Thursday, March 31, 2011


I've got the I have to replace the other diaphragm blues.

No I don't! It was just a bad connection inside. I've never been a great solderer, but today I watched a video on youtube, and got it perfect. All is good.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ESS AMT 3 Rock Monitor Brochure Page.

Thanks to Wally, a good friend of the blog for the scan of the ESS brochure. I'm thrilled to have the actual specs for these awesome speakers.

ESS AMT 3 Rock Monitor Photos.

I removed all the drivers, sanded the cabinets and got almost all the scratches out.
I masked all the wood and sprayed them flat black.
I removed all the masking, oiled the cabinets with teak oil.
I resealed all the drivers before reinstalling.
These speakers are fantastic. They're not overwhelming, as their size might lead you to expect. They're natural and neutral with excellent, tight bass with no boom.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Black & Blue.

One of my favorite Stones albums.

EPI 100Ws

Here is a beautiful walnut pair of one of the all time classic american 2 way speakers, built from 1967 'til 1979. The vinyl woodgrain version, the 100Vs may be more finished looking, but the W's cabinets, in my opinion, more than compensate.

Photo note: At this time of day, at this time of year the sun is almost a backlight by late in the afternoon. Enjoy the cool lens flares!


I finally noticed the 'STATS' tab on the Blogger Dashboard that has been there since June. It tells me, among other things that more than half of you are checking this blog from outside Canada. If I didn't know that, I wouldn't have written the post below.

Juno Awards Tonight.

Tonight is the 40th annual Juno Awards, the Grammys of the great north.Toronto has been buzzing.

The biggest band on the planet at this moment, Arcade Fire are playing, as well as Seventies Stereo favourite Broken Social Scene and many others. There is also going to be a tribute to Canadian music legends, directed and arranged by Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy. The tribute also features City and Colour, Derek Miller, Garth Hudson, Greg Keelor, Justin Rutledge, Sarah Harmer, Sarah Slean and The Sadies.

In Canada, we are often guilty of measuring ourselves, and our music scene against others, especially the USA. We have no reason to do that. Canada rocks.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

ESS AMT 3 Rock Monitor Update, Saturday.

One is working perfectly! I refoamed the midrange, splicing a 6 1/2" foam down to 6". The tweeter on that one worked outside the enclosure, and the reason it and the mid didn't work inside was simply a blown fuse. I'm now one more midrange refoam and one tweeter diaphragm away from hearing these magnificent beasts in stereo.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pinetop Perkins 1913-2011

Wise wisdom from Frank at The Speaker Shop.

I just got back from The Speaker Shop. One of the Heil tweeter diaphragms has to be replaced, the midrange cones need to be stiffened at the edges, and even Frank didn't have the correct foam size for the midrange in stock. I'm going to try modifying a standard size to fit. Theoretically, I may hear one speaker tonight. Frank Fabian is a resource I couldn't do without, and is very generous with his time and knowledge.

ESS AMT 3 Rock Monitor Update.

Latest update: On the second system, the Heil tweeter isn't working outside the cabinet and crossover, on the first, the problem may just be a fuse.

I've tested all the drivers on the first system outside the cabinet (and crossover). I knew the woofers were fine, and they are, but both the Heil AMT(!) and the six inch midrange driver work perfectly. That tells me it's the crossover that's the problem, and that's definitely something I can sort out.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

These just in.

ESS AMT 3 Rock Monitors! Over 100 pounds each. Forty inches tall. Each walnut cabinet contains 2 ten inch woofers, a six inch midrange, and a full size Heil AMT tweeter on top. It took a lot of effort to get them into the Seventies Stereo World Headquarters building. So far, I know that all 4 woofers were replaced with genuine ESS parts a few years ago, that the midrange drivers need refoaming, and on firing one up, there is only sound coming from the woofers. I will open them up soon...could be connection problems, could be crossovers. I love a challenge and after my last ESS experience, I can't wait to hear these.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You'd have to be drunk...

to buy these speakers at this price. Thanks to Mike for bringing the Pioneer S-A4SPT-PM Pure Malt speakers to my attention. The cabinets are made from 50 year old whiskey barrels for a 'mellow sound'. The drivers and specs look good, and I bet they sound like reasonable $200 mini monitors. If you have a pair, or buy some, please invite me for a listen. I'll bring the'll need it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Quote of the day.

"I love it...Im selling my ipod to buy a vintage receiver.
Out with the new, in with the old!"

In progress.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

JBL L36s Again.

I've had lots of experience with JBL L36s. I've refoamed and refinished 3 pairs. They require a powerful amp, with good headroom, to really bloom. But they're wonderful speakers. They aren't as neutral as the Brauns or Revoxes, but they're very musical, drawing me into the performance, making me want dance (I can't), and sing along (I do).

The entire Decade series is wonderful. The L16 is a great sounding 2 way 8 inch system, and the 2 way 10 inch L26 deserves to be considered (as I know I've said before) along with the Dynaco A-25s and large Advents.


Fascinating details:
In the liner notes to the forthcoming box set celebrating the 25th anniversary of ZTT Records, journalist Paul Morley says Slave to The Rhythm was originally intended for Frankie Goes To Hollywood as a follow-up to their single "Relax". The song was assembled and produced by Horn after "Two Tribes", but the project was given to Jones. Morley says Horn worked on the song endlessly and had hoped it would become one of his biggest and most successful creations.


I just got 2 preamps back from Vladimir, a Nakamichi CA-5 (the mate for the PA-5 preamp), and the Adcom GTP-400. Both had issues. The Nakamichi had noise in one channel through all inputs, and the Adcom lost one channel after playing for half an hour. I didn't have the use of either when evaluating the Nakamichi PA-5 power amp, which I used connected directly to my DAC, using my computer to control volume. It sounded pretty good. I was quite excited to bring the preamps home and really check them and the PA-5 out together, especially since the Nak preamp has an excellent phono stage, with low output moving coil capability (I have a turntable with a low output MC cartridge arriving soon).

Well I connected the 2 Nakamichi pieces, switched the system on and heard noise everywhere. The Nak preamp with another amp sounded as quiet as it had in Vladimir's shop. The Adcom preamp with the Nak power amp was almost as noisy as the Nak preamp. And the kicker: the same noise, but much quieter was present with the DAC connected directly to the Nak amp with the volume high and no music playing (but was something I must have missed with music playing at regular volumes). I'm not crazy, both preamps did have issues that Vladimir fixed, but the Nakamichi PA-5 clearly needs to visit him too. Swapping components in and out to troubleshoot noise issues isn't my idea of a good time. Listening to music is.

These are the kind of problems that make frustrated music lovers run to Best Buy. Resist! The effort of sorting these issues out will pay off.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Update.

The Braun L710s are gone. The ADS/Braun designs are among my absolute favorites: stunningly clear, neutral and very musical. The drivers, especially the dome midrange, are excellent.

The Revox AX4-3s left today, and I have a great pair of JBL L36s back in the house. I get a bit antsy when I go to long without a JBL fix. This pair has 127A woofers, identical to the stock 125As (same frame, and they require the same recone kit), except for the non-inverted (outie) dustcap, and ferrite magnets, not alnicos. JBL went to ferrite magnets as soon as the fabrication issues were overcome, and I hear no difference in sound (and I've tried).

Update: I had the Sherwood S-7100A receiver hooked up when I brought the JBLs in, and they sounded great together. The L36s, however, are the least efficient JBLs I've ever seen (76db!), and switching to the Sansui G-6700 really opens them up beautifully.

Monday, March 14, 2011

He is the king!

Rega 2 speakers in red mahogany.

This is what I worked on in my front room while the back flooded. Thanks to Kevin for the J roller. Perfection will always elude me (and these are far from perfect), but the corners are much closer to manufactured standards of sharpness than I've achieved before. There is lots of information on the web about these late seventies Canadian made, Rega branded (whether permission was obtained is arguable) gems.
They use french Polydax drivers (thanks for the trade, Phil), sound great, and have very elegant proportions. But they had terribly finished fake woodgain vinyl cabinets that made them a great candidate for restyling. The gunmetal hammertone front baffle is a reference to my beloved Mission 770 Freedom 4s.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sansui G-6700 receiver

This is not exactly my cup of tea aesthetically, though it has been growing on me. It is a spectacular sounding piece, very clean (but not sterile) and very powerful. It's driven every speaker I've hooked it up to, including the power hungry Bose 901 Series 1s effortlessly. You can find the original brochure here.

Friday, March 11, 2011


On a day of real tragedy in Japan, I woke up early, got out of bed and stepped into water. After 3 years of dryness, Seventies Stereo World Headquarters is flooded.

All the equipment is safe and dry. Hopefully temperatures will drop below freezing tonight, and the water will slow down. Repairs should begin tomorrow.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Nakamichi PA-5 Stasis Power Amplifier.

There is lots of information and chatter about this on the internet, most favourable, some not. It was designed by Nelson Pass for Nakamichi, and built by Nakamichi to a very high standard. Apparently the mkII version compromised some sound and component quality. It's one of the most powerful, and definitely the most 'high end' amp I've had in the house. So far, I'm finding it powerful, musical and transparent.
Specs (the only thing everyone seems to agree on):
100wpc into 8ohms,160wpc into 4ohms
Dynamic Headroom 1.7db into 8 ohms, 2.2db into 4 ohms
Output current capability 12 amps continuous, 35 amps peak per channel Power supply; dual rectifiers 17" wide x 15" deep x 6" tall

REVOX AX4-3 speaker photos

Beautiful cherrywood.