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Everything posted by DougM

  1. Thought I'd recap all the other options I've tried over the last year before landing on the Brio. Pretty absurd! Cambridge Audio CXA81 + Solo Denon PMA-600NE Harman/Kardon 430 Harman/Kardon 730 Luxman R-115 Marantz PM6007 Marantz PM8006 NAD C 368 Outlaw RR2160MKII Pioneer SX-727
  2. I ended up with a secondhand current generation Brio back in April and I have been loving it with the Forte I's. I think the phono stage on the PM 8006 I tried was a little better, but the Brio's phono stage is still pretty good and everything else I hook into it just sounds "right." I have a ton of CD's I've collected over the years and it's been a pleasure rediscovering them. The clean, dynamic sound is quite pleasing and I'm happy I went with something modern. I currently have the Brio hooked up to a Yamaha DVD S-1800 for CD's, Sony SA50ES for FM, and a Samsung TV via 1/8" stereo cable. All components are connected via Blue Jean cables and the speakers are connected via 14 gauge Crutchfield store-brand speaker wire. I've stopped looking for an Elex-R for now, though may take a splurge on a new one if Rega moves to update it. Thanks for your help!
  3. Hi all, I have a pretty nice HK 430 up for sale. I don't want to ship it so hoping to find a local taker here in Austin. I'm asking $500. Tapehead Electronics "replaced faulty transistors and capacitors in the right channel phono circuit, cleaned all controls and switches, replaced bulbs, and performed various adjustments" to bring it back up to spec in November 2021. I tested an HK 730 with my Fortes and to me this 430 sounded better. I think the 730 may have had too much replacement work done, but have also read there can be some sample variation with this series. This 430 sounds great and can really shake the house with the Fortes. To quote Tapeheads "this thing rocks." I'm having a baby and no longer have a place to keep it. Hoping to find someone who will enjoy it! Doug
  4. I think the Elex-R may end up being a bit too lean/bright with the Fortes. The What Hifi? review of the new Brio compliments it on being more forgiving than its predicessor the Brio-R... which I think shares DNA with the Elex-R. Their review of the Elex-R also cautions against pairing it with bright speakers. I think the current Brio may be the move, though I did find a refurbished Marantz PM-8006 and a refurbished Cambridge CXA-81 that are still in my price range. I have the Marantz now. So far the phono stage is very, very good, but I don't have that "everything just sounds right" aspect that I had with the Brio when flipping through the CD collection.
  5. Austin Home Systems let me take home a Rega Brio to audition. It sounded really, really good, and is probably my best option yet. My one problem with it is superficial: I don't like the look. I like the look of the Elex-R better, but I'd need to go second-hand there With either Rega amp I'd loose digital connectivity, but maybe having a great phono stage AND digital inputs is too much to ask in the $1k price range. Started thinking about a Cambridge CXA81 + Solo Preamp but that's getting me to $1.5k (and still no tone controls). I'd be inclined to try more of these vintage recs but the prices I'm seeing are too high. I'm also starting to enjoy the cleaner sound of modern gear. That said, I've had a rather tough time replacing my SX-727! May rankings so far with the Forte's: 1) Rega Brio 2/3) Harman/Kardon 430 / Pioneer SX-727 4) Marantz PM6007 5) Denon PMA-600NE 6) Outlaw RR2160MKII 7/8) Harman/Kardon 730 (seller refurbished) / Luxman R-115 Other options: Used Elex-R CXA81 + Solo Phono Stage (expensive) NAD C 368 - Austin Home Systems 2nd rec after Brio/offering take home trial Rotel A12 - Crutchfield rec Audiolab 6000a - ABTV rec (restocking fee)
  6. I really like the PMA-600NE with the Fortes digitally connected to my cd player or the Belkin Soundform Connect for Airplay 2/Apple Lossless streaming. I'm not thrilled with the phono section though. I may audition a Marantz PM6007. I spent a little to have the HK 430 fixed up and holy shit that thing can shake the house with the Fortes. I do wish it had more inputs. I still think I prefer (or am more used to) the phono section on the SX-727.
  7. I think that's the target audience for the Denon PMA-600NE. I've been auditioning one over the last week with my Forte I's and it's pretty pleasing.
  8. I'm curious about connecting a tube amp (MP-301 MK3) to the pre-out on the SX-727. Would the tube amp get the straight line level signal from the inputs running into the Pioneer? Or will it have the 'Pioneer sound' flavored in there? Would that bypass the phono preamp?
  9. To be fair I'd still recommend it, but maybe not for first generation Fortes. I started out trying to get the most out of these speakers, and then realized I was researching new speakers to get the most out of my new receiver...
  10. Seller wouldn't go lower than $650 cash. I averaged out the last 8 that sold on ebay to $538 shipping included. He said it was throughly cleaned and checked to spec with some fuses replaced. I may have gone for it had it been at a local shop here... didn't help that the seller name on the reverb listing was "Two Crooks Media". Anyway, it was listed there for $850 and is gone now... he may have gotten it so good for him. $650 was close enough to the price of the Outlaw I figured I'd give it a shot to see if I could hear any difference from the additional 50 years of technological innovation.
  11. Whelp, sent the Outlaw back. May have been too much power for the Fortes. I found myself messing with the bass control and eq boost too much and not really enjoying the music. Going to take willands' advice to try a Denon and have a PMA-600NE on the way. Still wish it had FM radio but reckon I could stash a tuner somewhere. In the meantime I found an HK 430 sold for parts in Dallas last week that I just dropped off at the shop for a diagnostic, and I'm still keeping my eye out for a Sansui 881 because apparently I have issues.
  12. 10 days with the Outlaw so far, probably 30 hours of run time across inputs. Receiver pulls a lot of dynamic range off CD's with that optical connection. It also has the ability to run Apple Music high res lossless off an iPhone or iPad thru it's DAC (though it requires 2 separate cables, a $40 dongle, and a wall charger). Phono stage is also very good. Outlaw App works well on my iPhone for seamless connections to TuneIn stations. Hard choice. The Outlaw is much, much cleaner, but not sure it elicits the same feeling for me with these Forte I's as the damn Pioneer. I'm often adding significant bass thru both the eq boost and the bass control with the Outlaw, where a single click of the loudness would suffice with the Pioneer. Still curious about a Sansui 881 or an Eight but still not excited to pay what they're going for right now taking into consideration that they're 50 year old electronics and all.
  13. I didn't take the plunge on that 881. At $650 I figured I could easily surpass the price of the RR2160MkII should the 881 need any work. I use my receiver daily so reliability is a concern. The Outlaw comes with a 30 day trial period (amongst other modern amenities) so I pulled the trigger on one today. Very curious to see how it sounds, though it wouldn't surprise me if I still ultimately prefer the damn SX-727. In the meantime if anyone in the Austin area is interested in the R-115 let me know!
  14. "The original capacitors are in good working condition and tested well, so they have remained. A dim build test was initially performed to verify no shorts were present - there were not. Fuses have been replaced, just to keep things updated. None of them were blown or charred. Lights have been replaced. All wiring has been checked for burns and any breaks. Solder joints have been checked. All pots and switches have been cleaned numerous times with Deoxit. DC offset was tested and is within spec. Line outputs, RCA inputs and onboard power inputs have all been cleaned with 99% alcohol and then coated with Deoxit Gold. A very thorough cleaning was the final step to ensure the appearance was as good as new." x0x0's, G's, eights, and the Pioneer SX-850 all seem like great options but the prices get crazy! I don't love the 881's looks, but it does seem to have a reputation for warm sound like the SX-727 I'm trying to improve on. Here's some pics of the potential 881's inside.
  15. Any opinion on the Sansui 881? I have a lead on a well maintained unit but it's $650. The Luxman still sounds really good but I'm missing a little of the wow factor I got listening to vinyl on the SX-727.
  16. Took Emile up on the R-115 and it sounds fantastic with the Forte I's. I think they benefit from the extra power over the Pioneer SX-727. . Been enjoying TV, CD, FM, and vinyl on it. Output seems pretty balanced to me, and I'm not often turning on loudness or increasing bass which seems tighter and improved. Had a great time listening to Art Baker's Lee Perry tribute yesterday on Jamaican Gold. Now I kinda want to find an SX-850 to try. That thing is massive though and won't even fit in my current Pangea turntable/receiver stand. Any comparable Sansui receivers in particular known for a great pre-amp section like the SX-850?
  17. I will. I think a restore on a R-117 could get pretty expensive. We have a great repair shop in Austin but he was joking that they charge the same rate as an auto mechanic. Cheers to them tho, the cost of living here is bananas.
  18. I've been advised by someone I trust not to bother recapping the Forte I's unless I was hearing a problem, which I'm not. Any thoughts there? Same person also rec'd the Sansui 8080db and 9090db. Those seem to be in high demand and very expensive. For that amount I may rather try an R-117 with parts+labor to bring it up to spec.
  19. I'm only allowed to send "0" messages per day. I think if I keep chiming in on my own post here I might garner enough seniority to private message.
  20. I'm in Austin. The R-115 looks like a good option. 70 watts would be plenty for me. Curious if there's any difference in the preamp between the R-117 & R-115. I've read that there could be sample variation with HK 730's, and also that the 430's might sound a tad cleaner. But I know just cause I read it on the internet doesn't make it true.
  21. Thanks Bill. I've read good things about Denon. There's an AVR 95 in my garage maybe I should try out, though I understand integrated amps are largely understood to almost always have better preamps than receivers. I listen to a lot of radio and would love a tuner built in or at least match.
  22. Hi all, I picked up some excellent condition Forte I's last year, and I love them. I'm currently running them with a Pioneer SX-727. I have spent way too much time researching how to improve this setup (without spending $1k+). I bought a refurbished Harman Kardon 730 recently after reading some glowing reviews, but I have to say the Forte I's still sound better with the Pioneer SX-727. I do plan on recapping the Forte I's since I understand that you're supposed to do that every 35 years or so. Perhaps that would affect the way they pair with the HK. Any Forte I owners out there who have affordable setups they love? I do like having a tuner and a solid preamp included, so sticking with my SX-727 and a speaker recap is probably the intelligent move. I am curious how they'd sound with a modern amp like the Outlaw RR-2160MKII though I'm not in any particular hurry to drop a grand on one. If any HK fans are curious about the 730, here's a description of the work done and some pics. I still feel like I may be missing something here. I've run it for a dozen or so hours and, though it does sound pretty darn good with my office RP-160M's, it's just a tad harsh with the Forte I's compared to the Pioneer. Again, maybe a recap on the Forte I's could help there. "the electrolytic capacitors and problematic transistors, diodes, and rectifiers replaced on the preamp, main amp, and power supply boards replaced with quality audio grade parts including all four of the speaker filter capacitors. The unit was tested for 20 hours for break-in time, then readjusted the power supply, offset voltages, and idle currents to factory specs. All dial and function lamps were replaced with new LEDS. All pots and switches were cleaned with deoxit. All the rear input and output jacks were cleaned. All functions were tested and work flawlessly. The AM and FM sections were aligned and receive many stations." Thanks for any input! D
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