Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Craigslist... and I *swore* I quit doing stuff like this....


so dave sends me a text that includes the above photo... I instantly see the Western Electric triode logo on the sides of the boxes peeking out from the CBS sleeves... and before I could reply, he follows that text with this one:

wow!  that is just about the best tiny tube that I know... a nice score... hmm.. I haven't looked at Craigslist in a long while... I swore off acquiring piles of old things that are not for very specific projects... but what could it hurt to look?  after all, Dave just added some nice and small items to his collection... so maybe just a peek....

and I saw this listing:

dang it!  no reference in the listing, but there it was... zoom in:

clearly an Altec horn.. and a pair of 15's... could be JBL, but considering the Altec horn, probably just a 421 woofer... and who knows what below it... but I was waiting on UPS for parts, and everybody knows I need to get out of the shop every once in while so that I do not go crazy, so off I went... 

I got there on time.. the one hipster in front of me went for the records... sucker... you could tell from the front albums that it was all standard classical... so I instantly haggled the guy for the speakers... but what I did not realize is that this was actually quite an awesome system... I would have loved to have hung out with this guy and listen to some big classical.. shown is just one stack in one corner!  this was a giant stereo rig... four Altec 15" per side... eight total!

so heavy... my back is trashed... hauling these up from the basement was *dumb*... and now to play Tetris... these have to fit in the official HiFi Hauler:

missed it by just over an inch... so that last bit of free space is the passenger seat... so I rode with a bass cabinet as an armrest... 

(shoutout to the baby blue pig that is my partner in crime for these adventures... he rode on top of the cabinet...)

so what was in the cabinets?  honestly I have not opened them up yet... gotta get back to soldering... but I was able to snap some shots inside the ports...

and the compression drivers:

so the entrance to the warehouse now has a wall of sound.. 

to which Iain said, and rightly so, "Is that Freedom Rock, man?".. to which I had actually forgotten the official response, "Then turn it up!"... 

I think dave really won this Craigslist "battle"... his tubes take up no space... his deal likely took ten minutes.. and my back still hurts.. 

oh, and don't tell Lisa... 


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Schick Tonearms


This hit my inbox yesterday and I was dying laughing... it helps to know Thomas and his humor... super funny dude... and you never expect it.. it just comes out of nowhere... 

I have known Thomas for more than a decade.. back when his tonearm was just a DIY project for himself... a few ideas he wanted to try... (sounds familiar, huh?).. and all of these years later, I am proud to use his tonearms very often...  here is the always musical and yet so simple system that I use at the warehouse:

the tonearm has easy and obvious adjustments... clean lines...  you just add an autoformer and phono stage... front end done!  so simple... and then you just play records... 

and now we are a dealer... previously I have only told existing customers, just because they know that Thomas and I are friends... but I should really tell the world as they are not just insanely good for the money, but actually insanely good... contact me if you want to listen to one or get more information... here is his standard blurb:


The tonearm is available in three finishes to choose from:

silver (nickel + palladium, matte finish)
black (black chrome, matte finish)

There is a 12 inch version available as well as a shorter 9 inch (9,6inch).
The shorter version is a drop in replacement for EMT record players as well.

The price is 1499 Euro plus shipping about 25 Euro as insured letter.
A second, heavier weight for SPU and other heavy cartridges costs 45 Euros on top, if ordered together with a tonearm.
If you choose it as a single heavy weight there is no extra cost.
The tonearm includes a lift and arm bench.
All tonearms are equipped with an antiskating mechanism.

The arm has a 5 pin tonearm connector made by me. it consists of Teflon isolation and electronic test pins.

Else, you can choose a fixed tonearm cable, with lowest resistance and  capacitance, symmetrical cable with Neutrik RCA plugs.
The cable is 1,1m long.

All tonearms are equipped with an antiskating mechanism.

The tonearm is suitable for any cartridge from about 6 Gramm and a compliance value of below 20 µm/mN (22 for the 9 inch version).
That includes most cartridges on the market, excluded are only lightweight and very soft MM systems.
A headshell is not included. I recommend to use my graphite headshell for 249 Euros.

and don't forget:  Schick Happens! 


Friday, April 19, 2019

EMIA Permalloy 50 Amplifier


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!


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!!


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... 


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