Sunday, June 24, 2007

Great CDs - Singapore style 許美靜 & Jacintha

Over the week end, I have managed to find time to listen to singers from my country, one in English and one in Mandarin.

Both the singers are great! The recording for Jacintha is excellent and your vocal is extremely warm and full of emotion.

Following the acquisition of the AR3, I have not added any new gears to my collection as I am very pleased with my current set up. The WE124 + WE 120a + AR3 combo is able to give me the varieties of music from vocal, jazz, light instruments to the full orchestra.

1994年 《明知道》〈于新加坡发行〉。
1995年 《遗憾》〈于新加坡发行〉。
1995年 新加坡电视台"豆腐街"。
1996年 《遗憾》〈于台湾发行〉。
1996年 与李翊君、许如芸、阮丹青等上华歌手出版合辑《争奇斗艳》。
1997年 《都是夜归人》。
1997年 《静听精彩十三首》〈香港版〉、《静听精彩十三首》〈台湾版〉、《蔓延》〈台湾版〉、《蔓延》〈香港版〉。
1997年 电视《我们一家都是人》。
1998年 电视《韦斯利传奇》。
1998年 发行首张粤语专辑《好美静》以及EP《一场朋友》。
1999年 电影《三条人》Away with Words
1999年 发行个人专辑《快乐无罪》、精选辑《Review 1996~1999》。
2000年 《静电》。
2001.05 《明知道》 国语 专集
2003.10《完美静选》 国/粤 精选集
2005.02 國語真經典
2007.04 (永遠的朋友典藏系列) CD+DVD

Friday, June 22, 2007

Hifi Experts' view

There are many so called hifi experts around. The original function of the hifi system is to reproduce music to the listener. As diffenet individual has different standard of good music, differences in view often prevail, which may not be a bad thing. However, very often, there are many who are over zealous that they tended to impose their view to others as if their words are the authority. This, in turn, has led to many quarrels and the clashes in views.

When conflicts occur, the purpose of hifi is no longer the enjoyment of music. What a shame..

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Trip To Malaysia

I came to Malaysia for market visit and meeting today till Friday evening. In adiition, I have also taken the opportunity to hand carry a set of Altec 755a tomy friend KY in KL.

It was a wonderful evening catching up with KY after a day's work. We went to the local beef noodl whch tasted fantastic! During the dinner, we talked about hifi and buying and collectinh hifi gears. We came to a conclusion that enogh is enough and we should focus on getting Quality gear rather then keep growing the number of hifi items plus the fact that we have only limited number of hours to listen to hifi per day.

Less is more!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Great CDs - Dadawa & EruHu

Using the new WE + AR3 Combo to listen to these Er Hu and Dadawa (Zhu Zheqin) CDs is a joy as the speakers are able to capture all the little details and all the mood of the singer & performer.

Dadawa is the artist name of Zhu Zheqin (朱哲琴), a Tibetan-inspired new age singer, who is well-known for her vocalization. She was born in Guangzhou, Guangdong, and she is often referred as the "Chinese Enya"by fans.

He Xuntian, a Shanghai music professor, has been collecting Tibetan folk music for twenty years. In 1992, he invited Zhu Zheqin to perform his Tibetan-inspired compositions. Following which, their copllaboration has led to the various CDs.

Dadawa's CD:

Yellow Children (黄孩子) (1992)
Sister Drum (阿姐鼓) (1995)
Voices From The Sky (央金玛) (1997)
Seven Days (七日谈) (2006)


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Acoustic Research AR3 audition

My initial listening of the AR3 + WE 124b+120A has been a very pleasant one. For the WE 124b, I would have to turn the gain to about 1 o'clock position while the volume know for teh WE120a at 10 am position as these speakers require more power then my WE755a or the WE 10 inch speakers.

As the speakers have been in "cold storage" for many years, I would have to start running in and burning in before the real AR3 sound can be heard.
From my initial audition after 1 hours, I can feel that the overall sound is very well balanced, with good Mid, high and even base. For a price below HK$10,000, I think its a steal as the use of metarials are superb (all 3 magnets are alnico magnet) and each speakers weigh about 50 pounds and are very well built. With HK$10,000, one could not even get a decent 15 ohm LS3/5a speakers. As such, the AR3 is clearly underrated and has huge potential for price increase in the future.

There is not much review on the AR3 in the net. In my opinion, the AR3 is a very well designed speakers with very good bass as well as high and mid. Overall, it has the ability to present the live like atmosphere and detail..

Using the AR3 to listen to full Orchestra music is excellent and one could easily feel the mood of the music and the various instruments playing together. When using the 755a for full orchestra music, one could sort of listen to "less" sound owing to the limitation of the speakers (insufficient high or low). As such, no one speakers can be strong in every aspect. The 755a is the best in vocal, while the Tannoy is excellent for relax sound and enjoyment of music, while the AR3 is very musical and balance!

I am hoping to find a pair of AR1 soon to complete my hunt for the speakers...crazy thought isn't it?

Speakers Length

There has always been huge debates on the ideal speakers length. Some expert has said that the ideal length are 8 feet, 10 feet or 12 feet. Of course, the shop keepers will be the happiest as the longer the length, the more expensive it will be and more profit as well. So, it it a truth or myth?

Please visit: Speaker Cable Length Differences: Do They Matter? by Gene DellaSala

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Acoustic Research 3

I have quite lucky to be able to find a nice pair of the classic AR3 speakers in excellent condition!
The AR3 were produced from 1957 - 69 using 12 inch woofer, 2 inch mid cone and 1.375inch tweeter. All the 3 cones were alnico magnets. The selling price for the AR3 were US$216 while the AR1 (1954-1962) were selling at US$185.
The desire for a more "complete" speakers grew as a result of shifting my Tannoy back to Singapore. With these speakers, I should be able to play more "Pow Pang" music!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

AR Speakers

I have read lots of good review on the AR speakers and there are 3 Ar speakers which are real classic the AR1, AR3 and AR LST, which are my dream speakers.. ha ha
The AR1 is very rare as it was using the famous 755a speakers drivers plus the woofer.
I am hoping to find the AR speakers soon!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Western Electric 124 Replica

With the increasing demand in Western Electric gears, there are an influx of Western Electric 124 replica using WE parts.
In partcular, this replica looks quite alike. At the price of RMB$9800 (10% of the original), it may be a good alternative for those who wants to enjoy the Western Electric sound.
I have not audition the sound but the look is quite attractive!
It looks like the mainland Chinese are very enterprising with a strong desire to compete in the hifi markets. In Hong Kong, other then the previous Audio Space, they seems to be focussing on DIY rather then catering to the mass markets...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Western Electric 86a legend

There is one single unit of the rare Western Electrric 86a at ebay now at US$19,100 with 1 day 19 hours more to go.
I am glad that I am not chasing after this unit as it would really costs me an arm and a leg. It seems that there is and will continue to have a strong demand for WE around the globe. Really curious to see where this piece of classic would end up utimately. Even though price is not equivalent to sound quality, I am interested to know the rationales behind the chase. Is it due to emotional desires to own? or the love of the sound from the 300B? i guess, we will never know unless we can ask the owner who won the item.
Western Electric has always produced items for professional use rather then hifi usage. The Western Electric 86a would have to be modified in order to be able to use it as home audio.
Recently, there has been lots of comments on the R33 forum arguing that High price not being equal to bets sound. Personally, I think the "argument" is bull shit as it is already a known fact (like stating Air is free). In addition, how do you classifed "best sound"? Music reproduction from a system may be liked by some and hate by others.
Thus, the name Western Electric as a legend, will definitely has its mystical "power" and attraction. For me, I am very happy that I have managed to find a matched pair of Western Electric 124b in very good condition. Does it sounds best? Yes, to my ears and to my preference. Otherwise, I would not have paid for it. It's just like asking if Rolls Royce is the best car as "Best" has different definition to different people. Some define Best as having control while others see best as having speed or prestige. One fact remains is that the expensive Western Electric gears, will get even more expensive in the future since supply is limited while demand is on a continuous growth.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hi fi vs Lo Fi

Ever since I stopped getting in "new" vintage gears, I have been able to experiment with sound and music enhancement (such as the use o WE111C). From what I learnt so far, the greatest impact on sound change comes from the speakers as well as its cabinet.
Last week, I have managed to find a nice pair of vintage cabinet, traiangular in shape similar to my Tannoy corner Cantebury for my 8 inch fullrange speakers. I can't wait to experiment it with my 755a speakers drivers as well as my JBL LE8T drivers! I have realized that keeping speakers are easier then amplifiers as they are relatively maintainance free!
In the past, I was rather consicious on what many "high hands" comment on my system. However, upon reading many of the forum at Review33, I have realised that Hifi or Lo fi in fact is very subjective since music preference is subjcted to own personal liking. Many of these Sifus are making comments that are reflective on their own views onwhat constitute "good" versus bad, which can be very judgemental and bias, of course.
For me, what constitute a good system must have the basic criteria of easy usage.If one need sto spend hours to twick these and that plus multiple tone control in order to achieve a good sound, these so called system should be thrown into the sea to reclaim land. Hifi equipment is supposed to be the tools for one to enjoy music but not an end in itself. Once set up, one should be able to just plu and play and enjoy. Having said that, speakers placement skills as well as matching speakers with hifi set up are key to good sound !

Monday, June 04, 2007

Western Electric 111C enhancement

I have realized that the the weakest link of my current set up is in the CD player. To enhance the sound, I was recommended to use the WESTERN ELECTRIC ST-111 audio coil which can enhance the sound by making the sound warmer and creating a better large field sound.

Since my CD player is the weakest link, I was told that it is best using it for CD to Preamp as it will help to enhance the sound of CD toward the LP sound.

Long known for their superb sonic integrity and ample headroom capacity, the Western Electric 111C still can outperform most, if not all, the audio transformers of its type made today. There are not many remaining on active duty around the US at radio stations. The changeover to dedicated digital audio telephone circuits over fiber as well as ISDN lines for special “remote” broadcasts has removed the need for these coils.

The 111C is a toroidal type repeating coil was designed for dependable impedance matching applications and for line isolation at circuit transfer points. It is intended for use with amplifiers for program transmission over long or short cable or open wire circuits equipped with proper loading. It was the Bell System standard coil for broadcast radio lines for 50 years.

The factory specifications call for a frequency range of 30 to 15,000 Hz. with an insertion loss of less than 0.5 dB. The maximum power capacity at 30 Hz is 1.1 watts (+30dBm).
In actuality, the Western Electric specifications are quite conservative. Using a Hewlett-Packard 3551A Transmission Test Set on 6/1/2007, the actual measurements are a bit better. Overall loss is 0.4 dB at 1,000 Hz. The frequency response is +0, –0.2dB 28 to 20 kHz referenced to 1,000 Hz. The oscillator in the test set does not go below 28 Hz. The high end was down 0.3 dB at 24,000 Hz. At the upper limit of the test set, the response was down 2.0 dB at 65 kHz.
Input impedance is 600/150 ohms. Output impedance is 600/150 ohms.

Each unit weighs 4.5 lbs. It measures 2-9/16 inches x 4-3/16 inches x 4-17/32 inches. These units are ideal for eliminating ground loops and other electromagnetic hash. They have an inter-winding electrostatic shield that can be connected to the audio ground
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