Vintage ideas getting a lot of word play

July 29th, 2009

Susan Leak has an article on record collecting in the Birminham Examiner “Music 101 – A look at vinyl record collectors”–A-look-at-vinyl-record-collectors

Adam Frucci writes about marrying old and new technology:

I’ve found the combination of lossless files married to tube gear by a Squeezebox to be a musically pleasing and very conveinient way of listening in the 21st century, and there are plenty of tweaks for those whose hobby trancends plug and play.

I do still love vinyl, the dynamics and the experience of the ritual are equally important but it’s tough to change a record when you’re elbow deep in a project.

Lazarus – Eico AF-4

March 1st, 2009

I’d been wanting to try out a single ended amp for some time, though I wasn’t really looking for a project.

I purchased this Eico AF-4 on that auction site, and was horrified to find a tremendous amount of corrosion, an amputated output transformer replaced with a dodgy lookin substitute, and a general state of advanced decrepitude. The power transformer tested OK and the case, faceplate and all the knobs were there, so I decided to let the less-than-up-front seller slide and put it on the shelf.

I kept seeing and and wishing I had the cojones to dive into it. It was a kit originally and I had the build docs.  Fortunately I had the good sense to put this project into the hads of my good friend Russ, a professional electronic technician and all around handy guy.

Heyboer Transformers was kind enough to wind me up a pair of OPTs to the original specifications, and the kind folks at Triode Electronics scrouged the full BOM from the build manual, which the Eico User’s Group has in it’s file library.

Russ stripped the chassis and allowed me to try to save the metal bits. I got the rust off and some paint on and he took over.  Everything except the controls and power transformer are being replaced with modern high quality components as everything was pretty corroded. Some initial mods planned were to replace the proprietary speaker connectors and vintage inputs. The ceramic phono input is being change to line level and the power connector on the back is being eliminated. 

Once it’s up and running we’ll evaluate how it’s running and contemplate further tweaks.

The pics will be posted here as Lazarus rises from the grave.




La Scalas are done

December 15th, 2008

It’s been 10 months since I stumbled across these and they’re finally done.  Cherry veneer, new grills, new woofers, new diaphrams for the tweeters, recapped AA crossover. They sound sweet and now you can look at them without cringing.



Speakers, is bigger better? Klipsch La Scala

October 24th, 2008

Last winter I answered a sorta local Cragslist ad for a pair of ’76 era Klipsch La Scalas. I have heard La Scalas on and off over the years and always walked away coveting them.

This particular pair had been around the block, but the seller was motivated.

The woofers were replaced with Bob Crites’ special order replacements.

The tweeter diaphrams were placed with parts supplied by Bob, as well as the mid-horn gaskets.

The crossovers were recapped with Solen and Auicaps, and Bob came to the rescue again noting the ferrus screws used to hold down the chokes, which were replaced with brass.

Golly, talk about presence and efficiency, talk about being on stage with the musicians. I ran these with everthing from a T-Amp to a Scot LK-72, Sherwood S-5000, Eico HF-81, Stromerg Carlsons, I couldn’t make anything sound bad.

The original unfinished birch is being bathed with cherry veneer, and the original full grills are being replaced.

Thanks Paul Klipsh, Bob Crites, all my buds at, Craig Otsby especially, Tinkerbelle.

I’ll finish off the photo gallery when they get back from their cherry bath.




The search for analog nirvana

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 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.





March 29th, 2008

This is a place for a few audio nuts to share ideas, files and links.