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Thread: View from the wild Welsh Marches plus unexpurgated grumbling.

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  1. #1
    Join Date: Mar 2014

    Location: Hay-on-Wye

    Posts: 7
    I'm Andrew.

    Default View from the wild Welsh Marches plus unexpurgated grumbling.

    Apparently, I have to pitch something on the welcome pages… so here goes

    Status: raddled old audiophile (b: 1961); hearing well shot so I wouldn’t take too much notice of anything I say (especially if it involves anything over about 12K).

    Philosophy: rather spend money on music (and bikes and family and dog) than hi-fi toys, so a cheaper way of getting a good result is always good with me.

    Outlook: sceptical. If all the ground-breaking advances since I bought my first system in 1978 added were as transformative as all that, new gear should sound worlds apart from even the very best of what we had back then. It doesn’t.

    Best gear I’ve ever owned: (1) Speakers – Lowther Acoustas. So dynamic, so alive, and TBH the famed “Lowther shout” just didn’t make itself apparent in my system/room. Sadly also terribly fragile – too expensive to keep servicing/replacing drivers so no longer with me.

    Best gear I’ve ever owned: (2) Power amp – Leak stereo 20. Infectious musicality minus the unrealistic “bloom” that I hear with many valve amps. Why on earth don’t I have one still?

    Best gear I’ve ever owned: (3) Pre-amp – my own home-built passive-pre using switched pot. Volume control is a bit coarse (only 23 steps quiet-to-loud) but it's silent and sounds transparent. I’ve never really perceived the claimed lack of drive or dynamics that some people attribute to passive pre’s.

    Best gear I’ve ever owned: (4) digital: Topping D30 DAC. Plenty of inputs, dirt cheap, silent and cleans up my CD, PC and radio sources impressively. Ludicrously competent and under £100!

    Best gear I’ve ever owned: (5) analogue: can’t be anything other than my Garrard 301 with Martin Bastin plinth and Jelco 750. Got the style, got the sound. Not expecting to change it now.

    Best bargain: Ocean Digital DBA-03R Internet Radio tuner. £45. That’s £45. Internet radio kills off DAB at a stroke – and I no longer use my analogue tuner either. The analogue outputs stink, but digital out to an external DAC sorts that out.

    Is it just me?? (1) Do speakers get better as they get older? I know Lowther speakers have a reputation for getting better and better right up to the moment they break, but TBH I think this covers other brands too. (Yes – capacitors and resistors need replacing.) I’ve listened to a number of recent mid-price recommendations (Wharfedale, Tannoy, Q Acoustics) with a view to upgrading/up-dating. Haven’t liked any of ‘em. Sticking with my Bang & Olufsen S45 mk2’s. A cult classic from the mid 1970’s, there’s not much I like better. Not in my price range, anyway.

    Is it just me?? (2) I love these classics, but I do worry about just being set in my ways. Is it like music, where nothing will ever sound quite as great as the stuff that excited you when you were 18? Maybe I only really respond to stuff that reminds me of the things that I aspired to back then.

    Is it just me?? (3) Enough nostalgia! Some of that old stuff was always over-rated and is still just as poor. I’ve had a couple of pairs of Mission speakers through my hands recently – the little 70’s and 700’s. Both budget classics – and both ruddy dreadful. To be fair, I only tried them in my garage system with a Chinese 2020 class T mini amp, i.e. not remotely good enough to show you what’s good, but plenty good enough to reveal what’s bad. I “upgraded” to a pair of Sony mini-speakers that came with a low-fi mini-system. Genuinely, the Sony’s are a country mile better than the Missions! Shocking, eh?

    Is it just me?? (4) I can’t hear what’s wrong with Class T amps! I currently use a couple of TPA3116 power amps – one in a home-made power amp with a Meanwell PSU, the other a cheap Chinese mini-amp. Both are great. I don’t hear any issue using switched mode power supplies either. (Like I said… old ears.)

    Is it just me?? (4) Bloomin’ heck I do love Spotify. I know, it’s compressed digital, but at 320 mbps it sounds good to me. Very good, actually. (Old ears again…) Those LPs (and even the CDs) are getting taken out less and less. The choice! The convenience! I’m weak.

    CURRENT PLAYLIST : Flook, Oi Va Voi, Stereolab, Kenny Burrell, Merry Clayton, Joni Mitchell, Delfonics, Bernad Peiffer, Sly & the Family Stone, Tortoise. Yeah, I know… but it’ll change next week, so never mind, eh?

    And if you’ve read all the way to here, thanks for listening.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: Northern Ireland

    Posts: 1,067
    I'm John.

    Default

    Great intro Andrew, welcome on board.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: Northern Ireland

    Posts: 1,067
    I'm John.

    Default

    What a cool place name

  4. #4
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 26,413
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Hi Andrew, good rant! Welcome to the forum.
    Current Lash Up:

    *Sony SCD XB790QS* Nelson Pass DCB1 / Krell KSA100 mkII * JM Lab Electra 926 *


    'You fool! To think that your ape-brain could contain the full knowledge of the Krell!'

  5. #5
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 5,133
    I'm Alan.

    Default

    Hi Andrew, great welcome post.
    My ears roll off earlier than yours but that shouldn't stop the enjoyment. Good to hear you build stuff as well.
    Yes you live in a lovely part of the country. Enjoy the forum.
    Firebottle - for the no bottleneck approach.

    I love Hendrix for so many reasons. He was so much more than just a blues guitarist - he played damn well any kind of guitar he wanted. In fact I'm not sure if he even played the guitar - he played music. - Stevie Ray Vaughan

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Out on the wild and windy moors Lancs / Yorks Border

    Posts: 443
    I'm Andy.

    Default

    Probably the best intro I have read.

    Welcome Andrew
    Analogue
    301 / 3012 / dl 103
    401 / PU7 / AT33ev
    RD Technology Godolphin PSU/speed contol
    Longdog Audio MC1J Prototype
    Digital
    Vortexbox, SBT
    Caiman Seg & Dorado
    Cambridge CXC
    Amps
    Tron Seven Linestage, or Quad 44
    Quad 303, or Bel Canto Set 40 or NG 300B Set Monoblocks
    Speakers
    Tannoy GRF Memory.
    Tannoy ST100.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: Northern Ireland

    Posts: 1,067
    I'm John.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy831 View Post
    Probably the best intro I have read.
    Took 5 years to write.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Out on the wild and windy moors Lancs / Yorks Border

    Posts: 443
    I'm Andy.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJo View Post
    Took 5 years to write.
    LOL clearly been lurking for years LOL had not spotted that John
    Analogue
    301 / 3012 / dl 103
    401 / PU7 / AT33ev
    RD Technology Godolphin PSU/speed contol
    Longdog Audio MC1J Prototype
    Digital
    Vortexbox, SBT
    Caiman Seg & Dorado
    Cambridge CXC
    Amps
    Tron Seven Linestage, or Quad 44
    Quad 303, or Bel Canto Set 40 or NG 300B Set Monoblocks
    Speakers
    Tannoy GRF Memory.
    Tannoy ST100.

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 21,254
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    Welcome to AoS Andrew,

    What a great introduction - funny, contentious and opinionated: just what we like to read. Agree with a lot of it, but from personal experience would also disagree with some of it. Such is life - we're all different.

    Enjoy the Forum
    Barry
    Barry

  10. #10
    Join Date: Dec 2018

    Location: Torquay, Devon.

    Posts: 984
    I'm Shane.

    Default

    Howdy! Welcome to AOS.

    Have fun.

    S.
    Shane Lonergan.

    Home Hi-Fi Chat UK (Facebook Group)

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