Magic and Microphony (Pt 2) – 6SN7GT tubes

Back in 2015 – Magic and Microphony (Pt 1) – I suggested that the tendency to ‘microphony’ in some vacuum tubes / valves, can actually enhance the sense of ‘ambience’ or ‘live-ness’ of the reproduced sound.

The last thing I wish for, is a ‘dry’ or ‘threadbare’ sound that is lacking in ‘resonance’ or harmonic ‘decay’.

However, having moved on from a 2-stage tube preamp, back to a single-tube, ‘WOT’ (With Output Transformer) Tube Line-stage, I’ve found that sensitivity to ‘microphony’ can be a serious problem.

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LONDON DECCA cartridge – Pt 2 with Decapod

Replacing the standard Decca 2-piece plastic mount with a ‘Decapod’ (solid aluminium) mount, is essential in my opinion and I recommend it.

The Decapod ‘mounting block’ is obviously a much more solid connection between the cartridge and the tonearm, than the original Decca design

And, I can advise that the Decapod will transform the sound of your ‘standard’ London Decca or Decca cartridge.

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TECHNICS SL-1200/1210 – a hi-fi turntable? – Pt 2

After the previous first audition, I have high hopes for this Direct Drive turntable.

The sound was punchy, with good mid-range ‘presence’ and reasonably good treble quality (using an elliptical stylus cartridge).

But before we can listen seriously,, we need to fix the adjustable helicoid arm-height base, which has become difficult to rotate after so many years.

This will allow us to raise & lower  the tonearm to correctly to optimise VTA Continue reading

TECHNICS SL-1200/1210 – a hi-fi turntable? – Pt 1

Encouraged by the success of the TECHNICS SP-10MKII that I have been playing with, I thought it would be a good idea to try out the humble TECHNICS SL-1200/1210.

We have 2 of these ex-DJ ‘work-horse’, direct-drive SL-1210MKIIs in the house.

The choice of cartridge falls to a venerable Ortofon VMS20E MkII moving magnet (which I’ve owned since the 70s) – Ortofon say that the popular VMS20E MkII is “probably one of Ortofon’s most highly acclaimed magnetic cartridges“. Continue reading

LONDON DECCA cartridge – Pt 1

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 – 5mVrms.

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. Continue reading

The case for MM and MI cartridges

Moving Coil cartridge design has not changed fundamentally for 30+ years.

The traditional design of almost all MC cartridges, consists of a stylus on the end of a long cantilever, with a ‘moving coil’ attached to the inner end.

This whole assembly ‘sits’ onto a soft, resilient ”suspension’ or damper’ material and held in place by a rear tension wire. Continue reading

Bargain bin – REGA RB202 tonearm

This guy costs US$395 / £198 – not a small sum, but in hi-fi terms, a bargain I’d suggest.

The current Rega tonearms are descendants of the original legendary RB250/300 tonearms introduced in 1983.  They still sound excellent.  And importantly I think, sound a lot like real music.

I owned (and enjoyed) a Linn Sondek with Ittok tonearm from the same period, for over 10 years, but I don’t remember the Ittok sounding this much fun! Continue reading