Archive for June, 2008

The search for analog nirvana

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Though I’ve always loved music, the last few years I’ve been interested in improving how my music sounds.

1983: I can remember buying my first CD player, paying dearly for it and in spite of all my expectations being sorely disappointed. My system at the time was a middling Pacific Stereo bundle, which included a turntable. I was woefully ignorant of the market place for hi-fi, but it did to my ears sound better than most of my friends rigs and it made me happy.

The digital revolution made obtaining new titles on vinyl near impossible and though I hung onto a core of albums, the shift to the compact disk began to occur.

My ungainly component system gave way to a series of high-wife-acceptance factor ‘stereos’ during the intervening years. My one island of nirvana was a rig I set up in the workshop of my pottery with a Dynaco PAS3, a pair of MarkIV’s driving a pair of Altec 620-B’s. It was a hostile environment for sources and we went through a lot of tape decks and tapes with all the clay dust but the folks who took classes and worked there gave that rig a workout.

Fast forward to the twenty first century and I get a hankering for some better sound and find a large crowd who think that vintage is a path to that end. I start out with a pair of Jensen Tri-ettes that the heirs of the previous owner of this house left behind and a Sherwood S-5000 (rebuilt by a very eccentric guy).

Gee – sounds good with my old MCS (Technics ?)  turntable.  I spring for a new AT-PL120 with an AT440ML and it sounds better!

Now I start noticing vintage stuff is everywhere. An Eico HF-81, Polk monitors, a Stromberg Carlson ASR-433, some Wharfdale W70’s… this stuff sounds good. I find Craig Ostby, Terry DeWick, Foster Blair, Mike WIllimams, Bob Fitzgerald and other gurus willing to share their knowledge or salvage a piece. I find audiokarma.org and make a bunch of new friends and penpals.

This site is here to share some of these experiences, some photos and anything useful I run across.

Feel free to browse, comment and share.