05 September, 2009

The Yumcha Diaries: 05/09/09

The Yumcha Diaries: 05/09/09
又一個 HiFi 精!

Friends who know me know that my cell phone is not often on. Yet on Saturday, between the hours of 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, it rang more than it had the whole week. A total of 13 buddies turned up for yumcha. I rather think this is mostly due to Captain's charm! It's wonderful to see so many old friends, and quite a few of us date back to usenet newsgroup years. Before R33, there was TKL's Audioboard; before that, hk.rec.audio-visual. Myself, Captain, seamonster, jules, icefox, Edwin (aka oozz) all date from those early years! Hanging out with some of these personalities make me remember the good old days.

pic (click to enlarge): icefox's setup.

After lunch, five of us went to HiFi 精 E (icefox)'s loft, my second visit this week! In case you wonder, I originally coined the term HiFi to describe the 柴灣 gang, who all have a large collection of hifi gears in industrial builings: first comprising A (alansoo) and B (wher, aka wadia); later expanded to C (Charles); D (drwkng). That group is even larger now with the addition of Ringo. But actually there is also a large 葵涌 HiFi 精 cohort, like icefox and welborne. What a wonderful place that puts one immediately at ease. Perfect place for seduction! Setup roughly:

-CAS: As pictured; Mac mini + HD. iTunes/AIFF/USB out into Behringer; long XLR to Prometheus TVC for conversion to RCA. Also sifu fai's XLR/RCA conversion box.
-CDP, Preamp, Amp: Symphonic Line
-Additional amp: Parasound
-Speakers: Magnepan 3.5; Spendor SP100

How icefox acquired his Maggie is another happy story. After he bought it from oozz, they became 襟兄弟 and soon found out that both are old friends of mine! :-)

icefox is a practical man and I can understand why he chooses for the moment to place his Maggies along the long wall. He is still experimenting with positioning and we have all put in our 2 cents. For the duration of the last visit we fooled around but used the Parasound amp all the way. Sound was already good. But before this visit icefox has built 2 false "walls" with his various speaker cabinets (vintage Tannoy York; Japanese Audio King etc). The bass did flesh out further though still lean without side-wall reinforcement. This time we also auditioned the Symphonic Line amp, which showcased the weakness of the Parasound. Even fully warmed up, the Parasound was too lean in the treble and had a brute, even slightly "plasticky" quality, rather unsuitable for classical music. Even cold, we all preferred the SL for its more musical manner, better microdynamics and superior rhythm and pace. This came at the price of a slower speed, less bass oomph and a little less excitement in jazz playback. Otherwise sound was quite decent and even Mahler 5th was rendered well. It should be noted that we actually listened to the computer more than the CDP!

Last time I also listened briefly to the Spendor SP100 (which I also own), room filling even at a distant position and close together. Geat stuff.

Q: How many people do you know have played with both Tannoy and Magnepan?
A: jules (1.6), icefox and, do not forget, me (MMG; SMG, and feikeung's 12).

pic: Click to enlarge and note the delightful room treatment

After that we went to oozz's little den. Setup roughly:

-Digital: Ensemble Dichrono set
-Preamp: Music First TVC passive
-Amp: Ben and David
-Speakers: German Physiks speakers

A digression is necessary. I hope this is oozz' temporary abode. Quite a few of us have listened to oozz' previous setup of Maggie 3.5 at his Fanling home, which won unanimous acclaim. Captain and I both regard that as the most refined and musical Maggie we have heard. Due to work reason oozz has moved quite a bit and now this is the smallest of his abodes, also the reason why he has become a 环境斗士 and had to sell his Maggies. The German Physiks is an unusually designed full-range, and omnidirectional, and one can understand why oozz chooses it to replace the bi-polar Maggie. oozz is one of the most fastidious of audiophiles that I know. Needless to say, sound was very good and refined, and the speakers are not even yet fully burnt in. I hope he gets a real preamp soon so we can hear his vinyl playback, also amongst the finest I have heard. And thanks for the wonderful cookbook; the pics are great!

p.s. A note to 梁家泰, if you read this: It's good to see an old friend! I hope you can come again and chat more with us, about Lowther or anything else; there're many photo fans amongst those present!

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