Jumat, 11 Oktober 2013

my hero--ine, fine female artists

Discovering 'new' artists is always exciting. But during my search turns out that one's favorite is not always mine. So similar thing holds here, my favorite might not be yours :). That's said, here are some of not so old female masters and very young and talented ones, may be not as popular as I would like for them.

Karrin Allyson
She comes to my rescue with her albums when I could not find anything new. Mind you, were talking about mid of 90's and 00's. There were no Norah Jones and friends, certainly none of the names written further below ;).

Sadly, not much I heard of her lately. My favorite album is 'Ballads', this is an ode to Coltrane. In many tracks she sang as if she was a saxophone, the pitch, bends, vibrato's, the tempo, and the half beat 'lazyness' of Trane's was mimicked perfectly by her..great album

Here is one track, too young to be steady, this guy has the vinyl..damn..:) 

Like many of jazz artist of her age, she mastered the sexy & lover language : french and portuguese. Who's her patron? may be Edith Piaf.

Renee Olstead
Now, here is a teen singing mainstream jazz...what?..so uncool says Britney..:), who cares..so where is Britney now?..

Renee got David Foster behind her, that's explains. So fresh is her voice, southern US tongued, kind of childish pull here and there but exciting..Peter Gontha of Java Jazz has a good ear and eyes, otherwise I can only listening to Renee on CD. Thank you Peter & Java Jazz for bringing her near us in Jakarta https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQBGq42E8dw

Corrine Bailey Ray 
Ah..I think beside Amy Winehouse, not much British female jazz artist comes out. Amy marks a beginning of new rising time for best of  britain's  ladies singers. Corrine's voice, like Amy is very distinct, full of character. Unlike other jazz singer who sings standards, she wrote her own music. Great first album.

Here is her hit, you must have heard it somewhere :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8oS1SHjhPU
She was here in Jakarta as well..gee..Peter...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9x2UMnJXH78

Madeleine Peyroux
From where I did hear Madeleine the first time? It was a tip of from young man, fellow Indonesian when we browsed used vinyl record somewhere. I got and old Ella Fitzgerald LP and ask the vendor to clean and tried the record. 

This young man looks for strange vinyl for his age, all issued before his birth year he he..
So a chat reveals he's quite knowledgeable on what he search, so I asked him, what new artists is there that could be of my interest, he answered short, Madeleine..Peyroux..hmm difficult name to remember.

I have my Ella, went home, weeks later got a iPod video my brother in law has bought, full of old jazz, new jazz, ethnic music, about 2000 tracks..hmm. He said he bought it from an expat about my age..ha ha, not his cup of tea for sure these music. 

Put the Ipod to shuffle and after some time I hear this very clear good recording of Billy Holyday, that couldn't be? Her record was mono, at max separated left and right channel for instruments, so I look at the title..damn..it's Madeleine Peyroux, search on the web...what? she is not even a afro american?  Anyway, I owe a big thank to that young man :)

This Dreamland album is her best I think.

Melody Gardot
Well her voice and her music is refreshing, simple, full of character and brilliantly recorded. Her latest album is available at local CD shop. Check out her older albums as well, they are all jewels

Here some of my favorite tracks :
Worrisome Heart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJUIoBIz2oc
Some Lesson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WrS9d3Mj2c

To who's reminds her voice? right...the great late Eva Cassidy, with milder and more finesse on Melody's side..so enjoy her music, Peter..she's next in Java Jazz?

Halie Loren
wow, she's hot, listen to her. Like Karrin & Melody, she mastered french & portuguese. But she's a good girl, unlike Lianne (below) and Corrine, Halie sticks with standards, well we need standards so now and then, especially with Halie's touch can not go wrong much here :, enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbuHk6sfrXY

Lianne la Havaz
Save the best for last in my writing? you bet. She's very young, very talented, full of confidence, write her own song, very distinct voice. I hope she'll be winning Grammy soon. One album so far,

Can we draw parallel here? We got imho mixing of Amy, Adele, Corrine in one magic witches brew in Lianne. Way to go british gal! Her simple rich voice really push me to my seat, that chocked throat and unique vibrato..you must listen to her, certainly worth it to have her vinyl..please call Peter..


Plenty to listen to isn't guys? so give that solder a rest, enjoy these fine voices.

Kamis, 15 Agustus 2013

music, music..

Still have free time here..sigh..writing about music? that's what finally count isn't it with those DIY audio projects?.

I enjoyed music made by female artist in the last 4 years. Why? age factor maybe, but mostly that female voice is soo critical for tweaking our beloved DIY gear. This lead to many discoveries to these fine female artist, mostly referred by friends , well known and not so (at least thought so..). Okay, you know Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Patricia Barber, Eva Cassidy..you name it.

Prior all of this, I listen mainly to instrumental music, jazz, jazz rock, fusion, rock, progressive -art rock, classical, think Miles Davis, King Crimson, (old) Genesis, Thomas Dolby, Weather Report, Steps Ahead, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Pink Floyd..you get the drift..

So, after Krall's and Jones I look for more music content, a more 'musician thing', not so a commercial music thing as what Krall and Jones i.m.h.o. now became. Patricia Barber is an exception here, her musicians are quite free to express themselves.

And there are a not so recent female artists that I like for a long time and still producing nowadays, they are from the 80'-90's. Three of my favorite 80's 'new comer': Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Rachelle Ferrell all of whom I have had the luxury hearing them performing, quite unforgettable. They were and still are my new jazz Diva. Here's why :

Dianne Reeves, Loving You

Dee Dee Bridgewater, Water melon man. She is now the U.N. Ambassador for FAO

Rachelle Ferrel, Live in Montreux,
please see her uncle George Duke (rest in peace Duke !) on keyboard, Dianne Reeves is also somehow related to George Duke. From all three, Dianne and Dee Dee makes quite a lot of album. Not so with Rachelle, she performs all the time, not so many album of her.

For first timer, Rachelle always make that 'face' when she sing, what an expression, maybe she's the only singer that able to hit 5 octaves high!, ups..correction,  it's 6 octaves, see wiki. Here is one of my tube favorite on Rachelle, it was made when she was debuting in the '89, also the same year I watched her at North Sea Jazz Festival, enjoy and take a deep breath : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en6kmiX0SDc

What a debut, big names there performing, Michell Petruciani on piano, Wayne Shorter, Tenor Sax (Weather Report, Miles Davis..), Stanley Clarke, bass. Rachelle is one of the 'commercial' under rated artist, in the 'live' world...oh boy... she's hot...!

So there are some 'musician music' favorite of mine, hopes you 'll like them as well, youtube is your best friend here :). Next time I will share my other 'discoveries' on new 'hot' female artist..

Selasa, 13 Agustus 2013

Discrete MM Phono Pre, Salas Simplistic nJfet RIAA

Having a bit of free time lately it's time for tinkering on one of my DIY to do list, a discrete MM phono pre.
I have built a MC gain stage here and combining this to the new MM pre is gives you flexibility of using (..ahem..) two tonearms and cartridge, MM and MC, another dream and to do in the list :).

The circuit is not far from what I always like, single ended Simplistic njfet RIAA from Salas, ditto for supply.
Utilizing a pair of nice small trough hole pcb (thank you mr. Liarto), the MM pre is made point to point soldering, as usual using components at hand. Toshiba 2SK170nJfet are 2 sets of dual match pair, a pair of not so matched for buffer. IDSS are about 8 to 8.5 mA as the 'doctor Salas' suggested.

First iteration below, matching of RIAA filter component for both channel was a pain, nonetheless I 'enjoyed' the process of selecting a pair of 15.33nF capacitors....that's why buying at least 4 pcs of each cap is important. Salas shunt regulator in the background there.

A close-up, Cout and interstage coupling is done to be easily changeable, so does the cartridge Rload and source resistors soldered on risers for easy tweaking.

Before putting in the 'box' some noise & hum was measured, quite a fight but finally the hum was beaten. Key is using shielded, preferably coaxial hookup leads and metallic box, in my case a quick and dirty biscuit tin can :)

Here the mighty hum..

Hum tamed..red trace is base noise of my laptop

in the box and first listening...bye bye Azur A540 :), those compressed sound of opamp finally gone.

satisfied? not yet...must set cartridge loading to match the whole system.

2 pots for adjusting Rload, Cload is blue siemens 33pF C0G

using headphone to set channel balance ..turns out needing to re setting cartridge VTF, azymuth, anti skate and VTA...sweating here..

Finally Rload is R22k by hearing for Sumiko Black Pearl (standard was R47k) and setting the B+ around 33-35V and adjust some Rsource to get that kick..

Now, it's time to hit those miles long groove..:), thanks for reading.

Sabtu, 29 Juni 2013

SIT amp, my last one?

Funny how one's journey when it ends where one's started. I remembered first hearing a Sony Walkman, truly blowed my mind. Then follows my uncle's Sony Budokan headphone, another wow, not to mention betamax video recorder and TV's. I still have and used my heavily tweaked Sony CDP-950, now only the digital out though.

Slowly I moved to a so called 'better' brands and when the DIY virus catches who thought it will come across a Sony?. Yes, just like the logo below :
This jewel was made by Sony back in mid 70's to 80's. I'ts a Static Induction Transistor, a solid state device that has Triode vacuum tube  characteristic. I know when I heard it the first time here I've made a wise choice with the group buy last year, many thanks for my DIY friends.

Always a fan of single ended amplifier I could not wait for making the SIT amp, here are the build pics, enjoy..

This one is CCSed SIT amp. Many parts are salvaged ones, my favorite Philips metal film resistors, Dale 1 ohm power resistor, might be not optimal. Achilles heel is in the output coupling capacitor. Don't get me wrong. Even with a so-so electrolyte  bypassed by 10uF MKP the sound is just fabulous. Input coupling 10uF MKP was salvaged part.

Transformer is custom made, split supply 30VAC and 12VAC, here tried out with stock transformer, no good :)

Here trying out another output capacitor. I have good result with a friends JMB's 10mF elco.

After months of pleasure..finally settled with a truly multinational affair on output coupling. You name it :), Japanese Rubycon BlackGate F, Chinese Surong MKP, Portugal made Vishay Roederstein 1837, 'West' Germany Roederstein lytic, or German's Frako soldered by an Indonesian...

I wonder if Sony have something really valuable in next 10-20 years in this decade? We will never know, we are living in a very different time than the 2SK82 time. Is my DIY audio journey really ending with this SIT amp? I still have a pair of output transformer to replace the output capacitors, but this for another time ..a  long long time :), thanks for reading

Sabtu, 15 Desember 2012

RIP Dave Brubeck

We as an audiophile who loves Jazz music must have been enjoyed Brubeck's tunes. Most notably Paul Desmond's "Take Five" from the 60's. Superb recording that almost indispensable as a reference track. One of Dali reference CD has his tune, yup..the Take Five, good for younger generations ensuring continuation of many jazz legends.

From where I've first knew Brubeck tunes? from my hero Miles Davis many early albums leads finally to Brubeck :). Too bad I do not have many of his album, but thanks to you-tube you'll find it almost everything you want to hear and see from him.

Listen to Take Five, then you'll be amazed how so many late 50's and 60's sound recording beats everything made in 21'st  century...with compressed digital recordings..and loudness war.!..gone are the life and souls. Want the musician soul back? listen to the legends then on vinyl and good CD's, one of them : Dave Brubeck.

Here are some links:

Minggu, 18 November 2012

Shigaclone? no, this is Shaggyclone

There is a megathread at DiyAudio.com. After Gainclone which refers to 47Lab GainCard, this innovative company develops CD transport called Shigaraki , please read it here .

Same as GainCard with its LM3875 chip turns out that Shigaraki's heart is a cheapo CD transport, Sanyo to be exact found in JVC boomboxes, hence the follows the Shigaclone, a DIY version of Shigaraki.

To be honest, what we have here is far from that, maybe steps closer. It's a Philips Soundmachine CD-MP3 transport, yes, in original state it's sucks. I've got this Philips AZ1037 in junk state from an artist friend with the intention to use it's speakers for his second artwork with audio thing. I've helped him to achieve that.

Here is the junk, also the speakers turns out not worthy at all. This AZ1037 can not read CD as well.

Sorry to mother earth, all but the CD transport & speaker were thrashed away, sure they will be recycled somehow. Next, some lens and track cleaning does wonder..

Hey..let's see what kind of chip it use...it's a Toshiba all in one TC94A77FG, no, you can not find the datasheet,  I've search high and low  found only pin outs from other model, sure nice to try modding this one, a Toshiba should not be taken lightly ;).

So the usual caps replacements, you know..Oscons, Muses, Panasonic FC's and most important : cutting the track to AZ1037 3W chipamp and bypass directly to RCA after replacing the yucky coupling capacitor to 10uF Silmic2 bypassed with Wima FKP. Marantz use this Silmic2 even on their best SACD..so sue me :), what else? oh yes diodes 1N4004 replaced by Schottky ones, still using original transformer, blue-tacked the crystal..

Bypass operation, pin 22 (L) pin 24 (R) pin 14 (A-Gnd) , adding heatsink to servodrive chip (right above) and shielding the cute Toshiba chip.

Too bad, no data sheet and only this pin out, please let me know if you guys can find the digital out pins..(..me greedy...ha ha..)

How is the sound? far better than original, worthy enough for my 1 Bit CD player for listening and testing, a box for a top loading CDP is very nice ..isn't it?. Need a CD player? then my friend..you know what to do, thanks for reading.

in the pipeline :
SIT amp, here is a 1 channel peek

Senin, 24 September 2012

Aikido in Jfet version

This is one of my dream, to have a full solid state setup. Before, all my pre amplifiers are tubes driven, and hybrid one.
Don't get me wrong, I love my Aikido tube amp, this John Broskie baby served me very well, beside this Aikido is my first ever tube pre amp, quite a memorable and unforgettable experience I have. For example I remember when I got the breadboard working I'm kind of hypnotized watching all 4 tubes glowing in the dark, also I hand built my self special chassis for it. Here are the pics and imho the measurement speaks for it self.

So why then a solid state pre amp? It's just a next stage for me, more and more I need transparency, transient , better rhythm and pace. It is the rhythm and pace in reproduced music that make your head nod (or banging listening to Metallica) or tap your feet, hell, even did an ugly dance with it he he..

Aikido and the rest of my system provide that let says 7 out of 10, but not every time and not with every music genre's. And this already with deliberately tweaked to  fast sounding Aikido. I have listened to friend's tube pre amps at home, man..most of them are soo slow. I know I'm into a tough challenge now with solid state and limited knowledge, but my experience with Jfet on DAC output stage is encouraging me :).

Since I loved my Aikido and the way it works I want to have the same, instead of 4 tubes/8 triodes now I will have 8 jfets. Searching the net I found schematic from Juma at diyAudio ah ha...So it goes, I made a neat PCB, populated it and tested it...and?

And yes!...NO sound comes out!  what a disappointment, not even a hum. So before long the PCB is in pieces, all the drain and source resistors were replaced by trim pot , ah ..now something comes out, a loud hum and faint music, what happened with that supply noise cancelling that 'trade marks' Aikido?.

After a few weeks with no success taming this board, that includes using 24V car battery I gave up on Juma's schematic and begin to look at the original Aikido schematic and modified, meaning I made a mess off jumpers on existing pcb to suit John B's original. I run some simulation on Orcad to get all the resistor values, improving the supply ..yup, finally it sing!..now comes the lengthy 'get that sound' tweaks.

I found out, although an experienced friend already told me, that individual matched Jfet sounds different. Out if 20 jfets, I have 4 pairs of matched ones and tried each and every Jfet at every possible position to get 'that sound', not to mention testing various resistor values, then resistor type and brand...man..now in the 4th month and the sound is just ok, no more and no less. With tube, when you're off by a margin it still will sing, often quite beautiful. Not so with solid state. I think somebody highly experienced told me that back then. Here is the so-so sounding AikiFet.
With next tweak, a CLCLC psu, or what ever it may be, getting closer..(large inductors are on my Aleph J clone psu) I can dance now :)
Now, even closer with GAD Vifa, MBM pio make place for K42-pio, better transparency..Pink Floyd anyone?
 These blue Bourns trim pot on the 'front' Jfets are my ticket to dance floor..
Measurement of the final AikiFet, not quite like the tube version, this at above my normal listening sound level btw. AikiFet needs the second harmonic a bit to sweeten the sound.

Topping it off, this AikiFet finally came to fulfill my dream, so a nice box is appropriate. I'm tired watching naked AikiFet all these months.
 Sing, baby sing..

Is it worth it to have an AikiFet? I'm biased of course but it's worth my every penny and pain. Thanks to my friends who gives critical reviews and suggestion on this pre amplifier, and thanks for reading.