Friday, March 23, 2012

Onix OA-21s Amplifier and OA-22 SOAP power supply

Wow. Wow. Wow. Yes there are three there and there should be more. At 60WPC coupled with it's SOAP power supply it just sounds amazing. From it's minimalism design, to it's stunning blue circuit board, quality components and it's absolutely spectacular sound. All this unit would need is some incandescant ambient lighting and a cameo in a Ridley Scott 80's sci-fi movie and it would have it all!

Playmaster Twin Twenty Five (25)

You may not instantly recognise the brand Playmaster immediately, especially if you're not from Australia. To be honest I didn't either, but the name rung a bell. Down under, we once had a magazine called "Electronics Australia" they would periodically release designs and sell them in kit form under the name Playmaster. Ranging in valve and solid state equipment, a lot of their earlier work was with Guitar Amps and PA amps, however they did do HiFi as well.

Quite beautifully built, brush aluminum faceplate, Solid machined aluminum knobs, and a nice simple design that's not cluttered. It's exactly what a nice simple amplifier should be. Simple!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Akai AA-1010 Stereo Receiver

IMG_5473 - Version 2

At 15WPC it's by no means a very powerful receiver. Infact this is the baby of the series being first produced in 1976. Looking at the internals it's not awfully complex either. Taking cues from the Yamaha receivers of the day, it's brushed aluminium faceplate is complemented by a faux vinyl woodgrain veneer built on a plywood casing. It's simply a nice little performer with good looks to boot.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Marantz 3200 Pre Amplifier

It's what you'd expect from a 1970's designed and built Marantz. The wonderful warm sound that their lineup of stereo console amplifiers and stereophonic receivers are known for, brought into a wonderful pre amplifier unit. Not for the purist at all but made for the masses, listening to this unit hooked up to my Marantz Model 32 power amplifier is like coming back home...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Akai GX-77 reel to reel

I can't help but start with "cool". That's the word that comes in mind when I think of the GX-77. Made in the early 80's at a time where everything was starting to be 'cheapened' in order to reduce costs, this still had cues from its former generation.  Although comments on the quality of the sound vary from who you speak to, I love it. Yes, there are much better made units, and much better sounding ones. But few if any that are better sounding and better looking at the same time. Did I mention it looks cool? But more importantly.. did I mention the loading mechanism? Click on "read more" to see the video.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Aiwa A22 Micro Component Stereo Amplifier

IMG_7497 - Version 2

Proving that good (read: great) things come in small packages, here's the Aiwa A22 Amplifier. A little beauty at a very cool maximum output of 36wpc. I picked this one up at a local flea market with a matching tuner and cassette deck for $10. Sadly the particleboard rack that they came in was beyond saving. The tuner just needed some TLC however the cassette deck was long gone with signs of corrosion, deteriorated belts and the unsettling feeling that some minor has tried to press every control button down at once.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Marantz 1122DC Console Stereo Amplifier

Marantz 1122DC 61WPC restored

61 watts of class AB, DC power. Need I say more? What a beautiful amplifier with it's classic Marantz symmetrical design, beautiful warm sound that can be expected from the 1xxx series of stereo console amplifiers and more than enough inputs for all of your devices, this is all you needed. This wonderful example was brought in by a client who had intermittent and then no sound coming from it at all.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sony TA-1055 Integrated Stereo Amplifier

At a very under-rated 20 watts per channel, this DC integrated amplifier is a true gem. This is actually the second time I've had one of these and I'm still in love with it's design. A warm sounding amplifier, it really can deliver in the sound department.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Marantz Esotec series PM-4 Class A integrated amplifier

IMG_8060 - Version 2

Well I thought I'd start with a classic. A Marantz Esotec series PM-4. This little beauty does 60 watts per channel in Class A+B, or hit the magic button and it does 15 watts per channel in pure Class A. It really doesn't sound like much, but when I crank this little beauty up a couple of notches you see people's faces light up. Then you tell them that it's only 15 watts and they just look dumfounded!

This amplifier is quite the statement. It had metal ribbed sides, from which the power amplifier transistors were directly connected to for convection cooling, steel mesh cover giving ample cooling. It still retained the champagne finish for the controls, and a wonderful symmetrical design.

I will admit, I did pay a bit too much for this little beauty. Especially for the state it was in. There was dust, rust and worst of all, leaking caps and corrosion. In fact when I first gave it a go, I was only getting sound in one channel and only if I tilted it to the right!

Now introducing..

Well all I can say is it's about time! Procrastination has always gotten the better of me but I've finally decided to journal my adventures in audio preservation and restoration. I've had a love for electronics for as long as I can remember but a few years ago I *stumbled* into the long and windy road of vintage restoration starting with a very humble Marantz 1090 that I had actually sold but was returned to me because the buyer wasn't happy with how scratchy it was.

If he had been happy with the item, I would have never started in vintage audio restoration...

So what are you going to see here? Well pretty much anything and everything I come across. You'll start to see a trend that shows I have a love for Marantz gear, but when it comes to restorations I don't discriminate by brand :) I pretty much fix up anything including amplifiers, receivers, turntables, cassette decks, reel to reel decks- you name it, I restore it!

It may sound like a bit of a smorgasbord, but I really do enjoy it. I find the most joy in working on something I haven't worked on before, the exploration of a new device or a different manufacturer. You start to see trends and patterns in the way things are designed, how they are constructed, and you can almost 'sense' the engineers ideas around how these machines were put together.

Especially with tube amplifiers/receivers and the solid state amplifiers/receivers from the 70's where the integrated circuit was still quite a primitive technology, the way these devices were designed was very unique. Each manufacturer had their own technique and their own style. Without the simplification of the integrated circuit and discrete technologies, each manufacturers designs were so individual that you can quite distinctively hear and appreciate the characteristics that they were striving for. Some reproducing the very warm sounds of tube era, some with the very clean and crisp (sometimes clinical) sounds, and some.. well some that are better left under the pile of junk in the basement where they came from... but that doesn't happen all too often :)

The restorations displayed on this blog are either from what I like to call my 'private collection', items that I am restoring to tell on a certain online auction site that everyone likes to bid on and (with permission) restorations I perform for clients.

Well I hope this introduction is not too long winded. I'll be posting a few previously done jobs so this blog is not too *bare*. I hope that the readers of this blog can enjoy my adventures as much as I love to write and talk about them. Feel free to comment and ask any questions, I promise to try and answer all of them as quick as I can.

Happy listening..