Apr 252014
 

It has been a busy couple of months here at Jeff’s Place, with lots going on across multiple fronts.

Complete Duelund CAST XO

On the hi-fi front it has been non-stop excitement with the Duelund CAST components from Frederik Carøe in Denmark as Part 2 of the Duelund-Westminster Royal SE External Crossover Project kicks into high gear!

Jeff's System April 25 2014

Duelund-WRSE external crossovers with Duelund CAST components from input to output are a wondrous experience, and I have been marveling at the performance improvement Frederik has brought to my Hi-Fi rig (above) with the addition of the 6.8 uF Duelund CAST silver capacitors into the C1 position of the high-frequency crossovers (below top left) …

Duelund Silver CAST 6.8uF Cap closeup 2

… and then the newly developed custom Duelund CAST Autotransformers (below) that Frederik developed to replace the stock Tannoy autotransformers.

Duelund CAST Silver autotransformer install 3

The copper versions of the 6.8 uF Duelund CAST capacitors & autotransformers are fantastic sounding and completely blew me away, and I felt like a lucky man indeed to have the privilege of experiencing them in my hi-fi rig. Then I listened to the silver Duelund CAST components and was completely stunned by their performance! And I do mean stunned!

The improvement going from the copper to silver CAST 6.8 uF capacitors was of the approximate magnitude of going from the stock Tannoy crossovers to the external crossovers with copper CAST components. Huge!

In the case of the Duelund CAST components you really do get the cutting edge performance you pay for. I know these exotic hand-made Duelund CAST components are out of the price range of most people (including me), whether they are copper or silver, but they sure are impressive, and I’m sure glad I’ve been able to share the remarkable experience that they are with all of you so you can know what’s possible at the cutting edge of the state-of-art.

1-ASR-Emitter-II-Exclusive-Version-Blue

I know it sucks when you come across something truly wonderful and can’t afford the price of admission. Take the ASR Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue amplifier that I wrote about in Positive Feedback Online back in Issue 66 … a year ago now. The ASR was simply the finest piece of audio amplification I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience, and it made my Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers sing in a way that was completely hypnotic and mesmerizing. I wanted to buy that Version Blue so bad I could taste it, but the sad truth was I just couldn’t afford it, and it broke my heart to watch the cool guys at FedEx haul it off. Sigh. Sometimes it really sucks not to be a one-percenter!

Duelund & Mac

If you can afford the Duelund CAST components (or the ASR Version Blue) I can’t imagine you would ever be disappointed with them, they’re truly incredible. I know the price is daunting for us mere mortals, but this is a story well worth hearing about whether you are considering purchasing them or not!

I remember the first time I saw The Starry Night by the Dutch post-impressionist artist, Vincent van Gogh, in person. I had seen photos and reproductions of The Starry Night many times, but when I saw it in person I was gobsmacked! The Starry Night radiated life and and intensity of emotion that was so gripping I was spellbound looking at it.

I kid you not, listening to the 6.8 uF silver Duelund CAST capacitors in my crossovers was the same sort of intense experience for me as The Starry Night was – unforgettable. I can’t afford The Starry Night but I’m sure glad it exists, and I feel the same way about the Duelund CAST components. The Duelund CAST components may not be a famous painting like The Starry Night, but they’re art all the same, and I’m really appreciative that Frederik has taken the time to create them and share them with us. Big thank you’s to both Vincent and Frederik for making their art a part of our lives! (photo below from Wikipedia Commons)

Van Gogh Starry Night

I’ll be starting my writing on The Duelund-WRSE Project Part 2 in the very near future, and I’ll go into all the details of the 6.8 uF CAST silver capacitors performance compared to the copper CAST version, and the stock Tannoy autotransformer compared the custom Duelund CAST autotransformers in copper and silver. It should be fun, and I think I’ll recruit my pals Ron, George, Leo, Stephaen, and Pete for some listening sessions if they’re up for it (it is rough duty – really!).

Mac attack!

Sometimes when the current state-of-art is out of reach, life has a way of bringing something else wonderful along to assuage the loss, like what happened to me when the ASR Version Blue departed, and through the influence of my pals Ron and Leo vintage McIntosh electronics made their way into my life. Magic Macs!

Mac MC240 and MX110Z

Certainly exploring the vintage scene has been a wonderful experience for me, and I’ll be telling you all about my experiences living with these magic Macs, the considerable charms of the McIntosh MC240 & MC30 amplifiers, and the delightful McIntosh MX110Z tuner-preamplifier.

I’ll be writing a dedicated article for Positive Feedback Online in a future issue about my foray into the vintage scene, and what it is like to live with these old-timers that just ooze musical charm out of every electron they put out. The vintage scene is a part of the audio life that is not to be missed if you can at all help it!

There’s more to look forward to in the audio future at Jeff’s Place than I’ve mentioned with the Duelund CAST and vintage McIntosh, so I’ll be following up as I get a little more time for some writing.

Leica MP

One last thing before I close: I know quite a lot of you – like me – also enjoy photography as a hobby. I was thinking about the last 40+ years I’ve enjoyed snapping photos, working in the dark room with 35 mm film as a youngster (and a bit during graduate school as well), and just generally having a ball with photography. It’s been really satisfying to say the least.

Like everyone in my age group, we started shooting photos with film. Kodachrome film defined a generation of photographers, at least it did for me. Kodachrome was a beautiful interpretation of reality.  It has vanished and retired to the same place as those original Western Electric 300B tubes. I’d held out with film until Kodachrome’s demise, snapping away with my Leica MP towards the last, with my Leica 35 mm Summicron 35/2 lens mostly (although that’s a Voigtlander 50/1.1 in the photo above, which is a honey of a lens too).

Leica M9 with Summilux 35 FLE

When the Leica M9 with its full frame sensor appeared in 2009 I stretched the budge and bought one (above). It came as close as anything ever had to the film experience in a digital age. I’ve been happily snapping away with the M9 since then, and while I still miss film, the Leica M9 is really sweet, even though I get occasional pains of remorse over selling my film MP.

Leica M9 with Summilux 35 FLE 2

I’ve carried my M9 all around the world with me as I’ve traveled, snapping photos of everything I see, and it has been a trusty & reliable companion at all times. The M9 is small, doesn’t attract attention, and allows you to shoot photos discreetly.

Leica M9 with Summilux 35 FLE 3

I’ve enjoyed the Leica Summicron 35/2, Summicron 50/2, Super Elmar 18/3.8 ASPH, Elmarit 90/2.8, and the aforementioned Voigtlander 50/1.1, lenses I’ve owned a lot. They are all superb lenses. Over time the only two lenses I kept were the Elmarit 90/2.8 and the Voigtlander 50/1.1.

Leica Road show - Justin 2

One thing I have found out over time is that I like fast lenses a lot. There’s times when I just couldn’t get the shot I wanted because my lens wasn’t up to it. That’s why I bought the Voigtlander 50/1.1 lens.

I really wanted the Leica Noctilux 50/0.95 that I tried at a Leica workshop in Seattle (above photo shot with it), but I couldn’t afford it – it cost as much as a Duelund 6.8 uF CAST Silver capacitor!

Leica M9 with Summilux 35 FLE 4

Then Danny Bar started checking in from Paris and Greece with photos from his M9 and the new Leica Summilux 35/1.4 ASPH FLE.

I absolutely loved what the new Leica Summilux 35/1.4 ASPH FLE did with images and was smitten, and it went on my long term wish list. After a couple years on my wish list it finally made it to the top of the list and I was able to trade in my Voigtlander and buy a new Leica Summilux 35/1.4 ASPH FLE from Leica dealer Ken Hansen, who I recommend to all of you if you don’t have a local Leica dealer to do business with.

Leica M9 with Summilux 35 FLE 5

My first impressions of the new Leica Summilux 35/1.4 ASPH FLE (on the M9 in all the photos above) are extremely positive, and hopefully this weekend I’ll get to do some serious shooting with it.

Listening room April  25 2014

From my home to yours, may the music light up your life!

Thanks for stopping by!

 Posted by at 12:27 pm

  5 Responses to “The Week in Review and a Look Ahead!”

  1. Good Morning Jeff,
    Every desirable piece of equipment in these hobbies is too expensive. Interconnects that cost the same a new Ducati!?! There is a disconnect with reality around some of this stuff. Still, if a guys personal debt structure isn’t choking him off it is possible to save up for expensive kit on the *reasonably* ridiculous scale. I just discovered Lampizator, pricey but possible. Even the higher levels. (he does levels like Audio Note). Emia also is even more pricey but possible. Fikus at Lampi and Slagle and Jackson at Emia are offering world class equipment promised to last into my grand kids old age. The higher priced Lampizator DACs come stock with Dueland caps. Cool stuff. Superlative stuff. Apparently a Lampi DAC sat under dirty river flood water in Calgary for over 30 hrs. The guy baked it in the oven, let it sit overnight and it fired right up no worse for the wear. Some things are worth working and waiting for. It increases appreciation. My wife gave me the gift of setting up a separate audio savings account.
    As always, thanks Jeff for your work and for providing this space.
    Mike

    • Hi MIke,

      It is true, things are getting out of hand when interconnects cost as much as a new Ducati!

      The Lampizator looks really wonderful, but haven’t tried one myself. I’m not familiar with Emia either actually, I’ll have to take a look.

      Thanks for stopping by and the kind words!

      Best,

      Jeff

  2. I still have fond memories of my Leica M-5. 🙂

    • Hey Jim,

      Those Leicas do that to a person. I just bought a Nikon DF to try and it was dead out of the box with autofocus issues. Sent it back and bought the Summilux 1.4/35 for my M9 instead. A really nice combo even if the M9 is starting to get long in years!

      Best,

      Jeff

  3. Hi Jeff. I have a quick question about the Tannoy Westminster would you kindly email me at audiojoa@gmail.com ? or where I can email you ?

    I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance.

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