Sunday, August 30, 2009

JBL L112s

This has been an awesome weekend. I have a gorgeous pair of JBL L112s from 1980. I've had them playing for 15 minutes...they really have the JBL sound in a good way.

I've already sanded the tops, which were a little scratched, and reglued a couple of places where the grill fabric had separated from the frame. The metal form sculpted grill frames are perfect, as are the badges. The drivers were refoamed this week.

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Marantz 2252

This is gone. The person who bought it is going to enjoy it for years, more so because the two nicks on the edges of the faceplate of this otherwise perfect receiver saved him $150.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Marantz 3300 After

Marantz Update

The Marantz 3300 preamp has cleaned up (so far) much better than I had any reason to expect. The interior of looks absolutely new, and I suspect that yesterday was the first time it had ever been opened. I'm listening to it now using the Marantz 2252 that arrived yesterday (and also cleaned up nicely) as a power amp. The sound is sparkling with the phono stage or digital sources, and I can hear what is so special about this unit. I have found a tool and die shop to smooth off the rough top edge early next week (it looks like it was dragged a mile across rough concrete!). I will replace the power indicator bulb later today. Vladimir, my tech guy swooned when he saw the quality of parts and construction. This preamp, my first made in USA Marantz, is really something!

Three New Marantz Pieces

2252, 2220B, 3300.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

New Sansui AU-4900 photos

I just had the front light replaced. This is a very good 35 watt/channel amp with the "tubelike" sound Sansui lovers like me love. It performs flawlessly. It has a few scratches, but is in good overall shape for a piece of it's vintage.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Midweek Update

The Infinity RS-9s that I refoamed on the weekend left last night. I stand by my opinion that the white Polycell tweeter in that model is much better than the earlier black foam ones.

The AR28Ss, classic 8 iknch two way acoustic suspension systems, also left. I am very interested in hearing larger and older AR systems.

The Paradigm 3SE Mark IIIs are gone too. I'm still surprised that they were here for months, being such good all round performers.

Updated Wednesday evening:
My beloved Sony TA-F5 is home! I will plug it in shortly and start catching up on speakers I've wanted to hear it with. Here is a link to some useful information from The Vintage Knob, a site I respect and admire.

I finally got around to having the cable on the AR 77XB turntable fixed and got a cartridge mounted into the original headshell. This is all to say that I finally am listening to it! My initial impressions are good: very quiet with good air and detail. Oh wait, that may be how all decent turntables sound after a few months of all digital sources. I'll let you know!

I got a Rotel RC-870 preamp back from the shop today, something I bought broken and just heard for the first time. I'd hoped to pair it with the Hafler DH-200, but it left too fast. I initially hooked the Rotel up to the power amp section of the Sansui 8080, and it worked nicely.
Later, as luck would have it, a Nikko Alpha 130 100 watt/channel power amp became available to me (and soon to you!), and the combination sounds great.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Original collages by the excellent Lou Beach, who created a number of covers for Weather Report, including Heavy Weather.

Just in: a perfect Marantz 2220B

Professionally cleaned, serviced to factory specs and relamped. Looks and sounds beautiful and new.

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Just arrived again! Celestion Ditton 22s

I really liked these speakers in February, and am thrilled to have another beautiful pair.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Pioneer HPM-100s

The drivers are in great shape. I removed the midrange dustcaps so I could get the dents out, not something I'd recommend, but it worked.

This link leads to lots more information and opinion about these speakers. Thanks to John of Montreal.

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Also just in! EPI 100s in walnut, no grills.

Cousin of the fantastic Genesis One, and a budget favourite of mine.

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Akai AA-1020 Receiver

I've never had an Akai before, and I'm finding it very smooth and clean.

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Just refoamed! Infinity Reference 9s

A few years out of Seventiesstereo's interest zone (made in 1982-1984), these are the third pair of Infinity speakers I've had with the Polycell dome tweeter, and the first I've liked. Where previously I found the top end fizzy and uncontrolled, I find these much better balanced. Bass is very good for the driver size, and probably attributable to the big (for this system size), heavy cabinets.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Sony STR-V4

55 beautiful watts/channel of goodness.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Marantz 2270

Squeeky clean inside and out, beautiful sounding!

Celestion Ditton 25 photos.

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Sansui 8080 before and after photos.

I still have a bit of detailing to do, like painting the metal grill, but I'm pretty happy with the way it looks. The colour of the teak, while lighter than the original fake wood, looks right to me, while some collectors will be horrified.

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Late Night Update

I hope you are having a great evening. It's been a busy and productive day. The Sansui 8080 is back in it's TEAK VENEER case, and looks really good. i have a bit more detailing and sanding to do, but it looks waaaay better than the woodgrain vinyl did, and better (and much richer looking) than the perfect woodgrain on the 7070 I had a few months ago.

I have a pair of Celestion Ditton 25s, the steroid version of the Ditton 15s that I've enjoyed a lot. They sound great so far, driven by the 8080 as I write. They have great walnut cabinets, one I will get all the scratches out of tomorrow. The drivers are in pretty good, but not really good cosmetic shape (a bit of white paint on one woofer surround, a missing mesh cover on one tweeter), but sound perfect.

Tomorrow promises to be a very cool day. I am expecting to have a new (to me) pair of Pioneer HPM-100s, One of my favourite speakers (and one that gives many more coveted speaker only manufacturers a serious run for their money), a serious vintage Sony receiver, and a Marantz 2270, which I've not heard since 1976.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2 Sansui Pieces

I have an 8080 and an AU-4900. Both perform flawlessly, but the case on the 8080 needs a lot of attention, and will get it.

Updated Thursday night:
They both sound great. I stripped the peeling woodgrain film on the 8080's case, and hope to have it veneered in teak tomorrow.
The AU-4900 is yet another gorgeous sounding Sansui integrated, in beautiful shape.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Have a great week.

I hope to have all kids of cool surprises this week.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cerwin Vega 26 photos

I wrote about these on Wednesday. I'm amazed that Cerwin Vega produced these fabulous speakers, with such a capable tweeter, and went on to produce clunkers like the plastic horns in the HED series. I had a pair of HED-10s, 3 way systems with a dedicated midrange, and instruments and voices in the mids were not nearly as musical or satisfying as on these systems. If you need a speaker that will please you playing Rush and The John Coltrane Quartet, these could be the ones.

I don't know much about the provenance(I know, it's a speaker, not a Group of Seven oil painting!) of this pair. They have no grills, and one woofer has a protruding metal flange that the other doesn't, which suggests that one was replaced at some point. They are both very heavy cast frame monsters. The distinctive (not my aesthetic at all) pinkish/reddish surrounds are as supple as new, and these will run for years.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cerwin Vega 26s

I got, refoamed and wrote enthusiastically about the Cerwin Vega R24s, the company's first residential speaker, in May. Now I have a pair of 26s which seem to be very much the same (but more commercially brandeded) speakers.

The tweeters are the same. They have 12 inch woofers, the same cabinet dimensions and the same awesome bass kick.

After spending a few hours:
Like the 24s, these speakers surprise me with their musicality and delicacy with jazz. One of my first speaker refoam projects right before I started this blog was a pair of Cerwin Vega HED-10s, a 10 inch 3 way system. It used a horn tweeter that was brash and annoying to me. I replaced them with dome tweeters that made things better, but at the expense of some coherence. In my opinion, these vintage Vegas are orders of magnitude better than most Cerwin Vegas, and it's got to be because of the tweeter.

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B&W DM-14s

I got them late last night. This morning I sanded the tops, redid the grills and repainted the metal parts of the stands. They sound fantastic. I was concerned about their efficiency (86 db), and worried about their bass extension (the specs say 80 hz - 20 khz, but that's plus or minus 2db freefield, more conservative than many manufacturers specify).

I didn't need to worry about a thing! The Technics SU-V76 drives them nicely without lighting up like a christmas tree, and listening to Coltrane Plays The Blues as I write this, the upright bass is walking very solidly.

The drivers consist of a fabric dome tweeter and 2 6 1/2 inch bextrene woofers. The build quality is extraordinary, and these speakers come with stands designed for them, that bolt right into threads on the bottom.

Pictures to come as soon as the camera batteries are charged. I can't wait to show you these teak (on all sides) beauties!

And here they are:

Beautiful, eh?

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New Speaker Update

It's very late, so I'll fill in the details tomorrow, but I have a pair of B&W DM14s and a pair of Cerwin Vega 26s. Good night.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mordaunt Short Festival 3s uncovered.

I thought that removing the tops might be difficult, but they are mounted in place with speaker grill hardware. The grill is a bag that ties at the top, beneath the walnut plate. The drivers are as well made and in as good condition as I'd hoped. I have refinished the top plates and they are beautiful.

None of the above would matter much if the speakers didn't sound good. The more I listen, the more I like them.

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