i) my hifi system is on its last legs. Not a real complaint - I bought the actual system, sans CD, in 1986 - but it is reaching the point where I have to give in and replace it (turntable won’t work, radio reception sometimes drops, switching input often takes several pushes of the button and sometimes loses the connection spontaneously). However, as I’ve been looking around the CD player, which is newer (though still from 2000), has started to get fussy and even refused to play three discs that played fine via the PC, adding another item to be replaced to the list.
ii) in pursuit of the above, I have been trying to decide what to get. Typing brand + model + review into Google brings up page after page of store sites which don’t have any actual reviews of the bloody item.
iii) tuners seem to be in very short supply, at least at the relatively affordable end of the market. I know this is a weak area for digital TV signals so I assume the same is likely to be true of DAB radio, but the lack of reviews (see ii) means I have no idea how the few models I can find perform as FM radios with the supplied aerial (external aerial not being an option).
...the heart of my former Hi-Fi system, a Kenwood TK-140, was made in the 60s (and made right here in the USA, not Korea where they have farmed all their work out to since the 80s). While it’s not not tube, it does come from the early days of Transistors, everything hand soldiered. It may look cheesy compared to today’s systems with it’s large dials and white selector switches reminiscent of the stop tabs on a Hammond organ, but who in their right mind buys a Hi-Fi for looks (and if they do, they are missing the point)?
I still have the original owners manual which lists about a dozen and a half shops in the nation for servicing on the back cover one of them the original Hi-Fi-Fo-Fum store on, “Twenty Sixth [cymbal tap] and Wisconsinum” in Milwaukee.
Case is steel, transformers are beefy so the unit weighs a tonne. It has a frequency response of 0 - 55,000hz which, while beyond of the normal human hearing range (which is why most commercial systems roll off at 20 - 32hz on the low end and 18k - 20k on the upper end) it still has a noticeable effect in that the music sounds incredibly clear since the wider “window” allows “transients” and upper partials to be reproduced, which in turn, faithfully brings out unique character of the instruments recorded (I primarily listen to classical and jazz). So one actually gets a sensation of the bow of a cello being drawn across the strings, the plectra on a harpsichord plucking the stings or the the intimate interplay of an acoustic jazz quartet. The unit also has a pre-amped third channel output (perfect for a subwoofer) and though it only puts out 85W/channel (8 ohms) with it’s high current configuration (thanks to those huge transformers) it has a real “presence” and can easily handle the peaks with out “clipping”.
The speakers are 2 way JBL Recording Studio monitors (totally flat response with driver magnets as big as the bass cones - and they do “move air” if you put your hand in front) and the turntable (Yes I still have quite a collection of those flat black things they called “records”) a totally manual radio station reference model.
As I was tested up to 31k and down to 16hz (yes I can actually hear a 32’ organ pipe as a musical tone, not just a bass rumble) I am difficult to please when it comes to audio gear. Can’t stand listening to the run of the mill rubbish most electronics and even so called “audio specialists” shops push today.
Now when I said “former” above, the unit is unfortunately not working due to an incredibly stupid flat mate I had years ago who tried to wire it up to make a home theatre system and succeeded in blowing one of the channels out and killing several of the controls. Needless to say I moved out the next week (and this is just one of the reasons I no longer wish to deal with shared living arrangements).
Still looking for the parts and a place to effect the repairs.
...ohh, and this baby still needs the old FM Dipole antenna to pull in my favourite classical and jazz stations.