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About Lightstream

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    Palmwoods, QLD
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  1. Thank you, much appreciated! I'd love to drop in on a fellow hifi/music buff and have a listen and a chat. Shared passion for a great 'hobby'.
  2. Thanks for the generous offer, Batty, I lived in SA for 7 years after leaving NZ in 91, I knew I was home before I even stepped off the plane, have loved the place like 'Country' since that time. Always look forward to going back there.
  3. I reckon real efficiency is underrated, there are so many really good low wattage amps out there and fortunately there is a bit of a resurgence of efficient speakers, to have music play with utterly no stress at good volume with only a few well designed watts can be a revelation to the ears. I admit to not having heard a good low wattage Pass Labs amp ... although I have made a Zen pre-amp that needs more work.
  4. 😀 Actually, the horn speakers are so efficient, yet do so with such ease and communication without strain that the room is filled with music without edge or the pushy mids that are typical of so many horns. I am still stunned every time at how the drivers load the very air in a way that is totally unlike drivers that direct sound at you. The SP300's are keepers even if I had to move into a caravan! The Elekit pre-amp barely gets over 7-8 o'clock on the dial, 9 with the turntable input. Many folks don't understand that most amplifiers are only working on a few watts with reasonably efficient speakers. I recently restored a Japanese 2W Peak amplifier from the mid 60's that easily drove the SP300s and Onkyo Radians at around 90-92dB true efficiency and did it with grace and superb transparency. Thunder with the SP300's is easy Though never sloppy! Those 12" bass drivers have 8 big Alnico magnets each and terrific electrical dampening, they actually take a good half and hour to really loosen up and become truly lucid, but when they do, oooh the organic, taut fluidity, very natural. Fast too. The cabinets also play little part in the proceedings, they weigh 36kg each. Even the mid horns have eight Alnico magnets each and the waist of each one is U-bolted to a solid cross brace. I'll just bet your system sounds wonderful!
  5. I would love to build my own TU-8200 some time this year. I am listening to the TU-8500 right at this minute, running into my homebuilt version of the old DIGI 125 amp and extremely efficient 1968 Sansui SP300 speakers (around 104dB, quoted), sounds magnificent! If your TU-8200 runs anything like as efficiently, quiet and reliably as the pre-amp, then you have years of joy ahead of you. I do run Psvane's top of the line 12AU7-T valves and they too have run magnificently for years, though I am considering a new set some time soon, considering they also saw fine service for a few years in a TRI TRV-88SE integrated amp. My absolute favourite valves in this pre-amp, utterly transparent from top to bottom, neutral and silent. I can recommend the various resistor and cap upgrades if you so desire at a later stage. It's terrific that you are getting so much joy from your amp, do you use head[phones with it too? One reviewer was ecstatic running h/phones from that amp.
  6. Hi everyone, I've picked up a pair of Tannoy Venus II speakers recently with both bass/mid drivers replaced at some stage earlier in their life. One of the 8" drivers is completely free and sounds great, the other buzzes, yet the driver coil does not touch the insides of the magnet, while seeming stiff and restricted, almost as if it can't move freely enough backwards into the magnet. When pulled from the cabinet and laid on it's face, there is plenty of free movement. The other driver is perfect. However, the replacement bass mid cones, while being genuine Tannoy 8 ohm units look quite different from the originals, having much larger dust caps and the corners of the basket do not reach into the cutout of the originals. They also state on the sticker that they are 40W drivers, yet the power handling of the overall speakers are rated at 10-100W. Regardless, they still sound amazingly good ... except for the buzz from one driver. Question now is, do I get the buzzing driver looked at, or find a genuine pair of Venus or Jupiter bass/mid drivers (200mm or 8")? I really do like these speakers, replaying Eva Cassidy's remarkable voice with clarity, focus and without a bright edge, yet projected into space beautifully. Cabinets are very nicely built too, solid and lovely walnut veneer, so I want to keep them, they are the perfect size for my set-up. Does anyone have a set of these original drivers on a shelf, or have some extra information that could help me out here, please? Many thanks! PS My pic is on the top (single speaker), bottom image is from the Net of original units. Quite a difference really. I'd love a set of original drivers if possible.
  7. *** AN UPDATE to the performance of the phono stage is written by me several postings below here: ie, further on in this particular post, not in a separate one. Hi all, I just wanted to share my latest project, something I've been saving for and wanting to build for some 18 months. It's an Elekit TU 8500 valve preamp, direct from Japan, complete with all assembly instructions in Japanese! Fortunately, the instruction sheets are so beautifully put together from beginning to end, as well as the fact that I've been building kits on and off for decades, that I had no issues with the build as such. It did mean I had to double check some items for orientation, but that was no big challenge at all, really just precautionary. It's certainly not a kit I would recommend to beginners, but if you have good soldering skills and can at least follow picture directions, then you should have little problem with this one. The sheer quality of the boards and casework is truly admirable, as everything aligned to perfection and once I fired it up and checked the 140V and 12V+- test points all was well. This preamp is SILENT(!), thanks to a classy R-Core transformer often found in much more high end gear and a comprehensive DC power supply. Even the phono stage needs full volume through headphones to hear even the slightest of noise at a very very low level, the line stage is for all intents and purposes completely silent. ** This TU 8500 preamp is far quieter than a $3700NZ TRI KT88SE Integrated amplifier that I owned and loved for five years! Board layout is exemplary and I had a great time being a bit OCD in aligning all my components in straight lines and resistor values facing the same direction .. unless they were mirrored I even went to the extent of filing down the board joins, as they all come connected together and require breaking off, sort of like breaking tiles, not as nerve-wracking as you might think, as they snap off easily. The solder flowed effortlessly with every joint and I double checked each one to make sure it was shiny and perfect. Some weeks before receiving the kit in the mail, I had bought up both the upgrade op-amps for the phono stage and from Parts Connexion, the upgrade Amtrans resistor kit and two Mundorf Evo capacitors, supposedly for the phono stage coupling to the line stage .... until after ordering them, found out that I also needed two more for the line stage itself, DOH! I umm'd and ahh'd a bit, before remembering that I had some high grade polypropylene caps (630V) that I had bought for a Trevor Lees preamp some years back, so I used two of these in the phono stage and the Mundorf Evo's in the line stage. You can see them easily in the pictures below. I also replaced the stock 0.1uF caps in the phono stage with two Black Gate 0.1uF NP caps, something I've done with other amps to very good effect, these tiny capacitors are super clean and transparent and are brilliant as power supply bypass caps in the right circuits, as Martin Collums discovered to his great delight when reviewing a series of these brilliant high quality capacitors several years ago. The kit also comes with quite a number of quality low ESR capacitors for use outside of the power supply. Great stuff. The TU 8500 lit up from first switch-on and has functioned perfectly ever since, a week later. I've already put some 30-40 hours on it and the bass has most certainly filled out in the last 10 hours or so, taut, dynamic and organically alive. I'm also very impressed with the phono stage, very clean, quiet and detailed, with excellent dynamics as well, although the Black Gate caps will take quite some further time to run in, as usual, as well as the big polypropylene caps. The upgrade op-amps also seem excellent, OPA2227P x 2. Initially, I used the stock supplied Chinese 12AU7s and had an absolute ball listening through headphones to hours of an iTunes downloads folder! So much fun and even though the preamp was brand new and there was some extra warmth from the stock 12AU7s, I could imagine that many folks would be happy just to leave them in there and listen to music, particularly with Mp3's and AAC tracks. Still, I was keen to hear how my top grade Psvane 12AU7-T's sounded in here, so the next day in they went. Yes, well, this is why we pay extra for top class bottles! Transparency and speed, extension top and bottom, openness and 3D space. Highly recommended! The Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars Live soundtrack album has never sounded this good! I did pop in a couple of Mullard valves that I thought were of the right species (the preamp can accomodate both 12AU7 types and the lower MU 12AT7s), but it turns out I had mislabelled the ECC88s as 12AT7s ... they are not! No wonder they glowed very brightly (see pics below)! They were a bit soft and warm anyway and once I'd realised my mistake, I replaced them with the Psvanes and all was well, no harm done. 12V into a 6V heater may not have gone so well. Last task is to find a cable tie that will stick to the base for the main's cables from the transformer. I bought my TU 8500 from an eBay site, it shipped on Dec 22nd, suggesting it could be late Jan/early Feb before it arrived and instead it sped here in four days (after clearing their store) and took another five or six days to get to my PO, including redirection (we'd moved house). No issues over freight speed! The Parts Connexion also posted free of charge for the resistor kit and caps, well done them, about 10 days arrival time. If you'd prefer to buy in Australia, there is a Gumtree site that will post from WA for $65, bringing the price to around $740AU, minus the upgraded parts which they don't keep in stock; Hammersley, Sterling Area. That would take you up to around the $800/820 mark including the upgrades. The eBay site I bought from was here and included a voucher code for some $40AU off the list price: japanmegamall (4167) All in all, a very highly recommended 'kit' that performs way above it's station and price range. I am extremely happy with my TU 8500 and would now really love to build the TU 8200 headphone/speaker amp this year, with it's upgraded parts. Sorry about the bluish/green light in some of the pics.
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