A Cosy Little Pow Wow at Duke Chew's
(a visit to a tweakaholic's den)

By Jason

Recently, Jonathan (the one holding the record for most frequent pow wows on the forum) and I were invited by DukeChew (tELL forumer, but his messages are rather occasional) to his house to listen to his setup, as we all lived rather closely to one another. Due to both their busy schedules, we finally had a date when both of their free time coincided. We arrived at his house at 2200hrs as that was the earliest time that Jonathan could make it... not exactly the best time to start a pow wow *grinz*.

When we stepped into his room, we were greeted by a simple cosy decor, despite it being an extensively treated room. Looking at the number of tweaks and treatment that DukeChew had, one would have thought that at least 2 X Joe Lee's have visited him and helped him tweak his room... hahaha. He revealed that he did many of his tweaking prior to Joe Lee's appearance on 1388.com, and some after reading Joe's tweaks. He then proceeded to explain each of his tweaks, and both Jonathan and I listened intently to try to learn more skills in tweaking (though our retention factor was very low... haha).

Bedroom 9x10.5ft

CD player : Wadia 830 24/96kHz
Pre-amp : Krell KRC-3
Power-amp : Krell KSA-300s
Speaker : Thiel CS-2.3

CD~pre : NBS signature XLR
Pre~pow : MIT-330 proline XLR
Speaker : Transparent Ultra

Power cables
Main : NBS Blackbox with signature
CD : Aural Sym. cubed III
Pre : NBS signature
Power : NBS professional

Room acoustics
Egg Crates
acoustic fabric glued onto the wall
Book rack as diffusor

Aluminium foil on most of the cable following earthing it.

That's a Corner Tune you see there, but those 3 discs are not from Golden Sound (company that makes DH Cones), they are simply.... *drum roll* 1-cent coins! What DukeChew said was that he prefers to use 3 1-cent coins stuck together with blu-tac rather than singular 1-cent coins.

Some funny diffusor board stuck onto his door. The blue fabric on his door is special acoustic fabric, same type that Golden Village uses to treat their cinemas (HT buffs, now you know!).

Some tweaks on top of his Thiel CS 2.3... A small crystal ball on a ring and a mysterious black disc.

Ikea chopping board and some damping material (VPI brick?) on the UNUSED shelf of his rack, he really takes care of minor details... : ) Strange tweaking blocks on his cable black boxes.

The Wadia 830 (24/96) coupled to a Symposium Ultra Platform on Symposium Rollerblocks.

Foam placed at an angle in both front corners of the listening room.

IBass trap made from a roll of auditorium treatment material in both rear corners.

Thiel CS 2.3. It maintained its tonal balance even at the low volumes that we were listening.

NBS black box. Notice his cables all have crocodiles clips attached to them. That is because he shielded all his cables in aluminium foil and then grounded the foil with wires.

3 1-cent coins stuck together with blu-tac resting on each of his power cords.

Teflon rollers used as a platorm to raise his cables off the carpet.

Crystal placement on his Krell KSA-300S's heatsinks. A big metal disc sits in the middle.

This is the best picture I managed to take of his Mana Acoustics platform underneath his Krell power amp.

Unicones not used for equipment support any more, now used as a tuning / tweaking device.

His Wadia and Krell KRC-3 preamp are both sitting on Symposium plaforms. Due to the small size of the room, I was unable to take a picture of his full setup, all packed into 1 picture. The rack was custom-designed by DukeChew himself!

So how did his setup sound? Tonality was pleasant and "accurate". Bass control was very tight and music was very rhythmic (He says the Symposium platforms helped quite a bit in bass control). Soundstage was well resolved, though the small room size prevented better placement of the speakers, and thus the soundstage was rather small though it was rather pin-point. Ok, that's all I'm going to say... the intention wasn't to write a review! It was to share his tweaks and give others some inspirations... HAVE FUN!