Oct 302016

You’ll have to wait a while before the full 13th Annual Positive Feedback Writers’ Choice Awards for 2016 appear at Positive Feedback, but I thought you’d enjoy this sneak peek into my nominees for 2016. Enjoy!

The 13th Annual Positive Feedback Writers’ Choice Awards for 2016

It’s always an exciting time of year when the Positive Feedback Writers’ Choice Awards roll around, as it provides a time to reflect back on the past year and think about its highlights.

My past year has had many highlights, but due to a series of challenging personal circumstances, I was not able to find time to write formal articles about most of them.

I shall give all of these audio delights a chance to stand upon the Writers’ Choice Awards podium, as I pick three standouts for the Writers’ Choice Awards for 2016.

The nominations include:

The vintage Stokowski Altec-Lansing A7 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers.

The vintage Stokowski Altec-Lansing A7 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers.

Leopold Stokowski’s Voice of the Theatre Loudspeakers: Just as 2015 came to a close, I was able to obtain a pair of unique & historic vintage Altec-Lansing Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers that were custom made sometime before 1964 for the great maestro, Leopold Stokowski (April 18, 1882 – September 13, 1977), who collaborated with Altec-Lansing on projects during his career while he lived in New York and was conducting the American Symphony Orchestra. They’re amazing vintage loudspeakers with a great history!

The vintage Altec-Lansing A5 Voice of the Theatre project loudspeakers as restored by Gary Fischer.

The vintage Altec-Lansing A5 Voice of the Theatre project loudspeakers as restored by Gary Fischer.

Altec-Lansing A5 Voice of the Theatre Loudspeakers: Also towards the close of 2015, another pair of vintage Altec-Lansing loudspeakers arrived in my life, this time a pair of vintage Altec-Lansing A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers restored by Gary Fischer. First introduced in 1945, the A5 was a popular choice for smaller theater venues, and taming these historic & unruly beasts for domestic listening formed the basis of a challenging vintage loudspeaker project that has been a resounding success! These musical beasts will melt your heart, but not your wallet! Altec-Lansing Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers that have been nicely restored by Gary Fischer start at around $3000 USD and go up from there. If you’re interested in becoming one of the growing numbers of vintage Altec loudspeaker enthusiasts you can email Gary about building a pair for you here.

The Duelund Coherent Audio Hybrid Silver-Copper CAST capacitors.

The Duelund Coherent Audio Hybrid Silver-Copper CAST capacitors (left).

Silver-Copper Hybrid Duelund CAST Capacitors: I chronicled for Positive Feedback in Issue 70 and Issue 74 an audio adventure where Frederik Carøe (Duelund Coherent Audio) and I partnered on building a pair of no-holds-barred external crossovers for my Tannoy Westminster Royal Special Edition loudspeakers out of the ultra-performance Duelund CAST capacitors, resistors, autotransformers, and inductors.

The Tannoy Westminster Royal Special Edition loudspeakers.

The Tannoy Westminster Royal Special Edition loudspeakers.

The Duelund CAST crossovers were shockingly good, and with my favorite pure silver 6.8uF CAST capacitors ($10,289.48 USD each) in the C1 positions of the high-frequency circuits, they were also shockingly expensive.

The Duelund-WRSE external CAST crossovers!

The Duelund-WRSE external CAST crossovers!

Just as 2015 came to a close, Frederik delivered a set of 6.8uF silver-copper hybrid Duelund CAST capacitors for me to try in C1 that captured a large slice of the performance of the pure silver capacitors at a fraction of their cost, a much more affordable $744 USD each. Amazing CAST capacitor performance at a much more affordable price! Duelund Coherent Audio products are available from Parts ConneXion in the Americas.

Friends at Jeff's Place.

Friends at Jeff’s Place. Left to right: Ron, Rafe, Leo, Pete, and Don (far right with noggin’ just visible above the West’).

Hi-Fi Friends: The music & hi-fi we all share and enjoy so much is such a great hobby. I feel really fortunate to have friends like Ron, Rafe, Leo, Pete, and Don (left to right, with Don’s noggin’ just appearing just above the Westminster loudspeaker on the right above).


Ron, Leo (behind Ron), Pete, and Don.

There’s nothing quite as wonderful as having friends over to share some hi-fi fun & games, listen to music, have some laughs, and enjoy some good food & drink, like in February 2016 when Rafe & Don did a road trip from beautiful British Columbia to pay me and my friends a visit. Rafe wrote about their road trip at Part-Time Audiophile here.

One of the best ways to improve your hi-fi experience, and to create good memories, is to invite friends over to join you!

The Woody SPU Tonearm by Pete Riggle Audio Engineering.

The Woody SPU Tonearm™ by Pete Riggle Audio Engineering.

The Woody SPU Tonearm™: The 12.5-inch Woody SPU Tonearm™ by Pete Riggle Audio Engineering is so ridiculously good I just couldn’t bear to see it leave after I finished up its review in Issue 87, so I bought it to replace my 12-inch Thomas Schick tonearm that I use for stereo SPU phono cartridge use. Pete Riggle is really onto something wonderful with this tonearm, and I highly recommended the 12.5-inch Woody SPU Tonearm™ to all like-minded music lovers. The 12.5-inch Woody SPU Tonearm™ is very fairly priced ($2000 USD), its musical & sonic performance is extraordinary, its adjustability & flexibility unprecedented, and it is entirely hand-crafted by Pete Riggle on a bespoke basis. You can contact Pete by email here.

Duelund Coherent Audio DCA16GA Premium Tinned-Copper Cable: In Issue 88 (coming November 1st) I reviewed the Duelund Coherent Audio DCA16GA Premium Tinned-Copper Cable, which is based on the design of the much beloved (and now extinct) vintage Western Electric WE16GA wire that was renowned for its live-like musical & sonic presentation. Not only is the Duelund DCA16GA based on the glorious vintage Western Electric WE16GA, but it actually betters it both musically & sonically in every way.

Duelund DCA16GA

Duelund DCA16GA Premium Tinned-Copper Interconnects with Duelund Gold RCA’s.

The Duelund DCA16GA premium tinned-copper cable, wrapped in its oil-soaked & baked cotton dielectric, with its extremely vivid tone color, superb dynamic response, melodic sophistication, harmonic complexity, live-like timbral complexity, spooky imaging presence, natural live-like level of resolution, generous portrayal of soundstage & soundspace, a presentation so breathtakingly musical, and with such high level of intensity of emotional engagement, that it makes for the finest speaker cables or interconnects that I have ever experienced, bar none.

The MSRP retail price for the Duelund DCA16GA is $12.99 USD/meter, which is a bargain for what is essentially a custom, hand-assembled cable that betters the legendary vintage Western Electric WE16GA, and is actually less expensive than what I paid when I bought a spool of vintage Western Electric WE16GA a year ago.

In the Americas the Duelund DCA16GA premium tinned-copper cable is available through Parts ConneXion at the very fair price of $9.99 USD/meter.

With a wonderful selection to choose from for the 2016 Writers’ Choice Awards, it’s always difficult to narrow it down to the required three, but for 2016 the top three nominees are (drum roll please!):


I hope you’ve enjoyed this little sneak peek into my nominees for the 13th Annual Positive Feedback Writers’ Choice Awards for 2016, and I’ll let you know when the final results are posted at Positive Feedback!

Thanks for stopping by, and from my home to yours, may the tone be with you!

 Posted by at 4:31 pm

  8 Responses to “Sneak Peek: The 13th Annual Positive Feedback Writers’ Choice Awards for 2016”

  1. What an amazing year in hi-fi you’ve had Jeff, so happy that I was able to share a small part of it with you, and the wonderful friends that inhabit Jeff’s Place. Cheers!

  2. Hi Jeff,

    I have to concur with Rafe’s observation about an amazing year of audio at Jeff’s Place in 2016. It has been a pleasure to participate in a small way. I have been substantially influenced by the Jeff’s Place goings on.

    Your use of the prototype Woody SPU Tonearm showed me just what magical sound the SPU cartridges can produce with this tonearm. This has allowed me to offer the Woody SPU Tonearm as a product. I am building a Woody SPU tonearm for myself now, to use with the brand new Ortofon Classic GM MkII cartridge sitting on my shelf waiting for the arm. The cobbler is waiting for new shoes.

    Also, your implementation of the Altec A5 and A7 speakers seduced me into acquiring a pair of nearly mint A7-500-8 speakers, circa 1976. These have the 8 ohm ceramic 416-8C woofers, the 511B tweeter horns, and the 802-8D alnico compression drivers. A home built version of the Hiraga 8 ohm crossover network totally transformed these speakers into something wonderful. They are not going to be going away. I will be trying a pair of alnico 8 ohm 416 woofers to see what I can learn about the differences between alnico and ceramic magnet speakers.

    What surprised me about these A7s with the Hiraga inspired network, using good capacitors, is the holistic unification of the sound over the entire frequency range, the wonderful timbre provided by the 15 inch driver, and the sweetness of the highs. The sweet highs came as a surprise to me, changing my opinion about aluminum diaphragms in compression drivers. Also, the sound stage and the sense of space are quite remarkable. Many listeners have commented on how interesting music is played through these speakers. One has to wonder at the accomplishments of Western Electric and the Altec Lansing people, beginning the best part of 100 years ago.

    With 2017 staring us in the face I can’t wait to see what will happen at Jeff’s Place in the coming year.

    Best Regards,

    • Hi Pete,

      I also have a pair of Altec A7-500-8 as yours, but with 416-8B woofers. Found them too shrill in the highs with stock crossover. The Hiraga crossover was designed for 515 woofers and multicell horns (1505 or 1005). Did you use the exact specs of Hiraga crossover (8 ohms version) for your 416 and 802 drivers? I have not seen informations on your website about crossover spécifications, types of caps and coils for your A7.

      Best Regards,

      • hello Rejean
        the Hiraga crossover is in his original form build for the 1505
        it it not usable on a 1005
        there is a huge difference in sound that these horns have

        • Hi Robert and Rejean,

          The Hiraga crossover is very easy to adapt to both the A7 and the A5, and it works beautifully with my 1005 horns.

          Having heard it, I can attest that Pete’s adaptation of the Hiraga crossover to the A7 makes it one of the best sounding speakers I have ever encountered.

          The Hiraga crossover is a wonderful sounding crossover when optimized for the A7’s and A5’s, and Pete can definitely get you going in the right direction to getting the most out of them.

          Kind regards,


    • Hi Pete,

      Wow! What a great comment, thank you so much!

      Your Altec A7’s are magnificent sounding, and I am very impressed with the results you have got, you a true inspiration for me to get the best out of my A5’s & A7’s!

      Your Woody SPU tonearm has been a revelation for me, and I will look forward to many more audio & musical adventures in 2017!

      All the best to you and Gloria!

      Kind regards,


  3. That’s a pretty great list of nominees.

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