Jul 282013

Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a nice weekend! I was out of commission part of this week as a victim of a stomach bug that’s been going around, so you could say this week is ending a lot better than it started.

Last weekend was an awesome vintage weekend of listening to Ron’s quad of NOS Philips 7581A in my McIntosh MC240

MC240 with Philips

… and comparing them to the stock set of RCA 6L6GC black plates and my quad of Philips 7027A. Tube rolling never gets old!

MC240 with RCA 6L6GC black plates

Ron also treated us to a listening session with his vintage Pro Series Crown 800 reel-to-reel that his buddy Chuck Ziska in Ocala, Florida, help him restore to pristine condition. Incredibly good!

crown 800 with mc240

After Serge’s tip about the Mullard EL37 vacuum tubes both Ron and I began to investigate into them a bit (they’re very rare in this part of the world!). Ron followed up with a note and a couple of photos I thought everyone would enjoy (click on the photos a couple of times for much bigger versions). I humbly submit that the ST bottle shape used in the Mullard EL37 (and quite a few other old vintage tubes) is a real thing of beauty!


“I have not seen a set of EL37 tubes since the late sixties. However, my buddy Chuck Ziska sent me a couple of shots of his work. This is a Crown amp of 1950 vintage and I have never seen another. It uses EL37s and is built like a Crown (read TANK), and it is really two mono amps on one chassis and good for 35 watts each. A truly lovely job on an amp I never saw before.”


Man, I’ll tell you what, Chuck’s work on that Crown amp is beautiful – it made me break out in lust bumps all over! Thanks to Ron & Chuck for sending the photos!

Leo brought over his pristine Marantz 8 stereo amplifier so we could listen to it too, and it really sounded fantastic with that rich & musical Marantz EL34 sound. Leo was kind enough to leave the Marantz 8 with me for some extended listening so you’ll no doubt be hearing more about it! 30 watts of musical bliss!

Marantz 8

Yesterday and today I finished up Chapter 10 of the Acoustic Revive Chronicles which will feature the new version of the RR-77 Schumann Pulse Generator with four times the output – the RR-777 Schumann Pulse Generator, the RL-30 Mark III Analogue Disc Demagnetizer for treating your beloved LPs …

34 RR-777 & Demagnetizer

… and a high-performance wall AC interface with the combination of the CB-1DB receptacle base plate, the CFRP-1F carbon fiber outlet plate, and the Acoustic Revive modified Oyaide R-1 receptacle.

35 Outlet Trio

Up next for review at Positive Feedback Online is the New Valve Order SPA one vacuum tube phono equalizer created by Andreas Hadjiminas, working out of Nicosia, Cyprus. Andreas is one of the most brilliant young designers working in vacuum tubes today, and I can tell you that the NVO SPA one is a fine sounding phono equalizer! Stay tuned for more information as I start on this review!

NVO SPA one (4)

If you haven’t seen the post yet, take a look at the bypass adapters I put together so I could use the Sablon Audio Panatela speaker cables with the terminal strips on my MC240 – these Neotech wired adapters sound great (even if they do look a little busy).

Binding post adapters on R channel

Speaking of the Sablon Audio Panatela speaker cables, that reminds me that I haven’t made a post about the Duelund-WRSE Project now for a while. I’ll remedy that before long, because as soon as the NVO SPA one review for Positive Feedback Online is complete, then I’ll be starting on the feature article of The Duelund-WRSE Project.

I installed the Panatela internal wiring harness from Mark Coles in London, England, into the Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers. The internal Panatela wiring is connected directly to the Dual Concentric drivers, then routes down and out of the cabinets to connect directly to the Duelund external crossovers without any intervening connections that could degrade the signal. It’s a purist approach that has turned out to pay huge dividends both musically and sonically. Also as part of the Duelund-WRSE Project, I am also using the Panatela speaker cables from the Duelund outboard crossover to my McIntosh MC240 amplifier.

Panatela full run from driver to XO and XO to amp

The combination of the Panatela cabling and the Duelund crossovers have really come into their own lately as things are starting to run in more. Last night I was absolutely spellbound listening to Speakers Corner reissue of Duke Ellington’s “… and his mother called him Bill” LP that was recorded in RCA Victor’s Studio A in 1967. The sense of recorded space was enormous, and the music had a rich, texturally complex, and tonally colorful presentation, with a portrayal of tempos & dynamics that was absolutely gripping and that kept me on the edge of my seat. Timbre was vivid and true to life, and was absolutely breathtaking during solos, when the horn players were up close and personal. Duke’s piano emerged from the center of the soundstage with a startling presence that was mesmerizing! The layering of instruments was particularly impressive, with seemingly unlimited layering combined with the pinpoint imaging of the instruments, made for a listening session that was one of the very best I’ve had in a while. If you like jazz you need this album!

Duke E his mother called him Bill

After listening to Duke a couple of times to revel in the performance, then I put on another Speakers Corner reissue LP, Oscar Peterson’s Exclusively for My Friends: The Lost Tapes. This album has somewhat of an unusual history, and as one version of the story goes, this performance was recorded for the German MPS label in front of a live audience in an old Black Forest villa, around 1967-1968, but was not released in the US until 1995 on Verve. This is a fantastic LP and one that every jazz lover will want to have in their collection. As I understand it, there are five more albums from these sessions that were recorded over a period of time from 1963 to 1968, so I’m going to have to do a little detective work and see if I can find out some more about them.

oscar peterson the lost tapes

As a treat check out this YouTube presentation of the album A Child’s Introduction to Jazz by Cannonball Adderley. It’s a wonderful explanation of music and the role of emotion in music. One of the great introductions to jazz for sure!

Intro to Jazz by Cannonball

Now its time to give the writing a little break for the afternoon and listen to some good music on LP!

Thanks for stopping by!

 Posted by at 12:17 pm

  2 Responses to “The Week in Review and a Look Ahead: Vintage Gear, Chapter 10 of the Acoustic Revive Chronicles, NVO SPA one, and more!”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    i like your website so much, especially the blogs about hifi and phono. You are doing a great job!

    What do you mean: How much percentage of the performance reached the NVO SPA One compared to the larger NVO Two?

    King regards


    • HI Thomas,

      Thanks for the kind words – appreciated. I like the SPA One more than I like the SPA II, as it has a more musical balance in my system. The SPA II (now discontinued and replaced by a new model) is better from an analytical standpoint, as it has greater transparency, more detail recovery, etc. The SPA One is warmer, a little darker, plays louder with more ease, and is more flattering to poor recordings. The SPA One is the finest ‘music lovers’ style of phono stage I have come across, it gets out of the way of the music and lets you get the most out of a music collection.



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