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Interview with Dr. Edward Pong of UltraAnalogue Recordings

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LL: Tell us something about your subwoofer amp.

EP: We built the subwoofer amp based on the 838 transmission tubes. That amp created a sound so open and textured!

Talking about subwoofers, I used to have the Gradient subs for the Quads, but they didn’t go very deep. So I decided to order some 15-inch sub drivers (the Audiom 15WX) from Focal. They were extremely expensive. And in order to build my own enclosures for them, I had to ask the manufacturer to calculate a set of ideal dimensions for me. That’s because each enclosure had to have a certain width so I could put the Quad on top. Luckily their supplied measurements turned out to be right on. My subs integrate extremely well with the Quads. The sound doesn’t stick out at all; in other words, it doesn’t seem like coming from two separate entities.

Next we moved on to the super tweeters. The amp we built for them is driven by the 826 transmission tubes. The 826 resembles a bottle. It’s very weird looking, and yet offers so much sweetness to the top end.

By the way, the input tube of choice for all amps in the sonic chain is the WE 437A; we believe it offers the most natural sound.

At the end of the day it’s not how high or how low a system can reach; it’s the whole gamut that counts. For instance, every time we cut out the sub, the magic is gone.

Ed’s unique assembly of a sub, a main, and a super tweeter

LL: I can’t agree with you more. On my own system I can actually hear more highs when the subs are on. And with super tweeters, I get to hear more bass! Weird, isn’t it?

EP: I guess you do need the sum of all those elements.

The last thing we built was the crossover. It is equipped with 300Bs.

But there was still one unit I asked Tony to dream about: the phono stage. I told him I wanted to have a one based on the WE 437A. Back then in the market there was no commercial product utilizing it.

LL: Do you have enough tube supply for replacement purposes?

EP: Yes, but these tubes are run very conservatively. Since day one, nothing has ever burnt out. They will outlast me for sure!

LL: That’s a sign of a responsible designer.

EP: Tony once built an amp from a tube that was taken out of the Gemini space capsule. It looks like a pencil. I don’t have it with me anymore. He’s using it now. It’s a big monstrous thing. I used it to drive the super tweeters, before switching to the 826s. The 826s by the way are also very sweet on the top end.

LL: Seems to me that your goal was to build a system that would allow you to hear everything on a recording?

EP: Yes. The audiophile portion of the hobby started probably ten years ago. First, my tube maven had to locate those parts on the internet. The whole building process took four to five years. We were not in a hurry. We just kept trying and testing. Some of my friends want him to build the same system. But Tony can’t because certain parts are no longer available.

By the way Tony is on the “What’s Best Forum” all the time.

LL: His name is credited on one of your CDs, I believe.

EP: Yes. After all, he had built and modified all the electronics for the recording chain, including my microphone preamps. He’s the technical genius behind our house sound.

A custom-made microphone preamp based on the WE437A input tube and WE300B output tube

4 Responses to Interview with Dr. Edward Pong of UltraAnalogue Recordings

  1. Adam says:

    A very interesting interview. I’m curious, are some of these recording available via CD or vinyl to the average audiophile, and if so, what would we expect to hear different on these recording recorded and produced by Dr. Pong?

    I ask because while reading about the extremes of one man’s hobbies can be interesting and motivational, it can also be sad, since I’ll never be able to hear his system. So what is my possible take home? How can I share in Dr. Pong enthusiastic pursuit of exalance?

  2. Edward Pong says:

    Dear Adam,

    If you go to my website: in the store section, there is 1 CD available. My main focus is to offer a tape copy of the master tape which will sound very different from any other source material….it will shock you. The dynamics, low level detail, emotion are all much more realistic.

    You will need a 2 track 15 ips tape deck to play these tapes. Most Studer decks would be fine. Like LP’s, if you have an outboard tubed playback amp for the Studer, you will hear more from the tapes.

    Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any other questions!

  3. Edward Pong says:

    Dear Adam,

    I forgot to tell you, the CD was made with a DSD recording of the master tape, it retains much of the analogue qualities of the master tape. The purity of sound from the silver transformers will be heard.

  4. Adam says:

    Thank you for your response Dr. Prong. I look forward to hearing your recordings.

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