the LS3/5a spekares & recently the Tannoy speakers. When I first bought the vintage Tannoy Chartsworth 12 inch gold monitor in original cabinet, it was only $14,000. Many critics complained that the "mouth" of Chai Chin was too big (when comparing with the LS3/5a) then. Later, the price went up to $17,000 in October 06 and the selling price now is HK$25,000.

There are two kinds of audiophiles. One who identify and lead while the others follow...

Good CD recommendation: Andy Williams & Barry Manilow CD

You know you are getting old when the music that you are listening become "oldies" or "Golden Hits".

I remember listening to Barry Manilow in the mid 1980s was quite a "cool" act as many of my colleague school girl classmates were quite impressed with his singing styles. Now, I guess only people in the late 30s or early 40s listen to Barry Manilow and Andy Williams.

Listening to these vocal brought back many fond memories of the younger years. Nevertheless, one has to admit that the singers of the yesteryears have better singing skills then the modern days!

My son Keith, however, prefers to listen to Bad DayDaniel Powter!

Mullard 6L6G tubes

This morning, I did a spring cleaning on my vintage tubes collection. With the streamlining of the amplifiers, there are many tubes which became irrelevant to my current amplifiers. Thus, I took out my unused tubes such as the Philips Jan 7027a, Mullard EF86, EL34 and exchanged for these Mullard 6L6G tubes for my We 124 and KS16608 use.
Currently, I have managed to stock up quad set of the following 6L6 tubes variants:
  • 1940s Military grade WE350B,
  • 1960s 350B,
  • RCA 6L6,
  • BTW 6L6
  • National Union 6L6
  • Brimar 6L6
  • Sylvania 6L6
  • Mullard 6L6
  • GEC KT66
I could not imagine how much tubes one need to stock up if one has different kind of amplifiers using different tubes such as EL84, EL34, KT88, KT66, 6L6, 845, 300B etc. With only 3 set of amplifiers (Leak 12.1, WE 124 & KS16608) and 2 pre-amplifiers (Fisher 50C & Marantz 7), my tubes requirements are quite manaeable as I only need to keep 6L6G/KT66, 5U4G, GZ32, 12Au7, 12 AX7, 6J7.
For those who want to enjoy good music from these vintage amplifiers would need to find time to hunt for these vintage tubes as "good tubes means good sound"! Moreover, these tubes are getting harder and harder to find, especially in quad set..better be quick!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Tannoy Mini Autograph Vs. Pioneer Pure Malt

After I have shipped my vintage Tannoy speakers back home to Singapore, I listened to my Western Electric 755a for most of the time. The 755a is superb in its mid and is excellent for playing vocal and light instrumental music.
There are days when I missed my Tannoy when coming to Orchestra music and music that will produces large sound stage. Along the way, there are two pairs of seakers which captured my attention namely the Pioneer Pure Malt speakers using 150 years old re-cycled whiskey drum wood and the Tannoy Autograph Mini. The retail price for the Pioneer is HK$5000+ while the Tannoy is being retail at HK$17,000. I have audition both and both I must say is impressive speakers with sufficient base for its size.
In the end, my heart gave in to the pair of Tannoy Autograph Mini as its ability to produce a wider soundstage is something many other speakers cannot compete. Moreover, when handling multiple instruments being played at the same time, the Pioneer Pure Malt seemed a bit strained.
I know I shouldn't buy anything this year but the seller gave me a very good price I could not say no. To compensate for the money spent, I will eat cheap hawker food for the rest of the month!
One has to sacrifice for the sake of music. : )

Friday, January 12, 2007

Brothers Four, Eric Clapton unplugged, Nana CDs

Having good system is one. Having good recording CDs is important as it could exploite the system to the fullest. This evening, I have bought four nice recording CDs.
The Eric Clapton unplugged was a Japanese pressed1992 recording. This is one of the best unplugged CD that I have listened with very realitic guitar being played together with the vocal. If out of all the Eric Clapton CD, you acn only keep one...This is it!
The Brothers Four CD was an early 1987 Japanese recording. It has very nice harmonies of voices. By listening to the songs, one can visualise the sound stage and the positions of the various singers. I think there isnt many group nowadays could compete with the Brothers Four in term of singing and harmonising as one..
The Carpenter 22 hits CD produced in 1995, consists the various nice voices of Karen Carpenter with familar songs such as This Masquerade, Please Mr. Postman, There's a Kind of hush, yesterday Once more..and many more...
The Nana CDs was produced in1991 has very good vocal and guitar. I am not familar with her but all I can say is that this Spanish singer's vocal is exceptional!

5U4G/ U52 tubes

As part of my stramlining exercise mentioned earlier, the number of amplifiers that I own have been reduced to a very manageable level.
By reducing the number of amplifiers, it has enable me to focus time and resources in getting good tubes for the amplifiers.
Its a good thing that both my Western Electric 124 amplifiers and WE KS16608 are using similar and interchaneable tubes namely: 6L6G & 5U4Gs.
For the 5U4Gs tubes, I have the Tungsol, RCA, Brima & Syvania 5U4Gs. Recently, I have bought the much famed GEC U52 tubes for my amplifiers, which is more affordable when comparing with the Western Electric 274B..

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Good CD recommendation: Crystal Gayle CDs

My first encounter with Crystal Gayle music was in 1983 when I was still a junior colleague student. After that I have not listened to Western Country music for a long time.

Recently, I have bought the Crystal Gayle's 2002 CD to listen to her vocal again using my WE755a. Her sweet voice immediately came out nicely with the speakers. The song "When I Dream" with beautiful harmony from a guitar and a piano truly bring out her talent in singing love song.

In fact, many of her songs were vocal focussed as the various instruments were merely real sidekicks..For those who wants to listen to strong vocal with sweet and natural voice, you have to start listening to Crystal Gayle. Her singing was so natural and seems effortless where music just flow like a river, so smooth and yet with so much emotion..

Testing of new tubes

I have changed the metal 6J7 tubes to the glass 6J7 tubes this evening to hear the difference. The sound become warmer.
The R33 "Westen Electric" thread is really quite a quiet threads. I guess many of the Western Electric users were too busy to participate in the forum making me feeling alone at time..
I think the most active threads are the LS3/5a, Leak, Eico and Tannoy threads as there are more members partcipating together with a few senior audiophiles who has nice collection of the various amps in huge numbers. My good friend John has finally managed to complete his collection of Leak amplifiers! Well done!
With only two set of system in Hong Kong, I have managed to rotate and listen to them in great details. The Leak TL12.1 amplifiers have deeper sound stage while the WE124 is very emotional and natural.
These few days, I have tried using WE350b tubes, the Silvania 6L6G tubes as well as the RCA 6L6GA tubes. I like the WE350B most with very good sound stage, ability to repoduce the sound in its purest form. The RCA 6L6G has very transparent and clear sound. The Silvania 6L6G has a slight warmer sound then the RCA but have less emotion.
The weather has been very cold these few days. Having moved to my new aprtment, I ahve yet to buy a heater for the apartment. Luckily, I have the vintage tubes amplifiers which produced some heat to help warm up my room. The music from my favourite amplifiers have warmed my heart many times even though the weather was cold..

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hifi Desires

Many audiophiles have stong desires for owning multiple hifi equipments. One of the well known audiophiles a few months ago has advocated an enlightened philosophical belief of : "聽過就可以了, 無須事事擁抱" which I was truly impressed and trying to follow. Ultimately, there is a limit on the number of sets of equipments one could listen at any given period of time.

However, it is often easy to say then to do it. I have often has to set "internal restraints" saying enough is enough.

Looking at the current trend, I am glad that I have managed to control my internal desires and limit myself to items which suit my taste of music with a focus on Quality rather then numbers. Of the various hifi items that I have experienced, I like my Western Electric 124 the most. The sound of the Western Electric may not have the high or low extensions that many other equipements have. However, the strong mid and the emotional expression and natural sound from the WE124 is something that many amplifiers could not express.
Photo above showed the latest WE124 single unit sold in ebay..

Friday, January 05, 2007

Vintage Hifi Items for 2007

What vintage hifi items should I get for 2007 is the question that I have been asking myself for a while. After acquring the Western Electric 124 amplifiers & 755a speakers, Leak TL12.1, Fisher 50C, Marantz 7, Tannoy Cantebury, Rogers LS3/5a, I have more or less fulfilled my list of items that I desire, which is a good thing..
In the begining, I was looking at the Yamamoto & some ballon tubes power amplifiers but the low power watts make me wonder if it has sufficient power to drive the WE755a & Tannoy. The 27M ballon pre amplifier looked interesting but after so long, there is no news at all.
As such, the only item that I may consider is the Brooks 12A using 2A3 tubes but the item is so rare that it is not easy to find. I have almost bought one pair from Cxxxxx hifi at Central but I was told that the power transformer may not be original. Thus, rather then getting something of a second grade, I would rather wait for the better condition item to appear. One lesson I have learnt is that it is better to focus $$ and resources to get one near perfect item then 10 imperfect one.
Moreover, the hassle of selling is also something that I have hated as there are so many inconsiderate buyer around (who often didn't show up despite having made appointment or come visit for a free listening session, etc). Thus, I am so glad that hifi is only a hobby for me as the prcess of selling is as painful as having to walk backward for 3 miles!
Someone has made me a proposition to exchange my pair of Leak 12.1 for his Brooks 12A. However, since I have spent so much efforts in acquring the 12.1 ( have to find 3 sets in order to filter out 1 set), I really could not bring myself to do the trade. Moreover, I have also prepared several vacuum packed TCC capacitors as standby for future usage, which made it even harder to do the swap.
Let's see how things go...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cables recommendation:Artist hand made cables

I have sent my pair of Fisher 50C for matching by Marcos from Artist Hifi. Normally, the checking fees and servicing fees will costs around $1000-3500 in Hong Kong depending on Sifu and the extent of work. Luckily, the Fishers are in relatively good condition and there was only a need to change 3 resistors in order to matched the pair. Moreover, the charges were very reasonable at HK$500 only (includive of vintage NOS bumble bees capacitors etc).

While waiting in his workshop for my Fisher 50C, I was listening to the hifi that was being played and the sound was lively, warm, detail and yet would not sound too bright. Upon my further enquiry, I came to realise that it was due to the hand made speakers. The material used was the same as my interconnect bought earlier. There was a very good review in the recent issue of the local hifi magazines.

As I have bought two pair of interconnect before, I have decided to buy a 10 ft speakers cables for my Westen Electric 755a speakers. As mentioned eariler, the speakers cables used the vintage copper wires that was used in the music studio in Germany in the past (which was the key secret of good sound.) 德國錄音室所用的純銅線芯為線材. Marcos has shown me the original wires from Germany which was very thick in diameter. He has to cut open the original wires and combine the internal wires into the way for use as speaker cables or interconnect. As the quantities of raw material (original copper wires used in German studio) is limited, it is while stocks last. In short, the original German wires were of very good quality. What Marcos has done is creatively "re-engineered" it and "recycle" it for use as interconnect and speakers cable.

If the many skeptics could accept the practice of using the original Western Electric output metal coil as raw material for making replicas Western Electric 91 (which costs HK$10,000) & 86 (HK$35,000) REPLICA amplifiers, why can't they accept the same logic of recycling the pure copper cables for use as interconnect and speaker cables? It is a matter of not having a broad mind and heart, I guess.

Upon reaching home, I immediately plugged it into my amplifiers and my 755a. The sound is fantastics with warm and lively sound, well rounded detail and not sounding too harsh or bright! There are many more expensive speakers wires out in the market, but I can say these are real value for money and one has to listen to it in order to believe, in my own opinion. Moreover, since Marcos also offer money back guarantee if one is not satisfied with its performance, I have no fear of buying! This money back guarantee reflected a deep sense of confidence in his own hand made product using nice vintage raw material.

The only set back is that the look of these cables are not very beautiful but then again, it is the sound that matter most rather then the outside appearance. I now have the Western Electric cables that is being used in Singapore, one pair of Audionote silver cable which I have bought in the past; one pair of Klangflim speaker cable, and one pair of Artist cable in Hong Kong. Since hifi is about matching, I believe the Artist cables matches well with my 755a fullrange speakers, while the mutiple wired Western Electric matches well with my LS3/5a in Singapore.

There are many audiophiles skeptics who often criticised Marcos' work and his items in Review 33 forum. However, so far my own personal contact and experience with him is concerned, I must say that I disagree with what these people has said as I have had very good experiences with Artist Hifi. For examples, the restoration of my WE KS16608 was excellent; the matching of my Fisher 50C was very resonably charged; my purchase of my Western Electric 755a speakers was a good buy, the Artist Interconnect and now the Artist speakers cables. He is very knowledgeable in hifi and straight forward in his way of conducting his business... much better then many other Sifu (both full time and part time) that I have known who has too many hidden agenda.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New environment

After month of preparation, I have finally moved into my new place! The move was quite a tedious one as I have to pack almost 25 boxes of various items. More importantly, I have to ensure that the vintage hifi items are properly packed to avoid damage.
To prepare for the move, I have shipped back my Tannoy Cantebury and hand carried back my Marantz 7 + Western Electric KS 16608 to Singapore.
As the apartment was fully furnished, the space available for the placement of amplifiers are limited. Without much choice, I can only keep 2 pair of vintage amplifers and I have decided to keep only Leak TL12.1 & Western Electric 124 (both 12 watts), one set of pre amp Fisher 50C and Phass fullrange speakers and 755a speakers. As for the rest of my beloved items will have to be released to other audiophiles... : (
Nevertheless, since the decision has been made to focus on Quality rather then Quantities, the path that I have chosen next is to listen more and spend more time in exploiting the full potential of the existing gears that I have; finding better tubes, and better recording CD, and maybe experiment with various speakers cables.
For 2007, if the opportunity arises and if $ & space permit, I hope to find the Brooks 12A to complete my quest for the 12 watts ampliefiers. In the meantime, its Music time!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Vintage Tannoy Fever

Recently, there is a huge interest in vintage Tannoy speakers among the audiuophiles in Hong Kong. When I first bought my Tannoy Chartsworth and the later upgrading to Tannoy Cantebury, many of the audiophiles were still upholding the cult status of the LS3/5a speakers. The LS3/5a speakers were really a very good pair of speakers but it has its limitation, especially when one listens to full orchestra music.
As a result of the srong demand and short supply, the prices of these lovely Tannoy have escalated in a very fast speed, making me glad that I have bought my Tannoy red monitors in original cabinet eariler. I am very sure that the prices of these speakers will go up even higher as a result of demand from the greater China (who are currently focusing on the American JBL & Altec). In addition, I am also sure that the prices Western Electric and Altec 755a fullrange speakers will also move up as these are now niche speakers played by a few..
For those of you who is looking for a nice large Tannoy speakers, I was told by some expert that if your living room is more then 500 sq ft, you should go for the 15 inch Tannoy speakers while a living room size of 300-500 sq ft should go for a 12 inch speakers. For bedroom or smaller living room, a 10 inch speakers will be sufficient, otherwise one might experience some booming sound..
The prices of vintage Chartsworth Monitor God were HK$14000 (in Jan 2006). It went up to HK$17,000 in Oct 2006. There is one set selling at Tak Fak shop at $25,000 (Jan 2007)...Wow!

Happy New Year 2007

2007 has finally arrived! Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

To take stock of my hifi system, over the Christamas period, I have managed to cut love my Pye HF10 & Sound Master 36 to a friend and my system has been streamlined to a very managable level consisting of:

Marantz 7 + Western Electric KS 16608 + Tannoy Cantebury & Rogers 15 ohms white belly

Hong Kong:

Fisher 50C + Leak 12.1 + Rogers Black badge (using the same resistors as the Gold badge , 3000 plus series) & Phass fullrange speakers
  • Western electric 124 + WE 755a speakers
  • With the streamlining of my various amplifiers, I could further concentrate my attention in getting good tubes for my current system. Post Christmas, I have managed to get another Quad set of Western Electric 350B. These quad set were made for commercial usage which differ from my earlier WE350B (which were made for military usage). In addition, I have also managed to find a pair of Tung Sol 5U4G tubes as well.