February 27, 2011

My Glorious Years - A Triple Bill Concert Press Conference.



I was invited by ML(Leslie Loh, tha Pop Pop Man) to cover the press conference for the "My Glorious Years" a triple bill concert combining the talents of Z Yan(Bossa Princess), Lydia and Cher Siang of Jz8 fame. They will be backed by musicians from the WVC trio. The event was held at the latest hip & happening "Loud + Clear" music store. Here's a pictorial of the event.
The tastefully decorated Loud + Clear music store. Just a few minutes before the press conference.

A popular MY FM deejay hosted the event with humour.


Everyone tooks turns to share their feelings for the concert. Here's Cher Siang giving his bit.

From left, Cher Siang, Leslie, Lydia & Z Yan. Hey! Where's HiFi Maverick gone? He was here a minute ago!

The de-rigeur Malaysian thing do so after any event, let's tuck in some fo.. er coffee please!

My Glorious Years - A Tripple Bill Concert info:

Concert Date: 9th April 2011, Saturday.
Venue: Bentley Auditorium, Mutiara Damansara.
Ticket Prices: RM$105 & RM$85.
Ticketing Outlets:
CD Rama (Popular Bookstore) Ikano Power Centre (03-77288188/5832)
CD Rama Sunway Piramid (03-56377280/7286)
CD Rama Cheras Leisure Mall (03-91322435/437)
Loud + Clear Solaris Dutamas (03-62111683)

Last but not least, see ya all at the concert!

February 23, 2011

Beautiful Ayre - The KX-R Pre-amplifier


Sometimes a piece of equipment came along and so upset an audiophile’s cosy little world that he couldn't but consider it a landmark product. The Ayre KX-R pre-amp is such a piece of equipment.

I knew that the pre-amp, as the control centre of the hifi chain, was an important piece of equipment. However in my past experience, the pre-amp had not had such a big an impact on my system’s sound, compared to a change in source equipment or a change of loudspeakers. I thought as long as a pre-amp was neutral and transparent enough, it did not contribute as much to the sound characteristics or the sound quality of the system.

Along came the Ayre KX-R pre-amp. It upset entirely my neat little assumption and exposed it, in no certain terms, as a personal fallacy. I simply have not listened to one of the best, if not the best, among the pre-amp lot in the past.


The Ayre KX-R is an expensive piece of equipment. At RM77,700 a piece, some would probably consider it insane. For the same price, you can buy a pair (yes, 2 pieces) of Ayre’s 300-watts-per-side MX-R monoblocks, which is also the intended mate for the KX-R pre-amp. Well, with the MX-R you can at least console yourself by thinking that there is actually double the material, since both the KX-R and MX-R are built to similar size chassis, similarly hewn from a solid block of aluminium. This is me talking tongue-in-cheek of course. If you are playing at this rarefied level, price I believe is no longer a consideration. Like the guy who buys a Patek Philippe, it is not the price that he would consider, it is just a matter of whether he wants to get it or he doesn't.

The Ayre KX-R told me that in terms of sound quality I could have my cake and eat it too. You see, in my experience, a piece of equipment usually falls within one of two camps, on one hand we have those that are excellent technical performers – giving me excellent details and resolution, but speaking more to my brain and less to my heart; on the other hand, we have the musical performers – giving me goose bumps listening to music, but may be compromised in a number of areas such as the frequency extremes. I had not come across one that was performing at the very top level of both technical and musical performance. Until the Ayre KX-R.

I couldn't fault the technical performance of the KX-R. It let through oodles of details from my silver discs. The lows were taut and well focused. The highs were airy, clean and smooth. The mids had good body, was natural and showed excellent nuances. The pace was just right, as the music would call for whether it is leisurely or frenetic. The dynamic capability was simply exemplary, music came through with natural liveliness and bounce. When I plugged my resident pre-amp back into the system, I could attain the same level of loudness, but the performance somehow felt just a tad ‘lazy’ in contrast. It was like the musicians have lost just that bit of enthusiasm in music making (or as my audiophile friends would put it – “it is like they are not performing with a full stomach”).

The KX-R is a minimalist piece of equipment. On its fascia, there are but 2 buttons and 2 rotary controls. The buttons are ‘standby’ and ‘mute’; the rotary controls are input selection and gain control. Note that I say ‘gain’, not ‘volume’, therein lies the innovation that Charles Hansen has incorporated into this little fella. Rather than a fixed gain and an attenuator for volume setting, the KX-R let the user vary the amount of gain applied to the input signal, using what is called a ‘Variable Gain Transimpedance’ device, purportedly doing less harm to the signal. I’ll not go into the technical details of the design, if you are interested to know further, there is some information about this technology in Stereophile’s KX-R review - http://www.stereophile.com/solidpreamps/1108ayre/.

The operation of the gain control is totally cool. The gain setting scrolls and makes a solid, reassuring clunking sound as the mechanism works itself inside the chassis, just like a slot machine. It was actually quite a conversation piece among all who saw the KX-R. See this little video:
video

The KX-R has 4 inputs, all doubled up for both single-ended and balanced connections. There is one pair of balanced output and one pair of balanced record out (tape output). The remote control is the same as the one for the Ayre C-5xeMP universal player. So with one remote, I could control both my disc player and the pre-amp.


I played Pop Pop Music’s Brasileiro CD, specifically track 5 ‘Coyness’. Z Yan’s voice floated in the air in-between the loudspeakers. Other than the inner energy that her voice portrayed, which I am used to hearing, it has just a little additional sweetness which I did not quite experience before. The sound was also natural, unforced and very focused.

On the ‘Art Pepper Meet The Rhythm Section’ CD, the saxophone tone was in turn burnish, rounded, or just a little piercing as the music called for. The verve in those tracks was simple infectious coming through the KX-R. There were also details aplenty – from the brushes on the cymbals, the plucking of the bass, the pinging on the piano. Despite the way the recording was produced- sax to the left channel, everything else to the right, I could discern much clearer spatial information via the KX-R. The instruments were actually put further back from the speaker plane (i.e., there was stage depth) and they were not all bunched up together, but layered and separated from each other.

The KX-R sailed through the ‘Trittico’ CD too. The dynamic swing, separation and staging were so excellent I do not know whether it could ever be bested in my system. While it was technically very accomplished, the music was exciting to listen to too, with the emotion that the band put in laid bare for one to experience.


At the end of all this, I am upset with the Ayre KX-R pre-amp.

Yes, I am upset...

I am upset because I can’t keep it….

Ayre is available from Hi-Way Laser. Contact Kenny 03-7873.8325; 019-281.3399


As promised by Big E, the following is the unadulterated and unabridged assessment of the Ayre KX-R pre-amp from one of our audiophile friends, Wilson Wong. Written in mandarin, his usual colourful language is beyond my ability to translate. So, just enjoy it in its native form! :

Ayre KX-R 的声音个人感受,

优点:

金黄音色,

温文有礼,

幼中带幼,

生动活泼,

轻松自然,

能收能放,

轻如燕子,

重如泰山,

中气十足,

刚柔并存,

文武双全,

点到即止,

不偏不移,

不加不减,

有血有肉。


缺点:

1 查尔斯太喜欢老虎机了!连开大小声都不忘老虎机的味道!哈!

2 到底真的声音是不是这样的?还是查尔斯喜欢这样的声音?

3 我不够钱买!!就算够钱买也对不起查尔斯,一朵鲜花插在牛粪上!

4 为了它, 我和一位高手不和!他讲那个机中气不足。哼!都没有耳朵的!

5 我的废话太多,查尔斯可能不喜欢? 哈哈!

February 21, 2011

A Monumental Legacy


Ladies and gentlemen, I share with you the excitement and joy of listening to the World's premier of Solianos "Pusaka", remembering Alfonso Soliano, a great tribute album that looks set to catapult Leslie Loh's Pop Pop Music to super stardom.

Leslie has invited myself, Big E and Odiosleuth to his home for a listening session to the master CD mastered by Doug Sax, we can't possibly let go of the chance, can we?

The whole music industry is abuzz with the imminent release of this long-awaited album from the most famous musical family in Malaysia and from we what listen here, we can understand why and what fabulous recording even from an mp3 player!



February 20, 2011

Best Ayre Yet? Ayre KX-R Pre Amp.

The Ayre KX-R slots in to my system nicely!

I had a brief few hours fling with this magnificent beast of a pre amp. The sumptuous build quality, the slick operating qualities, the ground breaking new volume/pre amp circuitry, and most of all, the unforgettable sound that turned our resident Ayre expert, Wilson Wong in to an insomniac!!!(He confessed to Odiosleuth that he couldn't sleep for days after passing the Ayre on)

The best Ayre yet? The best pre amp your $$$ can buy today?

Stay tuned for Odiosleuth's report and Wilson Wong's(written in Chinese and un-edited) verdict!

The Ayre KX-R completely blew my mind and soul away......

February 19, 2011

Sweeter The Second Time Round. Torus Power RM8 AVR.

Torus vs Torus! My original RM8A sitting on top of the RM8 AVR, my new found sweetie! No struggle this time for sure.

I highly praised the Torus RM8 AVR last year when I reviewed it. Many wondered why I didn't make the "not so significant" jump? That's right folks, while I like many advantages of it's sonic virtues over my resident RM8A(non AVR model), the differences just wasn't compelling enough for me to dosh out my cash for the small sonic up grade. I dutifully returned the unit to AV Designs soon after the review period.

But what has changed? TNB's erratic power supply came in to play again. I constantly monitor my in coming voltage every time I turn on my music. I guess it's a silly and some what neurotic obsession of mine? During the time when I reviewed the Torus Power RM8 AVR, the in coming voltage to my place was relatively stable. And during those 18 months or so when I had the non AVR Torus Power, the in coming voltage from the wall remained stable between 232V and 253V band width. That meant having the Torus Power RM8 AVR during the review period sometime in April/May 2010 showed only small, insignificant sonic improvements.

The recent re-development and up market property project expansion near my area has resulted in the voltage surge by the month of September 2010. My home appliances were breaking down at an alarming rate, washing machine, DVD player(another one died?), AV receiver and light bulbs just went buzz........ed! I went in to serious voltage monitoring mode again, while the lower end still tracked 232V, the upper end reach 268V! Especially at nights when I am in the mood for some musical therapy.

I tend to notice that the sound of my hifi system tend to take on a more strident, harsher mid range tone, highs become more granulated and sticky. White haze and electronic glare would become evident in the music back ground. For two months, I was enduring the sonic nightmare, while monitoring the in coming voltage, while silently hoping things would go back to the way the were. By December 2010, it seems the in coming voltage would continue to swing towards the higher end of the monitored band width.

By January 2011, I couldn't take it anymore. I asked for the Torus Power RM8 AVR to be returned to me again, which James gladly did so. From the moment the AVR-ed Torus was plugged in, I was treated to sonic bliss all over again. Only this time, the sonic improvements were markedly more than I last remembered it to be! Why, I am not sure but I can probably say that the power supply to my area is worst now, compared to when I last tested the unit. That's why I can report much more sonic advantages this time round.

I won't bore you all again with all the sonic and sound description of what the AVR brought, which has been discussed in the review article last year. All I can say is that every sonic benefit that was stated there, is now at least twice more powerful than before. Yeah! Yeah! Rolls your eyes, that Big E is talking crap again! I know, I know!

This just proved again, the improvements that a Power Line Conditioner(PLC) brings to the system in use does depends very much on the quality of the in coming voltage supply. If one is lucky enough to have relatively stable power supply, than the use of an AVR will not bring much difference. However, my recent experience does indeed suggest that AVR is a necessity, if one's in coming voltage is highly un stable. For sound and protection benefits, the regulated pleasure of the Torus Power RM8 AVR is really sweeter the second time round!

And this time it's certainly not going back to AV Designs.

Torus Power is sold by AV Designs, contact James or Tony at 03-21712828.

February 18, 2011

Music All Around!



I spoke to the Pop Pop man who has just returned from HK for a business trip.

He recounted how disappointed to find out that even an entertainment mecca like HK does not have a jazz scene. His many mega audiophile friends in HK who have been to jazz clubs all over the world also concur that HK is a cultural desert. In fact, this bunch of mega audiophiles told him that they find Malaysia's No Black Tie to be among the world's best. It is definitely something to be proud of. Many don't even know that we have the best drummer (Lewis Pragasam), best bassist (Andy Peterson), best percussionist (Steve Thornton), best music director (Mac Chew), best music arranger (Mac Chew, Salvador Guerzo, Aubrey Suwito) in the region. But then again, how many local audiophiles bother about local music?

Maggielurva's drive to revolutionize the local music scene and bring forth local talents is highly commendable. But Malaysians have a tendency to look down on local talents until they get fame in/from overseas. We are Malaysians what. If Zee Avi were to sign under a local label and not Jack Johnson's Brushfire, she wouldn't have gone anywhere far.

Anyway, here's two interesting activities organized by Pop Pop Music next week: both happen in Loud+Clear record shop in Solaris Dutamas. Admission is free. You have to call Caffee Wong at 012-3698169 to let her you are coming!

February 15, 2011

Two Excellent Albums : "Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section" and "Trittico" - Part II


This is a continuation from my last post dated February 8th. Now, let me talk about the Trittico album.

This album was made by the illustrious Prof. Johnson of Reference Recordings with Frederick Fennell conducting the Dallas Wind Symphony. Since a wind band is involved, as expected the music is martial, dramatic and even bombastic many a times. Not for a quiet evening, but good for a bit of adrenalin rush.

The title composition alone from this album is worth the audiophile’s money. If you like to demo something that has big dynamic swings, which is complex with multiple musical treads intertwined, then the first movement of Trittico (also the first track on the album) will satiate you. If after that big movement, you still clamour for more, switch to track 3, it is even bigger, more complex, and hits harder.

At less than 3 minutes running time, these movements are short by classical music standard (yet they are fully formed), however, do not take them as to be like the normal audiophile chestnuts – spectacular sound but can be musically bland. These are compositions and performances that have depth. After repeated listening I could still find or learn something new from them.

In fact, the same could be said of all the compositions on this album. After Trittico, move on to ‘Feast Day in Seville’, a transcription for orchestra from a movement in Issac Albeniz’s ‘Iberia Suite’; then onto Edvard Grieg’s ‘Funeral March for Rikard Nordraak’. That is where I am at, and it is just half the album. It will take me a while more to fully explore the other compositions, which include a Symphony and a Variation in 6 movements.

The recording quality of the CD is of the usual high quality from Reference Recordings. Its sound is wide open, with the Dallas Wind Symphony clearly and cleanly recorded. The band is spread out in front of the listener and you can pick out the musical thread played by each band section – the separation is excellent and there is no muddiness in the sound.

There you go, a classical album that is great for both musical enjoyment and hifi listening.

February 13, 2011

Dry Clean LPs? Nitty Gritty Model 1.5 LP Cleaning System.

Nitty Gritty Model 1.5 Cleaning System. It only has a simple 2 way switch to operate.

Even though I've been talking a lot about computer audio lately, I still have one foot securely grounded to vinyl. Sometime ago, my buddy CK, up graded his record cleaner and I am the benefactor of his slightly used Nitty Gritty Model 1.5 cleaning system. I never quite got the chance to use it until recently, when a few of my highly played and very dirty LPs from the 80's were re-visited.
The Nitty Gritty Model 1.5 is rather basic, but has all the essentials to make LP cleaning a do-able chore. The mini platter on the right is where the record goes on to and the little idler driver wheel just right aft the foam panel spins it at a controlled rate.

The Pure 2 cleaning solution came as part of the sale package. It alcohol free and does not have any odour.

A plastic drip tray slides beneath to take care of excess cleaning fluids. At the price per bottle, I'd use them very sparingly. So far, the drip tray remains dry when in use.

One needs to squirt a little cleaning solution all round on to the cleaning foam, with vacuum suction in the center slot.

Put the LP on the small platter, clip the idler driver wheel towards the edge of the record, press the switch and wait for it to spin for five rounds, then press the same switch again, this time in reverse, to turn on the suction vacuum. Allow to spin another 5 rounds to completely dry the LP surface.

The surface of a dirty LP pre wash.

Post wash!

It took me a good 45 minutes to clean four of my favorite 80's LPs.

I find that the cleaned LPs do benefit from an anti static shot of the Milty Zerostat 3.

The cleaned LPs benefited tremendously from the process. While it did not completely remove all the surface ticks and pops as we play, I felt as much as 80% of the dirt was removed.

The cleaned LPs are restored to their original glorious sound!(mostly). Not bad for an investment just shy of RM$1,000. An LP cleaning system is totally essential for the serious vinylphile, especially if one's collections has many rare and high value disc. An LP cleaning system can be an extremely sensible "used" buy.

February 11, 2011

A new record shop, did i hear it correctly?





Which record shop is the best in Malaysia? I don't think it is a hard question to answer because there isn't!

Many record shops in Malaysia are finding it hard to survive with changing consumer behaviour, rampant online piracy and simply, less interest on music as a hobby. A young adult would save or even borrow to get his first iPhone and yet he would not buy a single CD. Let's face it, music is a low priority to most because we have so many things fighting for our attention, compared to 10 years ago when life (and entertainment options) was so much simpler.

It then came as a total surprise that there are people who still want to open record shops!

We were told that the people behind this new enterprise, boldly called Loud+Clear, is from Rock Corner and he is really bold to choose the location of the newly-established Solaris Dutamas. Incidentally, not far away, the Solaris commercial area used to have a record store called "Cred" which barely lasted a year before it bites the dust. Frightening prospects, indeed.

The interior of Loud+Clear is tastefully done. This kind of fitting and ID would have cost at least RM300K, if my ID friend gets his math right. The shop is very spacious, with plenty of browsing space. Also, the far end of the shop, according to Alex, the boss, is reserved for live performances, mainly acoustic (or computer-based music) unplugged showcases. This is really cool for those artistes who want to showcase their new albums or do small gigs.

Catalogue wise, they told us that they want to bring in many hard-to-find Alternative and Indie titles but at the time of our visit, stock were not complete and orders from overseas have not arrived. But from the assurance of the store manager, Troy, it will be a haven for those who want Sigur Ros, Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, British Ocean Scene, Kings of Convenience, The Whitest Boy Alive, She and Him..... all those alternative and indie titles that you can't find in Malaysia. Troy used to be one-half of the online alternative CD website, Music Matters, founded by Leslie Loh, that specialized in rare, underground, and alternative music so his knowledge and passion is unquestioned.

They also plan to beef up their audiophile section. At the moment, what they have are the standard audiophile fare from the likes of s2s and premium. There is a sprinkling of LPs too.

With the nice ambience for live performance in the shop, Loud+Clear plans to bring some cool acoustics acts to liven up the scene. Alex and Troy would like to invite readers here to their opening on 22th February 2011, 8pm-9:30pm where there will be a mini showcase by two of pop pop music's proteges, Winnie Ho of 2V1G and Z Yan, the Bossa Princess.

Date: 22nd Feb 2011
Time: 8pm-9:30pm

Venue: Loud + Clear, Solaris Dutamas

Address: see map attached
Reservation: Call Caffee Wong 012-3698160

Seriously, if we, the genuine music buyers don't support local record shops, there is not much hope left for the retail music industry in Malaysia.

February 10, 2011

DAC Marketing Malice?

For the CAS DIY crowd, the above pictured ESS Sabre DAC kit is one of the most popular today!

As we rush head long in to the CAS (Computer Audio System) scene, we need to look very carefully in to many details for consideration. After all CAS is a new musical format that emerged out of the MP3 sector only as recent as three years ago or so. There is still many areas of uncertainty, mostly concerning the lack of standardization or common compatibility and interface. One area that I've found to have more grey description than others is in the DAC product specs. I'd be very wary about manufacturers claiming it's DAC capable of "Up To 24/192" or any other higher sampling rates.

This is due to the fact that after my extensive research(which is not that advanced by the way, and many are way ahead of me in CAS), that many DAC manufactures claims, on spec sheet are merely frivolous and are mostly marketing, and numbers game driven to trick gullible spec sheet brigade among the consumers.

After all, why say "Up to 24/192"? Which I find the statement suspicious to say the least. Other manufacturers even claim to offer "Up to 32/384 or 32/798" too! When I see spectacular looking numbers like that, my mind goes on RED ALERT!!! I hope yours does too, especially when the DAC manufacturer claims to be able to do so via the USB input, asynchronous or otherwise!

There are two questions that immediately spring to my mind on such claims.

1) If I find any Burr-Brown or other audiophile approved DAC chips from the older days, inside such a DAC, I'd immediately know there's a problem. The problem is that most established audiophile approved DAC chips are at best limited to 24/96 sampling rates, for use with the then hi-rez format of DVD-A and SACD. If any DAC claiming to have BB DAC chips inside, it is highly likely, the signal goes thru a post conversion internal up sampling to 24/192, 32/384 or what ever impressive figures published! This means that the signal is no longer native, but internally up sampled. It just means the up sampling chips just randomly fills up 0s in to the signal path, to make it whatever sampling frequency you want(it's actually a bit like the pre 2008 pre crisis US economy, where the stock brokers just add zeroes behind any number, which in return is translated as gain or profit. However, it's all just bits from the computer system in Wall Street, because the gains are not supported by any substantial form of solid asset, not even paper, so you can't even call it paper gain! Now we all know what happen after that?). It's the same with digital audio, which I on the other hand, am a firm believer of doing things native. There are only 2 or 3 DAC chips known at the moment that'll genuinely do 24/192 or higher sampling rates at the moment, but I believe technology is not stagnant, and more capable chips will be on the way soon.

2) Many form of digital audio connection only supports sampling rates of up to 24/96, such as the co-ax, USB version 2.0 and perhaps even toslink. My list is not particularly exhaustive, as I've not tested all the means of connection my self just yet. As it stands at the moment, my favoured mode of digital connection for hi-rez (meaning for sampling rates above 24/96) remains with either firewire, I2S and AES/ABU only.

While the PC or the computer set up details is just as important, which I've overlooked those, only because of my chosen safe route via the Bryston BDP-1 digital media player. However, if it helps, it always pays to beware when looking at such things.

February 8, 2011

Two Excellent Albums : "Art Pepper Meets The Rhythm Section" and "Trittico" - Part I



The music forms that these 2 albums represent are diametrically opposite of each other. One is of the Classical genre, which is structured, organized, disciplined; the other is Jazz, which is free, improvisational at heart, and relatively raw. I love them both.

Both albums, coincidentally, were introduced to me by friends who visited to listen to my system. Thanks, mates!

Both albums aren’t new, they have been around a long time. The “Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section” album was originally issued in 1957 (I also gathered that the original LP issue of this album is now very much a collector’s item, though there are reissues now). The ‘Trittico’ album was released in 1999.

Let me talk about the Art Pepper album first.

Common to many Jazz recordings from the 50’s and 60’s, the Art Pepper album has an analogue feel to it, the transfer is clean and clear, the sound has good body, is warmish and a little ‘golden’. Like some Jazz recordings from that era, Art Pepper’s solo sax is panned hard to the left channel, while the other instruments, including bass, drum and piano, are panned hard right.

The best part though, is the music making. Apparently Art Pepper had not been playing for a few months, his recording label saw fit to pair him, in short notice, with the rhythm section of Miles Davis’ quintet, as a sort of challenge to him. And the end result of this collaboration is one of Jazz’s great albums.

Art Pepper’s style is unlike my other favourite sax players - John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Cannonball Adderley. He had a more accessible style of sax playing, less ‘intellectual’ and a little lighter. This album, I think, can be enjoyed even by a non-Jazz fan. Just bear in mind that Jazz is more about rhythm than tune, so don’t go around looking for some beautiful, sing-able tunes. Instead go in to enjoy the twist and turns of the solos and the toe-tapping good rhythm. If you aren’t tapping your toes and grooving along listening to this, your playback system has a serious problem with rhythm.

I like particularly tracks 1 and 3. Track 1 “You’d be so nice to come home to” is an excellent example of a classic Jazz piece that has speed, excellent energy and bouncy rhythm. Track 3 ‘Imagination’ is the only slow track on the album, its gently swaying rhythm, the burnish sax tone, the brushes on the cymbals, and the deep double bass notes all make up to a satisfying and relaxing musical experience. From track 5 onwards, I found that the playing is a little similar in style, but all in all, it is still a great outing.

If you are a classic Jazz fan, you should add this album to your collection. If you are not yet, this is a good place to start.

(Part II to come…)

February 6, 2011

Rare Antique Phono & Radio Collection.

What's this? A lunch box? No, it's an Edison Model B Standard phono graph, introduced in year 1901, it's a highly popular collectors model. Check out the interesting innards below.

There are many type of audiophiles, and their respective sub groups. Big E is a genuinely modern consumer. I am a consumer because everything I buy, I use. If I don't use, I don't buy, and I don't keep. House rules I guess? I do not have a big house, so space is a premium.

Then there's the collectors, who buys equipment for a number of reasons. My good buddy, Jo Ki of the famed LS3/5A speaker is a well known collector, who is also in to all sorts of other British classics, like Quads and Leaks from the sixties era. I know many others are in to all sorts of other hifi collectibles, such as those vintage 70's Jap made Sansui amps, Kenwood tuners and Nakamichi tape decks(but that's so 80s!). Then there are those Philips TDA-1541(and all their varieties) DAC chip based CD player collectors.

Then there are NOS tube/valve collectors of the audio amplifier kind. I even know of a cable collector! Go figure, things that audiophiles collect.


A Sterling Diode tuner with matching head phone set.

One has to tune the diode by rotating the the small handle on the right, until the diode lights up.

The red coil like a ball behind is 19th century crystal!

HS is an avid reader of this blog. He is possibly the rarest breed of collectors in Malaysia. He does not do classics or vintage, but rather he goes all the way back to the days of Thomas Edison, the inventor of the phono graph. That would make a few items of his collection dating back to the 1890's! Now, that's antique, and how can one beat that?


An old antique European radio, with preset for broadcast from major cities!

The back panel of a typical tube/valve radio.

HS not only collects phono graphs from the Edison era, along with the phono graphs, he also has a collection of wax cylinders, to play music. Each wax cylinder contains a simple 2 minute music track, which is usually a piano tune, song or pre recorded speech. HS takes great pains to acquire, re-build and keeps all his collection in working order.


Another Edison phono graph. Note the hand crank!

A post WWII Philips radio for the European market.

With matching record player, and it's a mono too. The sound is sumptuous!



An RCA Victor style phonograph dating back from 1902!



An SAL antique horn, modified to feed off signal from an iPod, talk about a 19th and 21st century marriage of technology! Because the horn is so efficient, the head phone output of the iPod is enough to drive it to very satisfying levels.

HS also has a size able collection of tube/valve radios and diode tuners. Most of the tube/vale radios are from the pre-WWII era, with a few from 50's and 60's thrown in for good measure. Again, all of his radios are working examples.
More diode crystal tuners!









More antique radios.

These are not table salt or MSG canisters! There are Edison phono wax cylinder canister covers.

The content inside the canister. A wax cylinder, which houses 2 minutes of music each!

OOPssss!............ the wax cylinders are really fragile!

This is what's inside the lunch box! An Edison Model B phono graph. Choose your own horn style.

Another compatible horn, but the sound is distinctly different!

With the horn separated, the Edison Model B phono graph will fit in to the wooden lunch box cover. I can understand why it's very popular with folks who like to picnic! The boom box of the 19th century?

Another optional horn to go with any Edison phono graph.

An Edison Fireside model phono graph.

I asked HS where did he source all his collection from, and he said "e-bay! It's so much easier these days with e-bay" Back in the good ol' days, he'd go and hunt the phono graphs from all over Malaysia, mostly in the kampungs(villages) and small towns. "Most of the local examples are usually not working when I got them" he said. So HS puts in the time, money and effort to restore his purchases to working condition. "Since e-bay, I mostly get restored or mint examples from either Europe or the US" he adds.

I asked how much he had "invested" in to his collection? he just smiled and said "don't ask!"

By the way, HS is wondering if there are any like minded enthusiast in to antique hifi just like him around? If one is of the same feather or intends to start on a similar flock of collection, please leave your e-mail contact in the comments section. HS will contact you shortly.

By the way, HS is not only about the past, he is also very much in to the present and looking in to the future of hifi!

We shall look in to his thoroughly modern system soon. Believe me when I tell ya the HS is a unique fella, and if a system reflects it's owner, I am sure you'll be in for a treat!

Stay tuned for more.