Got the bug again...


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Sep 19, 2020
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It started years ago when I was a student, built myself up a reasonable sounding system from carboot sales.

Then modern life intervened and quality got shoved aside by convenience.

Clicking through the lots at a local auction hoause catalogue.

Lot includes Denon Turntable, Sony Amplifier, Technics Tuner plus cd player and speakers. The speakers in the accompanying pictures were Tannoy R1s...

Left a bid of £50. Got it for £48 which, with vat and commission was £58.50.

Picked it up, the alleged hifi cabinet was a TV stand. Oh well. The cd player was a Fisher Laboratory series one (?). But there was a complete set up there.

Now being on the permanently skint side of life isn't easy. But my wife found a hifi unit being given away, given! So we went and got it. Glass shelves, chrome spacers, very nice. A set of speaker stands were found, £15 for some decent metal ones.

This was the first generation.

The speakers were missing the interconnect jumpers, so a purchase of some 99% OFC speaker cable, still on the roll, for a tenner cures that and the "oh my god what cable is this" speaker cable.

The cd player draw would not stay open and putting a disc in was like playing with Arkwright's till. That had to go. A Technics SLPG 390 saw the till heading to the local recycling centre.

The Denon turntable was a DP200 which could knacker music by recording to MP3 automatically... Sounded OK though, but we did buy a new stylus before using it.

The Sony TA FE 200 sounded like you were listening to music through cotton wool. It had to go. A scan of the classifieds found a bundle down in Herts, Marantz CD, Marantz amp, Cambridge Azur DAB/FM tuner, Onkyo 6.1 DTS surround sound processor, £45. Contacted seller, fired up the Saab mobile and down we went. When I got there, there was a set of MS902 speakers by the door, I asked if they were for sale. No they were not working, they were for the recycling centre. We offered to take them for them.

Got home, the Marantz CD powered up but the draw would not open. The amp powered up but would not produce any sound through the speakers. Feeling cheeved we plugged in the tuner.

Until this point we were using the Technics STGT 1000, which had lost its front flap and remote. The Cambridge had a remote and no missing bits. Sounded just as good to us but much easier to use. Technics out, Cambridge in. The Onkyo powered up nicely and the Ms speakers sounded lovely! Oh well.

I spotted a Dual 505 mk 3 for sale in the classifieds, new stylus, but slow on start up. £50. Got that. New belt needed... Oh the difference...

Amp battle 2 followed.

My wife asked if Cambridge amps had an inbuilt phono pre amp. No I replied they did not. The seller assured her that it did. So she agreed to buy a Cambridge Azur amp, with Cambridge CD player for £45.

Got it and lo and behold. No pre amp. So along with the 902s and the 390, starter system for mother to replace the 50p all in one carboot audio by Hitachi. We later got a nice Cambridge DAB/FM tuner for a tenner for her. Along with a £2 glass and metal hifi stand, her Neil Diamonds were soon in use....

Round 3 amplifier saw a Denon amplifier with phono stage sourced, that pulled the cotton wool out of our ears and let the Tannoys breathe.

In the meantime the wife had sold the non working Marantz units for £10 and I got rid of the Onkyo for £20. This meant the tuner and speakers had basically cost £15! The Sony amp was sold for £20.

Further using the classified ads a Cambridge Azur CD player was spied, then a round of musical CD players followed. The Azur went in our stack and the 390 got moved out of mothers. Another £40 gone.

Stability followed for 72 hours, then I found a pre amp for sale. A brand new Little Bear T7. £30! Oh dear. Bought that, removed Cambridge from mother's stack, have her the Denon, the Cambridge was put into our stack asking with Rupert the pre amp (well he was a little bear). Greeted with the sound of 50 hz hum. So made an earthing plug and grounded both the record deck and the pre amp.

The sound was amazing. The introduction to Eldorado was so good I swear I heard percussion in that recording I never heard before.

A side effect was that the CD remote operated the amp as well....

Another brief period of stability followed before I found the finishing touch. A set of Tannoy MX3 speakers. Known as being Tannoys problem children because of their long run in periods, these maligned floor standers were being sold in our price range. So a visit to the seller followed, pointed out the crossover jumpers 3 were missing, £80 price agreed, well I was running the R1s bi-wired.

Got them home, onto the system, power up the record deck. I swear I heard Bev Bevan sweating onto his drumsticks as he went round the high hats.

In amongst all our wheeling and dealing we had bought a box of high quality interconnects and more 99% OFC cable, so mother got the R1s bi-wired.

Now just getting what I used to have on vinyl back again...

Oh anybody want to buy an SLPG 390 and a pair of MS902s? Set of speaker stands anybody?
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Sep 19, 2020
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Addendum to last message. She's been at it again. Scanning Facebook. Little Rupert had been given the Spanish Archer (El Bow), she spotted a nice Cambridge Audio 540P, for £25...

Slightly more mid range detailing than the Little Bear...