Sunday, January 31, 2010

I haven't listened to the Delta speakers (some of Kitchener/Waterloos finest) in a while, and they are sounding magnificent with the GAS/NAD combo and some Oscar Peterson (on vinyl).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I just bought a soldering iron!

There is lots more that I can do now. I should have done this two years ago!

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Keep Warm.

I have another Marantz 2220B

The faceplate is perfect, all corners clean and sharp. This unit was used by a single owner (I am the second) with a transparent protective cover over the faceplate.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Marantz WC-22 Wood Sleeve

Unlike most manufacturers, Marantz components came standard with metal cases, and the company offered wood sleeves as extra cost options. I very much like the way the standard cases look, even though I can't say why theirs is the only fake woodgrain that looks cool to me. Ok, It's probably because unlike woodgrain applied over particle board, which gives the illusion of 3 dimensionality to the fake wood, it is clear that the Marantz cases are sheet metal, and that the woodgrain is an industrially applied pattern. There is an honesty to it. It surprises me that I prefer the sheet metal over the simulated wood skeeves that Pioneer and Sansui, to name two, used on all but their flagship models. For example, the Sansui 8080 is simulated woodgrain, while the 9090 is real. That's why I redid my 8080 case in teak.
Any Marantz owner could purchase a real wood veneer sleeve for their components. I don't know how much they cost in the seventies, but today (January 28, 2010) on Ebay there are a few for sale. The highest 'buy it now' price is $225, the average around $125. New reproduction cases cost more than many of the receivers they enclose!
They are not my cup of tea. While they are beautifully made, and look luxurious, to me they make the receivers look too bulky, and the way the aluminum front panel sits in the beveled front removes the perception of the faceplate as a 3 dimensional object, making it read as a 'skin'. They also in my opinion make the receivers look older than their seventies vintage...too retro for my taste.
All that being said, I have a beautiful WC-22 that will fit most Marantz 22XX receivers. My opinion is just that.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I forgot to mention that the Szabo 831s left on Saturday for the home of a new friend of Seventies Stereo, who I know will enjoy them for a long time. On final listen, they sounded beautiful, with an especially good midrange.

I finally got around to finding and installing gaskets on the Burhoe Blues, which puts the final visual 'dot on the i' on a fantastic and rare speaker.

The latest Marantz 2220B sounds as good as it should, and will probably be leaving this afternoon.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Just arrived: a beautiful Marantz 2220B

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NAD 1020 Preamp Photos

It's amazing how the light changes over a few hours.

As can be seen from the interior picture, the 1020 is built on the same board as the justifiably famous 3020 integrated amp, 2/3 of it (where power amp components would be) empty. I thought that it was exactly the 3020 preamp section minus power amp, but the back panel has 3 selectable phono capacitance settings. The 1020 preamp is all many will need: simple, inexpensive, and beautiful sounding. It's quite a rare beast, unfortunately.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

GAS Son Of Ampzilla

This is one of the best sounding amplifiers I've heard in my home: clean, clear, powerful and transparent in the best sense.

I was using Son of Ampzilla with the preamp that was part of the Technics mini component system and it sounded quite nice, but the Technics gear didn't stay here very long. The idea of using the preamp section of a receiver or integrated amp doesn't appeal to my sense of minimalism (there's another power amp just sitting idle). For most of the week I was simply plugging my DAC into the amps inputs, and controlling the volume from my computer. I found a NAD 1020 preamp that I have pressed into service, and It's sounding really good. I been able to really check out the performance of Son of Ampzilla with vinyl, and I love it.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Paisley Research 10 inch 2 way photos.

I have a little more fine sanding to do, and there is only one coat of oil applied so far, but I wanted to show these. I don't have a model number (if you do, please e-mail me). They are big, heavy 10 inch 2 way systems, woofer above (Mission style!). I haven't removed the drivers, but am sure that they are from Vifa. They sound great, and look as good as they sound in their new oak veneer (originally woodgrain vinyl).

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Marantz 1040 Integrated Amp.

If you are curious about vintage Marantz, this is an excellent, inexpensive way to start.
Update 4 hours later: People agreed with me, and now it's gone!

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Szabo 831s

These have the same dome tweeter and midrange as the floorstanding 833s, and so far sound every bit as good while looking way cooler. The grills, shown in the bottom photo, are fishnet, like those silly Wharfedale E70s I had. They're a bit ratty, so I may buy a pair of extra large fishnet stockings and redo the grills. The point isn't the stockings. It's that these speakers rock.

Updated Friday:
They have new stockings and look perfect.

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I Guess It's Sony Day at Seventies Stereo.

I got these on Saturday. I was going to veneer the woodgrain side panels on these, as I did with the STR-5800 SD below. The receiver doesn't have metal sides, just a top, whereas the Sony separates of the same vintage have a full metal case, and side panels in addition. I think they look very cool without the wood.

This amp is the model down from my TA-3650, and rated at 50 watts/channel. It sounds amazing. I will check out the tuner soon, and let you know how it sounds.

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New Sony STR-5800 SD Photos

I veneered the fake wood side panels in real teak, as is my habit. This is a beautiful, great sounding receiver, produced from 1976-78. It's a solid 55 watts/channel, and at least as good sounding as the identically rated STR-V4.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Technics Mini Components

In 1979 this stuff retailed for big money. In contrast with what is called a 'minisystem' today, these are very high quality components, using the most state of the art technology of the time, like the pulse power supply in the 60 watt per channel DC coupled amplifier. The preamp accepts moving coil cartridges. The cassette deck is not as well made as the other stuff, but not bad at all. The speakers are surprisingly good. By chance, an old friend of this blog called this morning seeking a small system, and this will be perfect for him. It will be gone later today, but as I write, the little Technics preamp ius driving the GAS Son of Ampzilla, and it all sounds fantastic!

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekend Update

The JBL L26s left this evening. One pair of Realistic Minimus 7s are gone, but I have another. The UREI 6500 is gone in a trade, along with the Sony STR-7055 and the JVC VT-700 tuner.

Arriving today, a Great American Sound Son of Ampzilla, a pair of Szabo 831 speakers, a Sony STR-5800 receiver, a Sony TA-2650 amplifier and an ST-2950 SD tuner. I'll be writing about and taking photos of all of it within the next few days.

Pioneer A-70 Photos

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Fantastic New Amplifier From Out of Nowhere!

Pioneer A-70 (apparently a rare one). 120 watts/channel (minimum) into 8 ohms. Vintage 1982 (so sue me!). Extremely cool silvery aesthetic that continues to grow on me.

An hour later: sounds great!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Tubes Are Leaving On Friday.

The Dynaco gear sounds beautiful.

It has been reliable and trouble free so far, and I expect that it will continue to be. For a first timer, that's important to me. It is as quiet as anything solid state that I've hums or buzzes.

It has the beautiful, transparent, liquid, grain-free, coherent midrange and high end that I'd hoped for and (expected). It presents recorded spatial ambience convincingly.

I've really enjoyed listening to some of my favorite recordings. The Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Sessions, recorded with one stereo microphone to two track live at Trinity Church in downtown Toronto. It sounded amazing through the Dynaco stuff, driving either Mission 770 freedom 4s, Burhoe Blues or JBL L26s.

BUT Linton Kwesi Johnson, my desert island reggae artist, or Black Uhuru, or The Black Crowes don't have the bottom end heft and articulation that I know is there. What's there is nice, but the bass sounds rolled.

SO I've been making my music selections around the strengths and weaknesses of the equipment. That doesn't make me very happy, even though I know how good the right music (and recording) can sound.

Right now, I'm listening to the Marantz 1122DC driving the Missions. If I am missing some
transparency & liquidity, I'll be ok.

I breifly used the PAS-3 with the giant UREI amp, and it sounded really nice. Using a 95 pound, 275 watt/channel amp is a reliable way to ensure the Dynaco delivers full bass response.

I'm sure I'll have tube gear in this place again. Some people will shake there heads in bewilderment, but I will enjoy the music just as much until then.

There you have it. More to come.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another pair of JBL L26s.

I just got these late this morning, refoamed the woofers at lunch and am listening to them as I write. I don't want to repeat myself, but I love these speakers, and the whole JBL decade series (L16, L26, L36).

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Modified Dynaco PAS-3 Photos

From an e-mail from the previous owner: 'One thing I didn't explain about the pre amp is that the caps have been upgraded to large modern orange ones and the transformer is new and huge. Also, one of the tubes have been replaced all together with something else that looks like a transformer (all to improve and modernize performance). The tone controls and stereo/mono control have all been bypassed, for a shorter, cleaner signal path. The RCA jacks are also upgraded. The modifications were all professionally done and look it: the workmanship is excellent.


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