Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Vostok Bezel Mods

From NATO'ed to Bezel mods

Vostok Amphibia 110640 + Bandukh Bezel

Murphy 1050 bezel + Seiko 'Pepsi' insert

Vostok "mod" Amphibia 420432

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Budget SE OPTs - Edcor and Noguchi

All output transformers were tested in the je2a3 amp using the same procedure as I did in the Hammond 125ESE. Listening sessions were done through the same amp driving a single Altec 2-way speaker system

Tango (Hirata) U808
Square Waves @ 100hz, 1khz and 10khz

The long discontinued Tango U808 last sold for around JPY12,100. It has been my benchmark budget OPT due to its multi-tap configuration and impressive performance until it was trounced by the Hashimoto HC-203U. Nevertheless, it still is a classic OPT in my book. 

Primary Z = adjustable from 2K, 2.5K, 3.5K, 5K
Power = 20W (3.5K/40hz)
Frequency Response = 35hz-60Khz, pri. Z = 3.5K/-2dB
Inductance = 11H - 21H
Max. DC current = 130 ma.

Edcor GXSE15-16-3.5K
Weight = 2.75 lbs

Primary Z = 3.5K
Secondary = fixed @ 16 ohm
Frequency Response = 40hz - 18khz, <1dBu 
Maximum DC current = 190 ma.
Core Material = M6, 29 ga. grain oriented steel

I ordered this Edcor OPT to get a feel on what's available to a cash-strapped US-based DIYer. It took over 3 weeks to be delivered to my doorstep at a total cost of $58.67. The nice square waves indicate quality manufacturing. Bass performance was at par with the Noguchis. But from the midrange to higher frequencies it was not quite as open and transparent. Maybe the Japanese manufacturers use higher quality laminations than the M6 steel used in this Edcor? Since the Hammond 125ESE now sells for about $60 before shipping, the GXSE15-16-3.5K would have been much better value for the money if it were offered with at least two secondary taps.  

Noguchi PMF10WS
Weight = 3.2 lbs

Price = JPY 9,070
Approx. US$80

These two pairs of Noguchi transformers were Akihabara souvenirs from our 2015 Tokyo trip. In spite of the significant difference in price, the PMF10WS and PMF15WS are physically the same in size and weight. Based on specs, the PMF15WS has greater bandwidth and more flexibility for use with various output tubes.

Both OPTs tested well on the bench. Even if the 10khz square wave test does confirm better top end response from the PMF15WS, I could not detect its sonic superiority over the other.  Sonically, the PMF10WS is just as good if you don't need the extensive multi-tap flexibility from its more expensive sibling. In terms of tonal balance, I prefer the warmer presentation of either of the Noguchis over the leaner and more analytical Tango U808.

Noguchi PMF15WS
Weight = 3.2 lbs

Price = JPY12,560
Approx. US$112

I'm not sure if Noguchi accepts international orders. But if you're visiting Tokyo, their basement shop (closed Mondays) at Tokyo Radio Department Store is a must see!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Dr. Jose P. Rizal

Rizal portrait
Juan Luna

In commemoration of our national hero's martyrdom on December 30, 1896, let's reflect upon a few words of wisdom he left behind. They are very relevant today as they were over a hundred years ago.

On Education:

"My countrymen, I have given proofs that I am one most anxious for liberties for our country, and I am still desirous of them. But I place as a prior condition the education of the people, that by means of instruction and industry our country may have an individuality of its own and make itself worthy of these liberties."

What Rizal stood for:

"I do not write for this generation. I am writing for other ages. If this could read me, they would burn my books, the work of my whole life. On the other hand, the generation which interprets these writings will be an educated generation; they will understand me and say: 'Not all were asleep in the night time of our grandparents.'"

Dr. Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo have been required reading for high school students since the 1950s and the essence of these novels is still very pertinent in our present day society. But why have we allowed the oppressors to develop from within?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

November Hifi Show 2016 Report

Sierra Audio

Back in the late 90s, I frequented a west coast based website, Sierra-Brooks, that featured beautiful hand crafted wooden horns. Half of that partnership was Victor Sierra, a Filipino from Cebu City. In the interim, Victor had been busy managing their family business. The local audio community warmly welcomed their premiere participation in this event!

Their demo featured 3-way horn loaded speakers.

Driven by a stereo SE45 designed and crafted by one of his collaborators (below, left) using locally wound transformers by Edrel Sison

Congratulations Victor (right). Good job!

Friends in Audio 

This group of audio enthusiasts featured a 2-way horn system + super tweeter using my favorite Altec 414 woofer and a handmade wooden horn driven by an Altec 806A + EV T-35 super tweeter. At the front end was a Garrard 301 with a locally crafted linear tracking tonearm. A custom tube preamp and amp completed the system. 


Garrard 401 with a Dynavector DV507 tonearm fitted with either a Denon DL103 or Ortofon SPU-GME and a laptop/DAC combo digital source fed through a pair of Western Electric WE111C repeat coils

JE Labs stereo preamp dressed in Harana Audio hand crafted wooden case, loktal 7F7 tubes for the phono stage + 6F8Gs for line level

Harana Audio dual mono SE300B amps - Jensen input transformer > WE417A > Tango NC20 > WE300B > Tango NY15-3.5S output transformer

Harana Audio 2-way horn speakers - 15" Beyma woofers in V-Vent II enclosures, JBL 375 compression drivers behind carved horns + JBL super tweeters

For more pictures and information, please visit the November Hifi Show FB page.