Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Project Revisted

Not much to say yet but I'm now thinking about putting this together after 15 years.Morel MDT33, MW164, and a HiVi W10.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sax, stage left...

I've been listening to a bunch of music on Pandora lately. I made a Lester Young channel, and it really has turned out to be quite the relaxing jazz-"lullaby" channel. So I'm chillin' out to all this great old music, and I was starting to think I had a major balance issue in my system. So much of the Saxophone, was always left, which is usually also the prominent instrument.

It's not always left, but it is A LOT, at least in this mix. As it turns out, it's apparently typical.
Lester Young

Dexter Gordon

I honestly think Pandora is pretty sweet, and listening to it with the iPhone4 plugged directly into my stereo with their Apple's little dock (analog) is way better sounding then I could have imagined. I have heard some iPods plugged in this way with varying degrees of quality, mostly not great. For some reason, this works pretty good, and only on a rare occasion do I catch a song that is noticeably compressed. But ok, I do pay for a slightly higher bit rate, once a year, but far from an "audiophile" standard. Ah well, I guess a low res system with tubes, soft domes and doped-paper cones smooths just about everything out. Still music to my ears.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Victor VV-VIII Victrola 1913

Got this today, it's almost 100yrs old and works! According to info I've found and info on this site , this is from 1913 with the S/N (39641 c) and the flat crank shank.
I posted a video to show the action and sound.

The sound-box is in decent shape, dry gaskets naturally. I need to get some new needles as there's no way to tell if the needles I've got are decent. They need to be replaced after 1-2 plays!

Fact:  What cost $40 in 1913 would cost $871.09 in 2010.

Speakers I've Owned & Some Ramblings

Trying to remember all the speakers I've owned, there's been a pretty good bunch. A lot of Boston Acoustics, mainly because of access. Most of what I've had was obtained very cheaply, the Snell's being my personal favorites of the lot, so far... Here goes:

Boston Acoustics:
HD5,CR9,A150*,VR30,Lynnfield 500L*
MDT/MW164 project.

Klipsch, REL, Boston Acoustics (can't remember the models)

*still have these as of this post.

Hmm, well I thought there was more I've owned, but that's it. Mainly I would attribute that to a big gap from buying much of anything until about 4yrs ago. In terms of what I've sold, and auditioned, that would be a pretty sizable list. Always a listener and reader, rarely a buyer. Of all the speakers above, the Snell JIV's have been around the longest as I hooked my late Father up with them back in 1996. I still have them, boxes too. Foam is pretty rough now. Seems I've come a bit full circle from those J's, as my last and most favorite purchase to date are the EII's I just got in Feb 2012. So 16yrs later, I'm buying 25+ year old speakers that are similar in many respects.

Caution - Rambling Ahead.

People talk about speakers and components as be "musical". What does that mean exactly? I think it's a polite way of saying that while a product doesn't define the state of the art, or even rank as a best in class, one can find enjoyment with it. Boy you could say that about a lot of this couldn't you. But I suppose, if you have to live with short comings as I do, then it's a matter of what's exceptable to YOU.

Here's a cut-n-paste from over at the Phoenix site describing a bit more about how I feel on a deeper level about the matter:
I know what the short comings with my system are. But it is nice to be able to sit down, relax and enjoy music. Fretting over differences and component comparisons keeps music enjoyment at bay. I remember reading in Robert Harleys book, about how he was reviewing the best components that the world had to offer, realizing breath-taking engineering prowess, and yet, found that he wasn't enjoying music until he got in his car and listened to music there.

What an interesting dichotomy, and yet I have experienced the very same thing many times in the past myself before. Some where along the line, it is good to find enjoyment and satisfaction in some things, so that we can enjoy more of what life has to offer. Now I'm not saying I don't want to make improvements in my system, but I did achieve the goal of listen-ability that I've been seeking for several years now. So now my goal is to listen to music. I have been, and it's been a pleasure that I don't think I've had since I was a kid, when the music itself was all that really mattered.
I used to have quite a fondness of car audio, sold tons, installed a little. The truth of the matter is, I'm referring to just enjoying a good tune in a stock car audio system, plain Jane. It happens, and you can forget how crappy the system truly is. Especially when your driving down the road with your wife and you hear a familiar tune, singing together, laughing together and enjoying each other. I would think, an artist would much rather have people enjoy thier music in such a way, rather then to spend a lifetime trying to improve the sound of it. It's the experiences that makes music so wonderful, and the best we can hope for are those precious moments.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Current Rig - Reloaded

At  last, some truly fatigue-free listening.

Phono Cartridge: Audio Technica AT440mla
Turntable: Technics SL-23
Phono Preamp: Bellari VP130 ( Sovtek 12AX7LPS/ 15vdc-1A power supply)
Integrated Amplifier: Jolida 502BRC (4 x Tungsol 6550 reissues/2 x 12AX7 & 2 x JAN 12AT7WC)
Loudspeakers: Snell EII

CD Player: Marantz CD5004
Tape Deck: Nakamichi CR1A

Receiver: Pioneer SX-1280
Tape Deck: Pioneer CTF-9191

Interconnects: Tara Labs/Monster (various)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Snell EII

Another Craigslist purchase. These were all original but the Vifa woofer surrounds were totally rotted~dust. I happened to have a pair of replacement woofers for my Snell JIV's, which didn't sound good at all in them. After speaking with a tech at Snell (yup still servicing) I was told that I should have received new inductors with the JIV replacement woofers... Oh. Anyway they were sitting in the closet and were very similar to the EII Vifa's so I popped them into the EII's and had me a listen.

To my surprise they sounded surprisingly good! It makes me wonder if this replacement Seas is mostly based off the "E" design as it was a pretty popular speaker for Snell. Who knows, but they sound great. Worst part is they could still be wrong, as the Bass is a bit "boomy". But even then, an overall pleasure, and I can't really find any major issues going on at the crosspoint. Smooth and the most "listenable" speaker I've owned. Great for everything especially Jazz. A bit confusing on classical but that could be a source of mismatching amongst other things.

Bellari VP130 Phono Preamp

This thing sounds really nice after you put in a great tube, like the Sovtek 12AX7LPS and upgrade the power supply. I'm using a Radio Shack 15vDC 1A supply which helps more than you could imagine both performance wise and eliminating noise. I got the Bellari from Larry at the Phoenix Audio Tape Co.. Nice guy and a pleasure to do business with!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Something Old, Something New

Technics SL-23, Audio Technica AT440mla
I picked this Technics SL-23 (1976) off of Craigslist for reasonable money and I've been very pleased with it. It is vastly superior, in my opinion, to the SL-B10 I was using temporarily. The SL-B10 has a plastic plinth, straight P Mount arm with an Empire LTD-280 cartridge. The SL-23 is similar only in platter and belt, the rest is quite different. The plinth is a heavier covered particle board stock, with birch type plywood blocks on the underside which hold sprung rubber feet. The knobs and controls have a nice feel and the speed appears to be very stable. The "S" arm looks like decent quality and offers more cartridge options then the prior table. While the SL-B10 might have performed better with a new cartridge, it just didn't look like it was worth doing anything with. (now used for cleaning records).

The seller had an AT70 on it, nothing special really, but it sounded very nice. Already it was better then anything else I've owned, which includes a Project 1.2 (oyster/ortofon), Project Debut III (stock ortofon), Stanton DJ TT (stanton) and the SL-B10 (empire). All of these tables, with the cartridges they had, didn't give me the sound that everyone talks about when it comes to vinyl. The Debut III, was probably the runner up, but with the wobble issue (elsewhere in this blog) it had to go. It worked pretty well with the stock ortofon.

I fell to temptation at a shop I was visiting, and picked up the AT440mla I had heard so much about. The SL-23 with this cartridge sounds absolutely awesome. At it's present pricing, the cartridge is not cheap, but I don't regret buying it, not one bit. Even still, the price of that cartridge plus a decent used table is still going to be less then the price of a new "budget" table with a so-so cart. I can honestly say that not only does the AT440mla provide a great listening experience, it has the ability to track grooves like nothing else I've heard. The only time I seem to get any inner groove distortion, is from an old album that's been played incorrectly and damaged. Other then that, the Micro-Line stylus on this thing goes deeper, often avoiding issues caused by old wear. I've tried a few albums that were at times unlistenable, only to find that this AT will pass the issues by and give a great performance. This is a boon when buying used records.

While I'm not sure where I'll go next for an upgrade on a TT, I do know I'll be making more trips to the local record store.