What retro system can you get for $750?     June 2011   Filed Under: Systems

Fred hooks up some cheap but good gear from the 90's and has a bit of fun.

It seemed too good an opportunity to miss. A bunch of high quality retro components screaming to be connected together and put through their paces. All three worthy of audiophile interest and perfect for a compact and useful system for mere pocket change.


NAD retro system
Compact and Tidy. Speaker stands are very solid 400mm high, spikeless.


Both the JPW's and the Nad receiver have big solid binding posts - easy for bare wire or bananas. Two rca's and earth wire on the turntable and we're done - under 5 minutes.


NAD 7225PE Reciever

The tuner on the 7225 is superb. Only the best tuners pull in all 4 local micro stations from my location. KFM UpFM, Radio Ponsonby and BaseFM all came in strong and noise free with a chopstick sized piece of wire for an antenna. Interestingly, it's multipath/reflections that cause reception trouble for urban listening - I'll do an article about receiving low power FM stations one day.


The 5120 Turntable

A unique but tidy looking design, there is not much to offend. There so many clever and efficient design features I am surprised it has not won awards. With it's two-bend dustcover and solid rubber platter  this thing is up with design icons from Braun, Philippe Starck and Bang and Olufsen. Inside there is much evidence of thoughtful inovation. Twisting the on switch arms the end of record lift. The antiskate spring doubles as the spring to hold the end trip mechanism. The arm alone must have kept someone busy for a year. There's lots to check and adjust on an old one of these but set up nicely they will reward with very good results.


The JPW Sonata Speakers

Very compact but quite heavy and solid. The 5 inch drivers feature paper cones and "santoprene" synthetic rubber surrounds. This substance does not degrade like the foam material does but does need to be rather thin and delicate to obtain useful compliance - seems to work well here. The tweeters are a poly material with a protective part so these will never get pushed in like more vulnerable dome tweeters.



I felt like some upbeat latin jazz so I put on Herbie Mann's " Bongo Conga and Flute"  Turntable isolation could have been better - turning the volume up on on the blank leadin caused feedback. Also my wooden floor is not kind to speakers driven without a rumble fliter - walking around produced the dreaded "speaker cone flap"  Alas there are no filters on the 7225.

Cranking the first couple of tracks (and remembering to walk carefully!)  brought forth a good heap of snappy drums, lush vibes and realistic breathy flute sounds. This is a nice unbothered live recording with just the right amount of atmosphere from the venue. Did it pass the "smile on face"  test - sure did!  Altogether a most satisfying experience. 



At 15 years old this setup still shames most modern gear, and will probably still do 15 years from now. Spend 3k on proprietary HT gear and watch it go obsolete with the next version of HDMI (4D?) or pull out of the race and enjoy some timeless fruits of the audio craft. No brainer.

Cassettes - better than you dont remember     February 2016   Filed Under: Tape Recording

Nice video from Technomoans Mat about cassette recording. Explains about the different types of tape and noise reduction technology. All his videos are excellent.

Technics SA-T670 Power Test     March 2013   Filed Under: Cool Stuff

These amps were a NZ only model and specs are elusive. There has been some controversy about the real power output so here's the real oil.

Retro Audio Links     May 2011   Filed Under: Cool Stuff

Fred's recommended time wasters

Retro Wooden Television Set     May 2011   Filed Under: Cool Stuff

This TV is on display at the Museum für Kommunikation Frankfurt along with lots of other cool stuff.

Clock made from B&O Turntable     May 2011   Filed Under: Turntables

I got an unusual request from a customer wanting a turntable to turn into a clock. Scott chose a Bang and Olufsen Beogram 1200 I had been storing for parts. He sent me a picture of the finished result - awesome!

Sold Equipment Archive     May 2011   Filed Under: Cool Stuff

I've had some interesting items in the past and it's worth keeping the pictures and information about them. Here are links to the archives.

Vintage Portable Tape Recorders     April 2011   Filed Under: Tape Recording

I hope to work on these and restore them to perfect operation soon.

How To Balance a Turntable Arm     April 2011   Filed Under: Turntables

Or more correctly, how to make the force calibrations on the counterweight read correctly. Video instructions.