Friday, October 31, 2008

First system shot.

This was photoshopped together. I did a better job in the post above. This system sounds great, though!

Happy Hallowe'en

I apologize for not posting earlier this week. I will add a lot on the weekend. I have a lovely new Sansui (661- 25 watts/channel) receiver. The Marantz 1070 has returned (the guy who bought it bought a vintage (early seventies) Sherwood receiver that he loves, so I bought it back). There is a Pioneer SA-6800 as well. The Dynaco A-25s just left the building. There are only 7 pairs of speakers left here, and it's stating to feel empty. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Marantz 2230

I haven't had one before. The first time I had a Marantz receiver this old, I didn't know that they weren't supposed to have those cool hex nut screws that later versions have. this is exactly how they came. This is a gorgeous sounding receiver. I'm told by people more knowledegible than me that these earlier models are capacitor coupled, producing a more tubelike midrange than later (also fantastic, like my much missed 2235B) units. It's in very good (not mint) condition, nice and clean, all lights working.
Ninety-four percent of the time, the big beefier (60 watts per channel and up) hardware isn't required (though last night the peak lights on the Marantz 1180 DC lit for the first time while listening to some Bruce Cockburn, of all people!), and the 2230 is perfect. With efficient speakers it will be fine with AC/DC too.
e-mail me.


Here is a Superscope R1240 "Custom Component Series" receiver designed by Marantz and produced in Taiwan to cut production costs. It uses Marantz output devices and sounds like it: great radio reception, smooth, powerful sound. It sounds like the Marantz 2220 for a lot less money. It even has the beautiful blue lights! Four were replaced yesterday and it shines.
e-mail me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Final Merak Story

I got them (they were Merak M3s) before I started this blog. I rebuilt the passive radiators and refoamed the woofers. I moved those woofers out and traded them for the Seas tweeters that were in my Mission 770s (Merak and Mission both use Seas drivers). I put another set of Seas woofers from another pair of 770 IIs into the Meraks and called them Missionsteins. Those woofer's voicecoils came unglued, with terrible odds of being fixed properly (requiring near aerospace level precision). I tried a very similar set of clear poly cone woofers, with no satisfaction. Then late last night I tried a just refoamed set of woofers from a pair of small Infinities I haven't written about ( the sixth pair I picked up that busy friday 2 weeks ago). Finally, these speakers are sounding great again! The bass is tight and the mids are right (unintentional rhyme).
e-mail me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I miss the JBLs already.

They would sound so good with one of the big Marantz amps. They were all in house at the same time, but the guy who bought the L36s is going to be using them with a Marantz 2230, so we were using a lower powered receiver (the HK-340) to get an idea of what that would sound like (just great actually), and I'll have to wait to hear a pair of nice JBLs with a really beefy Marantz.


75 (blackface) or 90 (champagne) watts per channel. Luscious sound.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday Catch Up

I'm sorry that this is my first post this week. My day job has been really busy. I promised on Sunday to post about the speakers I picked up last week. The Mirage 750s, sold today, were probably the most modern, high end aspiring speakers I've had here and were very nice: full range, excellent imaging, and strangely enough, like the Boston A60s, really able to get out of the way and leave the music hanging in the room.

The KLH Seventeens, which some of you have noted is not from the seventies, are very nice. A spiritual precursor to one of the defining speakers (in my opinion) of the seventies, The Advent Loudspeaker, it has many of the same characteristics (and a tweeter as weird looking as the 'fried egg' on the Advents) and is a pleasure to listen to. I couldn't resist posting the Mad Men
graphics once I found the 1965 ad, but definitely got off point a bit.

This blog will sometimes go back to the 60s and and into the 80s (the only 90s vintage speakers I've ever had, the Infinity Reference Fours are still here!).

The Energy ESM3s are as I thought on first listen, are very british in sound and construction ( 8 inch 2 way, light but rigid braced cabinet). They're very smooth and neutral. They don't do deep bass, but they don't fake any either. That's a good thing. I believe they use Vifa tweeters, which are just fine. These sound very much like the Mission 700s I had last month.
When I got them, the foam surrounds were shot. I had a pair of rubber ones that I'd just removed from a pair of dead Seas woofers. They work beautifully, and will make some foam surround hater very happy!

I don't know what to say about the Dyanaco A-25s, They're the first pair I've heard (embarrassing to admit!). I think they're very good, and understand why people who love them do. I met a guy who uses seven of them as his 7.1 home theatre system! I understand the obsession.

This is a good quick overview.

e-mail me.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Over the weekend I will post about the Dynaco A-25s, KLH Seventeens, Energy ESMs, Mirage 750s (!!) and Infinity SM82s. I have 3 pairs to refoam, 2 pairs to sand and oil. It's going to be a busy weekend in speakerland!
I have refoamed the 10 inch woofers on the mirage 750s, redone the deteriorated Energy ESM surrounds with rubber ones from a set of Missions, sanded and oiled the Dynaco A-25s and KLH Seventeens, also replaced a cracked top veneer on one of the KLHs with new walnut. All sound great! The polycel tweeters on the Infinity SM82s are both blown. They will appear in modified form soon (I never liked those tweeters) at an outrageously low price.
I will take pictures and post as soon as the sun hits the porch.
e-mail me to arrange a listen.
The Mirages are a real taste of the high end, The KLHs and Dynacos are retro heaven (the KLHs look like they came from the set of Mad Men!), and the Energy ESMs are canadian Mission 700s!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I'll post pictures tomorrow, but it's almost not necessary. They look like nothing special at all, and sit right on the floor. But as soon as they start playing they get out of the way of the music in a way you don't hear often. They image well and sound very unboxlike. They sound quite neutral, and I am enjoying them very much, especially with small jazz groups. I like these much more than the Infinity Reference Fours, and as much as the sadly missed little Merak M.5s (these don't have a Seas tweeter high end, but a very smooth one). I just refoamed the woofers. The A60s were made in 1981. These will still sound great in 2221 (conservatively!).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Altec/Lansing Model One

Since I fell in love with JBL speakers, I've wondered about Altec/Lansing, the other manufacturer with James B. Lansing's name in it. A person today could be forgiven for thinking that Altec/Lansing makes only cheap computer speakers. Now that I have lived with the Model One for a week, I get it. What a fine pair of speakers! They are beautifully made, but not as sexy as JBL L19s, for example. I choose this model because the Model 1 is similar in configuration (8 inch woofer, cone tweeter), and shares many sound characteristics: beautiful midrange, very nice highs and solid but not not boomy bass. This was the only sealed (as opposed to ported) system in the Altec line and is a conservatively designed and classic speaker: not flashy, it will draw your attention to the music.
e-mail me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008


A Marantz 1070 integrated. This is the first one I've had with a factory installed, optional (I believe) wood grain sleeve. I'm listening (through some speakers I'll talk about soon) to it now, and it's singing! It may be in good enough condition for the minty seeker, I'll see when I clean it. It appears that the feet have to come off to get it out of the sleeve. That's not going to happen tonight. I just want to listen to music.
I've been enjoying it all weekend. It is very clean, warm (but not coloured!) and muscular. It sounds excellent with the JBL L36s and my new Altec 1s. It has been checked out by a tech who usually works on tubes, a few solder points were redone and it's rocking!
e-mail me.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I was ignorant about Sony when I started this blog. I found the components boring, and imagined the company was justifiably famous for the Trinitron tube and the Walkman, but not solid in high quality components. This receiver is the third Sony I've had recently, and like the amps, it's a jewel. The utilitarian look has grown on me: I see it as a very clean, modernist aesthetic. The build quality is superb: the big knobs are solid milled aluminum! This is from the late seventies, and delivers a solid 30 watts per channel. The FM section is excellent too. I think I'll refinish the sides in real veneer, which it deserves.
UPDATE: The sides have been refinished in walnut. The top has been repainted. This looks almost new!
e-mail me.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

SOLD! A complete system for $150

A guy wanted to come over to hear 3 different speaker sets with the HK-340 receiver, but it was at the shop AGAIN. I gave him the option of coming another time, but he was open to other suggestions. I hooked up a not before mentioned 45 watt per channel Sherwood receiver, the 3 way Dynaco A-250s and put on the Rock 'n' Roll. The dude was happy. It sounded musical and powerful. He checked out 2 other speaker pairs, but the Dynacos sang for him. For $150 he was on his way home to connect a real stereo to his turntable and enjoy. Nothing he could buy new for 3 times what he spent will satisfy the music lover. Everybody's happy.
e-mail me and let me put together a system for you and your budget.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

SOLD! Marantz 2245

UPDATE: It's always sad to say goodbye to a Marantz

It's the biggest Marantz receiver I've had to date, and much heavier than the 2235B I had last month. It looks beautiful, with all lights working, and sounds great. All controls work smoothly and quietly. It is in very good physical condition, but not mint. If you want to just look at a Marantz, this might not be the one for you, but I think it's a solid classic that will give years of pure listening pleasure. This model has preamp out/main in jacks. I tried the Marantz 2245 preamp section feeding the 130 watt/channel Carver Magnetic Field Receiver power amp section, driving the JBL L36s. Wow! The music sounds beautiful.
e-mail me.


I just couldn't resist these! They are cool looking and sound very nice. They stand up well in comparison to the Merak M.5s, with a slightly warmer midrange, perhaps nicer with vocal recordings. They have the JBL sound which many of us love, and some hate. These were made in 1985, at the end of JBL's heyday. They came in a tacky woodgrain arborite, and have been redone in real oak veneer to look as good as they sound. I haven't cleaned the grills yet, but will. They're in good condition.
e-mail me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Rega 3 speakers

I don't know why these stayed here for so long. They rock(ed)! I'll be excited to find another pair (especially one with 2 working tweeters).

The story of these speakers changes depending on what you read or who you talk to. Everyone agrees that they were made at the Camber speaker factory near Ottawa. Some say that the canadian distributor of Rega turntables at the time produced and sold them without the consent of head office, and had to cease and desist. Others say the distributor licensed the name legitimately, and did research and testing at the National Research Council labs. After this model was produced a smaller version (not considered quite as good), the 2.5 was adopted by the CBC as a studio monitor.
The Regas are in the British tradition of 2 way, 8 inch monitors (think Mission, Rogers, Spendor, Harbeth). The cabinet is one of the best built I've seen: heavy MDF, extensive bracing, including a brace from the woofer chassis to the back of the cabinet. The drivers are french made Polydax, and are excellent quality. I had to find a tweeter to replace the one that was blown when I got them, and it wasn't cheap or easy! It was worth it, though. These sound great! They are comparable to Mission 770s, with excellent imaging, and overall balanced, neutral sound. The Regas in my opinion have greater bass extension.
I have had these speakers for a while, first waiting for a tweeter, and then listened to extensively with a variety of amps. I didn't put them up sooner because I was looking for perfect replacement dustcaps (which one woofer was missing when I got them, but doesn't affect the sound). I didn't want to present them looking asymetrical, as they deserve serious consideration.Click here to contact me.