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May 2013 Issue
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GREAT SERVICE

As a surprise for Christmas my wife ordered me a hi-fi rack from Slateage who are located at Fence, Lancashire and being of bespoke dimensions she ordered it in November so that it would be ready in time for the festive period. It was ready for collection on the Thursday before Christmas and my wife collected it in person from Slateage with a view to setting it up before i arrived home from work.On arrival at the Slateage works unit she was met by John and Mathew who had not only gone to the trouble of setting the rack up to ensure everything was correct and ensure my wife was happy with the finished product, but also took great care to load the rack into my wife’s car and ensured it was safely packed for transportation home, with the parting words “any problems, just ring”.

Due to the racks weight my wife sensibly decided to wait until i got home from work when the two of us could assist each other with the construct, which apart from the weight proved to be a straight forward affair. Unfortunately having put it together we discovered that in calculating the measurements my dear wife had not taken into account the thickness of the legs, an understandable error, as the legs are much thicker than your average hi-fi rack legs normally are and which meant that none of my hi-fi could be slotted into place, a disaster you may think!

No, one phone call to Slateage next morning to enquire whether anything could be done was met with a positive response and fifteen minutes later i received a return call from John with an invitation to bring it back that very same day, this the last Friday before Christmas by the way, so that the modifications could be made. My presumption that I would have to leave the rack for collection until after the Christmas break was swiftly corrected and i was informed that the mods would be carried out that Friday afternoon so that i could take it home for Christmas. I dropped the rack off at Slateage about 1.30pm and it was ready for collection, all work completed by 4 pm, it was back home and set up by tea time!

The rack is beautifully constructed, looks great [see attached image] and really isolates my hi-fi equipment brilliantly from foot-fall vibration. And after extended listening over the Christmas holidays – what else can one do when the weather has been so bad – my conclusions are that my system sounds sweeter and more natural sounding. In addition the attention to detail and the after sales service provided by John and his team at Slateage is second to none and we can not recommend them highly enough.

Dave Hewitt

 

 

"The Slateage rack is beautifully constructed, looks great" says Dave Hewitt.

 

REEL PROBLEM

Good evening Mr. Boardman. I read with interest your article on Revox reel to reel machines. I purchased a second hand one for £500 in Birmingham 20 years ago when I lived in the U.K.  a B77. I never got it working properly and as I have retired last Friday, I am adamant that I get it sorted! 

My problem is that as I now live in Dublin, Ireland, I cannot find anyone to service it. Are you aware of anyone in Ireland or Northern Ireland who would be able to attend to this?

I asked Cloney Audio a few years back but the person that they referred me to could not help.

I would appreciate your guidance.

Many thanks in advance,

Yours sincerely,

Gordon Birch

Dublin 

Ireland

 

Dear Gordon. Many thanks for your kind message. Congratulations on your retirement. Sadly, other than a few installation engineers, I know of nobody in your neck of the woods. In the UK, the specialist is a chap called Brian Reeves; his web site is http://www.revox.freeuk.com. His address is 184 Finney Lane Cheadle Cheshire SK8 3PU United Kingdom  Tel. 0161 499 2349. 

Rather than try and ship the machine, he is not far from Manchester Airport, so maybe a budget flight from Dublin direct (well two!) might be the best option for transporting the unit.

With kindest regards, 

Haden Boardman

 

How can Gordon Birch get a Revox B77 open reel recorder fixed in

Dublin? Fly it to Manchester, say our experts, or DIY.

 

Hi Gordon. I must admit that I can’t find any companies capable of servicing Revox equipment in the Irish Republic or in Northern Ireland either (although that’s not to say there aren’t any). If you’re prepared to ship the machine to England, though, I have found a couple of companies that specialise in this sort of thing:

http://www.revox.freeuk.com/

http://www.taperecorder.co.uk/servicing.htm

I’m not sure what electronics experience you have. And what are your machine’s fault symptoms? It might be an ‘easy one’ to fix, if you’re lucky! 

I have rebuilt Revox A77s and B77s in my time – they’re great machines to work with – but the service information for the B77 Mk 1 and Mk2 (what version do you have?) is freely available from:

ftp://ftp.studer.ch/Public/Products/Revox/Revox_B77/

The http://www.vintage-radio.net/ forum also deals with tape recorder troubleshooting and repairs and Revox machines crop up regularly.

Hope this has been of help,

Best regards Martin Pipe

 

ACTIVE ANSWER

I was convinced that the way forward with all my hi-fi purchases was going to be under the heading of Head Room and Clean Signal Path. Up until a year ago this mantra had resulted in the power amp being a very highly modified Musical Fidelity A370. Improvements included two PSUs each with 1500va transformers and 80,000μF of capacitance in a bypass format each side. The main boards essentially had twice the number of output devices (18 p/ch) which deliver twice the current and twice the heat! So all in all, loads of head room on a Tim de Paravicini designed circuit. 

After trying all sorts of loudspeakers over the years I ended with KEF 207s. The rest of the equipment is built around the belief in a clean signal path all the way, so Michell Orb turntable, SME IV arm (re-wired with Audio Note silver litz). Avondale Phono stage with four separate PSUs, two on each channel, and a Koetsu cartridge. Pre amp is an Audio Synthesis Passion all hooked up with Cardas Golden Reference interconnects. 

So a clean signal path with loads of head room and full range speakers hanging off the end and, what’s more, not bad reproduction of real music. So back to my point as raised by Dean Marshall in the October 12 issue. I had just finished my cinema room in the front of the house and needed some speakers to complete the audio side of things. I did not want yet another rack of audio real-estate, I just wanted good sound. The answer, speakers with amplification inside them, no rack, no speaker cables, no amps sat in the corner of the room warming the place up, perfect! 

From a well-known internet auction site I picked up a set of ATC 100as. The first thing I did when I got them home was simply plug them, and I ran my iPod through them just to have a listen. The pod is loaded with good sized files of my favourite sounds, so I switched on and away they went. My first reaction was ‘wow, how good does that sound’. Massive, open, detailed, out in the room, effortless, calm, relaxing, tone full, image almost the size of the room. 

In disbelief I moved them onto the main system. making the big MF amps redundant, not to mention the KEFs. I gain a huge step forward due to the improved signal quality that is running into them. So what is the difference? 

Easy! I am now listening to music, real music in my room. My foot is tapping involuntarily to virtually every upbeat track that I play. Guests come round for dinner, these are people who have no interest in audio and the they say of Jack Johnson, In between Dreams (180g)  “wow that sounds good; it sounds like he is there singing for us”. And a good friend who has some interest in audio remarked they really nail the mid-range. 

Why is active almost scorned by the hi-fi community? A class A amplifier for each and every drive unit, no power draining passive crossover with tolerances that are constantly changing with temperature creating distortion, no phasing issues between the drive units removing the need for crude time aligning in the enclosure design, dynamics and control that are not even dreamt about by passive systems and bass that is not big and mushy and boomy but clean, tight and defined. I now hear bass guitar strings, not just a mixed up fuzzy impression of what a guitar should never sound like. 

There’s no harshness in the treble because of the removal of distortion. Let’s be honest most studios, live performances and artists record and perform their art using active equipment. It then ends up with us, the music lovers, and the majority of us try and reproduce it with passive systems. Why? 

My final observations are perhaps the most remarkable: my partner who has suffered no end of audio equipment in her living room would agree with almost every review of the ATCs they are big, square and frankly ugly however she Is happy to have them in her room because we listen to music not that audio she has had forced on her for years. 

So why does the hi-fi community push us down the road of a nice reproduction of an impression of the real recording, using a fundamentally flawed approach, when the reproduction process can be designed to reproduce real high fidelity sound as laid down by the artist?

Martin Harvey

 

 

Active ATC100a loudspeakers "reproduce real high fidelity sound"

says Martin Harvey. 

 

ATC loudspeakers are popular with studios, because they go loud and have a revealing midrange dome that images well. However, studios also use PMCs, B&Ws and Tannoys, to name a few other popular brands; there’s always room for alternatives. Although active, ATCs are still conventional dynamic loudspeakers, with most of their characteristics. Active drive has benefits, but it does not solve every problem; you are still listening to conventional drive units in a box. 

Active loudspeakers are also expensive, bulky and impose a particular, inflexible solution upon a user. This is fine for those who don’t want to get involved in matching products to suit their tastes: B&O, Meridian, Panasonic and many others offer solutions. However, at ATC’s price level a potential buyer is likely to be more choosy, and want to keep items separate. 

It’s good that you find ATC 100as realistic and are enjoying them. NK

 


 

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