Saturday, February 28, 2009


This is a really nice combination, very smooth, rich and musical.

Visually, they are compact and very cool. This pair is in beautiful shape.

Information on the PAT-4A here.
Information on the ST-80 here.

They are sounding really nice so far (about three hours) driving the Design Acoustics.

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Monday, February 23, 2009


From an e-mail I just sent:
John Coltrane, Black Pearls. On a pair of Celestion Ditton 22s that I was just about to talk about on the blog (I may put the stuff I say about these speakers on!)...I'll send you the pictures first. I just got them. I've sanded the sides (in and outside in 20 minutes), but not oiled them yet (I may do a little filling first)...the drivers, you can see, are perfect. They are making Coltrane 's tenor sound as good as I've heard it. I've had 2 way (plus passive radiator) Celestion Ditton 15s of about the same vintage, and I thought a dedicated midrange driver would be amazing, and it is!

The next morning:
These are fantastic!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another Marantz 2230 will be ready soon!

It's one I picked up in a trade, with a lot of issues that I was aware of. The power switch is broken, and soldered permanently on. The pre-out/main in jacks were loose and broken, as were the phono jacks. The sound was scratchy, particularly in one channel. Why did I take it in a trade? Sometimes, especially with Marantz equipment, I get too excited.

Well, I didn't think I was going to be able to do much to this one myself, but I cleaned all the pots and contacts (or so I thought). I fixed the broken jacks (really the plastic around them). It sounded scratchy and intermittent as a receiver, fine as a power amp, but who needs a 30 watt/channel power amp that looks like a vintage Marantz receiver? I put it away, something else to get to when I have a fortune to spend having my dead receivers brought back to their former glory (I've had a few bad trades).

Speaking with someone this afternoon reminded me about it, and I pulled it out and listened again. Only one channel worked. While it was playing I checked all the knobs and switches. The tape monitor switch was clearly the culprit. It's often the problem, and all sources route through it. Cleaning the switch again more attentively made it sound great, like a Marantz receiver does.

Well, I'm so smart and resourceful that I realized I could easily replace what appeared to be only 2 burnt out bulbs on the tuner scale. Unfortunately, I shorted the whole chain of bulbs as I was stupidly removing a burnt out one while the unit was plugged in!

It still sounds perfect, and the STEREO light is on, so I'm sure it'll be an easy fix, and I was going to have to take it in to get the power switch replaced, but I feel quite silly.

Anyhow, very soon I will be pleased to show you a great sounding 2230 that's been around the block a few times, still making beautiful music sound that way.

This is fascinating.

I have never been able to put my finger on just exactly what it is about BOSE products that rub me the wrong way, but this article is very interesting & informative. The author makes the point that some shops need BOSE products to stay open, but it depresses me to know that people pay such high prices for such sorry junk. Before you buy any BOSE product, please e-mail me.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Late Great Robert Palmer

I just fixed a Sansui 661 Receiver

I've had one before. This one just got all new lights and a good cleaning, and sounds great. I really do think this would sell for double the price if it was a Marantz. It can drive every speaker I have at the moment beautifully.

e-mail me to arrange a listen.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Goodbye, Boston Acoustics.

I sold a pair of A70s last Sunday and my A60s yesterday. On last listen I was impressed by their musicality, neutrality and unobtrusiveness. The Boston A family are less sexy than many speakers but are fantastic performers, and great bargains. I hope to introduce you to the big boys, the A400s soon.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Sony STR-3800 has left the building.

It' been a solid and consistent performer since it arrived in October. This is what I said about it then.

It left after an audition driving the ADS L520s, and they sound beautiful together.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Finest Quartet.

In my humble opinion.
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The Pioneer HPM-100s are some of the finest speakers I've had the privilege of listening to here...the equal, in my opinion, of the JBL L100s that I love so much. The capacitor upgrades have eliminated all trace of the high end harshness that I saw as a potential long term problem in my limited original time with them, and made me prefer JBL L36s over HPM-60s (which I had for a long time, and introduced me to the HPM series). Owners of those may want to investigate the same kind of upgrade.

e-mail me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

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SOLD. The other pair of ADS L520s sound fantastic!

These sold (again!) to the first person who heard them. ADS made fabulous speakers, and in time I hope I can introduce you to more.
One of the second pair had some serious cabinet issues: a swollen joint and a piece of missing veneer. The repairs aren't perfect (I need to get a darker wax filler pencil and it will be fine), but the sound is spectacular.There is also an imperfection on a small part of the black baffle of the same speaker, completely invisible behind the grill (both of which are in perfect shape).

They are singing right now, driven by a visiting Sansui G-4700 receiver.

The last pair were bought by the first person who heard them and were a steal at $200. This pair can be yours for $165!

e-mail me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weekend Update

The Marantz HD-66 speakers have found a home that I can feel good about. I made no secret of the fact that these were not my favourites. The person who bought them is putting them in a gym/health club. His priorities were cheap, loud & bass heavy. He got all that!

The Sansui AU-101 has found a very suitable home, connected to a high end turntable with a fantastic high output moving coil cartridge, driving a huge pair of custom made full range driver speakers (over $2,500.00) with 104 db efficiency! The system rocks and the buyer feels it's the best solid state experience he's ever had. He paid $100. This outcome is what makes seventies stereo gear so satisfying to me.

The second set of ADS L520s are almost ready. The cabinets are almost finished being fixed (one requires more complex filling and veneer repair than I've attempted before). The drivers are at least as good as the ones in the first set, which were great!

UPS didn't pack the Realistic Mach Ones as they were paid to do (single not double boxes, no styrofoam peanuts), and the speakers arrived in Alexandria, Virginia with one woofer DOA, and one cabinet damaged. A claim is underway, and the speakers were insured, so in the end the buyer will get his speakers for free (the cost of the woofer repair will be covered). I resisted this deal for days, but agreed because the buyer did all the homework, but this illustrates why I insist on local pickup and audition. I will keep you posted on how UPS handles the situation, but wouldn't deal with a UPS store again (the claim inspector in Virginia told the buyer that "these boxes look like they were picked out of the trash" and that they weren't even UPS boxes). It is a shame when pieces of audio history are handled so poorly and damaged so unnecessarily.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday update

I promised surprises, and I have two!

I have a fantastic pair of Genesis Physics Corporation Model 1s. They are an 8 inch 2 way system, with an inverted dome tweeter in gorgeous oak cabinets. Genesis was an offshoot of EPI and these have a lot in common with EPi 100s...clean, neutral sound, very nice imaging. They seem better built, and the cabinets and grills are much nicer. I mentioned a pair of EPI 100s a couple of weeks ago, and the first person who was here after I got them bought them (and a Pioneer SX-636 receiver) before I even had time to photograph them. The Genesis 1s are are at least as good, and won't be here long!

Last November I wrote about a pair of Pioneer HPM-100s that I was very excited about, but left again in less than 24 hours in trade for my JBL L36s. Well, the owner enjoyed them, but after listening much more than I'd had been able to, began to find them fatiguing (as have many others). There is much written about these fantastic speakers, and there is agreement that replacing all the capacitors in the crossovers really smooths the sound out, especially at the high end. I have these back, with expertly done crossover modifications using audiophile grade caps, and superb high grade speaker connectors. They really sing now and compare very very favorably to JBL L100s, with perhaps a better high end.
This isn't too surprising, since the brilliant Bart Locanthi designed both, the HPMs being the newer, more refined design.

e-mail me.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Weekend Update

Three pairs of speakers left the building today: The ADS L520s, the Advent/1s & the Boston A70s. I expect to have another pair of L520s tomorrow. I also hope to present a few surprises in the week coming, so please check back often!

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Sold! Boston Acoustics A70 (refoamed last night)

These have a much bigger everything than the A60s.

ADS L520 Speakers

These are every bit as good as I hoped they would be! I sanded and oiled them this morning, and they look gorgeous.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dog Day


A beautiful pair of ADS L520s! Readers of this blog know how much I loved the L620s. That I love these too is hardly surprising. They have an 8 inch woofer compared to the 10 inch in the L620s, the same tweeter and look much better: real wood veneer (I'll refinish on Saturday, if the temperature goes up to 5 as promised!), and cool perforated metal grills. They are smooth, neutral and very clean! The L620s came and went in a hurry, these will fly out my door fast.

Also I'm about to refoam a pair of Boston A70s. I still have the original A60s (paper tweeters), and look forward to hearing these in my space (I've liked them in other's), with their bigger cabinets and dome tweeters. Both sets of Bostons are great value.

e-mail me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New photos! Oiled cabinets!

Marantz Integrated Amplifiers

35 or 75 luscious watts per channel. Great flexibility (like separate amp and preamp inputs). Super build quality. The 1150 has been my main amp since October. It has driven every speaker I have thrown at it beautifully. The 1070 had an intermittent channel cutting problem that hid from my tech guy for months. He thought I was crazy! When he finally heard the problem Saturday (when it finally manifested itself to him), he fixed it promptly. It sounds beautiful. I owned this model when I was 16 (traded up from a 1040, my first amp), and should have kept it (easy to say now!).

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• The Realistic Mach Ones are leaving today for their new home in Alexandria, Virginia where they will be much appreciated.

• The Sansui AU-101 looks very cool in it's redone oak veneer case. I can't believe it's only 15 watts/channel!

• The JBL L16s and the L88 Plus 12s both sold last weekend. This is the first time since I started this blog that I have no JBLs.

• The Marantz 1070 integrated amplifier is finally working to my complete satisfaction, and sounds beautiful!

• The Design Acoustics D-6s continue to impress

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sansui AU-101

Made between 1973 and 1975, this is the first Sansui integrated amp I've had in-house. Rated at 15 old school Sansui watts into 8 ohms*, it sounds much more powerful. As I write this it's driving the Deltas, playing Show Business Kids by Steely Dan as loudly and cleanly as I could want.

*remember that power specification rules in the seventies meant that this amp could deliver 15 watts per channel into 8 ohms continuously for an hour without ever exceeding the specified distortion!

Updated an hour later:
This amp really kicks! I'm going to redo the ugly woodgrain vinyl sides in a light oak veneer I've got, Which will match the edges of the Deltas, and look great with the black face (with engraved type!)

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