27 August, 2011

Welcome back Robin, we'll be missing you!

click pics to enlarge
Welcome back Robin, we'll be missing you!

The Yumcha Diary: 27-08-11
Talk Vinyl: Garrard 301 Reborn Part II
Talk Vinyl: Ortofon AS-212S

Some good news. My friend, make that our friend, Robin the hairy Scot, just got back to Hong Kong and is to stay for a week or so. I met him yesterday after yumcha. As you can see from the pic, Robin had lost some weight, but is still robust.

His building is undergoing extensive outer-wall renovation now, and is wrapped around by scaffolding. Fragments of concrete showered down amid the afternoon storm. Due to the construction, the air-con could not be used, but we were happy chatting away with just a small fan providing a modicum of comfort.

The bad news (for us) is, Robin shall permanently re-locate to Taipei. Moving back is probably a more apt description, as Robin's wife is Taiwanese, and an old friend of mine from NYC days. Sometime this week professionals shall be packing up their flat, including the hifi items, Yamaha's, ARC, Garrard, McIntosh and all. Oh, how I shall miss the Otari! All this has nothing to do with his illness; indeed it had been planned long before.

The couple had just bought a house perched high on beautiful and surprisingly wild 陽明山, with panoramic views of the 淡水河 and harbor. I was quite impressed by pics of the house, which is undergoing massive renovation. The cavernous rooftop structure (>1000 sq ft) shall be where the hifi is. I hope I shall have a pic for you soon.

Robin had a big abdominal surgery at the Veteran's Hospital in Taipei, but would need further treatment in the foreseeable future. The illness is likely a chronic one, and I am glad to see Robin is fighting it with the same tenacity he uses to fight for others for most of his professional life.

We were talking about passion in the hifi forum the other day, and I'd like to say a few words on that. To my way of thinking, passion is mostly missing in our hifi people. We have plenty of fanatics, collectors and devotees, but much of the energy is misspent on gears, even electronic parts. Few are passionate about music, the raison d'etre for our hobby. That is why, as I grow older, I am increasingly wary of audiophile home visits, frankly quite boring most of the time. That is also the reason why I have always enjoyed my time with Robin, who literally oozes passion. You can literally feel the heat each time he pulls out a record and introduces it. I shall miss the feeling.

For most of the visit, the music was not on. At the end, we did listen to a couple of cuts on the Garrard, now equipped with the Thomas Schick, which worked beautifully with the Ortofon Kontrapunkt B.

pic of Ortofon arm on my Garrard 301

Thank you again Robin for making my Garrard happen
Robin is such a considerate person. The first thing he said to me when he got back was to make arrangements for the return of my Ortofon AS212S arm, which I had loaned to him prior to the Thomas Schick. Having been a Rega user for the longest time, I had no head shell lying around. So after I got back down through the rain to Central I popped into Avantgarde, bit the bullet and got myself an Ortofon L-9000 head shell. Tony the salesperson is such a professional and always fun to talk to.

Previously, when I got back my Garrard after Robin's restoration, I had trouble with my old Origin Live (basic) modified Rega 250B. One channel was intermittent and I didn't gear up to finding out why. Hence I got to the Kuzma instead and I am glad now that the project is finished, just in time for the Garrard!

This morning I installed the arm on my Garrard 301 that Robin restored for me. I slotted in the Denon DL-103. Gee, finally, my Garrard is up and running in my house. What magnificence, about which you would certainly hear more! Thank you Robin, again!

Greetings from our friends
JCR33: Good to see you back in HK and you look great in the photo. Hope you will have a wonderful time in Taipei and do stay in touch. Taipei has a huge community of audiophiles, you should be able to walk into many there. :-)

icefox: DJ, that's excellent news. Please help to send my regards. Fantastic!

leben: We have not met. Music transcends boundary and somewhere along this transcendental chain is DJ the conduit and his blogs I have had the pleasure of reading about your Yamaha's and few more tit bits. As a fellow health struggler I wish you all the best.

Danz: It's great to see you back and in good shape. I wish I can share some Scottish folk tune with you in future. If time can't work out, hereunder is one of my favourite recently.

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