Chinese New Year 2008
It has been a tradition for a good number of years for a group of us to visit a few members of Singapore's audiophile community during the Chinese New Year holidays. The visitation rounds were all done in a single day. This year I have decided to put up a photographic report of the visitation for the interest of readers. This is done with the consent of all involved.
Home of Mr. Ong Bok Tiong, Tampines
The Equipment Thorens TD124 turntable with FR64S tone arm and Koetsu Black MC phono cartridge. Audible Illusion M3 preamp. NRG Control 401S power amplifier. Digital Phase AP4 speakers.
General Impression Played really loud.The music of the Beatles, Neville Brothers and some other really brash sounding records. The recordings were not audiophile quality but the results were surprisingly enjoyable. Good control on the bass lines and rock steady imaging aided in the performance. On lesser setups such recordings when played at levels that were reached that day, would have descended into a mish mash of noise.
Home of Mr. Kong Kok Yin, Bedok Reservoir
The Equipment. The JBL Olympus speakers were in the main hall. The rest of the equipment were in the room behind the speakers. These were Thorens TD124 turntable with Graham 2.0 tone arm and Denon 301 MC phono cartridge. Pioneer C90 Elite series preamp and customed Zenn hybrid voltage-current amp 50W Class A monoblocks.
General Impression Solid midrange performance resulted in very engaging vocals. High frequency rendition was delicate and sweet. bass was fuller and weightier than in previous years when we visited. However the bass could be cleaner. The Pioneer C90 preamp seem out of place but according to Mr. Kong, it worked better in his system than an Audible Illusion M2 and Magus tube preamps he were using earlier.
Home of Mr. Kamal Aziz, Bedok South
The Equipment. Altec Lansing Model 14 speakers, Garrard 401 turntable with FR64s tone arm and Koetsu MC cartridge, Magus preamp by MFA, modded with a tube power supply and a custom Zenn hybrid 20W Class A power amp.
General Impression. The Altecs do not need much power to go loud. Good dynamics with a "hit you in the chest" feel in the bass.
Home of Mr. Tony Wong, Tanjong Katong
The equipment was an interesting collection of mostly DIY stuff including the odd looking DIY PassLabs Zenlite amps. Speakers were the Azura horns with JBL 208 full range drivers. I had earlier mistaken them for Oris horns. Bass drivers were a pair of JBL 18" woofers. Highs were also handled by JBL tweeters. The bass amp was a small solid state unit sitting on top of its large battery power supply. Mid and high frequency power was provided by a custom tube amp using 7591 tubes and Sansui output transformers. The preamp was also a custom job using 6J5 tubes. Oddly the only source was a humble Toshiba DVD player being used to play CDs. The two DIY Pass Labs Zenlite amps were called into action for comparison purposes.
General Impression- The sound was engaging with a good "live" feel. Bass was more than adequate, almost bordering on excessive. Very good vocal production as was expected of the Azura horns. I was initially surprised by the very good high frequency extension of this setup, having heard Oris setups (which these horns are similar to) where the highs were rather soft. Only realized a bit later that the highs were being handled by the JBL tweeters. Initially the system was audition using the custom made tube amp. The center image was not very strong. This was unlike the Oris I have heard, where the center image of the vocals were produced with a stunning halographic quality. The very accommodating owner decided to plug the two DIY Zenlite amps in turn into the system for comparison purpose. The results were that the mid range thinned out, and the bass became even more excessive.
The initial setup with the custom made 7591 tube amp sounded good and has tremendous potential for even greater performance. Perhaps a better source would aid towards that.
Home of Mr. Vincent Loh, Serangoon
The Equipment. The pictures are from last year's visit. The owner had turn down my request for a photo shoot but had acceded albeit reluctantly last year. Fortunately there were no major change in the system. The huge Altec A4 were still around together with a pair of JBL Olympus. There were another pair of smaller Altecs in the other remaining corners in the room.