Friday, October 31, 2008

Santouka at Central

Went to Santouka again today. I can confirm that the ramen there is nothing without the Toroniku (pork cheek) meat. The added premium is around $3 over the normal ramen, but it is worth every dollar.

Be sure to be there during lunch only. The Toroniku will most likely be sold out by dinner.

Monday, October 27, 2008

What do infants dream of?

Makes you wonder... sometimes she has this smile when she had her milk and have been burped... just ready to fall asleep. Maybe it is just plain satisfaction.

A new toy

This handsome chassis came delivered to me... From Europe... The shipping alone is already 50 odd euros!

Wish it was mine, but I'm gonna fix up a 6 channel UcD180HG amplifier for a friend. There will be 2 blank channels for when he is ready to move to a 4 way setup. I'm sure even at 3 ways, it will sound fantastic... given that a Goto driver is somewhere in one of those channels. ;)

More pics here.

Updates on the CDPro2

Got the M3 tap and managed to tap some blind holes for reverse mounting of the display pcb. Problem is that I chosen a longer standoff instead as I was in between sizes. I got the 12mm ones instead of the 10mm ones. 12mm is too high, and when I was tightening one of them, it broke! I had to tap 2 other holes to secure the board instead.

This explains why there are 3 screws... supposed to be one on each side... Tightening of the screw has to be done with some prevision. Screwing in by 1/4 turns to ensure that best depression for all the buttons on the faceplate. I also got a push button power switch, but did not wire the AC there. It's more for show. There is a Power switch via remote control. This serves my purpose rather well. Anyways, I am not inclined to wire AC all the way to the front, I would rather keep the AC nearer to the power transformers.

NoiSing08 - More of that noise!

While most people flocked down to Parkroyal Hotel over the weekend for the ISSE 2008, there were a handful who went to Republic Polytechnic for NoiSing08. I was there to support the event, having been at most of the NoiSings. Last year's NoiSing was also at RP. Who could have forgotten the simply fantastic horns there. ;)

This year's event was organised yet again by Johari. It's in the plans since March 2008 or even earlier. Unfortunately I was not able to bring my Moskidos since they are not completed yet. I wanted to bring the CDPro2, but there were technical issues to iron out and was not in time for the event. Hopefully in the next NoiSing, the Moskidos can be there. I brought my DIYparadise Monica DAC. The early version. I had it running on a 12v SLA battery. There were so many DACs around that I decided not to take mine out of the bag.

It's a mostly tube turnout. Unfortunately Alberto's 812A transmitting amplifier was only working on one channel. It would have been a ear opener to listen to. If I'm not sure if it is based on Shishido-san's inverted interstage designs. We did listen to it on mono with the Coral Alpha 10 speaker.

More pics here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My first kit experience

I expected a DIY kit to have most things available, just add solder, and hey presto! The kit is done! Not so for my first audio kit. The PCB for the cd player is so misaligned with the holes on the chassis. If I align the toslink, the XLR and the BNC outputs would not match. Worse, even if I wanted to just align the toslink, the board will be blocked by one of the pillars of the chassis.

I know I will never use toslink... so I may just drill out the square opening and add another similair one for analog outputs direct from the cdpro2 unit. The BNC would be used for digital out, when an external DAC would be used.

The other thing that irks me is the mounting screw of the panel when mounting the cdpro2 to it. The mounting panel is meant for m4 counter sunk allen key head screws. Using a m3 here would seem out of place. Like those freebie Large size t shirts for a Medium frame person. However, the cdpro2 itself accept only m3 screws and would require the suspension to be screwed on as well. The look here is important as in future, whenever I place a CD, I will surely see this mismatch. Furthermore, Puay Huat, the shop that I go for screws, do not have counter sunk allen key head screws.

To get around this, I thought of drilling through the cdpro2 for a m4 size screw and just add a nut at the end instead of using the spring suspension. But this will be quite a chore. When I checked the mounting holes of the cdpro2, my 3.1mm drill bit fits in just nicely. I then have the ideal of tapping the holes for m4 screws instead. This is a perfect solution to the problem. But for a kit, it seems a bit drastic... should't it be all working and interconnecting?

Anyways, tap ahead I went. Just hand hold the transport in the left and tap with the right. I would not recommend this to first time users of a tap. You may want to practice a bit first. Use quality taps for good results. M4 taps are much easier to accomplish then m3 taps.

The mounted transport can be seen below.

Another thing is that the stand off posts are not included. I will have to tap blind m3s for mounting the display panel and buttons for the cdplayer. Much to my disappointment, I was not able to locate my m3 taps... Will have to buy one set soon.

Some pics here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Without records

Saw this on the web about an installation by experimental musicians Otomo Yoshihide and Yasutomo Aoyama using more than 100 turntables to explore the sound of disappearing technology.

Sigh... such a sad scene.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Philips CD Pro2 LF transport in the making

Here's the almost completed chassis. I need to drill some holes to reverse mount the display panel and the buttons, and also some holes for pcb mounting and for the power transformers from plitron.

At least it is underway... there are more screws than there are holes on the chassis, so that left me wondering if I missed out on some stuff... anyways, strangely, I think the allen key flat head screws are in inches and mm format. Looks like I need to get a set of allen key that are in inches soon.

Some pics here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Leaving the Dark side

I may be selling off my Thomas Scheu turntable tonight. Actually the intention to sell was due to having Lyra + Lucas, which equates to less time to maintain and run a turntable and cleaning records and keeping them in tip-top condition and finally listening to them.

Sigh... Plus the fact that I got my CDPro2 LF kit... So I may focus more on digital. Will still keep my LPs for the day when I return to the Dark side.

Let's see what happens tonight... the sound is definitely right, just have to see if the buyer is okay with my price. ;)

my system is Mint!

I cleaned 5-6 of my LPs at one go last night. Most are doubles. Was trying out the Mint LP solution that I got from Modular Audio.

There's a story about this... I only realised that I'm supposed to get some free Mint Stripe with every purchase of Mint LP solution, but I did not get this when I ran into the shop for this bottle. It was a couple of weeks ago, I was there with colleagues for lunch at the Korean restaurant at Amara Hotel. I went in just to get the solution and left. The lady there did not mention any freebie.

After checking out the instructions on the website on usage of the solution, I emailed Mint about the Stripe. They replied asking me to get them from Modular Audio. Then I got an email from Oyster (Modular Audio) asking if I'd like it shipped or to pick them up myself. Wow... talk about great service. Modular Audio scored one for GEMS.

Anyways, back to cleaning LPs... I did not use the Stripe, but did use the Mint. ;) I felt it was quite wasteful since I had to cover the surface with solution at the first go, only to vacuum it all off. Then followed by the actual solution and brushing. I also did not do the cleaning of the edges.

But the sound of the LP after cleaning was really quite good. Background noise is much lower, pops and ticks were non-issues during playback. And it was really good even at LOUD volumes on the Beta8. I listened to Kate Bush - Aerial (an LP that I got in HK some years back when it was released), Jazz at the Pawnshop (I played Take Five) and a Coltrane LP.

Btw, do you play your LPs loud? Well... I do... And I know of some who do too... And I love every moment of it!

Ps, you should check out the LPs at Modular Audio when you are in Tanjong Pagar area too. ;)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Yamamoto A08s

I'm actually quite keen to get the Yamamoto A-08s when I am in Hong Kong early next month. However, the downside is that it is not available in mono-blocks. My room already has interconnect wiring concealed in the wall for preamp to amplifier. There is an outlet at each side for the left and right mono-block. This would enable me to use short runs of wires for connection from amplifier to speakers.

Someone who replied my query about this Yamamoto asking me why I did not consider DIYing one myself. Well... the first thing I thought of is the esoteric materials that Yamamoto use for the chassis, then the output transformer and the choke.

Well... maybe if the price is not what I am comfortable with, I may just DIY something... the Yamamoto circuit can be seen here. Not clear... Will need to squint a lot!

Portuguese with brown strap

Just got my straps from Bob of WACCEX. His prices are in USD and includes shipping. Response was quick, and delivery was around a week to Singapore.

I got a tabac and night blue.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Corals are here at last

Finally collected my Beta 8. The room is just crowded with speakers. I wanted to move the Diatone to the store, but am more worried that it may be damaged when other items in the store is being moved around. In the end, the Diatones are moved into a corner of the audio room.

In this position, I am not able to open some cupboard doors. Hahaha... May have to find a new home for it...

I listened briefly to the Beta 8. Played some tracks from Asian Roots - Take Dake with Neptune, Joanna Wang - Start from Here (SACD) and Keane - Hopes and Fear (Dual Disc).

Really liked the extension and fast bass. Not lumpy and does not suffer from resonance effects in my room. It can play loud. At least my whole 8-10 watts of single-ended tube power is more than enough loudness for my room. I really wonder how it will sound if i go with smaller wattage amplifier. The Yamamoto A-08s is on my shortlist. ;) Unfortunately, it is not a mono-block design.

At the same time, I collected my CD Pro2 LF kit! Yeah... gonna build my CD player!

More pics of the Corals here.