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Misc. Photo


AKA: Biff



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"Here are a couple of pics with a short tale of what's transpired in the past year.

As seen in the photo, my main table, right now, is a Technics SL-1500MK2 re-plinthed. The power supply and electronics (control PCB) have been separated and reconnected by a elongated umbilical. They will soon be installed in a new electronics enclosure.
I designed the plinth in CAD, had it CNC machined from a block of glued up Russian birch ply and MDF planks. It is finished in "Blue Harbor". :-D
The tonearm is a Trans-Fi T3 Pro Terminator air bearing, linear tracker. I utilize a Rena 400 aquarium pump (in the attic) for the air supply.
I'm currently going back and forth between a Stanton 681EEE, 890 or Trackmaster all with ruby cantilever/nude contact line stylus assemblies by SoundSmith Corp.
The record mat is a stock heavy Technics mat with a DIY felt mat on top.
Record weight remains the TTWeights 454 gram Classic Aluminum.

This is by far the best vinyl replay I've ever had in my system by a long shot.

Runner up to this is a Technics SL-1200MK2 which now has a Mike New bearing in it. I previously had the T3 arm on this and it sounded wonderful, as well.

I'm having so much fun listening to records now, it's shameful. It is indeed a great escape for an utterly ridiculous world.





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System as of 12/2010

This is a bit of a transformation from last update as the main system has been moved from a dedicated room to the living room. (Sacrifices, sacrifices...) The first major change are two mission specific racks (Plateau) for the equipment. The second major change is that I've altogether abandoned digital recording. In lieu of that, I have expanded the analog tape section and could not be happier. Lastly, tube preamplification is the order of the day.

Technics SL-M3 (back in rotation as the main table after some light tweaking) with Audio Technica VS-245Shibata or AT-331Shibata and a TTWeights Classic turntable weight

Bottlehead Seduction (w/o C4S upgrade) diy'd phono preamp w/Electro Harmonix 6922 (They're very good; but, I'll do some tube rolling.)
Bottlehead Foreplay III (w/o Extended upgrade) diy'd line stage preamp w/RCA OD3 voltage regulator tube and NOS 6189W JAN tubes (The Electro Harmonix 12au7's, again, are very good; but, the old stuff is just better.)
I continue to be enthralled with the sound of these units. It is generally agreed that the upgrades further improve upon the sound. However, because I love what I'm hearing so much, I have not been able to bring myself to make any changes to them as of yet. Subsequently, the upgrade parts remain in their boxes.

Pioneer CT-F1250 No. 1 dual capstan, quartz lock, cassette deck
Pioneer CT-F900 cassette deck
Revox PR99MkI 1/4" half track reel to reel
dbx 224 Type II noise reduction system
Marantz VC-6001 5-disc universal changer
Technics SH-8017 equalizer
SAE Mark III solid state stereo power amp
KLH 9915 loudspeakers (I do not recommend these loudspeakers. They have very good bass extension but must be matched to a power amp with considerable damping factor. The average HT receiver just will not cut it. Thankfully, the Mark III (a civilized brute) can more than accomodate. EQ must also be added to even out the otherwise apparent midbass suck out. I am currently designing a pair of DIY speakers.)

Cables are, one by one, being swapped out for DIY cables including tri-braided experiments.

Music, on vinyl, remains the first preference. Genre is of no consequence, provided it is "good music". Storing all this vinyl is another matter entirely. I'm still working on that... Otherwise, the only other upgrade currently planned is a Tran-Fi T3 Pro arm for one of the 1200's (or the 150MK2)...  and maybe a passive attenuator for when I use the Kenwood power amp.

Swap-Ins and Extras
Technics SL-1200MK2 (x2) one w/ KAB Fluid damper
Technics SL-1400MK2
Technics SL-1500MK2 (x2)
Technics SL-150MK2
Technics SL-J2
Cassette Decks
Pioneer CT-F1250 No. 2
Sony TC-KA1ESa (x3)
Sony TC-K615S
Luxman K-110 (x2)
Pioneer CT-W604RS
Reel to Reel
Teac X-10R (x2)
dbx 224 Type II (x2)
dbx 222 Type II
Kenwood KT-76
Power Amp
Kenwood KM-106
Integrated Amp
Pioneer SA-7500





In Use:

TECHNICS SL-1200MK2 Quartz driven - 

Since the first write up, I have actually now seen 1200ís with SME M2-9 tonearms, SME 309ís, Jelco (both straight and S-shaped) as well as Regaís. Rega has changed the mounting to a 3-point. However, after more consideration and study, I am leaning heavily toward an SME arm or actually keeping the Technics arm (with all itís inherent functionality) and adding a fluid damper and rewire from KAB (along with many of their other upgrades and perhaps a "Time Step" power supply). The more I learn about this table, the more impressed I become.


SONY TC-KA1ES - quite good - I have taken off the door in order to more easily adjust the tape head. Though itís a very good recorder, I only use it for cassette to cd transfers.

On the side lines:

TECHNICS SL-M3 Linear Tracking Quartz driven - I believe this model was made for the Japanese market. It has an adapter for use in the states and is set to the appropriate voltage. This was maintenanced with copious amounts of care and attention. Tonearm cable terminates to rcaís on rear of cabinet allowing choice of interconnects. Titanium nitride arm. As I am doing a lot of transcription (to CD), I currently prefer the fully manual SL-1200MK2ís. Still a great deck.

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TECHNICS SL-150MK2 Quartz driven - awaiting arm; perhaps a Clearaudio Tangent ;-)

TECHNICS SL-1500MK2 Quartz driven - (x2)

TECHNICS SL-1400MK2 Quartz driven semi-automatic

TECHNICS SL-QL1 Quartz driven

PIONEER CT-W604RS - functional Dolby S dual deck as backup


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PIONEER SA-7500 Integrated - This sadly resides on my bench now with a tripped protection circuit. In itís place :-( the Sony STR-DE935 wizbang receiver.

SAE Mark IIIA - 120wpc - clean sound - "real wattage"; Esoteric binding posts, 3 cone feet - This is sitting idle at the moment due to the SA-7500 being out of service.



This requires an explanation. With new information (disclosure) comes new understanding. I no longer use/have the Pioneer PDR-509 an ADC, sending the 44.1kHz signal back to the PC. It turns out, from what Iíve read/learned, that the Creative Labs Audigy Platinum sample rates everything that comes into to itís "native 16/48kHz. After, depending on the problem, sample rate converts it again to 44.1kHz. Thatís a little too much converting for my tastes. With correct DC offset (a study in itself) the SNR & dynamic range of the Creativeís aux inputs shows quite good measured (and real world) performance. Acquiescing to the Audigy, I record the analog input with Sonar at 16/48kHz and allow this program to down convert to the 44.1kHz demands of Red Book CD players. This eliminates the need for high quality hardware driven sample rate conversion in the hardware. Sonar can do this at itís "leisure" and use as much CPU power as it likes. Considering the number of conversions, I have chosen not to take the 24/96 path. If so, a high res audio interface would be required to import 24/96 as 24/96 which could then be dithered with POW-R when downed to Red Book spec or simply burned as large wavís or high res discs ideally. Much debate exists over the audibility of digital distortion and artifacts in program material at the -100db level (which seems a moot point considering the SNR of a stylus gliding through the grooves of a spinning record and/or the tape hiss of the average Dobly B, C or S cassette deck. That much is for each to decide on their own.


One previous thought prevails: Ah, yes. All this, just to make digital sound more like a GOOD RECORD !!!

I no longer have the Sony CDP-CX350 Mega Changer, as I gave it away, literally along with the Pioneer PDR-509. The family system JVC XLM-415 6+1 CD Changer with 8 times over-sampling and 103 or better signal-to-noise ratio now resides in the listening room system. It sounds much better anyway. Iíve owned this the longest (since itís 1994 year of manufacture). Amazing,.still works.



What they say is true. The KLH 9915ís, although they say they go from 20Hz to 20kHz, have a quite noticeable lower midbass suck out. I have put them in the family system and returned the EPI model 100 2-way 8" loudspeakers to the listening room system. Not as much bass as before; but, a much more cohesive and full sound.


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Interconnects: Audio Research

Speaker: Monster

"Movin' On Up"

Replace the EPIís with Maggies.

I no longer desire mono blocs as I really am happy with the SAE Mark IIIA.

Now with the SA-7500 on the bench I am looking even more heavily into a possible replacement. As of late, I have been bitten by the tube bug and am seriously looking into the Bottlehead DIY Foreplay III Preamp and Seduction Phono Preamp. (They look a lot easier to put together than the vintage style guitar amps I build.)



If it's good music...I'll listen to it, preferably on vinyl.


Nina Simone: Little Girl Blue (GetBack reissue on blue vinyl)

Nat King Cole: Unforgettable (Capitol)


Stanton Trackmaster used to play those bargain bin finds you just gotta have that will otherwise trash a quality stylus!


This is still great fun... ...but, Iím definitely learning to trust my ears rather than believe the hype! ;-)