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 Old Tunee - Newer System

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garp



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PostSubject: Maggie continues to impress   Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:08 pm

The little Maggie has been burning in nicely and the bass is not as prominent and overall sound is much more balanced. It is amazing how the Maggie likes working with my amps and speakers. The soundstage is wrapping around my listening position with a large deep soundstage.

Detail is much better than I expected and annoying sibilance is gone. If you own Holly Cole’s Down Smoke In Bed, you know what I mean about sibilance. I can not listen to this album with an up sampling CDP. With the Maggie, Holly’s voice is portrayed with a diminished amount of sibilance and the upright string bass sounds very natural as well as the piano. Today, I listened to Eva Cassidy’s Live At Blues Alley which is a live recording. I felt like I had a table in the audience for this performance. When there was applause, hand clapping projected from in front of the speakers as well as behind me. There is a lot a natural reverberation on this album with sound bouncing off the back walls and very noticeable with Maggie which I have not heard with an expensive audiophile player. It is shame that Eva left us at an early age, but thankfully the purity of her voice has been left behind for us to enjoy. You really don’t know what you missing hearing Eva played through a tuned system using a $29.95 DVD player.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:54 pm

Happy at the report, congrats! I'm so in love with this thing. Other units to me sound shallow, disembodied or stunted. I have had a couple say "this can't be right, the stage is too big". You can imagine my response.

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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:41 pm

Hey Garp,

Welcome back. Yes, the Maggie does width ... in my room you could hear the music go about 15 feet outside the speaker. Shocked Cool

jocolor jocolor

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PostSubject: Top Tuning for the Maggie   Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:53 pm

I have been posting recently about my enjoyment of the Magnavox DVD player. Now that November has arrived and the relative humidity in my listening room is staying in the low 30s, I am really enjoying music played with the Maggie (Magnavox) even more. But, I want more as most Tunees do.

From the old forum, I was an early adopter of top tuning, so my next step is to acquire a Maggie platform and top tuning canopy or mini clamp for top tuning. Recently, I have been communicating with Michael about options for the Maggie platform/mini clamp which might provide me the most fllexibilty. It would be helpful for Michael to provide options here on the forum, so each of us interested in this Maggie enhancement can decide which option suits there system.

Michael, if you have time, please share the Maggie options.

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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:58 pm

Hi GARP

Making some now so I can take pics. I think it's a good idea that I post some of these types of toys so people can see what different options might be. In the past I have put stuff up on threads but thinking about it I should have made this more organized so that we can see them laid out like products that make sense. My Santa workshop has hundreds of toys, but they really should be more cataloged to give choices and ideas.

Some of this stuff might look pretty weird.

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PostSubject: Maggie Platform   Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:47 pm

First, I want to complement Michael on your advice to Sonic when you posted:

I wouldn't say Space Cones have problems. They do produce full range. If not I wouldn't have them as you know, but this reveals some things about the system as a whole. We now know that the system shifts up and there is probably a ton of mid and lower tones wanting to be released. I think folks go for focus before going for open too much. Your metal products for the most part are focusing tools. In most cases the lower tones are more pronounced over the mids and highs and need to be focused in, in an upper tuning, again much like a guitar string. When you combine the right amount of body with the right amount of focus you have a good balance. This is why I warn people against silver solder and wire and some audiophile type parts that tend to shift up. That thicker metal on audiophile parts sends things upward more than people think. Also like I have been saying so does heavier plastics like acrylic.

This paragraph shared more about tuning as I start evolving my own system and the trade offs that I must consider. This was very timely insight as I add a vintage turntable into my system. For those who are trying to maximize their systems, you should follow Sonic’s ever evolving system as he is able to get Michael to share important information which could really save you significant money and time down the road. You just need to pay attention and you will learn much.

My journey in tuning has branched off from most here. I love the sound of single ended tube amps and colorations they often deliver. The problem with modern tubed amps is they often weigh a ton and have very large masses of metal as well lots of silver solder. There has been a lot of so called light weight tube equipment pass through my listening room, but very few pieces were easily tuned. Fortunately, I was able to find a respected equipment builder who made no nonsense tube amps and preamps that were lightweight and encased in WOOD! That’s right wood; however, the market for this product dried up because audiophiles did not know how to effectively use this lightweight sonic nirvana. I am currently listening to a wood encased tube preamp driving a 245 tubed 4 watt wood encased amp. The amp has the ability to add feedback which helps improve bass response. When I paired these pieces with the Maggie, the journey for equipment ended. Lightweight components with lightweight wooden 96 db efficient speakers with light solid core speaker cables and ICs have made me a very happy camper.

I am currently using an older MW cable ground as a platform for the Maggie and there was a very noticeable sonic difference compared to placing the Maggie atop MTDs and thin MW squares. Piano, violin, voices, woodwinds, brass, and guitar sounded more natural; there just seemed to be more harmonic density. I am looking forward to adding a Maggie platform to see where I can further improve a much improved system.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:02 am

Journey for equipment ended!? Tell us more!

Can you give the make and model of your amp and preamp, and especially the speakers? I've been thinking that the harmonic richness of good tube equipment is something I've been missing in my systems so far. What sounds different about your system from other systems you've heard based on solid state equipment? What do you find especially appealing about the sound you're getting now?

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PostSubject: Tubed Products   Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:57 am

Bill,

It’s good to see you back on the forum. My audio equipment includes Tonian speakers and cables. The Tonian speaker maker is as passionate about his products as Michael is about tuning. Tonian speakers provide a very detailed sound so component matching is essential. Tonians can sound very sterile with most digital amps and prefer tubes or older receivers like Michael’s Pioneer. These speakers prefer Tonian speaker and IC wire which is a cloth covered small, solid core copper with no tinning.

I am using the SES series of components from Music Reference. I have a C4 preamp and single ended 245.1 tube amp. These components are no longer offered and are extremely rare on the used market. I was able to purchase my amp and preamp at considerable savings from audiophiles a few years ago that did not know how to utilize/tune. Music Reference still offers a 14 pound EL84 based push pull amp which is extremely fast and neutral sounding. These amps come up on the used market at considerable savings but not everyday. Recently, I saw one sold within hours of posting. Since you have tried the Altmann digital amp, you might like some of Decware’s offerings. The Mini Torii is a very small footprint 3.5 SE integrated weighing 14 pounds. These are rare on the used market and come standard with a walnut base. I have seen cherry based MTs on the used market, but this amp is currently popular and sells quickly. The Decware house sound tends toward neutral, not lush. Other options include Bottlehead if you like diy. It has been quite awhile since I have heard Bottlehead products, and they seem to be going more exotic using expensive 300b tubes in their preamp offerings. Many have purchased their kits and housed the components in wooden bases. There are many small se amp builders that can make excellent sounding amps that do not have audiophile approved massive iron and exotic capped products. Abraxas audio comes to mind. His amps often can be found on the used market.

When I first met Michael, I was heading toward the single ended tube sound after experiencing it in several local audiophiles homes. If your listening habits allow you to live with 3 watts of amp power or less and you have 95 DB speakers you may like the sound in your tunable room. I suggest you listen to both single ended and push pull amps before you jump in as these may not suit your listening preferences. I am afflicted with tinnitus and most digital amplification including most modern dacs make me edgy to the point that I cannot listen to them for any length of time. I prefer detailed and warm sound that many tube amps provide.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:03 pm

Hi garp

Bill's road has been an interesting one, and here is some input from me. Keep in mind that my observations are based on me looking in and not Bill's, so hopefully I come close.

The first system I heard of his was a Quad/Red Wine setup. It was a strange combo that was stuck in an old/new school audiophile sound. A cool sound, but very much in it's own world. The soundstage was very low and often started from the speakers. The plastic of the quads also stuck out quite a bit in the character of the sound. After this brief listen the whole system was sent to me minus the Quads. The speakers used was the classic 60's. I got the Touch system, an audio PC (Bill Design), Altmann DAC, and Amp, and of course tons of batteries.

The system to be honest was very odd to me. The Altmann http://www.mother-of-tone.com/index.htm has it's very own unique sound and unlike the Magnazox does not like going outside of that sound. Here's why this was surprising to me. The parts count is so small that you would think you could take it anywhere, but after mountains of different wood and tweaks, it would change but never landed (to me) on music. I can some up the sound in one simple phrase "battery pushed digital". If you get a mental picture in your head of this sound you would be pretty close when you heard it. We worked on Bill's NAS and Altmann and Redwine systems till they were made to sound every way they could but no cigar even though Bill said he had some magical moments mixed in there. These systems were done on both (at his place) on the Quads and Music 60's.

I need to add in here that I am a big stage warm guy and anything that shifts up is not my cup of tea. As we know I have lived with tons of equipment and have tuned tons of systems but if there is one thing that doesn't cut it it's a tilt. There were several times when tuning with Bill that asked me to listen when he was telling me it was close or even sometimes when he said he was there, but during these times 2 things always stuck in my thinking, small and tilted. I don't say this to pick on Bill but to emphasize that we all have our taste and Bill's is somewhere that is not something I, Herns, Andy or Bob were able to put our finger on. There is something that Bill is looking for that is very specific. Detailed, on the small side and leaning toward midrange clarity without the warmth (bigness) arround the instrument but yet not tilted up either.

Based on the times Bill said we are close his soundstage size is



I'll post this on his thread when and if we start to head a direction but I think this is very important from the standpoint that I usually go after a particular range of sound within a certain realm. That realm is usually very big, very life size and tons of air and body. The closest I got to my liking at Bill's was using the pioneer/maggie/60 combo.

One other thing to keep in mind when exploring Bill's setup is that the Tunable Room is not up. Someone did work on the ceiling and the room shifted. This shift causes the room to need to be taken down and reassembled. I heard this on my last couple of visits and it's clear that the tuning screws had pressure on them as well as the panels. The room itself is wonderful. I love the sound of the tonality of the wood pieces. During listening when we had an audio summit with all the guys there Hernspj tune his way and it was very nice. Herns listens Midfield, Andy and I Nearfield, Bob Nearfield with a lean toward wide stage and from the best I can tell Bill focuses on the center stage. So at this stage of the game the tunable room at his place is not put together.

So far Bill is not a fan of the Maggie sound. He can explain that to you. He does lean toward small amps as opposed to big and I don't think he has heard the Roger Modjeski sound.

now to the good stuff

I don't know the speakers or the cable your using but I do know the Roger Modjeski sound and can see why the Mag/MR combo would be special. As you have said the smaller amp and 60's won't do it as compared to the 96 db and smaller amp, and with your last post I could see why this could happen. I use the Vifa in 2 versions the stock mount and the wood mount plate. The wood mount plate is much smoother and gets along with smaller and bigger tube amps. Still it sounds like the power match between the Tonian and the MR is a good mate, and if you find a good mate with Roger's goodies you have magic. Roger is my personal favorite tube designer. In my book he has always known how to capture the essence of a note from a round perspective. I won't lie Roger's stuff is not an auto fit and you can't throw it into any system and expect magic. RAM has been underestimated because of speaker and source designers not having their act together. If there were more musically built speakers out there Roger would be the biggest name in High End Audio. I would have sold tons of them being a dealer for MR if I would have had more than the Decote' 10's to show them on, but people didn't know Decote' and the match up with other things didn't go all that well at the time. Roger's preamps are easier to mate up in systems as I used them on everything out there. I thought the preamp was called the mr3 but when looking for it online did not do so well finding it. Garp, what were the names of his older preamps? Anyway I thought they were out of this world good. The only competition at the time for me was the CAT (first generation) which I thought was Kenny's finest.

So, before I go too far down memory lane I would love to see Bill find the system right for him. I think to do this though on his thread we need to fill in the blanks to the uniqueness to "Bill's sound". Is it somewhere in the mix of what the tuning guys have done at his place and in the Tunable Room, or is it somewhere in the matching of a system similar to garp's minus the size of garp's stage. And the weird part for me would be if Bill could live with the Maggie, which I think is the cats meow, but so far has not been his cup of tea.

Bill, if this is stepping on toes in anyway please let me know. From my point of view the more we can share the more it helps the whole. The only thing I frown on is the put down of any tuning products for obvious reasons, but since tunees have been to your place and we have watched your system grow and go through stages this is something that I think makes for good learning about the listeners mind and your personal setup and sound. It also is a plus for me because I have been wanting people to see into the inner workings of garps setup and listening habits. I've always been a fan of getting to know what is in the listeners mind and believe it helps others many times over as they search for their magic which for many stays hidden for many years.

And garp, thank you for sharing your system. As I am a fan of your sound and components from what I have seen and heard I like that people can see a true live music lover (esspecially smaller clubs and mid-size venues) in action and tailoring your system to your ears. Also because if I were a client with one foot in the tune (tearing everything down to nothing stripping the room from everything but the system) and the other in High End Audio (keeping some of the component's basics intact in a lived in room) and doing a small amp high efficiency speaker combo I would be looking at your setup seriously as a reference system. As I said I know the Maggie sound and Roger's and think this could be one of these magic sound combos (along with your table and speakers) that may be one of the few that crosses over for the tunee and the audiophile both. The maggie/roger thing really gets me charged as I can hear some of the round gentle nuances in my head.

I know the world is much bigger but I have always seen two (well maybe more) basic systems. One is an audiophile system that has a soft, gentle (yet immediate), detailed, round, rich and interwoven sound, and the other that is a chameleon with as little personality as possible so that it can be tuned for any occasion (everything has a personality). When I hear components, parts and pieces being mention on the forum you guys can almost hear me wincing from here because I live in a world of energy meets materials and usually can tell if a system is heading toward lock down when I am preaching the opposite. In my mind if a system is heading toward a flavor it is also heading toward a particular style or styles of recording or music selection. Like when someone says "my system is a jazz system". the first thing I do is look at what people are listening to and see if the systems and music will get along. A jazz system will rarely play loud complex rock without someone loosing an ear or two. People don't realize that when a system is on lock down it won't play everything and so they say "that's a bad recording". Very few people have come to terms with this and honestly feel because they have paid big bucks for something it is good and the music is flawed or something like the maggie is to blame. We tend to love what we have made and own over reality. I go through this as a designer and whenever someone mentions something they are listening to I run out and buy it. People should see my list of sonic's music Laughing I have had to learn a whole new language to start buying some of these cause of how removed I have become of classical. On the other side of this Bill is listening to Donovan's greatest hits, Rocky Horror and American Graffiti sound track. The garp sound I picture as a wide swipe with a gentle top end flavor. Much like the Herns swipe both of these have flavor yet both able to reach out to the music in a way that I feel comfortable saying "if this is the way you listen this is a great choice". Herns is a very good mid-field listener, and I can also picture the maggie/roger combo being great. I also like the Drewster Sherwood/maggie/60 combo.

With Bill's setup there is yet other preferences that are going to be made and hopefully in a way that someone out there will say "that's me", "that's what I've been looking for".

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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:39 am

Hi Michael and Garp,

I'm glad you posted this because it gives me a chance to talk about what I'd really like to be hearing in a system. This is something I've spent the last several months thinking about, and think I may have come to an understanding.

The system I had going in the tunable room was excellent in many ways, but I didn't really find it very involving or satisfying. I seemed to have been more or less alone in that assessment. I vividly remember the visit with Herns, Michael, Andy and Bob over at my place. They were absolutely loving the sound, while my feeling was that I was really impressed with it. You'd think that I would have maintained this expertly tuned system in that state for as long as possible, but when they left I did what I always did: I aggressively retuned everything in an attempt to shape the sound into something that really moved me. Of course I just ended up twisting the system into a pretzel. Michael is probably laughing while he's reading this, because he knows better than anyone just how twisty my pretzel systems are. So what was I looking for with all this tuning?

I believe that what I was looking for is something that I'll call 'vibrational intensity'. This is kind of hard to talk about because it's so off the wall from what I hear other tunees and other audiophiles talking about, but my deepest desire in music reproduction is to hear every note and every instrumental image blooming with the inner beauty of that voice or instrument. I think vibrational intensity is the result of the inner beauty of the instrument combined with good dynamics, detail, and a very dense, palpable stereo image.

Listening to music is a very sensual experience for me that tends toward trance states. When I'm really able to enjoy music the way I like to, I go into a reverie where I stop following the music with my mind and go still, letting the beauty and emotion of the music surround me like being submerged in an ocean of beautiful vibration. I have had systems that allowed me to do this, but I haven't had many and none were as good at this as I would have liked. The last system I had that did it was the NAS->Logitech Duet->PaceCar->Altmann DAC->Red Wine->Quad system I had set up in my loft just before the tunable room arrived.

Michael may remember the time when I was tuning the system in the tunable room myself and I rushed out all excited and asked him to come in and listen. I was playing 'Come Together' by the Beatles and I had finally gotten the bass guitar to fill out the way I wanted it. It was dense and solid, distinct in the sound stage, and I could really hear the beauty and detail of each note. Michael sat down to listen and he couldn't hide the fact that he thought it was pretty bad. He explained all the different ways the sound was messed up and of course he was right about all of them. It was badly imbalanced, and after stepping back for a minute I heard it too. But for one shining moment, I was marveling in the beauty of that bass guitar. Even if I'd been willing to fight Michael on it, leaving it that way wasn't really an option - I've found from experience that the sound would eventually grow fatiguing and unsatisfying. The tuning only worked for that one piece of music and one instrument within it. Not a happy story, but is it possible to get the sound that I want in a way that works all the time?

I think that it is, but not with the equipment I've been using. The Pioneer SX-3400 is a nice amplifier in many ways, but there is no amount of tuning that will give it the bloom and the inner beauty of a good valve amp. The Pioneer is the one piece of equipment that's been constant in my tunable room systems for the last couple of years and I really think it may be the thing that led to my becoming disenchanted with my sound. The Pioneer has a warm tonality, and is very transparent, very dynamic, and very detailed when it's well tuned, but it does not have any inner beauty to speak of. Achieving a state of reverie was always difficult to do at best when the Pioneer was in the system. Swapping it for something else is the obvious solution, but for a long time I just didn't understand why I wasn't getting to the places I used to go.

But inner beauty isn't the only thing necessary for me to enjoy music. Having had some time to think about all this, I made a list of the qualities I need to have and not have in a system:

MUST HAVES
1. Dynamic - The dynamics of a system need to be past a certain level for the music to be enjoyable and exciting. The systems in the tunable room passed that point long ago and just kept going. When I thought the dynamics couldn't get any more powerful, we'd make a change and take it even farther. I'll take all the dynamic slam I can get, but I can enjoy music even on a more modest system if it's getting 2-5 right.
2. Clear - If the sound isn't clear enough, nothing sounds real and it registers in my mind more like noise than music. Again, it needs to be up to a level.
3. Detailed - The sound should be at least reasonably detailed. I love being able to hear all the detail I can, but this one is probably not as important as dynamics and soundstage organization.
4. Soundstage Organization - This one is really critical because nothing throws me out of the music faster than a soundstage that doesn't sound right to me. Instruments and voices need to come from particular places and not be overlapping, running into one another, or dissolving into a big sonic haze. This is where Michael and I have butted heads time and again. When he tunes the system the way he like it the sonic images are big, and to my ears, very diffuse. To me, the images sound lightweight, ethereal and not at all like real people and instruments. Does that mean I prefer a small soundstage? That's an interesting question. If Michael didn't bring the subject up, I honestly think I could play with stereo stuff for a hundred years before the idea of what size soundstage I preferred ever occurring to me. I don't think it matters to me if the soundstage is 5 feet wide or 50 feet wide as long as it is focused and coherent. The interesting question is whether it's possible to have a 50 foot wide soundstage that still has images that are dense and focused the way I like. I don't know. Michael?
5. Inner Beauty - I'm not sure what the right words are to describe what I'm talking about here. Tonal color? Tonal richness? Harmonic richness? Whatever we call it, I need it if I want to enjoy music on a deeper level. This is the one must have that the tunable room systems didn't do. I can still rock out to Led Zeppelin or enjoy Gershwin without this, but I don't get to reverie states without at least some of this, and the more the better.


RUINERS
1. Rushed - This is a frenetic, unsettled quality which creates a driven feeling in the music. Some people don't mind it, or even like this but I cannot listen to a rushed system for very long. I would rather hear a system sound 50% too slow than 5% too fast. Maybe that's why I like that 'battery driven digital' sound. Laughing
2. Tilted Up - Before I started working with Michael I wasn't very sensitive to this. Now I hear it immediately, even without a warmer system to compare it to. A system that isn't doing bass just isn't worth listening to.
3. Hard/Screechy/Sybillant - Any amount of these qualities will take me out of my enjoyment of music.

So after all this, the $64000 question is: are tubes going to give me what I'm looking for? I don't know yet, but I have an answer coming. I ordered a DIY kit amplifier called the Elekit TU-879S and it should be arriving this week. I am really excited about getting out the soldering iron and putting this thing together. bounce Of course I've studied the pictures and have been busy thinking about how to liberate it from its chassis and put it on a nice tuning board. The design is a 7 watt per channel single ended pentode using the 6L6 tube on the output. It's said to do some very nice valve magic when it's paired with the right speaker.


Garp - I apologize for barging in on your thread. Should we move this over to my thread?
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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:55 am


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PostSubject: System recommendations   Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:00 am

Bill,

I do not mind your long posting on my thread, because we are all here sharing our audio experiences in an attempt to improve our systems. As long as we can agree that we all have different listening preferences and accept that no system will ever capture the essence of live music, we can help each other learn. We must also recognize that all of the software we use for playback whether it is cd, lp, or tape has been recorded differently. Tuning helps us get the best out our listening environment and listening tools (amp, cd, speakers, wire) for any given piece of recorded music.

The description of what you like helps me better understand what you seek. You remind me of a local guy that had similar tastes. He had visited Michael’s Nashville shop years ago and he liked some of things he heard. He wasn’t into the big 3D soundstage, but he loved dynamics, clarity, and instrument/voice placement in a smaller soundstage. He was quite happy with all of these elements coming between the speakers. Like you, he loved to build his own amps or take a stock amp and upgrade it.

His listening room was in a small basement room of his home which had concrete walls, floor and wood overhead. He was the first to pickup the Altmann dac locally and put it in his computer based system. He modified the Altmann to some extent to help get the sound he sought. He had large Avant-garde horn speakers powered by a 300b amp, a passive preamp using very neutral sounding speaker wire. This system did exactly as you describe in your post and my friend loved it. He has since moved on from the Altmann and currently uses digital software to help reproduce music from his computer based system. I believe he found as I have that non oversampling dacs do have limitations including rolling off highs and lows as well as some suppression of dynamics.

You may be a good candidate for a horn based system with a small singled ended triode like a 2A3 or 300B based integrated or a SEP as your 6L6 based kit can offer. I can also offer that the Decware Mini Torii may be your cup of sonic tea also. Steve Deckard’s shop is not that far from your home and would be worth your time to stop and listen to his tube based systems. I have owned the Mini Torii and it can be tuned. It would work well in a horn based system and offer excellent bass response, clarity, and performer sound placement in a smaller soundstage.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:14 pm


Hello Garp

What's the vintage turntable you bought? And the cartridge?

Sonic is on the hunt for one too -- a 'table with a three speed capability (top speed 78 rpm variable). Saying this because there is a three-speed Thorens I've seen only the third speed is 16 rpm which was once used for recordings of speech -- like drama.

You'll have read my system is going through some transitions but think I might be getting somewhere. A lot of it is asking the Guru (Mr Green) the right questions and persevering.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:21 pm

Hi Sonic

I think you'll like garp's taste in tables.

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PostSubject: Vintage Turntable   Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:48 pm

Sonic,

I recetly picked up a Merrill Turntable which was created as an improvement of the old AR turntable design. The Merrill is a suspended subchassis, belt drive design which has seen continued improvement recently. Updated Linns, Thorens, Garrards, as well as these relatively rare Merrills are popular with US lp audiophiles. Most of the Merrill's were made using a solid wood plinth and well often supplied with a Well Tempered arm, but there have been other lower mas arms used as well like the Grace arms.

My table is drilled for an Ortofon arm which is manufactured by Ikeda. I am not sure what arm/s will be used, but I will decide before long. I have several older MM, MI, and LOMCs that can be used as well as some realtively modern cartridges. I have MM and MI from Ortofon, ADC, Grace etc with MCs from Linn, Audio Technica, Denon, and sumiko.

This will be a longer term project as I plan a tunable TT platform at some point.

I enjoyed you recent posts about the Rogers LS3/5as driven by tube amps. I have listened to the old Rogers many years ago and I was using a Spendor copy in a 4 channel home theater system when I met Michael. During a visit to my home, Michael showed me how to open the sound on the 3/5s which made an immediate change.



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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:07 am


Hi Garp

An AR/Merrill table -- congratulations! What arm and cartridge are you using?

Sonic loves the AR XA table. Mine is still going strong. I am on the hunt for a good Lenco L75 turntable. The thing about a pre-owned turntable is we do not know what treatment or rough handling it encountered particularly with the platter bearing and the arm bearings. I have seen misquided audiophiles replacing the higher viscosity platter bearing oil with a thin one. This can damage the sound of the table and increase wear of the bearing to the point that it is unusable.

Tonearms can be affected by rough handling or attempts to test the “arm bearing play” which can result in higher friction and chatter. Some arms are more susceptible than others. The Grace G707 was an excellent sound arm but its gimbal bearings were easily damaged. Ditto the great F9E cartridge. If the elastomer in the cartridge has gone or substandard from the factory, the cartridge will sound distorted and trebly. If we buy an older cartridge that has seen use, a lot can go wrong.

This is a risk with old analog equipment but if you land a good one you got a gem.

Sonic likes the Denon 103s a lot and the Decca London (whenever it works). The Micro Seikis and a Denon or Anzai step up transformer can sound very good.

Sonic
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garp



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PostSubject: Turntables, etc   Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:51 pm

Sonic,

As they say in the US, you are preaching to choir regarding older cartridges, turntables, and tonearms. Fortunately, my cartridges, tables, and tonearms arrived safely or did not have any problems like the well documented problems with Grace cartridges.

I have several tonearms including two Grace 707s, several modded Regas, Linn Ittock, and seriously looking at an Ortofon arm. The Lenco rage seems to be cooling here in the US, so you should be able to find one from a seller that understands how to properly pack a turntable for shipment. I was very impressed with the packing of my newly acquired Merrill.

The Denon 103 and all of its variations have a strong world following. It is everyman’s MC cartridge of choice. I have heard the Decca London only a few times, and it does many things well. It may be your cartridge of choice for classical music.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:15 am


Greetings Garp

Sonic is still on the hunt for a 'table with a 78 rpm capability at a nice price. I heard a decades-old German table today and it sounded awful (at 33 rpm) with noticeable wow. Disappointed... Sad

As for turntables from the US, they run on 120v/60 hz while our mains supplies are 230v/50 hz. Stepping down voltage is easy but it is the Hz that gives the problems. There are almost no low-cost mains frequency conversions that are clean and distortion free.

Sonic made the mistake once with a vintage tape machine from the US and the converter dumped buzz and garbage into the mains which the power supply filtering could not deal with and it is a Fail to this day.

As for the Decca London -- Sonic likes them but they are variable in quality. Also the VTA is no way right with the cartridge top any way parallel to the disc surface. It could be severely raked or sloped back towards the tonearm pillar....it all depends on the assembly.

I didn't know better a long time ago leaving my Decca London Export parallel and it ruined the inner track of a valuable Archiv Musick of the Early Baroque LP in my collection.

I'll stick to the Denon 103 and 102s....reliable, consistent, nice sounding and bullet proof.

Sonic
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garp



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PostSubject: Lenco   Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:28 am

Sonic,

Over the last five years, I have followed the evolution of Lenco tables and the contined improvements from the many restoration sites. Recently, there seems to be the development of a speed controller for the Lenco based on the 230/50 hz. I can't recall where I saw this option, but it might make your search much easier.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:21 pm


Garp,

Yes that is an idea....thank you. To play my small but soon to grow collection of 78 rpm records, I might just test the idea with a direct drive machine from Technics or Audio Technica (they are cheap here) using a Shure M78. The AR XA plays the 33 rpm LPs.

If the sound is good and the bug bites, I can improve the system to the Denon cartridges for 78s and mono. Problem is I'll have to put this parallel system in my main listening room due to constraints in my dwelling. That means a TT, a tube amp and a mono speaker moving in. This may be parallel system that can be run separately from the main system but I could hook the tube amp's tape out to the QUicksilver preamp so I could hear 78s played through the main system over two channels.Not the best idea.

The thing is how to set this up to sound OK without affecting the main system.

Sonic

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PostSubject: 60s and SEP   Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:26 pm

Well, it’s Thanksgiving morning here in the states, and I was up very early to try some tuning with old MGD products before a family gathering later today. Inspired by Bill’s recent audition of his 60s with SEP tube amps, I set up an 8 watt SEP integrated/Maggie combo with my 60s and MGD speaker and IC wire. I am currently listening to my third cd this morning and everything is beginning to settle.

The deep, wide MGD soundstage has already shown up and imaging is excellent. What surprised me the most is the best bass response that I have ever heard with the 60s. Very detailed, fast, and powerful. The treble is beginning to settle. This amp is known for its excellent treble which can be too hot for many speakers, but it is working very well with the 60s. This 90s built amp was ahead of it’s time providing a very fast, neutral leaning but musical sound from top to bottom. The sound is not bleached out like many digital amps that I have experienced with a nice touch of tube rightness to my ears. I suspect the Class D Sherwood sounds very similar. From reading the observations of Drewster regarding Bill Evans Waltz for Debbie, The piano sounds complete (as opposed to "detailed"). You hear the keystrokes, can sense the pressure and release of pressure on the keys, and experience the full decay of notes. I am sensing the same musical rightness from this tubed alternative.

Listening to Jan Garbarek’s In Praise of Dreams this morning, I am really enjoying the duet of the soprano sax and viola with percussion and electronica. Excellent album for a euro/soul jazz type of sound.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:45 pm

Jan Garbarek YES cheers cheers

This will be my next listen.

Currently:




Awesome pairing of Meyer and Ma.



jocolor jocolor


P.S. Garp, the Sherwood's a conventional amp, not a class D

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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:45 pm

It makes me very happy your enjoying the 60's again.

Happy Thanksgiving all Exclamation

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PostSubject: 60s Update   Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:58 pm

There has been some very informative reading here thanks to Sonic the past few days as well as Michael stirring things up on the AC forum. I suspect there a few ACer’s lurking over here.

First, let me give an update on my 60s/Maggie/8 watt SEP integrated system. I have been listening quite a few hours over the Thanksgiving holidays to this system and have noticed the changes as settling has occurred much to the better. If I had found this integrated years ago when I first purchased my 60s, I would have been settled. The sound has really opened up. As I have previously posted, one my favorite tests is Holly Cole’s Don’t Smoke in Bed CD, because in many untuned systems the voice sibilance can be irritating. I have been listening this morning to this CD, and there is some natural voice sibilance but not overemphasized. The upright bass is very powerful and detailed and the piano is very natural sounding floating throughout the room. My wife has already come up to my listening room and asked me to turn down the subwoofer as the bass is overpowering the whole house. I had to show her that the sub has been disconnected. You can feel the bass pressure in my listening position (leather covered, solid wood futon sofa). This is by far the best the 60s have sounded to my ears.

After reading Michael’s post over on AC, I did some of his recommended tests for detecting system distortion. My system currently has a large natural soundstage both deep and wide with music extending beyond the speakers. When I stand up or go behind my speakers the soundstage does not change. As things have settled, I can hear imaging out of the sweet spot as I provide this update. Sonic and Michael’s discussion regarding listening to mono is very interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Old Tunee - Newer System   Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:56 pm

I am grinning ear to ear like a little boy at Christmas Very Happy Very Happy

I am so happy for you Exclamation

Interesting the comment about Audio Circle. I hope they are seeing that we are very much a part of the community and want all of our systems to be the best they can. I saw that after I started posting that our record for "most people on the forum at the same time" happened here.

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