Thursday, December 24, 2015

"Baby G"
 Integrated Power Amplifier
(in satin wood finish)

"Baby G"
Integrated Power Amplifier
(in Ebony finish)

 Photos courtesy of my friend, "deist".
Monoblock Power Amplifier


Upgrade Power Supply Unit for Musical Fidelity X-Series

2C51/5670W Vacuum Tube Buffer

Sunday, August 09, 2015

RIAA Phono Preamp

A member of PinoyDVD, gambit21 posted his review of the Supremo Phono Preamp... (thank you very much for spending time with my work and writing this review!)

This is my review of the Supremo Phono Pre-Amp custom-made for me by the Master JojoD818.  If you are expecting a snobbish, expert, scientific, analytical and technical equipment review via typical mainstream music, then this is not for you.  If you prefer analyzing every small, minute musical passage just to determine how your system or a specific piece of kit performs, this is also not for you.  Please click on that “X” on the upper portion of your web browser…click the “X” now! 

On the other hand, if you are like me that prefers rocking out and headbanging, and just enjoying a great sounding vinyl-based 2-channel audio set-up, then by all means…Welcome! Here’s a bottle of Jack Daniels and pour a double for us both!   

After almost dropping a headshell with a newly-installed Nagaoka MP110 cart, I made the decision that I should have two turntables and put an end to headshell/cart swapping.  I had an extra Technics SL1200 MK2 stashed away anyway.  I also had limited space in my audio rack.  So, I needed a phono-pre that could accommodate 2 decks and eat up only 1 input on my tube pre-amp.  The phono-pre should be opamp based because I read that they played loud (I listen to a lot of punk, classic rock and heavy metal).  Plus, I had a limited budget to work with. 

Furthermore, having messed around with swapping opamps on my Little Dot 1+ head amp, I had a hunch that it would mate well with my tube pre-amp.  In terms of sonic signature, I was building a system that had a clean and accurate mid-range and tight (real tight!) bass yet still have warmth and speed to deliver the aggressive music I prefer to listen to.  Long story short, I wanted an awesome sounding vinyl rig that rocked! \m/   

The build was confirmed after a couple of email exchanges with the Master.  Weeks later I had the Supremo in between my matte-black Technics SL1200 MK2 (with a Nag MP110) and my matte-black AMX tube preamp (another custom job).  Power amplification duties in my rig is handled by a 1980 vintage Pioneer M73.  JojoD818 instructed me to do a couple of days of burn-in time.  I, of course, dutifully complied with the Master’s instructions. 

The Supremo feels hefty for its size, and the high-quality of the external components used was immediately apparent.  The matte-black powder coating is thick, and has bonded and filled into the chassis real well.  This bad boy’s looks matches perfectly with my matte-black tube pre and SL1200 MK2! 

The first thing I noticed about the Supremo is that it played Loud.  Considerably louder than my previous phono preamp – a TCC TC750.

Aside from the meatier sound, the Supremo is accurate, clean, clear and quiet.  These qualities gave Sarah Vaughan’s “Just Friends” (from my 1969 copy of Deep Purple) an even deeper sense of immersion.  This was very evident every time Sarah sung the phrase “Two friends, drifting apart. Two friends, but one broken heart”.  Muddy Water’s Folk Singer was next, and man “Cold Weather Blues” never sounded so warm and immersive.  On Muddy’s reading of “Good Morning Little School Girl”, the warmth made this blues standard darker and more sinister sounding.  This darker shade holds true for Folk Singer as whole – which I liked a lot. 

On Jon Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory the harmonica intro to “Blood Money” and Jon’s country-rock vocals and guitar were all spot-on.  Things only got better on the slow burning “Sta. Fe”.  The orchestra along with Jon’s “fist to the heavens” singing showed the Supremo’s ability for cohesive presentation. 

Another pleasant surprise was the warmth the Supremo generously gave to the Scorpions’ power ballad “Still Loving You”.  In the mood for more warmth, I cued Thin Lizzy’s “Black Rose” from the album of the same title.  The highlight of “Black Rose” is the mid-song guitar harmony between the late Gary Moore and Scott Gorham that seamlessly segues into a massively epic lead break by Mr. Moore.  The Supremo gave me satisfyingly musical and memorable moments of classic rock guitar harmony bliss.  The same can be said for the guitar harmonies on Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind, Powerslave & Seventh Son of A Seventh Son albums. 

After going through a mixed bag of music, I decided it was time to play loud and proud.  I went straight to the live version of “Motorhead” by Motörhead from the double-LP No Remorse.  For the uninitiated, the band sounds like a German Panzer Division barreling down on you – that is exactly the way band recorded their classic material.  As such, I was expecting the Supremo to trip up a little on this overdriven piece of metal mayhem.  I have been banging my head to this song since high school, and one of the things that took away from my enjoyment of the song was the inability of my equipment to present a clear distinction between the guitar, bass, drums and vocals.  The Supremo delivered horns-up and tails down!  Excellent timing and more importantly great detail and differentiation to Motörhead’s massive in-your-face sonic assault.     

Wanting to test more of the Supremo’s ability to render badly-recorded classics, I called on my favorite punks: the Dead Kennedy’s and their debut, Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables.  I’m a huge DK fan boy, but like Motörhead, their recordings can be a challenge to fully appreciate on low-end equipment.  The Supremo did not disappoint.  The Supremo’s consistent midrange deftness demolished that veil that I previously heard on “Holiday in Cambodia” and “Viva Las Vegas”.  I could finally slam dance more to DK guitarist East Bay Ray’s hybrid surf punk guitar playing.  On to more punk, this time the Clash’s cover of “Police & Thieves” from the 3-LP “Hits Back”.  The song is predominantly driven by a reggae dub bass line.  The Supremo did justice to this excellent and ultra-quiet re-master of the song – bass was clean, tight and snappy.  I paid a lot to purchase this set from the UK and land it on my record rack.  The Supremo justified my purchase. 

Since we are on the topic of tight bass, I also auditioned Iron Maiden’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” from my original pressing of Live After Death.  The Supremo gave me a solid presentation of Steve Harris’ and Nicko McBrain’s galloping yet progressive rhythm work.  It accurately captured every phase, riff and time change on this 13-minute epic.   

I also auditioned a more contemporary recording; “We Are The Others” by the Dutch symphonic metal masters, Delain.  Again, the Supremo did not disappoint me.  The vocals of singer Charlotte Wessels punched through with all the urgency and pain that the song called for.     

The Supremo’s strongest assets are a warm, clear and tonally impressive midrange.  Highs that are natural and non-fatiguing, and bass that is tight.  It delivers tons of emotion and attitude – much like the music I enjoy.

Is the Supremo perfect?  Perhaps not.  There are definitely more capable phono preamps out there that would deliver even more accurate bass and reveal even more details to a recoding.  However, for the kind of music that I am passionate about, and my “analyze less and rock more” attitude towards my vinyl-based rig, the Supremo generously gives me what I want and need.  That being said, The Supremo is perfectly supreme! \m/

Friday, April 03, 2015

Baby G Integrated Power Amplifier
Ebony Finish

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Baby G Integrated Amplifier
"Angeline Edition"

Comes with new design preamp section and tone controls (Bass & Treble), Wood faceplate...

With optional line level sub-out.

Made to order only. Leadtime: 1-2 weeks. Dimensions approx: 12"W x 8"D x 3"H

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ken's Aikido Tube Preamp and Shoebox Monoblocks

Line Out Converter (LOC) for SVS Subwoofers

Bong's Aikido Tube Preamp

Rony's Aikido Tube Preamp

Friday, February 28, 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Automatic Vacuum Switch

Automatically turns on a vacuum unit when a power tool is turned on. Equipped with a turn on and turn off delay for the vacuum unit. Very useful for woodworkers, DIYers, machine shops, etc. Works with any power tool like impact drills, routers, circular saw, etc.

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