02 January, 2010

The Yumcha Diaries: 02/01/10

The Yumcha Diaries: 02/01/10
It's Meat Meat, Meat!

The weather warmed up a little. I arrived late for the first yumcha of the New Year, and was glad to find some old faces among the seven of us. The waitresses continued to aggressively peddle their coupons, an irritating practice that is unlikely to abate. Cameras once again dominated the conversation. It makes me even want to take up an SLR again (I still have my primitive Minolta all-manual).

As we had a dinner gathering to attend to not much later, five of us went for a little sojourn at BenYC's. His Jensen and electronic crossover sounds different every time. By the time the setup started to warm up we had to depart. On our way I found out BenYC has a pair of Jensen fullrange. We had an interesting discussion on the possibility of using the fullrange and his current tweeter and bass. That would likely obviate the need for the electronic crossover for at least the mid-range up.

Then we all went to the dinner party. The host's place had been recently meticulously renovated, and looked a million bucks. Just days ago he had hooked up a make-shift system in haste for the party:

-Digital: Rega Apollo via Mogami interconnect directly into
-Amp (both with volume knobs): Dignity Audio 6550 SE amp first; then ICL 300B
-Speakers: The MIGHTY Klipschorn hooked up with Belden 9497
(lying dormant: TT; Counterpoint SA2/5.1; Melos 333; Wadia cdp)

Meaty Sound
As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by fulsome sound. Really, plug anything into the mighty Klipschorn and it will sound great! The percussion on the Tony Bennett and Jimmy Smith CDs all sounded incredibly tangible. I had some library CDs with me. Heifetz's Sabre Dance (a scintillating performance) was as well rendered as Liszt's piano concerto (effervescent performance by Nelson Freire, stunningly recorded). We played Andrew Manze's Biber Rosenkranz Sonata (from HM's 50 anniversary box), a beautiful performance, but almost everyone preferred the old Heifetz's recording quality, which had a more limited but direct sound. Of course, we played a little with hifi too. Changing from the fuller sound of the 6550 to the more complex sound of the 300B was revealing. Although less powerful, the direct-heated triode far out-stripped the 6550 in nuance. Next time, we'd like a full setup WITH preamp!

There's a wonderful article on Klipschorn in the July 09 issue of the HiFi news, which includes much praise by David Wilson.

We also briefly listened to the hifi setup in the daughter's bedroom. Usher S520 racket-mounted on the ceiling looked really cool. This was driven by a T-amp and humdrum source. Sound was dynamic!

Then BenYC played the Aria from the Goldberg Variations, an emulation of Glenn Gould, his hero. I must say it was nicely turned and everyone thought the sound of the Yamaha upright wonderful and better than any canned music. No contest.

Lots of Meat!
From the hors d'oeuvres onward it was an onslaught of mostly meat, culminating in a rack of lamb. BBQ skewered chicken and pork, grilled goose liver on toastand arugula salad were all wonderfully fresh. Then we had some ox-tail soup and fish and garlic bread before the lamb finale, all washed down with a lot of wine. Kh33 joined us mid-way. Immediately things livened up and darts were flying around during the "discussions" on "super-tweeters"(most of them are just tweeters) and ""subwoofers" (most are just woofers), Wilson, AN etc etc. Ah, the "good old days"! :-)

I had a great time playing with the two lovely children. A funny thing, how our perception changes. When I first walked in I commented to the host that the boy and girl looked more like him and his wife, respectively. The more I looked however my impression turned to the opposite! How inexact, our sense of "like" and "alike"!

On my way home, I took this pic of people's feet. I rather like it. To enlarge any pic, just click the pic.

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