Thursday, 8th October 2015.

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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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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