Sunday, 21st December 2014.

Posted on Monday, 8th December 2014 by Auw Jimmy

As a DIY, I think it’s important to have a dedicated power supply module. I have tried several design, but finally got tired if I have to finalized the build into something complete. Not to mention that space might be a problem.

One option that finally I decide to take is by building a generic or universal tube power supply unit. This will be a stand alone unit which can be connected to power the main unit – which most likely to be a tube pre-amp module.

The power supply unit will be using the best parts available (not necessarily to be the most expensive parts) from my experience testing lot of components. Click below picture to enlarge the image. One problem that I suddenly realize is the size of this module which might be a bit gigantic…

I will write down each of the component used in this project. I will not discuss the main power transformer by J&K Audio Design which has been separately discussed here.


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Posted on Sunday, 7th December 2014 by Auw Jimmy

After a long time waiting, finally I got this transformer on hand – myself. This is the Ultimate Level 4 Power Transformer from J&K Audio Design. You can read some detail here and here.

My first impression was: Heavy! Each of this power transformer has around 4-4.5 Kg of weight (need to find my scale to measure it right).

My second impression was the build quality. It has sturdy cover and excellent easy to solder turret. The transformer cover reminds me of old Tamura transformer (not exactly the same, but a bit similar).


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Posted on Saturday, 29th November 2014 by Auw Jimmy

My first impression was here which you can look around if you haven’t read that.

Last time, I ordered 5 pcs of Burson Audio Discrete OpAmp for my ASUS Xonar Essence One. Unfortunately, I did a mistake. I needed 7 pcs instead of 5 pcs to complete the 4 pcs I/V, 2 pcs LPF, and 1 pc buffer stage. With only 5 pcs on hand that time, I only could use half side of the I/V stage – which was unfair to test.

So finally the last pair arrived somewhere last week, and I just could resist to plug them in.

Another unfortunate thing is, the PCB on the ASUS Xonar Essence One itself already too crowded. See the big giant Elna Cerafine capacitor below? That consumes enough space on the surrounding of the opamp socket. Surely there is no way for me to put those giant Burson Discrete OpAmp there.

I know it sounds a bit stupid and ridiculous, but the fastest way to solve this problem is by stacking opamp socket to elevate the socket higher, above the Elna Cerafine. By doing this way, I can easily plug the Burson in. Some of you might comment that this way may degrade the sound. Yes, that could be correct. But the worst sound still better than no sound (I mean, there would be no sound if I don’t plug the Burson into the I/V converter stage). Going back to the original DIP opamp definitely will not be a wise choice…


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Posted on Thursday, 13th November 2014 by Auw Jimmy

Last week, located at Hotel Menara Peninsula, Jakarta, Indonesia, Indonesia Hi-End Audio Club or IHEAC held a high end Audio Video show. This is the 3rd show held by IHEAC and frankly speaking, it has a lot improvement compared to the 1st and the 2nd event. This 3 days show on the weekend seemed really become an good show for audiophile enthusiast. I will not say much about this, so let’s the pictures tell you the story.

All images were taken with Nikon D90, Tokina 12-24mm f/4 wide lens, and Nikon SB-900. Setting mostly done at 1/40-1/60 and f/7.1 to f/8. ISO set at 400. Exposure compensation sometime done at the flash to reduce amount of ambient light. No bounce or diffuser used. Seems this is the best setting for such event. I got bit hard time with Nikkor 18-105 f/3.5-5.6 and Nikkor 28-70 mm f/2.8 lens and small hotel room last time, so this extra 6 mm wide definitely would help much.

Unfortunately, due to limited time, I missed some of the rooms. I missed almost all home theater setup. There was some Dolby Atmos setup which I found to be amazing. Also there were several rooms which I missed because either it was ‘accidentally’ closed for private audition or too many people inside. Forgive me if I couldn’t give clear impression. It didn’t mean they were bad, but just I have no chance to spend more time to get the impression itself. So enjoy it!

Click the image to view the original size.


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Posted on Monday, 10th November 2014 by Auw Jimmy

Due to shortage of some materials, my custom transformers were delayed a bit. I haven’t got chance to arrange the pickup yet, so I ask Ken to give a quick test of the unloaded voltage. I know the best scenario is to test the transformer on the real world environment with actual fully loaded rail. But you know me, that would be happening sometime later. So just a quick voltage test could be interesting –  for now.

Be noted that this test was done in Malaysia with mains voltage rated at 240 VAC (actual tested at 246 VAC as shown below). So all the secondary voltage also pulled up around 10% higher than the actual specification which was designed for 220 VAC input.

Sorry the pictures are not that good as I have told Ken before, he needs to upgrade his camera!


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Posted on Wednesday, 5th November 2014 by Auw Jimmy

OpAmp. Well, what’s inside your mind when reading word “OpAmp”? A tiny chip with several pins? Could be.

Actually, there are several ways to get the job done. First, we go with easy ‘fast food’ or chip based OpAmp. You can shrink millions of transistor into size of single small coin.

Second, we go with a little bit classic, old school with a discrete circuit. That means, we will have all the big components on the PCB (transistor, resistor, capacitor, and any other passive components).

The only constraint for discrete approach is mostly the space/size and probably the cost of production (manpower).

Chip approach usually cheaper and more efficient. I can’t imagine if we are making several GHz of processor now with discrete component – that would be not making any sense at all – if not impossible.

But for some usage which space and cost/resource might not be a big constraint, and quality is at the top priority, then probably the discrete approach somehow considered better. You can use chip-amp like Gainclone or Tripath which very easy to build, but some people swear doing discrete are much much better. Not going into that debate now and enough the préambule, now let’s start with the topic of the day: Burson Supreme Sound OpAmp 4th Generation.


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Posted on Friday, 10th October 2014 by Auw Jimmy

Ken sent me more pictures. It would be interesting as the production is entering the final stage. I will not write much about this transformer as I have done that in my first post here. Feel free to check the first post.

So here you go. We can see the layers of the windings are neatly aligned. I have ever done windings of such transformer and to be honest, it’s not easy to have such neat work.



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Posted on Friday, 10th October 2014 by Auw Jimmy

I have spent quite a lot of time to find a good transformer maker who can build something “beyond ordinary”. That means something standard (or a bit above standard) is no longer interest me. I spend hundreds of emails to talk and ask – from East to West. Some of the manufacturers are able to build what do I want, but they are not able to convince me that they know what they are doing instead of just like agreeing what I’m asking – that gives doubt on me. Some other manufacturers simply just insist to build based on what they have (and they know) – that’s good, but simply not what I want.

After spending hours to chat, email, and browse, finally I meet Ken from J&K Audio Design. Previously, he was the owner of DIY Audio Guide. Later then he decides to run his transformer business. One thing that interests me is his “bravery” in playing with “fire” (means high quality materials). I rarely see someone who really cares about power transformer – like I do – and I see that on him. After several emails back and forth, I finally come into conclusion to order something special (probably really special) from him. He probably have said silently that I’m crazy…

Not quite sure if he agrees with me, but probably this custom power transformer is also his first ultimate power transformer. He categorized this as Level 4. Normally he tells me that he build only up to Level 3 (and that’s also quite rare).

Beside ultimate materials used, this power transformer also designed with all techniques used in designing output transformer. I can guess some of his techniques, but will not explore more here. At first, Ken tells me that it’s useless to use output transformer design in power transformer. He agrees that  I will gain some benefit but (probably) not much. Power transformer is designed to run at lower frequency, while output transformer is designed to have widest bandwidth (completely agree with this). So probably just not worth with the cost to apply output transformer’s style as it will require more precision work and longer working hours – which translated to higher bills on me.

But sometime when we have reached certain point, going back even an inch will be regretted for the rest of our life… So be it! Be something that probably no one has gone before.

This custom power transformer is expected to upgrade my current Z11 power transformer for my Aikido PreAmplifier. It will be a split transformer for High Voltage and Filament.

I will not spend too much time talking here. Below are some pictures from him. You should upgrade your camera, Ken! ;-)

First picture, precision CNC machine is working to create custom size bobbin.

CNC Precision Cut Bobbins

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Posted on Wednesday, 27th August 2014 by Auw Jimmy

There is an interesting website which allows us to simulate the triode loadline, or in other words: Triode Loadline Calculator. The link is here. You can easily drag-and-drop the curver inside the chart to simulate the impact on other parameters.


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Posted on Sunday, 17th August 2014 by Auw Jimmy

I got this Tymphany driver from broken Bluetooth speaker. First, I don’t expect I would see anything special inside a broken Bluetooh speaker. But I’m wrong. The driver used is Tymphany (Peerless) P830985. I believe the name/numbering format is following old Peerless standard – and yes, this is Peerless (now Tymphany).

The problem is actually quite simple. It seems the speaker has been dropped from a distance. Therefore, the basket (which made from plastic) torn apart. Usually, most brand will use metal as basket which is quite rigid to hold such pressure. But as this is only small 2.5″ full range driver (and to save cost for sure), the basket is made from plastic. It’s good, until you drop it.


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Posted on Sunday, 17th August 2014 by Auw Jimmy

When enough is never enough! I think that would be a proper statement for this new approach from Kharma. Welcome, the Kharma Exquisite P1000 amplifier.

I have no plan to talk about its specification. You are free to visit Kharma’s site directly here.

I have more interest to show its special ‘crazy’ feature which I don’t think anyone ever done that before…


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Posted on Sunday, 10th August 2014 by Auw Jimmy

Year 2014 could be an interesting year for DIY audio. I just came across Audio Note website and found that Audio Note planned to launch a new electrolytic capacitor. More in here.

I think Audio Note has same problem with me: we are lacking of good or reference electrolytic capacitor. I might have my own solution here. But it seems Audio Note is also working on their own electrolytic capacitor as shown below.

Their first line will be available around September 2014 which will be named as “Audio Note (UK)™ Electrolytic Audio Capacitor”. Closely after that, on October 2014, they are planning to release higher grade model which named “Audio Note (UK)™ KAISEI Audio Capacitor“.

Kaisei in Japanese sometime pronounced as “改正” (Gǎizhèng) or ” 海星” (Hǎixīng). The second one means  a “Starfish”, while the first one means “Update/Revision”. If I could read Peter Qvortrup’s head, then I think the idea of the name should come from the first one.

The “K” signature reminds me of the ancient Black Gate capacitor – which is closely related with Audio Note and Peter Qvortrup.


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