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About Southerly

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  1. They were great decks and the biotracer arm was great engineering - then I saw the photo supplied by woadl. I wouldn't want to try taking that apart, far too complicated, especially compared to my Kenwood KD decks. I can see the appeal of fully automatic decks but the price you pay for that is lots of complicated PCBs, ics, wiring etc. etc. Right now there is available on Ebay a Kenwood KP 990 checked out by a professional technician, fully working and free expedited international shipping @ US$ 585. These KD decks have what I think are 2 indispensible functions - arm lift and motor stop at end-of-side., these functions don't require complicated electronics. The plinth can be removed revealing the huge cast aluminium spider and the excellent damped and adjustable feet. This is the Japanese version so a step-up Tx is needed. In Europe these decks fully functional are around £800-£1000. Seriously worth the OP thinking about.
  2. My comment was specific to t/ts. The Kenwood draws only 25W - a power amp chip and an organ oscillator are not comparable are they?
  3. The question of i/cs in a d/d deck are a red herring. They should last indefinitely. There are some Japanese d/ds that use a magnetic tape, if that goes you've had it. If buying a vintage d/d always replace the electrolytics and check out the lubricant for the bearing assembly. Technics have pots that need to be lubricated. Replacing all the electrolytic caps in a Kenwood KD series deck is around £4 per deck. A good d/d will play at accurate speeds and some have variable speed control.
  4. Kenwood obviously used different designations in different markets, in the northern hemisphere it was KD. Goatboy - very accurate description by Bill Hicks, definitely deserves a like that.
  5. I have 2 of these KD decks (why are people using kp?). Never had a problem with the arm lift mech. and my first KD was very badly packed for shipping from Germany and arrived with one corner of the plinth smashed, I negotiated a price drop down to £120 - it still played perfectly. It's worth checking out posts on Vinyl Engine, particularly those by Hugo. The bearing assembly is something else - a rod of special steel alloy which is rifled and sits on a huge nut which is highly polished as is the rod. The tolerance between the rod and the steel tube in which it is situated is so tight that, any tighter and it would seize up, this is demonstrated by how hard it is to remove the rod to clean off the old Slick 50 oil and apply a new coating - don't use grease. Do not 'adjust' this nut , it is factory set. The life of the bearing assembly can truly be said to be 'indeterminate' what a difference to the totally inferior archaic likes of Garrard et al. The silent operation of a lot of Japanese superdecks like the KDs is down to the bearing assemblies and the type of motors used. Kenwood employed top flight engineers - the PCB is really easy to remove, very little desoldering is nec. to achieve this. the TX is connected by 3 wires which are fixed to steel rods on the PCB mechanically (very old school this), on reassembly it is impossible to use this method and the wires must be soldered. I am about to replace all the electrolytic caps on both decks. I'm using Panasonic FC caps, cost about £4 per deck. The arm is so well designed and set-up is a doddle. I would not describe the arm as high mass but medium. By changing the aluminium slab of a headshell it is easy to reduce the arm mass to suit modern cartridges or something like the Pickering 7500S LOMM. Why anyone would want to spend serious money on any of the modern decks is beyond me - your paying for technically inferior eye candy. Non of them has the really useful arm lift at end-of-side or motor turn-off. If I had known that Kenwood were going to scrap the tooling and production facilities for these decks at the end of the 80s, the scrap price would have been negligable and to re-introduce these decks now would mean a huge backlog of orders and very healthy profit margins. Good examples go for around €800 and that includes a superb gimbal arm - a steal at the price.
  6. A friend of mine at Sussex uni grafted all summer as a shuttering chippy and bought one of these the week that Floyds DSOTM came out.Everyone was impressed by it's looks and sound. I had some very good home grown, it was a full moon shining through the window and a group of us 'lifted off'. Both the deck and the vinyl if in NM condition will set you back an awful lot of money now.
  7. Idlers aren't neutral, tend to need lots of expensive mods/changes why not look at Japanese d/d, the superdecks of the 70s/80s. I know plenty who bought into the 'Idler thing' spent lots and then sold on and bought Japanese d/ds. Look at the price of a Kenwood KD series 990. It comes with an excellent gimbal arm, super quiet and neutral. You can remove the plinth and go skeletal and then you have 3 spare arm mounts, nothing like it. It's only a smidgeon behind the fabled Kenwood L-O7D. Replace the electrolytic caps (cost around £5) really easy to do and you have a deck that is good for a long time. The bearing system leaves idlers in the dust. Just think how really useful end of side motor stop and arm lift are, what decks made today have anything like these features - none. Look on German Ebay - cost around €800. Have a look at what Hugo on Vinyl Engine has done with his KD990. The Japanese superdecks of the 70s/80s are streets ahead of the eye candy, eye watering prices of today.
  8. I remember bookmarking this groundbreaking piece of gear some months ago and finally decided to check out user comments. - the only ones worthwhile. Initial reaction was overwhelmingly - I don't want anything digital in the analogue signal path. However actual use brought completely different and positive responses. Some years ago I bought a Talk Electronics MC3 phono stage. It's S/S, loads of settings to cater for virtually any cartridge, the only change of components I can think of - to replace the RIAA smd 1% resistors with Z foil ones. When I looked carefully at just what it can do and not just for vinyl but for any source it became obvious that Shannon Parks the creator could if he was minded make a remarkable ADC simply by omitting the final conversion from digital to analogue and replacing RCA outs to a digital out. I have been looking to make a digital library of my LPs and CDs. Nowhere have I seen anything as simple as tweaking a couple of knobs and without introducing any artifacts. I use a Kenwood KD 990/AT 33EV (maybe an ART 9 or Soundsmith Zephyr in the future) into my MC3 phono stage. Most if not all the reviews on the Puffin don't feature this level of vinyl replay. It would be good to hear from anyone that does. Certainly in the near future the Puffin will trigger responses from others that might well result in even better phono/ADC creations. Worth anyone with vinyl checking out the many useful features.
  9. Tweaky, you must know the Fairfield Halls, Croydon - a horrible concrete box on a par with the Congresgebouw, Den Haag. I remember having a friend that was friendly with Hawkwind and sitting at the back of the stage during a gig there - deaf for 3 days.
  10. Seems unbelievable doesn't it!. Now if you want to see 'good old boys' from the bands still going you will pay ITRO £250 + . Never liked the totally impersonal mega gigs of the 70s', slick/professional but soulless. Lived on the coast in London by-the-sea aka Brighton. Us Coasties used to catch the train up to the Smoke early Friday evening, score some blow and some whizz, always good bands to see at a uni or a dance hall, really cheap to get in. Saw the Stones second gig. Cannot believe I didn't go to Stanmer Park to see the Floyd, probably the first real ambience gig with visuals. The music was raw and real, you were up real close - club music is the real thing, you get to know the musicians as people not bloody idols. I've never met anyone from anywhere that experienced this who didn't feel the same. The 60s' was something totally different from what had gone before, the difference in mentality form those young in the 50s' from those young in the 60s' is huge. Thing is that LPs were not cheap in the 60s' probably why I didn't put together even a cheap sound system until the early 70s'. I know it sounds like a typical old man talking but it was truly a musical revolution in the 60s' and it matured in the 70s' and with a few exceptions it all became samey after that. The exception was Reggie, saw some brilliant bands, one after the other in the autumn of 78. Was working in the Netherlands in 79 and saw Bob Marley at the Ahoy Halles, yes it was a stadium gig but at the end he played solo with just an acoustic guitar - Redemption Song, the only sound was Bob and his guitar, magical and 3 weeks later he was dead. A bit like the 60s' ended with the death of Jimi Hendricks. I know a lot of young people say - why do these old men go on playing - when I listen to the music of the 60s' and 70s' I know exactly - because inside is that the same energy/charge - your only as old as you feel - rock on. Apologies for the rambling but that rosta of bands brought it all back.
  11. Andyr, I did have a good mate in Florida who used to do just that for me but sadly he's no longer topside. Via him is how i got the AT33EV @ $299 at that time it was £1=$1.79. The cheapest price as always, compared to the mainland was £534.. He undid the package and put a s/hand price for the customs. So how do prices compare USA-Oz or NZ. I often see good prices on s/hand things in OZ but shipping + import duties don't make it worthwhile - so it goes.
  12. I use an AT33EV which is an excellent performer right across the sound spectrum and that on an arm that has an effective mass that is almost certainly too high - the gimbal arm on a Kenwood KD990. I've bought a lightweight (but rigid) h/shell which will lower the effective mass. Then I started reading up on the big brother - ART 9 which gets very,very good reviews. The one negative is that more than a few buyers have bought bad ones, so there is a real quality control problem there. Then I read about a shoot out on Audiogon between the ART 9 and the Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC Star. The detailed description of both and confirmed by those who had both models left me desiring the Zephyr. Not least as the OP said the Soundsmiths can be 'renewed' for about 20% of the new price, they are unique in this regard. What really hacks me off living in the EU (France) is the huge unjustifiable difference in pricing in contrast with the USA and that includes products made outside the USA. This price differential is a lot more than the 20% tax levied in import duties on products from outside the EU. There were deals on before Christmas where I could buy a Zephyr for US$ 900-1000. The cheapest price in the EU was in the UK £1300, on the mainland it was €1900. Every seller in the USA has a deal with Soundsmith that precludes them from selling outside the USA - how does pricing compare in Oz or NZ. Same goes for a Sound Devices USB Pre2, way more expensive in the UK and even more expensive on the mainland. It seems to be a given in Europe - how much can we screw you for.
  13. Not very effective, it may have some effect on the two front valves but the rest. To be effective it has to be underneath the valves but this isn't possible with a PCB underneath the valves. As is clearly visible - everything crammed into the smallest possible space - why?
  14. Ittaku, must be a new development, I have never seen such a beast. Most valve amps are built into stupidly small cases. The idea of designing amp cases to create a natural convection current aka hot air rises pulling cooler air after it. I have 2 Bada amps, one h/amp and the other power amp. They use Toshiba mosfets. Two of the mosfets have a slot cut into the top plate right above them. By removing the bottom plate whcich had a strupid little fan, completely inaffective and using a 120mm fan at low RPM under the amp this effectively cooled the mosfet. I also did what the Bada engineers could have done - raised the potted mains Tx about 30mm and cut identical slots in the top plate above the 2 other mosfets. This not only brought the operating temperature of the mosfets down but also the nearby power resistors. Lots of protests from the theoretical crowd about how mosfets performed better when hot. When I asked for proof aka that they had done tests - hot against cooled to prove their point - silence was the answer - all theory should come from practice. Signal valves, especially if they are run well inside their specs. do not get particularly hot, that is true, which is why they can last a very long time. Power valves are another story. The valve crowd tend to slag off mosfets as o/put devices which is why being distrustful of fanatics I decided to buy a hybrid amp. Listening to the performance of mosfets I don't agree. The Toshibas are rated @ 125W each but were run @ 12.5W . Cooled they ran with a lovely liquid sweetness.
  15. Used computer fans under my hybrid amps over 10 years ago. I had a slate box made with no rear panel and used bitumen sheeting on the inside faces. It helps if the top panel of the amp is slotted to allow a good air flow so that the internal temperature is the same as the room. Why wouldn't you want cooler air to flow over the tubes. Just the same as resistors and caps will last longer so will tubes, dropping the operating temperature is always a good idea. Of course commercial equipment has never adopted this approach - bad for business.
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