Author Topic: The Great Gathering of Vintage Bits and Bobs...  (Read 538 times)

Offline Gerry1965

The Great Gathering of Vintage Bits and Bobs...
« on: November 19, 2020, 08:53:55 AM »
The Great Vintage Gathering continues...

building on what has gone before and captured electronically for eternity, or until these forums no longer exist, allow me to take you just a little further along this journey - the Great  Gathering of Vintage Bits and Bobs.
Of course my effort will never approach the greatest gathering of all – Family Dog's Collection.

We all (I assume the reader read my introduction a few months back) know about the Pioneer SA-9800 and its initial impact on my audio life and of course most recently the saga of “the 'flat' R30k integrated amp.”  Or maybe you haven't read that post as it's contained within a post related to musicians.



In between all of this, the decision was made to investigate turntable, or as some would call them - record player, options.  I have no predilection for just considering vintage equipment, so was open to any decent spinner that would suit our ears.  Yes, our ears as my wife is part of this journey.
I also remember a vintage record player sitting in the corner of oom Schalk's loft and what he told me about it.
Reach out to our trusty purveyor of second-hand audio equipment out Roodepoort way and confirm an appointment for a Saturday morning listening session.

First on the list, a ProJect deck, cannot remember the model. This was connected to Francois' labyrinth of cables and equipment.  A bit of fiddling and all was good to go...
We listen to an old favourite LP, a 1970 French pressing containing South American folk music, a record I hadn't listened to in decades for the simple reason that I could never find a quality digital recording and to my knowledge, no CD was ever produced, the digital world is a poorer place because of that.  I digress...



What I heard sounded ok, looking over at my wife who was seated in the sweet-spot gave me no indication of whether she was appropriately moved.  Additional listening to other frisbees ensued and I was ok with what my ears were telling me, but something was lacking a little.
Cue a Francois epiphany...
a consignment of equipment had arrived that Friday night, amongst this arrival was a Linn Axis of unknown age, other than the fact that is was the first generation as identified by the speed selector switch being on the plinth, though the actual birth-date of the deck in question is lost in the sands of time.
Not much music is played before my better half states that this deck sounds better than the previous one.  Francois thinks for a moment, I think he had a head-scratching moment, and agrees.
Wife approved - consider the Linn as sold.  :2thumbs:
Francois does some adjusting, not sure what he is doing as I have no experience in the arcane sciences of tweaking these ladies.



We get invited into his showroom and listen to what must surely be one of the most pleasant sounding speakers I have ever heard...
connected to a MingDa valve amp is a set of Quad ESL 57s, for the first time my wife is really moved – she edges closer to the edge of her seat, the midrange is sublime...
and surprisingly these produce a decent amount of decent  bass, contrary to a lot of reports I had read over the years.
Simply superb!   :drool:
Need to investigate further.

Come Monday morning and the Linn Axis is booked into Croak Audio to ensure that all is well before I actually drop the stylus into one of my grooves.  Guillaume being the fundi on all things frisbee-related convinces me to change the stylus as there is no real way of knowing the age of the attached K9 and provides a historical accord of Linn-related record players...most fascinating!
Sadly the news comes back a day later that the speed selector switch wouldn't select 45RPM, we didn't test it during our session at Francois.  :(
On hearing this, Francois is most apologetic, it is as if he was personally to blame for the problem...and promises to fix it.  I am well aware that these grand old dames come with challenges and it is most definitely not Francois' fault.
Needless to say, the Linn is repaired and I am asked to come fetch.

Much thanks to Francois for his passion and exemplary services to our community!  :2thumbs:

The Great Gathering to be continued in this thread...

Offline Gerry1965

Re: The Great Gathering of Vintage Bits and Bobs...
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2020, 09:05:04 AM »
.....continued


Home and this time I connect the Linn to the MM Phono 1 input on the Pioneer, choose the correct loading settings, mount "Foreigner 4"



and...
am totally underwhelmed by what I hear.
“Foreigner 4” sounds compressed, no sound-stage width, there is a thick veil covering the music...couldn't even call it music  :roll:

Eish!!! Could be one of so many things wrong...

dirty record - but I had meticulously cleaned this record by hand using the magic liquid and assorted brushes and cloths bought from Croak,
old record - it's a local pressing and has seen many hours of replay on old music centres, so grooves could be worn,
phono stage problems - the Pioneer has 2 stages, the first being MM only, the second being MM and MC, so at least I have an option there.  On hearing of the issues I am experiencing, Francois graciously offers an iFI Phono for testing,
tonearm and/or cartridge setup - I had done the cartridge alignment using a protractor, but it was the first time I had undertaken this, so could have messed it up.

Oh well, process of elimination...

First things first, back to Croak to ensure that all measurements of angles of what-have-yous are within spec.  Call comes back to say the player is ready and that only the VTA needed a minor adjustment.
“Oh, and bring your records with, let's listen to them.”
Off to Croak and the Linn is hooked up to a new Rega integrated and a beautiful pair of Harbeth P3ESRs  :drool:
Listen to one of Guillaume's records and it sounds really good, memories of long listening sessions return, now we are getting somewhere.
Replace with “Foreigner 4” and there it is, sounding worse than G's record by orders of magnitude!
He promptly removes the platter and heads off to his Nessie to give Lou and his band a luxury clean.  I emphasise the fact that I had meticulously cleaned it by hand.  I can't be certain, but I'm sure I got a knowing smile.
Nessie performs the application of liquid, I know there was some brushing involved and then a quiet vacuum suction force removes the last vestiges of dampness...
watching this is therapeutic, kind of like being mesmerised by the swing of Vu meters.

And...

ohhhh my expletive...
this is ridiculous...
the difference is night and day...
I simply cannot believe what I am hearing...
the luxury clean has performed the proverbial miracle...
I could go on and on waxing lyrical...
but that's just boring, I think you get the picture  :Whoohoo:
G tells me that there are many people, some on this forum, who have experienced the unexpected results of a good record cleaning machine, so much so that it was the one upgrade that had the most impact to their listening enjoyment.
I take note, a note that will influence my future in a way that I had never even considered in my wildest dreams...

watch this space for a new business in the making  :coffee:

Now I have a working Axis, as well as a luxury-bathed record.  Time to hook it into Phono 2 stage of the Pioneer on a hot Sunday afternoon.
Listening ensues and it sounds really, really good.  End of side one, flip, brush, clean stylus, drop the stylus and...

nothing! Seriously!? :ticked:

The pungent smell of burning electronics coming from the Pioneer makes my heart drop.
Maybe it's the phono stage,
select the tuner and still no sound,
nope, something else popped.
I heard a noise through the speakers whilst cleaning the stylus, volume was turned down though.
It's a conspiracy I tell you!

Phone Nilam on the Monday who tells me to bring it in.  Upon arrival I tell him the whole saga recorded above, he is particularly taken aback by the Nessie record cleaning experience.
Some general chat about all things audio and I leave him with my pride and joy, tell him not to rush as I have a loan integrated amp on evaluation.
That same afternoon I get the message that it is working, 2 transistors popped on a small power supply board at the very bottom of the machine, the same board that he previously effected repairs on.  Told him to keep it for a week and test it.
Will need to look at some forced cooling - thinking a set of low-noise 220v fans mounted into the shelf below the Pioneer might be the ticket.  Wife disagrees and she reckons we should be mounting the fans on the top to extract the hot air rather than blowing cool air into the box from the bottom, we leave the debate at that.

Fetch the amp from Nilam on Tuesday morning, who promptly refuses any form of payment even though it's not his fault that the components popped.  I am told ”it's a comeback” even though I know it wasn't.
Thank you Nilam, you too are a blessing to our community! :2thumbs:

Tuesday evening the grand old lady gets put back in place and is raised about 2cm off the shelf in an effort to provide a little more cool air to the troublesome board at the bottom of the machine.
Household duties complete, my wife asks to listen to “Ammonia Avenue” again...



and she smiles...
“listen to the notes, they are dynamic, the way they should be...”
and sure as nuts, the music sounds alive unlike the 'flat' integrated, life is good again.

Friday I am collecting a set of diy Acoustic Research speakers from Gerrit (Gmaestro) in Pretoria.  What caught my eye is the price and of course the midrange driver...a separate drive handling the most critical range cannot be a bad thing.  Looking forward to spending time with this new-to-me speaker layout, don't think I've ever had the pleasure of listening to 3-way enclosure.

Much more to come, hopefully I don't bore you to tears...

Offline Trompie67

Re: The Great Gathering of Vintage Bits and Bobs...
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2020, 12:20:05 PM »
Loving your sharing of your (and your wife's) journey with us. Thank you!  :2thumbs:

Looking forward to the next installment!
"Trumpets are a bit more adventurous; they're drunk! Trumpeters are generally drunk. It wets their whistle."
Paul McCartney

With thanks to F_D for this pearl of wisdom!

Offline Family_Dog

Re: The Great Gathering of Vintage Bits and Bobs...
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2020, 12:59:13 PM »
A good vacuum record cleaner is possibly *THE* most essential piece of equipment for any Vinyl lover! I have well over 1000 LPs dating back from when Eskom was still 6v and although I have always used either a Dustbug or Parastat cleaner on my records prior to playing, they are never really perfect even though they look clean. I took one record (Danny Kaye - The 5 Pennies) and cleaned it thoroughly on the vacuum record cleaner. A MASSIVE difference!

Great is the satisfaction - and has anyone here apart from myself even heard of/seen the Movie 'The Five Pennies'? Brilliant stuff, even if a bit tear-jerking at the end.


-F_D




-Eric

That Guy in South Africa...
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Offline Winslow

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Re: The Great Gathering of Vintage Bits and Bobs...
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2020, 01:15:18 PM »
A good vacuum record cleaner is possibly *THE* most essential piece of equipment for any Vinyl lover! I have well over 1000 LPs dating back from when Eskom was still 6v and although I have always used either a Dustbug or Parastat cleaner on my records prior to playing, they are never really perfect even though they look clean. I took one record (Danny Kaye - The 5 Pennies) and cleaned it thoroughly on the vacuum record cleaner. A MASSIVE difference!

Great is the satisfaction - and has anyone here apart from myself even heard of/seen the Movie 'The Five Pennies'? Brilliant stuff, even if a bit tear-jerking at the end.


-F_D

"The Five Pennies"  The story of Red Nichols a Cornet player.   Who amongst you know the difference between a Cornet and a Trumpet and the difference in tone between the two.
The very first LP I ever bought all with my hard earned pocket money was The Five Pennies in1960 at the age of 9.  My dad took me to see the film, I had such a crush on the Young Tuesday Weld who acted the part of Red's daughter.
Still have that LP to this day, the cover is worse for wear, the record is in remarkably good shape.
   
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 01:20:59 PM by Winslow »
"Audiophiles don't use their equipment to listen to your music.
Audiophiles use your music to listen to their equipment."

Allan Parsons

Offline Family_Dog

Re: The Great Gathering of Vintage Bits and Bobs...
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2020, 06:13:12 PM »
Took me years of searching to find the DVD but eventually got it from an overseas supplier, Ordered it the December that SAPO began its strike, it arrived 7 months later. The weird thing is that although it probably lay in the dusty PO vaults somewhere, the outer packaging was impeccable when it finally arrived, looked as if it had just been wrapped the day before.

Fantastic movie!


-F_D



-Eric

That Guy in South Africa...
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http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vintage_tube/
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Offline Darrell

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Re: The Great Gathering of Vintage Bits and Bobs...
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2020, 09:18:04 PM »
The Nessie record cleaner, is a fantastic machine for the money, and does a Stirling cleaning job on LP's. No serious vinyl lover should be without such piece of equipment, it makes all the difference for serious listening sessions.....

Offline HH NS1000

Re: The Great Gathering of Vintage Bits and Bobs...
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2020, 07:45:21 AM »
 I have to concur. I had a Vpi and traded that in on a Nessie at Giam. I simply could not live without my record cleaner. Anyone who is serious about their vinyl should in my opinion invest in one. They are a little pricey but worth every penny in the long run.
If you don't understand your own perceptions you cannot really make any sensible judgements.....or should I say you would not really fathom the conclusions you come to.