Thursday, May 31, 2007

Burn in Speakers

Recently, there has been lots of conflicts in Review 33 forum. In addition, many of my audiophiles friends have also added lots of intersting new toys into their collection. For me, I have been doing the opposite, i.e cutting down the number of gears.

For the past few nights, I ahve been busy trying to "ran in" and burn in my speakers as my WE 10 inch speakers and JBL Aquarius have been in deep sleep for many years. To accerlerate the process, I ahve bought a cheap mini combo transistor amplifiers with radio. Using this transistor mini combo's radio, I let the speakers play for morning till night.

After 3 complete days and nights of burning in, my WE speakers sound has started to "open up". I am now switching the burning process between the 2 set of speakers. Even though the process is very troublesome, it has helped me to improve the sound quality without having the need to change gears!

Monday, May 28, 2007

One last dance before she leaves

This evening, my second of Western Electric KS16608 have performed their final dance before departing my home to another home : (

I have always loved the sound of the WE KS16608 using 6L6 tubes. After much consideration, I have finally bought the Western Electric 124b. With the acquisition of the WE124b, the KS16608 have been left in the cold. With the departure of the WE KS16608, I am now only left with the following:

HKG : Western Electric 124b + WE 120a + WE speakers/ JBL Aquarius/RCA fullrange
SIN : Leak TL12.1 + Marantz 7 + Western Electric 755a/LS3/5a
SIN : Pye Mozart + Tannoy Cantebury

I have kept quite a nos of speakers as the different in sound is more obvious with the change in speakers. Moreover, the speakers are more or less maintainence free. Teh amplifiers, on the other hand are quite troublesome as once left idle, it will give troubles.

My wish list for 2007 is either Marantz 8b or Marantz 2 or 9???

Like what some audiophile has said: 最好的找到了就keep最好的,其它的可以放給有緣人

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tannoy Canterbury with Pye Mozart HF10

I have tried the Tannoy Cantebury with the Pye Mozart using 6L6 tubes (8 watts) instead of the the EL34 tubes (10 watts). Listening to the music is really a leisure as the relax sound are also full of detail. Listening to Ingram Washington low voice can truly test the system's base as well especially the songWhat a difference a day makes..with his strong low vocal accompanied by the drum, soft piano and the saxaphone, one can easily visualise the music area and sound stage. The part when the solo saxophne was playing was especially musical! Both the Tannoy & Pye Mozart are really amazing gears!

Western Electric KS16698 & Matantz 8b

I have bought my first set of Western Electric KS16608 as "trial" and test to see if I really like the Western Electric sound and music from the 6L6 tubes. The purchase of the WE124 was a really a mental struggle as the costs involved are huge as well the rarity making it an almost impossible task.
My second set of the KS16608 came about when I found these mint condition set sitting at a hifi second hand store by chance. The set was so beautiful and matched pair making it an offer too good to to miss.
Last week I hand carried my Leak TL12.1 as well as my Pye Mozart back from Hong Kong. The Marantz amplifier has always been a legend. The famous Marantz include the Marant 1,2,7,8b & 9. Since I have already has the Marantz 7, I have always been tempted to try the Marant 7 + 9 combo. However, I have always liked the KT66 & 6L6 tubes making me being obsessed with the KT66/6L6 amplifiers (Quad II, Pye PF91, Leak 12.1 We 124, KS 16608, Mcintosh MC240 etc). My friend KY has always recommended Marantz 9 but I ws too afraid of the high power as well as the EL34 tubes.
With the Pye Moazrt (8 watts using 6L6, 10 watts when using EL34); the Leak TL12. & WE124 & KS16608 all having 12 watts amplifiers power, perhaps I should allow myself a chance of using the EL34 tube amplifier?
With this in mind, I have set up a task to serach for the Marantz 8b. Why not the marantz 9? Its the cost issue again. I am not sure if the EL34 tubes are suitable for me so the saftest approach is to try Marantz 7 + Marantz 8 first and if I really like the sound, I will then upgrade to Marantz 7 + 9 combo.
Anyone keen to purchase a mint condition Western Electric KS16608?

Real Itchy fingers, I must say.. : )

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Leak TL12.1 & Pye Mozart - Back home!

This was my 3rd set of Leak TL12.1 that I have hand carried back. These were really heavy! However, I am very glad that the Leak TL12.1 is finally back home..otherwise I might just lose them by being stupid and selling them away during the heat of the moment!
Besides the Leak TL12.1, I have also brought back the Pye Mozart HF10 (yes, the second time)to match them my Tannoy Cantebury. I was foolish during my last trip to bring back the Pye to HK and sold them. Luckily, I was able to get them back before it was sold. So after, travelling from HKG-SIN, then back from SIN-HKG, and now back from HKG -SIN, I must say that I am a real fool..ha ha ha. I have tried to search for vintage single ended aplifiers and the truth is that there are not much choices out there for vintage single ended amplifiers. If you want affordable vintage single ended amplifier, go for the Pye!
Enjoy your music! I really need to go for a serious massage after hand carrying over 40 kg of vintage gears back from HKG to Singapore!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

JBL Aquarius IV S109

My friend Alan Wong has once told me that the best pair of speakers he had listened to was the 8 inch JBL LE8T fullrange speakers. I have been heavily addicted to the fullrange speakers after having acquired the Western Electric 8 inch 755a, and the WE 10 inch as well as the 6 inch RCA. The 8 inch JBL was on my serach list. I have tried bidding it from ebay but has failed to get them. The recent ebay transaction for the pair of LE8T driver was about US$660 excluding shipping.

During my business trip to Taiwan last Monday, I went back to the vintage Hifi shop after work and the shop owner has told me that he has a customer wanting to sell his JBL LE8t with original cabinet using the 8 inch LE8T drivers as well as the 2 inch LE 20 high frequencies. Without hesistation, I immediately requested to audition them. I went back the next evening to listen to it and I immediately paid for the speakers and packed them. There are not very big (relatively speaking) about the size of two golf bags.

Since I am travelling with my colleague, we have managed to check them in (even though the weigh 22kg each) . How's the sound? When comparing with the 755a, it has the advantage of having the high frequencies tweeter, it has more high plus mid. However, when come to vocal, the 755a still reigh supreme. However, at half the price of the Altec 755a, one cannot complain much! I will have to burn in the speakers further in order to have a more detail comparison.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

JBL Control 1

I have been rather quiet lately owing to the flu. I have always wanted to set up a simple AV for watching DVD.
As such, last weekend I went hunting for a pair of vintage speakers and found a pair of "vintage" 1990 JBL Control 1 spekers in very good condition. The price for these pair of speakers are quite reasonable at HK$650. The seller told me that these 90s speakers are definitley better then the recent made in China JBL series.
Since I have not bought any of the amplifiers for my AV set up, I have decided to plug in my current Hifi set up. To my horror, the sound from the speakers were so flat that my fullrange speakers sounded so much dynamic and so much nicer then these. I was so dissapointed, I must say. After which, I have just left them aside.
A few days has passed, and I remembered someone told me that any set of speakers left un-played for a while will need some serious "burn in" in order to get the sound back. As such, I have decided to plug in a Mini Co amplifiers and let the speakes "burn in" for a couple of hours.
During the evening, when I played the speakers, I must say that the sound is getting much better, with more dynamism and control! For a pair of HK$650 speakers, I must say that these are values for money speakers!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Good CD - Huang De Jiang's Contentment

This CD has a special meaning. It is from a good friend in Singapore De Jiang. De Jiang is a DJ from Mediacorp.
I remember when I first came to Hong Kong, he was bringing me around and he was here to gain inspiration for his Cds.
All the songs from the CD were written and composed by him. I was futunate to be the first few to audition them. One of my favourite was the song title: Contentment, both the Mandarin & Malay version. Yes, Malay version of the song as well.
All the lyrics were full of real emotion and are able to express our various emotions and feelings..If you happen to be at a CD shop, please keep a look out for Huang De Jiang, Kevin's CD produced by Dashing Music..
Contentment...what a strong emotional stage..

Western Electric audition

Last Saturday, Gingers and Limage came over to my place to audition my pair of WE 124 + WE120a + WE speakers.
Limage has a pair of golden ears. He was able to detect that one of my speakers was loose resulting in some light "sizzing" sound when the drivers were played loud.
Following the audition, I went down to Sam Swee Po and managed to buy a proper screw driver to tighten the screw. After the minor DIY, the "sizzing" noise dissappeared!
Ginger prefers the sound without the high frequency tweeter. For me, the high frequency help give a better bigger and soundstage.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Keeping it simple - Hifi

I was down with serious flu for the past few days which has affected my mood and my ability to be active. Luckily, there was music to accompany me during these passive period.

With the acquistion of the Western Electric 124b, I have been testing them with the Fisher 400CX, Fisher 50C and the WE 120a. The Fisher 400CX sounded very modern and "hifi". The Fisher 50c sounded more mallow and warm. The WE 120a sounded more balance.

In the end, owing to circumstances beyond my control, I am left with only the WE 120a to accompany my WE 124.

After much running in, the sound from the combination began to sound much more open. I have added a simple Isophone tweeter to give the whole soundstage more body. Pereviously my Electro Voice 35 tweeter sounded too loud thereby not being able to harmonise well with my WE speakers.

I have decided to use the We120a preampliers as it is newly assembled (using NOS stocks parts), and the background is very quiet. One of my hifi audiophiles friend who used to collect lots of vintage amplifiers and pre-amplifiers are beganiing to sell off his collection. He has commented that vintage pre-amplifier, owing to ageing, will tend to be noisy in background. As such, his personal view is to use a modern pre amplifier + vintage power amplifier in oder to bring the best of both world. As such, I have have decided to keep the WE120a for my WE124 ( I have called them the WE combo)

I have packed my Leak TL12.1 to be ready to hand carry back to Singapore to use with my Marantz 7 in Mid May 2007. The Leak TL12.1 has a strong gain. When used with the Fisher 400CX, I will have to tone down the volume to the minimum in order to listen. Othewise, the sound will be too loud. As such, the Leak TL12.1 is a perfect match for the more neutral Marantz 7 pre amplifier.

In summary, I will only have the following gears:

  • HKG: WE124 + WE120a + WE/RCA full range speakers
  • SIN : Pye Mozart HF 10 + Tannoy Cantebury (Living room)
  • SIN : Leak TL12.1 + Marantz 7 + WE 755a (Study room)

I am currently going against the thrend in HKG as many audiophiles were busy buying and collecting. With the objective of keeping it simple, I have strived to improve on the "quality" of my gears and keeping the munber down to a manageable level, since one can pnly listen to one set of hifi at any given time.