The Yumcha Diaries 飲茶後記: 20-08-11 Part II. Tannoy Black
A Living Voice, from the Past
At BoyLah's place, I suddenly recalled that we were in the neighborhood of our yumcha friend k.c. I wanted Karma, now a Tannoy user, to listen to k.c.'s system, so we got here in no time.
Our friend k.c. is an audiophile for whom I have the greatest admiration. He is a user of the rare-as-hen's-teeth vintage Tannoy Black (click for Tannoy History), granddaddy of them all really.
In HK I have come across many old Tannoy's, which have a large following here. Unfortunately, most of these vintage aficionados, whose blind belief in "the older the better" borders on superstition, simply get terrible sound out of them. With perhaps just one exception or two, I have never heard normal sound out of the silver's. Occasionally I'd hear a relatively normal pair of Red's. Gold's fare much better; usually the sound is quite nice, ditto units after the HPD.
Which is why I admire k.c. His Black's are now more than 60 years old, and they still sing. They are housed in a "York" style cabinet (only partially shown in the foreground in the pic) which k.c. made. Most DIY cabinets are failures in my experience, and k.c. had modified his cabinet numerous times before success. The important thing is to have the ears to judge, and, unlike most of the vintage crowd here in HK, k.c. did.
Digital: Philips 850 as transport into Softone/ICL Model 2 DAC
Preamp: DIY 6DJ8
Amp 1: DIY massive monoblocks 4x KT66 (or 6GB8 or whatever) parallel PP.
Amp 2: DIY SE amp EF37 driver; pentode or 300B switchable.
Amp 3: Fisher 101 EL84 integrated amp modified to triode operation (not heard on this day)
Loudspeakers: Tannoy Black in DIY "York" cabinets
k.c.'s DIY preamp and big monoblocks have had many years of service. I dug up and translated what I wrote in October of 2006, when some vintage people took what they regarded as the best in vintage, Fisher 400-CX-2, Leak 12.1 and Pilot 232 for a match. The results were not at all what they had hoped for. My observations on k.c.'s DIY combo and his system still hold true.
很愉快的一天! 90% 中肯報道 (10% 保留, 以免太過得罪人!)
A joyful day! I report here the honest truth, save 10% for the sake of not offending certain people!
-沒有任何挑戰者可以勝出主人家改了三極的 Fisher 101 EL84 合併。Fisher 400-CX-2 + Leak 12.1 也敗下陣來。前者活潑生動, 後者有點遲暮.
-主人家 DIY 6DJ8 前/6GB8 後 稍呆, 不及 Fisher 400-CX-2/DIY 6GB8 後, 也不及 DIY 6DJ8 前/Leak 12.1 後。
-Fisher 400-CX-2/Pilot 232 和 DIY 6DJ8 前/Leak 12.1 後 都很大力, 全面, 不相伯仲。 但五極 EL84 不及三極, 所以就算 DIY 6DJ8 稍緊我個人還是會選三極的 Leak 12.1 (配合 DIY 6DJ8, 不是 Fisher 400-CX-2)。
In terms of driving power and all rounded performance, the combo of Fisher 400-CX-2/Pilot 232 went head to head with DIY 6DJ8 preamp/Leak 12.1, but even if the DIY preamp sounded a little tight I'd choose the latter combo (no Fisher preamp for me) simply because EL84 sounded better in triode.
-聽不到 Leak 12.1 應有的 「了了下」之聲。 但重申, Fisher 101 EL84 三極 「了了下」之聲, 「起碼在這系統」不在以前聽過 Leak 12.1 「了了下」聲之下 (包括 Ginger 及 rcwy)。 這是驚人的, 也是真正的驚喜!
That je ne sais quoi magic that the Leak 12.1 should have eluded us on this day. But we were compensated by hearing the same quality (if not more) in the Fisher 101, and that was a wonderful surprise!
-「這一對」Black 好! 主人亦是有耳之人! 主人家極少聽古典, 但用 Fisher 101 古典重播令人咋舌!
This is a good pair of vintage Tannoy. The host does not listen much to classics, but the performance of the Fisher 101 in classical replay was simply wonderful!
k.c. then switched on his DIY SE amp, rolled various EL34s and briefly demo'ed the 300B. The SE EL34 sounded pretty good and I preferred it to the big monoblocks, but the 300B certainly under-performed and did not have the usual magic. I don't think k.c. has as yet gotten the full measure of this tube.
Although we did not hear the Fisher 101 on this day, I still have to say that sound remain the best in this system.