About us

The Analog Ian website

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (24 November 1808 – 29 September 1890)

“The more it changes, the more it’s the same thing.”

In South Africa, often borderline first world, it is depressing to note that there are serious limitations to how the man on the street can trade.  Where is the global village which everyone talks about?  The ZAR playing hopscotch on a minefield. Exorbitant freight charges on an international level. SA Postal services near non-existent (at least on an international level).

We are mostly confined to Gumtree and Olx. Bid or Buy, Takealot and Loot are largely mainstream, mass retail specific. We have the gems, covered in another article but our business here, right now is that of the local analog(ue) and music scene, the recording and reproduction of analog signals, the guys and dolls that tinker with sine waves, home brewed solid state and bottle equipment.

We refer here to analog mixers, synthesisers, modulators, demodulators, instruments and of course reel2reels, cassette recorders, vinyl players, radio and heck even the old vinyl cutting machines.

Analogian is the place to be to get in touch with the local gurus – musicians and craftsmen, hobbyists and hopefully sellers.

Case History

I purchased two Technics turntables. Both needed the decals replaced. Contacted KAB in the USA and they efficiently shipped out to South Africa. The last shipping information was on the 4th November 2016. It  must be in South Africa. Trying to get the SA Postal services tracking number from USPS is futile. One response from Johannesburg International Mail Center which stated that they are very busy. This was a month back. Since then, nada. Sweet F.A. No responses from mail neither call center. This deal went through PayPal but I don’t have a dispute with the seller – this is a local issue. Do I write off the R2500.00? The date now is 2nd January 2017. I am not the only one is South Africa facing this dilemma.

We need a private company to intervene.


9/10 if one is looking for a piece of vintage gear you will find it on eBay. The downside is that the shipping charges often cost more than the product. A case in point would be Carver’s 700+700W amplifier, a collector’s item.  Priced at about R13 000.00 and shipping R3000.00 to R4000.00. The 400W series is slightly less for shipping. In the real world anyone could buy the parts and replicate the entire circuit but where would you get the meters.

eBay has one advantage: PayPal.  You can raise a dispute with the seller but then you need to return ship at your cost. Both Olx and Gumtree do not offer buyer protection and in a country such as ours this can raise our anxiety.

Tape Recorders – reel to reel and cassette

As the new vinyl is now R2R buyers need to be absolutely certain that their purchase actually works.  Prosumer and Professional recorders are extremely expensive. Make sure you know how the transport mechanism works, there is parts availability and ensure the seller gives a very good picture of the heads.  If you are technically inclined and have a grasp of R2R mechanics there may be a substitution which can be used. Head blocks can cost R2000.00 and upwards. The Otari MX5050 capstan motor can cost upwards of R5000.00.  Otari parts are mostly still available – not Akai though.

Stay clear of auto reverse – head alignment is critical and R2R or cassette technical experts warn us to keep our cash.

Technically aware customers purchasing their R2Rs online complain that in most instances the decks are never in the condition being offered. I stay clear from those selling whom tell you they don’t know how it works but it appears fine.  But they know exactly what price to ask. B.S.

Last word – scammers

Seller uses an image of an Akai 635 100px x 100px. The client was selling an 1800. Both Olx and Gumtree should start monitoring their users for this kind of abuse. We don’t even really know whether the photos are of the equipment being sold here it’s that bad. And it can be dangerous, not only here but overseas as well.


Analogian is sister to Online Parts International

Oh yes, about me

Yeah, my name is Ian. I grew up in the world of thermionic emission, loads of tubes under the bed and dabbling until dawn.  I was 12 years old then but that part hasn’t changed, really.

Studied maritime telecommunications in the 70s which included radar, gyro and navigational aids.  At the time two tubes in parallel could punch out 3kW from a class AB SSB transmitter. And they called them linear amplifiers.  In the tube world this is really small fry.  AM transmitters, even those at the SABC, had transmitters running into the hundreds of kW.

With our digital world came microelectronics. With further changes came mechatronics. No matter what or which, electronics is a fascinating subject, sometimes I believe understood best by the likes of Tesla, Faraday and Maxwell.