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.LETTERS to:

WAJ on AUDIO - for truth in hifi / stereo / high-end audio

Home

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Help Me Build; THE SYSTEM U DESCRIBED - Part 2.

[2nd/3rd Purchases: Lenco L-75 T'table (to be modified) Quad Amp (temp-measure).]

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Continued from Part 1. Biginning with a repeat of the last post in that segment of the thread, and moving on from there:

X----------.

Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 4:45 PM
Subject: Re: System u described

Got them (the Altecs).  They are in my apt.  I listened to them for a while.  They sounded great.  Regarding realism;  I completely understand the definition of the term in describing speakers.  Let me tell you what my impression of these Altecs are:  When I listened to Louis Armstrong on these speakers - it felt like he was actually singing to me - not like I was listening to a good recording of him singing. 

Now that the ball is rolling  - I'm going to get the Quad 303 next and shop a tt tonight.

The guy I bought the speakers from had a McIntosh 5100 he sell to me for $350.  Do you have any experience with this amp?  Im going to stick with the Quad 303 and the Doge 8 for now but I'm somewhat curious about this 5100.

Thanks

X

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WAJ----------
X,

 Congratulations!

This exercise is also rewarding for me - absolutely. Just the sense of your enthusiasm, your excitement, at the discovery of the vast increase in realism such speakers unleash is reward enough for me. Now, I'm even more encouraged to see you thru this quest. Perhaps I'll request a full 'review' some time soon (LOL).

I will not say 'I told you so', but...  This is what I've been trying to illustrate to my readers all along. The equipment, especially the types of speakers, WAJ on AUDIO advocates are vastly more lifelike and realistic than the ridiculously expensive glorified small-coned, over-sized, mini-monitor/subs, mainstream magz disingenuously delight in foisting upon audiophiles for decades.
Needless to say; I'm glad you like them Altecs.
Regarding the Mac, I'll just say; I've never met a Mac I didn't like - even many of their solid-state gear are natural-sounding. However, all Macs are not created equal. Some, like the MC275, operate on a completely different level than others. I wouldn't classify the MA5100 integrated among the best of what Mac has to offer, but it's certainly better than much of the crap out there. 
The Quad 303 is a better amp than this particular Mac, in my opinion tho, but certainly not by a country-mile. And tho I'd go with the Quad, either one could serve in the interim  'til one of the Ampexes, etc., is found. And the price of that one is a steal. That is, if this is what you're talking about:   http://www.audioclassics.com/detail.php3?detail=MA5100
Looking at the rest of the thread in your last e-mail, I realize you didn't get my two responses on the subject of tts. So I'll alter the last one and re-send it. See below. Please confirm whether you get this, and let me know what you think, as soon as you can as I may soon go off-line for a few hours.
By the way, I'm curious as to what your current system consists of.
Winston.
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PS - Re; Lost e-mail:- Introducing the Lenco L75 turntable----------

Y' know, X, I've been thinking about a Thorens 124, at the 'bay, that could possibly be had for a grand. I know you're not leaning in that direction, but that 124 has planted an idea in my head. Hear me out.

A good 125 with the fabled SME arm is going to cost somewhere around 700, as I've said, and as we've seen. (Oh, there's a knackered 125 at the 'bay for somewhere around 300-bucks - wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole, personally, it's why I didn't mention it previously). An un-restored, unmodified, barely in playing-condition 124, 301 or 401 would cost somewhere above a grand (let's not even consider restored models for the moment since those will either be just the motor-unit, or they'll be veeery much more expensive). That's in so far as these Thorens and Garrards are concerned. The demand for these classic transcription tts has caused their prices to be hiked - and I'd include Empires in that lot. .

But there's another broadcast-quality tt that, as I've just now discovered, still seems to be flyin' under the radar, price-wise. It's just as respected by those in the know, but perhaps not commonly coveted enough for the prices of un-restored unmodified examples to reach those levels above - not yet, at least. This is the tt Arthur Salvatore now uses and raves about, after buying and modifying to the tune of around ten-grand (his arm alone costs 5). Not that you'd need to take yours to that level. Some argue that mod'ed versions of these are better than the Garrards and Thorens' (124s) and, therefore, better than some of the most expensive modern tts extant. This is the tt I'd always thought I'd go after if the 'extreme' vintage tt-bug ever bit me.

Even just a properly working standard example of this tt, without any restoration or mod, should rival the performance of the TD125 (after all, it's another transcriptor - broadcast-quality).

Now, I know you like the 401 as your ultimate choice down the road, and that you'd go with a 125 in the interim, as I'd suggested. But now it seems I've found an even better prospect than the 125, price-wise, with the potential to be, arguably, even better than a 401, after mods - i.e. if you ever opt to modify.
The tt of which I speak, the same one used by the AudioCritique, is the Lenco L75. There are a few on e-bay as I write. I still can't believe the prices. Just for an example; there's one in Europe with the 'Buy Now' price of $250 - yep, that's twooo hundred and fi'ty American dollaz. There's also another, for which the seller is asking $495. But most interestingly, there's also one being bid on at the moment, offered by a guy who lives in Pennsylvania (the tt was owned by a deceased Penn State music-teacher, and it's said to be in working condition).

Now, I'm not sayin' you should do this, but if I were in the market for one of the best classic tts I could obtain, at the least possible cost, I'd jump at something like this, and thank my lucky-stars. (Mind you... I'm just sayin'...). I'd offer this guy 250 to 300 bucks, up-front, while I quietly reserve the option of going up to 500, or more (or join the bidding, if necessary). Then I'd simply change the idler-wheel, lube what needs to be lub'ed, and play that tt to my heart's content, while I contemplate when I should install a $250 granite or slate base and a better arm - and then bask in the performance of a slightly mod'ed classic which would put most modern and expensive contenders to shame. I could also seek more performance, or just leave it at that. 

Perhaps I'm just biased towards Lenco L75, especially after, some time ago, reading the AudioCritique's review (perhaps you should too).
Never mind tho, I'll keep an eye out for that 125, and the 401 too.
Cheers!

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WAJ.----------

I got the e-mail in which you said you got the Altecs. Congrats again. But have you gotten my reply, previous to this one?

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.X----------

Got it. Listening to speakers now. I don't have amp to do justice for these beauties yet. A few weeks and it will be working . .

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.X-----------

I'm going to get the Quad . I'm in final negotiations with the guy in England selling the non bent unit on eBay. I'm still interested in the Mac just bc I've always lusted them and never had one. The 5100 is surely not the bet example I could reach for but I'm probably going to at least trial it one day. It's an elegant piece of equipment.

I'm working on the lenco. The guy in pa wants to let the auction pay out. The buy now in Europe is obviously reasonable.  

Check this out. This is the guy I got the speakers from today.  I can't find very much info on these sansui Amps but I think the ones he mentions below are from the mid 1950s. Do u know anything about them?

 

Begin forwarded message:

From: Cho
Date: May 23, 2012 8:18:58 PM EDT
To: Er
Subject: Re: Heathkit Altecs

Hi X
Are you here Sunday?
I will have 2 different pairs of Sansui tube monoblocks.
One pair HF-V60
One pair HF-V6K
Very rare even in Japan....

....Should have them all by 12 noon Sunday.

Cho

On 5/23/12 5:53 PM, X wrote:

Thanks. Nice doing business w you.

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.WAJ----------

Naw, can't say that I do. I know absolutely nothing about them Sansui HF-V60s, and co. A quick Google-search told me they're around 16 watts, respected by collectors in Japan, relatively scarcely known of anywhere-else. Pairs of them may sell for $1.8k, and single units have gone for as little as 100-bucks.

But what I was really looking for was some indication that they are giant-killers comparable the the likes of the Ampex and Stromberg-Carlson. I saw nothing of the sort, just oodles of nostalgia. That may be nice but, personally, I'm not into that - not that you asked, but I'll say it anyway lest WAJ on AUDIO be deemed an outright 'vintage' advocate. 

I'm not into vintage for the sake of vintage. I'm interested in it for its merits, where merits can be found - the high quality of performance that can be obtained at reasonable costs, especially at the highest levels. If a modern component outperforms a vintage unit at a certain price-point, as in the case of the Doge and SP8, then I root for the unit with the better performance - the brand-new Doge 8, in this case. Sound-quality and lifelike realism are my goals - by any means necessary.  My advocacy of vintage is purely coincidental. It just so happens that many vintage units (like your Altecs - LOL) potentially outperform modern counterparts, even at the top echelons. Those that don't, I really have no use for, and so they will not elicit a kind word from me just for the sake of their vintage. I do respect that branch of the hobby tho, don't get me wrong.
Here's an example of what really motivates me. And from this you'll get an idea of the quality of the Quad - almost any Quad. Not that it can't be bettered - my own Urei may be better than the 303 (and I'm not even sure of that since I owned them at different times) yet this Urei is still bested by another rare Quad. (By the way, look out for the rare Urei 6150 in the future, and for the even more rare Quad 510).

These are exerpts from a thread of correspondence between a reader and myself shortened to the relevant aspects:

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Reader:  Thank you for discovering this truly wonderful amplifier (Urei 6150). It easily outperformed almost anything I owned before (maybe not my Quad 510 monoblocks). However, transformer hum is noticable (not in the speakers). Have you any idea how to reduce hum ? Regards

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WAJ:  Thanks for logging-on to WAJ onAUDIO. I do hope you find the articles here interesting. It's always nice to encounter another audiophile who is actually aware of the assets of the little-known UREI amp.....

.[Note: Having owned almost every amp in the Quad inventory, he feels the 303 is second only to the 510. He rates both the Urei and the Quad 510 over many other amps, including Krell and Levinson, that he's also owned.  The full thread is elsewhere on this site.]

OK X, I know you also like the idea of that Mac, and I'll repeat; I think the 303 is the better of the two, overall. Tho I haven't compared them directly, I'd expect the Quad to be slightly more detailed and h-f transparent. The Mac, however, I would expect to be slightly 'better' in the areas the reader has highlighted (low-mids and bass). The question is; which of these strengths is more important to you. I'd advise not to go with my preference, on this one, since both are that close. Go with your gut-feeling. If you've always wanted a Mac, then go for it and get it out of your system. The reality is that neither one will release the full potential of a Lenco-Doge-Altec system. Either amp will be the weak-link in that system - not because the amps are that 'weak', per se, but because the system will be that good, potentially. That's why I've stressed that the amp (Quad?) should only be considered a temporary measure 'til one of the real giant-killers comes along. So, I'm thinking, if the Mac is closer to you in proximity, and you've always wanted one, then why not? I wouldn't advise buying both tho, that's a waste of money, in my opinion.


Here's what I propose as the clincher: That Mac is an integrated amp (i.e. pre and power-amp combined in the same chassis). When you get the Doge you'll need to connect to the power-amp section. I think this is facilitated on the Mac, but find out from the seller, for sure, whether there are 'pre-amp-out' and a 'power-amp-in' connections at the back. Since they're so close, and considering the affinity for the Mac, this is how I would decide. If the Doge pre-amp can be connected to the Mac's power-amp section, then I'd just buy the Mac I've always wanted. If the Doge cannot be connected, then I'd just go with the Quad. Simple. I'd let fate decide - they're that close.

I say all this because I figure you may want to buy both, eventually. I'd advise against that. Save those pennies for that Stromberg-Carlson, when a pair becomes available - you'll be glad you did - trust me. You really ain't seen nothing yet. When this is all done you will not believe the quality of the system you'd have assembled with such a small outlay of funds. No flippin' kidding!

Final point I'd like to highlight: The reader bought a Urei, just like my own, for the equivalent of a measley 140 U.S.-bucks. Yet, this cheap little piece of sh.. has the audacity to outperform his mega-buck Krell and Mark-Levinson amps - both those would be priced  somewhere around ten-grand, at today's prices. (My own experiences with mega-buck amps this little Urei has disgraced are also outlined in the relevant article) Those are the points I like to highlight. Those are the sorts of things that motivate me. Where's the fun in a 10-grand amp outperforming a 7-grand amp? Does nothing for me, really. But the prospect of a little 140-buck pip-squeak kicking both their butts is a riot. I get a hoot outta that. Perhaps you will too.

Go with the Quad or the Mac, for now, but keep an eye out for that Stromberg-Carlson down the road, my friend!

Cheers.

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X.----------

. I'm not considering the Mac over the Quad.  I'm getting the Quad.  I should have it wrapped up today.  I was just curious about the Mac and have always been.  I'm not kidding myself for a minute thinking that the Mac 5100 is going to compare in any way to a 303 and the Doge 8.  I think its interesting that its possible by to buy one of these old tube mac amps for $300-$400 - more of a novelty than serious consideration to make that part of a system.  I will be keeping my eyes out for the Stromberg-Carlson.  The guy I bought the speakers from comes across them every so often.  I put him on notice to contact me if he finds them down the road.

I should have this system put together in a few weeks

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X.----------

You asked about my current system.  I thought an explanation might explain my current enthusiasm.  My system at home in X-State is one of those whole house integrated systems with Sherbourne amps and Marantz integrated amps for theater etc.  In my media room I do have Genelec speakers which I enjoy but all in all the performance of the home system is nothing that inspires me.  Even with the Genelecs  - I never listen to music in my house.  In my apt in Y-State I have some of my old stuff.  I have another Marantz integrated amp for the 6.1 setup but I havent used it for a number of years.  The system I have been listening to is a Sonic T super amp, Soem preamp which I dont even know what it is and Infinity 3001 speakers, which I've had for 25 years.  Just something to listen to. 

I was in Tokyo last fall and visited a bar named Bar Martha.  It was an audiophile/whiskey bar.  Very cool place and I stayed for a long time enjoying a few cocktails and listening to a dj spin records on an absolutely gorgeous tube  system.  very interesting place.  If you make too much noise (talk loudly)  you're asked to leave.  This place is strictly to listen to music and drink whiskey.  I realized how long it had been since I not only listened to recorded music but enjoyed it.  That exact date was Aug 1985 - when I bought my first cd player.  That's when the enjoyment of listening to recorded music stopped for me.  I won't lament the last twenty something years but at that bar in Tokyo I realized that I should take some initiative and try to begin to enjoy the pleasure of listening to music again. 

The guy who built my home system is well known for putting home systems together for famous musicians and well known personalities in the music industry so I trusted him through the process of designing and specing my home system.  Not surprisingly - he's into the latest and greatest (granted we did this project ten years ago).  He's a good guy and I respect his work.  I discussed with him my desire to have some place in the house to listen to a more realistic and warmer sound but it didnt happen. 

I returned from jazzfest in new orleans a few weeks ago and a friend of mine told me a story about having dinner at a friends house.  His friend is a writer who also writes for audio magazines as a hobby.  He's put together a very sophisticated and expensive system and my friend said that it blew him away.  He had never heard anything like that.  I was thinking - there must be a way to achieve a high level of performance without having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars.  There is a line that goes - "the difference between fun and a lot of fun isn't that much fun".  Anyhow, I guess that's how I tripped into your articles, which inspired me to build a high end system with used equipment.  The vintage aspect was of no interest to me - it just happens to be that some of this great equipment is old.  Keep in mind  - I've never heard any of the pieces I'm buying and I've never heard a high quality vintage system. My first impression will be my own system.  Bottom line is that I'm not going to lose my shirt if this doesnt work out to my expectations.  All these pieces have a market and seem to move on a constant basis.  However, I have very high confidence that I'm going to be satisfied with the performance and proud that I did it in a smart and economical manner.

I do realize that there is a lot of junk out there and just because it's old doesnt mean that its good or interesting.  However, I must admit that the elegance of some of these older pieces of equipment combined with their performance and cost is fascinating to me. 

Thanks again for your help.

X

WAJ----------.

X,

I'm extremely glad I asked you about your current system(s). Your eloquent response now gives me a much much better sense of who I'm dealing with and, even more importantly, a better idea, though not exactly, of what your aims are, and also what your abilities are.

Since you first indicated an interest in the components of the least of the low-budget systems in the relevant article, I was automatically guided in my efforts along those lines. However, I'm now getting a sense that you're seeking a system which is even closer to the very best in performance, at the least possible cost. Am I right? The proposed system we have now, on paper, i.e. Doge, Lenco, Stromberg-Carlson (Quad) Valencia is actually potentially close to that level. Minor adjustments would actually take it to that very level. Please tell me if this is what you want as this is easily do-able, from the level we're already at on paper. I'd characterize our currently proposed system, on a scale of 1 to 10, as a 7 (this scale is not merciful). Do you want to aim for a 9? As I said, minor adjustments can take us there.

Please let me know the dimensions of the room you propose to install this system in. And please give me an idea, if you can, of the very maximum budget you're comfortable with. Keep in mind that our course seeks to ensure that any and all components we acquire could be later re-sold at a profit. The new Doge would be the only exception. My aim is to ensure you get the best performance for the money, without risking the loss of even a penny. Again, the Doge is the only exception in that policy-framework, at the moment.

By the way, some of my articles are at several sources, could you say from which source you encountered the article in question? An expanded version of that article is at my 'home' web-site: WAJ on AUDIO, with my concept of the 'ultimate' system. Other articles which may be of interest to you are also there.

Oh, and I really meant what I said about the Mac, it's close to that 303 so either one could do, for now. And the Mac even addresses the Quad's minor short-comings, even while it endures issues which the Quad better addresses - it's a toss-up between them, really.

OK, my friend, I await your answer to those queries. What you mentioned before is a big help.

Nice systems you mentioned, by the way.

Cheers.

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.X----------(After reading the WAJ on AUDIO article on the TRL Dude and Coincident pre-amps).

I would not say that I'm trying to build a quality system on a budget.  Money isnt the major focus. Of course I'm aware that the sky is the limit but through this exercise I'm also learning that spending a lot isn't the key to building a great performing system. 

Honestly, I'm not sure what the budget is. The direction in headed in seems to be reasonable and in the end I'll probably spend 7-10k dollars.

I seem to be set with Lenco tt and my new speakers. I have a deal on the Quad which I need to settle tomorrow. I contacted Doge about their turn around. 

I still like the idea of using the Quad until I can find Stromburg Carlson amps in the future.  I'm having a tougher time making a decision on the pre amp.

Doge 8 - great amp. However spend another 2k and get the Dude?  Spend 3k more and get the Coincident ?

If I get the Doge I'm stuck with it. Maybe that's the piece I stretch out for now  and I can update my amps later to better match the pre amp.

Only issue is would Quad be significantly holding back Dude or Coincident?

I look forward to ur thoughts on this matter. I believe it's the last tough decision I have to make on this system .

Obviously, I've read ur thoughts on this matter.

Honestly - if I had to pull the trigger right now I'm leaning towards the Dude. 

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X----------

I'd say after reading reviews the choice is between these two pre-amps. I guess it's just a money issue. My intent isnt to kick this system
Into a different level but if I did get the Coincident then I guess I'd feel like that is one piece I'll probably never have to improve it.

Also, I think I'm planning on sticking w the Lenco and probably not upgrading to the Garrard tt

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.X----------

Compelling...

http://www.high-endaudio.com/RC-Statement.html
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.X-----------

.Also, I found it articles originally on google searching for info on affordable high end audio. Ur articles come up on google often. That's good

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.WAJ---------

X, re; the Quad. Please verify which cables, if any, the seller will be shipping with the amp, and which cable(s) we'll need to source ourselves - I'll look them up. (The cables are not really 'Quad-specific', but they're unique in the US - relatively easily sourced right there on the 'bay, tho)

And, concerning that other prospect: Casually let the gentleman know that it's a pair of the Stromberg-Carlson AP55 that you might be interested in, if the price is right [A pair recently sold on e-bay for around 1500, fyi (but don't mention that, offer much lower if the subject comes up) - bear in mind that any we find will have to be refurbished, more or less).] But please don't give him the idea that you're very anxious to get it. We don't want to give him any ideas about price-hiking, do we? LOL.

By the way, speaking of price-hiking, and not that it changes anything, but it seems I was also right about the going-rate for SP8s, after all. There's one at audiogon here; http://app.audiogon.com/listings/audio-research-sp-8-hi-def-stereo-pre-amplifier--2 . That's going for around 1200, so the price we saw at e-bay perhaps was a fluke. Nevertheless, I'm comfortable with the Doge Clarity, if you are. The SP8 would be more like a sideways move, regarding performance since they're so close, with the Doge having the edge, and possible refurbishment could bring that SP8 closer to the price of the Doge anyway. That Doge is a bargain, any way you look at it. The only feasible deviation from the Doge I can imagine is if you opt to go for that 9, on the scale of 1 to 10. In that case my suggestion would be either Coincident Statement, or TRL 'The Dude', both of which decimate the mega-buck competion at the very top echelon of state of the art performance, at ridiculously 'reasonable' costs. 

OK, my friend, let me know if you really want to go for that 9, or whether you're OK where we're at. As I said, the system we already have on paper is easily upgradable to a 9 or 10, with a few changes. Even if the upgrade is only envisaged for the future, it's best to decide from now so that one or two of the components (pre-amp, for instance) could be acquired with that ultimate goal in mind. (Instead of buying a new pre-amp now to sell it at a loss later to upgrade, it's best to buy the very best pre-amp now - there's nothing on the used market, or even the new, that can match a new $5k Coincident; $20k and even $40k pre-amps can't touch it). If I were to grade our 'on-paper' components for their full potential; the Lenco would certainly be A+, AP55 would be A-(Quad is B-) Valencia would be B, and the Doge would be B. If a '9' or '10' system is contemplated for the near future, then the only urgent change to what we already have on paper would be a change of the pre-amp from B to A. 

Let me know what you decide. Based on what we already have on paper, I could even map-out for you what that 9 system would 'look' like, incorporating the approximate costs, of course. It's no trouble, I'm happy to help. I'm even excited by the prospect. Just say the word.

Winston.

.NB

Re; Your statement: " Also, I think I'm planning on sticking w the Lenco and probably not upgrading to the Garrard tt"  

No, No, X, X, X - moving from a fully modified Lenco L75 or L78 to a Garrard 401 would not be an 'up-grade'. Arguably it'd be a step down - like moving from a Rolls to a Bimmer. If I find it again I'll show you, at least one audiophile has sold his mod'ed 401 after he mod'ed a Lenco and realized how much better it is than the 401. In fact, this exercise has caused me to now be contemplating getting rid of either my 125 or the Linn to get on the Lenco band-wagon, I really didn't realize they were still so cheap - it's unbelievable, considering their potential.

I was about to send the above e-mail when I saw your 3 most recent. Coincidentally, we seem to be thinking along the same lines. Is this really a coincidence, or is fate pointing the way to the Coincident? And you're right, with the Doge you'll always be wondering if another pre would be better (with the prospect of losing when you re-sell) With the Coincident you'll know for sure that no other pre-amp in existence can touch it. It's a lifetime investment, which you never have to contemplate selling, at least, for the next ten years, or perhaps ever. If you know music will always be a part of your life, then I don't see how you can lose with the Coincident.

.I'm just sayin'.

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On May 24, 2012, at 11:06 PM

I have time this weekend to further research the Coincident but that's where I'm heading. It seems like a very special piece of equipment that I will never second guess. Obviously my intent in this project was not to start buying $5 k pieces of equipment but with the opportunity to put such a great system together the overall cost still seems extremely reasonable.

Thanks for your help.
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.X-----------

.The Quad unit comes with Mains input cable with mini bulgin plug. Din plugs not supplied

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.X----------

The Coincident seems to be $6k now

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.X----------

.My bad - the Statement is $5500 not $6000

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X.----------

Couple issues with the Coincident.  Only two inputs.  No phono stage.  I'm not questioning performance or value, but may not be convenient for me.  Granted - I'm not chasing purity but I do want a unit that is easy for me to use and enjoy.  switching input cables isnt really for me.  The Dude looks like it has multiple inputs but im not sure of phono stage.  Would I still have to get a separate phono stage preamp for the TT?
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.WAJ----------

X, I'm on the move. I'll get back to u az soon az I can. But az with most these days, both Coincident and Dude are line-stage pre-amps (i.e. no phono). I already thought of that - will expand later. Limited inputs on Coincident can be addressed - no prob there. I think it's sufficiently better than any other, including the Dude, to warrant going the extra-mile with it, so to speak. Az I sed, I may have a solution, but in the mean time, check with Isreal Blume @ Coincident's site and air your concerns. (Oh, while there, check their review section where you'll find one of  WAJ on Audio's articles commenting on this OUTSTANDING accomplishment - Coincident Statement). Must run tho, Az I sed, I'm mobile. Will elaborate on all, later. Cheers!.

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WAJ.----------

OK X, I'm back  at base now (hopefully you got my previous e-mail indicating that I was on the road and couldn't properly respond). The issues you raised are completely valid, and pertinent. And, in your particular case, if we were to shift from the Coincident I wouldn't suggest going to the Dude, I'd revert to the Doge Clarity plan. This is because, as good as the Dude is, the Coincident (being arguably the very best there is) is the only one you'd not have to wonder about as to whether another might be better (with the temptation of selling at a loss to upgrade).

The Doge is unique in the sense that it's one of very very few modern pre-amps which include a phono-stage. Virtually all other modern high-end pre-amps are line-stages only. This is a part of the reason why the Doge is so attractive, it's really a remarkable value. But alas, if an all-out attack on the province of the state of the art is envisaged for the near future, then the Doge would then have to be re-sold (at a loss) in favor of one of the very best pre-amps, as we've previously discussed. To simplify matters, forget about the Dude, this is a straight fight between the Doge and the Coincident.

Oh, and the issue you raised about the Coincident's limited inputs; this is a minor issue easily corrected by connecting an input/switching box (something places like Radio-Shack would sell) or even a disused integrated amp or pre-amp, just for the use of the input switching facility. Don't be to concerned about that, it's a very minor issue, easily solved.

As to why this is so, keep in mind that the Coincident is a minimalist design - necessary for any all-out assault on state of the art performance. Keep also in mind that multiple inputs and switches can and do degrade the sound to some extent. The Coincident's (surprising) provision of TWO inputs is a blessing since the primary source (the Lenco?) can be directly connected to one input, while the other is occupied by the switching-box providing the very-slightly degraded input and switching for other sources such as CD, tape, tuner, etc.

Your other concern is the phono-stage. These can also be very expensive, running anywhere from say 3k to over 10k for the level of quality commensurate with this unit (Coincident's own phono-stage is 5k). However, there's also a neat solution to this. In my own system, I use the E.A.R. 834P tubed phono-stage. It is unique in the sense that it's generally regarded as a giant-killer, equaling or besting the performance of others which cost many times more. But what's even more remarkable about it is that it achieves this level of performance with the use of cheap resistors and capacitors, much cheaper than those used by the much more expensive competition which it equals, or beats. It's famed designer, Tim de Paravicini, deliberately used strategies like this in order to keep the price to a minimum. But the most remarkable aspect of this unit is that the simple change of these parts (a simple operation by a techie) to the premium resistors and capacitors such a unit deserves elevates this unit's performance to even higher levels unapproachable by some mega-buck units. This is in addition to those mega-buck units the standard 834P already dusts. A few comments on it are included in my article 'System-Building for Lifelike Sound', and you may do a google-search for reviews, all of which are raves - the AudioCritique also carries  readers' comments on the standard unit, the mods, and the results of said simple mods. (My own unit is so good, I'm not even inclined to modify it - for now, at least).

A seller in Iceland currently offers one at e-bay for $1200 (if I we're making an offer, I'd try for 1k - the price new is now around 1.8k, I believe).  http://www.ebay.com/itm/EAR-834P-Phono-Stage-Black-Less-than-a-year-of-use-Quick-sale-/251068456319?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item3a74d89d7f

Now, I'm not suggesting that you purchase the Coincident/EAR combo, the latter of which, regardless of its quality, may later be contemplated for an upgrade, or further mods. But if I were embarking on a clean-slate build of a system with ideas of an assault on the state of the art in the near future, then this is exactly what I'd do, for the moment. (For an idea of the difference a great pre-amp makes in a good system you could look at my review of the Audio-Research LS3). In my view, the quality of the tt AND the pre-amp (not just the tt, as many contend) determine the level of quality the other components in the chain are exposed to (the speaker is my other major priority, not that the amp isn't also important - we're talking priorities, here).

If, however, this future all-out assault is not on my agenda, then I'd simply content myself with the Doge Clarity.

Decisions! Decisions!

Hopefully this helps (a little).

.

.WAJ----------

To mate the Quad to most pre-amps of other brands (Doge, Coincident, etc.) you'll RCA to Din leads like these;   http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Phono-RCA-to-Naim-Quad-Aux-Lead-5-pin-din-1m-/250736279660?pt=UK_Computing_Sound_Vision_Audio_Cables_Adapters&hash=item3a610c006c                  By the way, this is my third - could you confirm whether you've received this and the other two e-mails I've sent?    

.

X----------

All makes sense. Doge or Coincident. If Coincident I'm also looking at more equipment . I realize that the level of the system will be significantly elevated. Two thoughts . I was always under the impression that the fewer inturuptions between the source and the speakers the better. I understand how the preamp benefits the system but now a phono-preamp is another piece between the source and the speakers. In addition I need to use an input / output switch for the other preamp input (I have that piece already). I've never thought about what was in it or how it might interfere w quality. I currently use one on my Super-T amp which is also simple and has one input line.

I'm still leaning towards the Coincident but I also am thinking Doge - one piece . Coincident four pieces - amp , power, phono-pre amp and switch box.

I acknowledge that this issue isn't very relevant to the discussion we've been having. It's much more of an aesthetic and functional issue.

Probably good that this process involves at least one thoughtful decision. 

At least I feel like I'm armed with good information . Obviously any additional thoughts u may have are appreciated.

FYI - I spoke w the guys who make the Dude and they said that they were going to discontinue it in a few months 

.

WAJ----------.

Been looking at our cartridge options too. My other favorites, including the Garrott P77, are relatively rare. They do appear on the market, from time to time, but there's no telling when next this may happen.
.
My favorites of all are those at the 'top' of the Grado line, and these are more readily available. Please read my review of my beloved Grado Sonata. There you'll see my issues with this particular model. With you coming from a background of CD/digital silence, the record-surface noise of the Sonata may not be tolerable. I'm convinced this is due to the shape/design of this model's stylus. Unless immaculately cared-for most records will display some minor ticks and pops, but some cartridges deal with these issues better than others. Others at the higher end of that line are among those that display better characteristics in this regard The 1.5k Grado Statement Reference, with its true ellipsoid stylus,  is one such example. (Another is Grado's $3.5 Statement, at the very top of the line). The Sonata uses the more noisy elliptical stylus.  http://gradolabs.com/page_reviews.php?item=bda52645f0d1d3f7bf93795cd69af41e
.
.There is a Sonata (surprisingly) in ready to play condition allegedly, at the 'bay today, with one day left for bidding. If you're interested in this, then perhaps a last-minute bid at around 351 bucks could secure it. This is, of course, dependent on the prevailing bid at the time. If it's really in good playing-condition, then this could be used, as is, for a while until you decide to send it away to SoundSmith, etc., for a better and less noisy stylus-tip replacement.       http://www.ebay.com/itm/GRADO-REFERENCE-SONATA-MOVING-MAGNET-PHONO-CARTRIDGE-TESTED-WORKING-CLEAN-/300713965011?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4603f2f5d3
.
.The quicker and less hassling, though more expensive, alternative is just to buy one of those Grado cartridges which are originally supplied with better stylus-tips, as indicated above. (The re-tipping operations are notorious for long delays).
.
The re-tipping option with the cheaper Grado is a very good one, with the prospect of a quieter performance. But the option of spending more for a slightly better cartridge is really a worthwhile consideration - I wouldn't dismiss it offhandedly. This is where the ultimate quality of the sound of the system is determined. I believe this is as important (arguably more so) as the difference between a Doge Clarity and a Coincident - assuming the Lenco is modified accordingly, of course. To be fair, raves about the results of quality re-tipping of such cartridges as the Sonata leads one to believe that the result of this could rival the qualitative improvement Grado's 1.5k option would offer - but then, the quality of the new Grado is a 'known-quantity', so to speak. 
.
.I just thought I'd lay both options on the table.
.
.Please let me know if you got these last 2 e-mails (posting with the thread is a good way to do this, perhaps it might be the better practice from now on). A lot of effort went into them, as usual, - I'd hate to think I'm wasting my time by you not receiving them (LOL).
.Cheers!

.

.

X-----------

Got it. Thanks!

X----------

Is mine. I won the auction on eBay

.

WAJ.----------

OK, there y'go. Excellent choice. That Doge Clarity is awesome.
.
Don't think, for a minute, that you're 'settling', my friend. In performance, that Clarity resides next-door to the cream of the crop. Considering that most systems employ inefficient/less-dynamic small-coned mid-woofers, which are also lacking at full-toned realism, such systems which also incorporate that excellent Coincident WILL be less realistic than yours, overall - no kidding. With the Altecs, your advantage will be; more realistic midrange TONE and DYNAMICS, more akin to that of live instruments and voices, than what obtains with the fore-mentioned popular small-coned speaker-systems and, yes, more realistic than even Coincident-equipped audio-systems which use said speakers. And, yep, that awesome Clarity will be playin' a big role in that scenario.
.
.And you're right. Let's just try this 7 on, for size, before we even think about thinking of a 9 or 10. You may find that you're quite happy with this particular 7. Be advised that a 7-system on the WAJ on AUDIO scale equates to a higher rating elsewhere - realism is what really counts here, not the gimmickry which many others rate so highly. I'll explain later but, if you've read my articles (especially parts 1 to 4, and several of the most recent on 'Detail', 'Balance', and 'Tastes & Preferences') you'll fully understand.
.
.Concerning DAC: The DigiDesign M-Box 2 is the one to which I referred, in that article. I haven't  yet purchased one myself, so you'd need to get hook-up advice from elsewhere (and, anyways, I'm a poor teacher, not good at step-by step instructions, in any scenario whatsoever). I think it's intuitional, but let an 'expert' advise you, anyways. This awesome little unit can be used as a Digital to Analogue Converter connected to a computer's USB, or a to CD-player which is also equipped with a USB port. (Hold off with buying a CD-player, just now, if you try the M-Box with a lap-top you may not still want a CD-player). Having heard one, so utilized, I can testify that this cheap little so-and-so would put many a mega-buck DAC/CD-player to shame. The price, especially 'used', is absolutely ridiculous. Info is here:  http://www.zzounds.com/item--DGDMB2        And used units are here (e-bay should have them too):       http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000GGBCH8/ref=sr_1_1_olp?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1338091083&sr=1-1&condition=used 
.
.Later I'll probably suggest another source-component that's even more awesome. But let's get the basic system in order first. Didn't know you really wanted more sources, actually.
.
Regarding connections, I use Monster-Cable, Wire-World, and also Esoteric-Audio speaker-cables (as thick as a garden-hose) I don't remember what models tho, and those markings are now long-obscure. Don't sweat cables too much tho, establish a good relationship with a good high-end store-owner then, when the components are operational, see if it's possible for you to leave a large deposit and take home several cable-options to try - I've done it once, don't know if it'd work elsewhere. Not too big on this cable-thing miself, tho - there are good cables, yes, but I think the whole scene is highly over-rated - don't blow too-much money on them. The gains from a better cartridge or tone-arm, for instance, are much more than that from a super-expensive cable. If I were compelled to use Rat-Shack cables, I wouldn't sweat it too much, as long as my components are excellent. The best turntable/mods, tone-arm, and cartridge, are much much more important than expensive cables.
.
.Please let me know what you think of the Valencias so far. Depending on your taste, we may need to add a super-tweeter to each, as I'd previously mentioned, and I'm also not sure whether you'd prefer subs for deep-bass augmentation. This is important, X, please be completely brutal in your assessment of the speakers. Compare them in the most critical way to those you already have, and highlight what you prefer about those and what you prefer, if anything, about the Valencias. Again: be extremely brutal and unforgiving, in your assessment, find every fault you can, and highlight every asset. There's good reason for this exercise.
.
.Oh, and about that store - LOL; anyone who really knows audio, I mean really, will also know that a system such as currently in prospect will be nothing less than formidable (or 'forbidaaab', as the French would say).
.
.Cheers!
.
NB.
Saw this just before sending;  "Lenco tt; Is mine. I won the auction on eBay ." I'd say it's shapin'-up to look like you're a winner all 'round!

.

X----------

I won't be back w the speakers until week from Tues. When I heard them at the guys garage hooked up to mono blocks they sounded great. Did not sound like that when I got them hooked up at my place. However , they were hooked up to crap amp and I only had time to listen for about an hour
. I'm not judging them until I get them hooked up to Doge and Quad which will take a few weeks

X----------

.I lost the eBay auction for the Sonata. I can buy one new. Not s big deal. I assume I shouldn't consider the Grado Platinum?

.

.WAJ----------

No, No. Not the Platinum.

Lemme explain. The Platinum is OK, but not as good as the Sonata. I believe (as do one or two others) that the apart from the Statement Statement (don't laugh - that's the name) at the very top of that line, the Sonata offers the best performance/cost ratio. It's excellent, generally. (Their Reference is the best overall performer, next to the Statement, but this comes at 3-times the cost of the Sonata).

However, I have an issue with the Sonata - slightly exaggerated record-surface noise (mostly on 'less-than-pristine' records). I also have good reason to believe this stems from the shape/design of its stylus-tip. Refer to a previous e-mail for my concern that this may be more intolerable for you than it is for a hardcore LP-fan like me. In my recent research on Thursday or Friday, to refresh my memory, I confirmed that the Platinum, Sonata, and the Master all use, effectively, the same stylus-tip. Leaving the Statement Statement aside, the only other that uses better stylus is the $1.5k Reference.

The ideal and most cost effective solution is not to buy a new Sonata, in my view, but to buy a used one at half-price and have it re-tipped with a better stylus-tip. However, I've also learned that the entities that offer the very best of this service are stressed because of the high demand on their services due to the quality of their work. Because of this, customers have to wait looong months for the return of their souped-up cartridges. I doubt such a delay would be amenable to you.

The less attractive option is to buy that new Sonata and endure the (minor?) issues which, I fear, will unfairly and un-necessarily taint your view of LP-reproduction (coming, as you are, from a CD background). Excluding the Statement, the only other Grado option which would avoid this is the $1.5k Reference.

Why the stress on Grado? There are other good cartridges, but the top of the line Grados are the most natural-sounding cartridges in existence (many other brands excel in other areas mostly having to do with hifi gimmicks). The Koetsu Urishi perhaps comes the closest to the merits the Grados display, but the cost of that Koetsu is around $4k, when last I heard (Neither do I think it's as good as the best Grado).

Perhaps I should digress a bit to stress an extremely important point: In building a system for the best quality sound, at whatever price-point, the disproportionate emphasis MUST be on the front-end, the source (2nd is the pre, and 3rd is the speaker, in my book). [Re; the 'Gospel' according to Linn] This means getting the very best cartridge you can afford. I believe a retipped 'used' Sonata at around 6 to 700, total, is just as good as a $1.5k Reference. But if the very long wait excludes this option, then the next best alternative is the Reference - nothing less than these two options is really relevant - the Platinum is out. Me? I'd find another used Sonata and wait for it to be re-tipped - that's the most attractive route for me; Grado Reference suppression of surface-noise at Sonata cost. If the wait is too long, then I'd go straight for the Reference.

Still with the main source, let's examine the turntable itself. This, more than any other single component, determines the quality of the sonics going into the rest of the system. We now have a standard Lenco which, in my view, could be the approximate equivalent of a 125, more or less. But the real value of the standard Lenco is not really in what it is, as standard, but for what it can be when modified. This is why, in talking about the 401, your former favorite, and the Lenco I keep repeating the word; 'modified'. Sure, they can be used as standard, but that'd be a waste of their true potential. 

And this is why, when you mentioned cables, I was not enthusiastic about the idea. The purchase of expensive cables, at this time, would be like embellishing a race-car with a very expensive paint-job though it still sports its standard engine. The engine needs to be modified with the best parts possible, for top performance (as a priority). And the same goes for our system - the source-component, the engine, the Lenco (with its cartridge and arm) needs to be modified before we think of an expensive paint-job (exotic cables - we really don't need them). For the best performance, under whichever circumstance, no expense should be spared on the source, the engine. Let's see about modifying the source

In thinking about this I realize that while someone like me could play that standard Lenco as is and still appreciate its potential, to be later unleashed after mods, a 'newbee' to turntables, like yourself, may well be underwhelmed, and perhaps even discouraged. Partly because of this, I believe we should modify that Lenco now (cables can wait). And there's another reason why I consider this urgent: Caught-up in the enthusiasm a project like this generates, I seem to have been neglecting my other interests, causing the loss of around a grand last week. Abandoning you is out of the question, but the biggest hurdle is in front of us right now (the Lenco mods) I need to quickly help you over it so that I can return to the process of actually earning for a living, full-time - the harsh realities of life. It's really not going to be too easy; the fabrication/procurement of a plinth and the fittting of an arm are the major obstacles. (Oh, I researched the arm that comes with the Lenco, as promised; it's really not up to the performance of the rest of that tt).

If you agree with me then here's what we need to do; .

.a. Procure or fabricate a plinth (this is the single most important step in elevating the performance of any idler-wheel drive tt. Cost; between 3 and 700 - much less if you could find a slab of slate, for instance, and have it cut to fit the Lenco).

.b.Procure new idler-wheel (perhaps around $70 - informed guess)

.c.      "          new bearings (will check)

.d       "          lubrication           "

.e. Locate a techie, in the area, to put it all together. One who is familiar with modifying vintage high-end turntables

.f. Procure an arm. (I found one; Jelco SA-750LB, which is reputed to be better than the $2k SME 3012, at a cost of only $600, new - will check to see if another that is as good can be found for even less). 

.g. Procure a cartridge.

.h. Misc.

The choice is again yours, my friend; play the Lenco as is at around 40% of its potential. Or modify, as above, to around 75% of that potential, while I'm still able to assist you.

Lemme know whether I should investigate further.

Cheers!

.

.

X----------.

Sent: Monday, May 28, 2012 7:35 PM
Subject: Re: System u described

I'm going to follow ur instructions outlined below. Not sure I need detailed advice on options below. I need to get a Sonata or a Reference. I need to find tt tech in Y-State area to make modifications outlined and also explore new tone arm.  The tt is going to take a few weeks until I have it and get it modified and get a plinth.

I bid the Sonata on eBay last night up to $356 but didnt get it.  I have a few weeks to find another one or make a decision on a new cartridge.

Thanks

X

.

.WAJ----------

X,

I received your e-mail. And I want you to know I fully understand your hesitancy - I wouldn't blame you for an instant. I mean; the Lenco looks fine, why change the plinth, and such? Right?

.
I'll get back to that. Oh, and I've also been seeking advice with a view to cutting costs even further, even as we elevate the L75's performance - I'll get back to that too. But first I should let you know I'm fine if you decide to keep it as it is.
.
But I'd also be unfair to you if I didn't highlight the fact that your L75 is an absolute diamond in the rough, bursting with potential. This is not an effort to convince you to modify, I'm just showing you what you really have. Nevertheless, just in case you decide on the minimum mods, I've initiated certain inquires - which we'll also get back to.
.
Let's compare it to the 125: As I said, the standard L75 is about equal to the 125, in my opinion. The 125's performance is good, but not as good as a Linn Sondek, for instance, and it cannot be made to perform much better. This is why it only features in the least of my recommended systems; 'High-end on a Shoe-String'.
.
.The Linn has long been the bench-mark for tt performance, and is still among the better tts. But even the Linn is way surpassed by the most expensive tts, and also by fully mod'ed examples of vintage tts such as the 124, 301, 401, and your own L75. Now though both the 125 and your standard L75 are at about the same level, the difference between them is that the 125 cannot be made much better than it is, while the L75 can.
.
.Now forgive me, but I seem to have gotten this 'bright-idea' into my head that it'd be good for you if I were to help you to modify that Lenco to the absolute minimum level, from where it'd be relatively easy for you to initiate further mods at a later date, if you so desire. (This would also greatly enhance the re-sale value, btw). 
.
.With this in mind, I contacted the foremost authority on the L75, the man who put Lenco on the map in modern times, the man who builds the Lencos which demonstrate their superiority over 401s, etc. Jean Nantais is the man who built Salvatore's "Reference Lenco L75". So I contacted him to see if he could quote the price of his plinth. He replied in the negative even before I finished writing this to you. But I'll send you the thread in case there might be anything of interest to you, perhaps for future reference.
.
.Salvatore's Lenco, as rebuilt by Nantais, is expensive. And I'm certainly not suggesting that you go for that. There are excellent options below that level too, but I'm not even suggesting those. I'll simply supply the info. Let me know what you think.
.
.Here's a link to the AudioCritique's review of the Nantais-built Reference Lenco L75 - with lots of relevant links:  http://www.high-endaudio.com/RC-Lenco.html 
.
.And here's the thread between Jean Nantais and myself:
.
.
.Date: Mon, 28 May 2012 14:14:10 -0700
From: waj
Subject: Quote on the cost of a 'Classic' plinth for Lenco L75.
To: [email protected]
CC: waj

[Nantais thread omitted - Idid not seek his agreement for publishing.]




X----------

Very interesting. now I understand why you've talked about me just buying the basic form of the tt.  a lot needs to be done.  I actually think that his work looks facinating and gives me an idea of how much really needs to go into it before it's potential is unleashed.  I would certainly entertain the idea of sending him the tt for the $3800 job but I'd like to get the system in place and give it whirl before making much bigger investments into it.  My concerns are - 1) what if i put this all together and I hate it?  2) what if I put this together and I love it? If the former - so what - I spent about $5k and I sell the whole thing and maybe lose a little and a LOT of time.  If I love it - of course at this point I understand that I could make some very worthwhile investments to make it much better but I can do it on my time when it's convenient.

I think what I should do is get a Sonata, make the basic modifications by an experienced tech in the DC area (hopefully) and get a good plinth.  There are a lot out there. not sure which one is worthwhile yet but once I find the the tech maybe he may have ideas and see how the tt runs.  Sending it to antais (or getting another one from him is a long term project - he's two months behind right now).

Re the DAC.  that's an afterthought right now.  All I'm focused on is the basic system with tt.  I have two other systems in the apt to listen to digital.  I need to look into M box you mentioned and other options.  I'll let you know what my thoughts are on that matter later this week.

Thanks a lot for reaching out to Nantais.  I have a feeling I'll be working with him at some point but I'm not sure that I'm ready to jump there yet.

Sincerely,

X

.

.

X----------

Just missed a Garrott p77 in Australia by a few days for $200. What do u think of me getting an Empire cartrige 4000 d/III as a backup cartridge?  I will keep looking for a Garrott or Grado Sonata next week. If I can't find one I can always buy a new Sonata on amazon and have it in a few days.

Thanks

X

.

.

WAJ.----------

Gosh man! I'm really sorry you missed that Garrott - and @200 bucks, at that. That would have been a very nice second cartridge - you may even have prefered it to the Grado. So far as the system is concerned, I'd thought it best to tune it for a natural sound, especially in the all-important midrange, and the Grado plays a very big role in that strategy. No other cartridge is as good in this region except, maybe, Koetsus. *** Oh, and that particular Empire I can't say too much on. I'll let the experts answer, on that subject:   http://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_forum/viewtopic.php?t=30958  I'd have advised to grab the Garrott. With this Empire I'd consider putting those pennies toward the tt, unless the Empire is really dirt-cheap and operational. *** And what about that M-Box you asked about? Did you get my response? And are you inclined to go that route too? *** I assume you got the Nantais e-mails too. I'm in suspense here!.

.

X----------

The Garrott was posted online in Australia.  When I contacted the guy  - he said that he had sold it last week but had not taken the post down yet.  I think they are probably easier to find in Australia since that was where they were made.  I'm going to reach out to people selling used tt stuff in Australia and let them know im looking for one.

M box - I have to look into.  once I start considering the digital component - there is a factor of convenience I'm going to be looking for also. for instance there are times where I just assume paly streaming material from spotify.  I love my Sonos Box and that I can control it from my pda.  I dont intend on using that a lot but sometimes I like it.  I realize that streaming audio quality blows compared to lossless digital media but sometimes I like it.  However, if the M box is far superior to other DAC options in quality - my desire to enjoy certain lossless files in a manner I have not been able to up until this point could persuade me to abandon creature comfort options I enjoy with other gimmicky options.




WAJ.----------

By the way, X, was it the Lenco from Penn State that you won in the auction? I forgot to ask before - just curious.
.
.Anyway, my friend, I think we've turned a corner here. I actually felt a sense of relief after I made you aware of Jean Nantais. We could even call it the final (major) piece in the puzzle. Now whether you make use of the connection 2 years from now, or whether you opt to use the tt as is, that's up to you, of course. I just feel better, much better, in knowing that I provided you with that particular connection. And I'll tell you why:
.
.You bought that Lenco based on my advice. And I'd since been runnin'-off my mouth 'bout the merits of modifying it with a better plinth, and such. But the reality is that there's a whole lotta crap out there. And I've been made even more aware of this as I searched for options (on the premise that Nantais was too far away). It seems every Tom, Dick, and flippin' Harry are now building plinths for vintage tts - many are no flippin' good, perhaps most. I've even seen things like 'heavy-plinthed' 301s being sold at 'bargain-basement' prices - still over-priced, in my opinion, since those plinths are mostly only good for fire-wood. I also saw a 'slate-plinthed' Garrard (I think it was) were thin pieces of slate were actually glued on to a ply-wood paneled sub-structure - and the seller was audacious enough to actually show pics of the hollow underneath. There are even 'bare' plinths sold, and I'll admit I was tempted by a few 'til I decided to investigate further. Now I'm not sayin' they're all bad, but....
.
The truth is that the best plinths for these tts are those built by reputable companies such as Lori-Craft, Oswald-Mills Audio, Shindo and, of course, Jean Nantais. These are 'known-quantities' tested by reviewers and found to be outstanding. But mostly they don't sell their plinths as component parts (All these plinths, with their tts, are veeery expensive - Nantais' Lencos are perhaps the least expensive). Jean Nantais, on the other hand, actually gave away (made public) years ago, the 'recipe' for his original 'Classic' plinth (the one I asked him about). This is what started the 'Lenco-craze', after people built this plinth and realized that their Lencos were now as good or better than the Garrards and some of the most expensive tts. I was actually seeking a version of this plinth or a copy of the plans, prior to my getting the bright idea of contacting him. Just the acquisition of that plinth alone (no arm, etc.) would have caused a vast improvement over the standard, and would have stood you in good stead for future upgrades, if necessary. (I'll make just one more check for them plans).
.
.Nevertheless, in linking you to Nantais, I now feel my job is done. And even though I don't think you'll fully employ his services right now, if ever, his advice is better than anything I could tell you about the Lenco. You're in good hands. And so, with that final straw in place, I can now return to my other interests, full-time. Don't get me wrong, you're still absolutely welcome to contact me on any issue, at any time. And I'd also be disappointed if you didn't keep me abreast of ensuing developments on a regular basis. But the main course is already charted (with alternate routes provided) so it should be smooth sailin' from here. (And no more article-length 'instructions' from me).
.
.So, unless you object, take care my friend. And don't forget to let me know what's happenin'.
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.Cheers!
.
.
.N.B.
.I had actually written the-above late last night (had to rush off early this morning - hence the late posting). [By the way, I got the funniest e-mail last-night, 2 minutes after yours.] On seeing your post just now, I thought I might add this to stress a point or two, just for clarification.:
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.The Lenco (and its mods) were not a part of the original plan, as you'll recall - the Thorens was. The Lenco only coincidentally came into the picture after I realized that they could still obtained for half the price of the 125. (After Salvatore's Lenco review came out, I'd expected the prices to soar to Garrard levels, as happened in the past in other instances - There goes the neighbourhood, for the Lenco; this is what I actually said after reading that review. I'm still genuinely surprised at the prices that still prevail.
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.So then I encouraged you to get the Lenco, which could give the 125's level of performance, more or less, at half the price, with the option to modify to the performance level of mega-buck tts (I actually thought this was a prudent strategy - still do too). You'll recall that you'd had ideas of getting the 125 now and, perhaps, later upgrading to a Garrard 401. The Lenco, however, is both these tts in one package, so to speak - at a bargain-basement initial price, almost too good to be true.
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.But then I realized that much later from now, when you actually decide to modify to 401 levels, we may not be in contact for me to assist you in these mods. And perhaps I didn't make this clear, but this is where I got the notion that it'd be a good idea to at least help you over the critical phase of the mods (the basis, including the crucial plinth - I said it, but perhaps you missed it) so that later mods would be relatively easy. A good plinth is THE most critical component in mod'ing these tts, but there's a whole lotta crap out there, the job can very easily be botched. In fact, even the use of a techie is no safe-haven since most don't even know the first thing about getting the best out of these tts - no offence meant.
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.So my primary focus, after this idea took root, was in getting the basics right (at least the plinth - the arm can now wait) before I stepped away from this project. Now that I've put you on to the Lenco expert, I feel free. I can now step away, confident in the knowledge that I've left you in good hands. Oh, and by the way, for a newbie like yourself to go out and pick-up a plinth to get someone to install and mod your tt, this may or may not be a great idea, with the emphasis on the latter. (If I had found a plinth based on Nantais' original 'Classic' then we'd be set - any techie could have done the rest).
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.From where I stand now, I'd forget about that new arm for now (after talking with Nantais) and since you seek a back-up, then the Sonata is great (as there's an alternative on hand). The simple change to a genuine Nantais plinth (or one built from those plans) would elevate that Lenco from 125 level to Linn territory, perhaps beyond, and form the foundation for any other later mods (which may not even be necessary). As I said, I'll look, again.
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.Hopefully, this makes my position even clearer.


Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 5:25 PM
Subject: Re: System u described
.

.X----------

.Winston,

I can't thank you enough for your assistance, guidance and encouragement.  After reading Nantais description of his work and modifications, it became very clear what modifications and quality of the plinth are necessary.  I can get that figured out in the near future.  I just put my order in for the Doge 8 clairty.  Quad 303 should be delivered in a week or so and I have my scouts looking for the S-C AP-55 for the future.  I'm going to keep the arm on the Lenco for right now and probably get a Grado Sonata.
I'm set.

I've been contacting a few people about making some of the basic mods to the Lenco and I'll be careful about finding a quality plinth. If I get the itch to really make that tt sing - it will be off to Nantais.

I will keep you updated as to my impressions and feedback on this system as it gets hooked up.

My sincere appreciation.

Regards,

X

.

.

WAJ.----------

You're welcome!
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The only outstanding issue may be whether or not you'd want a super-tweeter, as I'd mentioned, depending on your tastes. (It's why I'd asked you to judge the Valencia, critically). I'll later list 'the usual suspects' for this application, and I'll also include my own 'cheap-trick' method of addressing this issue. But this will have to wait 'til I find the time - perhaps in a day or so.
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Best wishes!

.

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