Friday, April 19, 2019

EMIA Permalloy 50 Amplifier

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rarely seen and never blogged, the EMIA 50's made an appearance at the warehouse for some final tuning and listening this week... two amplifiers are shown... one copper, and one silver... yes, silver interstage transformer and silver outputs... 


and check out those ridiculously giant nickel outputs... no, not 49% nickel... actual Permalloy - 80%.... sometimes I forget how much I love the sound of nickel... especially when coupled to a globe 50... not sure it gets any better than that... different maybe, but not better... a true classic... 


and speaking of rarely seen in public together, last night this happened:


Nick Mason played all 1970 and earlier Pink Floyd tunes... so wonderful to hear all of those Syd Barrett songs... and they brought the swirling chaos as well... Astonomy Domine... Interstellar Overdrive... Saucerful of Secrets.... and Roger Waters came out to sing the only song I wanted him to sing:  Heart of the Sun.... just perfect..   oh! and on the way out I found the Saucerful of Secrets:


I love me some liquid lights!


peace,
me

Monday, April 15, 2019

A.J. Musselman


I went to Walterfest X.5 last weekend and one of the coolest things was an unopened Musselman 5VCA from the early days that Pern had come across.  He thought it to be a precursor to the 112 but since the box was still sealed we had no idea what treasure was hidden inside.





Since nothing is too cherry to pop.... a crowd gathered around and the snail seal was broken





we quickly found out that this 93 year old was well documented and pern lamented about the chances of ever finding another.




Thursday, January 31, 2019

Digital Sand Bomb

In keeping with the "Bomb" theme here is something I have been playing with.  It is a Step up device based on the Nelson Pass Zen  I/V converter for a Dac.


Of course I have no use for resistive loads, coupling caps or anything digital so I dressed up the 2SK170 / 2SJ74 combo with a good dose of 80% nickel and feed it with a MC cartridge.


Yes this is a stereo pair with both input and output transformers and it loads the cartridge with around 10 ohms. 



Initial tests are quite promising.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Victor Orthophonic Credenza!!

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recognize that diaphragm shape??  yep.. Western Electric 555.... 

we have discussed Harrison and this masterpiece before.. but really look at it... I have been truly studying the patent for this one again of late.. Dunker popped it back into my inbox at the exact perfect moment... Harrison truly figured it out... did the math... and understood what was going on... this thing is quite flat from below 100 cycles to 5000 cycles!  that is crazy... and needless to say it was so much better than the competition that it actually sold quite well despite the price... win one for quality!  and best of all, that means you can find them today... in good condition... and in surprisingly high numbers... this one popped up on Craigslist for $200... with three reproducers (soundboxes) and a stack of Orthophonic records... how could I not?


you will usually find a secondary badge on them.. this is the original reseller.... in the case of this one, obviously Wurlitzer down in the city.. 


the official Victor badge... this unit became the VV 8-30... but from my understanding, the Credenza label tends to be the first year of production.. and indeed this one is dated 1925... 



this is some serious Western Electric looking work... both the patent sticker above..



and that horn from behind... amazing... don't forget Victor made the 12a.... 





and the reproducers... 


the pot metal versions are known for cracking.. but they can still be easily sealed.. 



the one in the back is brass, and likely the original to this unit... 




this is what she looks like on the outside... 




and a few selections..


I love it.. "The Bird" on sax... wonder who he owed money to?



I love the labels, too... 


Peterson is properly heavy on the Orthophonic... found some Art Tatum, Coleman Hawkins... have not pulled my Chess and Checker stack yet... might need some white lightning for that... and a power outage.. 


these are so good... I actually forgot I had them...  just
 a mental note of "a crate of Jazz 78's from Memphis"...


I must say there is something amazing about spinning this way.. you wind it up... you play your one tune... and you really listen to it... and because it is mono, you listen in that mono way... and this thing is definitely alive... it has jump in spades.. and is actually a touch too loud on some recordings.. with NO ELECTRICITY.. think about that... 

so now I must bow again... Henry Harrison... he figured out the proper way to do this and then actually did it.. not tweaking to make something slightly better.... this is how it should be done... truly amazing.. perhaps the first, last, and best assault on a music reproduction system for domestic use... 


peace,
me



Tuesday, December 11, 2018

ETF 2018 - pt III.... music!

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it was genuinely wonderful to actually end up just playing records for hours and hours... sometimes we technically obsessed junkies want to talk and experiment the time away... other times, we do not get the sound "good enough" in the tiny amount of time allotted.. but this time, despite never having set this up as a system, and building the amplifier all the way up to and including the day of the flight, we managed to listen to nearly every record I brought... 

and I am honored to have had several requests to post about the music I played... I guess in some parts of the world (most?), the music from Chulahoma, Mississippi is not discussed and played on a regular basis.... :^)

the record above is one of the very few that did not get played... it is a 7"... and I did not bring an adapter... but if you like the rest of the music in the post, seek her out... and an absolutely stunning album by her grandfather, Sid Hemphill... a true master and in many ways the godfather of Hill Country music... his opening drum and fife track on The Devil's Blues is still one of my references for music that is as deep as the human soul can get... 



ok... the photos actually loaded in a sort of genre order... so let's go with it... the above is a classic.. it is hard to argue against Illmatic when someone tosses it up as the greatest rap album ever... it is amazing how you can just keep listening to this record... it never gets stale... and I think I like it even more now than I did all those years ago.. how is it possible to still be growing on me?


you know how they always give awards to people on the work *after* the work that deserved it?  well, here you go.. this is Kendrick's actual Pulitzer... and it also shows yet again that Dr. Dre is truly the king.... he has not lost his talent, he was just bored... and Kendrick was the spark he needed... this is one that truly requires late night listening in that psychedelic seat... eyes closed.. there is so much boing on here.. and totally amazing... 


I know, I know... Junior again?!?!... but Junior is my hero.. it is primal.. and scary.. and real and true... that drone!  those polyrhythms!  "the beginning and end of all music".... 



the Wolf... can't travel without him.. he was singular... and still so much fun... and I am firmly stating that Smokestack Lightning was the first rock and roll tune... yeah, Ike Turner stole that sound for Rocket 88, but we all know that Wolf's band was *the* band in the Delta in the early to mid fifties... so I give Willie Johnson credit... and man!  do I wish I was at the house parties where this band was playing... probably would have ended up black out drunk and stabbed... lying in a ditch waiting for someone to come find me... and then go do it all over again!



yep... more... this one is very different from that simple First Recordings above. this one is electric!  the real deal.. part recorded in his juke joint.. and part recorded at a blues festival/picnic... so good!!



found this one unopened in a dollar bin... pretty sure it is on Excello... rare, but not coveted... go buy it!!  Silas Hogan is featured quite a bit... but mostly this is a "play both sides" record... and this is one that everyone seemed to love in Normandie.... 



another Delta bluesman... pretty sure I have written about him before.. from Pine Bluff, Arkansas... as far west as teh Mississippi Delta reaches.. from a place so down and out that they lose half their population every decade... we lost Cedell a year or two ago.. he is the best and worst guitarist I have ever heard... read his story... watch his videos... pay homage... 

pretty sure we played "Chicken Hawk" and "If You Love Fat Women".. but may have played the entire thing... 



yeah.. this guy... still as relevant today as then... listen to the words.. enjoy the rhythms... 



I mean, who doesn't love guitar from Mali?  Ali Farke Toure...



a bit more of the city sound than I usually listen to, but that strut!!!  so good... he was from a no stop light town a few miles from where I grew up.. no wonder he could not handle Chicago.... 



"Are you somebody?"




if you like Soul music at all, go buy this... now... we lost Charles a year or two ago.. same sad story.. finally makes it and then we lose him... this album has not been filed away since it came out... 



looks like I just changed record stacks... this album is powerful... shocked the Salt Cellar could play it... but it could... "Waiting Room" is one of the best opening tracks ever... these guys were pure DIY... and coined "straight edge"....



one of many Beck masterpieces.. his ode to Prince, "Debra", still makes me laugh... so good... so Southern California... 



I always tell people to listen to Jerry's side projects... better than going to church... he and Merl have an archive of beautiful and funky music... 



this music was important to me.... not quite fitting in in the deep South was something Michael Stipe new very well.. I did not know it then, but I know it know... thank you for providing a comfortable blanket for me through some important years.. 



for Iain... and for Herb... it was the last thing we listened to before turning the system off just before dawn... not sure why Moondog is so perfect sometimes, but it is... his sense of rhythm just jives with mine... 



not much to say about this that has not already been said.. but it changed the way I felt about music.. and therefore changed my life... I must have been nineteen years old... wall of sound... and must be played **loud**....



same year as MBV.. at least for me.. a billion listens.. and still incredible... so much going on.. and so clever... and the beginnings of **wise**.... like Loveless, it changed me... 




more shoegazing... if you like classical music, check this out... big compositions with some space to let the sound just flow... discovered them maybe ten years ago.... and can't recommend them highly enough... 



a gift from a good friend... he knows I do not keep up with the electronic dance scene, so he picks out gems for me... and this one is a gem!  Clap! Clap! .. samples of interesting percussion instruments... dynamic... super fun..



hard to pick which Miles from this era to bring... this one super revived my interest in Miles... I had not been into him since I was probably twenty-four years old... but this band is incredible.. the Complete Jack Johnson is outtakes from the recording sessions... I like it even more.. no Teo cuts to the jams.. I probably would have brought Filles, but we just listened to it back here in New York...  investigate this era of Miles!!



oh, boy.. another must own... buy their first four or five albums.. must own... 90's  NYC Downtown scene... masters!  how a trio whips up that much power is beyond me... I will never forget my first time seeing them... twenty people in a small bar... I walked up to right in front of Billy's drums... they were warming up... starting playing together... I closed my eyes.. forty five minutes later I opened them for the first time... yeah.. super funky jazz improvisation of the highest order... 

Omnispehere is *new*... with the modern classical group Alarm Will Sound.. and just absolutely stunning... best of modern classical with the best of jazz improvisation..... Shostakovich meets Sun Ra... 




a Mingus from an era that most seem to have forgotten... Don Pullen stars on keys... and Mings leads as well as ever... and also shows he can compose with the best.. MONSTER constructions and deconstructions... just mind-blowing stuff... if you like music, go buy this... 



if you know me at all, you know how I feel about John Coltrane.. I brought this one because I was in the mood for it... some fo my favorite dance music... 



super early Sun Ra... a gift from a good friend.. the debut of recorded electric piano, from what I have been told... and that is a key to the Sun Ra sound... can't have Saturn without electric piano... and it also shows how far ahead Sun Ra was at this early date... 




yep... Ornette... not sure what to say about this wonder of the world... oh, I know!  if you have not been able to get into some of his purely free things, perhaps start with this one... beautiful compositions... 



I have been into Charles Earland recently.. funk grooves.. and this LP is always fun... I can't afford the old Blue Notes, but this one was a reissue of Donaldson highlights.. and his highlights are incredible... 


ok... so now you know what I like... if you flow in my genres, please send me similar artists to check out!!

peace,
me















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