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No tube amps in my history.

My first amp was a Dynaco kit.

Then I had a Phase Linear 400.

Somewhere in the 70's, bought a Nikko Audio stack with an Alpha 230 amp.

Started DJ'ing for money and bought two Carver M400 Cube Amps. Carver amps were magnetic field and weighed a lot less than other types of amps. Plus more headroom. Phase Linear was a Bob Carver company.

Bought a Carver M 1.5 amp for DJ.

Upgraded to a Carver PM 1200 in the late 80's. The previous Carver amps were consumer home models and components would come loose during transport. Additionally, the consumer amps would overheat from continuous high power demands of DJ'ing. The PM series amps were designed for pro use and was built to survive transportation and had fans to keep it cool.

I used the PM 1200 for over 35 years until I retired. It never developed any problems. I still have it and it works and looks brand new. All my equipment were racked mounted in SKB Thermoplastic Rack Cases.

I favored Carver amps because they were located here in Washington State. I used to drive up to Lynnwood to have Carver consumer amps repaired and hang out with Bob Carver. I had pretty good hearing in those days and he had me do double blind testing of his inventions. I spent a lot of time test listening to his "Sonic Holography" receivers as he made changes to the software. He reimbursed me for my time with free equipment!

He also took interest when I brought in a Carver consumer amp in for repairs. A lot of times Bob would actually resolder a broken solder joint himself. While repairing amps, he took pictures and notes of the failures. When he designed the PM professional series, he developed a different way to solder components to prevent failures.
 

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Almost missed this thread - my mouse kacked on me and using a pad on a laptop is a pain so I hadn't visited until I got a new mouse.

I'm a big home audio fan - I have a primary system, a very good secondary system and a tertiary system that is also SOTA as of about 1990, made up of older gear that I just couldn't bring myself to part with, as well as a very modest system in the library.

To the tube guys - John, the Macs never go out of style and a lot of the old ones have become quite collectible. The Quicksilvers are very good and went from a hobbyist manufacturer to a mid sized manufacturer without losing any of the personal touch - you can still call them and they will talk to you.

I run tubes in my main system (CJ Premier 11A and CJ Premier 14) and a tube phono pre-preamp in the second upstairs system (CJ Premier 15). The rest of my systems are solid state, usually with large heavy Class A power amps, and I switch the main system to solid state for home theatre use.

Cerwin Vega - not a fan - never heard an accurate speaker from them, but they have a big following in the give-me-bass-volume- or-don't-bother-me crowd.

Speaker fixing - had a pair of 15" JBL 2235 drivers in some bass bins for home theatre use and they had the surrounds go out. Happens on almost all foam surrounds eventually - have a couple of sets of the old Boston Acoustics A40s that I haven't got around to refoaming as I have not current need for them. Getting a bit hard to find people who do this unless you have a large city with a pro audio repair depot handy.

8 track - fatally flawed medium as the transport method is almost designed to result in tape stretch. My old Lamborghini, which I had on a collector car license so couldn't swap in a modern CD player, had a functional 8 track. I had no tapes and didn't want to buy any as it would bother me every time I heard the stretched tapes, so I got a cassette converter that plugged into the 8 track. Only problem was that where the deck was mounted, right in front of th shifter, meant that any shift to 1st, 3rd, or 5th would push the cassette in and start it playing....

Cassette - the last factory installed cassette decks were used around the end of the 1980s (some may have persisted longer). I had a factory Delco cassette deck in my 1988 Fiero GT and after a few years wanted to switch to a CD player without making the car a n attraction for thieves, so I got an early Delco CD player from an early 90s Firebird that looked the same as the old deck. I still have a cassette deck (with remote changer) in my 71 Jensen Interceptor, but plan on switching it to digital in the near term, possibly with one of those vintage looking units that you plug a USB stick into with all your music.

Turntables - vinyl is still my preferred medium. If I am going to sit down for a listening session, it is usually spinning vinyl on one of two systems. Early days in CD, vinyl was very often better sounding. Today it is a toss up - some sic is better on digital, some on analogue and it depends on the mastering (a lot has been recently remastered) and such. Vinyl is more fiddly - need proper facilities for cleaning it and it takes more time and care in the playing (a broken stylus can ruin the whole day if replacement cost is in the thousands) but there is still a lot of satisfaction in it.

Digital - I ripped my whole c. 4000 CD library to a server with a couple of 4 TB hard drives set up in RAID configuration, which means that I can walk into any system in the house and control play with a computer or my cell phone. Very convenient! When I travel in the Solstice, I use an ipod feeding the port on the radio - haven't bothered trying to find one of the rare 2009 USB decks for the car - in fact have never seen a Solstice with an original one - must be rare.

Finally, it is interesting how things change in the audio world. Old brands like Marantz that were very highly regarded in the old days, died out or were pretty much defunct and have come back, either because they have really been revived or, like Bugatti, because someone bought the name.

Some of the stuff that was never very highly regarded has come back much better than it ever was in the old days. Technics was a mid-fi brand that made excellent and very durable pro level turntables. They never had much credibility in the high end audio world, yet today they have released some units that have been very well reviewed indeed! (And expensive - the new version of the perennial fave SL 1200 table costs $4K now!)
 

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Bill in BC,

I was wondering when you would discovere this thread and jump in. I recall discussing audio with you last year.

I was not a big vinyl fan. No matter how good the stylus is, each playing of an album altered the grooves and subsequent playing yielded degraded sound. Back in the 60's and 70's, I would buy an album and copy it to the reel to reel immediately and listen to the copy only, preserving the album. I used to buy the Mobile Fidelity albums which were mastered from the original tapes and the albums were cut at half speed increasing headroom. I also had a few direct to disc recordings that I wanted to preserve.

And I really disliked DJ'ing with records. Aside from the vinyl degradation with each playback, locating the lead groove was a pain in dim lighting. The worst was the turntable and stylus picking up bass vibrations and causing rumbling and feedback. The turntables sat on 50 pound concrete slabs to reduce these problems. I also DJ'ed on harbor party tour boats and the turntable did not like rolling through waves.

When CD's came out in the early 80's, I started buying CD from Japan and Europe before CD's were introduced in the US. It was fun receiving CD's that had Japenese writing and liner notes. When CD's became available here, I replaced all my albums with the silver discs. I owned an Audio-Video store at that time, pre eBay, and was able to sell all my used albums at a good price before everybody started dumping albums and dropping prices.

When audio CD burning became a possibility, I had a computer built just to burn music CD's. Back then, burning CD's was black magic experimental. Had to use SCSI hard drive and CD recorders. The failure rate was over 30% due to various reasons. One pause or hiccup rendered the disc unplayable on music CD players. Burned all my DJ CD's to CDR compilation discs to reduce the number of CD's carried to gigs.

I probably would have quit DJ'ing if not for CD's. Buying one album or 45 for one song got expensive and CD heavy. When CD's came out, professional music services started. They would compile the months top pop and country hits and record them to two CD's. I received two CD's per month for over 35 years! The service reduced my monthly software outlay by 75% and kept me current.

Interesting thing about these CD's from music services. They are not copy protected but if you look at a song with a frequency analyzer there is a continuous marker tone, above the range of human hearing, recorded on the CD. The intent was to keep DJ services from buying one copy and reproducing them for all their DJ's. Several DJ services were "busted" for copying the discs. The service had hired a security company to audit DJ companies with multiple DJ's for compliance to the no copy rule. Per the agreement with the music service the auditor could appear anytime at a gig and inspect a DJ's CD.
 

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Bill your back i hadn't seen a comment from you in a bit & was wondering.I have used the Vancouver Audio Speaker Clinic to get my woofers worked & they did a good job. I think in previous threads you just touched on been a home audio fan. I have seen a few of those vintage units now with the usb port some look very good. When you ripped your cds what files did you use was it Flac files? I still love the warm sound out of tube amps as you can load them up with out saturation. Just bought a soul food pedal to give me that tube sound while running my axe plugged into my crate amp.
 

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Music for DJ use didn't used to be very critical in terms of noise floor as the surroundings were anticipated to be pretty noisy, unlike a quiet home environment.

The car turntables managed to keep the stylus in the grove by using obscene stylus pressures, basically ech play machining a little way into the record, so yes, that application sure did ruin discs. A normal cartridge takes far less tracking force. The Koetsu I use in my main system takes 1.8-2.0 grams and the Lyra in the second system uses a VTF of only 1.5 - 1.7 g. Wear to the record groove is minimal and they last for many hundreds if not more replays without sonic degradation. The most critical part is to have clean surfaces. Anyone listening on my system comments that there are no ticks and pops, and find that remarkable. If you start with undamaged vinyl and keep it clean, that should be the standard.

I agree that convenience hugely favours digital and that many hobbyists find vinyl to be overly 'fussy'. Nonetheless, as I sit typing this, I am listening to vinyl of Michel Legrand, a jazz musician who passed away last month, and sitting reading and occasionally looking at the computer and do not regret that it isn't digital.....>:)
 

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I was a vinyl junkie back in the 70s & loved going to record swaps . I finally made it to the Austin Show. Use to subscribe to High Fidelity & Sound Magazine back in the day .
 

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Bill your back i hadn't seen a comment from you in a bit & was wondering.I have used the Vancouver Audio Speaker Clinic to get my woofers worked & they did a good job. I think in previous threads you just touched on been a home audio fan. I have seen a few of those vintage units now with the usb port some look very good. When you ripped your cds what files did you use was it Flac files? I still love the warm sound out of tube amps as you can load them up with out saturation. Just bought a soul food pedal to give me that tube sound while running my axe plugged into my crate amp.
Van Audio has been the go-to for years for speaker repair here. Sadly, one of the remaining principals passed away a little while ago, so there is only one left. Hopefully he will stay in the business!

Yes, tube gear normally has 'soft' clipping when overdriven (still not a great idea in a home system, although done all the time in guitar amps).

Yes, I rip to Flac which is a compressed format that does not throw bits away - called 'lossless'. The other popular lossless format is Apple Lossless but I don't like the limitations that Apple tends to impose on their stuff.

I use dBpoweramp for ripping and Sonos to manage the music (keeps it in alphabetic order with album images and facilitates finding and playing files). Lots of options out there now.

I forget where you are living - have a good friend from law school days living in Penticton who plays bass in a local hobby band, so if you need info on where to find repairs, parts etc. up there, let me know and I can ask.
 

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When audio CD burning became a possibility, I had a computer built just to burn music CD's. Back then, burning CD's was black magic experimental. Had to use SCSI hard drive and CD recorders. The failure rate was over 30% due to various reasons. One pause or hiccup rendered the disc unplayable on music CD players.
Ahh, yes, I remember it well - and all the "coasters" we made back then. I was active on an early forum for one of the leading windows CD software programs back then. Not sure now, but I think it was called "Easy CD". Somewhere in the mid-90s.
 

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Quote

Music for DJ use didn't used to be very critical in terms of noise floor as the surroundings were anticipated to be pretty noisy, unlike a quiet home environment.

Quote

Very true. When I started, PA amplifiers were not very powerful and distortion was the result.

Most DJ's play in loud background venues and the young audiance do'nt seem to mind.

I played to an older audiance; yacht clubs, country clubs, coporate events etc. that tend to not enjoy loud distorted music. Most DJ's buy used or inexpensive equipment that is usually underpowered for the venue. They crank up the amp to get the volume and bass thump which introduces distortion. Distortion is what causes the party goers to get "headaches" or perceive the sound to be not good.

I buy high end DJ equipment, as stated previously. I have 1200 watts of amplification to my two main speakers and my two subwoofers are self powered. When I play this in a medium size venue, the amp is loafing and minimal distortion is experienced. My goal of playing with minimal distortion is not only for my clients enjoyment but also has a self preserving purpose. Listening to loud distorted music for a 4 hour gig would make my ears hurt or ring. I've developed tinnitus over the years and poorly reproduced music makes my years ring and hurt. Because of the additional headroom, there is more punch to the music. I often play jazz and big band which is more demanding than rock and pop.

When I play a large venue, I wear hearing protectors .
 

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Ahh, yes, I remember it well - and all the "coasters" we made back then. I was active on an early forum for one of the leading windows CD software programs back then. Not sure now, but I think it was called "Easy CD". Somewhere in the mid-90s.
Easy CD Creator came out a few years after my CDR experimentation. It sure made recording music CD's reliable.
 

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I made the switch to computer DJ'ing around 2010. Up until then most DJ software was aimed at "scratching", which I don't do. Additionally, the software utilized MP3's which I did not embrace because of the degraded sound, especially the loss of low bass with the small file size. Large hard drives were either not available or cost prohibited then so reducing the MP3 file size was the norm.

By 2010 large hard drives were affordable and the DJ software had started allowing other formats to be used for music conversion. I bought Native Instruments Traktor software which interfaced with Denons Pro DJ MIDI Controller. It has a built in digital analog converter via USB and the rack mounted controller replicates all the buttons, knobs, display and functions of the Denon Dual Deck Pro DJ CD Player that I have been using for over 20 years. This made transitioning to computer DJ stress free because of the controllers familiarity. With the controller replicating the CD player functions, I did not have to navigate the computer with a mouse and keyboard. I can read all the songs information on the controllers display and start, stop and manipulate a song with the buttons.

All the music was converted using FLAC and Apple Lossless to about 50% of the original file size. This is considered CD quality.

I'm currently in the process of converting all my non DJ music to the hard drive.
 

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Thanks Bill as i will keep that in mind as i have an old Guild Starfire from the 60s that down the line might need some work done on it. Syjos im enjoying your sharing keep it up & im also not a fan of the mp3 format either.Thanks.
It was a pain doing lps back then i had to pause in between the cuts so it wouldn't be all one track. I think I got spin or sound doctor or some thing like that when it came out. Then i had to deal with trying different sound cards. Man i don't know how i ever had the time to that stuff back then. I must admit i don't play my vinyl as much as i use to as there are some good 60s internet radio stations i listen to . I wonder once i leave this earth how many of my treasures will end up in the thrift store i have hung on to for all these years.
 

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I was a vinyl junkie back in the 70s & loved going to record swaps . I finally made it to the Austin Show. Use to subscribe to High Fidelity & Sound Magazine back in the day .
Easyryderca, I completely forgot about the magazines. Stereo Review, High Fidelity, etc.

I had a subscription to Stereo Review from the 60's until the 2000's

I would read each issue from cover to cover when I was a kid I remember their music reviews were Frank Sinatra, Herb Albert, Nancy Sinatra, etc. and classical music. When they started reviewing rock music, I was elated. Except that the reviewers were a bunch of geezers that didn't like rock and tended to give unfairly poor reviews to pretty much everyone.

Streo Review was excellent through the 70's through the 90's. They reviewed equipment I could afford and modern rock music. I stopped subscribing in the 2000's when the magazine merged with a video magazine and became Sound and Vision. They started devoting more space to video, since that was on the rise. They started reviewing $10,000 speakers, $30,000 turntables and $100,000 home theatres and other equipment that I could not afford. And the music reviews were done by young writers who tended to review current music and not many classic rock releases. What come around ......
 

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I subscribed for years to Rolling Stone . I still have one from 1970 with the the "Let It Be" review in it & the price was 50 cents back then a copy. In a old copy of a " Song Hits" mag at 35cents a copy had an add for the Columbia Record Club advertising any 12 records for $3.98 if you buy 10 over the next two years. I still have a few old Cream mags floating around a long with a few Village Voice .
 

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Easy CD Creator came out a few years after my CDR experimentation. It sure made recording music CD's reliable.
I'm not sure I remember if that was the program - or maybe just early days of it - but it sure wasn't 'reliable'! I started with CD-Rs just as the x2 drives came out and my first was a Plextor SCSI drive and cost the earth!
 

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I'm not sure I remember if that was the program - or maybe just early days of it - but it sure wasn't 'reliable'! I started with CD-Rs just as the x2 drives came out and my first was a Plextor SCSI drive and cost the earth!
I think my burner was a Plextor SCSI too. That custom computer for burning CD's had two SCSI CD drives and it cost over $1,000 back in the 90's. It had a hard drive that was 2gb and small RAM. With the two disc drives, I was able to make a direct copy of a CD without too many coasters. Had to close all programs, turn off antivirus and defrag the hard drive prior to every burn. And burning at 1X.

Making compilation CD's was more problematic prior to the introduction of Easy CD Creator. Songs were ripped from CD's to the hard drive, edited and burned to CDR. Every songs had to be edited to remove the silent lead in (I believe Easy CD Creator did that automatically). On an occasion, there would be a small click at the beginning of a song caused by the CD drive turning on that needed to be deleted.

And, there was the buffering. For unexplained reasons, during burning, the process would pause for a millisecond to buffer? And render the CD unplayable on a consumer CD player.

And, at the end of burning, the program needed to create an index or something to play on music CD players. If that wasn't done perfectly, another coaster.

All these coasters that wouldn't play on a consumer CD will play fine on a computers CD drive.

Easy CD creator changed everything. By the end of the 90's CD burning became routine with faster computers, large RAM, large hard drives and faster higher capacity blank CDR's. The software did everything automatically with minimal user input. And the speeds. From burning 1X at the beginning to burning at 32 X and faster. Easy CD creator is not needed to burn CD's anymore. I think it's a function within windows. I haven't burned a CD in years. With the cost of large capacity hard drives dropping in price, it's a lot easier to rip CD's to the hard drive and listen from there. Or iPod.

This thread reminiscing the past has made me realize how far we've come technologically in the music scene. It's been an exciting 50+ years.
 

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Keeping up with technology

Even though the Solstice design is over a decade old, to me (old guy), it is a modern design. Taking the idea of the old British roadster with it's leaky top, low hp, and Lucas electrical, GM has given us a stiff chassis, tight fitting top, air conditioning, and turbocharged direct injection. And it's a hit with guys who remember both the good and bad of the classic roadsters.

Now these same guys are in this thread discussing classic stereo components. No we don't listen to compressed mp3 files do we; some still talking about vinyl, OMG. Although I confess I also have an old class A amp I heat my house with on an occasional winter day, I mostly embrace the modern design. An array of modern subwoofers gives us clean bass unheard of ;) a few decades back. And look at the huge output, price per watt, and weight of a modern class D pro amp to power them with. Ribbon tweeters. Digital sound processors with calibrated microphones to correct room effects (REW software). I make a selection on my cell phone to pick a song to play out of thousands in the library. So while I appreciate the beauty of classic design, for example @JohnWR pictures in this thread of his tube amps, I embrace the modern advances. But I'm talking 2 channel stereo, not ready (too old?) for surround sound, Dolby Atmos, etc. (I grew out of quadraphonic while still a teenager.) Gotta draw the line somewhere, lol.
 

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For ripping LPs have a look at this article: https://www.whathifi.com/advice/how-to-digitise-your-vinyl-collection

Unlike ripping CDs, it an only be done in real time. At c. 20 min. per side, my C. 4,000 LP collection would take about four months ripping 24 hours a day, not including set up time. Needless to say doing that isn't a priority for me ;)

On audio magazines, the old Audio was very good and High Fidelity and Stereo Review were interesting while Stereophile and The Absolute Sound were more high end. Wide range from 'if you can't measure it it doesn't exist', if it measures flat is sounds as good as it can be', to 'good sound comes from applying magic dots and potions to your gear and blue felt pens to the edges of your CDs'.

I subscribed to quite a few but finally dropped the last ones (Stereophile, TAS) around 2003 when the material they were reviewing had lost relevance for me - I was more about the music than the hardware.

Some online audio mags like TONEaudio maintain a decent balance between gear and reviewing music. I still look at things like that and various bulletin board sites as it is very hard to 'discover' new (to you) music on radio, but much easier to hear about unfamiliar artists on the internet and Youtube is a great resource to go and see if you like it or not.
 

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Alann - don't knock really good vinyl playback unless you have the chance to hear it. The cost and effort required to attain it means that few will bother given the convenience of digital music.

On multi-channel, i was an early experimenter with quad and the first decent ambience creating device, the Yamaha DSP-1 in 1985, and later with different units in a combined audio video system (harder to obtain than it sounds). A good home theatre system can be pretty convincing.

As for Class A amps, I still run three of them - in one system a pair of bridged monos that weigh 110 lb. each and put out around 500 watts in heat just turned on (bit less when playing as some of the idle current is converted to sound). Obviously not advised for hot summer listening. Agree that the new Class D stuff is promising, though.
 

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Wasn't exactly knocking vinyl. I put many miles on a Shure V15 III and then Shure V15 IV. I've seen the mega $ turntables that look like they belong in the museum of modern art. I was simply comparing vinyl to a Type I Jaguar E roadster. Delicate, temperamental, warps, rusts, etc. Not as convenient.

I'd be quicker to knock the sub CD quality sound of the popular (but convenient) Spotify.
 
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