17 August, 2009

The Yumcha Diaries: 15/08/09

The Yumcha Diaries: 15/08/09
Triple Play

It was really nice in the last few yumchas to see quite a few old friends turning up. Sometimes we even have more unregistered people than people who have signed up. Some are regulars who prefer not to be mentioned, some just walk-in's.

It should be stated here: (1) the yumcha has been maintained jointly by a few of us, because the open spirit of JC yumcha, rooted in Review33, deserves to live on even if the founder has left HK; (2) everyone is welcome, even if we have not met you. I know very few people would just turn up, but some have in the past after an email or PM; (3) if it's politically incorrect for you to come yumcha with us, that's too bad; we'd still like to see you and would not mention you at all should you come (one of the reasons for some unregistered attendees).

BenYC's setup: Two Saturdays ago four of us re-visited the setup (click for previous report). A real tweaker himself, BenYC has straightened out the inadvertent tweak of his son, and the sound took a dramtic turn for the better. I'd like the massed strings to be a bit fuller, but everything else was very nice. The C/P ratio is among the higest I have ever heard. BenYC has just changed the crossover and I look forward to his further efforts.

This past Saturday: It was a nice surprise, with 9 people altogether. Topics ranged from DACs to the relationship between cooking and lung cancer. I even got to look at some X-rays! No fees, but that should be the case as it's not my expertise! As we enter the age when more and more relatives and family members become ill, it's as important to build up mental fortitude as it's to find ways to soothe our minds, and nothing does that better than music. Not hifi, music!

Sang's setup: After yumcha, most of us went in 2 cars for a rare visit to Yuen Long. First stop was Sang's place. This is my 3rd visit (click for report of 1st visit and 2nd visit) and not much has changed. As I have just loaded quite a bit of music onto whlee's iPod, I am lending him my Wadia iTransport. Being 惡客, we plugged this into the SFD-2. Comparison with the resident transport (Acuustic Arts CDP) was interesting to say the least, even sobering. While perhaps not as steady as the Acuustic Arts, the iPod seemed to deliever not only a better perpective, but has more details and better rhythm and pace. Just before we ;eft, we changed the power cord of his DAC and things took a dramatic turn for the better. We did not have time for a re-match.

Andy's setup: Then we went to Fairview Garden. Thanks Andy for entertaining us on short notice. Since my last visit Andy has acquired a Benchmark Pre DAC and also set up his portable PC to play music WAV files (EAC-burned) via USB connection (with Opticis optical cable in between). Using the same files and the same DAC, the comparison between iPod/iTranposrt and PC/USB was fascinating, to say the least. Both sounded very good, though the PC was cleaner. However, all of us preferred the iPod/iTransport for dynamics, rhythm and pace as well as, surprisingly, details! This is in agreement with my view last time in a similar shootout held at Danz's place. There is something seriously lacking in PC playback, expression.

All of this Music Server stuff shall be further treated in detail in another article. Let me say here I have also acquired a Squeezebox Classic and shall also report on it.

Surprise TAD/Shindo visit: Lastly we managed to squeeze another visit before dinner by visiting yet another TAD setup! I shall report in detail in a later article. Let me just say that it's hard to believe a Shindo tube setup of 8 watts per channel can adequately drive TAD 2402, but this fellow against all odds finally did it. Secret? Shindo must be connected in balanced mode. Sound was excellent and 敲擊卡門 was beautifully done! Bravo!

A very full day. Origianlly we were to audition my SB3 but that shall have to wait till next time.

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