Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hollywood Dinos

We were at Jurong Bird Park this morning for the Hollywood Dinos trail. Normally there would be more pics, but I only had a few as we forgot the camera and I was using my iPhone to capture some images... that is before it flew off under a bridge with around 2 feet of water below.

There were not that many varieties of dinosaurs and it seems the dinos were reused from the Science Center exhibit. So for people who went to both, it may be an outright rip off. For us, it was just not worth the effort... especially considering my iPhone drowned in the expedition, but kudos to the staff who helped me retrieve the phone from the murky waters. I thought it would take forever and even considered writing it off on the spot.

The phone will spend the next few days in an airtight silica gel box in rehab. In the meantime, my contacts are wiped.

Some pics here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lucas's Xmas Break

Well, his school is having a 2 day break today and tomorrow. San brought Lucas to the zoo with her friend and kids. They waited for almost an hour before Ping and kids turned up!

Anyways, guess they had fun at the zoo. Of course, a stop at the children's playground area is mandatory.

We watched Alvin and the Chipmunks 2 earlier, and there were a couple of Meridian gear in the show. The F80 and I think a DSP5200 active speaker. So Dave digs Meridian... We'll be going to some dino thingy at the Bird Park tomorrow.

Some pics here.

Clearing the room

With some projects out of the way (either completed or KIVed even longer... haha), it is time to clear the room as the carpet needs a good shampooing... However, the 2 bass traps have been sitting at the side of my left speaker for way too long. I really need to get them out of the way.

Time to hang it up at a 45 degree incline at the ceiling at the front and back walls... I've been delaying this as I could not think of a secure and nice way to do so... I was listening to my music earlier and was looking at the painting hanging on the wall... then I thought, "why not hang it like the painting?".

And that was it. I am testing it out to see if it can bear the weight of the panel, which i estimate to be around 8kgs. The 19 gauge wire that I used is supposed to be able to hold almost 16kg. I got the 9.1m spool of stainless steel wire from Home Fix. One spool is enough for tying up 2 panels with some wire left.

My Manfrotto tripod was used to help hang the panel up so that I can test the load bearing capability of the wire. If it works, then I will drill a hole in the wall and use a M5 sized "sailor" (think that's what it's called) to anchor a hook. A carabiner will be used to hook the panel onto the sailor.

Some pics here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Lucas's 5th birthday party

We celebrated Lucas's 5th birthday party earlier on 19th Dec instead of Xmas eve. It was at Xplorer Kids, Downtown East. His friends were invited and they all had fun in the huge play area.

Catering and some in-party entertainment was provided and the event was entirely outsourced. We just had to cart the presents back home.

More pics here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Only transport clocked

Only managed to install the clock for the transport. SPDIF reclock was not possible as the circuit that does the digital out conversion on my cd pro2 kit is somehow defective. I recalled that it does not work even prior to me doing the reclock as then, I tried to route the EBU signal from my transport to the pcb, but there is just no signal at the digital output.

So, only the transport is using the new 1PPM TCXO clock. Nick Tan helped me during the troubleshooting. Some tips to determine if the new clock works is when the TOC on the cd is read and playback is possible by the transport. This is exactly what I experienced, but the DAC does not seem to latch onto the digital signal. I had to tap the signal from the EBU right to the BNC connector for my DAC.

While I was searching the web for more articles on reclocking, it seems that the majority of the solutions out there reclock the DAC portion while totally ignoring the transport. There is also another school of thought that sticks with the DAC as non-oversampled and without reclocking. Well, this is audio. Lots of debate, sometimes heated, but still, the ear is the final arbitrator.

The comments I heard so far is that SPDIF reclocking sounds "hard and stiff". I'm not able to do an A/B for the 1PPM clock. There's just no easy way to do this. But I can be contented with the knowledge that even the best out there reclocks the transport. ;)

More pics here.

Edit: I suspect I know why the digital output section seems defective. It's a fundamental wiring error. Will confirm this tomorrow or so.

Further edit: My suspicions were confirmed. Last night, I looked at the circuit diagrams of the digital out section on the cd pro kit, trying to figure out where could have gone wrong. At the input connector, I noticed pin 1 is grounded, which corresponds to pin 1 of the EBU out on the cd pro transport. The only thing wrong was the wiring... I wired it with the connectors facing the same side up and pin to pin with a coaxial wire as in a mirror reflection. This resulted in pins being swapped. Signal from EBU would be effectively grounded upon input at the digital section on the pcb, thus resulting in no signal output. I overlooked this minor detail which proved to be the major screw up. I'm not listening to the cd pro2 clocked at the transport and also has the SPDIF reclocked. Can't really tell if it is better with or without the SPDIF reclock. My DAC should be slaved to the timing of the digital signal since it does not have an onboard crystal. That means it is using the new clock signals.

Even when audio reviewers A/B changes that are hair splitting, they would do extended listening before making a switch. That way, it may be easier to pick up slight changes. I'm not an audio critic, but would live with a reclocked SPDIF for now, before I do more comparisons... Or I can leave it as it is, and if I do have a DAC that has it's own master clock signal, it would still be compatible.

PS. It's difficult to A/B especially since I am using tubes. Need at least 30mins to warm up the gear. And my RCA 83 mercury rectifiers on my pre and power would need around 3 mins to be preheated.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Reclocking the CD Pro

It's been approximately a year since I put together my CD Pro2 transport. I'm going to take the plunge and modify it with a better clock and also to reclock the SPDIF output.

With some help from Nick Tan, the daisy website and some blind faith, I took the risk to remove the crystal onboard my transport and get it ready for the reclock module on the pcb kit.

I realised that I do not have the appropriate 16.9344Mhz crystal, so a 1PPM TCXO is on the way from Vintage Audio Lab. I hope this USD20 crystal would do some tricks...

Also need to get a few of those 2 pin jumper plugs to connect the regulated supply input, 75ohm signal input and TTL signal to the reclocker board. Time to go Sim Lim Tower.

Some pics here.