Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I've got a Kenwood KR-5600

It's really cool looking. A low slung, ranch style receiver. I've read both that it's 55 and 80 watts per channel (UPDATE: 55 big, fat watts per channel!). It's certainly big enough for 80! I'll find out which it really is. It sounds great to me so far, and is very powerful. I've got to replace the meter bulbs (the one in the picture isn't mine) and then I'll post pictures.

UPDATE: bulbs replaced, looks and sounds gorgeous!
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Infinity Reference Fours vintage 1990

I know these are a later vintage than I usually write about, but they fell into my lap, are great value (very important to this blog), and work beautifully with the amps and receivers I love.
This is the third pair of modest (no ribbon arrays, servo woofer towers etc.) Infinities I've heard, the most recent being a pair of 10 inch 3 way Studio Monitor 100s. Both of the last pairs had polycell tweeters, which to my ears have an overly effervescent sizzle that sounds like more detail at first, but starts to sound harsh fast. The Emit-R tweeter on these 1990 3 way systems are much better. The tower cabinets are in excellent shape, the grills pretty good. The 8 inch polypropylene woofer and 5 inch midrange have just been expertly refoamed and sound great. It's a sealed system (not ported), with a generous enclosure volume for an 8 inch woofer, and solidly built. It's a very reasonable price for a quality 3 way system.

company product info here
owners manual here
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Sunday, September 28, 2008


I've had a 2220 and a 2235B, but this is my biggest Marantz receiver so far. I'm excited to open it up it and have a listen, and will post photos soon. Happy sunday!

Friday, September 26, 2008


These little speakers give me joy!
I shouldn't be surprised. This is the second pair of Meraks I've been able to poke around in. The cabinets are beautifully made and heavily braced. The crossover components are very high quality, and they use Seas drivers, like the Missions. This pair uses the same tweeter as the 770s, with an excellent, very heavy magnet 6 1/2 inch woofer in a ported enclosure, a classic British style 2 way
The imaging is great and the sound is very neutral, with no artificial boominess in the bass (the cabinets in cheap speakers sometimes sing along in the midbass, creating a false perception of better bass performance). The Seas tweeter always impresses me: sparkling highs without ever sounding unnatural, on good recordings.
The woofer surrounds were in tatters when I got these speakers. The woofer is a standard 6 1/2 inch diameter, but the cone is smaller than average. Standard foam avilable to me was too long on the inside diameter, so I modified a set of new 8 inchers, spent hours, and they sound amazing!
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These little babies will give you joy too!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


This was in house for 26 hours. I missed it immediately when I sold it, then plugged the Sony TA-F3A back in.

I'm excited to have a Marantz in house for the first time in more than a month! I had one when I was a teenager, traded up to a 1070, then traded that for my first NAD. at the time I was concerned about the "warmth" of the Marantz, the NAD seeming more neutral and uncoloured. Thirty years or so later, it sounds beautiful to me. Maybe it works magic with digital sources (unimagined when this stuff was made). I hear that it sounds different than a 3020, but now here it as two different versions of musical.
This particular 1040 arrived dirty and scratchy sounding. It has been cleaned inside and out, some loose controls tightened, and now it sounds like a beautiful, rich Marantz.
The 1040 sounds great with the Mission speakers I've got in house, and I will listen tonight with JBLs (which are magic with Marantz), and the Pioneer HPM-60s, which I know will be cool.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Remember the NAD 3020.

I bought my first 3020 in 1979, and have owned at least 3 different standard 3020s, a 3020a, which had no tone controls and a moving coil phono section, a 3020e (a 3020 in a slightly prettier case with no power amp/preamp links), and a 3140 (more powerful, but less refined).
The 3020 caught audiophile's attention when Stereophile magazine wrote that it was as good as their then current reference system. It launched a new niche in the market: low price, high end , no frills. It was recommended for use in systems with very high end turntables, tonearms and fancy moving coil cartridges because it can reveal the detail they produced, and today it can do the same with CDs and high end players as well.
It still sounds great! I'm listening to Freddie Hubbard's Red Clay on a 3020 through Mission 770s and it's beautiful!
The amp is well made on the inside where it counts, very plain (but cleanly designed) on the outside. It is a high current design and really sounds (and behaves) like a more powerful amp when driving real speakers in the real world. The pre out/power amp in jacks make it very useful, and a great upgrade stepping stone on the way to your ultimate audio dreams.
People considering modestly powered receivers, like Marantz ( 2215, 2220, 2226 ) with their funky looks and lights, and others (Pioneer, Yamaha) should consider the 3020 too, especially when Marantz prices get silly, which they sometimes do.
Listen to one soon, and don't accept less from your amp or receiver!
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


As I said yesterday, the Mission 770s now have original Seas tweeters, and sound much more musical in the high end. While I was looking for the tweeters, I realized that my Merak M3s use the identical one. They are not removeable because of adhesives, and integral cabinet bracing (which makes the cabinets so solid). I sourced another set of Seas's for the Missions.
Then a friend needed the original poly, stamped frame woofers (that I'd refoamed) from the Meraks. THEN I aquired 2 cast frame Mission 770 mk2 woofers. these have been installed in the Merak cabinets with the Seas Tweeters and rebuilt 10 inch passive radiators.
Now the Meraks have Merak crossovers and cabinets and mission 770 mk 2 components with bass reinforcing passive radiators. They are beautiful looking great sounding hybrids and a huge bargain at $200 in real oak veneer super cool enclosures.
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Monday, September 22, 2008


  The harman/kardan is back from service and sounds transparent and musical. A solid 25 watts per channel, designed in New York, made in Taiwan. Sounds amazing with the baby Mission 700s.
  The Sony TA-F3A was made in Japan from 1979-82. A beautifully built 50 watt/per channel integrated, it drives all the speakers I have in house with ease, and sounds beautiful doing it. It's considered by many collectors to be one of Sony's best, and I understand why. It also looks very cool with a finned heatsink (that gets hot) and bumpers in the back. It drives the inefficient (76 db/watt) JBL L36s loud and clean.
  The JVC receiver works nicely with the Dynaco A250s, take them both for $140.
  I've got updates coming about Mission and  Merak speakers. The Meraks on here use the same Seas Tweeters as Mission 770s, and I've just replaced their stamped frame clear poly woofers with heavier cast frame ones from a pair of 770s circa 82. They sound amazing! Pictures tomorrow.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008


For sale is a very good condition old school JVC JR-S61W receiver, solidly built, with a real 20 watts per channel and a pair of beautiful, real wood MISSION speakers with 8 inch woofers (just refoamed!) and dome tweeters. This system is in great shape & sounds fantastic. Plug in your ipod and you'll have better sound for less than half the price of a BOSE ipod contraption. They don't make them like this anymore!
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Sunday, September 14, 2008


I am excited to offer these fantastic speakers. Designed by Bart Locanthi, the former Vice President of Engineering at JBL, the HPM line were seen as improvements and updates of the classic JBL L100. The HPM-60 uses a 10 inch woofer, and like all the conventional drivers in the design, uses a carbon fibre/ paper composite cone.
This Wikipedia entry describes the technology and craftsmanship that created these excellent speakers.
This pair is beautiful! The woofers have been expertly refoamed, the dead supertweeters replaced with excellent ones. The HPM-60 model was only available in fake walnut vinyl. This pair has been refinished in real oiled walnut veneer! They look as good as they sound!
Local pickup only. Thanks for looking.
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MISSION 700 Speakers

Classic 2 way british design (and manufacture!). The woofers have been expertly refoamed, the real wood veneer cabinets refinished. These will rock for another 20 years!
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This is a really nice pair of a classic british speaker from a long tradition of great 2 way designs.
The butyl rubber surround poly woofers are perfect, and, as of tonight the tweeters are mint original equipment Seas tweeters!
The cabinets are newly sanded and oiled real ash veneer, and look really beautiful. The speakers connect by banana plug on the bottom. Stands are recommended, but not included. Grills for these would have disintegrated years ago, sorry.
Thanks for looking. local pickup, please.
See here for more information
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Sunday, September 7, 2008


Here is a beautiful oak veneer pair of 3 way speakers from 1974 that will give anything you can buy for less than $1000 today a serious run for their money!
The L36s are beautifully made and solid (45 pounds each), with top quality JBL drivers designed for the decade series. These are the first reasonably priced 3 way speaker JBL ever made. I had a pair of L26s, and the addition of a dedicated mid driver makes a big difference.
The speaker's heavy 10 inch woofers have been expertly refoamed. The cabinets have been sanded and oiled. The cheap push on speaker connectors have been replaced with high quality binding posts. These are gorgeous, and should be heard. The music sounds great!
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Here is a beautiful walnut veneer pair of JBL speakers from 1975 that will give anything you can buy for less than $500 today a serious run for their money!
The L19s are beautifully made and solid (31 pounds each), with top quality JBL drivers designed for this model. Many consider the 8 inch woofer the best small woofer EVER made!
The woofers have been expertly refoamed. The cabinets have been sanded and oiled (there is a waterstain visible on 1 top). The cheap push on speaker connectors (used on most speakers of the day) have been replaced with high quality binding posts. These look and sound gorgeous, and should be heard.
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