Our next edition of record rooms features Owens, a friend of the vault with one of the most fantastic setups we've seen. A dedicated music and sound enthusiast, Owens has been channelling his energy into DJing, building sound systems and hosting bi-monthly club nights in Manila over the years. Currently based in Singapore, he's been tripping out on this incredible setup we're going to take a closer look at here. Have a listen to his mix 'Blueprint' while you're at it!
"Music that helped shape and inspire Dance music culture." - A mix by Owens Sun
Hey Owens! How are you doing these days?
I'm doing fine just trying to make do with the current situation as with everyone else.
For the uninitiated, tell us a bit about yourself and what you're about!
Owens: Me? I'm just another music junkie with a passion for old-school analog sound systems.
What got you started in your journey with music, and could you tell us a bit more about Movement Soundsystem?
Owens: My initiation into music as far as i remember as a little kid was watching my mom play her records on our old turntable at home. The selection I fondly remember would be from anything from The Kinks, Zeppelin to the Stones and The Beatles plus everything in between.
Eventually, I started buying my own records & cassettes, then CD’s came along. In high school, I had friends who had mobile systems who would throw parties. I was always fascinated by this. Seeing a DJ spin for the very first time piqued my interest more. In college in 1998, I worked part-time for Tower Records as one of the Section buyers, and discovered House music along the way. David Mancuso and The Loft, Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles to name a few who blew me away. This discovery eventually lead me to pursue DJ-ing and currently on my 23rd year.
Movement was a bi-monthly concept night that I started at an underground venue in Manila that lasted for about 5 years.
Singaporean DJ Ulysses playing at a Movement Soundsystem party in Manila
Manila Don Cocoy Puyat at Movement Soundsystem back in the day
Owens: Nowadays, it's mainly just me focusing on the sound system I’ve been putting together slowly through the years. A lot of what I’ve been doing is focused on sound quality and nostalgic pieces which i think has been overlooked with the advent of digital age, cost-cutting and the compression.
Movement Soundsystem today!
Run us through your setup – turntables, carts, mixer, amp, speakers, everything! How did you come to decide on each piece of kit and how did you acquire it all?
Owens: Let’s start with the JBL4350 studio monitors which by the way I found somewhere in Woodlands! it was in excellent shape with all original drivers working well. Anyways, I had to bi-amp the monitors; to drive the mids and the high’s I got a vintage Macintosh MC275 tube amp, and to drive the low end I got a Mark Levinson No.29.
Macintosh MC275 (left) and Mark Levinson No.29 (right) to drive the JBLs
Owens: Initially I was using a Threshold amp, but eventually changed it to the ML No.29. Huge difference in sound. For a mixer, I am using E&S DJR 400 which I absolutely love. I have three turntables on rotation - the technics SL-1210MK2 & SL-1210M7 for mixing along with an SL-1200MK2 with a modified Rega straight tone arm for listening.
3 variations Technics 1200 turntables and an E&S DJR 400 mixer
SL-1200MK2 with a modded Rega straight tone arm
Cartridge wise, Ortofon DJs and Concords for mixing and a Koetsu for listening. I also have a Crown PSA-2 on stand by, which happen to also be the power amps used at the legendary Paradise Garage back in the day. I’ve always loved the history of dance music and it shows in the way i choose my equipment. And let's not forget the sweet sounding JBL4312 MKIIs which I purchased from you guys!
The Crown Audio PSA-2
JBL 4312 MK2
We've eyeballed quite a few legendary pieces of kit on the Movement Soundsystem IG page, including the much sought after E&S mixer and Urei 1620, and not forgetting those huge JBLs! Tell us a bit more about each piece of kit and your journey with each one.
Owens: I’ve always been a rotary head and have used them in all the Movement parties. The UREI 1620 , the Allen and Heath V6 and the ARS4100 were on rotation, and more recently the E&S DJR400. I enjoy mixing them up, all have different characteristics and impeccable sound quality. My love for JBL’s started when i was introduced to the guru of Vintage JBL’s in the Philippines, the legend Lin Gomez who put together a DIY JBL 4345 for me back home. I've also recently acquired a vintage Klipschorn or otherwise know as the K-horn just like the ones used at the loft. As you can see I've been tripping out. :)
Do you have a bit of a philosophy about your gear?
Owens: I've always been a firm believer in quality vs quantity, and a disciple of David Mancuso - famously saying that quality equipment and quality music selection is key.
What about the source material itself - do you chase the high quality pressings on vinyl or is that more of a secondary thing to the music for you?
Owens: Most definitely good pressings, 2nd hand or brand new, they're a must when i go record digging.
Considering what you know now, what kind of advice would you give yourself when you were just starting out?