Friday, March 26, 2010

Current Situation

My place is full of some of the best speakers I've had, and they've all been here for a long time. I am fortunate to be able to listen to different speakers for different moods, and to go back to pairs I haven't heard in a while. The Szabo 831s are a great example. They weren't here long the first time, but did return. I have spent most of this week listening to them, and they are even better than I realized. They are so smooth and well integrated that they may be overshadowed by speakers that do one thing better (bass, detail, imaging), but are excellent and very musical all around. I could live with them for a long time.

The KEF 104s are not ready. I just haven't had the time or patience to sort out their issues.

My lovely AR 77XB turntable has started to make motor noise that doesn't affect the amplified sound, but has me concerned. A good friend of this blog has recommended an AR specialist to help, and I will look into it soon.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

KEF 104 unfinished photos

The fronts have not been finished. The white stuff is adhesive from the mounting strips for the disintegrated foam grills. The rest of the cabinets are turning out nicely with one coat of oil. I replaced the smashed capacitor in one of the crossovers, and as planned have replaced the blown T-27 tweeters with a a pair of Seas tweeters. After an hour of listening, these sound great.

Updated: Further listening, including Jaco Patorius, reveals that all is not right in one woofer. More to come.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cross Eyed Cat

This band gets better with each gig. If you love the blues, you should go.

New speakers as promised weeks ago.

I refoamed two pairs of eight inch woofers the night before last:

One pair is for set of AR 4xa speakers. These are early vintage Acoustic Research beauties. There is excellent information available here. They look pretty ordinary, but are growing on me fast. They are very natural and neutral sounding, with notably excellent reproduction of cymbals.

The other set is a pair of Epicure M-100s. I have EPI 100s, and have had Genesis Model Ones, and these are almost the same speakers. This set is designed constructed a bit differently. There is no lip around the grill, yielding a smooth front baffle like vintage JBLs. The drivers are clustered closely together in the cabinet, which should modestly improve the imaging, and does. This is the best pair of this classic (more than 300,000 manufactured over 10 years!) that I've had the pleasure of hearing.

The other pair of speakers I picked up recently are KEF 104s. These are going to be a project. The tweeters are both blown, one crossover has a smashed capacitor, the cabinets are in rough shape and one woofer, while looking the same, is a KEF, but not the right part number. I've fixed the crossover and am stripping the cabinets now. Frank from the Speaker Shop has suggested that a pair of Seas tweeters that I have currently in the Deltas would be a good acoustic and crossover compatible match, so I am going to install them and listen before buying a pair of the original T-27 tweeters.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

I replaced the caps in the Burhoe Blues!

Replacing crossover capacitors is a can of worms I would have preferred to not open. As good as the Burhoe Blues look and sound, people with much more knowledge and experience than me had me convinced that they could sound even better. They were right! The speakers sound cleaner, more open, more natural. The bass is less boomy and more detailed. I wish I could tell you that the difference is night and's more subtle than that, but it is apparent, and the difference translates into longer listening sessions and less fatigue.

The work involved was quick and easy. The Blues only required 2 caps each, for a total of 4, and 8 easy solders. I cleaned the midrange and treble adjustment pots while I was inside.

This doesn't mean that I will replace all the capacitors in every speaker all the time (the Genesis 3s definitely don't need it), but I am happy to be able to consider it. The next speakers to get replacement caps will be a pair of KLH 17s that sound harsh compared to other pairs I've had and heard.

Special thanks to JP for his knowledge, advice and support.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

A highly recommended music blog.

Rebuilt Tranny is cool and inspired. The writing is witty, the images inspired and the downloadable music interesting.

A Marantz 2270 that sounds fantastic.

I have not been having a lot of luck with electronics lately. For the last couple weeks, my Sony TA-2650 has been my only available amp. I really like it, and have no complaints, but I enjoy variety, and have some speakers at the moment (particularly Genesis Model Threes) that can benefit from more power than the Sony (at 40 watts/channel) can provide.

This particular 2270 looks like it has been through hell. It reminds me a bit of the famous fire ad from 1974 (I cleaned it up before I took the picture). The top of the faceplate has been pulled forward (by a strong and curious child, I think), stretching the aluminum itself, and cracking the plastic fascia. I took it to an auto body shop, and was told that it can be restored to it's original shape using a heating and cooling process that would destroy the anodizing, and probably the screening as well. I have been unsuccessful so far in finding a replacement.

I replaced the cracked AM antenna housing with one from my 2220B parts wreck. I have a power switch to install, and will soon (it stays on all the time now).

The receiver produced no sound when I got it. Vladimir just finished with it yesterday and it sounds magnificent! I forgot just how much I love this particular model. It sound rich, spacious and very musical.

It's a pleasure having a big Marantz again.

If you have an extra 2270 faceplate, please let me know. Thanks to Joe for this.

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