Joseph C. Ramon's 
Date of "Visit":
23 July 2000

the system


Michell Gyrodec


e-mail to:
Joseph C. Ramon


I am currently living in Singapore, Southeast Asia.  The country is tiny, but very well-governed and developed.  Unique to  Singapore, as mentioned by Robert Harley in Stereophile, is The Adelphi, where most hifi brands are housed.

My love for music started early, where my siblings and I would spin and listen to our parents' records comprising of Beatles, Everly Bros., Frank Sinatra, etc.  In high school, with my peers, my music tastes switched to rock and folk - Eagles, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, America, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, etc.  Some of my friends did play the guitar, and we used to have a lot of jams in those days.  Primary playback of music was still the turntable, with cassette tapes moving in as we approached  our senior year.  Pop and disco came in only during parties.  College was basically the same, still rockers, but with classic and fusion jazz  creeping into our lives.

Audiophilia set in when I decided to set up a home theater.  Picked up a copy of the defunct audiophile magazine Audio Video Singapore, and that started me on the path to audiophilia.  Music tastes changed to easy-listening audiophile-approved music, mellowing down, with rock taking a backseat.  Acquired a Marantz CD-63, an Onkyo receiver, a REL sub, and Mission 751 speakers - and one thing led to another.  The captivating sound of vinyl never left me, though, until one day, a friend sold me his Michell Gyrodec.  From then on, analog is it for me, and rock came back with a vengeance.  I guess subconsciously I didn't like the CD presentation of the music I used to listen to in my younger days, and that when I heard them in all their original glory on vinyl, everything just clicked back.

Regarding WAF, my better half loves music too, so no issue there.  We do both enjoy listening to music flow out, although I have to hold out on the loud ones when she's with me.

Unlike houses elsewhere, Singapore flats are smaller (although Hongkong's are even much smaller).  The system is located in one leg of an L-shaped living room, 6.1m x 3.3m x 3m. Speakers are about 1.2 meters from the front wall, and about 0.75 meters from the sides  RoomTunes are used for the room treatment.  As seen from the picture, the audio system is sharing the room with our A/V system.

Favorite Test Vinyl:

I listen mainly to pop/rock, rock, blues, and jazz.

Steely Dan - Gaucho - LP/MCA - dynamics
Harold Faltermeyer - Axel F (from Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack) - 7"/MCA - dynamics 
Lightnin' Hopkins - Goin' Away - LP/Analogue Productions - timbre, warmth, rhythm, voice
Muddy Waters - Folk Singer - LP/Mobile Fidelity - soundstage
Suzanne Vega - Solitude Standing - LP/A&M - voice and background quiet (Tom's diner)
Casino Royale - Soundtrack - LP/Classic Records - voice (Dusty Springfield)
Carol Kidd - When I Dream - LP/Linn - voice
Elvis Presley - 24K Hits! - LP/DCC - voice
Opus Test Record 4 - LP/Opus - timbre, dynamics, depth, detail
Metallica - Enter Sandman - 12"/Vertigo - separation, power, dynamics
Sheffield Labs Drum Record - LP/Sheffield Labs - dynamics, accuracy of drum sound
Drum Suite - LP/Philips - dynamics, detail, separation (one track has 4 drums played solo and all together)
Dave Brubeck - Time Out - LP/Classic Records - accuracy of drum sound
Coleman Hawkins - Desafinado - LP/Impulse - brightness
Shelly Manne - Sounds Unheard Of - LP/AP Revival Series - percussion
Harry Belafonte - Sings The Blues - LP/45rpm/Classic Records - voice, detail
Janis Ian - Breaking Silence - LP/Test Pressing/Analogue Productions - rhythm and pace, dynamics, voice, bass definition
Santana - Supernatural - LP/BMG - general 
Madonna - Immaculate Collection - LP/Sire - general
Patricia Barber - Companion & Modern Cool - LP/Premonition - detail, bass definition, voice, rhythm and pace 
Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman - LP/Elektra - voice, detail, bass definition

System's Components
Turntable/Phono Stage:  Michell Gyrodec with Orbe bearings and platter/ E.A.R. 834P with Sovtek LPS 12AX7 tubes; Dynavector 10X4 MK II MC cartridge; Rega RB300 Incognito-rewired, Origin Live modification tonearm
Preamp: Cary SLP-50 with RFT 12AU7 tubes, original Noble volume pot replaced with DACT step volume pot
Power Amp: Plinius SA-100 MKII
Speakers: Proac Response 3, REL Strata 
Speaker Cables / Interconnects:  Cardas Cross speaker, JPS Labs Superconductor for all interconnects, Aural Symphonics Missing Links/Espresso power, Synergistic Research Master Couplers power
Power Conditioner, Racks etc.:  Target B4 rack, API Power Pack IIp, Chang CLS-3200, BDR cones, Voodoo Board, Michael Green Roomtunes, Sonex, Teknasonic
Room Size: 6.1m x 3.3m x 3m, open L-shaped

Joseph's comments about his System:

AA: "Joseph, how would you describe your system's sound?"

JR: "I obviously thrive in dynamics, and have succeeded, yet restrained a bit by the tubes - which I prefer over the full Naim-like intensity.  Sweet highs and midrange, but not to the point of euphony.  Overall, an all-rounder." 

AA: "Do you think there is room for improvement?"

JR: "Yes, a dedicated room, another Plinius SA-100MKII, and the Ortofon Rohmann or Dynavector 17 cartridge, and an SME IV or V arm." 

AA: "Have you got plans for upgrading?"

JR: "One of these days."