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Thread: Visit to Jimbos

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2011

    Location: Glasgow

    Posts: 6,102
    I'm Brian.

    Default Visit to Jimbos

    Last November James ( jimbo of this parish ) invited me down to his place in Birmingham . I immediately accepted and set about looking into transport options and finding a mutually agreeable date . Well that date was set for Friday 13th of January and those of you who tend to know what day and date we are currently at ( not me usually ) will know that was last weekend .
    Two bus journeys , one taxi , and a further train journey later I met James at his local train station where he kindly picked me up . After a little time getting settled in James showed me round his very nice home and then his beautiful system .
    First up was his amazing VPI Scout turntable fitted with an Ortofon 2M Black cartridge .



    Then I got a good look at his Croft pre and power combo . I have to apologize here as I can't remember the models . I'm sure James will help me out with that because these days my memory has more than a passing resemblance to a sieve .



    Then I had a good look at his Spendor SP2s which James tells me he bought 30 years ago but look in totally mint condition .
    if you look to the top left of the picture you can see one of his '' teddy '' bass traps which seem to add an extra dimension to the sound . I think James partner likes to have many more around the room for the extra '' ambience '' they provide



    All cabling is by Chord I believe . So how did it all sound ? In a word sublime .
    Now I know from talking to James that his system has been very carefully put together over many years while taking the advice of some very well respected members of the audio community . James has also spent a lot of time and thought on setting up and positioning the components within his system and the resultant sound is both beguiling and yet massively detailed . I spent many hours listening to this system and found it difficult to to leave it , particularly when it was time to go to bed . Myself and James listened to music into the early hours the three nights I was there . It didn't matter what was played , singer with acoustic guitar, to electronic music , it was all presented beautifully .
    On the second night James brought out his other deck . The Goldring Lenco GL75 which he bought a while back . This is a very nice stock turntable fitted with a Shure M55e and a Jico SAS stylus .



    James GL75 was part of my reason for paying him a visit . You see , I recently acquired one of these turntables a few months ago and I didn't have a clue how to set it up properly . Talking to someone over the phone or by email just isn't good enough for me . I had to see it for myself so James spent some time showing me how he sets his up and it turns out that I wasn't that far out . The first big Eureka moment came when I discovered that mt M55e cartridge wasn't wired up properly so after the came the . Mines was indeed working pretty well , however it did sound markedly better once ''rewired ''
    My cartridge was fitted with a Shure M55e with the bottom of the range Jico stylus and it sounded pretty good . The second Eureka moment came when we replaced mine with James M55e fitted with the Jico SAS stylus . Jeez , a couple of rungs up the SQ ladder in seconds . This takes the GL75 into the realms of a very good turntable indeed . Not high end , but not too far off either . I could easily live with this setup , and for a very long time . We spent most of Saturday examining and listening to the GL75 and I loved every minute . It was an eye opener to hear what this turntable was really capable of , and still on a reasonable budget .

    James had organized a couple of visits for me when I was down there . The first was on Saturday evening when we paid a visit to Steve at Sonority design where I heard probably the most expensive system for a long time . This system consisted of Innuos music server/ Moon Mind network controller/ Chord Dave DAC/ YG Hailey speakers with Chord Music cables throughout.

    I will apologize for the crap photos here . I forgot my decent camera and had to use my phone and TBH I'm no photographer

    Steve the proprietor arrived at his premises just as me and James got out the car . He took us upstairs and made us both a coffee while we chatted . My first thoughts about Steve was what a knowledgeable buy . Steve knows digital audio inside out . Furthermore he knows his products inside out . He uses supports for equipment worth thousands of pounds and they certainly look excellent , and judging by the sounds I heard during my visit , they let the equipment they are supporting work at their best . I believe these supports are Steve in-house and he sells them all over the world .
    Anyway , back to the gear I heard . Following a brief listen to some equipment consisting of a VPI Prime turntable . This had a Dynavector cartridge fitted , again the name escapes me . Amplification was provided by a beautiful Moon Audio amp which was feeding a huge pair of Kef Reference speakers . Sorry lads but I was too busy listening to this fantastic system to take photos .
    Steve then led us into another larger room and that's when the fun began . I was shown around the room and first up was the Chord Dave DAC .



    Second I was shown the very large and beautiful Chord SPM 1200 ( I think ) amplifier . Apologies again as the exact model escapes me . I was too busy trying to take it all in I'm afraid .
    The white wiring you see is Chord Music cable , which I certainly couldn't afford . All the framed album covers you see are part of the room treatment and the whole room was covered in them . Walls and ceiling .



    Again apologies for the poor photography , I hope you can get an ides of Steves room . This picture shows more of the room treatment art and the beautiful YG Hailey speakers . Steve brought in a couple of chairs and plonked me right in between them both and began playing some electronic music...





    To be honest I wasn't quite prepared for what was to come next . James had told me a lot about Steves system but as they say...the proof is in the listening . After one track I turned round to James and said '' f...k me I've never heard anything like this in my life '' ...and I meant it . The amount of detail and the soundstage emanating these speakers defies description . The bass was through the floor and on occasions vibrating the chair I was sitting on ( and me too ) . Track after track sounded absolutely incredible . A week later and I know that this is one of those experiences which will stay with me forever . I have a couple of those over the years and I've added Steves system and the way it looked , and sounded , to my list . My big regret is that I was so engrossed in everything I was experiencing is that I forgot to give Steve a few requests of my own . As we all know , it's much easier to judge a system with music we know well ourselves .
    I'm hoping to visit James next year and I will be asking to visit Steves place again , this time prepared for what is to come . Steves a lovely guy and a great host . His system is every word you can think of to describe a hifi system ...and then some more . Thanks Steve , the pleasure was certainly all mine

    As soon as I have some time I'll get to my last adventure . My visit to Alans ( firebottle ) place , where I met him and his lovely wife Shirley (
    When we arrived at Alans place both him and Shirley came to the front door to greet us . When I got into the kitchen I had a long chat with Shirley , what an interesting , lovely , lady . I had to be '' dragged '' into Alans listening room to be shown his system as I was really enjoying talking to Shirley . Now Alan is a very interesting gentleman with his own unnusual ideas on how to position a set of speakers .

    This was the first time I've ever seen a set of speakers suspended from the ceiling , and a pair of Quad 57s no less





    How did they sound like this ? Well , in a word , very very good indeed . I've heard these speakers a few times , but these ones were '' earthbound '' so to speak . Alans suspended ones retained all the tonal characteristics , however , they seemed a little faster and '' lighter on their feet '' . They were ( to my ears ) a little light in the bass but Alan soon remedied this by switching on a sub which filled out the bottom end beautifully and they now sounded fantastic .
    To get the 57s to sound as good as this requires some special amps in my opinion . As most people know Alan builds his own preamps , power amps , and monoblocks under his own brand name Firebottle , and I was lucky enough to hear them all . I'm afraid that I know very little about valve amps in general . I believe that Alans amps are hybrid valve amps known as OTL amps . I hope Alan can find some time to fill us in on the bsaic principles here . I can however tell you how they sound
    First up were Alans Firebottle monoblocks ( sorry bliddy Photobucket has decided to delete some pictures ) fed from his Kin preamp . Source was Alans stock ( apart from his modified headshell ) Goldring Lenco GL75 fitted with a Denon 103 (?) cartridge .





    What can I say , absolutely wonderful with all genres of music . Alan has obviously taken a lot of time to set up his system taking the room into consideration and it was obvious . The 57s were playing beautiful music ( from above ) and I really enjoyed what they were doing .
    After a very nice lunch , prepared by Shirley , it was on to the Air power amp . Again the system sounded absolutely excellent . Mids were outstanding , particularly with voices , and the top end was lovely and natural . The suspended 57s were , to my ears , a little light in the bass , but this was quickly sorted when Alan switched on the sub which seemed to integrate beautifully with the 57s . The Firebottle Air is now on my radar and if the funds become available it's a strong contender to become a part of my system .
    I had a great day visiting Alan and Shirley and it was an education seeing and hearing Alans system and I can unreservedly recommend the Firebottle products to any potential buyers . Alan and Shirley are great hosts and I would like to thank them very much for welcoming me into their beautiful home . If you pay them a visit to hear Alans amps he may even show you his amazing microlite ( hope that's right Alan )

    Well that concludes my little write-up of a very big weekend . My thanks goes to James for having me down to his place , for looking after me for a full weekend , and for organizing visits to Steves place to listen to his amazing system , and also a visit to Alans home to hear his fantistic Firebottle amps . Steve and Alan are both total gents and I can wholeheartedly recommend a visit to both of them .
    Thanks James and here's to my next excursion to sunny Birmingham
    I'll try and remember to take my camera next time
    Last edited by brian2957; 24-01-2017 at 18:57.
    Regards
    Brian

    Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment . (Rumi )


    Korus Computer Audio music server .
    DAC 3 French DAC
    Amplifier : Rega Brio R
    Speakers : Tannoy 637
    Interconnects : MS Audio / Klotz MC5000 .
    Speaker cables : Chord Epic Twin

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 2,957
    I'm James.

    Default

    It was indeed a pleasure to spend the weekend with Brian listening to my system but more importantly The Music!
    I had promised Brian,being a vinyl only man, I had plenty good stuff to introduce him too! I lost count how many albums Brian photographed for future reference but it could be very painful for his wallet.

    Nice to have another AOS member round to hear my system which is quite enlightening to get someone else's impression of it. I think Brian quite liked it as he said he would like to buy the whole system.
    VPI Scout 1.1 / JMW 9T Tonearm / 2M Black /Croft 25R+ / Croft 7 / Spendor SP2

  3. #3
    Join Date: May 2011

    Location: Glasgow

    Posts: 6,102
    I'm Brian.

    Default

    Aye ,was very impressed James . A Very musical system you have there , with both turntables , but particularly the VPI / 2m Black .

    The pleasure was all mines mate

    I'm trying hard to control the album buying as I need the funds elsewhere at the moment .
    Regards
    Brian

    Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment . (Rumi )


    Korus Computer Audio music server .
    DAC 3 French DAC
    Amplifier : Rega Brio R
    Speakers : Tannoy 637
    Interconnects : MS Audio / Klotz MC5000 .
    Speaker cables : Chord Epic Twin

  4. #4
    Join Date: Mar 2016

    Location: West Bromwich

    Posts: 63
    I'm Neil.

    Default

    Looks like a good weekend lads,

    That VPI's a beaut James

  5. #5
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

    Posts: 6,098
    I'm availableforweddingsAndBarmitzvas.

    Default

    Great pics Brian, know too what you've told me since you had a great time at Jimbo's.
    Having met the man myself at the last NEBO know him to be a total gent.

    Awesome system Jimbo from what I hear, the VPI being a standout it seems.
    Bet Agnes sounds wonderful!

    On the electronic music front...strong reccy for this:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OvUJsu5w8IU

    may be right up your street!
    It's good to be aware of the parameters under which a device performs. It's not terribly useful to be scared off by them..


  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 2,957
    I'm James.

    Default

    Thanks for the recommendation Gary. Certainly like my electronic stuff especially early analogue synth music.

    A few bands I would recommend Redshift, Cosmic Ground and Horror Inc. I will pop some links up later.

    Yes the VPI injects such a high level of SQ into the system the rest of it does not have to try too hard! And your right Agnes sounds sublime.
    VPI Scout 1.1 / JMW 9T Tonearm / 2M Black /Croft 25R+ / Croft 7 / Spendor SP2

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 461
    I'm Russell.

    Default

    That's what stereo is all about! Two friends spinning records into the night over a few drinks! Proof you don't need a super exotic hi fi to feel the joy. The true measure of a good system is its ability to draw you in, one record leads to another, and another. That's when you know you've got it!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 16,835
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    What is the cabling, exactly? Speaker cable doesn't look like Chord.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200 with Sumiko h/s & Nagaoka MP50 * Firebottle valve MM phono stage * Parasound CDPi1000 * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 2,957
    I'm James.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    What is the cabling, exactly? Speaker cable doesn't look like Chord.
    Speaker cable is Chord Epic Twin. Interconnects are Chord Chameleon VEE3. I have heard all the Chord stuff up to the mega expensive Sarum Tuned Aray and I think the Chameleon gives you 80-90% of the top stuff at 10th of the price.

    The big advantage of the Chord Epic Twin is the screening and in my system the Chameleon interconnects work perfectly due to their silver content and silver plugs. Just get a bit of lift in the top end where I need it.
    VPI Scout 1.1 / JMW 9T Tonearm / 2M Black /Croft 25R+ / Croft 7 / Spendor SP2

  10. #10
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 16,835
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Thanks James.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200 with Sumiko h/s & Nagaoka MP50 * Firebottle valve MM phono stage * Parasound CDPi1000 * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

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