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Audible Nectar

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  1. Talk to Craig (NOSValves). He knows what to do with those.
  2. Absolutely. "Art" has always been a part of the equation for me. Being a tube geek, the allure of the glowing tubes has been a part of the equation - as well as the sound. A pair of MC30s, as an example, looks MUCH more appealing than it would with the same circuit as it would as just a black box. I wasn't given the choice, however. I bought the MC30s because of the "match" for horn based speaker systems, and that was the first priority - but it includes with it the "look" of the classic Mac. It comes with the package, and it's a nice feature of that amplifier. We could also discuss artistic differences where I had a realistic choice as I built my system: The Belle Klipsch vs. the LaScala. The LaScala from a technical standpoint is preferred, because the midrange horn drops down to 400hz vs. 500hz in a Belle. The Belle, however, was chosen for two reasons: It looks better, and the cabinet was more shallow, making it easier to place in my particular situation. It looks better in the home. If I wanted to take it a step further, the industrial LaScala is better than both home LaScala and Belle. The industrial version's bass bin is much more solid with less cabinet resonance, making it the best sonic option of the three. It's also ugly in a home living room. An "upgrade" I am considering for my Belle Klipsch goes like this: A rebuild of the cabinets, for two reasons: To solidify the bass chamber for less cabinet resonance, and to provide a new finish and strong build for another long run of service. Then an upgrade of the top section internally for a better horn and drivers for better performance. So the upgrade intent is three-fold: Better looks, better structural integrity, and better performance. A significant $$$ figure will be spent to address both the "art" as well as the utility. In the case of cables/power cords/caps, and similar, what I seek is a better understanding of the utility of the device, and what all the options are for best utility. This way I know what portion of my $$$ is "utility" and what portion is "art". This is more difficult to achieve when looking at a 20K amplifier, but some information can be discerned on a closer inspection and audition. We make value judgements every time we buy such a component, car, home, you name it. But I have "utility" as a primary concern - it must have that first. A pretty component with poor performance - or a pretty car with a track record of powertrain failure is off the potential purchase list. I don't exclude, or have a lack of appreciation for the art.of audio devices. But what I want to know when making those choices is what of the item is performance - and what is the "art". If I seek to buy a top quality interconnect without having to pay for the art, advertising, status, and so forth, I want to be able to make that choice. And this is what I find frustrating about audio tweak products - separating those two so I know where my money is going. I actually have an easier time purchasing a "total component" than I do with the "tweak" products, because there's so much "noise" in the discussions about such products that it's even more difficult to get real world opinions from people. If I ask of a certain component, or search about a certain component, I can get a range of opinions on many of those much more easily than with the tweak products. It's a lot more "trial and error" with the " tweak" stuff.
  3. I don't mean to intrude on others discussions, but you may have just made a case for the $1,000 power cord. If an item costs $100 to make, a 10-1 markup from manufacturing to retail is not uncommon. Correct. It is typical for an accessory item with a $100 raw cost to be marked up to $1,000. Or a $50 raw cost to $500. But yet in an internet based world with more competition, that cable could be obtainable pre-manufactured for much less. There has to be a well made, hospital grade, heavy gauge power cord that rejects noise and provides unrestricted power for a reasonable cost.
  4. I am one who does believe and know from experience that such things as cables, wires, power cords, capacitors, and tubes do make a difference - and when applied comprehensively across a system brings a significant improvement in performance. The issue is how to get that improvement in performance without falling prey to extremely overpriced solutions to get those improvements. I highlighted the above post because this is the kind of solution that I think helps us: An inexpensive solution that can solve a problem and make a system sound better. I wish there were more discussion using this approach that doesn't devolve into insanity. I believe that it is especially possible with power cords, wiring, and interconnects, because they can be made DIY or by one man craftspeople (like Dean, for example, who builds crossovers) or by simply having discussions on where to source the best solutions out of the realm of high-markup audio specialty retailers. When it comes to anything that's simply wire or easily terminated wire solutions, there should be excellent low cost solutions, and I think we would all benefit from this. The capacitor is an item that can illustrate how the "better" can be manipulated pricewise into the realm of "overpriced", yet when properly chosen absolutely bring results. This is something that we cannot make "DIY" - only the install potentially so. I was one who didn't think initially that caps were a big deal - until I experimented with them and found that they were. Using them made me a believer - and this coming from a mindset that would have been perfectly happy to learn the concept was bulls#it. I had a similar attitude towards interconnects and speaker wiring, and also found that differences do exist. The question for me - and I think many others who read here - is how do we take advantage of that knowledge and collective experimentation, without falling into the trap of the multithousand dollar interconnect? I do believe that sensible solutions exist, and given the high sensitivity, "audio magnifier" nature of Klipsch product we can all benefit from discussions of well made materials that can be used that DON'T break the bank. I remember the old tale that "all CD players sound the same" - and it's corollary from Julian Hirsch that all amplifiers sound the same - and KNOW that's BS. I also believe that we don't have to spend multiple thousands on a "Valhalla" cable. There ARE reasonable solutions out there, and I think we should focus on that.
  5. What do you know of the history of these particular amplifiers? Have they been serviced or rebuilt? My original pair of MC30s exhibited similar issues - the problem was not solved until they were fully rebuilt. You might try swapping the tubes from the left amp to the right amp to see if the issue "travels". Eliminate all other possibilities first - swap speaker leads then see if the issue "travels", then swap preamp outputs to the amp to see if the issue travels. Also make sure the leads from amp to speaker are solid. BTW - what is "the controller"? Are you using a speaker switcher of some kind?
  6. Yep - they are worth a grand most certainly. The northwest has a habit of turning out some really good vintage stuff for good prices. If I lived there I would have rooms full. Speaking of Triceratops I have a pair of 1968 vertical Cornwalls obtained from him, and I paid $950 without even having to think about it. If I had it to do over I would do it again. Really good guy to deal with, and one of many really kind souls I've met on here.
  7. How about a band covering another band's ENTIRE ALBUM? This was the tradition established by Phish in 1994 - a concept dubbed "The Musical Costume", performed on Halloween night. Phish did six such costumes: 1994 - The Beatles (White Album) - The Beatles 1995 - Quadrophenia - The Who 1996 - Remain In Light - Talking Heads 1998 - Loaded - Velvet Underground 2009 - Exile On Main St. - Rolling Stones 2010 - Waiting For Columbus - Little Feat The "costume" was kept a secret until the night of the show. There were three sets of music - the costume sandwiched between two sets of Phish. The lead up to the show was all about the guessing game as to what album would be covered - one of my favorite aspects of attending was the speculation leading up to the show as to what album would be done. These were extensively rehearsed and some of the most amazing live concerts I have ever seen. I was fortunate to see five of the six such costumes, each one special in it's own way, and a way for the band to pay homage to influences and the greats who came before them. Of the literally hundreds of concerts I have seen over my lifetime, these were a "drop everything and find a way to see it" type of event. Phish has done two Halloween shows the last two years but not with the costume (I believe, primarily because of the rehearsal work involved - they don't tour and play together as much as they used to), and I miss the tradition dearly. Out of all of the possible special occasion shows rock bands do - New Year's Eve, festivals, hometown shows - this was the best special occasion concept ever invented by a rock band. Greeeeaaat stuff......
  8. As one who is sensitive to tube rolling (as well as capacitors in the audio path) I'll throw in my two dollars' worth. First, I want to be educated about the gear itself - to learn about what tubes serve what purpose in the circuit, what the potential risk to the gear is if a tube fails (always a risk when rolling), and read up on what others have used in the same gear to get educated impressions as to what specific tubes impart good sonic results in that piece of gear. If it is a unit lots of people have - like Mac MC30s or VRDs (common around here) it's easy to get impressions on what people like and why. I did lots of reading before doing any trials. What I like to focus on is what slots make the most sonic difference. In an amp like MC30s, all of the small signal tubes (there are four) affect the sonic signature, as all of them are in the audio path. The power/outputs matter too. Rectifiers, not so much, assuming that I stay within 5U4GB tube types. Needless to say I read 'til I was blue to try to get a handle on THAT many variables. VRDs were an easier study, two smalls and power tubes being the primary rolling concerns, and lots of users here to get opinions from. A JM peach is even easier - one linestage tube being the primary variable. Picky circuit for a 6dj8, though - had to have a QUIET one. But again, easy to get opinions. Then it's a matter of procuring thoroughly tested tubes to use in trials. Fortunately I am lucky to have a local tube pro with an array of top flight testing gear to weed out the "questionables." He has screened 90% of my tube collection and only once did I find a tube that didn't work that was supposed to. I kept the best and returned or threw out the rest. I kept nothing that didn't test like NOS - in fact most IS NOS, but I do have some stock that would be considered "light use". So now I have an idea as to what tubes might be of interest, those tubes in hand, and the gear to be rolled. I make sure the tube pins have been cleaned - I use DeOxit to clean off any deposits, then allow to dry thoroughly. I roll ONE position at a time. If you are a tech or in the presence of one, you can take more "liberties" - but I always roll in one position at a time to make sure that if there is a "fault" I know which "roll" did it. Once I get the combo I want to try and the unit is running stable, I listen for an extended period - several weeks, several sessions, lots of different listening material and sources. Your first impression might not be what you think it is. Give it time - the subtle nuances of these changes will not become totally evident until you spend time listening. Be patient. Unless it's a total sonic failure (which indicates something else might be amiss) I let 'em run for several sessions. Tubes tend to reach "optimum" in my experience in an hour or two. There's a reason you don't bias a set of VRDs, for example, until the amp has been on a while, the circuit and tubes up to temperature and stable. You will get 95% of it in 10 minutes - the rest within 2 hours. Before I listen, I'll often let my gears warm up for an hour or so with no music whatsoever, just to have them in top sonic form when I begin. It is also an opportunity to assure operating stability, especially if rolls have been done recently or service performed. On the subject of "break-in". This can occur, especially on truly unused tubes. Not so much if they have been used. I have found that many of the Shuguang and Russian tubes (especially the 6L6GC "winged C") need some time in circuit to show you what they really are sonically. I don't notice it as much on the NOS varieties from the peak of tube manufacture. So why roll anyway? There is a lot to be said for the idea that Maynard states - that if a piece of gear sounds great as it is why worry? But that is EXACTLY the kind of gear I want to "tweak". The KEEPERS. If it sounds just "OK" - tube rolling probably isn't going to help enough to make it a keeper. When I was sold on VRDs, it was with the stock tubes. So I'm thinking - if I am going to own a pair, I want to take 'em all the way, make them the best they can be, as I'm going to live with them for a long time. So they get the best caps and tubes I can afford. Same with the Peach. Sounds very good with that EI furnished 6dj8 - sounds even better with that NOS Philips Holland 6922. The MC30s were a different story - I went through a loooooong road of rebuilds, cap evaluations and tube rolling to get the absolute best out of them. It was like having kids. Finally got them to fully mature status and ready to unleash on the world Doubt that I would go through all of that again - although I did definitely enjoy the journey, and much appreciated the help I got on that project. And to this day they are a prized part of my audio stable. All of which is to say, tube rolling is about the finishing details - that "something extra" that I would only go through for the true "keepers" - the gear I want to keep for a long time.
  9. Greg does the best work, that is for sure, no one can argue that, over priced in my opinion, but he gets it, so somebody thinks he is worth it, but I don't think my brother is worth $300 an hour and he does over 80 hours a week, so who am I too judge, Oh yeah, I did custom cabinet work for over 5 years. Roger My take on "he gets it" is a little bit different. He did first rate craftsmanship - and did it with the understanding of the context of the speaker - the sonic attributes of a more sturdy cabinet as well as presenting restorations that extend the life of the cabinets in even stronger fashion than the originals. Those restorations were so overbuilt as to last longer than a brand new original, if that's possible. Given that we plan to keep those speakers for life's duration, it seemed an investment that would be worth it. I don't presume that he is the only one capable of such work, and when the finances are prepared to pursue the job I will be here and other places seeking the right craftsman for the job. My wife and I are unified on this one. Those speakers are as much hers as mine, and we have this on the list of things we want done.
  10. Bought: 11 1962 Amperex 12AU7 NOS from service packs (perfect as can be - all tubes match) 9 1959-1962 Amperex 12AX7 NOS 4 early 60s Mullard 5AR4 8 1968 Phillips/Holland 6922 (perfect as can be - matched octet) pair of K55V solder terminal with dual phase plugs Sold: Zip. Gifted: A few tubes to friends due to the fact I have plenty.
  11. For me, audio hangovers only come from purchases that don't work out. Fortunately, there haven't been too many of those in recent years, as my purchases were well researched (thanks to this forum and others) which avoids that problem. Even with a misguided purchase, I try to make sure I can recoup the purchase price if it is a "mismatch", as I did early on with my home theater. I found out that for me, timbre matching worked best by buying six Cornwalls (as opposed to Cornwalls/Academy/Chorus) and that serious low frequency reinforcement was in order (twin JBL pro dual 15" woofer cabs) instead of a more consumer line Velodyne. I learned from that experience, both by doing better research and planning the purchases better - by being patient. Impulse purchases without forethought tend to lead to "hangovers" - planned purchases done with patience tend to yield better results and satisfaction.
  12. I like these in particular because I have a pair as well - which makes them amongst my favorites, because they are MINE
  13. This thread is awesome. Sufficiently awesome enough that my wife is 100% on board with a Belle Klipsch total refinish with top hat upgrades. She is just as impressed with the exotic woods as we are. Only problem is that Greg is no longer doing the Klipsch restorations to the cabinets . One thing is for certain - we will be looking for such services over the next year or two. Now that we are secure to our current dwelling we want to take the Belle ladies all the way.
  14. P39s are 20K? I knew they were pricey but never knew what they were listed at officially. I still gotta hear those speakers someday......
  15. The words "bluetooth" and "vinyl" should never be said in the same sentence.
  16. My girlfriend has been hinting for this "barrel" version of Breaking Bad for Christmas and also wants the Sons of Anarchy set (with the cardboard 'ammo / gun box' and SOA meeting table with the carved reaper). She is addicted to those two shows (keeps telling me she wants to touch the SOA table) and seems to have gotten me hooked too. I never saw the series but a guy at work has the entire set. I've borrowed it and watched my way up to the last season and on the second disc. Great entertainment. Very "addictive". It does beg the question: Which is more addictive? The stuff that Walter White was making, or the series that tells the story about Walter White and the stuff he was making? I'm not one who usually buys TV series, but Breaking Bad is a rare series that I felt I had to own a copy - the other being "The Wire".
  17. One big barrel of fun - the 2014 Breaking Bad Complete Series on Blu-Ray with DTS audio
  18. I don't because I still do it the old way - I use my Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 with Amperex 6922s in the player. Then I watch on forums like these to allow everyone else to sift through the stuff that doesn't work, while I consider what I could potentially use as a computer/file based setup in the meantime. Let everyone else experiment, then join the chorus once I have established that something could be worth the effort. It took tube buffered CD just to convince me that CDs could still be worth persuing, and yet not spend multiple thousands on a playback device.
  19. I am extremely fortunate to have been able to build systems that match and exceed my high expectations. It has been in excess of a decade-long pursuit, coming from a recycled rack system amp and used Peaveys to finally having the speakers and systems I have always wanted, based on Heritage Klipsch. I wanted those speakers since youth - and I not only have them, but I find them to be even more of a valid choice than when I first became familiar with them, which is quite a feat given that I first discovered them over 30 years ago. I learned something from my years of hanging around this forum and building my systems: Get what you really want - even if it means delaying the gratification. This often means taking some serious time to find out "what I want" really is. I did a fair amount of road miles just finding out what it was I really wanted. I researched, plotted, planned - then struck when the time was right. Building the systems, piece by piece - even tube by tube. In my systems, I have very little that I'm looking to change. I will likely swap my Peach for a NOSValves NBS preamp, simply because I like that unit as a decades long preamp solution. So more of a lateral move. I am also investigating a possible upgrade to the Belle Klipsch (Volti Audio top section upgrade) as well as a cabinet restoration, since I now know I will be staying in this dwelling long term. However, I will not be making that change until I hear it. I may also end up just changing the horn, but still want to do a cabinet restoration - then keep 'em 'til I'm dead. I'm not one of the "gear flippers" - if I had felt a need to flip the gear I wouldn't have bought it in the first place. Granted, mistakes can be made, but I try to approach this with some sort of educated purchasing, so a given result is predictable. I've done quite well so far. I cannot imagine the need for upgrading an NBS preamp and VRDs. You would have to spend some serious money to get even a marginal improvement in performance. Even at 6K for the three pieces with cap upgrades, I feel like that's stealing them. When I see some serious audio freaks turn in more expensive gear and buy these pieces while these same people consider it an upgrade, I know there's just no reason to go looking for greener pastures. The money needed to beat these buys a helluvalotta room treatments - and music.
  20. That's a pretty good article. With regard to my own gear choices, WAF was a consideration - but NOT with regard to whether I chose to buy gear at a given price point, but which gear I would buy given a certain level of performance. A great example of this was my choice of the Belle Klipsch, as opposed to an industrial LaScala. The industrial LaScala had the BEST performance, because the bass bins were the most solid and free of resonance - but the fact was that the Belles LOOK better in our home environment. She would have accepted the LaScalas, but she appreciates the Belle look in the room more - and so do I. WAF has also been a reason to pony up and spend some serious $$ on tube gear. In addition to the sonic attributes, she likes the look of classic tube gear. It was NOT a tough sale to bring a couple of pairs of 1950's era Mac MC30s home - especially good looking versions that sound as good as they do. Same with VRDs. I also like the mention of "the system as a means to an end" with regard to HER preferences. My wife sees gear as a means to an end - while she appreciates the looks, it's ultimately about our listening enjoyment. If the purchase shows a benefit in that area, it's not a tough sell. Even with vintage tubes, the rolling made significant audible differences. She understands why the vintage bottles are better. Our experience has us in less of a frame of mind of "buying to upgrade" - it has been about buying the good gears that we really want, and not monkeying around with incremental upgrades. We learned this lesson building the home theater room. We bought a pair of Cornwalls, Academy, and Chorus with a Velo HT line sub. When the limitations became evident, we sold off the mistake and bought six 1960's/70's era Cornwalls (one pair vertical horned Cornwall IIs) and a pair of JBL professional theater cabinets for subs and have never looked back. That experience told us to do it right the first time, and to not purchase anything that we would want to upgrade later. All of which is to say that WAF IS a factor here, but that is because she is involved in the buying and decision making process - because she helps earn the money around here and enjoys the benefits of the systems - and NOT to be the butt of an excuse for why I buy or do not buy a particular gear. In the beginning, she wasn't as involved as she didn't really understand the point. But as the "successes" came with regard to the systems, she began to understand and become involved with the choices, and we've both had a learning curve with how to achieve the desired ends. She always has loved the music, and the "how we get there" has come along over time. For those who have significant others who don't appreciate or don't care, and/or have issues with being able to sensibly allocate the funds to do it, that's a tough place to be, given that you're hanging out here. One does have to keep the finances in order as well as keep the peace. A refusal to use her as "The Excuse" and respect for her can bring significant results, though, as my exploits have proven. She started out quizzical, and became much more involved as I allowed her and encouraged her to be involved, and we've achieved a great deal not only with the hobby, but the relationship in the overall. These things are all connected
  21. The other issue besides lack of multichannel sound with streaming services is picture quality. Even with streaming services in HD the cable looks better in terms of picture. To get both the best picture quality and multichannel sound takes a ton of bandwidth, and providers aren't delivering that level of quality - at least not for the low costs people are accustomed to paying now. It will come, but so will the increased price. As cable-as-we-know-it gets phased out, quality streaming will become more the norm, but at prices that are more reflective of what people are used to paying with cable. In other words, the industry WILL get your money, one way or the other.
  22. I am also rather experienced with Mac amps both tube and SS, and for my money I like the "earliest four" in Mac SS - MC250, MC2100, MC2505, and MC2105. These are the most "tubelike" of the Mac SS and are an excellent match for KHorns or any of the big Heritage speakers. I am also a huge fan of MC30s on Heritage (midrange to die for, especially when serviced to top operating condition) but also find benefits in the MC60s as well as the aforementioned SS models, as the bass performance of these is better due to larger power supply.
  23. :Looks at your system profile: That two channel setup looks like one helluva rig. I'm strongly considering an NBS with the Duelunds. I'm also curious about that BMS midrange driver. Someday I'll hear one of those setups and can evaluate that.
  24. Burn in/break in is a phenomenon I have repeatedly observed through new gears, rebuilds, re-tubing, as well as interconnects. Sonic changes do occur over time as a new component or part is used. The most striking experience I have had with the break-in phenomenon was with the capacitors that were installed into my McIntosh MC30s - a teflon formulated cap known as "Sonicap Platinum". These caps took the better part of a year - an estimated 1000 hours of use - before they finally stabilized sonically into the supremely rich and clear sonics they possess today. They seemed clean and clear when I first got them - I THOUGHT they were "accurate" - then they started to open up and become more detailed, even a bit "etched". Just about the time I thought they were done changing, they changed some more, and finally began to become very liquid sounding, clear and rich. Anyone who decides to play with any of the teflon caps - Sonicap Platinum and V-Cap in particular, needs to be prepared for some serious break-in time before passing judgement on them. It's those final changes that make them worth the seemingly insane prices charged. They sound for a long time like "analytical" caps, but in time they become liquid as can be once they fully mature. Another observation was with my McIntosh MX110 preamp, which had been rebuilt partially then later had the coupling caps rolled. Ended up choosing the Daytons, begrudgingly, as space was too limited for the more esoteric choices. The change brightened the unit's sound - but it took a good 3-400 hours before the cap's "newness" finally disappeared and things smoothed out, sounding like a Mac again. Had similar, although usually shorter break-in experiences with vacuum tubes (200 hours is usually enough, even on those tough break in Russkie tubes). My Oppo Blu-Ray machine was another unit that took several hundred hours to "relax". Bottom line is that I never pass full judgement on gears until I've had a chance to run them for an extended period of time. When I was tube rolling, I left those changes for a few weeks, unless it was just a complete sonic failure. It takes time to evaluate those changes too, because often what sounds good with some recordings doesn't always sound better with others. I own big Klipsch to be able to hear those sonic differences, and sometimes that detail can become it's own version of hell. But when it's done the right way, it's well worth the time taken to get those stellar results. It takes a LOT of patience.
  25. Oh yeah NOFreekingS. Gotta love quantities of unused tube stocks. It's rare that I buy from dealers, but in this case they scored a sufficient quantity to make it worth dropping the price - and that "sufficient quantity" makes me able to order up a stash of top grade, matched product. Batches like this don't show up often - and there's been two notable large scale 6922 NOS "finds" in the dealer universe recently. Gotta strike when the iron is hot, because such finds get rarer and rarer, and I am invested in gears that use them. No worries on that anymore!
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