Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday New Arrivals

I just got 3 new more pairs of speakers: ADS L470s, Mordaunt Short Festival 3s and Luxman LX-104 mkIIs (made in Canada, designed by Paul Barton, Vifa tweeters).

And 3 receivers: Pioneer SX-680 (in as close to mint condition as I can imagine!), Sansui 771 and a Luxman R-1030.

I will clean and listen to everything. I can tell you already that the Pioneer and the ADS speakers are fantastic. Weather permitting, I'll have pictures for you tomorrow.

Have a great long weekend.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New EV Sentry 100A photos

They're adorable, aren't they? I made new foams for the tweeters.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Television. Marquee Moon.

Every bit as exhilerating today as the day it was released.

Let me refoam your speakers...

like the guy who picked up his 2 pairs last night, Advent 9s and Energy ESMs. For a pittance, he has 2 good as new speakers systems that will sound great for another 20 years. I can usually turn them around in 24 hours.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday System Update.

I had a feeling that the Paradigm 3se mk3s, closely related as they are to Mission 770s, would sound really good driven by the Hafler DH-200. They use fantastic Seas drivers in light but rigid boxes. They can image beautifully with the right amp, and can handle lots of clean power. I'm not going to use the cliche about hearing "things I've never heard before" in recordings I've listened to thousands of times before, but there is a sense of musicality and ease that I've rarely heard so consistently at my place.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hafler DH-200 Power Amplifier

Stunning sound! This is one of those pieces, like the NAD 3020, that brought a true taste of the high end within reach of the mass market.

David Hafler founded Dynaco along with Ed Laurent, and in 1972 began his eponymous company. The DH-200 was it's second product. This is one of Hafler's classic designs, a 100 watt/channel MOS-FET power amp. The air, detail and weight it presents in a good recording is really special. The injuries the razor sharp heatsinks can inflict are special too, and extra care needs to be taken when moving and connecting this baby.

Cosmetically, the anodized front of one of the heatsinks doesn't match the other. There is a service sticker from Richard Brack Stereo, who were an authorized Hafler dealer. I imagine the entire heatsink assembly was replaced with one from a later production batch. They do match at the back. Maybe it just needs to be unbolted and turned around. I will find out, though I don't see it as a problem. It sounds amazing!

Currently, I'm feeding the output from my little DAC right into the DH-200 and controlling the volume from my Mac. I will have a fantastic Rotel preamp to listen to it with it soon, but this setup is great!

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Water Babies

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Highly Recommended

Horace Silver • Piano • Blue Mitchell • Trumpet • Junior Cook • Tenor Sax • Gene Taylor§ Bass • Louis Hayes • Drums

I haven't done this before

and won't make it a habit, but if you remember the Coral CX-77s that I love so much, and wish you could've owned them, you should click here and grab them. This is the pair I owned, and I know they have been well taken care of since they left.


I'm listening on the Pioneer Sx-880 (see below) and the EV Sentry 100As.
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Pioneer SX-880 almost finished

I'm pleased with the way the teak veneer turned out (the photos are in poor light because it's really dark out today), but the top is not smooth enough yet (I have to be more patient). I may glue a black laminate on top.

I think this receiver looks like it sounds now.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Marantz 2240

I'm really enjoying it. It's warm, musical and powerful. It drives the Sound Dynamics 12Ss to insane volumes without breaking a sweat (the Pioneer I told you about last night, glue drying under the new teak veneer as I write, is even stronger).

But I've been listening to the Sound Dynamics exclusively for days (with no desire to hear anything else) and need to hear something else, to recalibrate my ears, especially in the midrange.

With the ElectroVoice Sentry 100As, that gorgeous Marantz midrange really shines (the SD 12Ss are a little laid back in the mids, not surprising for a 2 way 12 inch system, no matter how good the tweeter). I'm going to listen to the AR28Ss, a classic sealed system, as well.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Pioneer SX-880

I just picked up this 60 watt/channel beauty (it's face, anyway). It sound amazing, and is very powerful. It is the last of the silver face Pioneer 800 series. It is housed in the lamest (peeling) vinyl woodgrain case. I am going to veneer the sides in teak and spray the top in hammertone charcoal or black, like the SX-3600 I did in May. This piece sounds amazing and will look that way tomorrow.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

3 Marantz Receivers

I have a 2240 and a 2230 that I cleaned today. They are now both sounding great. I've never heard a 2240 before, and it's everything I'd a 2220B but twice as powerful. This particular 2230 sounds gorgeous, better than the old one that I've had for a year (which is about to trade it's cleaner faceplate and speaker connectors to the nice sounding one).

I also have a 2215 that I will check out soon. Update: Beautiful! After the Marantz 26 (16 watts/channel) I shouldn't have been surprised by the power and musicality of the 2215, but I was. It's wonderful.

They need lots of lights, and I'll get to that, but tonight I'm going to enjoy them.

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Sound Dynamics 12S Update

I haven't listened to anything else all weekend. The effortless solidity of the bottom end is amazing, and adds realism to everything above it. I was aware of their reputation as rock speakers, but they sound great with my jazz and blues stuff. The cabinet construction appears to be similar in method and detail to vintage JBL.

more to come

These speakers are sounding great with a Marantz 2240 (that I'll tell you about soon).

I got this from a Sound Dynamics thread on Canuck Audio Mart:

Sound Dynamics was started by the world famous George Baker, who went on to start Mirage, etc.. He was once the Cerwin-Vega distributor in Canada, but was fired by Gene Czerwinski when it was discovered that he had registered the C-V brand name and trade mark in Canada in his own name. He knew how well that kind of loudspeaker was selling, so he just started making similar products.

Considering the amazing similarities between the 12S and the set of Cerwin Vega R24s a couple of months ago, that rings true to me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You Win Some, You Lose Some.

I hope you had a good weekend, and that this week is going well.
The weekend was very nice except audiowise. I bought two wonderful sets of speakers on Sunday, some small JBLs and a pair of tiny (Minimus 7 size) Cantons. I excitedly brought them home and was very disappointed. One JBL sounded great, the other had a dead titanium tweeter. The Cantons sounded just plain awful, and further investigation revealed that both tweeters, while not dead, were just not right. I returned both and wasted a big part of the day.

This week I picked up a Technics SV-U76 integrated amp and matching ST-S76 tuner. I hesitated at first. I wasn't crazy about the look (very unvintage, no personality) and know that Technics produced some low-fi department store single brand systems (as well as a lot of fabulous gear). When I lifted the amp (very heavy for it's size), I knew I should take a chance. This is a very nice unit! Rated at 70 watts/channel, it is powerful, clean and very musical. I haven't tried the tuner yet (I'm not much of a radio guy), but suspect it will not disappoint.
The look is growing on me too, and the overall impression clean and uncluttered. Opening it up, the build quality is very good.

The Technics amp will be a nice addition, and now I'm very lucky to have it because my beloved Sony TA-F5 has blown a channel & my brilliant service guy is on holiday until the end of the month (must be nice!).

UPDATE: I lost again. I just brought home a pair of small Energy two way speakers and one tweeter is dead!

Technics pictures will be posted soon.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Telefunken Direct Drive Turntable

I can't give you as much information as I'd like about this piece. It has no model number on it. It is a nicely (but lightly) made turntable. It has so many visual aspects similar to Japanese tables that I would bet it was made in Japan for Telefunken.

It came with a one piece cartridge/headshell, missing a stylus that would be very difficult to replace. I bought a new headshell and have installed the Shure M95 cartridge that I'd hoped would work in the AR 77XB (it won't fit in the stock AR headshell...I did try it with the new headshell and discovered that the RCA cable from the table needs to be replaced). The stylus is brand new, and still breaking in.

I feel that I have not listened to enough turntables to give a credible opinion about it's ultimate sound quality, but it works well and sounds fine. It would be a good plug and play solution for someone getting into vinyl.

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Photos of recent aquisitions

The front porch of my triplex apartment building is getting (awful) new railings. The installation has been happening slowly all week. This has curtailed some of the photography I've been wanting to do. These photos were just taken in haste before the installer comes for the day. The new railings are heavy, and I have concerns about the way they cast shadows. Once the work is finished I hope i can find some good neutral places again, but I apologize that these are not my best.

AR28S Speakers

As I mentioned yesterday, I refoamed them in the afternoon. After letting the cement set, I hooked them up to the Luxman L-114A, and started to listen. I really like them. They share a laidback dryness (as opposed to richness) with speakers I've enjoyed from Genesis and EPI. This is not terribly surprising considering the overlaps in engineering talent and even parts suppliers that the incestuous New England speaker manufacturers had. Advent, AR, EPI, and Genesis based their acoustic suspension designs on work done originally by Edgar Villchur, and patented by him in 1952.

A friend of mine feels that acoustic suspension speakers systems are inherently more realistic in the bass than bass reflex systems. I like too many reflex systems (JBL, Mission, Pioneer HPM etc.) to agree totally with him, but the AR28Ss certainly have beautiful balance.

These speakers are not spectacular sounding, they simply respect the music.

Photos to come soon.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

I got a few things yesterday.

First, another pair of Mission 70s. I had a pair of these fantastic little speakers last month, and am thrilled to have another.

I picked up a Marantz 2215 in nice condition, needs a few bulbs, but sounds great.

Finally, a beautiful Luxman L-114A integrated amplifier, rated at 48 watts/channel but sounding much more powerful than that. It was made in the early eighties (1981-1983), so it doesn't strictly belong here, but what's a few years between friends?

Update: I also have a pair of AR28s speakers, a 2 way 8 inch acoustic suspension system (gee, didn't AR invent that?). I refoamed the woofers this afternoon and listening to Lush Life by John Coltrane, they are sounding great.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Update

Last night was busy, with the Sansui AU-7500, The Telefunken SB-5s and the Paisley speakers with Mission/Seas woofers all leaving. I hope to have new speakers to tell you about very soon.

I will finally get the stylus I ordered 2 1/2 weeks ago for the Shure cartridge I'm going to install in the AR 77XB turntable, and hope to hear it today.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rough Trade Live.

If you can find this direct to disc recording in it's original vinyl, grab it!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I was pretty excited about these speakers when I got them and identified them with help from generous Canuck Audio Mart members from the Kithchener/Waterloo area.

I did like the sound, but compared to many other speakers that passed through, they sounded a bit flat and harsh. They used Philips tweeters, and after more listening, decided they were the weak link in the system. Well, I have replaced the tweeters with a pair of the wonderful Seas model that are so effective in early Mission 770s and the Boston Acoustics A200s. WOW! they are a different animal now, with a beautiful high end and much improved midrange detail and definition.

They look as cool as ever, but now they really rock!

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Friday, July 3, 2009

DAC Progress Report

(Digital to Analogue Converter)
It's been a week, and as I said after a few hours, the differences are subtle but apparent. The music seems to emerge from a more silent background, recordings sound more spacious and there is an increase in overall musicality. The highest compliment I can pay is that I have been listening to even more music than usual, and that's saying something. I know this is just the beginning of my DAC experience. It makes much more sense for/to me than cd players.

I have been slow in aquiring new speakers, but still have some good small ones that should be considered from Mission, KLH, Telefunken, Wharfedale and Altec.

Update: It's been a while since I listened to the Altec Ones...they are nice!

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Saxophone Colossus

Classics are classics for a reason.

No apologies for the last couple of album cover pictures.

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