The system is in an old landowner/merchant's house deep in the north country of Japan (in the hamlet of Kamagui in Niigata Prefecture for anyone interested in setting up an Audio Club) which we purchased and refurbished with a friend of ours.

Everything is used (only the Altecs were purchased for this system so far - the rest comes from a home system), and I am thinking of replacing the EAR and SONY before getting the DIY done because they don't look scruffy enough.

The Whiskey Room is on the 3rd floor of an old 'minka', with a view over the hamlet's rice paddies as the sun sets - the perfect place to drink a whiskey after a hard day relaxing in the countryside.

There are no room treatments ('mud-over-straw' walls are sooted with woodsmoke from when the kitchen was wood-fired and this room was the chimney to the outside), the floorboards were formerly the inside wall-boards of one of the storehouses, furniture is a couple of ugly brown vinyl armchairs and an even uglier 'baby-poop brown' La-Z-Boy recliner, and a couple of brown bar stools (all told, about $50), and an old wooden fridge. There's a tattered old Uzbeki rug on the floor which I like, and, oh-yeah, there's no heat, and not enough light.

But the view is great, and the sound is out of this world.

Please stop by if you are in the neighborhood...

Components Toggle details

    • Altec Lansing Model-19
    Two-way, super-efficient (101dB?) speakers. Fabulous for the price.
    • EAR 859
    EAR integrated SET-like amp (called Enhanced Triode Mode - pentode tube given triode functionality/linearity (Grid1 tied to cathode, Grid2 signal, Grid3 is ground) putting out all of 13.5W. Uses EL519 tubes which will probably outlast me.
    • Sony SCD-777ES
    stock player, owned since 2002
    • Ridiculously Comfortable Chairs
    • Baby-Poop Brown Lazy-Boy Recliner
    also self-explanatory
    • Diatone LT-1
    Linear tracker from the late 1970s. Mitsubishi's top effort as a TT. Uses a Denon DL-103R right now but going to change to a higher compliance MM cart.

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Now that is what I call Life-Fi. Fun looking system, in a fun looking room, in what looks like a dynamite domestic spread.

I quit my drinking and am now a coffee guy. Your place looks like a spot where I could definitely down a few cups of Peets coffee. For Japanese music, check out Guitar Wolf or Boris (fuzzed out hard rock / psych / punk / garage stuff).

Also, when in Tokyo, check out Cafe Lyon. It is an audiophile cafe near the Love-Hotel district (cant remember the name right now). They play only classical music there, and the coffee is only decent, but the system and ambiance are pretty cool.