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.