I've been listening to a lot of music since i moved to 11 channel sound and my conclusion is that there is a lot of bad surround sound, building a collection of good music has been harder than i anticipated. The good stuff is very good but there isn't much.

What to do? I went to hi-rez multi-channel as i was disillusioned with the awful sound of many CD's so going back is not an option.

So i started thinking about analogue one day because when cleaning the basement i came across a heathkit amp and a pair of Dynaco A-25 speakers. My high school stereo (minus the Dual turntable). Hooked it up to a cd player and it sounded awful. Since it was designed before CD maybe it needed analog so i hooked it up to a original sony walkman cassette and 2 hours later i realized i was still listening. The sound could not be described as full range, accurate, pinpoint imaging etc but it was pleasant to listen to. My next stereo was a dynaco 'cage' amp with the original AR turntable and AR 16 speakers.

All long gone but i do have some AR 18s which were similar but smaller so i hooked them up. Same result, most CD's sounded harsh, you could hear the tweeter distort, but some CD's sounded good, and the sony walkman sounded very pleasant. Funny how you can hear distortion, my hearing above 12khz is basicaly null.

This got me thinking, the way to do 2 channel would be analog but there is no way i'm going back to a turntable. Why destroy your media with every play? I used to have a reel to reel that sounded excellent so i decided that tape might be the answer. If i convert those stored cd's to good tape on a decent deck then i would have analog sound to match the old speakers. Its not an accurate reproduction but it may be an enjoyable one.

So first step was to obtain a quality deck with dolby S, dual capstan, and 3 head/motor etc that was in proper condition. Looked at some Naks and settled on a sony that works well with my existing stock of Maxell tapes. You can get good sony metal tapes made in France off ebay at somewhat reasonable prices.

Next Steps

When the sony arrives test existing tapes, doing an A/B comparison with the walkman. Make some new tapes and compare.

i'll report back what i find out...can an old set of speakers and cassette tapes make a pleasing sound? Might also swap in some modern PSB speakers as a comparision.

Has anyone else gone this route?