24 May, 2019

6V6 Elekit Indian Food

NY Diary (19-2) "Good Enough""夠聽啦"

With the family beset by strife, I had made no adjustments to my systems in the past weeks. Basically the Sparkler S303 CDP or my Technics SP-1200 Mk II/VAS "DL-103" fed my Shindo Monbrisson, driving my Elekit TU-8150 and YL horns.

As I wrote in my last article (roll down), my friend shidi came over and was astonished by the performance of the little amp. He uses MBL loudspeakers and ML electronics and is a jazz connoisseur as well as a Wagner and Mahler addict. I played him Ellington's immortal Mood Indigo and a Cecile McClorin album and he was delighted. Ditto Solti's Die Walkure opening and Horenstein's Mahler 3rd (still the best recorded sound imho). He was impressed. At really high level, the Elekit strains a little, but not enough to take away enjoyment. Shidi, usually very critical, was very pleased, and said ""It's good enough"""夠聽啦", which is not faint praise, akin to saying "it's all you need". I of course agree and this combo is likely to last into the fall. The summer is hot, and the Elekit does not heat up much. An utterly amazing amp using one of the greatest tubes ever made (6V6).

What better music to listen to in times of strife than Bach? Several items I just borrowed from the library turned out to be gems (see my side column), They soothe, challenge, and, as usual, put one at ease - such is the incomparable power of Bach.

For some cleansing, last Monday the family went to the nearby (and famous) Hindu Temple Canteen for a simple lunch. Both the Dosa and the Bisibela were just delectable. The canteen was unpretentious, utterly clean and comforting.


  1. Dear Dr John, your food journeys are incredible. Indian, food, and that too vegetarian South Indian food (as opposed to the normal naan and chicken tikka, which is North Indian or even British food (via adoption)!). Dosa and bisibele baat are the real thing! What an adventurous palette.

    Now for hifi - you seem happy with low cost amps, but the pre always seems to be a Shindo or Leben eventually. Is there a story there?

    With my LS5/9 at 87db and benign impedance, I only wonder how many amps will work in my setting. Surely the Akitika will, but many others perhaps not - will a good preamp give the gain?



    1. Hello my dear friend, when one lives in a city as diverse as NYC, unless one is a bigot (and there are plenty of those), one opens up to all kinds of foods (and by extension cultures, though that is often one step removed). The other day, taking my friend shidi and his wife around, we had lunch in a Moroccan restaurant in the East village, shopped for LPs and walked to the West Village, where I had a tacos, and then we headed to a concert uptown, before which we had a Bolivian Saltana (I only recently read about it, like an empanada). Such is NYC. And btw, I do love naan and tikka, as a matter of fact, all Indian food, North or South, but some of the Little India food here is just way too salty. In many respect, Hong Kong's Indian food is even better, as it should be given the long colonial history.

      Yes I always regard the preamp as the HEART of any system, despite many "scientific" proclamations (that a good passive knob is all one needs) to the contrary. Of course, I'd pick a tube preamp, but then MANY of them, especially modern ones, are lacking too, so one should be careful. BTW, in my current system, the Shindo seems a little too bass prominent to me; substituting the Elekit 8500 brings forth an even clearer sound, but it is not as oomphy, so it is a choice. As I play a lot of large scaled music, I usually opt for a preamp with a lot of gain, it just seems more dynamic or have more microdynamics. It's that fabled "First Watt" thing. No, it doesn't give more gain, as one is limited by the power amp, but it can open up things a little more and the faster response on transients helps.

      The LS5/9 is a keeper. Is yours the original or the Mk II (bi-wire)? The original is widely regarded as better. I've never had one but once owned the Mk II. Excellent treble and midrange, as one expects of BBC designs, but I thought the bass was just a little fruity (then I only used tube amps). I don't think it needs a lot of power but SET amps (even 300B) won't do for sure. If it is Mk II, try bi-wire to tighten up the sound.

      Being a BBC loudspeaker user, if you ever come across a reasonably priced Naim Nait I or II, get one and try it. If it doesn't sound good then you should think about whether there is a problem with the rest of the system. Besides sounding good, it is a good diagnostic tool. Only problem is, the DIN connectors are a real pain. If you ever get to that point, I can help you. An alternative is to get a NAD 3020 (A and B are fine too) but make sure it is undoctored and not "upgraded". The preamp section is magical and the whole thing is ridiculously effective for not much money. If you sight a NAD 1020 (same as the preamp section of the 3020) grab it - usually low priced and usually not modified. These NAD's are the rare exceptions in the solid state half of the hifi world - where the preamp section is the star.

  2. Thank you for your response. On food - the flavours take getting used to, especially the bisibele! Separately, there is a whole category of food in India called "Indian Chinese" - essentially fusion to make it easy for the Indian tastes.

    Woe is me! I have owned 3 speakers - Spendor S100 (sold because of space issues), Harbeth Compact 7 (sold, never got it to sing, and was always too warm - prefer the transparency of the current speakers) and the current Graham LS 5/9. The Spendor was matched with the Naim Nait 2, and it was great, but I sold the Naim. Got into a fix about recapping and decided to sell it. Nuts!

    I do suspect that 25W may a bit low powered - I had the Clones 25 integrated (again Hong Kong based) which had a Naim like sound (prat machine), but I eventually wanted an active gain preamp. In the middle of my audio wandering, I tried an Audio Van Alstine amp (my friend's) which was great, but I had it with a passive preamp and I felt, as you rightly described, the sound lacked in oomph!

    Which is where I settled on the Elekit 8500. After reading a blog which you know well about :).


    PS. Not entirely honest about the speakers - had the Spendor S3/5 for a while, but when my girlfriend (now wife) left to return to India from the US, overcome by grief, I went my apartment, put the 3/5 into my car and swapped it to S100 by the time her flight reached London. Haha! I don't honestly think I could have lived with Nait 2 and 3/5 for a long time - there was magic in what it did, but I started pining for what it didn't.

    PS2: I really like my current system, but I am an audio nut! Thank you for your suggestion. I did like the Naim sound, a lot. Gulda's "Well Tempered Klavier 2" is playing and my girls are chattering away, and life seems so good!

    1. Man! This is THE greatest and most personal comment I have ever received! I love it! Such a personal account! You should show it to your wife - she would glow!

      No, the LS 3/5 is not good. It needs too much room reinforcement and like the Linn Kan has to be placed close to the wall for optimal performance. And the compact 7 needs a transistor amp - I also never got it working with a tube amp (ditto the Celestion SL6i). But the S100 is a real gem. Should you ever have the room, get the old B&W Matrix 801 any Mk - it is just awesome.

      Ah, I forgot you have the current Graham LS5/9, which is more transparent than the older BBC's. In that case, a tube preamp is a must.

  3. I absolutely love your blog. Your musings have been such a source of inspiration for me. I recently re-located to the New York City Area and am trying to get my system put back together. It centers around a pair of Rogers LS 6 speakers and an Audion Sterling Amp (which you have discussed in past musings...thank you).

    When you refer to the "Little India," what neighborhood is that in? I would like to explore it.

    1. Thx for you comment! Ah, the Sterling, a good little amp, though this later Rogers likely prefers a solid state, but it should still be very musical.

      The "Little India" I referred to has much dwindled in size, see this article:


      There may be even fewer around now, but the area is absolutely a delight for walking and browsing. Despite the gentrification, quite a bit of its Bohemian spirit remains (if you are into vinyl, even better). The East and West Villages are my favorite areas in Manhattan.

      If you google "Little India", there are other pockets in NYC as well, which I have not visited.

      Enjoy the great City!