Parts for Vintage Equipment

Where to get vintage gear spares?

Over the last 6 months I have received quite a few mails from desperate individuals wishing to restore their old radios, tube and semiconductor, integrated amplifiers, turntables and tape decks.

Honest Sam's Top Notch Sales - Cars in Unbelievable Condition
Honest Sam’s Top Notch Sales – Cars in Unbelievable Condition

Belts and power supplies and many semiconductors have equivalents but we get stuck with Germanium, decals, knobs and switches with most gear and then the mechanical parts to decks and turntables. In South Africa we have to turn to eBay where often shipping charges become exorbitant. Continue reading “Parts for Vintage Equipment”

RCF Near Fields – Ayra Series

RCF Active Near Field studio monitors – the Ayra series

RCF have been around for some time, almost 70 years to be exact. Named after the initials of the first three shareholders (but also formerly known as Radio Cine Forniture?), the company invested in the manufacture of ribbon microphones. With concerts becoming more electronically amplified RCF soon turned their art to the manufacture of transducers and the release of OEM devices for loudspeaker manufacturers in the USA and Europe.

RCF Ayra 8 - Active Near Field Monitors
RCF Ayra 8 – Active Near Field Monitors

When one does feel the urge to find out more about this company and their products the internet is strangely quiet. My first experience was actually in trying to get my hands on a pair of Yamaha or Behringer Truth monitors but the sales person motivated the sale of the Ayra 8s.  Pressed for time and knowing nothing about RCF except their use in large stage arrays I only did research after I laid out the cash.  Look, in all honesty the audio industry is amok with clueless critics tearing apart well known brands without thinking of the consequences (forum trolls, trap bait and undeserved criticism) – but I hardly see RCF comment.  Continue reading “RCF Near Fields – Ayra Series”

Transistor Equivalents – old equipment restoration

Where to find transistor equivalents?

Restoring old gear can be a nightmare when it comes to some of the more obscure transistor types, and a pretty expensive exercise as well. Transistor equivalents for substitution is often a necessity when repairing vintage gear. This applies equally well to silicon devices and not just Germanium.

Years back we were confined to telephonic conversations or writing letters to the supplier, the snail mail variety.  In South Africa we are fortunate enough to have proactive suppliers in the electronics industry, unlike in the motor or metal industries where staff are still learning how to send emails, except if they see a big sale pending. Continue reading “Transistor Equivalents – old equipment restoration”

Vintage Audio Vs Modern Technology

Is vintage audio better than modern releases?  (post 2000)

This reminds me of the first argument I had regarding the merits of mechanical VU meters over LED.

Yeah, we like vintage stuff, especially with those big VU meters. Hell, I was looking at the specs of the Pioneer SX-1980 the other evening and thought  what a beast this must have been in the 1980s. At 270W this is certainly by no stretch of the imagination much in modern times thanks to PWM, Class D and mounted on a one inch square heatsink.

McIntosh_MA6800
McIntosh MA6800

en:McIntosh Labs MA6800 amplifier. *Source:  *Credit: [http://www.flickr.com/people/ux/ Akira Kamikura] *License: cc-by-2.0 {{cc-by-2.0}}

Continue reading “Vintage Audio Vs Modern Technology”

Micro and Mini sound systems versus Dock

Logitech Bluetooth Receiver

The iPod Dock and Other Things

One of our readers,  13 year old Craig wants to know why we don’t do reviews, especially on docking stations.  Unfortunately as we don’t retail products and neither get support from resellers or manufacturers in this beautiful land of ours this can be pretty difficult unless we go out and buy the stuff ourselves.

Castle Knight 1
Castle Knight 1

What I can tell you is that over the years a common problem picked up is dirty or broken contacts in the dock which although replaceable does make it a weak link in the interface.  Line inputs are a better way to go but now that from Bluetooth 2.0 and up, wireless seems to be the cheaper and more practical way to go.   Docking stations are still popular but the home user wants more exciting permutations. Continue reading “Micro and Mini sound systems versus Dock”

Class G and H Audio Amplification – Gimmick or Wizardry

Texas Instruments TAS 2559

Class G and H Audio Amplifiers

One design that has been out for eons and still catches us off guard is the rail shifting Class G or class H boost supply amplifier.  Most purists agree that this concept is ideal for PA work but not high fidelity audio.  To a certain degree I must agree but then this would imply that class D is also in the same boat. There I disagree, they are in the same boat but some very high quality amplifiers are class G, H as well as class D. What is this class stuff anyway? Continue reading “Class G and H Audio Amplification – Gimmick or Wizardry”

Line and Microphone inputs

What is the difference between Line and Microphone Inputs

This is a question often asked in the forums, not necessarily as simplified as this but there is often ambiguity in the replies. So here we will look at what not to do and hopefully this will prevent mishaps in the interwiring of consumer and professional audio goods.

Behringer DI-Box DI100
Behringer DI-Box DI100  (Sweetwater)

Firstly, the tried and trusted Decibel (dB) Continue reading “Line and Microphone inputs”

Audiophile Class D – Part Two

Audiophile Class D – Part Two – Practical Examples

Just before we get started, Kenneth, a reader wants to know why if we claim to be “Analogians” why we keep on harping on Class D?  I think an explanation by way of clarification is necessary.

Kenneth, although the name of the website is a play on words, my name is Ian, we do understand the importance of digital electronics. Actually just as important and in many cases more so than analogue.  I do not think that a switching amplifier is indeed a digital device even if the PWM and switcher itself are controlled by DSP. The raw class D amplifier has a triangle waveform generator, a comparator and PWM.  If digital is all around bit-rate and 0s and 1s at a predefined 5V level then this is surely not digital.  Just as if a rail shifting amplifier can be made to switch to various voltage levels through a digitally controlled switch it does not necessarily make the amplifier a digital one.  What does seem to be the tendency is that switching amplifiers are being termed more “digital” now than ever and this is going to stick.  Possibly we do need to have a more inventive description however. 

Moving on…..

Practical examples of Class D Continue reading “Audiophile Class D – Part Two”

Audiophile Class D

The pure ambiguity of high end sound systems

The purist may rate the ultimate audio amplifier as being a straight piece of wire with gain.  Possibly driving his or her Sennheiser HD800s. In South Africa this may well put you back R40 000.00.  Maybe it’s time to put aside the Woo Audio, Schiit or Linear Tube and take a listen to Class D. On real speakers.

Class D amplifier 500W available from wish.com
Class D amplifier 500W available from wish.com (500W 35/-35V supply on LHS)

Continue reading “Audiophile Class D”