Building high-end 'tables cheap at Home Despot II

“For those who want the moon but can't afford it or those who can afford it but like to have fun and work with their hands, I'm willing to give out a recipe for a true high-end 'table which is easy to do, and fun to make as sky's the limit on design/creativity! The cost of materials, including 'table, is roughly $200 (depending, more or less), and add to that a Rega tonearm. The results are astonishing. I'll even tell/show you how to make chipboard look like marble and fool and impress all your friends. If there's interest I'll get on with this project, if not, I'll just continue making them in my basement. The next one I make will have a Corian top and have a zebra stripe pattern! Fun! Any takers?”

The Lead in “Da Thread” as posted by Johnnantais - 2-01-04

Let the saga continue. Sail on, oh ships of Lenco!
Hi Mike, sorry for the delay, sill moving and adjusting. No, Spectral has embraced the V-fet in their latest designs, (Yamaha had also, and their V-fet designs, B-1 and A-1 I believe, were considered the best they ever made), but won't fix Sony designs. Though perhaps their V-fets are acceptable substitutes for vintage Sony pieces, if you can get them to part with some. However, in my experience I haven't ever come across blown V-fets.

As to the PV-7, my heart is more with the PV-7 than with the PV-8, and since it has weak bass, I figure this is due to a tired power supply, though it may be some new AT-7s might fix this. Though I'm really nervous about changing the PV-7's sound, I'll make sure everything is "by the book" in the rebuild. Still tube-rolling over here in the meantime :-). I'll eventually overhaul the PV-8 too.

I've now brought over my collection of vintage speakers (excepting the Klipsch Cornwalls for which I'll have to rent a truck) and today I'll have a big shootout to see which get to stay in the soundroom and which will be put in the basement: Klipch Heresy MKIs, Spendpor BC-1s, ESS AMT4s, and of course the Technics SB-4s which are currently giving me such enjoyment. For those wondering why I have so many vintage speakers, and no current ones, it's because all current ones I've tested have so far have had their asses kicked by these vintage designs :-)!! The ESS AMT4s have those fabulous Heil Air Motion Transformers midrange/high-frequency elements (said to be the best overall driver ever developed), the woofers in these particular ones are as fast as the AMT elements, are very sensitive (thus giving free rein to the Lenco mighty dynamics and transient speed) and the cabinets are as heavy and dead as cement; the Klipsch have incredible speed and detail-retrieval, are very sensitive and work well with SS as well as with low-powered tube amps and work well in small rooms; and the Spendors speak for themselves, have an incredible seductive midrange, excellent PRaT and gestalt/unity/harmony (another set of Lenco/Idler strengths) and with the right amp (Pierre's 100-watt SS amp which still sounds like an ultra-powerful SET) slamming fast and accurate bass as well, though they won't go particularly loud before bottoming out (due to the Lencos almost-excessive speed and slam in the bass) so for refinement and smaller rooms.

As for realistic dynamic swings not hurting ears (hardening of the upper midrange/aggressive treble), I've found that both the Leak and the Pierre amps accomplish this feat when accompanied by warmed-up CJs, which is one reason I'm so in love with the Technics SB-4s (as well as my next-door musician neighbour)! I'm hoping it's due to the CJ's, I'll find out today/tomorrow in my own personal Shootout (what fun!!). Let me know how the 5751 works out in the EAR when you get around to it Mike.

I'm building shelving in the basement for my large collection of vintage hi-fi, and for my large collection of record players (which is soon to include a Linn LP12/Ittok combo, I want to delve into its PRaT abilities). Soon as my soundroom/collection is organized, I'll start inviting various serious audiophiles over (already started) to experience what carefully-chosen vintage pieces can do, ESPECIALLY when backed up by large idler-wheel drives!! Have fun all!
"The ESS AMT4s have those fabulous Heil Air Motion Transformers midrange/high-frequency elements (said to be the best overall driver ever developed)..."

Who said that? I remember those drivers quite well. Heard them with a wide variety of ss and tube amplifiers back in their day. I always thought they had an annoying plastic-y coloration that was really grating over time. Plus, as I recall there was a very discernible disassociation between the Heil unit and the woofer in the AMT4. They couldn't hold a candle to a good ESL, in my opinion. I don't mean to sound so aggressive, but I'm just wondering. I don't doubt the sincerity of your opinion. Maybe with certain specific electronics, their coloration is ameliorated.
Hi Lew, just taking a break from building shelving and thought I'd take a look. From the grapevine I've heard in fact the precise opposite concerning the AMT4's (these are the "smallest" stand-mounters) woofer/tweeter integration, and this is how I hear it (it's the larger AMT1s which had the integration problem). Several well-heeled audiophiles visiting my various soundrooms have always been wowed by these specific speakers again and again, as opposed to the rest of the list which leaves them less impressed all taken in all, as the ESS garner universal/unanimous approval, while the rest get raves from some and not from others, more of a mixed bag of reactions. A simple Googling reveals many fans still of these speakers, who won't let them go for anything, even while owning highly-regarded current designs. Evidently synergies exist.

Things have changed over the years with respect to cabling (I use a mix of Petras for interconnects and solid-core for speaker wire, both very smooth and aggression-free), and set-up (specialized metal stands which I use with my AMT4s, Tiptoes and so on), which might account for the lack of annoying colourations, and their existence back when. Of course, some amps excite the tweeters more than others, as with all speakers, so I go with what works, again as with all speakers.

The Heils and various spin-offs are currently being used in a rather large variety of pricey high-end speakers still today (especially in Europe), and their specs are magnificent: a 97-db efficient driver capable of taking up to 300 watts without distortion and with a frequency range going from a typical 1200 hz (sometimes as low as 800) up into the stratosphere. The trick is implementation, as always. As always with most things, YMMV.

That said, I prefer a variety of other speakers as far as PRaT/musicality goes, which is why the AMT's don't simply stay in the system, perhaps there is a dissociation between the tweeters and woofers being revealed here. But, I've never replaced the elements in the crossover, they sound so good, we'll what happens when I do. Others are not so sensitive to PRaT/timing issues, which explains the more ambivalent reactions re. the other speakers on my list, who prefer the smooth raw detail/information and beautiful string sounds of the AMTs (no other speaker in my experience plays guitar playing like the Heils, for string fans). I do prefer the vintage Sony amps for the Heils, or the Pierre Amp which is ultra-smooth/velvety, which are both tubey-sounding. The Heils are ultra-revealing of any hardness or brightness in an amp, or wiring. Tubes and the Heils don't mix so well, as then there is a glassy colouration, so far in my experience, though I'll try the Leak again with the Heils at some point.

So far, the Technics SB-4s (!!) are leading the charge, the Spendors go downstairs, the ESS go up next, I'll report on this between shelf-building.
Hey, makes sense. Isn't moving fun :) I do envy you having access to all that vintage gear.

I'll give a holler re the 5751 in my EAR. Right now I am concentrating on the new LCR pre. The wood working takes comparitively forever. I finished the circuit boards in one day. A Wavac LCR phono pre went up for sale here at Audiogon a few days back - $12K, used!

Hey everybody!

Per Jean, I tried the 5751 in my EAR phono pre over the weekend. Surprisingly, it was a discernable upgrade. I say surprising because AFAIK, the 5751 is just a low noise 12AX7 but it gave the following benefits: stronger lower treble and clearer upper mids. This had the effect of increasing detail w/o adding any treble bite and increasing the PRAT. Maybe - just maybe, lost a little bass, I cant tell yet. In any case, that would probably be a plus in my system.