Visit to OctAVe Electronics

Yes.... Isn't this a refreshing colour scheme? Not the usual black blackground. (I just felt like changing the colour scheme, as this one relaxes my eyes as I type. By the way, if you can't see the words clearly, your moniter brightness is too high. Turn it down and save your sight! : )

Being a budding DIY hobbyist myself (yes, I've learnt how to solder! yay! <grinz>), I needed a good source of parts. Ordering parts from the U.S. is expensive, and parts available locally (Singapore) are limited. I happened to be going to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a couple of days, and thus decided to check Octave Electronics out, for I heard they have a vast range of parts and kits.

So here i was, in Kuala Lumpur, armed with a miserably small scrap of paper onto which I had copied the address of Octave from their internet website at I hailed a Teksi (taxi) and showed the cab driver the address, written in my ugly handwriting : "Jalan 1/12 Petaling Jaya" . He brought me to seksyen (section) 12 Jalan (road) 1 .... and naturally I was unable to find Octave Electronics there... Eventually, we realised the blunder and went to seksyen 1 Jalan 12 instead. I was glad to be able to arrive there, though the cab fare cost almost twice as much as required. (Note: If you want to get to Octave Electronics from KL by cab, tell the cab driver "Petaling Jaya, Near Jalan Othman (Old Town), Section 1 Jalan 12")

I pushed open the doors, and walked in... staring in awe at the vast expanse of parts, my mouth dripping with saliva. (Sick of the language used in this write-up? AT LEAST, I am NOT writing equipment reviews in this language... hehehe) It was indeed quite a "DIY heaven of sorts" for me, as I have never seen such a big hifi DIY shop in Singapore) Cindy, one of the staff there asked me if I needed anything, just before I drooled all over their floor. :P~

.... blah blah blah .... some time later, Mr Michael Loke, the "Chief", came back. So I proceeded to ask him what parts and kits were available, prices and so on. Through the 1.5-hour-long conversation, I came to learn about his business philosophy.... he is constantly trying to improve his products, while at the same time trying to keep prices the same. (Be prepared to see their improved kits retailing at about the same prices) He is also trying to encourage more Hifi enthusiasts to take up DIY as a hobby. And DIY hifi, if done properly, is in no way inferior to commercially available products. In fact, they can sound as good as commercial hifi products that are much more costly. But then again, there are klutzes like me who will botch the job and end up with blown speakers and amps : ) . He also explain that all the products / parts that he carries have been tried and tested by Octave staff, including himself. He also has a group of regulars who ever eager to test out new products / parts. He stressed that he will not sell something without trying out and testing it extensively.

On the left are some pictures of parts available at Octave, they should give you a rough idea of the amount of DIY parts stocked there. This was just 1 display case.

The 1st picture shows some cables, probably for making interconnects / speaker cables and equipment internal wiring. They also have an interconnect "kit set" going for a cheap price. Involves wire braided around a teflon tubing.

The 2nd picture shows Audax speaker drivers, among other parts. I was surprised when I saw the Audax, never new there were dealers for these wonderful French drivers, using cones with materials made from Aerogel, carbon fibre, kevlar and coated paper.

3rd picture, more parts. Those copper coloured coils are Solo foil inductors, which enjoys a good reputation among internet DIYists for good sound. Those black cylinders above the Solo inductors are Solen polypropelene capacitors.

4th picture, more parts and components. Those plastic baggies contain upgrade kits, such as LC Audio's XO clock, and AD825 op-amp replacements (These 2 are CD player upgrades).
Some of the kit sets / built-up products can be seen here. All the kit sets have been built around an easily adaptable chassis of common design, so that cost is low, and pricing can be kept low. Their new kits will feature new face plates. They can be seen at the AV Fest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in August 2000.

The 1st picture shows a phono stage.

The 2nd shows the DAE-2, which is a an improved version of the original DAE-1 (Digital Audio Enhancer, which is essentially a tube buffer stage). It features a newly added source select for convenience, and gain control for better matching between components.

The 3rd picture shows the same DAE-2 without its cover. On top of it is the 24bit/96kHz Octave Etude DAC. This too will feature a new chassis and a similar face plate to the DAE-2 shown in the 2nd picture.

4th picture: Battery powered preamp... soon to be launched at the AV Fest August 2000. Interesting design ...


Top shelf (L to R) :
Decibel Technologies Othello Integrated hybrid tube amp
Vacuum State Electronics KR-2A3 monoblock power amp
Bottom shelf (L to R):
Octave DAE-1
Various VSE products (oops I forgot... <grinz>)

Top :
Ok... Michael, don't kill me for showing such a messy picture of your setup. This was how it looked after I was done with my destructive handiwork... : )
Note the interesting use of clothes pegs as cable suspenders can be seen here.
( But No! I don't think the BMB box is a bass trap... )
The speakers are Morel by the way...

Top :
Battery powered... soon a whole range of battery powered products from Octave. I guess we can expect a lower noise floor due to the cleaner power from the batteries.

Top :
A modified Marantz CD63. On the right, you can see the (small) LC Audio XO Clock mounted sideways onto the chassis. The caps (blue Philips(?) caps) have replaced the original caps. He is also experimenting with a IEC RF Filter on the top left, and a filtering cap in hope of cleaner power and better sound.

Left ( T to B ):

Some "High End" audio parts on display here.

1st shelf: Delicious Blackgate capacitors of various sizes

2nd shelf: Hovland Musicaps. High grade polypropelene film and foil capacitors. One of the best around. Sweet and transparent.

3rd shelf: Some other caps. Octave's own caps, Solens, etc.

4th shelf: Elna electrolytic caps. Tiny Holco and Kiwame resistors.

5th shelf: Tube sockets and accessories...