......Never to go Back Again! .....

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......Never to go Back Again! .....
« on: 24 Apr 2009, 08:28 am »
.....to solid state!  Hola.  I have an early 1960's Columbia mini console record changer/ stereo I bought for $10 at a garage sale last summer with a jack for an extension speaker and an input for a tuner. The bottom of the cabinet has a 12" woofer and two 3.5" tweeters in an open backed configuration. It has a tube preamp using a single 12ax7 and a power amp using two 6L6's, a 5u4, and a 12ax7. The record changer's motor seized so I took it apart to find replacement was impossible (integrated chassis and motor). So I took the amps out and hooked them up to my vintage tube Lafayette tuner ...just to play around. I liked what I heard, but the preamp section left a little to be desired (I'm familiar with power amps running 6L6's so I eliminated that as a cause for the lack of fidelity).
     My Conrad Johnson preamp was just siting there awaiting XLR connectors, so I hooked it up direct to the power Amp. I plugged in my Oppo disc player and put Ry Cooder's "Flathead" CD on.  Unbelievable!  I have two Crown XLS 202's that I've been using with the Conrad and Oppo as my main system through Altec Lancing M-14's and sometimes my Altec Lancing M-15's too (home theater).
      Now this was just hot-wired using wire nuts, Dayton interconnects, galvanized nails and sawed-off RCA interconnects from the Conrad to the amp. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! No Mike Fermer adjectives here.., but clarity...defined...full...balanced. I could hear for the first time Ry's amp hum (most Fender tube amps hum and buzz a little, I have an old Fender Twin Reverb that sounds exactly like it). His vocals and the rest of the instruments were like I've never heard before. After a few more cuts I put on Diana Krall's "The Girl In The Other Room".  It blew me away! I play piano and at university, I practice on an old Steinway Grand in the college's auditorium. I know what a grand piano sounds like sitting right on top of it! Her vocals....I don't know how to describe it. I never heard such beautiful music....ever! After Krall's CD was over I put on Santana Abraxas. I can't describe the sonic qualities of the congas and other percussion...it was just perfect. The guitars sounded for the first time ..real!
     Besides my Twin I also have an old Vox AC 15 and throughout my life, I've owned just about every good amp twice or three times and I couldn't count the guitars I've owned (I have 6 now).  I am more than familiar with the exact sounds these all make and that gives me an excellent benchmark to judge this new "system" by. Well my priorities have just changed. This old Columbia, 20 watts maybe, amp still has it's original Slyvania tubes in it and really isn't the best of audiophile quality...., but! Here I go!  I'm absolutely hooked forever! I'm so happy! As for the Crowns....they will reside in a theater system belching out The Hulk and Batman, The Dark Something or Other. And for ten bucks!  "Tanx" for readin'!   Jeenie67.   


Re: ......Never to go Back Again! .....
« Reply #1 on: 24 Apr 2009, 11:49 am »
I am with you.  I am listening to two small speakers I made with Def Tech woofers  and Seas tweeters using an OPPO source thru a Fisher 500 rebuilt by Nos Valves. Certainly worth waking up for. 


Re: ......Never to go Back Again! .....
« Reply #2 on: 24 Apr 2009, 12:06 pm »
Nice, my 50+ year old Magnavox console pull amp keeps me extremely happy too!


....almost finalized, but..
« Reply #3 on: 6 May 2009, 01:01 am »
  ...I will be moving before transferring to a new university in late August. Placement of the cabinet will change according to the new living room sonic characteristics. This little Columbia tube amp has now earned a permanent place in "The Rack". Two cooling fans toned way down with resistors in the line provide a nice breeze without any noise. Similarly the Crowns fans were replaced with Whisper fans and now slowed with resistors. The Columbia handles the Altec Lancing M-14 HF drivers and the Crowns are bi-amped left/right for the LF drivers. A large slot supplies ample air for the fans in front and below the Crowns allowing usage with the cabinet doors shut which I prefer.
     The first listening session made everything I've done so far worth the time and effort. Tight bass with almost unlimited headroom, acoustic guitar work is impossible to tell from live, I could never put into words the presence of vocal work on either discs or vinyl, and piano work typically is the same as guitar....I cannot tell the difference. Even with the small living room and odd placement in the room the sound staging has me stupefied. I played the 1812 Overture on SACD by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The sound of the tympani's were coming from the ceiling left. Chimes, cymbals, and bells were on the ceiling also, middle stage. The string section came out of the floor right, and the brass section started on the floor spreading out and upward stage left. Tubes....I love tubes. Why I didn't do this months ago is beyond me! 
      After I'm fully recovered from my injury the dipole speakers I designed will be inserted into the mix. There is still the hint of boxiness from the Altecs. I have four of them so the M-14's drivers will be modified to reside in the dipoles. After I earn my masters degree the Crowns will be replaced as members of the stereo system and perform duty in the theater system.         Tubes ! 


Re: ......Never to go Back Again! .....
« Reply #4 on: 25 May 2009, 10:21 pm »
 :thumb: TUBES :thumb: