Jul 172015

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as an impromptu listening session on a Friday afternoon with good friends like Ron and Leo. Ron always brings over a nice French wine, and Leo a very tasty vino from Napa (Ron’s French Bordeaux was a 2009, and Leo’s Napa Cabernet Sauvignon a 2005!). It’s great to have friends with such good taste! I supplied the snacks & hi-fi rig, and we had a blast listening to music!


A couple of posts ago I mentioned that Ron was bringing over the completed vintage McIntosh MC30 monaural amplifiers with the ‘resistor adventure’ installed to complement the earlier ‘capacitor adventure’, that was inspired by Mr. Yazaki-san. I promised an update on that listening session, but unfortunately, that listening session ended abruptly with a failure of one of the Russian capacitors that Yves uses in his restorations, which you shouldn’t consider to be a bad reflection on Yves, as sometimes things just happen.  Ron got that nasty little capacitor replaced, and we were good to go for another listening session today!


The completed vintage McIntosh MC30s with the Capacitor Adventure & Resistor Adventure that Ron-san installed are astonishingly good. Ron, Leo, and I were talking about how the transformed Mac’s might be the best tube amps we’ve ever heard. Maybe the best amps we’ve ever heard, period. It’s really very impressive what Yazaki-san has wrought with the MC30s. As good as Yves’ original restorations were (really good), the Yazaki-san modified MC30s are at a totally different level of performance.


Leo brought over his new 45RPM ORG remaster of Charles Mingus’ Mingus Ah Um and it was amazingly good. We were blown away listening to Mingus Ah Um with its incredible musicianship and orchestral-like production. If you don’t have a copy you’ll want to get one … I know I’m going to.

We listened to album after album and the result was always the same: the ‘real sound’ of music emanating from the loudspeakers was the best I’ve ever heard, with Ron & Leo saying the same. I don’t know how Mr. Yazaki-san does it, but his recommendations for capacitor & resistor upgrades (and tubes!) have had a remarkable effect on the performance of my already very good vintage McIntosh MC30 monaural amplifiers.

I’m not quite sure what to say, as the results today were beyond extraordinary. Ron, Leo, and I experienced the best sound we’ve ever heard today, or as Mr. Yazaki-san would say, we heard ‘real sound’ in the performance of the vintage McIntosh MC30 monaural amplifiers.

Mr. Yazaki-san’s recommended modifications to the MC30s, as well as his recommendations of the Western Electric WE16GA wiring (used as speaker cables and for my Duelund CAST crossovers), and the Belden 8402 microphone cable as ICs, has produced the most musically involving presentation of music I have ever heard.

I’m really impressed. I’m going to write up all of the audio adventures I’ve had with Mr. Yazaki-san as an article for Positive Feedback, because I think it’s important for fellow audio enthusiasts to know about Mr. Yazaki-san’s vision of ‘real sound’ and what is possible by implementing them. I’ve asked Mr. Yazaki-san to write more about his thoughts of ‘real sound’ and exactly what that means, and he is working on that now.

I would like to thank Mr. Yazaki-san for his inspired recommendations, and I’d like to thank Ron-san for all the hours he’s spent installing the ‘real sound’ upgrades – the combination is magic!

Stay tuned – I’ll have many more exciting things to share with you!

 Posted by at 7:08 pm

  14 Responses to “A Friday Afternoon Listening Session With Ron & Leo”

  1. The affordable cables with the “real sound” magic is like Christmas come early! It makes me wonder if there are any other hidden gems out there for “timbral listeners” on a budget.

    I can think of one candidate, though hardly an underground secret: the Denon 103 cartridge. Although adding in the cost of a good SUT makes this less of an extreme bargain.

    Herb Reichert might nominate the Pioneer PLX-1000 turntable with Shure SC35C cartridge.

    Not up the the “real sound” level but I was suprisingly decent tone from an extreme budget system that I recently took on vacation to a cottage with no stereo (gasp):

    Modified Sony PS1 > Belden 8402 ICs > Lepai LP-2020a+ Amp > WE16GA cable > Dayton B652 Speakers

    Anyone else have any contenders or even rumors from the audio underground?

    • Hi Craig,

      The Denon DL103 definitely fits the bill, and paired with the Auditorium 23 SUT, Schick carbon headshell & Belden 8402 microphone cable ICs, it makes for a fantastic combination.

      That’s a very nice portable system you’ve put together!

      Your system has reminded me that I’m slowly working towards setting up a third “Real Sound’ reference system with Mr. Yazaki-san’s wonderful Real Sound amplifier, Belden 8402 ICs, and Western Electric WE16GA speaker cables. Until I figure out what to do for sources and loudspeakers, you have given me the idea of pressing into service my Sony PS1, and the delightful Omega Super 3 single driver loudspeakers on 24-inch Skylan stands, that are currently sitting neglected in my office. I have a hunch it’ll sound pretty fantastic.

      Here’s a rumor for you: Tentatively, Mr. Yazaki-san has found a couple of spools of vintage Western Electric WE16GA, and if all goes well, his plan is to offer it to readers here at Jeff’s Place for a very modest cost. Mr. Yazaki-san is not in the wire business, he’s just doing it to be a nice guy, because he knows how much fun the WE16GA is and how hard it is to find. I’ll say more when I know more.



      • Hi Jeff,

        I look forward to hearing about your 3rd system. It will be interesting to see what speakers you decide on since you are not limited to high efficiency with the Spec amp.

        Some other rumors: speaker cable made with Belden 9497 wire, Sparkler Audio products


  2. Getting together with like-minded music lovers is always something to look forward to. Our last gathering was at a friend’s home auditioning his Altec Lansing Model 19’s driven by his D3A tube phono stage, Emotive Audio tube line stage preamp and Tube Audio Lab 6B4G push-pull amp. We always use these gatherings to gain exposure to a wide range of music, which tends to reside in the analog domain. Unfortunately, we didn’t have an opportunity to evaluate the Belden 8402 interconnects and WE 16ga speaker cables, but this will be on the schedule next time.

    • Hi Rich,

      Getting together with like-minded music lovers is definitely a treat! I feel really lucky to have a terrific group of friends close by that share a passion for music and hi-fi, it’s a true delight.

      Sounds like you had a lot of fun listening to the Altec Lansing Model 19’s, and all those delicious tube goodies! I’ll bet it sounded awesome!



  3. Hi Jeff and Mr. Shirokazu Yazaki-san,
    I have been following your threads and responses from this blog with great interest. The “Real Sound” SPEC amp and Yazaki-san suggestion of Western Electric 16ga speaker wire as well as Belden 8402 interconnect stimulated my interest in a profound manner. Hence, I bought both WE 16ga and Belden 8402 in multiple quantities. Just as Yazaki-san described, the sound of these two wires perform exactly as he stated with all the descriptors of your (Jeff & Yazaki-san) listening bias. After installing in my various systems I was floored…I have been searching for this sound for a long time. I attempted to bring this information to Audiogon in several threads. I referenced this blog numerous times and it appears that there are quite a few Audiogon members buying the WE 16ga and Belden 8402. More than several are raving about these stellar wires. Again, a huge shout-out of gratitude to Yazaki-san, and you, Jeff for bringing “real sound” to all us folks who “timbral listen” as stated in your “Listening Bias” section.

    As a “timbral listener” on a budget in my office system I believe I can add some “hidden gems” to Craig’s question above. I believe this system is killer for less than $2,500:

    Coincident Dynamo 34SE – a 8 watt SET EL34 tube based system with a NOS Mullard CV378 rectifier; NOS RCA Red Base 5691 (6SL7); Shuguang Black Treasure 6CA7. I bought the Coincident used for $850. Built-in volume does nor require preamp.

    Tekton M-lore – 95db, nominal 8ohm, 38hz. Only $650.

    8 foot pair WE 16 ga speaker wire about $45.
    1 meter 8402 interconnect with SWC 3502 AAU RCA termination about $50.
    5 foot Custom Power Cord Company (CPCC) power cord used about $100.
    2 5 foot Signal Cable power cords about $140.
    Sony S9000ES SACD/CD/DVD as transport with Eastern Electric DAC used, both about $750/or MDHT Havana. Best, Rob

  4. “Here’s a rumor for you: Tentatively, Mr. Yazaki-san has found a couple of spools of vintage Western Electric WE16GA, and if all goes well, his plan is to offer it to readers here at Jeff’s Place for a very modest cost. Mr. Yazaki-san is not in the wire business, he’s just doing it to be a nice guy, because he knows how much fun the WE16GA is and how hard it is to find. I’ll say more when I know more.”

    Hi Jeff,

    Please let us know – I’d want to replace the bi-wires from my ASR to the Dueland xovers, rewire the xovers, and replace the leads from the crossovers that go directly to the Canterbury drivers.



    • Hi Jim,

      I think you’re really like the Western Electric WE16GA, it’s a lot of fun!

      Let me know what you think of it!

      Kind regards,


  5. Would love a 10 ft pair…

    • Hi Al,

      You can email Mr. Yazaki-san at yazaki@spec-corp.co.jp and mention that you read about the WE16GA at my blog, and see if he has some available. My little slip of a comment about the possibility of some WE16GA becoming available actually resulted in a lot of inquiries, and the WE16GA has been going fast! I haven’t even had time to do a blog post about it yet!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Kind regards,


  6. Hi Jeff

    Any update on the Spec M3 amp? I have had mine close to 3 months now and it seems to be getting better and better. I live it on 24/7.Those arizona caps seem to take a long time to burn in. If you like the Macs with the new caps, wait until you have put a few hundred hours on them.

    • The SPEC amp just keeps getting better and better. 🙂 Ron-san and I have been particularly impressed that Mr. Yazaki-san was able to voice my vintage MC30s with “Real Sound” through the ‘Capacitor & Resistor Adventure’ like he did with his SPEC Real Sound amplifier, and the result is phenomenal!



  7. My WE 16 GA cables are ordered. Waiting on the invoice.

    Belden 8402 ICs (assembled at Best-tronics according to Yazaki-san’s recommended wiring) get here tomorrow.

    My position has been (it ain’t broke…), but this is too exciting not to try it!



    • That’s awesome, Jim. Keep me posted on your impressions as you get some time on them!

      Kind regards,


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