Monday, 30th November 2015.

Posted on Friday, 23rd October 2015 by Auw Jimmy

As part of my modification plan (for my Korg MR-2000S), I will need to convert the SMD to DIP. That’s because all the original components on the Korg MR-2000S mostly are SMD, like below opamp.

I’m not saying those kind of opamp are not good, but just a bit limited in terms of the option.

The only solution for that kind of problem is to make it more modular or upgradeable. The answer is to convert that SMD interface to DIP. DIP socket will make our life easier: easy to swap, just need to plug and play, no soldering, no hassle.


This is few set of PCB with SMD feet. I can easily solder the SMD feet into the original solder pad on Korg MR-2000S, then put another DIP socket on the top of it. Voila, I can easily swap my favorite opamp there.

The photo was taken with my Nikkor Micro 200mm / F4 lens. Love that DoF at approximately F7.1.

0-SMD Converter

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Posted on Sunday, 18th October 2015 by Auw Jimmy

I have some spare time on this weekend, so I continue the pending journey from last time: Disassembling Korg MR-2000S. Before we continue, you might want to check this link if you haven’t read my previous brief introduction with Korg MR-2000S 1-bit DSD Recorder.

This time, we will open the hood and see what’s inside.

3-Korg Playing

Without any further ado, let’s get the screwdriver and start working.

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Posted on Saturday, 10th October 2015 by Auw Jimmy

One thing that might have been my habit is I like to go with ultimate option. Not necessarily to be the most expensive, but more on the top quality and near perfection product. Unfortunately, most of top quality product is not cheap.

So at present time, my latest project is the ultimate volume control or to be precised – a stepped attenuator volume control.

Yes, there are several options out there. Like Transformer Volume Control (TVC), premium SMD stepped attenuator (like DACT or Goldpoint), or even just premium potentiometer volume control (TKD, Alps, Noble, and so many others). I have tried a lot of options, and my final conclusion is high quality stepped attenuator, with precision nice sounding resistor (hey, this resistor is simply inside your signal chain), and ladder design to minimize the parts passed by the audio signal.

And the result is Grayhill “semi Military” Stepped Attenuator with 24 Steps and 7 Decks and Texas Components TX2575 “naked” Z-Foil 0.1% Resistor. The resistors are all custom made with custom value to meet my design requirement. Texas Components is used with custom value. So this is not a new thing for them.


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Posted on Sunday, 4th October 2015 by Auw Jimmy

My second post of the weekend. This is my new source gear, Korg MR-2000S 1-Bit Studio Recorder. I have been looking for a very good source and I’m a believer in high resolution audio format (and proper DSP for re/upsampling could deliver better for non-high resolution format – this to follow later). So when I got a rare chance to acquire this Korg MR-2000S, I don’t have to think twice that this is the way to go.

Actually I have another option, Tascam DA-3000. Same high resolution 1-Bit recorder with capability up to 5.6 MHz or DSD128. From the specification, it seems Tascam has more I/O options and also equipped with linear power supply vs switching based on this Korg MR-2000S. Tascam also using Secure Digital/Compact Flash as storage media vs HDD/SSD on this Korg (this makes Tascam price is significantly lower than Korg). Also they are using different DAC (high end and newer BurrBrown 1795 on Tascam vs vintage Cirrus Logic CS4398 on Korg).CS4398 was introduced on 2003. I couldn’t recall or find the launch of BurrBrown 1795, but shouldn’t be as old as Cirrus Logic CS4398.

Although they are basically a recorder, but no one can prevent you from using it as a high resolution player – a very good player indeed.

I have been using CS4396 long down on my first few year in the studio/pro world (Lynx L22/Lynx TWO). That was more than 15 years ago, I guess. I still have EMU1820 on hand (PCI based sound card) which is using newer CS4398 which I got it around 10 years ago. And now 10 years later, I’m purchasing a completely newer device, with newer technology, but with 12+ years old DAC? Interesting fact! Technology doesn’t seem to fly that fast.

So here is the front faceplate of Korg MR-2000S (well, around one-fourth of the faceplate). We can see a simple interface, with headphones jack and independent volume control. On the side of it, we can see sample rate indicator, from a very basic PCM 44.1 kHz to a top notch DSD128 / 5.6 MHz.

1-Korg Faceplate1

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Posted on Sunday, 4th October 2015 by Auw Jimmy

This is my first post after been absence for quite some time. Frankly speaking, I have tons of project on hand, but simply no time. Again, all this audio and blog stuff are purely my hobby and I’m not making money from them (well, only a bit probably).

Let’s get started with a simple easy one. I bought one of CD which seems like a favorite one in Japan. I saw this CD first time on MJ Audio magazine somewhere by last year. I listened the sample tracks few times on online shop and I thought I needed to get one. This first album of Hiroko Williams: A Time for Ballads also sold around twice the price of her other albums. Seems like a “Reference Class” album or being advertised so.

It’s a very simple recording, mostly vocal plus piano and some other instruments like guitar, bass, sax, but not too dominant. The voice of Hiroko is kindly delicate one, and definitely for a vocal lover. Don’t expect Susan Wong or Jhenna Lodwick kind of music with a lot of “ingredients” to accompany the vocal (I’m not saying one is better than other, but both simply has its own fans). Hiroko is just like most Japanese Jazz Audiophile type, more on the expression of the singer when interpreting the music, plus simple instrument (in this case, piano in most of the tracks) to accompany. Don’t be surprised if you will listen the singer is a bit off with the piano.

First track opened by Monalisa. Hiroko has good English pronunciation, unlike some other Japanese singer. But on this very first track, you can simply understand that Hiroko is trying to interpret Monalisa with her own style and that’s always interesting for me to listen for a new interpretation from every different singer. Some short stops might happen, both for vocal and the piano, so Hiroko definitely not in a rush when singing.


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Posted on Monday, 20th April 2015 by Auw Jimmy

Always interesting to play with a high quality build vintage equipment, especially this famous Japanese brand Accuphase. The ‘A’ suffix on E-210 model means it has phono preamp inside.

Overall, this is a perfectly working amplifier. But it thinks it worth a health check and some restoration.

And yes, the Accuphase logo as power indicator also very nice… 😉


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Posted on Sunday, 19th April 2015 by Auw Jimmy

PC based sound card. Thing that I have left long time ago. Just got a time to visit my friend’s with his new toy, a PC based audio source equipped with the latest PCI-E sound card, ASUS Xonar Essence STX II 7.1. It might worth to have a look (and listen) for a while.

The card itself has a common “Lion Tiger” logo found in many of other ASUS product. The logo actually engraved in the top plate which also acts as a shield for the components underneath this plate. Some says this can help to shield against outside interference – which is true.

We can also easily see Nichicon Fine Gold capacitor here. And some solid capacitor in some position.


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Posted on Sunday, 1st March 2015 by Auw Jimmy

HP Agilent 3561A Dynamic Signal Analyzer. Finally I managed to secure this interesting device. But unfortunately, shit happens!

The unit came ok from outer physical appearance, but inside, seemed like someone has smacked this unit down. I saw some cracks from the outside (on the front cover and back feet/holder). But inside, things went worst.

As we can see from outer appearance, the unit seems ok. No crack or any major scratches. Buttons are intact and responsive. Sticky a bit, but should not be any problem. I do hope the CRT is fine, but can’t say anything much until I can power on this unit.


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Posted on Thursday, 1st January 2015 by Auw Jimmy

I have some spare time during this Christmas and New Year. Before I continue, I think I should say Happy New Year 2015 to all of you. All the best for us in the upcoming year. More fun stuff to try, better music, better system, and better revenue also ;-). Well, this is an expensive hobby anyway. I have got this transformer from J&K Audio Design for quite some time. But have not really got chance to try power them up. I guess it’s the right time? The easiest part is to test the filament winding. I put my Sanwa PC510 DMM to measure the unloaded voltage. It was read at 5.63 Volt AC. Hmm… a bit on the high side? 1-Unloaded Read the rest of this entry…

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Posted on Sunday, 28th December 2014 by Auw Jimmy

Do you realize that your measurement device also need a battery replacement? Some might not aware about this. Not only your digital device, but also your analog “needle” based measurement device. They do need battery replacement.

I bought this Sanwa PC510 long time ago, maybe around 5 years ago. To be honest, I don’t use this quite often. Therefore, my first battery replacement just happening now. I have been waiting for this, so actually I have prepared the replacement battery.

Finally, I’m seeing the battery logo (marked with red circle below). That is a sign that my meter is calling for battery replacement.


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Posted on Sunday, 28th December 2014 by Auw Jimmy

I’m not quite sure if the title above is correct, but I just can’t figure out something better. Basically, when you are doing DIY, then you will play a lot in breadboard or something that’s not in proper or neat condition. Therefore, we used to have this and that connected temporary by patch cable (or whatever you call it). One of them is the power supply cable.

This cable is mostly used to connect a power transformer or something that needs an AC line power directly from the wall outlet. Yes we can always use normal power cable, cut on one of the side, and solder two or three (ground) alligator clips. But what’s missing? The fuse.


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Posted on Friday, 26th December 2014 by Auw Jimmy

It’s always interesting to try something new – especially vacuum tube. Sometime you can get something from unknown thing.

I’m quite sure we are familiar with 6SN7 vacuum tube, which is commonly used in pre amplifier and even a lot of amplifiers are using this tube in input/driver section. Not surprisingly to see the price is sky rocketing, especially the red base 5692.

I just realize that I got some old tube which is “compatible” with 6SN7, but with different base. Here we go, the RCA 7N7.

RCA 7N7 is practically an 6SN7 in Loctal socket, instead of common Octal socket used by 6SN7. Loctal socket might not be too familiar for most of us, but it’s widely available. We can search the socket in at really affordable price or for premium option, we can always go with Yamamoto Teflon Tube Socket.

Be noted that even this tube has “7” prefix, it actually has 6.3 Volt filament. The same applies to 14N7 which is using 12.6 Volt filament. It’s different with let’s say 7DJ8 which is using 7 Volt filament supply.

There are some other tubes with this kind of “exception”. Another example is 1A6 which is using 2 Volt filament (if I remember correctly, most tubes with 2.0 Volt filament will be using “1” prefix, while “2” prefix will be used by tube with >2 Volt filament, example: 2A3 which is using 2.5 Volt filament supply).

Anyway, it’s up to you to use 7 Volt as sometime higher filament voltage could alter the sound (some people likes it).

This RCA 7N7 is a tube with metal base (which sometime I prefer over plastic base). Sturdier construction I would say.

Below shot was taken with my Nikon D90, Sigma Macro 150 mm F/2.8 lens, and two remote controlled flashes (Nikon SB-800 and SB-900).


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