Sep 182013

I started my listening this evening with the 45 RPM version of the Shelly Manne & Bill Evans album Empathy from Analogue Productions and I’ve just been blown away.


Certainly a lot of the credit goes to this wonderful album, Empathy, which I’ve reported on before, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that a lot of what was blowing me away was the amazing little restored vintage McIntosh MC30 mono amplifiers that my friend Leo left with me to listen to for a while, and which charmed me so much I ordered a pair for myself from from Yves Beauvais at Vintage Vacuum Audio.

MC30 3

The little MC30 Mac puts out 30 Watts nominally and as much as 60 Watts on peaks, and it sounds immensely powerful on my Westminsters. The tube complement for the MC30 is 12AX7 (preamp), 12AU7 (phase inverter), 12BH7 (voltage amp), 12AX7 (driver), 6L6GC (output), and 5U4-GA (rectifier). A fully restored vintage MC30 is a brilliant amplifier that few amplifiers in the modern world can match – it’s a bargain if there ever was one!

Leo's MC30 2

The MC30s got me to thinking about some of the great music and electronics I’ve heard lately, so I thought I’d hand out a few ‘music awards’ for components that are remarkably adept at playing music well.

Music Award One: The first music award goes to the ASR Exclusive II Version Blue integrated amplifier from the brilliant mind of Friedrich Schaefer in Germany, whom fellow Westminster enthusiast Siedy introduced me to. Siedy told me the ASR was a great amp, and he was exactly right – what an amazing amplifier! I think I’m still in withdrawal from the departure of ASR, it really is something special.

30 ASR Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue

Music Award Two: Another exceptional musical product is the NVO SPA one phono stage, which I just reviewed for Positive Feedback Online in Issue 69, and it is simply the most musical phono stage I’ve ever run across.

19 SPA one side view

Music Award Three: The Duelund external crossovers for the Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers completely blew me away with their extreme musicality! I’m working on writing the review of the Duelund external crossovers right now and hope to have them finished up in time for the next issue – they are a wow!

7 Duelund external crossover

Music Award Four: My vintage McIntosh MC240 definitely deserves a music award for its astounding musicality. The Beach Boy’s Brian Wilson and The Grateful Dead chose the MC240 for a reason, for it makes music come alive!

MC240 with RCA 6L6GC black plates

There’s also a reason that boutique recording studios use the MC240 to produce hit records even today!

WSJ MC240 article

Music Award Five: The McIntosh MC30 also deserves an award, as I mentioned earlier, it is one amazing little set of mono amplifiers! There’s a reason recording engineer Steve Hoffman considers the MC30 mono amplifiers to be one of his all time favorites!

Leo's MC30

Music Award Six: Mark Coles’ Sablon Audio Panatela interconnects and speaker cables also fall into the category of musical marvels.

Panatela IC (8)

Panatela internal wiring waiting for install

Music Award Seven: The aforementioned Analogue Productions 45 RPM album series definitely is the very definition of a music award! A couple of posts ago I also mentioned that I was so impressed with the Decca / Testament Die Walkure box set that belonged to my friend Leo that I decided to buy the full Ring Cycle box set from Acoustic Sounds and I’ve been enjoying it immensely as I listen through it. In fact I’m listening to it right now as I write this!


All of these products are very enthusiastically recommend to music lovers everywhere!

From my home to yours, may the music playing be a joy in your life!

Thanks for stopping by!

 Posted by at 7:37 pm

  2 Responses to “The Music Awards!”

  1. Jeff,
    Have your tried raising the Duelund crossover board off the carpet with some kind of spacers? I suspect it will sound better when not resting directly on the carpet.

    • Hi David,

      I haven’t yet tried raising the Duelund crossovers off the floor, although I have considered putting some brass footers under them.

      It’s not immediately obvious by looking at them, but the Duelund crossovers are built upon vibrational energy dissipation platforms very similar in design to the Acoustic Revive TB-38 Under-Boards (one of my favorite audio stands), so they are already isolated from floor borne vibration pretty well. I suppose I could get really exotic and sit them atop air isolation platforms … hmmm … I may have to give that a try!

      Thanks for the comment!

      Kind regards,


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