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Russell Hi Fi corner

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Been meaning to get round to this for so many years. So much gear sadly come and gone, lots I perhaps should of kept. I'll see if i can dig up some old pictures later and post them but I didn't want that to stop me finally getting this up. I've had a 5 year hiatus from Hi Fi and have just started back. I always had a system set up but just wasn't getting the time to listen.

Anyway getting back into it I looked at what equipment I had left and then picked a direction to go in, so a few things have left recently and a few things will be arriving in the near future.

My Gale 402's went recently, speakers I had kept for years over many others, they made way for a short visit by Tannoy 633 which left for my current magnificent and under rated DLK bookshelf speakers.

The cabinets will be getting a touch up in the near future but the drivers are perfect.

Now my Ming Da which again has seen off many other amps is on the way out to make way for something else so I really wanted to get this up in memory before it leaves.

The Yamaha receiver will fill the gap for a while, and what a great job it is doing. 

The system as is, sounds wonderful, as good as anything I've had before and most I've heard regardless of price.

I'll keep updating and adding more info, this is a start though.

More to come on the Home Theater you can see lurking in the background which is a big part of life.







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It's fantastic that your room is shared with the little one or ones in the house - all you need to do is get Old MacDonald on vinyl. Those DLK have a great aesthetic - how do they sound?

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Yes it works pretty well, I'm glad I found this solution as my wife said we can't have the Hi Fi with the kids, and I really didn't want to get rid of them as I love them so much.


Also it was my wife's idea to set the system up as a kitty corner which I was unsure about but it works really well form a sound point of view.


I have Peter and the wolf I think somewhere but no Old MacDonald, I will have to keep looking.


As for the DLK I picked them up as a bit of an unknown and have been amazed by the quality of the sound. Don't know too much about them I think they come from North America, I'm not even sure what the drivers are. The cabinets are solid timber and they are reasonably heavy. Just need the beading re-stuck to the front and some varnish I think a they will look brand new.


The Sound

Its a solid cabinet so the Bass although limited by size is very tight and tuneful, they don't seem to try to sound bigger than they are. I like to use them with a sub woofer to add that bottom end impact and dynamics. They create a really good sound stage, wide and deep positioning and separating singer and instruments nicely. There is a nice organic sound to the drum skins and a decent weight to piano keys. In my system the sound is at the mellower rather than sharper end of the spectrum. I always look to get some reverb from the guitar and for the speaker to not only sound good behind the box but to also wash some sound over me where i sit and these definitely do that to some degree, although often that is can be more to do with the room, speaker position and set up than the actual speaker. They sound well balanced and musical with whatever I play. I guess you may say they lack that last degree of depth, insight and detail but then I have heard speakers that cost mega dollars lack that too. Speakers go from basic to Hi Fi at a certain price point and these are in the Hi Fi range. I was hoping to set up a get together in the near future and invite a few other people to bring around some other stand mounts and perhaps we could have a bit of a shoot out.

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Nice to see you have your priorities right Russell, kids first and hifi second. Wouldn't be a good look if the kids were behind the fenced area! :)


Will have to pop pop around for a listen and maybe bring some vintage Spendor BC-1s for comparison.





Edited by Steve M

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Have you still got BC1 there, seriously where do you keep these things hidden.


Yes that will be a good comparison and the sort of thing I was hoping to hear.

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Well Done Russell, nice systems and room there.

I agree with Steve, kids first, hifi second.

The more kids you have, the less likely we swap around gears, but does not mean you cant enjoy what you already have.


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So a few changes as I continue my journey to rebuild my system.


I got an absolute bargain pair of Rogers PS5 floor standing speakers. I remember seeing these for sale in the Good Guys warehouse years ago they were between $1000 and $2000 i think. I was really impressed at the time, there was something about the driver material that seemed open and airy. Coupled with nice bass and a great mid range they really sing beyond there price range. Enjoy the fuller sound of a larger speaker over the book shelf's I have.


The Ming Da has left the building as predicted. The new amps have not arrived yet but I just can't believe how good the Yamaha receiver is doing.


I scored a NOS set of valve for the Supra Tek which I haven't installed yet, looking forward to hearing any difference there may be though as these valve's have been there a while.


Also my cartridge is ready to ship from being rebuild so I will need to get my new arm and turntable ready for it's arrival.


There is more going on than I have listening time to keep up with.




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I had been looking for a picture of my Garrard. This was my turntable for many years, I build the plinth myself based on the Martin Bastin design. The tonearm was a Transroter arm. I used a Zyx Bloom which always sounded a bit bland to my ears so I had it upgraded at Soundsmith which produced performance in line with the best cartridges I had owed and listened to.
Along with the phono stage in the Cortese this combination was equivalent to any set up i had listened to.

I am not sure why for a while people thought it was the bass that set the 401 apart because it was the mid range and the organic nature of the sound that I loved about this combo.

I had to sell it a few years ago and it went to someone on SNA who loves it as much as I did.


Garrard 401.jpg

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Isolate everything...


Paying attention to the small things in a Hi Fi system is a critical part of getting the sound right. I often see people waiting for money to spend on isolation but there are some cost effective ways around the problem that produce excellent results.


I have had all sorts of expensive isolation, some that worked and some that, err! well didn't.


I sold Vibrapods and Vibracones for a while which to me were one of the best ways to isolate the equipment.


However recently Bunnings have brought out a series of vibration pads that are excellent and cheap. I even combine them with my other products I still have.


If you require more isolation you can simply layer.


Here's a brief how to guide...


You could use any platform really but I like Granite or Corinthian bench tops off cuts are readily available and I picked this up from a verge side clearance, I have also picked it up from a suppliers off cut or a piece they broke.


Cutting is with a diamond blade and then you can grind and polish the edges with sand paper.


I picked up the small round blocks from Bunnings also but now actually prefer to cut my own Jarrah from off cuts. I like the color better, It's cheaper and I can make it to the size I like. I will sand and varnish them at some point.


Then it's just a process of combining all the ingredients in a way that works, sandwiching and layering as you wish.


This is cheap and will seriously challenge any more expensive options.


When you pay attention to detail in this way, you can turn a moderately priced system into a giant killer. You get better sound from a well set up cheap system than you will from a poorly set up expensive one so if your at the budget end don't be wooed by the exciting prospect of spending more money.


Word of warning: I haven't found a way of isolating the sound made from the child in the one of the pictures. These platforms won't work on that issue apparently. Worth a try though I thought.



Hope you enjoy this post.






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Time for a turntable revamp, the Rotel with the MM B&O cart was nice but I have a couple of Stantons laying around and I had my Ortofon redone by Sound Smith a while ago and I have a Hadcock somewhere I think it is GH228 or something anyway i'm sure it will all go together with a bit of effort.


So I needed to remove the old arm and all the connected bits, cut a new arm board and attach it. This will still need some work, I either need to add to the platter height which I would prefer. Any suggestions welcome. Or I will need to drop the arm board below. 


Ok got it all back together and hooked up, giving it a spin with some Robert Cray and the first spin of the Force Awakens soundtrack I won at the Hi Fi show.


Its all sounding really good, obviously helped by the stunning Phono stage fitted to my Supratek pre amp.


I like the Stanton it's more solid and easier to work on than the Technics 1200 and easily a sonic match and the 1200 is easily a sonic match for mega dollar decks. 


I have had a few Sound Smith builds and they compete with more expensive carts, I think this build was about $450 all up with shipping so a good result.


All in all a very nice result me thinks. And with a few minor adjustments and some run in time, i'm sure it will improve.



20180107_160417 (1).jpg





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