Friday, June 26, 2009

I bought a DAC.

Since I started this blog I have been listening to digital music from my Macintosh. Many of you have heard the results, and commented favorably (I hope you wouldn't buy my speakers if the sound of my system wasn't good!). Macs have very good built in audio circuitry, but the output is through an analogue stereo mini jack. The audio subsystem is powered by the same power supply as the rest of the machine, and I've been sure that there had to be better ways of getting audio into my sound system.

Well, I've taken the first step! I bought an inexpensive USB interface/DAC from Edirol (a subsidiary of Roland). It's a little breakout box, with USB cable attached. The usb cable plugs into my Mac, and I have high quality (but not braided virgin platinum handmade super cables!) cables from the RCA out on the DAC to the auxiliary in on my amp.

So far, the results are subtle but apparent. The music emerges from a quieter background, and I think I hear more detail. There are three different sampling rates available, and I will experiment further, but so far so good.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Successful New Speaker Experiment

UPDATE: These have been completely sanded and oiled and look stunning!
The Mission 710s with upgraded woofers from a pair of 770 Freedoms sounded good, but their incredible lack of efficiency has been a concern for me. I mean really inefficient: a satisfying volume is achieved in my place with most speakers at around none or ten o'clock. The 710s produce the same volume at one! While the midrange balance and the good results with sax and vocals told me that the new woofers were compatible with the crossovers, I began to think that this woofer would be better in a ported enclosure, like where it came from and was designed for (the 710s are a rare sealed Mission design).

I mentioned a trade about a month ago, and that one of the pairs had arrived DOA. I was wrong, the drivers had been removed for testing and not reconnected. The speakers are from Paisley Research, a canadian manufacturer that I hope to be able to tell you more about. The model is not indicated. They are very large ported eight inch two way systems utilizing french Polydax drivers, as do the canadian Rega speakers I have loved. The woofers have rubber surrounds and one is perfect, one was torn in many places and needs replacement. The cone diameter is unusual, and a standard eight inch foam was not wide enough. I tried modifying a ten inch surround and couldn't make it work without distorting, no matter how I cut it.

Being anxious to hear what the Paisleys could do, I installed the Mission woofers and WOW! The sound is gorgeous. The Polydax tweeter may be an even better one than in the Regas, and the woofer is right in it's element. The efficiency of this system is now normal, and the dynamic range is now excellent, with lots of headroom.

The Paisley cabinets are big and beautiful, real wood veneer with rounded corners. They will take a while to finish...the speaker pegs have been difficult to remove so that I can sand the fronts properly, and the rounded edges take more time than regular corners, but now I know the effort will pay off. These are fantastic!

I will retire the Mission 710s until I find the right (softer, more efficient) drivers for them, with the knowledge that Mission put the right drivers in the right systems in the first place! e-mail me

Monday, June 22, 2009

Three Yamahas

The receiver on the left is a CR-620 rated at 35 watts/channel. The amp is a CA-610 (50 watts/channel) and the bottom right receiver is a CR-820 (55 watts/channel). They all look and sound beautiful!
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Little Telefunken Speakers

I really liked the Canton GL 260s and Revox Piccolo Flats. These Telefunken SB-5s have many of the same wonderful qualities, at a much lower price. They are very lively and dynamic, with a beautiful midrange, and much better bass than their size suggests.
Please e-mail me to arrange a listen.

Sansui AU-7500 Photos

I haven't found the right solvent yet to remove the shmutz from the front panel, but I will.
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ElectroVoice Sentry 100A Photos

These will be nicer looking with new foam around the tweeters, but after a lot of listening last night, I remember why love them!
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

ElectroVoice Sentry 100A Studio Monitors

Pictures soon. This pair doesn't have grills, and the foam diffraction rings around the tweeters are missing (they rot like foam speaker surrounds). I have already ordered replacements from EV.

I had a pair of these about 2 years ago, enjoyed them for months and joined Canuck Audio Mart to sell them. They are fantastic: clean, clear and neutral, with surprising bass response. They really are professional grade studio monitors, and were my first taste of the breed.

They are very utilitarian looking, with black vinyl wrap cabinets. They are machines for engineering recordings on, not everybody's cup of tea, but one of my all time favourites.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hump Day

The Mirage 650s left last night. I am running out of speakers fast!

I do have some excellent pairs available: Paradigm 3SE mk3s, Mission 710s and 70s, Advent/1s and KLH 17s.

I hope to have two big speaker introductions before the weekend: some big JBLs, and a set of small studio monitors that I had before I started this blog and have been trying to find again ever since.

I have a Sansui AU-7500 integrated amp. It is rated at 43 watts per channel, but is built like a tank! It sounds very tubelike and powerful, with real authority, and has an excellent phono section (it actually 2 phono inputs). I love the look as well. In my opinion, Sansui is every bit as great as Marantz equipment, and often better value in the crazy vintage market.

Thanks for the edit, Jazzfusion!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Advent Loudspeakers are gone.

I refoamed them yesterday afternoon. They sounded wonderful, and looked great, with the woodgrain vinyl utility cabinets in great shape and the grills and badges perfect.

Am astute blog reader contacted me yesterday and picked them up last night. They were barely here 24 hours!

Photos of AR 77XB

I probably should have waited until the sun was a little higher and the light less dappled by the trees, but I wanted to show you this sweet turntable asap.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Update

The Advent Loudspeakers that I mentioned last night were refoamed this afternoon and sold tonight! They were as good as I thought they would be, and in excellent shape for their age. They are in Oakville, driven by a Marantz 2275 and I know everyone will be happy. The buyer left a pair of cute little PSB two ways with 6 1/2 inch woofers to be refoamed, and I'll let you know how they sound tomorrow.

I said I was hoping to get some new pieces today and I did! I have a Marantz 2240 and a 2230 (There is already a 2230 here, but I think it needs amplifier bias brought back to spec). The 2240 need lots of lights and on tape monitor switch, but sounds great. It should be ready by the end of the week. The 2230 is a project: lights, speaker connectors and who knows what else! The 2240 looks like a 2235B, black fascia capturing the top row of switches.

I also have an AR 77XB turntable, a belt drive, three point suspension beauty from 1977 that I can't wait to hear! I need a phono cartridge for it or just a replacement stylus for the Shure 95HE that I have, and think will be a good match.

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Monday Recap

Wow, what a day sunday was!

In addition to the speakers I told you about yesterday, The JBL L16s went yesterday along with the ONKYO TX-4500 mk2 receiver.

Occasionally, I get equipment that doesn't belong on this blog, such as home theatre gear. I offer it on Craigslist, Canuck Audio Mart and Kijiji. This weekend I sold my Boston HD5s as rear channels, a pair of Boston HD8s in front and a PSB centre channel as a package. I don't have a 5.1 receiver, so to demonstrate all 5 speakers, I ran 4 driven as A and B pairs by one receiver, and took tape out from that into tape in on another amp driving the centre channel in mono. It worked, and filled the room nicely.

The new Dual 606 works beautifully and I will post pictures soon. I will refoam the Advent Loudspeakers today and let you know how they sound.

I hope to have some new pieces top tell you about soon.

Have a great week.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Update

The JBL L88s did leave with NAD 3020 as scheduled. I just brought home a nice pair of The Advent Loudspeakers, the ones with the large cabinets, in woodgrain vinyl (in excellent shape). The grills are perfect, but naturally the woofers need refoaming. I will do them today if my local surplus electronics store has them in stock. I may install the ones from the Advent/1s, which are identical, just to check them out sooner. I'm listening to the 1s now and they are wonderful.

Also today I got a Dual 606 direct drive turntable in very good, working condition with an Ortofon cartridge. I'm listening to it now, enjoying Dire Straits' first album. This turntable is ready to go!

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Weekend Update

I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

The JBL L88s are leaving tomorrow. I don't have many large speakers now. I'm listening to the Mirage 650s and they sound great, as always.

The latest NAD 3020 is leaving with the speakers. I will always grab every one I find. Every audiophile should keep on in a closet, as a backup and whenever we need to be reminded how musical simplicity can sound.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I apologize that this is my first post in six days. My day job has been really busy.

The Pioneer HPM-100s left last night, sold to the same people who bought the HPM-60s. I am sorry to see them gone. In my opinion they sound every bit as good as JBL L-100s (after upgrading the crossover capacitors), though are a little less aesthetically pleasing with their grills off.

With the HPMs gone, and last weekend the Coral CX-77s, I am living happily with the JBL L88s (and L16s). Having options like I do is cool, but I really do care about the music more than the equipment. I could be happy with the JBLs, the Mission 70s (see post below) or upgraded 710s, Advent/1s or Mirage 650s to name a few. They all get out of the way of the music.

But I don't have to! I am working on aquiring a few pairs of interesting speakers, big and small, and will tell you about some very soon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mission 70s & A Cool Weekend

These are sweet! They are well balanced, image well, and get the midrange right. If calamity struck and I lost the other 17 pairs(!) of speakers I have in house, I could listen to these for a long time (as long as I wasn't listening to too much reggae!).

These look the way they look, and the grills are not removable (no need, the surrounds are rubber), so I don't think more pictures are necessary.

Have a great weekend. i'm going to see as much music at the Luminato festival as I can. I'm excited about the Travelling Blues show tomorrow, and The World of Slide Guitar on Sunday. It's good to turn off the equipment and hear the real thing!

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

JBL L 88 Photos

These are so good that I'm wondering how a dedicated midrange driver could be better (I do know).

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Two pairs of JBLs!

And the day isn't over!

Now it is. Of the two other speaker pairs I was expecting today, I've only got one I can tell you about (because the other is DOA on first plug-in), a sweet pair of Mission 70s, small six inch two way systems that have it all right from about 60 Hz all the way up, and don't try any tricks to give the false impression of going deeper than they do. On high stands they image really nicely (one of the common characteristics of the many Mission speaker I've heard). I'm going to put on Ella now.

More Update:
The JBL L88 Plus speakers sound great! It will take me a while to figure out how the midrange compares to the L100 (that is the same speaker with the addition of a dedicated midrange driver). Initially, enjoying my usual diet of jazz and blues, I'm just loving having the JBL sound (yes, there is one & there's also a Mission sound, and that's not a bad thing) back in house after a few long months. I know I haven't been suffering (in great part due to the Corals), but it still makes me happy.

ORIGINAL BLOG (I won't Make this distinction again anytime soon.)
I was expecting one pair, a set of L88 pluses. They are sounding good, except that one tweeter control pot is a bit noisy. The finish is walnut in pretty good shape, and will be beautiful after I sand and oil them. They look like these, but the finish is a little darker, and they don't have the midrange driver.

I was not expecting another pair of JBLs today, and am thrilled to have picked up a beautiful pair of L16s! Like my last pair, the eight inch woofers need to be refoamed. The cabinets are in decent shape and and will be beautiful by tomorrow (weather permitting).

I expect to have two more new sets to tell you about before I sleep tonight.

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Tuesday Update

The Pentron speakers left last night. On final listen, were very pleasant, but are very difficult to place for optimum tonal balance. They were paired with a Kenwood KR-4070 receiver, which is the nicest Kenwood I've had: sweet sounding, not bright, excellent tuner.

I expect to have three new pairs of speakers to tell you about later today including some JBLs.

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