Modern Living

Let the show begin

AUDIOPHILE - Val A. Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Let the show begin
Music to my ears: On Nov. 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Val Villanueva presents one of the audio rooms at the November Hi-Fi Show, co-sponsored by the STAR.

Time really flies in supersonic speed. On Nov. 4, I will mark my 13th year of writing about this hobby, now being embraced by hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, a growing number of whom come from the millennial generation.

You have been witness to the chronicles of my journey on the road to audio nirvana where, along the way, I met countless like-minded people many of whom were with me on my audio expedition since day one.

Although it has been a blissful trek, there were some sorrowful moments, too. Three of the country’s audio legends who guided me to the right path had left suddenly, like a thief in the ni===ght: Bert Bacsal, who was one of the top executives of the Lucio Tan Group of Companies; Johnny Cruz, owner of Balikbayan Handicrafts, and Tom Prudencio, exclusive distributor of Antique Sound Lab.

Of the three, I knew Bert Bacsal the longest. He and I had been friends for more than three decades. It was Bert who patiently taught me everything that I needed to know about audiophile music. He showed me the beauty of uncompressed sound; educated me on how to distinguish quality sound from bad; showed me the simplest methods of evaluating various sound equipment, and imparted to me the fundamentals of sound reproduction. Getting the best out of your stereo system is after all about the marriage between objective science and very subjective music appreciation.

My passionate interest in this hobby inspired me to advocate the promotion of locally made sound equipment. I am aghast at how some audiophiles are being fleeced by audio sellers and distributors who are nothing but snake-oil salesmen. Grossly misinformed about the nuances of the hobby, budding audiophiles are being conned to buy branded audio gear that often cost an arm and a leg, but which are actually lemon products. Fortunately, our advocacy is now bearing good results because many hobbyists have become informed buyers.

On Nov. 10 and 11, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., in cooperation with The STAR, I will again join the November Hi-Fi Show to be held at the Dusit Thani Hotel. As in the past five years that we have been a Hi-Fi Show exhibitor, we will feature the best that the Filipino DIYers could offer. Our team will try to take you to the fascinating world of reproduced sound, where ardor for good music is supreme. I would like to believe that our sound equipment adheres to strict fidelity to recorded sound, such that you’d be transported to Carnegie Hall without leaving the comfort of your music room (or in this instance, while still inside Dusit’s Room 645, which will be The Philippine STAR-AudioFile listening room).

Electrical engineer and environmental activist Mandy Mariño, who co-owns Café Lago in Sampaloc Lake, San Pablo, Laguna, and I conceptualized our staging for this year, while mining executive Buboy Sarte has been tasked to implement and coordinate the whole event.

This will be our offering for this year (please don’t mind the technical terms; all they mean is good music):

Speaker system by Tony Rodriguez. This three-way speaker system utilizing JBL drivers - highs (2405), midrange (LE-5/2 alnico) and woofer (123A). The LE-5/2 drivers are mounted in tractrix horns designed by Dr. Bruce Edgar specifically for these drivers. The vented woofer cabinets are 48 liters. Cutoff frequencies are 400hz and 5khz in a tri-amp configuration. 

Modified Garrard 301 turntable with DIY linear tracker tonearm by Mandy Mariño. The linear tracker accuracy in trailing spinning vinyl record is legendary. it leaves minor or no tracking error at all, providing the listeners with pure unadulterated music. Garrard stands out among other record players. It is vintage and still the most sought-after turntable in the audiophile market.

Preamp/Phono Stage by Erik Flores. This KICK ASS Phono MM stage has an overall gain of  70 dB with  accurate passive RIAA input of 47K ohms – with frequency response between 5Hz to 100 MHz and an output impedance of 30 ohms. Tube compliments are four  EC88/6DL4 single triodes, two  5670 and 5U4G rectifier outboard power supply. The line gain is 26 dB  with frequency response of between 5 Hz to 100 MHz  and an output impedance of 10 ohms. The tube compliments of the outboard power supply are two 6DJ8, two 5670, and one 5Y3 rectifiers.

Amplifiers/Crossover by Tony Tecson and Larry Roxas. Since we are hooking up our system in a tri-amp configuration, a crossover network will be thrown into the mix .The electronic crossover will be a12db/per octave gear at 120Hz turn over. The lows will be driven by a DNY40w SS amp, and the upper register by 4p1L Pset and 6BC4 line amps.

Cables and Interconnects by Cal Cano. All cable and interconnects will have silver-coated wire mesh.

Audio Rack by Arnel Ceriola. A beautifully crafted elegant hardwood is where our main electronics will be displayed.

Ultra-sonic record cleaner by Manny Ongpauco. Vinyl records are susceptible to dirt and molds. This contraption makes sure that your record will have minimal or no ticks and pops.

Room Acoustic by Tony Rodriguez. To ensure that one gets only quality sound, we will be treating our room with diffusers and absorbers.

Equipment and room fine-tuning by John Alegre. John’s “golden ear” will again make sure that every note that will come out of our system will be pitch-perfect.

Our heartfelt thanks to Lin Gomez of Music Box II, Dau, Pampanga, for guiding us and supplying almost all of our speaker parts.

See you all in Room 645. Entrance is free.

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For comments/suggestions, email me at [email protected]


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