Apr 012018

This last week was really a nice one of relaxation and getting out in nature with my friend Chad at his cabin on the shore of Lake Chelan in Washington State.

Jeff visiting Chad at Lake Chelan in Washington State.

We got in a bike ride in the village of Chelan, and did some sightseeing around the lake.

Chad (left), Jeff (right)

Lake Chelan.

There were deer everywhere, and at least one coyote around yipping. The deer showed little fear of people, and would get within about 10 feet of us while grazing. If you got closer than that they would look up at you, then move off a couple of feet. I never saw one run.

Deer at Lake Chelan.

This is of course an audio & music blog, so you might guess we spent some time listening to music, and we did!

Chad’s cabin system at Lake Chelan.

We listened to music on Chad’s cabin system, composed of Omega loudspeakers, an Almarro A205A Mk II integrated amplifier, and a Fi phono stage. I forget what turntable Chad has, but it is a relatively high-end Japanese turntable that he bought in Japan while living in South Korea.

What I found particularly intriguing was the cartridge he had on the turntable, an Audio-Technica 1001. This cartridge sells for only $30 USD and it sounded fantastic in the context of the rest of his audio system, being both naturally musical, having a large sense of space, and made listening to music a lot of fun.

Fleetwood Mac, Black Magic Woman (1971).

Chad has a large collection of vintage rock & roll LPs and we had a ball listening to them on this system.

One of my favorites was Fleetwood Mac’s Black Magic Woman double LP from 1971 (above), when they were still a blues band, before they would morph into the rock band that most think of as Fleetwood Mac. I was so impressed I ordered a copy from Discogs as soon as I got home.

Jethro Tull, Stand Up, 1969.

Another one I really enjoyed was Jethro Tull’s Stand Up from 1969, which I also ordered from Discogs as soon as I got home from Lake Chelan.

Johnny Smith Trio, Favorites, Roost Records, 1959.

While I am on the topic of albums, I want to tell you about another terrific album, which my buddy Doc Leo bought for me while in Vegas attending a meeting on robotic surgical techniques.

Leo knows I am a huge fan of jazz guitarist Johnny Smith, and picked up a copy of the Johnny Smith Trio’s Favorites for me, which is a fantastic album! Thank you Leo, you’re awesome!

I might mention that all three of these records would be excellent candidates for premium reissues, just in case the other Chad that I know, Chad Kassem, happens to read this. Hint, hint.

Previews of Coming Attractions!

Now I want to give you a status on what’s coming up here at Jeff’s Place on the gear front in the coming months.


First I want to mention Peter Lederman of Soundsmith, who I had a delightful conversation on the phone with yesterday. Besides having a nice personality, Peter may very well be the Albert Einstein of audio, and I was extremely impressed with his immense depth and breadth of knowledge of all things audio.

Peter builds a variety of phonograph cartridges tailored to specific applications, phono preamplifiers, a variety of accessories, loudspeakers, strain gauge preamplifiers, amplifiers, a cartridge rebuilding / retipping service, and restoration & repairs of classic audio gear.

Peter mentioned to me that he’s got 40 years of experience with vintage McIntosh MX110’s (and lots of others), so if you have an MX110Z that needs a refresh you now have another expert option.

I get quite a few emails asking for a recommendation of a relatively affordable phonograph cartridge that is warm, dimensional, musical, and has high output so you don’t have to use an expensive step-up transformer with it.

I really didn’t know how to answer that sort of inquiry, but I thought I’d do a bit of research on the topic, which was what led me to Peter and his Soundsmith phonograph cartridges.

I asked Peter if he could recommend a cartridge from his line that matched the above criteria, and in fact Peter recommended two, the new Zephyr MK III ($1500 USD), and the new Carmen Mk II ($1000 USD), neither of which have been reviewed in their latest versions.

Peter is going to send me both cartridges to write about for Positive Feedback, and which I’ll be blogging about here until the feature articles are ready for Positive Feedback.

Peter is also going to send his MMP3 phono preamp ($800 USD) to try, which he says is a high-performance phono preamp for those who don’t have one already and are on a budget.

I’ll tell you how it compares to the phono preamp in my vintage McIntosh MX110Z, as well as my Leben RS30-EQ phono pre.

Duelund Coherent Audio

There’s two Duelund projects coming up, the first being crossovers made exclusively of Duelund tinned-copper components for my vintage Stokowski Altec A7 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers, and the second being a new Duelund DCA12GA tinned-copper cable that will be suitable for making power cords. I don’t have a definite timeline for either of those yet, but they are in the works.

Pete Riggle Audio Engineering

Pete is working on an adjustable crossover for vintage Altec domestic loudspeakers that crossover at 800Hz, like my 832A Corona’s, and Valencia’s, for example.

Pete’s working on them now, and it looks like a really deluxe effort from what I’ve seen when visiting Pete. I don’t have a definite timeline for the crossovers yet, but they are in the works.

Nelson Pass First Watt SIT 3

Nelson Pass has been working on his First Watt SIT 3 power amplifier for a while now, and says there will be one coming my way right after the Axpona show in a couple of weeks.

It’s rumored to be Nelson’s best design yet, which is very intriguing for me, because I’ve thought all of Nelson’s designs I have heard have been impressive over the years. I owned Nelson’s Aleph 3 many years ago and loved it!

The First Watt SIT 3 is also expected to be affordable, which makes it particularly exciting for an old retired geezer on a fixed income like me!

I’m feeling like I’m forgetting to tell you about something, but don’t remember what it is. I’ll update this post if the lightbulb goes on.

Until then, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!

 Posted by at 12:17 pm

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