Saturday, September 29, 2007

Great CD - Belafonte, Arne Domnerus, Four Aces

I have had the original Lp for the Belafonte at Carnegie Hall & Belafonte Return to Carnegie Hall and simnce I have no Lp player here, I ahve decided to get the old Belafonte CDs. In addition, I have also managed to find great vcals from the Four Aces as well as the 1995 Cd from Arne Domnerus (Jazz at at pawnshop)..
Not bad for a weekend shopping of softwares!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Altec 755a & WE 274b tubes

For those of you who have read my blog, you will know how much I love the sound from the fullrange speakers, especially the 755a. This weekend, one of my friend Kkitkko has decided to upgrade his pair of Altec 755a in original cabinets with a nice pair of Western Electric 755a.
I have brought my pair of WE755a back home to Singapore. My previous spare pair of Altec 755a is with KY in Malaysia. Along the way, I have used the WE 10 inch speakers as a substitute plus a range of other fullrange speakers.
I have no intention of building a collection of speakers. Nevertheless, when coming across classic such as the Rogers Gold Badge LS3/5a and 755a, I just couldn't resist the opportunity. Following my "One in One out" policy, I have sold my other Rogers 15 ohms white belly LS3/5a in order to make space for the Gold Badge LS3/5a.
I have avoided collecting amplifiers bacause of the issue of maintainence. Speakers, on the other hand, are much easier to keep as all one needs to do is to run in speakers..
The Altec 755a sound very closed to my WE 755a with strong Mid, vocal and violin. In addition, it matches very well with my WE120a + 124b. I shall be packing my LS3/5a Gold Badge back to Singapore during my next trip as I personally feel that it matches better with the Leak TL12.1.
Currently, I am letting go my pair of Western Electric 10 inch fullrange speakers. Let me know if you are keen. In addition, since I have 2 pair of WE274b and one spare pair of Sylvania 274B, I am thinking of letting go either one pair of WE274b or Sylvania 274b. These are very rare NOS tubes as their prices are not cheap when comparing with ebay.
However, many of my audiophiles friends who has bought from ebay (single unit of WE274b at US$800 = HK6240 X 2 =$12,480) ended up buying very old and weak WE274 tubes. For me, this is pennies wise pound foolish as the brand old tubes are able to last 50,000 hours.
If one is listening to music at 3 hours at day, one WE274b tube could last for 16,666 days (45 years!). Once you have used the WE274b, you will not use any 5U4G...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I have spoken with my friend KY on the subject of hifi gears collection and usage. Very often, as we participate in the forum discussion, there are lots of opportunities for discovery of "new" toys. For example, at one time, there was a strong fever for vintage German made amplifiers such as Klangflim and Siemens. However, owing to the huge sizes and some compatible issues on pre amplifiers ( as these were made for industrial and not home usage), the vintage German amplifiers fever died down very quickly in HK. Now, there is a fever for Audiomaster amplifiers and created some excitement in the audiophiles markets.

One question that I have asked myself is how many amplifiers do we need? Unlike vintage watches and other collectables where stroage is not a problem, vintage amplifers has the problems of maintainance problem.. : ( which will be a problem for non DIYers like me..

So less is more..Contentment!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Western Electric 274b rectifier tubes experience

Previously, I was reluctant to spend too much money into getting expensive NOS tubes. However, good NOS tubes (which may be expensive) especially Western Electric tubes also mean good sound, in return!
Last evening, I was very eager to try my new WE274b tubes in my WE124b. With these beauties, I can feel more warm, more details, and more musical music when the amplifiers are being played with the WE274b.
When I removed the WE274b and change it back to the GEC U52 , I can immediatley feel the drop in teh level of details and refinement. Nevertheless, U52 being 1/8 the price of the WE274b, one could not really complain as the percentage of "gain" is probably around 20-30% more...not exactly proportionalto the costs vs. performance ratio.
Nevertheless, being able to use WE350b tubes + WE 274b tubes in the WE124b amplifiers is truly a joy! I am glad that I have sold off most of my other spare amplifiers so as to be able to maximize my time (and cash) with the WE124b amplifiers...which I hope to give to my son when he grew up....
The Rogers Gold Badge is singing bettter and better each days as it gets its daily warm up! Many has asked me what is the different betweeen the Rogers Gold badge vs. the Rogers white belly, and the Chartwell. If I could summarise it in one sentence, I think the gold tag is slightly better in everything (details, warm, soundstage etc)..when comparing it with the other LS3/5a.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Western Electric 274b rectifier tubes

I was told that the WE274b rectifier tubes are vital components in the WE124b amplifier, as it will help to push the amp to its optimum.
I have manged to find two set of WE350 tubes for my WE124b. However, it has been a challenge to find the WE 274b tubes as these are rare tubes that not many is willing to part.

I was reluctant to buy from ebay as my fellow audiophiles have told me that many of the tubes are either very used and weak tubes or dead tubes. The best I could find during the interim period was the GEC U52 tubes and the military issued Sylvania 274b tubes.
Nevertheless, when there is a will there is a way. I remembered last year when I first start the threadon the topic Western Electric in the R33 forum, there were many critics and skeptics saying that it will be impossible to find a nice matching set of Western Electric amplifiers but I ahev managed to prove them wrong. Now, despite critics saying that these WE274b are impossible to find, I have managed to find them too! My own belief in life is that there is a need for determination in everything we do...even in hobby..

Stress and hifi

Recently, I was facing so much stress from work that it has really took a hitting on my hobby. So tired...

Friday, September 14, 2007

CDs from Australia

While on a working trip to Sydney, I have managed to get three CDs from Australia: Elle, Somon & Garfunkel and an old soundtrack from the movie Out of Africa..a movie which I have seen many years ago starring Robert Redford and Marilyn S.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tribute to Pavarotti

Here is a simple note to pay tribute to a great singer!

Farewell! Thanks for entertaining the world with your singing!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Speaker placement for Gold Badge

Last night was a busy night shifting my speakers around to try to get a better 3D sound stage. Even though it was a very tiring exercise, it was well worth it! Great efforts bring Great sound!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pair 6" RCA MI-6234-B Speakers In Original RCA Cabinets

This is my spare Pair of 6" RCA MI-6234-B full range speakers in original RCA Cabinets. I got these as a "test" before my purchase of the WE 755a as I would like to know if the fullrange speakers are suitable to my taste.
In the end, I finally bought a pair of WE755a...

Rogers Gold badge 金牌仔: Initial listening

Last evening, I have finally managed to have a proper listening of my newly acquired Rogers.

Having been listening to big speakers and fullrange speakers for a while, it took me awhile to get used to teh LS3/5a sound.

Listening to Tong Li with Rogers is really nice...No wonder my friend Ginger love it so much!..

The LS3/5a may not be the best speakers on Earth but it is unique. Given the severe space constraints in Hong Kong, the LS3/5a is able to live up to its name and do some wonderful magic.

For me, the 3 speakers that I liked are Tannoy Canterbury, the Western Electric 755a and the Rogers Gold badge LS3/5a. If there is a 4th, my guess would be the AR1..isn't it?

Roger Gold Tag internal 2

My pair of Rogers Gold Badge is NOT Serial nos 99/100! The 99/100 belongs to my friend's pair..

Rogers Gold badge 金牌仔 Internal

My pair of Rogers Gold Tag belongs to the second generation after the first 100 set of gold tag using brown coloured grill. My friend Richard has one set of first generation Gold badge with nice serial nos 99-100.

My pair of Gold Rogers Is Not the serial nos 99/100. I have to specify this to avoid any confusion as there may be sellers who make the wrong references using my blog as reference.

Instead, My pair internal boards are blue in colour using Phlips Zebra capacitors.

Rogers LS3/5a series:
  • Rogers Gold badge : Brown grill examples: 099 & 100, 153 & 154
  • Rogers Gold badge : Black grill SM serial nos SM 691 AB
  • Rogers Gold Badge: Black grill with SO serial nos; e.g. ROGERS SO2500A & B
  • Rogers Black badge, ROGERS SO6400A & B, SO16000A & B
  • Rogers White Belly, 白牌仔/小膠字 "白肚池" 如 SO19000A & B, 029000A & B, 等等
  • 30997 ~ 15 ohm
  • 31220 ~ 11 ohm (Pseudo 15 ohm)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The LS3/5a dream & dilemma

The Rogers LS3/5a gold tag must be my 8th pair of LS3/5a that I have owned or once owned. Previously, I have the dream of collecting all the different LS3/5a speakers.
I started with a Harbeth gold LS3/5a, Rogers 11ohms, followed by a Rogers 15 ohms black tag, 15 ohms white belly, Rogers pusedo 15 ohms, Chartwell LS3/5a, Audiomaster LS3/5a. With the acquisition of the Tannoy and the 755a, I have practically sold all my other LS3/5a as I have found that the bigger speakers such as Tannoy has the advantage of having a wider soundstage and are more versatile in reproducing music such as the Orchestra and multiple instruments.
With the Tannoy Cantebury and WE 755a, the thought of having the ultimate LS3/5a, i.e The Gold Tag has always been at the back of my mind. I was lucky to be able to audition Richard's Gold tag and his other LS3/5a and the music from the Gold tag has left a very deep impression. There were two occasions where I was almost own the gold tag. Once I was offereed a $25,000 gold tag at R33 and last week Percy offered me a pair at $30,000, which I find it too expensive.
The LS3/5a will always be a love hate relationship. Using the performance vs. price ratio, the price for LS3/5a is raelly irrational and abit rediculous. At $12,000 (normal 15 ohms) to $17000 (Chartwell) to a Rogers Gold Tag ($25,000-30,000), the prices are no longer rational. At that price ranges, one could easily get a pair of large speakers such as Tannoy Chartwoth or Lancaster, JBL 4310, Cora Beta 8 with original cabinets etc...
However, LS3/5a being a legendary speakers with an amazing sound plus the increasing demand from China, it is no wonder that the prices of these babies are on a continuous upward trend. In conclusion, I would think that one would need a pair of large speakers such as the Tannoy, Altec, JBL for lisening of large sound stage, a 755a for listening of vocal and violin plus a reference speakers LS3/5a. With the acquisition of the Gold Tag, my hunt for the LS3/5a speakers has come to an end : )
However, the hunter is yet to retire as there is one more pair of speakers to hunt in the hifi jungle, The legendary AR1..
Let the hunt begin!

Rogers Gold Tag

I have been searching for a pair of vintage Rogers Gold tag LS3/5a for a long period of time. I have sold away all my Rogers 11ohm, Rogers black tag, Rogers white belly and Chartwell LS3/5a with the intention of keeping only the most representative LS3/5a, i.e. the Rogers Gold Tag LS3/5a.
I was lucky to be able to find a pair of serial nos 961 early version gold tag at a good price and condition. With the acquisition of the Gold tag, there is only one AR1 left in my wish list for speakers..ha ha When there is a will, there is a way!
Happy listening!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Beautiful pre amp

Some of my audiophile friends have been advocating using modern pre amp to match with vintage power amplifiers as the background will be quieter.
There are two modern preamplifiers which has captured my attention namely the Swiss made Nagra PLP(HK$55,000) and the Japanese Leben RS-28CX Premium Pre Amplifier (HK$36,000). Originally, I was keen to explore the 27M but it seems that I ahve nver got the chance to audition it.
Since the investment is also quite huge for these preamplifiers, I will have to think and consider many times to see if these are the one that I would want... but the look is fantastic : )

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Leben Hifi Japan

While the currrent fever in vintage amplifiers: the Beam Echo and Audiomaster, my attention has been taken away by these new toys.

I have always been fascinated with Japanese tube amplifiers as their workmanship and dedication to the work of art is beyond word can describe.

One of the great Japanese hifi company was Audio Note (later Kondo). However, the high prices of the Japanese Audio Note (and Kondo) has made me think twice.
Another of my favourite was the Yamamoto. However, the price is not cheap (around HK$19,800 for a A08s using 45 tubes of 2A3) with power of about 8 watts. In addition, the Yamamoto requires the use of a pre amplifier.

Last week end, I have finally seen the much talked about Leben CS 300 integrated 12 watts amplifier (hand made in Japan). It was priced at HK$13,800 with normal sovtek tubes. The Leben CS300X is a 15 watts integrated amplifier with upgraded parts as well as 4 Mullards tubes (costing $19,800.)

I was very tempted to get the Leben CS300 as the size is quite compact (about the size of the normal Philips CD player). Previously, I was using started with modern tube amplifier such as the Mini Houston 1998, Unison Research Simply 4, 300B amplifier etc and I was converted to vinatge amplifiers when I came to Hong Kong. IS it crazy to move to modern Japanese newly made amplifier??? The advantage of vintage amplifier is that one would not lose much money when one sells them..How about newly made one?

The CS600 is a bigger version at 32 watts, with the advantage of being able to use EL34 tubes or 6L6GC tubes buts costing around HK$38,000. In addition, I have heard from my friend that the Leben RS-28CX Premium Preamplifier which costs about $36,000 is excellent as well!

So many interesting toys! Life is great!