Monday, April 26, 2010

Audio part of the Tokyo trip

Only covered Andix. Was supposed to visit Audio Professor and some others at Akiba area, and also to pick up some Takman resistors, but really... traveling with kids in tow is very difficult to slot in personal agenda... Yet, it was when searching for Lucas's Animal Kaiser game machine that led me to Andix.

Was asking a staff in the arcade where I can find an Animal Kaiser machine and I used my Google Map as a reference. He pointed the current location and from the map, Andix is just the next block!

I left San and the kids at Tully's and did a quick recce at Andix. The front of the stairs is exactly like what I saw from the street view of Google Maps, but it's actually on the 4th floor. The stairs reminds me of those at the audio shops along Hong Kong's Apliu Street. When I got to the shop, Hiro-san was on the phone answering some queries. I walked around and checked out the stuff in the shop in the meantime.

I saw the FT-10S (which fits my budget nicely) in the display. There were also some Western Electric transformers and Tangos and lots of tubes. When Hiro-san was off the phone, I asked about the FT-10S and the bigger FT-20S. The FT-10S happen to be the last pair, and he's out of FT-20S. This made the selection process much easier. I got the FT-10S and asked if he has any 6ZDH3A tubes. There's only one left, but I will need 4 tubes if I'm thinking of building Audio Professor's 2A3. Hiro-san suggested that I visit Audio Professor. Turned out that I did not have the chance to go there due to time conflicts.

While there, I chatted with Hiro-san about the audio scene in Singapore and Japan. It appears that it is very much alive in Japan. According to Hiro-san, the FT-10S were made by his friend and there is little markup on the cost price, thus, making it more affordable and comparable/better in performance to output transformers that are higher priced. I wanted to try them out because of the very nice construction. It just looks so beautiful on it's own that I'm tempted to mount them naked outside the chassis for all to see. In fact, this is how Hiro-san's amp is built. When I was paying, I noticed that he wears a Sinn - the unmistakable face was peeking out his sleeve while he was writing the receipt. Hiro-san said that he has around 4 pairs! I was wearing my PAM177H then, but my sleeves were covering it.

Hiro-san actually gave me his last piece of 6ZDH3A tube when he was packing the FT-10S. I thanked him for his gesture of goodwill.

I asked for his permission to take some pics of the shop. Maybe I should have taken one of both of us just for keep sake. I'm sure to visit Andix again. But that will be some years down the road... when Lucas is tall enough for all the rides in Disney!

On our last day in Tokyo, we went to Shibuya, where Recofan and Disc Union were located. I only went into Recofan to have a look around. Lots of LPs. Will need lots of time to check each one. There were already some guys furiously flipping thru the LPs even though it's 11am in the morning. It's like 5 times of Memory Lane on one floor. There's also a J-Pop section. For a moment, I contemplated searching for the Hikaru Utada First Love LP, but the Katagana is simply too much for my basic knowledge.

More pics here.