Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CD Recommendation: Michael Wong - Cool Rhythm (Jazz).

You may know of Michael Wong the actor, but Michael Wong as a Jazz Singer, no! Well the answer is yes he can and hecan really Jazz things up. This is an exceptionally good Jazz vocal album and the recording is quite good also. His renditions of Quando, Quando, Quando and Sway were extremely good and I found myself immersed in the music and the vocals completely. Not at all bad and highly recommended. Kenny Bee happens to be one of his partners in crime on the album.

Product Title: Cool Rhythm Cool Rhythm Cool Rhythm Cool Rhythm
Singer Name(s): Michael Wong (Actor / Singer)

Release Date: 2007-12-21
Language: English
Country of Origin: Hong Kong
Disc Format(s): CD
Publisher: Ching Mei Records (HK)

Track List

01. Mack The Knife
02. Quando, Quando, Quando - 陳慧琳合唱
03. Sway
04. Maneater
05. I've Got You Under My Skin
06. Imagine - 鍾鎮濤合唱
07. Save The Last Dance For Me
08. Pride And Joy
09. What A Wonderful World
10. The More I See You
11. Shanty

And here is a clip of Michael in concert:

Audio Technica ATH-ESW9 Recabling With Cello "Strings" Silver Cable.

I have always thought the Audio Technica ATH-ESW9 to be a good pair of wood cans but felt that there was something lacking and the performance could be bettered! So I decided to take the plunge, I have two sets of the ATH-ESW9 headphones and so I decided to re-cable one set with Cello "Strings" silver cable. The cable is a silver core and braid, not your typical silver plated braid cable with a copper conductor. You may well ask is this a bit of an overkill?

Only after the re-cabling can one appreciate how under performing the original headphones were. What can I say, upon listening to the re cabled ESW9's the first reaction was "Holy Moly" and "Wow", it is as though a very thick vale has been completely lift. The overall change in the performance of the headphone is astounding, dynamics, clarity, transients, resolution, imagery, sound staging width and depth have change many fold. The bass is so brilliantly controlled, so tight and gut wrenching impact. It was well worth the effort. Herewith below are photos of my own custom re-cabled ESW9's. I suggest you also try re-cabling yours.

Suffice to say the original cable wa a wet shoe string and not to mince words - a piece of crap.

So looks like I need to re-cable the other pair also? Maybe balanced for my Little Dot MK VI?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Woodworking: A Bamboo Wood Tube Stand.

I made another tube stand, this time it took me much longer since it was made out of highly compressed bamboo block and woodworking was particularly difficult as the compressed bamboo block was very hard. It took me two weeks, but I am pleased with the results. I can place medium sized and small tubes plus all my various adapters onto the stand and the finish of the bamboo wood is very attractive. Some photos below of the finished stand:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tube Comparison Table

Tubesky / 沙膽天空 - 真空管音響 / 膽機網頁





Premium Model














6N8P - 6CC10

B65, 5692





5691, 6SU7





Z729, EF806S













(Cannot replace ECC83/12AX7)


6N2P / 6SS41


6N3P / 6SS42
WE396A, 6854, 6385, CV2831, 5670, 5670WA, CK5670, CK5670WA, CV2575, CV4013, CV5894, CV8247, GL5670




5751, 4004












N709, E84L, 7320, 7189, 7189A





KT66, EL37, WE350B, VT75





KT63, 5992










U52, WE274A/B, 53KU











Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ella W6 SEPP Tube Headphone Amplifier.

I beleive these are the first pics. of the Ella W6 SEPP Tube Heaphone Amplifier. This is another Sino based product and uses 2 x 6N2 for driver tubes and 2 x 6N6 for finals. I beleive the substitute for the 6N2 is the 6AX7 tube, if anyone knows differently then please send me an email. I do beleive there is no western equivalent for the Sino 6N6, except for Russian equvalents, but if anyone knows otherwise I would be interested to learn.

The basic specs are:

Impedance range for phones: 32 ohms to 600 ohms.
Non-distorted output power: >/= 200mW @ 300 ohms.
Max. output power: 500mW @ 300 ohms.
Distortion: /= 86dB
Frequency Range: 10Hz to 120KHz
Power Supply: 220 V AC 50Hz
Power Consumption: 70VA

Tube Rolling:

For the 6N2 it is almost damn near impossible to get hold of ay 6AX7 tubes and I am still a bit weary as to whether the 6AX7 is a direct drop in replacement even though various sources on the web have indicated that it is. Looking for this tube is like looking for a real live dinosaur or dodo.

So the next best possible thing to do with such limited tube rolling options for the 6N2 is to replace them with a matched pair of Russian 6N2P-EV from Voskhod. The 6N2P-EV (EV Designator) is said to be the top cream of the crop for 6N2P's and are premium quality which should have some difference over the existing Chinese 6N2's. The 6N2P are Double Triode Tubes, made in the Russian Voskhod factory for military equipment in the year 1987. The 6N2P (6Н2П) is very similar to the ECC83 /12AX7 but it has a slightly different pinning arrangement. These are NOS.

"6N2P Data Sheet"

The Voskhod 6N2P-EV tube data measured are:

All tubes tested at :

Ua = 250V

Ug1 = -1.5V

Test results:

S = 2.0mA/V

Ia = 2.0mA

Name 6N2P-EV
Type Double triode,hi-durable,long-life
Application LF voltage amplification
Cathode type oxide,indirect heating
Envelope glass,miniature
Mass,g 15
Filament voltage,V 6,3
Filament current,A 0,315-0,365
Anode voltage,V 250
Anode current,A 0,0014-0,0032
Anode power,W 1
Grid1 voltage,V minus 1,5
Steepness,mA/V 1,6-2,65
Reverse grid current,uA 0,05
Microphnic noise,mV 100
Gain 85-115
Socket type rsh8

As for the 6N6 tubes, this is an even bigger headache, there appears to be no western equivalents which one can choose for rolling. So staying with the Russians, I have decided to replace the Chinese 6N6 tubes with the Russian "OTK" 6N6P ( 6Н6П ) from NOVOSIBIRSK of the the year 1985, these are also military grade tubes. These are NOS.

NOVOSIBIRSK "OTK" 6N6P Tube Parameters:

Filament voltage,V 6,3
Filament current,A 0,59-0,81
Anode voltage,V 120
Anode current,A 0,02-0,04
Anode power,W 4,8
Grid1 voltage,V minus 2
Steepness,mA/V 8,1-13,9
Reverse grid current,uA 0,5
Microphnic noise,mV 100
Gain 16,0-24,0

We await the arrival of the Russian tubes. 24/04/2009: After considerable difficulty, I was able to locate and secure 1 pair of Westinghouse NOS 6AX7 tubes from the States!

Tube Adapters: 12AX7 to 6N2:

Whilst awaiting for the Russian Tubes to arrive, I have also contacted Alex Shen in Taiwan who makes tube adapters and he will be sending me a pair of 12AX7 tube to 6N2 socket tube adapters by next week similar to the ones pictured below. At first I had thought about rewiring the sockets for 12AX7 tubes, but upon review the use of such adapter will allow me great flexibility with tube rolling options, there are also a vast array of good sounding 12AX7 tubes such as the Telefunken, Siemens, Mullards etc:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Poem: Fallen From Good Grace.

Fallen From Good Grace.

Yesterdays and yesteryear's good
grace has long been gone
far from your mind and away
from your heart.

Trample on a thin line that now
remains and stomping on what
is left of ties and bonds that were
once close, tight and dear.

Closed is your mindset to any
attempts for repairs to any relationship
that once was, like weak mortar
crumbling before your very eyes.

A bitter and sour taste remains
as the grapes have not turned to
sweet wine. You curse each
day as a new dawn breaks.

Your lips are tainted with scorn
which you eagerly embrace like
a new found friend, forgetting
those that you now leave behind.

Your spirit seems so possessed to
rid yourself of your very past,
leaving no signs of those you put
in your trust, but all trust is now lost.

Lost to an ego that has no time,
no time for anyone except those
that serve your purpose now and for
for a short time they will serve you best.

But soon you will betray your self
with your own selfish scheming ways,
betrayal seen so clear that integrity
will not find a home to rest.

You will reap the harvest of your
own doing and pay so heavily that
price will be your very own timely
and truly welcome demise.

Steven Beesley (c) 10/8/2008

This poem was written about a person who I once thought I knew quite well, but on the contrary it turns out that I did not know him at all. One day he showed me his inner side - just a plain liar and scoundrel. Needless to say there was a parting of ways for I did despise what I did finally see with my very own eyes. Such a fake and full of conceit.

Jazz Recommendation: Steve Cole Tenor Saxophonist.

Steve Cole was born on 17 August 1970, he is an American progressive smooth jazz tenor saxophonist and has released five albums starting in the late 1990s. Most of his albums have been very well-received. He is also a professor/adviser of music business at Columbia College Chicago.

Cole was born in the city of Chicago, Illinois and began to play music at a very ripe young age. His musical background training was classical, following after his father with the clarinet before he decided to switch to the saxophone in high school. While at Northwestern University, he studied classical saxophone before changing his field to economics, eventually earning an MBA from The University of Chicago. After leaving school, Cole returned his focus to music; in particular, jazz.

In 2001 he hit the charts with the Grover Washington jr & Bill Withers classic "Just The Two of Us" from the star-studded tribute album "To Grover, with Love", produced by renowned keyboardist/arranger/producer Jason Miles. The album eventually made it to no. 4 on the Top Contemporary Jazz Albums. The track covered fantastically by Regina Belle, Steve Cole and George Duke has become a jazz classic.

So without much ado, here are a few select videos from Steve:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Here's Tim : Tim Weisberg.

Of course we are staying with jazz and here are a few cool tunes from an amazing flutist by the name of Tim Weisberg who is another of my favorite smooth jazz artists:

Dave Koz

I found this interview clip on another of my favorite saxophonists - Dave Koz. Enjoy!

and a few others from Dave:

CD Recommendation: Waltz for Debby [HYBRID SACD] .

The SACD version offers considerably improved sound quality over any of the original CD remastered versions. The hiss you heard originally from the CD and the LP versions is almost virtually gone. This overall presentation offers greater clarity and depth in music reproduced.

However with the clarity this makes the background sounds of the audience with their chats, laughs and silverware more noticeable giving the lively realism of a club jazz jamming session and the listener feels that he/she is sitting in the club. Such realism was not possible or captured in the original version that well. This is remarkable since the remaster came from tapes made from master tapes more then 41 years ago before the advent of the CD. The jazz club ambiance is superb.

In the 60's the Bill Evans Trio were the hottest thing on the jazz scene, and the recording of their live session so many years back is still hot today.

This is a true jazz lover's album and a must for any collection if you are to be considered a jazz buff. Comparing this SACD edition to the XRCD leaves you speechless since the amount of information resolved by the SACD is just mind boggling.

Here is a rare clip of the trio:
"Bill Evans Trio - Waltz For Debby"

and of course track 1 on the album - "My Foolish Heart"

On Imeem:

Waltz For Debby - Aebersold

My Choice of Attache Case: Zero Halliburton "Premium P4-SI 4" Wide Silver Aluminum"

For work, my choice of Attache Case is the Zero Halliburton "Premium P4-SI 4" Wide Silver Aluminum" case. The list price is US$595.00. I have been using the Zero since 2003 and it is probably the best attache case that I have had. In the past I have had some leather cases but none were built to last like this one. The web site is "Zero Halliburton"

I also have another Zero Halliburton black aluminum camera case which I have used since the 1980's till now and still solid as a rock. These are great cases and if I were to get a third it would still be a Zero.

13 x 18 x 4.5 in.
33 x 45.7 x 11.4 cm

Premier Specific Features

Ultra handle – durable and comfortable
Luxurious leather interior
Console lock conceals triple-digit combination and single-button release mechanism
Two expandable file pockets
Five additional pockets for complete organization
Offered in silver, black, gold, & cabernet

series features

Heat-tempered aluminum shell has the strength of steel at only one quarter the weight
Triple-digit combination lock for added security
Interior organization keeps your belongings where they belong
Extra strength hinges withstand pulling of over 400 pounds
Innovative neoprene gasket keeps out dust and moisture, providing unrivaled protection
Manufactured in the USA

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"Signature Series 77" Coaxial Digital Audio Interconnect Cable with Canare's Remarkable "True 75 Ohm" RCA Connectors

The digital coaxial cable that I am using between the CDP and the Havana NOS Tube DAC is the "Signature Series 77" Coaxial Digital Audio Interconnect Cable with Canare's remarkable true 75 ohn RCA male connectors terminated at both ends.

All generic RCA type audio plugs and cables have been around for over 50 years, but the old solder-type plugs typically have a low impedance of about 25 ohms only. They exhibit extremely poor return loss performance, bad VSWR, even when mated to high quality cable due to improper impedance matching. Some of the most expensive "high end" cables still rely on connector designs that are both electrically and mechanically inferior, in the end the true performance of the cable is not fully exploited and what would be a superior cable is let down due to connector to plug impedance mismatching leading to overall degradation.

Enter Canare's true 75 ohm RCA male plug, this is currently the only known true 75 ohm impedance RCA manufactured for digital signal transfer purposes and was the first and is still the industry standard.

I am no stranger to the Canare 75 ohm RCA plug since I have used them on many of my other home grown DIY silver digital cables in the past. As a radio operator, I am faced with impedance matching issues of transmission cables on quite a frequent basis and understand the importance to obtain proper impedance matching from the very start.

With proper impedance termination in mind for the digital signal between the CDP and the Havana I choose the
Cable Solutions" Signature Series 77" Coaxial Digital Audio Interconnect Cable with Canare's remarkable true 75 ohn RCA male connectors terminated at both ends. They are impedance matched to ensure flawless digital audio performance. They have a usable bandwidth of over 200 MHz and VSWR is typically less than 1.1:1 from DC to 200 MHz! The design ensures highly consistent, reliable connections. You know that you have read advertisements about some digital coaxial cables with rated bandwidth up to several Ghz, forget it as the connectors they use will never allow such a performance (It's pure BS) , the high VSWR would never allow this and in essence what you had read is marketing hype! To perform at such high frequencies, they would need to use true microwave connectors such as the SMA or SMB types.

The Cable:

Oversized 7.7mm Canare precision coaxial cable is selected and used, this high-performance cable features two layers of braided copper shielding, joins Canare's 75 ohm impedance matched connectors and fully sheathed terminations in the quest for bit-perfect digital audio. The infamous Canare DigiFlex Gold cable assemblies use a smaller, 6.1mm, single-shielded, version of this cable and received acclaim and raving reviews. This higher calibre version cable would win the DigiFlex Gold probably quite easily. For the price asked I have not heard a better digital cable! US$39.00 and well worth every single penny since the results are worth much much more then this price, it can put many so called digital coaxial cables to shame. Check out the photos of my cable:-

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jazz Recommendation: Candy Dulfer.

Staying with the saxophone which is my favorite musical instrument, I move on to recommending a saxophonist of rare talent. When we think of jazz musicians we normally associate them with the male gender and it is equally rare to find a female saxophonist with talent and allot of accomplishments.

Candy's web site: "Candy Dulfer"

Candy Dulfer is just that kind of rare talent, gifted, beautiful, talented and an extraordinary saxophonist. She has had allot of time refining her talent, first started when she was in her teens. She will surely seduce you with her musical skill. She plays the alto saxophone. My favorite from her must be "Lily was here" and I attached a video of the same:

and, "Pick Up The Pieces":

More details on this talented musician extracted from wikipedia:

Candy Dulfer (born 19 September 1969) is a Dutch smooth jazz alto saxophonist. She started to play saxophone at the age of six. She has had her own band, Funky Stuff, since she was fourteen. Her debut album Saxuality (1990) received a Grammy Award nomination. Over the years she released nine studio albums, two live albums, and one compilation album. She has performed and recorded songs with several other musicians, such as her father Hans Dulfer, Prince, Dave Stewart, René Froger, Van Morrison, and Maceo Parker. For the Dutch television series Candy meets... (2007), she interviewed musicians she worked with.

Musical career:
Candy Dulfer played her first solo on stage with her father's band De Perikels (English translation: "The Perils"). At the age of eleven, she made her first recordings for the album I Didn't Ask (1981) of De Perikels. In 1982, when she was twelve years old, she played as a member of Rosa King's Ladies Horn section at the North Sea Jazz Festival. According to Dulfer, King encouraged her to become a band leader herself. In 1984, at the age of fourteen, Dulfer started her own band Funky Stuff. In 1987, the band performed as opening act at two concerts of Madonna's European tour. In 1988, the band's lineup was completely changed. In the following years, Funky Stuff gave sold-out concerts all over the Netherlands.

In 1988, Funky Stuff was booked as the supporting act for three Prince concerts in the Netherlands. Prince canceled the supporting act, but invited Dulfer on stage to play an improvised solo. After this encounter, she starred in the video of the single "Partyman" (1989), where Prince sings:

When I need trombone, my dog is Handy.
But when I want sax, I call Candy.

This appearance led to session work with Eurythmics guitarist and producer Dave Stewart, who gave Dulfer a credit on "Lily Was Here" (the title song of a Dutch movie starring Marion van Thijn), reaching number six in the UK singles chart and number one in the Dutch radio charts in 1990. She also played with Pink Floyd at the band's performance at Knebworth '90 in June 1990.

Candy Dulfer in 2006 Dulfer's debut album, Saxuality, was released later in 1990. With her funky alto sax stylings proving popular with fans of contemporary jazz at several recently launched smooth jazz radio stations in the United States, Saxuality was nominated for a Grammy and certified gold for worldwide sales in excess of half a million. "Lily Was Here" also crossed over to the pop charts in America, reaching #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Though Dulfer has had no other pop hits in the U.S., she has had a number of major smooth jazz chart hits, including "For The Love Of You" and "Finsbury Park, Cafe 67".

Dulfer was also the featured saxophonist for Van Morrison's A Night in San Francisco, an album made from live recordings in 1993.

Dulfer collaborated with her father Hans Dulfer on the duet album Dulfer Dulfer (2001).

In 2007, she released her ninth studio album Candy Store. The album reached a #2 position in Billboard's Top Contemporary Jazz charts. Of the album Candy Store, the song "L.A. Citylights" reached a #1 position in Smooth Jazz National Airplay charts in the United States.

Pick Up The Pieces - Candy Dulfer

I Cant Make You Love Me - Candy Dulfer


"Lily Was Here" (1989)
"Heavenly City" (1990)
"Saxuality" (1990)
"I Can't Make You Love Me" (1993)
"Pick Up The Pieces" (1993)
"Sax-A-Go-Go" (1993)
"Wake Me When It's Over" (1995)
"I'll Still Be Up Looking To You" (1996)
"For The Love Of You" (1997)
"Saxy Mood" (1997)
"Cookie" (1999)
"What's In Your Head" (2003)

Saxuality (1990)
Sax-a-Go-Go (1993)
Big Girl (1995)
For the Love of You (1997)
The Best of Candy Dulfer (1998)
What Does It Take (1999)[12]
Girls Night Out (1999)
Live in Amsterdam (2001)
Dulfer Dulfer (2002)
Right in My Soul (2003)
Live at Montreux 2002 (2005)
Candy Store (2007)
Funked Up & Chilled Out (2009)

Jazz Recommendation: Yellowjackets.

A modern jazz fusion quartet that I would like to recommend are called the Yellowjackets. Not too much introduction from me except their smooth style is always characteristic and unique. wikipedia has a good summary on them.

Their web site is: "Yellowjackets"

Extracted from Wikipedia:

The Yellowjackets are an American jazz fusion quartet.

The original group, called The Robben Ford Group, was formed in 1977, and consisted of Robben Ford, Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip and Ricky Lawson. Ford had originally assembled the group to record Inside Story, but signed to a separate record contract, ended up listed as a guest artist. Eventually he was replaced by saxophone player Marc Russo. Ricky Lawson left in 1986 to tour with Lionel Richie. Some of their songs were featured on The Weather Channel's Local On The 8s segments.

Founded in 1981 as an R&B-oriented band that starred guitarist Robben Ford, the group took a giant step forward when, after Ford's departure, altoist Marc Russo took his place. With original members Russell Ferrante on keyboards and electric bassist Jimmy Haslip, in addition to drummer William Kennedy, the band found its own R&B-ish sound, sometimes playing original compositions that sounded like Joe Zawinul at his most melodic. Starting out on Warner Brothers in the early '80s, the Yellowjackets moved to MCA/GRP in 1986, where they released a string of well-received albums.

They also appeared with two songs on the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

In the '90s, Russo chose to go out on his own and plays regularly with The Doobie Brothers, and his replacement, Bob Mintzer (on tenor and bass clarinet), added more jazz credibility to the group's music. They moved back to Warner Brothers in 1995 for several albums before moving the Heads Up label for the live two-CD set Mint Jam in 2002. 2003 saw the release of their first studio album in five years, Time Squared. Three years later, the band celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary as an ensemble with the release of the live album Twenty Five.

In May 2008, the Yellowjackets released their 20th release, Lifecycle, also on HeadsUp International. Lifecycle features guitarist and label-mate Mike Stern, making it the first Yellowjackets record in 15 years to feature guitar (1994's Run For Your Life featured Robben Ford on the track Even Song). The album has been nominated for the 2009 GRAMMY Awards in the category of Best Contemporary Jazz Album. Russell Ferrante has also been nominated in the category of Best Instrumental Composer for the track "Claire's Closet."

Local Hero - Yellow Jackets

Current members:
Russell Ferrante - keyboards, synthesizers
Jimmy Haslip - bass
Bob Mintzer - saxophones, bass clarinet, EWI (since 1991)
Marcus Baylor - drums, percussions (since 2000)

Former members:
Robben Ford - guitar (1977-1978)
Ricky Lawson - drums (1977-1986)
Marc Russo - saxophones (1985-1989)
William Kennedy - drums (1987-1999)
Peter Erskine - drums (1999)
Terri Lyne Carrington - drums (2000)