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New Amp


Pondoro
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I have had a set of 1983 Heresy I's for a while, driving them with a Yamaha Home Theatre Receiver, but only listening to music. Got an old Magnavox 185 Amp "basically free" and had it repaired (I would not say "restored.") New capacitors, new resistors only if the resistors measured out of spec, new input and output connections, added a pilot light. Three out of four output tubes measured well and were matched, the repairman found an old tube that matched the other three, so 3/4 may be original (they say Magnavox). The preamp tubes are brand new.

 

Listening to Sinatra and Basie on the Heresy speakers. I am not an expert in audiophile terms, I would say the amp and speakers sound "smooth." If I turn it up too loud the trumpets and trombones distort, but at the levels I like all is good. 

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It needs some cosmetic TLC, I wanted to hear it first. Probably wood all around and a perforated metal face plate.  Alternatively I am also looking for a suitable vintage container. The two small knobs are "Hum Balance" and channel balance and will not need easy access. Volume control is a Schiit Vali 2+. 

Maggie 185.jpg

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3 hours ago, Shakeydeal said:

Get rid of those throw away patch cords and get some decent interconnects post haste!

 

Congrats on the amp.

 

 

What do you recommend? I am a bit of a cable denier, but these were stupidly cheap. I am a cable believer in that I think below a certain price you get crap.

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4 minutes ago, Pondoro said:

What do you recommend? I am a bit of a cable denier, but these were stupidly cheap. I am a cable believer in that I think below a certain price you get crap.

If you are frugal and want a very decent cable for the money, I personally use Mogami W2549. They are very affordable and you can buy them from performance audio custom made to your needs for under $40 a pair shipped.  I've been very happy with these and feel no need to upgrade at this time.

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In unbalanced equipment the only parameter that matters is the resistance of the shield/ground connection. That's given that it is relatively good cable i.e nominal capacitance and inductance per foot. Remember RCA unbalanced connections came from when everything, the turntable(record player) tuner(radio) and amplifier and speakers were all in the same cabinet(hifi console) and possibly shared the same power supply.

 

Edit to clarify:

Resistance of shield/ground: Lower the better.

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8 minutes ago, babadono said:

In unbalanced equipment the only parameter that matters is the resistance of the shield/ground connection. That's given that it is relatively good cable i.e nominal capacitance and inductance per foot. Remember RCA unbalanced connections came from when everything, the turntable(record player) tuner(radio) and amplifier and speakers were all in the same cabinet(hifi console) and possibly shared the same power supply.

My belief that "cheap crappy cables" have an effect stems from my fear that the manufactured quality may lead to poor connection in some critical place - where the cable enters the plug, or within the plug. Especially the outer ground lead, the outside layers of any cylindrically shaped object get most of the stress. So below a certain level of cost (and what level is the question) I am a cable believer. Above some cost I also become fearful - that the manufacturer will do something really stupid to attempt to differentiate their product. So let's say between $25 a pair and $300 I trust all cables. Maybe those limits are wrong. I'm humble enough to know I am guessing. Still if twenty guys on the internet like something it is probably not complete junk.

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Keep the original look! -- of course just my opinion, you should definitely do as you like!  Very cool!!  I'm wondering about the distortion you mentioned.  with Heresies, you should be able to turn up the volume quite high without distorting.  I wonder if you may be over-driving the input/driver stage (if you using a modern source, such as CDP).  Or if it's simply clipping.  If all is good at the volume/s you prefer, with a bit of headroom beyond that, sounds like it's doing fine.

 

I make my own cables, although many on this forum have been very happy with products from here: http://www.bluejeanscable.com 

 

If you have long runs of IC, as one response mentioned above, the lower the capacitance, the better, and this company has well-priced low-capacitance cables available at your specific lengths.  I agree that many companies go to great lengths to glorify their wire with descriptions of propriety geometries, perfect surface conductors, etc., etc., and dress them up in fancy jackets that do nothing but add to overall cost in the name of cosmetics.  I'm sorry if I sound negative!  I've become a bit more that way in recent decades....

 

Love your new amp -- it's amazing how rough (in a really neat way!) something can look and still sound amazing.  Have fun!

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3 hours ago, erik2A3 said:

<SNIP> I'm wondering about the distortion you mentioned.  with Heresies, you should be able to turn up the volume quite high without distorting.  I wonder if you may be over-driving the input/driver stage (if you using a modern source, such as CDP).  Or if it's simply clipping.  If all is good at the volume/s you prefer, with a bit of headroom beyond that, sounds like it's doing fine.

 

<SNIP>

The guy who repaired it told me that the output transformers are undersized for the tubes, and that Magnavox purposely limited bass response of the amp. He said if I turn it up too high the bass would distort. I don't play a lot of techno or metal so I have not tested the real low bass response. I turned it up louder and louder until the trombones and then the trumpets sounded distorted. It was louder than I wanted it, so I am not unhappy. I am sure it was not the Heresy's as I have had them much louder with my solid state amp. This amp is for Sinatra, Basie, Miller, Ellington. Not electronic stuff with near subsonic content nor metal with pounding bass guitar.

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19 minutes ago, Curious_George said:

Some inexpensive Edcor single-ended transformers would bring it up a few notches. They are a great value for the money, but the lead time is about 8 - 10 weeks.

Just a straight user friendly trade out or more involved?

Thanks!

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