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