Jun 162018

I was hoping to get the Positive Feedback review of the Soundsmith Carmen Mk II phonograph cartridge finished up this weekend, but it’s looking like it is going to be next weekend instead – it’s turned out to be a busy weekend!

Soundsmith Carmen Mk II phonograph cartridge, Thomas Schick headshell, with Art of Tone DIY headshell leads.

Also, something very interesting happened during the review of the Carmen Mk II – in a good way – that I’ll tell you all about during the review – it’s an unexpected first!

First Watt SIT-3 installed into the Westminster based system.

I installed the Nelson Pass designed & built First Watt SIT-3 stereo power amplifier into my Tannoy Westminster Royal SE based system in place of my usual vintage hot-rodded McIntosh MC30 monaural amplifiers.

The  First Watt SIT-3’s sonic & musical chops during run-in have been all over the place. Sounding laid back at one point, then forward and a bit harsh at one point, now the SIT-3 seems to have settled into a rather remarkable combination of musicality & sonics that I find very seductive – it totally blew me away last night listening to Getz/Gilberto. Much more to come on the SIT-3!

Still Audio EL84 integrated amplifier powering my vintage Altec 832A Corona’s!

The Still Audio EL84 integrated amplifier has generated more “hits” and interest inquiries in the last week than any other post I’ve made, which is an impressive debut. I guess there’s many of you out there that love EL84 amplifiers just as I do!

I’ve got the Still Audio EL84 integrated amplifier running-in on my vintage Altec 832A Corona loudspeakers and it is sounding very nice indeed.

At this early point in its run-in the Still Audio EL84 integrated amplifier sounds rich, natural, musical, and I’ve discovered my vintage Altec Corona’s can have convincing and articulate bass response along with superb musicality!

The Still Audio EL84 exudes quality and artisanal class, and its superb choice of components is very impressive.

After I get some more time on it I’ll switch it over to my vintage Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre based system in place of the Leben RS600 integrated amplifier

Vintage Altec 832A Corona loudspeaker topped with a Yazaki-san’s custom Spec RSP-AZ9EX Real Sound Processor.

I want to hook up the Spec RSP-AZ9EX Real Sound Processors that Yazaki-san custom built for my vintage Altec 832A Corona loudspeakers.

I’m going to use vintage Western Electric WE16GA wire to connect the Spec RSP-AZ9EX Real Sound Processors to my Coronas because that’s what Yazaki-san would do!

Closeup of Spec RSP-AZ9EX Real Sound Processor on top of the vintage Altec 832A Corona loudspeaker.

Much more to come on the Spec RSP-AZ9EX Real Sound Processor adventure with Yazaki-san!

The Fisher SA-100 stereo power amplifier.

Vintage Eico HF-81 EL84 integrated amplifier sitting atop vintage Altec 832A Corona loudspeaker.

On the vintage front I’ve got two EL84 listening adventures to share with you, the first being Ron Barbee’s vintage Fisher SA-100 stereo amplifier, and Doc Leo’s vintage Eico HF-81 integrated amplifier.

So in toto I’ve got four EL84 based amplifiers here right now, the vintage Fisher SA-100 stereo amplifier, the vintage Eico HF-81 integrated amplifier, the single ended pentode EL84 Almarro A205A integrated amplifier, and the Still Audio EL84 integrated amplifier – what fun!

Ok, now it’s time to get back to listening and writing, so stay tuned for more soon!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!

 Posted by at 5:02 pm

  4 Responses to “Jeff checking in … Soundsmith Carmen Mk II, First Watt SIT-3, Still Audio EL84, Spec RSP-AZ9EX, and vintage kit!”

  1. EL-84 Fever ! Do not forget to audition the Scott 299A or B integrated amplifer, which have a great reputation too !

    • Hi Rémi,

      I don’t have access to the Scott integrated amplifier at the moment, but if the opportunity to give it a listen comes my way I’ll surely be delighted to give it a listen!

      Kind regards,


  2. Hi Jeff,

    The first tube amplifier that I listened at home was Knight KN928 stereo integrated EL84 push-pool amplifier.
    I remember I was excited by its musical and live sound.
    Since that I moved to tube amplification.


    • Hi Alex,

      EL84 amplifiers can be remarkably good, and provide really engaging musicality at a relatively affordable cost.

      Very cool on the Knight KN938, I haven’t run across one of those yet, I’ll bet it was fun!

      Kind regards,


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