AZTEC CAMERA – High Land, Hard Rain

Now 35 years since release (1983), I still love this album

Aztec Camera (ie. Roddy Frame) was part of the Scottish ‘new wave’ of pop artists at that time (see also The Blue Nile, Deacon Blue, etc).

Created in Glasgow, this debut record is still something special, fresh, magical.

Romantic pop it is, but it sounds inspirational, optimistic, full of life and youthful, free-spirited energy. Continue reading

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Amplifiers on the bench

After purchasing a (Tonghui) dB-Millivolt meter, I am able to more easily (and more accurately) undertake frequency response measurements of my Preamp and Power amp.

This enables me to directly read relative dB signal voltage output from my amplifier (or preamp) without laborious 20Log Vout/Vin calculations. (Thanks to advice from my pal Clarry.)

I will check out my recently built WOT Preamp and my usual 2A3 Push-pull amplifier. Continue reading

WOT tube line-stage redux

A Line-stage With Output Transformer (WOT) was built back in 1998, a single 5687 tube per channel with output transformer (OPT).

However I failed to get rid of noise (EM pick-up and attenuator switching noise).  I lacked the expertise to optimise Grounding and to shield and/or orientate the output transformers (OPTs) properly.

Now, I have been fortunate to acquire a pair of Tango NP-126 Line Output transformers. So, I must re-visit the WOT Line-stage. Continue reading

LONDON DECCA cartridge

Since Feb 2018, I have been enjoying a London Decca ‘Super Gold’ cartridge.

This is a Moving Iron/Variable Reluctance type cartridge – with Moving Magnet level of high output – 5mV.

After a few decades of listening to high-end Moving Coil cartridges, the sound of the London Decca is a revelation. A different sound presentation. No need for A/B comparisons, the London Decca delivers exhilarating energy and power. It sounds more like ‘live’ music to me. Continue reading

Every face tells a story – Havana, CUBA

Cuba has been under a USA trade embargo for almost 60 years, since shortly after the ‘Cuban Revolution’ led by Fidel Castro, which brought socialism to Cuba in 1959.

However, since 2009, relations have improved, travel to Cuba has increased.

Cuban food, café and restaurant eateries appear to be rapidly emerging and growing, with increased trading and more foreign visitors. Continue reading

REGA Planar 3 restoration

The iconic Rega Planar 3 turntable has been around since introduction in 1977.  The most recent editions are the P3 or RP3.

Thus, there are 30 to 40 year old Rega Planar turntables now in need of restoration.

This Planar 3 is from early-1980s, fitted with a Linn LV-V tonearm (and an un-branded Japanese moving magnet cartridge).

Continue reading

The WAND tonearm

The Wand tonearm was designed by Simon Brown (Design Build Listen Ltd) in Dunedin, New Zealand and was introduced in 2011.

This is a uni-pivot tonearm using Simon Brown’s own ‘defined contact’ uni-pivot implementation, a unique large diameter carbon fibre arm tube and stainless steel metalwork.

This model, The Wand Classic, is a ‘no-frills’ entry-level model with attractive pricing. Continue reading