Osman Tumay's 
Date of Visit:
19 January 1999

16 October 1999

Third Visit:
25 December 1999

The System

The rack

VPI Aries

Bosphorus view

Hi Fi Forum - 19/1/99


e-mail to:
Osman Tumay


Osman is the President (1998-99) of Istanbul Hi Fi Club. So you are in the virtual presence of a presidential system which comfortably sits in Osman's main living room with a beautiful view of the Bosphorus and the first bridge (second photograph from the bottom left). The President is married but the low WAF massive DUNLAVY SC5's don't seem to present a domestic issue as they are very well integrated with the room.

Osman also has two weekly programs on Acik Radio - 94.9 FM. In his main program called "Daldan Dala" ("From Branch to Branch") he tries to cover all genres (from rock to classical) with their less popular selections. The second program (which he refuses to call it his own) called "The Hi Fi Forum" is hosted by himself and the other members of Istanbul Hi Fi Club's board. Different Hi Fi issues are debated accompanied with good recordings. The evening of my visit to Osman's place Kamil Sukun (the first President) and myself were invited to The Hi Fi Forum program in order to discuss issues like "tube amps vs solid state" and "Single Ended vs Push Pull". Our hosts were Osman Tumay and Mahmut Yener. A souvenir photograph was taken in the live studio of Acik Radio right after the program (bottom left).

Osman plays the piano and Hammond XB2 organ and listens to non-classical music (75%) and classical (25%). His collection includes 4400 CD's and 500 LP's.

System's Components
Turntable: VPI Aries
Arm: VPI JMW Memorial
Cartridge: Clearaudio Insider
CD Transport: Classe CDT 1
Jitter Unit: Genesis Digital Lens
D/A Converter: Classe DAC 1
DAT: Tascam DA30 MkII
Phono Preamp: ARC PH3 SE
Line Preamp: ARC Reference 1
Power Amp: Classe CA 400
Speakers: Dunlavy SC 5
Interconnects: Transparent Reference, XLO Signature
Speaker Cables:  Bi-wire Dunlavy
Digital Cables: Transparent Reference AES/EBU, Transparent Coaxial, Theta Coaxial
Power Conditioner: MIT Z Center
Tweak: SHAKTI Stone
Record Cleaner: VPI HW 17

Osman's comments about his System:

AA: "Osman, how would you describe your system's sound?"
OT: "It is transparent, has good resolution especially on the mid range and effortless but dynamic.  I also like its sound stage and focus."
AA: "Do you think there is room for improvement?"
OT: "My system is not very tolerant to off axis listening. I will try to improve this point by playing with the speaker positioning and toe-in."
AA: "Have you got plans for upgrading?"
OT: "To get a better low frequency presence at low listening levels I'm thinking to upgrade my amps with more powerful and lower impedance ones. For the CD system, I'll wait and see."


system's new look

new electronics

magic dCS!
Re-Visit Notes (16 October 1999)

With the exception of speakers and turntable Osman  changed all of his electronics. At the same time he abandoned the previous vertical rack and placed all his equipment on a horizontal custom made steel reinforced wooden table which looks beautiful (compare before and after pictures).

Followings are the new substitutions:
CD Transport: Mark Levinson 31.5
DVD Transport: Denon DVD 3000
D/D Converter: dCS 972
Phono Preamp: Jeff Rowland Cadence
Line Preamp: Jeff Rowland Coherence
Power Amp: Krell FPB 600
Accessory 1: Audio Power Wedge (mains isolation)
Accessory 2: Audio Power - Power Enhancer (mains filtering)

As everyone knows change doesn't always mean improvement, but in this case it  meant big improvement. The sound became more open, natural and effortless. The stage gained more depth and width. Osman says that the biggest contributor to this positive change is Krell FPB 600 power amp followed by Jeff Rowland preamps (using battery power supply) and dCS 972 D/D Converter. dCS 972 converts 16 bit / 44.1 kHz standard digital CD signal to 24 bit / 96 kHz signal then sends it to Mark Levinson 360S D/A converter which is able to handle 24/96 signal. We tested both outputs (16/44.1 vs 24/96) and found out that 24/96 signal was way superior. The sound was more relaxed, had more width-depth and mids had more body. Osman thinks that, with the inclusion of dCS, CD sound came very close to LP. Congratulations Osman, very worthwhile changes indeed!!!

Osman's system evaluation CD's are the followings:

  • Dino Saluzzi / Rios / INT2156 2
  • Bruce Katz Band / Crescent Crawl / AQCD 1012
  • Chess soundtrack / RCA PD 70500-2
  • Dire Straits / On Every Street / 510 160-2
  • Steely Dan / Gaucho / UDCD 545



    Burmester 979

    Elgar and Purcell

    the panel having fun

    Third Visit Notes (25 December 1999)

    Very recently Osman made two major changes on the digital front end. He replaced his Mark Levinson 31.5 CD Transport with Burmester 979 belt drive CD Transport, his Mark Levinson 360S D/A Converter with dCS Elgar and his dCS D/D Converter with dCS Purcell which is basically a D/D upsampler (up to 24 bit / 192 kHz sampling max.). The digital combination works as follows: Burmester sends the poor old "Red Book" 16 bit / 44.1 kHz signals to Purcell which upsamples them to 24 bit / 192 kHz and sends to Elgar (which is one of the rare converters handling such signals) for conversion to analog signals. Another novelty is the NBS Statement power cables which feed the above digital units.

    I was already very impressed with the sound I had heard during my previous visit (see the Re-Visit notes above) and had even suggested  that Osman should not touch anything. The sound I heard today seemed to have more resolution, still it wasn't bright or edgy but very silky and sweet. There also seemed to be an increase in the degree of effortlessness, the sound was even more relaxed and untiring. 

    I was unable to judge which component had made the biggest contribution (as I was hearing the whole) but Osman said that Burmester CD Transport made an unbelievable improvement! This time I used my own evaluation CD's (the same ones I had used in London Hi-Fi Show).

    We tested the impact of the Purcell D/D upsampler by first bypassing it and sending the 16 bit / 44.1 kHz signal directly to Elgar D/A Converter and then by putting it back to the signal path. Yes, I can one more time confirm that the upsampling has definitely a positive influence. Without it the sound gave the impression of having slightly more grain and being less fluid (or should I say more digital). It's inclusion is taking the sound much closer to analogue or maybe beyond it (?). In fact Osman (who was always a strong defender of analogue's superiority) claimed that after the recent changes CD sound surpassed the LP. This statement automatically took us one more time to LP / CD comparison.

    We used the following material (that Osman possessed both in CD and LP):

    • Bruce Katz Band / Crescent Crawl
    • Donald Fagen / The Nightfly
    • Santana / Abraxas
    All of these CD / LP's were pressed from analogue masters and therefore gave an edge to LP.

    Conclusion: The comparison gave mixed results. On some tracks our panel (Seyhun Agar, Tunc Bozoglu, Osman Tumay, Can Elgiz, and myself) agreed on the superiority of one or the other mediums and on some other tracks disagreed. To my ears analogue continued to be more musical and more liquid but Osman's recent changes had seriously reduced the gap. CD was more dynamic, more detailed, cleaner and rather polished. By getting close to LP's musicality it was becoming easier to prefer it on some tracks (like "Black magic Woman" by Santana).

    I will try to relate the (a slightly distorted version ;->) chat we had BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the CD / LP test (just for fun).


    CE: "I'm sure CD will sound better."
    OT: "These LP's are all very special cuts and the recordings are all analogue, but still..."
    AA: " We'll see."
    CE: "No, no, CD will definitely sound better, I have no doubt."
    CPT (Canan Pak Tumay is Osman's wife): "Have some of my cookies, they will improve your hearing."
    AA: "No, thank you, we already spend enough cash on the hardware with our restricted hearing, I can't imagine what will happen if we start to hear any better."
    OT: "OK, now first we'll listen to the LP, please be quiet."

    DURING the LP Auditioning

    CE: "It sounds distorted, is this a guitar? CD will definitely sound better, you will see."
    AA: "The distortion is in the recording, come on, this is Carlos Santana, not John Williams."
    TB: "We have to try to change the direction of the rotation of the LP, it sometimes gives excellent results."
    SA: "Hear the clicks and pops, CD's don't have them."
    AA: "Can you fast forward to the next track. Oops sorry."
    OT: "If that's enough, I will now switch to CD."
    CE: "Yes, it's more than enough, let's now hear some music!"

    DURING the CD Auditioning

    CE: "It's clean, dynamic, more detailed. It's definitely superior."
    SA: "This is more like the 'real thing'. For the first time CD sounds better."
    OT: "I agree."
    AA: "For this track, I also agree, but on previous ones LP sounded more musical."
    TB: "Upsampling to 1536 kHz will solve this issue forever."


    CPT (thinking): "I wonder when this crazy bunch will be out of here, we have to get ready for this evening's reception. They think they're music lovers but all I can see is that they're listening to cables and sampling rates (whatever that means). Whew, looks like they're leaving. BYE, come again soon!"

    Bravo, Osman, you did it again. I will look forward to my next visit.

    To be continued.......