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Thread: I'm just a primary school teacher and I need help :(

  1. #1
    Join Date: Sep 2019

    Location: Ipswich

    Posts: 76
    I'm Arthur.

    Smile Best vintage speaker/amp combo for 70's Reggae/Dub?

    I grew up in a household where Reggae was played a lot. D.B.C broadcast from my mums roof for a few years and old tapes were laying about when I was thirteen. It became a passion, but I was always digging on the internet listening to low grade reproductions. I shied away from actually owning anything until I was recently blown away by an acquaintance's high end system playing some of my favourites on mint vinyl. I was converted on the spot to wanting/needing a rig and high fidelity recordings of my own.

    I am now obsessively buying early 70s 45s, fiendishly creating/curating my own little selection of the strictly baddest, rarest cuts I can afford. The problem is... I don't even have a record player . I have an 80s Pioneer amp and a pair of Dynaudio audience 40s. Together they cost £300. I am on a mission to find the ultimate set up - I have been saving and will have £3-4k to spend - I am potentially prepared to go higher. I know it may seem vulgar to you professionals to jump so quickly to the mid-leagues but when I listen to my collection for the first time its going to honestly be one of my great experiences and to do it on the deepest, richest, cleanest sound possible would be sublime.

    However my amateur forum lurking and asking around have opened my eyes to the unbelievable range of options. It is frankly staggering and overwhelming. There don't seem to be clear cut answers, but strongly held and argued opinions each particular to the amp, speaker, type of music, room size, even speaker box shape etc. I have only just (thanks Crackles!) been made aware that 'cleanest' sound may not even be appropriate for my predominantly reggae and dub collection.

    I hate the look of anything really post 1995 but prob pre 1992 is good enough. I have been told that buying vintage means potentially having any thing I buy - speaker, amp - fully refurbished at potentially considerable expense - I am up for doing this. I am looking for the dream set up that any of you knowledgable people could imagine given my requirements. I am now fully conscious that Reggae and Dub are not appropriate for lots of the audiophile equipment promoted here. I am hoping that this is not strictly true and/or there is a likeminded soul who thinks there is an option for me, or knows what wold work. Ive also been told that speaker design has advanced massively since the 70s so is it sensible to go for the most modern speaker if you were being totally honest about sound? Is this also true of amps? I am asking this hoping that there is still magic in the old models that cant be replicated!

    Ive asked a lot of friends but not sure they really know what they are talking about or that it is really reggae vinyl I will be playing. But I have been recommended by them to get either Quad Mono block amps or Leak Stereo 20 amp or and, this was really sold to me, a Croft OTL power amp. Speakers people have been suggesting Tannoy (my friend said the 15 DMT II). I have been looking and like what people are saying about the Rodgers 5/9s. Are any of these suggestions good? I have no idea what I am doing, what even a pre-amp/power amp is? Is it crazy of me to be looking into valve without any prior knowledge/experience? Are they even appropriate for reggae? I say this as humbly as possible, I have been reading your posts for some time and am astounded by the level of expertise on display.


    1. What is the best power amp, pre amp, speaker, deck combo for early 70s Dub and Reggae vinyl?

    2. I will mostly play in my 20 x 30 ft living room but would like once and a while to take the system out to my huge barn for a dance. Is this possible or do I literally need two set ups? Can I shift between the two with the right components?

    3. Are OTL Mono Blocks power amps and good Tannoy speakers (which ones!?) the ones for me?

    Budget £3-4k

    In eternal gratitude to those reading this. Apologies for such a long post and for my ignorance. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks
    Last edited by tornpower; 14-09-2019 at 20:43.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 10,156
    I'm Oliver.


    Hi Arthur,

    PA system for the barn. It's the only real way to do it. Some proper speakers too, none of this off the shelf stuff.

    As for the house, I wouldnt want tannoys imo. The bass will not be what you're looking for. I can't think of a Better AMP for reggae than a Krell amplifier. They are phenomenal in the bass. May be too pricey so I'd look for a bit of value in the used market but avoid valve.

    I like DIY preamp like the DCB1 and that combination is a killer.

    Off the shelf preamp I'd go for a Khozmo passive just because I rate Areks work highly.

    Speakers, Lord knows but I'd go big, like the JBL Ti5000 that's for sale on another forum. They won't let you down.

    Anyone who suggests valves in this instance is a madman. Not enough grip on the bass.

    You should be able to put together a superb runner for your budget and IF you buy well, you may have a bit of change.

    As for TT, I'd go for a well maintained techie 1210. It will survive that low end from your music choice. Used in clubs for decades and made a hell of good sound in crap conditions.

    Others may suggest otherwise, up to you to decide.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

    Posts: 1,416
    I'm Dennis.


    I agree with Oliver about a Krell power amp, and that valves are inappropriate for reggae, which 'rests' on its bass lines.

    I do think that some of the larger Tannoys may suit, I have been to parties where the hired DJ has preferred to use the host's Tannoys rather than his own because they are better. JBLs are also as he stated, L100s come to mind, and they have a hell of a heritage in speaker design.

    I also agree about the Technics turntable, and think maybe a second hand Quad preamp, maybe a 34 or similar would suit.

    Oh, and I forgot to say that the 5/9 is somewhat lacking in bass and sound level capacity, the 5/8 being better but both BBC voiced, and the latter the size of a washing machine.
    Last edited by Pharos; 15-09-2019 at 09:16. Reason: Addendum

  4. #4
    Join Date: Oct 2014

    Location: Surrey

    Posts: 425
    I'm Graham.


    Hi Arthur,
    Start with speakers as these are key to getting the sound you want. I second (or third!) the suggestion of JBL monitors from the 70s/80s l100, l112, 4310 4311 4312, l40. These all sound good with bass heavy music.
    They are also built like tanks so could survive being moved if needed.
    I own JBL and various Rogers speakers and wouldn't recommend Rogers for reggae, far too restrained and British. You need ballsy Yank boxes for partying to Bob and co. For much the same reason I wouldn't recommend a Quad 34 preamp. I own a nice 34 but its a bit polite for heavy beats.
    The only place where valves may have a place is the phono stage. If you have a solid state amp in conjunction with pounding speakers, a valve phono stage can inject some much needed delicacy and ameliorate any sharpness in the mid and treble.
    Also agree that a Technics direct drive turntable is way to go for the deck, they are fast and clean in the bass. Again built to withstand abuse from DJs and easy to set up after being moved. For this type of music, a good MM cart will likely serve you better.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Sep 2019

    Location: Ipswich

    Posts: 76
    I'm Arthur.

    Thumbs up

    Thank you all very much. Great that you all agree on a Krell amplifier. Would this one work: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/KRELL-KSA...R/264330672897 ?

    I have found many of the JBL models suggested from international ebay sellers. Is there anything I should be looking out for in terms of refurbishment. Things that are likely to have needed replacing and should be mentioned in sale? Is one of the models the absolute best? Are the 80/early 90s models more sophisticated because of innovation? Is there a JBL equivalent speaker choice anyone recommends?

    Accept the Quad 34 might not be the best choice for reggae. What would be a good preamp to go for?

    Excuse my ignorance but Graham when you said it might be good to introduce a valve phono stage. What does this mean? Is this a valve preamp?

    This is going to sound really amateur but the Krell amplifier plus this Croft valve phonostage (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Croft-ria...MAAOSwfHBcueka) do not have any volume, treble, bass, channel knobs on. If I introduced a valve phono stage then would I also need a preamp with the controls on it? Another user suggested that for a reggae setup Jah Tubby's (http://www.jahtubbys.co.uk/equipment.html) preamplifiers are good - they certainly have enough controls! Would this kind of preamp compromise the other components?

    Cheers for all the support!


  6. #6
    Join Date: Nov 2011

    Location: Seaton, Devon, UK

    Posts: 5,557
    I'm Adrian.


    Hello Arthur

    I think the krell would be good but others on here are motor knowledgable on them than me. The croft phono you mention is good. But aren’t you already nearly at your budget limit, there are good ones around for under £1k, Graham Slee are vfm. Turntable, I think someone else suggest a 1210 that had been cared for, you also need to consider careful positioning and isolation if you intend medium to loud volumes. A simple cheap option is to go for a passive pre-amp which has an attenuator as volume pot, look at the Tisbury, very good and won’t colour the sound. If you want a pre-amp with tone controls then I don’t have any knowledge on them. Speakers I would say a good pair of JBL L100’s or larger JBLs, alternatively Tannoys, but you need advise on Tannoys some early ones have a particular sound characters that can be an issue for some.


    Listening is the act of aural discrimination and dissemination of sound, and accepting you get it wrong sometimes

    Pro-Ject Signature 10 TT & arm, Benz Micro LP-S & Michel Cusis MC cartridge, Furutech AG-12-R4 High Performance Phono Cable, LFD MMC special phono stage, Rothwell MCX SUT, RaspberryPi/HifiBerry Digi to Beresford Caiman SEG DAC, Sony 3d blu-Ray for CDs to Caiman SEG, ALLNIC T1500 MKII SET 300B amp, Wilson Benesch Vector speakers and JBL L100 Century's , Chord Epic speaker leads, & signature links, the Eccose Conductor CA1 cd to pre, I think I am at audio nirvana, but donít tell anyone

  7. #7
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 466
    I'm Ian.


    Personally I think a bit more back ground info is needed, the main room is large, how far away from the speakers will you be sitting. If you are very close up you don't need to fill the whole room with sound. Secondly the turntable, it will need a cartridge and a second hand turntable will probable need a new cartridge or a rebuild. Cartridges are very very delicate and serious money. Who might mess with it. Do you need quality or durability. What about ripping the 45s to a hard drive. High quality rip. Turntable needs to play 45s.

    How about high quality, don't touch my deck, period gear for the main room and some pro audio from a hard drive for the barn

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 3,981
    I'm Lawrence.


    I said on the other thread that if you like your bass a bit loose, which some reggae heads actually do, then valve amps are ok. I've met a few of them with valve amps, in fact all I've met have them. The tight bass of a Krell might not do it for you.

    An audiophile forum may not be the best forum to ask, at least not everyone on it unless they have experience of the genre, not just the music but the specialist systems used by afficionados. They will also have different views on what a system should sound like. I'd try and listen to a couple of systems yourself first to compare before splashing out.

    Sent from my POT-LX1 using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

    Posts: 1,416
    I'm Dennis.


    Around your price level I would not be looking for a dedicated phono pre, the designs of which are because the manufacturers think that those integrated already in many preamps are not up to the job.

    Personally I think an AVI S2000 pre would do the job at a low price, and the phono stage is IMO very good.
    (I have one in reserve to back up my more expensive one, the pre+power+speakers costing £34k new).

    My opinion of the 34 is not based on experience, my only having had a 33, but on general reputation.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: London, UK

    Posts: 59
    I'm Syed.

    Default Stuff I've used for playing reggae

    Hi Tornpower,
    I too listened to DBC back in the day along with Rodigan and Tony Williams on a Saturday and Sunday!

    I would recommend the following -

    Record Deck - Garrard 401, Technics SP10 or SL1200 ordered in decreasing cost

    Pre Amp (if needed) - World Audio Pre3 and Phono 3

    Amp - Radford STA25, Krell KSA80, Musical Fidelity A5 (integrated) or A5 Pre/Power. I've also used a Rotel Michi and a Mr Liang 845 valve power amp happliy.

    Speakers - Tannoy DMT15 Not easy to find but very efficient and easy to drive.

    I've used/own all the above except the Technics SL1200 to happily play mainly 70's and early 80's reggae vinyl pressed in JA, UK and USA.

    You will of course hear the bacon frying in the background with the Studio One presses!

    'hope that helps!


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