Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dr. Rashid's system

I was invited by Dr Rashid, a dentist who has high passion in music to his place in Kajang. Very nice customized room with all the acoustic treatment made this is one of the best hifi room I ever been. It even has a computerized locking door!.

The heart of the system are the explosive combo of FM Acoustics pre and power amplifier. I have experienced with this combo with Naim SL2 speakers, Naim CDS3 and Roksan Xerxes/Aro few years back and this combo throw everything at listeners faithfully...dramatically...100% musicality.

Looking Dr. Rashid's FM Acoustics combo,   roughly I now what sort of performance that I would get from this session. This is follow by a pair of JM Lab speakers that can deliver excellent low end bottom grunt with lightning fast speed. You can see many high end audiophiles using this speakers as their choice.

He got 2 set of turntable to play with, the Air Force One by TechDas and Vertere turntable. He demonstrated the excellent technology of AFO that has an Air bearing / Disc suction / Air suspension. When the stylus on the records with the disc suction in place, you can tap the record without any noise coming out from the speakers...dead quiet.

From Malay recordings to jazz, rock, pop musics. The room become alive when music starts to play.

Overall the presentation is very dynamic. The system is transparent enough to get into the recording.

As for me i feel that not only listening but see how the musician play. Maybe it just my preferences of presentation...dynamic.

The FM Acoustic amplification is the star of the system as mentioned. I have listen Jm lab with few other amp..but not as dynamic as this.

Between AFO and Vertere...both got their own strength. Musicality on vertere is hard to beat while the AFO offers the accuracy and bag of detail..but vertere is no slouch. Value for money..i pick Vertere.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hifi session with friends...

Wilson Wong, a long time friend of mine and well regarded "sifu" in DIY. He went into DIY into a great degree. His logical thinking on how things work with his background as electrical engineer..who can argue..he's the man.

Recently, I went for a hifi session at his place in Puchong. Wong as usual very accommodate and happily to demonstrate his system. The moment I stepped in his listening room, I was impressed looking at the Wilson Audio Maxx speakers...centre of attraction in his room.

On the rack I can see Mark Levinson monoblocks and DcS Puccini as digital source and surprisingly his LP12 with linear tracker was parked at the side of the room...looks like it has been abandoned...;).

When he first put on the music, I was thinking this is a real good combo from Maxx and Mark Levinson. The imaging is solid, anchored strong in the whole sound stage and yet very very smooth. On Nils Lofgren - Keith dont go, the speed and definition are truly amazing. I can enjoy this for hours easily.

After a few tracks of listening, he asked me if I want to listen to "Mark Levinson"...WHAT?. So I asked what am I listening just now and he pointed out that it was actually his DIYed TAD M300 monoblocks...holly cow. I just couldn't's real great.

After doing all the connections for ML, again I was impressed with the sound produced. It was larger and I thought it was better than his DIYed TAD M300. But then I feel that I don't have the connections like with his TADM300. The ML sound vague in comparison to TAD, not precise as TAD. When I told him, he just smile (as usual)..when I asked him to sell the TAD to me, as usual he just smile...again...hahaha.

He put a lot of effort in his DIY job..I respect this man!... 

TADM300 on the right/left of the rack, mistaken as power conditioner..:)

Mr Ngoo is a close friend of Wilson Wong and I met Ngoo almost at the same time with Wong. We are hardly met but friendships never changed.

When I first met Ngoo, his system was just a Monitor Audio bookshelf, Krell KSA100 and few preamp. I do make a visit from time to time until he made a major changes in his system.

This is a mega bucks hifi system and he really spent in order to achieve his goal. He even get the Goldmund's system engineer from Swiss to setup his sound system according to his liking and room acoustic...into detail. Listening to his system, well what I can say is truly amazing. This is the best setup he has so far and I told him that.

The dynamic is to die for..very fast, great attacks and sound staging that is in believable manner. In favorite test track of Nils Lofgren - keith don't go, the guitar sound was so distinct be it the sound, "image of the guitar", the strings and body that just very well presented.

In smooth jazz by Kenny G Live, the sound staging and depth was just right, it was airy and smooth too. The bass is just right that hit the soul...very nice!.

The system integrates very well, well done buddy...

Monday, March 23, 2015

PTP Solid Bearing

After a year of using PTP5, a Lenco base turntable with multilayer plinth. It's time for an upgrade and this time I'm going to go with robust looking PTP solid bearing. The bearing upgrade consists of the spindle housing, delrin thrust plate and ruby bearing and according to Peter, the original spindle shaft is worth to retain. The whole of original Lenco spindle is no slouch but it can be better.

image from PTP Audio

Being working in the airlines I managed to meet the PTP designer in person while in Amsterdam. We set an appointment for bearing delivery and I've bought 2 set for a friend as well. The feel in the hand is very good, heavy, solid and I know it can do good in my ptp5 turntable.

To install this bearing is pretty easy, all I need is just to dismantle the spindle top plate, remove the original spindle shaft. Pour some oil into new bearing housing, drop in the ruby bearing and insert the spindle shaft slowly. without any force the spindle will drop down slowly to certain point and all you need now is to push lightly until the shaft fully set in. The tight tolerance of the spindle shaft is great with no free play. Lock/screw the spindle at the new housing and all set to reinstall to the PTP plate.

Top plate dismantle

New Solid Bearing installed

From the photo above, you will know the benefit of using PTP5. The rigid, thick top plate and the isolation of motor/spindle. You can't argue on this seriously...

I let the platter spins for about 1/2 an hour before initial listening. I picked up few Lps that I familiar with and here is my finding and verdict on PTP solid bearing.

The bass region is obviously improved, the image become larger and quieter. On few tracks that I experience with sibilance or splashy cymbals, the solid bearing has improved them a lot. The image is larger but with full of information, startling!...the whole presentation is more structured and very organic. Solid bearing definitely improved on the noise floor too, the details in recording will protrude from dark background with ease.

Worth the upgrade?...YES...

Me with Peter Reinder

Update as at 2nd April 2015:
The overall transparency has become more vivid. The bass has an authoritative commanding in music but very liquid and yet agile. Drums has bouncy feel of its skin and the cymbals sounded real, very organic. The vocals has an airy feel to it at right size in the sound staging. The ambiance detail retrieval also improved to a high just there. in some good recording the musical instruments are life like and's like a 3D in presentation.