Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Update.

The Sansui AU-9500 has gone to a very appreciative new owner. I didn't spend as much time with it as I would have liked on its return, but am very impressed by it (and did spend a lot of time with it initially).

The Burhoes were listened to a lot last night, driven by the Harman/Kardon A -402 and then the Sony TA-F5, one side of vinyl after another 'til late. They are powerful yet delicate, full range speakers. I bought them because they were available and I'd wanted them for a long time, but also because I've known for a while that the JBL 4312Bs will not be here forever, and needed to know what my next go to speaker would/could be. These are it.

e-mail me


I'd briefly heard these rare and fabulous speakers from Winslow Burhoe's eponymous company, founded after EPI (which spawned Genesis Physics Corporation) about a year ago. That pair had been 'refoamed' with rings of linen cut from a bedsheet by someone who didn't have speaker foam on their radar, but was a craftsman who did a skillful job with what he had. They sounded good. My pair has full wood veneer front baffles and look much prettier than the brochure picture I post. I haven't listened for an hour yet, but I can tell you that the inverted dome midrange driver, which looks like a larger version of Burhoe's famous inverted dome tweeter, is superb, and that the ten inch woofer in a large ported enclosure yields detailed and deep bass. Much more to come about these!

e-mail me

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Sansui AU-9500 is back!

The entire problem was a broken toggle switch for the N.R. ADAPTOR feature (pretty unnecessary in 2010 unless you need noise reduction built into your amp for use in a reel to reel tapdeck ), a broken (brittle) plastic bit. He didn't replace the switch, but made it work, with perfect contact, but now not making an audible 'click' when it's switched into 'OUT' (where it should always be) from 'IN' (where it will never be). It was causing the weak channel problem in the phono and all other inputs. It's sounding amazing now, as is the matching AU-9500 tuner.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Longest I've Gone Without Posting.

I apologize. My day job has been extremely demanding this week. Not a lot has happened audiowise. I will have the big Sansui AU-9500 back this weekend. The Marantz 4400 is an ongoing project. Vladimir begged me to take it away (it's the most complex receiver he's seen in 30 years), but I will get him a real service manual and we will review the situation. I can't wait to hear it (it sounds great in mono)!

I did have the opportunity to refoam a pair of JBL L128 woofers, the first White cone woofers I've worked on, and they worked beautifully.

I hope to have some awesome new speakers to tell you about tomorrow. Have a great weekend.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I don't have a record cleaning machine. I bought a very inexpensive copy of All 'N' All by Earth Wind & Fire, that without my reading glasses on looked ok, but on closer inspection (and playing) appeared to have a layer of sugary, crackle and pop inducing glaze all over both sides. I was dying to hear it last night, so washed it like a dish (but rinsed for a very long time).
And it worked! It is now playable, reasonably quiet and full of vinyl detail, musicality and goodness.

All 'N' All is a kickass, relentlessly funky album from a real band at the top of it's game. Awesome rhythm section, ferocious horns. Serpentine Fire is blistering!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A few things are gone.

The Mission 701s, the Celestion 3s, the Technics SU-V76 amp and ST-S76 tuner and the Pioneer SA-5500II amp.

I still have lots to listen to and enjoy. I have a new pair of The New Advent Loudspeaker, woofers just refoamed yesterday. They sound as good as always, and are a very solid vintage choice.

Have a great weekend.

e-mail me

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Yamaha NS-10M Studios are gone.

The most analytical systems I've had, they are not ideal speakers for recreational use. While they brought out details and buried tracks in songs I thought I really knew, I was never able to relax and be completely absorbed in the music. I was listening to the sound, and the quality of the recording (or the bit rate of the rip) instead. If I had these for a long time, I bet they would start to influence my listening choices.

All that being said, I understand what invaluable tools these speakers are for recording and mixing professionals, and have no doubt that if a mix sounds good on Yamaha NS-10s, it sounds outstanding on just about anything else. This is a system that I respect, but can't love.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Lucky Break

In July I wrote briefly about Rough Trade Live, a brilliant direct to dicc recording released in a very limited edition. I have a CD made from the digital safety tapes (and still available), which is quite good, and have heard a couple of copies of the vinyl in the past, but finally I own one! I got it for $3.45 used (obviously) at Sonic Boom. I just listened to side one and I am very happy.

I was going to explain the difference between direct to disc and conventional record manufacturing techniques, but I type with 2 fingers and wouldn't finish tonight! This Wikipedia post says it better anyway.

e-mail me

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Brilliant logo, cool idea, one (not 2) discs of coolness.

Service and Repair Update

Vladimir is gone for a week. I left the Marantz 4400 with him, but he couldn't give it the attention it needed in a rush, so I'll be waiting to hear it (in anything but mono) for a while yet. This will be a test of patience.

The big Sansui AU-9500 developed problems in the preamp section in every place that Vladimir hadn't been. I kept it for weeks, using the awesome and fully functional power amp section with the Marantz 3300 preamp. As soon as Vladimir returns I will have it fixed and sounding great again.

The Sony TA-F5 continues to impress, has been totally solid and reliable, and has been my go to amp since the Sansui (temporarily) died.

DISCLAIMER: The pieces I've discussed in this post are unusually complex (and the SONY is in this post because it's working well). Those who are new to vintage audio should know that the construction quality of most of this stuff is exceptional by modern standards, and once working or serviced (often just a good cleaning and lubrication), should give years of beautiful music and exceptional service.

e-mail me

Harman/Kardon a 402 photos

This is a really fine amplifier, from HARMAN/KARDON at it's best. It's conservatively rated at 40 watts per channel. The dual mono design, with twin power supplies gives it incredible punch, and the wide bandwidth contributes beautiful delicacy and detail. I was driving the JBL 4312Bs last night, playing Black Uhuru And LKJ, and this amp rocks.

The owner's manual is here.

e-mail me

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Just Arrived! Harman/Kardon A 402 Integrated Amplifier

A very conservative 40 watts/channel. Total dual mono design. Ultra cool led meters. beautiful sound with a great phono section. Connects 2 turnatbles, 2 tape decks, 3 line level components. Pre out/main in jacks. This is a winner!

e-mail me

Friday, November 13, 2009

A beautiful and generous new album.

"And now, in the digital age, while everyone else is thinking of ways to sell single songs through the internet or snippets of songs on cell phones, Blue Rodeo has recorded a double album designed specifically to be enjoyed on vinyl. The Things We Left Behind is the real deal. Double gate-fold sleeve, 12 x 12 cover and two albums, four distinct sides programmed to take the listener on a trip."

That's from the media kit for Blue Rodeo's new album, The Things We Left Behind, and is beautifully put. Musically, it is as good as the band has ever been (though Lost Together will always be my favourite). Sonically, the double 180 gram vinyl pressing is superbly done: well mastered, and dead quiet. The generous package includes the two CDs as well, allowing for direct AB comparisons. The ambience, richness and detail of the vinyl is startling.

e-mail me

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Marantz 4400

This is what it looks like today.

UPDATE: The scope seems to work perfectly. It calibrates, it's bright and it's responsive.

e-mail me

Monday, November 9, 2009

Attention Shoppers!

Wait 'til you see the after photos! I've never had a receiver like this. Forget the quadraphonic aspect (4 x 50 watts/channel).
In stereo, this is rated at 125 watts/channel, like a 2325, and weighs 60 pounds. It needs to see Vladimir, but is going to be spectacular!

e-mail me

Thursday, November 5, 2009

ADS L620s Again!

The ADS L620 is a large 2 way 10 inch sealed design that easily competes with (and some think is better than) Dynaco A-25s and large Advents.
UPDATE: I think it's better than.

e-mail me

KEF C25 Speakers

I'm listening to Sonny Rollins (Saxophone Colossus) as I write. These are very nice speakers, with good detail and imaging, neutral balance. It's been my experience that bextrene cone drivers need a bit more power to deliver the goods, but these speakers reward it.

I have a pair of ADS L620s arriving this afternoon. I had a pair last November and loved them.

e-mail me

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Midweek Update

I mentioned that the Pioneer SX-838 was back from service and sounds great. This 50 watt/channel beauty has real weight and authority, is very well built and weighs forty pounds. It is very full featured and highly recommended.

My latest pair of Advent Loudspeakers left the night before last. I have never not enjoyed the sound of these classic speakers. They do so much right and very little wrong and are a fantastic value. I expect to have another set to refoam and make available by the weekend.

It is a pleasure having the SONY TA-F5 back. It had a loose connector inside that for a long time only behaved for Vladimir. It finally misbehaved for him too, and he fixd the problem permanently! This is a gorgeous sounding amp, one of my favourites.

About six months ago I bought a JVC VT-700 tuner, and just got around to cleaning it, replacing all the bulbs and giving it a listen. I am impressed with the performance and build quality (and the funky graphic design!).

e-mail me

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Newer Posts Older Posts Home