Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The kind of day it's been.

If you haven't listened to Born To Run in more than 5 years, put it on now.

Happy Sunday

I hope you're having a good weekend. I haven't been looking for anything new, just enjoying the fabulous pieces I'm lucky to have right now, especially the Sony TA-F55 integrated amp driving either the JBL L50s or ESS AMT-1B Bookshelves.

The Sony is another jewel of an integrated (remember this? and this?). Sony did everything but the visual design really, really well in the seventies. If the products had been sexier (hello Marantz!), they would command Marantz prices today. I think that this amp is every bit as musical and luscious as comparable Marantz or Sansui equipment.

The JBL L50s are as enjoyable as the L36s that they replaced, with the the bonus of higher efficiency, and perhaps, better imaging (because the mids and tweeters are vertically aligned). The grills are a landmark in modernist industrial design and manufacturing, and unlike the fantastic foam grills that the L100s had, they still exist (most L100 grills are dust).

The ESS speakers are awesome! The Heil Air Motion Transformer does everything claimed for it, and the mids and highs are stunningly natural! The bass is awesome (they go much deeper than the JBL L50s). I could live very happily with these speakers for a very long time. By the way, the construction quality is first rate, in a JBL way. The only strange thing about these is that you would be crazy to put them on a bookshelf...they weigh 65 pounds each! ESS weren't the only optimistic speaker manufacturer. Advents, Pioneer HPM 100s, and JBL L100s were all considered bookshelf size in the seventies.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Technical Difficulties

I apologize to anyone who has tried to get in touch with me since Thursday. My internet account got messed up, but it's all fine now.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ESS AMT-1B photos.

Beautiful day.

So I've started early, and hope to have the JBL L50s and the ESS AMT-1Bs stripped, sanded, oiled and photographed before mid afternoon.

Update: They look great, beautiful american walnut veneer, almost all scratches came out, great colour.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I may have recommended this before. If you haven't heard it, check it out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2 systems I've wanted to hear for years.

UPDATE, after midnight:
OMFG! I put the rebuilt passive radiators in and cranked the initial reference tunes. WOW.

I have been fortunate today. I got a pair of DCM Timepieces. They look like baby Timewindows, about 14 inches high. So far they sound great, but I'll have more to say soon.

And I have a pair of ESS AMT 1B Bookshelf speakers. I've refoamed the massive bextrene cone 12 inch woofers & rebuilt the 12 inch passives. I'm going out now, and will let them cure,and can't wait to hear them when I get back. I've wanted to check these out for years.

Monday, September 13, 2010

JBL L50 first pictures

I will do some refinishing, but these are in very nice shape.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New JBLs!

I just brought home (on the TTC, with a hand cart) a pair of JBL L50s, the successor to my beloved L36s. They are also 10 inch 3 way systems, but with 127H woofers instead of 125As, and LE26 tweeters instead of LE25s. They are 6 pounds heavier then L36s, have ultra funky sculpted grills (see catalog grills are brown), and are finished in real walnut veneer. They sound beautiful, with the JBL sound I can't get enough of. Pictures to follow.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

SONY TA-F55 Integrated Amp.

From The Vintage Knob, one of the best vintage resources I know: The F55 is a low-THD, low-TIM, low-NFB design thanks to the high bandwidth of its output bipolar transistors (80MHz) and Pulse Power Supply (PPS).

High-fT transistors are made of a string of normal transistors connected in parallel offering lower switching distortion and better stability.
The PPS rectifies the line voltage, chops it at 20kHz, DC-AC inverts it and then rectifies and filters it again to output pure, clean, stable, DC current.

The freon-filled Heat-Pipe allows to dissipate heat more evenly over the multiple thin fins and also to place the output devices closer to both pre/power stages to avoid long cabling ; due to the immediate cooling of the system, the output devices are mounted directly on the pre-driver board !

Like most mid-end Sony amplifiers, the F55 can receive MC cartridges and even has two-step capacitance and impedance switches !

Internal cabling is done entirely with 99,99% pure copper and the preamplifier stages are separated from the main amp by a FET buffer stage.
Source selection is done by electronic switches relaying switching MOS-Fets placed in the signal circuits.

The real twist is the strange design retained for the volume control : if the push buttons were already old salad by 1979, the volume indicator itself is... not what you think it is : the F55 uses a green ribbon with a motor to pull said ribbon behind the indicator window !
The other LEDs really are real LEDs.

It sounds fantastic...very detailed and authoritative, very musical. The volume setup is as strange as it sounds, but works well. The attention to detail in every aspect of the design, and manufacturing quality gives this baby magnificent musical abilities.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

B&W DM-14s in rosewood.

I have had a pair of these before, as well as a pair of DM-1400s, which are an evolution of the same design. This set is even more beautiful in real rosewood veneer (the others were teak).