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#394840 - 07/03/13 05:51 PM Journey into Analogue Darkness
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
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?

#394842 - 07/03/13 06:44 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
BlueJays1 Offline

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 4106
Loc: Porch,enjoying Bombay Sapphire
Some of my favorite sounding CD's were recorded using analog tape.
I’m armed and I’m drinking. You don’t want to listen to advice from me, amigo.

-Max Payne

#394843 - 07/03/13 06:47 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18030
Loc: NoVA
<Bill Cosby, Noah sketch> Am I on candid camera? </Bill Cosby>
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

#394847 - 07/03/13 08:37 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Socketman Offline

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 1481
Loc: Whitehorse YT
I have an oppo universal player and sacd's and I prefer to listen to my vinyl. I add to my collection quite often. How you find happiness with music is up to you. I love my analogue.

DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
I blame my terseness on my keyboard. smile
M80 V3 MY GLOSS Cherry

#395782 - 08/04/13 03:20 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
Update - have a very nice optonica turntable mounted on a 2 inch stone slab feeding a external phono stage to a 55watt per channel amp going to a psb sub/sat combo. Bookshelf monitors are mounted on heavy metal stands at ear height about 12-14ft away from listening position. Sent the Akai reel to reel for pro servicing so have been listening to LP records. This is an interim setup.

Conclusion = some records sound pretty good, in fact suprisingly good and listenable. Examples are Ozark Mountain Daredevils 1st, Willie Nelson's Red Haired Stranger, Eagles 1st, Linda Rhonstadt. Vocals, acoustic guitars and piano are realistic and well presented. Of course Paul Barton always seems to get the midrange right. I've mainly listening to albums i remember from 1969-1979 but i also listened to some classical recording. Small ensembles or solo instruments sounded good here but like in some rock records massed instruments sounded a bit 'muddied' and indistinct. This may be a limitation of the current setup so i'm adding to the experiment as initial results are encouraging. Note that i have listened exculusivly to digital audio for the last 25 years...

Next Steps

Ordered a Bryston pre/power combo to replace the current amp. Replacing the PSB B25's and sub with PSB Titanium T6 towers. Almost snagged a set of Axion M80's which i want to try, but someone beat me to them...

Will test this out with the turntable and when the built-in shelving is finished then the high end sony tapedeck and akai reel to reel can be added to the analog system.

#395801 - 08/05/13 08:42 AM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Happy Birthday Murph Offline

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6955
Loc: PEI, Canada
Interesting. Kepp giving us updates for sure.
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

#395802 - 08/05/13 09:00 AM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
J. B. Offline

Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 1291
Loc: Quebec, Canada
brings back old memories, nice!
or: Axiom Gallery

#396023 - 08/11/13 08:21 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
Brystons are hooked up and fed by an external phono pre-amp. The result is much better, a lot more ooomph and dynamic range to the sound. The question to answer is if the extra work and expense is worth it.

For $1,000 we have built a decent 2 channel system consisting of optonica turntable, psb B25 two way bookshelf speakers and bryston 2b amp and pre-amp. It sounds good for most records but records wear out and need maintenace as do turntables. Is this extra work and expense worth it? Only way is to listen to lots of records that i know well and do some lp to cd comparisions by switching between sources.

#396101 - 08/15/13 03:18 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
After a week or so of listening to LP records i have concluded the sound is acceptable and can be just as pleasing as digital, however there is not enough of a difference to justify the extra work of cleaning and maintenance of the media and the equipment. I can see if you are heavily invested in analog to stay there but it doesn't seem to make sense to switch from digital to analog, the convenience of digital trumps analog and the LP record sound is not better enough to justify the extra work. So the turntable goes. You can get a good sound from LP tech but it is a lot of work, i'd rather just listen to music than play with gear..

The next step is tape - i've got a high end sony deck with dolby S so i am going to make some metal tape copies and compare the analog version to the digital version. The final step will be to try reels when the Akai comes back from its refurb.

#396104 - 08/15/13 07:01 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
exlabdriver Offline

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1529
gn: I figured that out in the early 1980s when the first CD Players came to the marketplace.

I couldn't wait to retire my turntable along with all of its cleaning & anti-static paraphernalia. Just too much twiddling for me, especially if I'd been into the beer, ha! Furthermore, I'm still able to enjoy my CDs from that period that with minimal care in handling, are almost immune to damage. I always found LPs to be very fragile during normal use & it was difficult to keep them pristine & 'tic' free. Needle/groove noise was always present & an irritant as well.

Each to his own though....


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