.....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.