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Thread: Hello frrom my Hi-Fi and me, both getting on a bit

  1. #1
    Join Date: Mar 2018

    Location: North Cambs. UK

    Posts: 6
    I'm David.

    Default Hello frrom my Hi-Fi and me, both getting on a bit

    I reach my 3/4-century birthday later this week, and most of my hi-fi equipment is approaching 40 years of age. It's been a long marriage between elderly partners but we still work well together.

    I bought my first hi-fi system in 1974. This included a Leak Stereo 70 amplifier, a Philips touch-control turntable and big Celestion speakers. I added a Ferrograph Series 6 mono tape recorder and an Armstrong 624 tuner in 1976. I got on well with them but they went to new homes when the updating urge came.

    My current system consists of a Sansui AU-919 amplifier, a Trio KD500 turntable with SME 3009 Series III arm fitted with an Audio-Technics Signet MKIIIE moving coil cartridge, and Spendor BC1 speakers, all bought in 1979/1980. There followed a Sansui SC1330 cassette player about a year later and a NAD 5420 CD player in about 2000. The cassette player gave frequent trouble and I scrapped it after trying to repair it for the last time. The CD player was sold late last year when I fell to the upgrade temptation and the new owner, who has now become a good friend, tells me he is loving it.

    The Sansui AU-919 amplifier was totally restored by an undisputed expert in 2017 (related here: http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/ind...au-919.751299/). It is now outstandingly good, far better than ever it was pre-restoration, as can be read about in the link I've given. I've never heard a system sound so good and I can't get enough of playing through it.

    Early last year I bought a Cambridge CXN network player, followed by a Cambridge CXC CD transport. I spent months in research before I settled on them, and they are truly excellent. Because the CXN has the modern 'CD' level of output of around 2 volts, and the AU-919 inputs were designed for more like 145 mV (being from the pre-CD era), I fitted a pair of Rothwell Audio -20dB attenuators to the AU-919 tuner input (now the CXN input). These vastly improved the sound quality as well as allowing broadly mid-position use of the volume control rather than 'just off the stop'.

    I'm now toying with replacing the Spendor BC1 speakers with modern Spendors, perhaps A6R, the new A7 or the D7. I'm really happy with the BC1s for 95% of the time, but I occasionally play music with lots of bass and treble at high volume and this is where it might do better. The 50W max speakers can be driven hard by the 100W/channel AU-919 amplifier as the amp exerts very strong control of the speaker units; they don't go berserk as they would with lower power amplifiers going into clipping. I tried them at high volume with a friend's Quad 404(?) amplifier in the 1980s and I had to switch off quickly as the woofers were going 'all over the place' rather than controllably back and forth.

    Any comments and suggestions on a change from the BC1s would be welcome. I've already seen a couple of threads on this forum about their strengths and weaknesses, which is what led me to join, but there seems to be a lot of contradiction.

    As for the music, my tastes are very wide-ranging but by far the greater part of my listening is to jazz. This ranges from Dixieland through to 'free jazz' but is usually somewhere between. Bill Frisell's 'East to West' album will give some idea of my preferences, with the track 'Pipe Down' always needing to be played as hard as I dare through those wonderful BC1 speakers! I also enjoy 'world' music such as Anouar Brahem's strangely-named album 'The Astounding Eyes of Rita'. My favourite track of all time is Art Pepper's rendition of 'Make a List, Make a Wish' on the 'Blues for the Fisherman' LP issued in 1980 by Mole Jazz.

    I think that's enough for now!

  2. #2
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 21,104
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Hi David, welcome to AoS

    Some great gear you have there, 1979/80 was a bit of a golden age, a good time to buy.

    re the BC1, I've never understood the appeal myself but so many people seem to think they are something special I guess I am missing something. The only problem with buying some new speakers is that new speakers are so much more expensive for what you get then they were when you got your Spendors so many years ago. You'll need to budget quite high or you may be disappointed.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200P CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *


    'This is the sort of music I'd be listening to if I was going shopping for a training bra.'

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Forest of Dean, Glos

    Posts: 10,001
    I'm Jerry.

    Default

    Hello David and welcome to the forum.
    Thanks for your first post here, I really enjoyed reading it. It took me back to my youth, I'm not quite as venerable as you but have just past my 62nd birthday.

    Definitely hang on to the Sansui amp - I feel sure it will show most modern day pretenders the door!
    Nice choice with the Cambridge digital gear, as well - I have recently enjoyed a Cambridge 851D DAC/preamp - very good indeed.

    Jazz.
    Yes, well, there we must part ways!

    Speakers.
    If you love the BC1s so much I would be very wary of change for change's sake.
    Have you considered getting them refurbed with the x-overs being updated? Excellent results can be had. Paul at Reference Fidelity Components would be well worth a chat with, I feel.
    http://www.referencefidelitycomponen...aker-services/
    Jerry

    Qobuz Hifi / Spotify Premium streaming, Topping D30 DAC with lpsu, Herron VTSP-2 valve preamp, Trigon TRE 50M monoblocks, MBL 116F speakers.

    Cables: Wireworld Starlight USB, Ixos Ixotica i/c, W&M speaker cables, Belden 19364 mains cables

  4. #4
    Join Date: May 2010

    Location: Dorset

    Posts: 2,780
    I'm John.

    Default

    Your Signet MKIIIE moving coil is one I owned many years ago now. Mounted on an LP12/Mission 774, it sounded fabulous.
    Record player, CD spinner and speakers for listening.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: London

    Posts: 3,100
    I'm Robert.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David W. View Post
    I reach my 3/4-century birthday later this week, and most of my hi-fi equipment is approaching 40 years of age. It's been a long marriage between elderly partners but we still work well together.

    I bought my first hi-fi system in 1974. This included a Leak Stereo 70 amplifier, a Philips touch-control turntable and big Celestion speakers. I added a Ferrograph Series 6 mono tape recorder and an Armstrong 624 tuner in 1976. I got on well with them but they went to new homes when the updating urge came.

    My current system consists of a Sansui AU-919 amplifier, a Trio KD500 turntable with SME 3009 Series III arm fitted with an Audio-Technics Signet MKIIIE moving coil cartridge, and Spendor BC1 speakers, all bought in 1979/1980. There followed a Sansui SC1330 cassette player about a year later and a NAD 5420 CD player in about 2000. The cassette player gave frequent trouble and I scrapped it after trying to repair it for the last time. The CD player was sold late last year when I fell to the upgrade temptation and the new owner, who has now become a good friend, tells me he is loving it.

    The Sansui AU-919 amplifier was totally restored by an undisputed expert in 2017 (related here: http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/ind...au-919.751299/). It is now outstandingly good, far better than ever it was pre-restoration, as can be read about in the link I've given. I've never heard a system sound so good and I can't get enough of playing through it.

    Early last year I bought a Cambridge CXN network player, followed by a Cambridge CXC CD transport. I spent months in research before I settled on them, and they are truly excellent. Because the CXN has the modern 'CD' level of output of around 2 volts, and the AU-919 inputs were designed for more like 145 mV (being from the pre-CD era), I fitted a pair of Rothwell Audio -20dB attenuators to the AU-919 tuner input (now the CXN input). These vastly improved the sound quality as well as allowing broadly mid-position use of the volume control rather than 'just off the stop'.

    I'm now toying with replacing the Spendor BC1 speakers with modern Spendors, perhaps A6R, the new A7 or the D7. I'm really happy with the BC1s for 95% of the time, but I occasionally play music with lots of bass and treble at high volume and this is where it might do better. The 50W max speakers can be driven hard by the 100W/channel AU-919 amplifier as the amp exerts very strong control of the speaker units; they don't go berserk as they would with lower power amplifiers going into clipping. I tried them at high volume with a friend's Quad 404(?) amplifier in the 1980s and I had to switch off quickly as the woofers were going 'all over the place' rather than controllably back and forth.

    Any comments and suggestions on a change from the BC1s would be welcome. I've already seen a couple of threads on this forum about their strengths and weaknesses, which is what led me to join, but there seems to be a lot of contradiction.

    As for the music, my tastes are very wide-ranging but by far the greater part of my listening is to jazz. This ranges from Dixieland through to 'free jazz' but is usually somewhere between. Bill Frisell's 'East to West' album will give some idea of my preferences, with the track 'Pipe Down' always needing to be played as hard as I dare through those wonderful BC1 speakers! I also enjoy 'world' music such as Anouar Brahem's strangely-named album 'The Astounding Eyes of Rita'. My favourite track of all time is Art Pepper's rendition of 'Make a List, Make a Wish' on the 'Blues for the Fisherman' LP issued in 1980 by Mole Jazz.

    I think that's enough for now!
    Hi David and a big welcome from another AU-919. Stonking amp and in the fairly long list of Sansui's best - They as you'll know did some great amps that are still sought after today.

    Like yours mine has had the full treatment having been completely overhauled and improved by the one and only Phonomac, another Audiokarma member.

    I still have the 919 as I havnt had it that long to be honest. While it has been away awaiting a replacement phon selector I took a punt on a new Sansui (Alpha) AU a707 DR and it is a cracker. Slightly less forward presentation to the 919 taking nothing from the 919 but as I say it's another cracker !

    I just love the high end Sanusi Amps - Can only image what the AU X1111 MOS must be like

    I've had a serious hankering for some Spendors so looking to get a demo at some stage - D7's are the ones i'm drawn to, prior to that I yearned for S8e's. Never heard a pair of Spendors but from all I've read (and I've read tons), I sense they'll suit my taste to a T.

    I'm hoping I can somehow here them at home in my set up though.

    Anyway, nice to have a 919, Spendor combo man onboard - you've great taste sir

    Enjoy your time here and get involved. Look forward to your next speaker journey, review etc
    My System:
    Amplification - Sansui AU-alpha 707 DR
    Turntable - Modified Technics SL1210 MK5G
    Mike New precision bearing, bearing base plate, ETP Platter
    Micro Seiki MA-202 tonearm, rewired, hybrid ceramic bearings
    Ortofon Cadenza Black moving coil cartridge
    Yannis Tome 423.5 Silver-Litz tonearm cable with KLEI Pure Silver Harmony plugs
    Ebony armboard
    Audio Technica MS-8 Magnesium headshell, Ortofon pure silver headshell leads
    Isonoe Isolation Feet
    Paul Hynes SR7EHD PSU (plus regulator modules), DCSXL pure-silver DC lead with Jaegar low impedance connector
    CDP - Pioneer PD-91
    Speakers - Spendor D7
    QED Silver Spiral speaker cable, Airlock plugs - bare wire amp end.
    Mains - Ultra Pure silver plated un-switched socket, Missing link EPS 500 silver plated plugs with Hi-Fi Tuning gold plated silver ceramic 13 amp fuses

  6. #6
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 35,718
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Hi David. Welcome to AOS.

    There are many of us using older classic equipment. I think a lot of folk are hanging onto their BC1's, possibly because they represent a sort of landmark in Hi-Fi history and of course are irreplaceable.

    I'm sure there'd be interest in your system, so why not start a blog in our Gallery section where you can show some photos.

    Feel free to join in the chat, everybody is friendly.


    Enjoy the forum,
    Geoff.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Mar 2018

    Location: North Cambs. UK

    Posts: 6
    I'm David.

    Default

    Thanks to all who welcomed me to AoS!

    Jerry (j&l100)- Quote: If you love the BC1s so much I would be very wary of change for change's sake.

    I'm still not sure about replacing the BC1s. I've been considering (but not auditioning) the new Graham Chartwell LS6/f, PMC Twenty5.23 and Spendor D7 but have come to no decision.

    I did come very close to buying D7s and, recalling Bartletts Hi-Fi as a reputable dealer from decades ago, I emailed them to ask if they could sell me a pair, and the price. Their Simon advised that Bartletts couldn't supply the D7 as they aren't an authorised Spendor dealer. However, rather than try to talk me into buying different speakers from them, he told me not to dismiss the D7 but to buy them from an authorised dealer. There followed a long exchange of emails in which he gave me excellent advice about improving my setup and generally answering my many questions. His advice included the suggestion that, before deciding to buy new speakers, I should make sure the BC1s are raised high enough from the floor and feed them through better cables. So much help with absolutely no sales pressure and not even the expectation of a sale! Bartletts get a well-deserved recommendation from me (disclaimer: I have absolutely no connection with them other than as a potential customer).

    Quote: Have you considered getting them refurbed with the x-overs being updated? Excellent results can be had. Paul at Reference Fidelity Components would be well worth a chat with, I feel.
    http://www.referencefidelitycomponen...aker-services
    /


    That seems a very good idea, so long as it's not too expensive (in case I then decide to sell). I've visited their website but there's no mention of Spendor or prices. I'll contact them after the weekend.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 17,844
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    Welcome to AoS David,

    Excellent introduction by the way - and good to hear from someone who enjoys free-jazz.

    I'm surprised you had problems driving your BC1s with a Quad 405, but can only assume it was an early version (the Mk. I), or maybe it was the Quad 303 which doesn't have high damping factor.

    Enjoy the Forum
    Barry
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

  9. #9
    Join Date: Mar 2018

    Location: North Cambs. UK

    Posts: 6
    I'm David.

    Default

    Hello Barry,

    The experiment with the Quad amplifier driving the BC1s was long enough ago that I can’t remember the details, and the woofers going “all over the place” may be an exaggeration. But I do recall that, as we tried the BC1s at similarly very high volume in turn with the Quad and the Sansui (which I had on home demonstration at the time), the speakers went into distress mode with the Quad - which was the first of the 4xx series.

    An experience that favoured the Quad over the Sansui concerned the moving coil input. My friend John and I each bought an Audio Technics Signet MKIIIE MC cartridge and found it had an impedence mismatch with our amplifiers.

    I wrote to Sansui about this, asking if they’d still honour the warranty if I had the impedance increased by a professional. I received in return a bundle of advertising brochures for their products but no answer to my question. I wrote again and they advised to “keep trying different cartridges until you find one that matches”! Running the cartridge signal through AT’s dedicated transformer into the MM input provided the answer.

    John gave Quad a call about the same problem. They invited him to take the amplifier to Huntingdon (20 miles away) where they’d modify the circuit free of charge while he waited. What a difference in service!

  10. #10
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Belfast/Northern Ireland/UK

    Posts: 17,182
    I'm Neil.

    Default

    Welcome to AoS
    Regards Neil

    System 1 (Living Room) : AMG Giro turntable, AMG 9W2 tonearm, Air Tight PC3 cartridge, Passlabs Xono phonostage, AMG Reference armcable. Marantz CD7 CD player, Sony HAP Z1es Digital File Player + Audioquest Jitter Bug, Veracity Audio Mystra DAC + HP laptop + iFi Audio i power, Wireworld Starlight USB + Audioquest Jitter Bug, for computer audio, Audio Valve RKV2 headphone amp, headphones Grado GS 1000, Nakamichi CR5e tape deck, Balanced Audio Technology VK300se integrated amplifier, Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers. Cabling: Signal - Atlas Mavros, Audience AU24, Speaker - Atlas Mavros. Mains Cabling: Audience AU24, Analysis Plus, TCI. Mark Grant distribution blocks, Equipment tables Target Audio B series.

    System 2 (Music Room) : Loricraft Garrard 401 turntable + SME 5 tonearm + VDH MC10 cartridge + Graham IC70 tonearm cable, Modified Technics 1200 turntable + Triplannar 7 tonearm + VDH Frog Gold cartridge + Paul Hynes SR7 PSU, SME Model 20 turntable + Graham Phantom tonearm + Ortofon MC5200 cartridge + Graham IC70 tonearm cable, Balanced Audio Technology VK10se phonostage, Moon Andromeda CD player, Esoteric P5 SACD transport and P 5 DAC, Toshiba 9500 DVD Audio player, AMR DP777 DAC + Dell Laptop + iFi Audio i power + JKenny JKSPIDIF + Wireworld Starlight USB - for computer audio, Kenwood 8300 tuner, Revox B760 tuner, Magnum Dynalab signal sleuth, Leak Troughline tuner + EAR Stereo decoder, Revox B77 mk 2 & Revox A77 mk3 reel to reel recorders, Balanced Audio Technology VK52se pre-amplifier, Music Reference RM200 mk1 power-amplifier, Anthony Gallo Reference 3.5 speakers. Cabling: Signal/Speaker - Audience AU24, XLO Type6. Mains Cabling: Audience AU24, TCI. Mains distribution blocks Mark Grant and Russ Andrews, Equipment tables Clear Light Audio.

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