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Mono Maniac's One-Eared One-Horned Flyin' Purple People Eater System
IP Address: Last Update: May 06, 2012 at 04:41:39
Amplifier: Dynakit Mark IV with Winged 'C' EL-34's, RCA 7199, Mullard GZ-34
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Dynakit PAM-1 with RCA 12AX7's
Speakers: Electro-Voice 12TRXB triaxial (1959 stamped steel frame version with improved surround and higher power handling) in E-V Aristocrat corner horn enclosure
CD Player/DAC: Nope. Digital-free zone.
Turntable/Phono Stage: Garrard RC-88/4 with 2 GE VR-II's (.7 mil, 1 mil, 2.5 mil and 3 mil styli) and a VR-22 (.7 mil stylus) with outputs paralleled for mono. Using genuine NOS GE styli while they last.
Other Accessories/Room/Misc.:
Speaker Cables/Interconnects: RCA cables from my junk box. Speaker cable is an esoteric product known as Lamp Cord. Works real nice and you know what, my electron friends tell me they can't tell the difference between 18/2 SPT and those $100/ft oxygen-free audiophool boutique conduits.
Tweaks: Everything pretty much bone stock. Hafler's pragmatic designs deserve to be celebrated and preserved. Selenium rectifier in PAM-1 left in place because it's been doing its job for 40 years and continues to do so. I knuckled under and replaced the selenium in the Mark IV to get better bias stability.
Room Size (LxWxH): 20 x 12 x 8
Room Comments/Treatments: Bedroom/study in apartment complex. Wall-to-wall carpeting with wood (I think) underneath. Acoustically, room is slightly on the 'live' side.
Music Preferences and Comments:
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Vintage jazz/pop music from 20's and 30's (on 78's whenever possible); classical; Broadway shows; 50's lounge and exotica; rock 'n' roll and MOR pop from 50's through early 70's.
System Goals/Comments: Primary goal: Musical sound that caresses my ears and SINGS. I'm too old for fingernails-on-the-blackboard transistor noise these days. I wanted a simple, durable vintage system that sounds great with 78's and monaural LP's and will be working when I retire ;-) VERY pleased with the E-V triaxial and corner horn; I tried the higher-end 12TRX and actually preferred the 12TRXB. I thought of adding an FM-1 Dynatuner, but musical and sonic values in FM broadcasting have declined to the point where I've given up. As a result I've pretty much reached my goals for this system. When aural bliss was achieved, it turned out that I had assembled the typical mid-fi mono setup out of the 1960 Allied catalog. Interestingly, the system probably represents the general level of playback equipment toward which most record companies were gearing their LP releases. I think that's the reason why recordings of that era generally sound great on mid-fi components like these.
System Strengths: Clear, clean tube sound with respectable bass extension and remarkably little listener fatigue in midrange and treble regions. Components well matched with each other and TT/cartridge combination is well suited to 78's and pre-stereo LP's. Emphasis is on conservative, non-critical circuits and durability rather than the ultimate in high-end audio.
System Weaknesses: Slight mid-bass warmth that may be caused by the VR-II and/or tone arm resonance. Not getting much response above 16kHz, but I consider this an advantage because unless you have perfect vinyl with no wear, you're not hearing much but distortion and noise there anyway. The Garrard is no match for a good transcription turntable, but its wow/flutter/rumble specs are actually quite adequate in the context of the other components and the program material. Its klunky styling reflects the dowdy pragmatism of the British audio world in that era. The VR-II's track at a ponderous 6 grams, but they seem to treat mono LP's relatively gently and you can't beat 'em for 78's.
Video/HT System: None
Other Interests/Hobbies/Occupation: Hobbies: record collecting, vintage radio, electronics. Occupation: IT business analyst in higher ed.

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