Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Omahaul Pt II - Western Electric 555's


hello kids!  Welcome to part II of Omahaul... I told you about Part I here... and it is time to show you Part II.. obviously from the title and teh above shot, I finally stumbled into my 555's... ahh... it has been a long time coming...

 two of them are 555W, and two are labeled 555...

check out the cool original crate...

this is a later crate, though original to one of the
555W drivers... note the stamp is an ink stamp...

side label... again an ink stamp..

this was in the open crate... Ver Halen, this is your


and this is how you can tell if your drivers have 
ever been opened.. two screws on each level have 
seals on them.. and after all these years, it is very 

and now to wreck you guys... this one is NOS.. 
the crate had never been open when the guy I 
got these from found it in teh mid eighties.. 
he opened it the day he found it and then 
just sealed it right back up... he had not opened 
it since then.. he made me open it to "make 
sure he wasn't selling me a rock"... too funny!


yep... it is the stupid rare mesh version... these have 
better low frequency performance.. they are faster 
and cleaner.. my theory is that WE abandoned this 
due to the lower power handling, not due to performance 
increases.. the pictures do not quite convey how fine the mesh is..


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Hipster Haven.

This will start out as an audio post and then go south quickly.

Gary of Capital Audiofest fame came across these 160hz Azurahorns at some point and scored them.  For the past month they have been stored in an apartment in Bushwick Brooklyn.  Once I heard they were there I offered to pick them up if we could use them on the lowther field coils in our room at the show.  (yes we will be at captial audiofest with some trick Garrard turntables, schroder and durand tonearms, and a bunch of Emia stuff.)

My task was to go to Bushwick and pick them up.  20 years ago I looked at a place in Bushwick and lets just say I chose to stay on the Bowery.

The buildings adjacent to the location of the horns had the expected look even though they were clorox clean.  The first hint that I wasn't in the same Bushwick I had explored two decades ago were the auto's parked on the steet.

Going around to the other side of the Prius gave an even bigger tell.

The building exterior was.... well unique... with lots of commentary.

Going inside was more of the same.

The biggest problem I would have living the hipster life, would be after getting out of the town car after a hard day of interning and being forced to decide whether my latte cup trash or refuse?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Western Electric Flop House.

I spent yesterday surrounded by asses for my 'real job' and by the end of the day my drive home would have had me turning around for my drive back in so I crashed at one of my favorite historical landmarks.  Here is what was hanging in the lobby.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The poor kid inherited my sense of humor....

Sunday was the US holiday known as Father's Day... and this was the card I received from my oldest:


and the punch line:

poor kid...


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Emia Strain Gauge

It has been a long time in the coming but the first official Emia strain gauge phono supply is ready to be delivered.  It holds true to its "drug through the hudson" brethren with a couple of new tricks.
The need for biasing has been done away with and it is now simply plug and play as you roll through tubes to find the "tone" you want.  Also two switchable filter sections have been added to bring the riaa EQ closer to the ideal.  The beauty of the way the filters are designed is that they are relay switched shunt filters so when they are in the off position there is no sonic penalty to be had.

The average panasonic gives about  +- 2.5dB accuracy from 100hz to 10Khz and has rising response on either side of that.  The first filter addresses the 100 -10K range and uses a permalloy inductor to bring things close to +-1dB.  I was able to get it to +- .5dB but it reached the point where I felt the filter was killing the overall beauty of the strain gauge sound so I backed it off a bit to where I felt it listenable again.  The other filter section is in place to tame the rising high frequency behavior and even though the plots are not that different, the results are quite audible.   My preferences are for both filters to be out but others may feel differently so the option is there.

below are the plots I measured to show the three response curves of the various filters. (the filter robs about 3dB of overall gain and the plots are normalized to a 1Khz level)

For those who look at the measurements and don't read the above text...I want to be clear that I was able to get much better measured response (hell I could nail it) but the sound suffered so I backed off to get sound I would accept putting my name on.  I still prefer the sound without filters and now you have an option of hearing both and deciding for yourself.  Luckily in some circles junkies with differing tastes can still enjoy their high.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

X-mas surrounds.

This box from a fellow junkie showed up on my doorstep last week and it took a double-take to figure out what it was.

Once I saw the 34 pound shipping weight I knew the box was pilfered from the attic to keep the postal thieves away from the unobtanium cargo inside.

While they aren't 555's or S2's, they have one far more interesting feature that must be added to the research database.

I'll play some PJ Harvey and paraphrase paul harvey to let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


We took a 50 amp to the LSAF with some 80% nickel outputs on it that will do a nice 2-3W full bandwidth, (amp is -1dB 22-54Khz).  When CV was over a week or so back he just had to hear what the 80% did.  At this point it was past midnight and he was bleary eyed but he encouraged the swap.  I had some 5K:8 bobbins so all we needed to do was stack'em up and clip 'em in.

Interestingly enough, the bobbins I had on hand were for a double stack of lams so we are talking 10 pounds of high nickel and copper.  In the picture above you can see them on top of the big amorphous OT's I was previously running.   I have really only heard amorphous shine when used as outputs on thoriated tubes and I have no use for it in low level situations.  Thoriated + amorphous, seems like the wrong blend of spices but it has proven to consistently work.  The few times I tried 49% on the thoriated tubes (49% is sublime with 3A3's 45's 50's etc) I always went back to the amorphous so I didn't have the highest of hopes for the 80% but shines insisted we push on.

I'll let him comment if he wants but I have to admit I was surprised.  The 80% let so much more music out of the groove in the form of a huge 3D image. We were both beat so we crashed and sprung up the next morning at the crack of 10am and gave it another comparison with the same results.

Blog Archive