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Thread: Speedracer and Non-Smoking Man @ Montesquieu's

  1. #1
    Join Date: Oct 2014

    Location: Bracknell

    Posts: 85
    I'm Jack.

    Default Speedracer and Non-Smoking Man @ Montesquieu's

    Brook and I, regular visitors to each others premises, gladly accepted an invitation from Tom to listen to his system the other night. I have been to both his current address and his former Winnersh address where we were neighbours. This was Brook's first time.

    A feature of Tom's set-up is that he caters for mono and both of us have dabbled and/or are about to dabble in that sphere. We listened to 2 Miyajima mono carts on the resident TD124 and listened attentively as Tom explained the differences between their different diamonds and the mono eras they belonged to. We were able to play some mono records we had brought including my mono issue of 'Down To The Jetty'.

    Towards the end Brook asked for a favourite track in stereo of his idol David Bowie and Tom promptly switched to a very expensive stereo Miyajima (quickly and easily via removeable headshells) and we were both mightlily impressed. Then we had Louis Armstrong with the 'King Oliver' album and that was excellent.

    A facet of Tom's system which Ive noted in the past is its ability to portray the swelling of big dramatic passages - I dont know what's doing it but the fact that Tom has 15" drivers must contribute to this sense of power, scale and range that's on tap.

    A super night - thanks Tom.

    Jack NSM

  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,160
    I'm Tom.


    Nice having you guys ... often I get to pick the music when people drop by so it was interesting to have some new stuff I hadn't heard brought over. (I guess it saved you from the compulsory Schubert as well )

    The (recent) Bowie was something I hadn't heard and it was very impressive, what struck me was that the incredible expressiveness of his voice, so apparent in the early albums (probably my favourite is the 1974 David Live and its astonishing jazz-inflected versions of 1984, Sweet Thing and several others) was all still there, which really surprised me. Definitely something I need to explore.

    My drivers are actually 12 inch .. it's my view that 12in HPDs and 15in MGs are pretty much interchangeable in terms of performance (having owned both sequentially). Jack you definitely heard my old 15in MGs and in my view the continuity not just of character but of overall sound is quite striking, so it's interesting that you thought the drivers were the same. In the RFC Canterbury cabs though, the 12inchers have a better low-end than the 15inchers used to in the R-GRF mid-horn cabs. (As you'd expect).

    We listened to four mono cartridges altogether, my Miyajima Zero (0.7mil) Miyajima Premium/Ana Mighty Sound 1.0 retip with bamboo modded cantilever, a GE VRII vintage mono with a 1mil tip, and for 78 a mono-strapped Shure M44 with 3.2 mil tip from Expert Stylus (the first three being 'true mono', single generator with stylus movement only in the horizontal). The stereo cartridge was a Miyajima Madake.
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 / Ikeda IT-407 tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon SPU Royal N, Ikeda 9C III, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Sonovox MC-4 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; preamp - Firebottle custom; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage: Firebottle Plus; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink; Schiit Multibit DAC.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 79,430
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.


    Nice one, chaps. Glad you all had a good time, as I'm sure that Tom's an excellent host, and with a great system and room. Would love to do mono vinyl properly here too, so that's something I'll look into in the near future!


    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.


  4. #4
    Join Date: Jul 2016

    Location: Ferndown, Dorset, UK

    Posts: 192
    I'm Brook.


    I have to echo Jack in terms of what was to me the most impressive aspect of Toms system, the swell and power of crescendo's to tracks was amazing, yet in following quiet passages there was no lack of authority and grip. One thing that strikes me about mono recording is there seems to be a natural "atmosphere" ingrained in the music, that is rarely present in stereo records. The jazz recording Tom chose for us to listen to really did give the sense of being at the venue, as well as a huge sound stage the back to front imagery was nothing short of draw dropping.

    It is interesting you mention the size of the drivers Tom, never having seen let alone heard big Tannoys, I had taken for granted that they were 15 inch, but as I sat listening & looking at the cabinets I thought they looked more like 12 inch instead of 15 inch, but I thought it was an optical illusion caused by the size of the cabs.

    One reason I particularly was looking forward to visiting Tom was I have an interest in having a mono deck for my increasing pile of mono records, and have been getting fed of of constantly changing cartridges every time I wanted to listen to one, so I was hoping for some tips on which way to go. Tom was very obliging but as always with these things it wasn't as straight forward as I thought. I mean, we listened to four (!) mono cartridges, and I had no idea the different size tips were required for different sized grooves. I am sure I have over simplified that but I am sure you get my drift.

    Tom, the Bowie record was the "new" No Plan EP and you played thew title track. I have three copies of this as I play it a lot, yet I had never heard the scale and dynamics present in the grooves to that extent. I mean, my own system is pretty good and I have no complaints about how it sounds at all, but I heard Bowie as I have never heard him before on record, only in person, as I have seen him about a dozen times all told. Anyway, the song moved me to tears, I am not ashamed to say, and I hope to hear that level of emotion again soon. One other little thing Tom, David Live is a fantastic LP, it fairly crackles with electricity, atmosphere, call it what you will, but is also a favourite of mine too; thank you for inviting us, it was eye opening and inspirational, and you are a great host.

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