Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Digital Source DAC: LITE DAC-60 24bit VACUUM TUBE DAC

For my digital source playback, one of my digital to analog converters is the Lite Audio DAC-60 which is a 24bit Vacuum Tube DAC. This is another product which is made in China and I purchased this many years ago when I purchased the u3i phono stage. The sound stage, depth, clarity, timbre and details are unsurpassed and the upper and lower harmonics are hard to beat. This was money well spent for a DAC of Hi-End calibre.

Above: is the inside of the Lite Audio DAC-60.


Burr Brown PCM1704 DAC chipset

CS8414 + DF1704 signal processing

R-core type transformer

Elna for Audio capacitors, Dale resistors

Optical input x 1

Coaxial digital input x 1

RCA Output x 1pair

2 x 6922 vacuum tube output

Dimensions: 405 x 290 x 100 (mm)

Phono-Preamplifier Korsun u3i (MM+MC) - (aka Red Rose Music - Rosette)

LP playback is an important part of my stereo system, I have several different phono stages that I use and one of which is the Korsun u3i which I purchased some years ago for HK$2,000. This unit comes with a separate power supply which is interconnected by a umbical power cord.

This is a product that is made in China, today it is still manufactured but marketed as the Dusson u3i. So you may ask why all the fuss about a phono stage that is made in China. Many of you may have heard about Red Rose Music with their high end audio products. The CEO is none other then Mark Levinson.

The u3i is in fact the OEM product for RR - Rosette Phono stage which is selling for US$2,000! So now I have your attention


Frequency response:
20Hz to 20Khz (+/- 0.5db, RIAA)

Signal-to-noise ratio: 96db (MM); 81db (MC); both A-weighted

THD + Noise: <0.008%>

Input resistance (MC): 47、100、1K、47Kohms

Input capacitance (MM): 100、200、300、400 pF

Main Unit dimensions: 86 x 208 x270 (mm), WHD (main unit)

Power Supply dimensions: 86 x 208 x270 (mm), WHD (power supply unit)

Xiang Sheng 708B Tube Headphone Pre Amplifier

Specifications XS 708B Tube Headphone Pre Amplifier
This is the headphone amplifier that I use normally if I am not listening to the STAX electorstatics at home.

* Power : 240V AC
* Output Tube :6N3 + 6N11 ¡N 2 + 6Z4 + 6N1
* Input Impedance :110k ohms
* Harmonic Distortion :<>
* Frequency : 20Hz-30KHz +/-1db
* Maximum output : 500mW x2 32 ohms
* Signal/Noise Ratio :89dB
* Input Jack : RCA
* Output Jack : RCA
* Weight : 4.8kg
* Size : 180mm W x 80mm H x 270mm D

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Виа Гра клипи (Nu Vigros)

You Give Me Love (Amoremidai in English)

Four Letter Word.

If I can't Have you.

spl The Phonitor - Ultimate Extreme End Headphone Monitor Amplifier.

Spl Headphone Monitoring Amplifier (Model #2730)
An introduction to The Phonitor, it's design is an high-end interpretation for what a complete headphone amplifier should be. A well chosen system of Phonitor and headphones can by and large replace loudspeakers and offers all that is required for a successful session long listening periods without ear fatigue.

The basis for this high-end development on proven 120 volts reference technology based on handmade operation amplifiers. 120 volts corresponds to approximately four times the performance of standard analogue audio semiconductor technologies and twice that of the mot power designs. Through such 120 volts circuitry and processing, performance levels are reached far beyond conventional designs in dynamic range and distortion levels, and the main technical specifications in music reproduction exceeds all analogue or digital standards known.


Frequency Response: ‹10Hz to ›200kHz (-3dB)
CMR:-80dBu (@1kHz, 0dBu input level/unity gain)
Crosstalk @ 1kHz: -67dB
THD: 0,005% (@ 1kHz and 0dBu input level/unity gain
Noise (A-weighted): -97dBu
Dynamic Range: 129,5dB (@ connection with 600 Ohms Impedance)


(XLR connections, electronically balanced)
Impedance: ca. 20 Ohms balanced/ca. 10 Ohms unbalanced
Maximum Input Level: +24dBu


XLR Connections: Input thru, electronically balanced
Headphone Output: 6,3 mm stereo TRS connection
Pin Wiring Tip = left, Ring = right, Shaft = GND, Impedance: 9 Ohms


Max. Output Performance:
1,7W (+32,2dBm) @ 1 kHz and 600 Ohms connection
360mW (+25,6dBm) @ 1 kHz and 30 Ohms connection


VU Meter: Input levels from -20dB to +5dB
Signal LED: Input signals from -22dBu
Overload LED: Displays input overload from +21dBu


Voltages: 230V AC, 50Hz/120V AC, 60Hz
Power Consumption: max 23,7VA
Fuses (slow blow): 200-240V AC: 500mA/100-120V AC: 1A

Dimensions And Weight

H x W x D (mm): 106 x 216 x 393 (H w/o Feet 88mm/2U)
Weight: 4,05kg

Victor VDA-801 - Some Screen Shots

Above: The Victor VDA-801 HDTV Decoder in the living room connected to the HD ready 37" 16:9 Aspect Ratio BENQ LCD TV using YPbPr Output - 1080i resolution.

The map below shows the current DTT digital formats that are adopted across the world:

Worldwide DTT Status:

Some screen shots of the SD and HD decoded pictures from the Victor VDA-801:

Victor VDA-801 DMB-TH High Definition Terrestrial TV Tuner for Hong Kong

Introduction to the DMB-TH Digital TV Standard Adopted for China:
The DMB-TH or DTMB (GB 20600-2006) is the digital terrestrial television (DTT) standard that is currently applied and used in the People's Republic of China (PRC), including Hong Kong and Macau territories. This mandatory standard will cover both fixed and mobile terminals and will eventually serve more than half of the television viewers in the greater China, especially those in suburban and rural areas.
The standard is being officially called Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast (abbreviated as DTMB. The standard was formerly named as Digital Multimedia Broadcast-Terrestrial/Handheld and in short DMB-TH). DTMB is an outgrowth of work started and carried out at Jiaotong University (developed ADTB-T, similar to ATSC, which coexists with DVB-T) in Shanghai and Tsinghua University (who developed DMB-T) in Beijing, each of which had hoped to provide the sole technology – but neither of which had the technical or political muscle to achieve that goal, the final decision was to opt for a dual standard and fuse with the TiMi 3 standard, as a direct result of backward compatibility as the exploitation of ADTB-T, DMB-T and DVB-T for HDTV transmission via set-top decoder boxes occurred prior to the final draft of the standard, thus making DTMB a fusion of the two aforementioned standards, the ADTB-T and DMB-T.

The data transmission methodology implemented by the standard is the TDS-OFDM (which stands for "Time Domain Synchronuous-Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing"), which mainly is a multiple-carrier modulation technology, supporting both single-carrier and dual-carrier modulation schemes. The standard, according to the co-developer of the DMB-T standard with Tsing Hua University, is capable of transmitting "acceptable" signal qualities for the HDTV receiver to be moving at 200 km/h speed. The standard also has the support of mobile digital TV service for handhelds which is absent from typical digital TV implementations in Europe and America. In addition to these, the radius of the area with signal coverage using the DTMB standard is 10 km longer than the European implementation norm., the DVB-T standard. The standard also has the advantages of all the three standards, DVB-T, ADTB-T and TiMi 3 as the DTMB standard is the fusion of three standards.

Despite these advantages, there are also short comings of this standard (as expected with any standard). As the standard supports both, single-carrier and dual-carrier modulation schemes as well as not defining the default video encoding standards, the research and development cost and complexity of the chip IC for this standard will be high, leading to more expensive receiver production. But this is likely to change as production increases and more and more of the population of greater China have reception to such DTT signals. In addition, TV programs bought from overseas which are broadcast in digital TV format may have to do a signal conversion that suits the DTMB environment, as the DTMB standard is slightly different than the original DVB-T and ATSC standards, and is less cost effective.

It is worth noting that in spite of the data transmission methodology of the standard being set, the standard itself does not restrict broadcasters to the use of the certain number of video codecs in transmitting digital TV signals, that means each individual broadcaster will have discretion to utilize any type of video codec provided that the codec in question supports high-definition video, the standard also provides as well for providing subtitles, Electronic Programme Guides (EPG) and interactive features.
The Victor VDA-801 is a DMB-TH (GB 206600-2006 China Standard) DTT HDTV Set Top Box Decoder Tuner for the Hong Kong, Macau and China market. In Hong Kong it is currently selling for HK$1,300 - 1,400. Digital broadcasts in Hong Kong began at 7 p.m. on December 31, 2007. One of the free-to-air television broadcasters.

The Victor VDA-801 DBM-TH HDTV Tuner Technical specifications:
("His Master's Voice")

Tuner Section:
Input Frequency Range: 48-862 MHz
Input Level: -25 ~ +20dBm
Input Impedance: 75 Ohms

DTT Standard: China Digital TV Standard DMB-TH (GB 206000-2006)\
Demodulation: OFDM (TDS-OFDM)
Bandwidth: 6M/ 7M / 8M

Video Decoding:
Standard: MP@HL/ML, H.264 HD/SD
Aspect Ratio: 4:3, 16:9
Video Resolution: PAL/NTSC Auto

Audio Decoding:
Standard: ISO/IEC 131818-3 TR101154
Decoding: MPEG-1 & MPEG-2 layer I and II, AC-3
Output Modes: Left, Right, Stereo
Volume Level: 32 steps

High Definition Output:
Output Format: 1080i, 720p, 576p
High Def. Ports: HDMI / YPbPr / RCA

Digital Audio: S/PDIF output

Ports: S- Video, Audio L & R, Composite Video, RS-232, USB, Ethernet.

Voltage: AC 100 ~ 240V, 50/60Hz 20 Watts consumption

Other Features:
  • Dolby AC-3 Audio Decoding;
  • Down-mixes 5.1 AC-3 to two channels encoded with Dolby Prologic Surround;
  • YPbPr Output - 1080i/720p/576p - 576i;
  • HDMI Output - 1080i/720p/576p -576i;
  • Simultaneous HD/SD Output (HDMI, YPbPr, CVBS);
  • 7 Day Electronic Progeam Guide (EPG);
  • Sofware upgradeabole via RS-232 serial port;
  • 32 bit colors on screen display (OSD) supported;
  • USB 2.0 (Host) connectivity for digital devices;
  • Digital Audio Output S/P DIF

HDTV Channels in Hong Kong (as at 29/08/2008):

ATV Channels:
11 Home (Simulcast) 576i (720X576) 16:9 MPEG-2 Entertainment M 1
12 News&Business Channel 3 H.264 News and financial information
13 His TV 3 Sports
14 Her TV 3 Fashion
15 Plus TV 3 Culture and nature
16 World (Simulcast) MPEG-2 Entertainment M 1
17 CCTV-4 4:3 H.264 Mandarin entertainment 37
19 aTV HD 3 1080i (1920X1080) 16:9 Entertainment
SD: 576i (720 x 576), HD: 1080i (1920 x 1080) Aspect Ratio: 4:3 & 16:9
Frequency Range: 598-606 MHz

TVB Channels:
81 Jade (Simulcast) 576i (720X576) 16:9 MPEG-2 Entertainment M 1
82 J2 3 H.264 Youth entertainment
83 2 Interactive Info. Channel 3 Interactive news and financial information
84 Pearl (Simulcast) MPEG-2 Entertainment M 1
85 HD Jade 3 1080i (1920X1080) H.264 Entertainment
SD: 576i (720 x 576), HD: 1080i (1920 x 1080), Aspect Ratios: 4:3 & 16:9
Frequency Range: 582-590 MHz

Below: Bar graph showing the average HDTV reception quality to date around Hong Kong Being located in Fanling in the northern part of Hong Kong I have an added bonus of receiving 6 additional digital TV stations from nearby China, which other people in the urbanized areas are unable to receive, the stations are:-

Channel: Station:
903 SZTV-1
904 GDTV
905 CCTV-4
906 GD
907 CCTV-1
908 SZTV-2

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Poem: Time Passages

Time Passages.

by Steven Beesley

The passages of time
have ravished the once
sweet memories from
my mind, for they are gone.

Only fleeting images come to
me like old pictures from a
scrap book, pasted in no
logical order and making no sense.

How cruel life is to rob
me of my most prized and
cherished possessions, so
quietly and without any mercy.

The lights grow dim but in
the stark reality it is my
eyes that are failing and
there be no recovery.

Friends around me are
dropping like flies, with
tomorrows morn just
how many will there be?

Take heed, take stock of
your youth and use it as
best as you can, for tomorrow
is a reality that you really do
not want to see...

(c) 19/8/2008

Inspired from Al Stewart's song "Time Passages"

Poem: Let The WInd Be My Friend.

Let The Wind Be My Friend.
Let the wind soothe me,
sweep away all my mortal encumbrances
that plague my mind and
remove the fatigue that surrounds my life.
I grow weary, is it my age
or the pains and drudgery of life
that stab me daily like
splinters in a gaping wound.
My mind is filled with
nothing but sadness that
follows me wherever I turn
and haunts me like a spectre.
Sick of the short sighted
views, the biased and bigoted
rants that grace my ears,
let the wind carry them far away.
Let the wind be my friend and carry
me away to a place where I may
lay in lush green pastures
away from the inadequacies of
this slow tormented life I lead.
(c)Written 5/8/2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tecsun S-2000 Finally hits the market (aka Grunding Satellite 750)

The recently announced Tecsun S-2000 is an exciting new portable that brings the world of shortwave and amateur radio to your finger tips! You will get complete coverage of all the long wave, medium wave and shortwave frequencies as well as FM (stereo to the earphone jack). Plus the S-2000 also receives the VHF aeronautical band (117-137 MHz, sorry no 2 meter band!). Your shortwave coverage includes the reception of the single sideband (SSB) mode allowing the reception ham radio operators, maritime and shortwave aeronautical stations. You can select either wide or narrow selectivity to reduce co-channel interference. You can tune your favorite stations by the conventional tuning knob, quick keypad entry of via the 1000 memories. And you will enjoy the fidelity you have come to expect from Tecsun enhanced by separate bass and treble controls. The radio features both an Earphone Jack and a Line Output Jack. Long distance Medium wave (AM band) reception is possible because of the built-in rotatable, directional ferrite antenna. The right side of the radio has BNC and terminal-type external antenna jacks. It's size is 14.65 x 7.24 x 5.75 inches.

As with new production runs, best to wait!

Bluetooth Audio Radio Interface for Amateur Radio

Amateur Radio Technology: So what is D-STAR? (Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Andre Rieu - Edelweiss


Madame Butterfly

Angela GHEORGHIU - Habanera - Carmen - Bizet

Blue Danube - André Rieu

Otis Redding - Sittin' on the dock of the bay

Commuter-Fi: Oregon Scientific - Music Orbit & Station

Oregon Scientific Style-Fi: Music Orbit + Music Station

I purchased the Oregon Scientific Music Orbit + Music Station some while back so that I could use the CD player for listening to music on the long train rides to and from work, the Music Orbit is a shockproof MP3, WMA and CD portable player that supports CD text and ID3 tagging. Detailed with an aluminum-ringed crystal clear transparent lid. At home, simply dock the portable Music Orbit into Music Station’s chic, glossy speaker for expansive sound which will function as a CD player for the home. Alone, Music Station can also function as an FM/AM radio with option to preset up to 40 radio stations.

The unit comes with some typical in ear ear buds and quite frankly they are disappointing and do not do any justice for the Music Orbit CD player, so the Music Orbit is partnered up with a pair of pretty decent AKG K416P cans which do allot more justice. The Music Orbit uses rechargeable batteries and the Music Station acts as the charger when docked. I don't know if this gadget is still available or not, it might still be on ebay and some other outlets, so shop around.

Above the Music Orbit CD player with my AKG K416P cans for the Commuter-Fi set up.

The AKG K416P headphones:

Headphones weight without cable (g) 73
Sensitivity (dB/mW, dB/V*) 126*
Audio bandwidth (Hz to kHz) 11-29,5
Rated impedance (ohms) 32
3D-Axis (folding mechanism) Yes
Patented self-adjusting headband Yes
Unbreakable metal arches Yes
99.99% oxygen-free cable (length in m) 1,0
Hard gold-plated jack plug and contacts Yes
Closed-back, dynamic headphones Yes
NdFe magnets Yes
Suited for (SA)CD, DVD(A), DAT Yes
Best for MP3, CD, MD and PC/laptops Yes

Dinner at Suzi Tokyo, Tsim Sha Tsui East on 15/08/2008

Last night Friday 15/08/2008 we had dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Suzi Tokyo in Tsim Sha Tsui East. The meal was not entirely Japanese food, rather a fusion of Japanese and western dishes. We started off with drinks at 6:30 pm and started dinner at 7:30 and did not finish till 10:30 pm in the evening. Some photos below:-

Above: Then appetizer plate was a fusion of eastern and western.

Above: some of the sushi rolls:

Above: L to R: Steve, Stella, Spencer, Peter, Ian and Zoe.

Above: L to R: Janet, Steve, Stella, Spencer, Peter, Ian and Zoe.

Above: Janet & Steve.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sad Poem: If It Makes You Happy?

What has this soul done to
deserve the attention of your
torment and disfavor?

Having never been nothing
else but civil and respecting
your feelings.

Such anger and incessant
hate that cannot be disputed
and the joy of tormenting me.

Is it just you don't like what
you see, what cause has brought
about your hatred?

But if it makes you happy
what else can one do but
to keep out of your way.

Perhaps you would just like
to see the end of me?

Steven Beesley (c)