Forced march into an upgrade path (rambling)

HepcatWilly

Junior Member
I just got done with a self-congratulatory post about how I wasn't planning to do anything audio this year. I just paid my kid's college bill (I could buy a new subcompact for this semester's bill) and I splurged on some new fuses for the AR-LST/2s.

Well, they did liven things up a bit. Sort of like taking grandma clubbing, something seemed to pop loose and the woofer cut out. Entirely electrical, I swapped things around and woofer is fine. Move those speakers out for repair.

I also got new foam for the AR-9lsi and hauled those down 3 flights of stairs to get ready to repair. Those wouldn't be ready for a while, so I decided to try the Allison Ones. Boy, did they sound like crap. Turns out that the mid and tweeter wires were loose. Wait, no, the tweeter wire crumbled to dust. I can't solder hair, can you? OK, @Redboy probably can, but I can't. Those get off to the repair area, which now looks like a pod of manatees crowded around a head of cabbage.

I'm down to the Allison Twos. I do love these, but I hate the incredibly fragile, badly chipped speaker grilles. One is great, the other is ugly, with a couple of large gashes missing and covered with black electrical tape. I get anxiety any time a kid gets too close to them, I'm sure they will shatter with one little trip or kick.

Then I spot a pair of Sony SS-M7 on Craigslist, turns out to be sold by AK member Bostown, who is a straight up great guy. These have been on my radar for a good 10 years, so I grab them. Audio euphoria begins as several recent posts on this board will testify. Huge step up for me, and I thought I was doing pretty good.

Interestingly, in recent discussions, several people mentioned how some new speakers are worlds better than most vintage. I was truly perplexed. I know horns. I know folded horns. I hear friends' systems with modern speakers and they are unnaturally revealing and fatiguing to me. How can this be better? Now, I'm beginning to understand.

Well, I decide that want to hear some records. Jazz at the Philharmonic, good pressings, very clean. Click click, bounce pop. My old turntable is bouncing and skipping with a side of ground hum for garnish. Out, OUT! I'm sick of this crap. Let's strip down to basics.

Peachtree Audio Nova 125 integrated amp. Mac Mini with Audirvana. Live concert FLAC library and Tidal streaming. Look how many interconnects and cords I can get rid of! Wow, that's clean.

Now I can get rid of the Ikea glass table with wheels that everything sat on. I hated that thing from the time I bought it. Too big, too clear, doesn't blend with the living room at all. Cheap and rattling. Out you go, to the basement.

Everything now is prototype. Speaker stands are bits of IsoCoustics speaker stands, with a touch of tilt provided by bamboo coasters. My new audio platform is an old wooden component shelf (I knew it could come in handy someday!) supported by my specially-designed Isocelain™ feet (three upside down Ikea porcelain coffee cups positioned in an isosceles triangle). It's compact, not particularly elegant yet, but it's a start!

I've listened to more music over the last 3 days than I have in I don't know how long. I'm so happy. Thank you for reading my rant.
 
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MikeO

Active Member
I have been on a similar path. Out went my vintage receiver in a favour of a 90s British integrated amp. Out went my vintage speakers for a circa 2000 pair of British bookshelf speakers. Out went my turntable, dac and cassette deck for a Sonos connect. Even sold my records so no turning back for me. Streaming Spotify right now. Will likely go back to Tidal when they enable integration with Amazon Alexa in Canada since i have several echoes in the house. But so far no regrets at all. Still love the vintage gear as nostalgia objects but dont need to own them.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Interestingly, in recent discussions, several people mentioned how some new speakers are worlds better than most vintage. I was truly perplexed. I know horns. I know folded horns. I hear friends' systems with modern speakers and they are unnaturally revealing and fatiguing to me. How can this be better? Now, I'm beginning to understand.
If it helps, I admit that maybe I should have been saying that more modern speakers -can- be better. It's all in what particular modern speakers we're talking about, and what you do with them. I know I was FOR YEARS a vocal cheerleader for the Sony SS-m7. I absolutely adore those speakers to this day, they changed my audio world. A lightbulb went off, or, rather, ON, and I saw a whole world that i didn't even know existed. A realm of imaging, tonality and coherency that I had just not heard before. There was a time when I had about $15k worth of electronics ahead of them, and they kept up. They weren't the bottleneck (my room was, and maybe the phono pre I had at the time). They just got better and better. Do I like my Harbeths more? Yes, but they aren't on different playing fields. And when I first got the Harbeths, my buddy said he liked the Sony speakers better. The Harbeths settled down and came into their own but I could have happily lived with those Sony SS-m7s. And they aren't at all picky speakers. They only ask to be placed a certain distance from floor and walls so as to not get boomy/muddy. Get them up and out and they're just fantastic speakers. And never strident.
 

HepcatWilly

Junior Member
Well, it seems my wife noticed and did not approve of my upgraded audio platform. I informed her that I used trademarked technology and everything, but she's not buying it. I think it's probably too much like college dorm decor for her.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I just got done with a self-congratulatory post about how I wasn't planning to do anything audio this year. I just paid my kid's college bill (I could buy a new subcompact for this semester's bill) and I splurged on some new fuses for the AR-LST/2s.

Well, they did liven things up a bit. Sort of like taking grandma clubbing, something seemed to pop loose and the woofer cut out. Entirely electrical, I swapped things around and woofer is fine. Move those speakers out for repair.

I also got new foam for the AR-9lsi and hauled those down 3 flights of stairs to get ready to repair. Those wouldn't be ready for a while, so I decided to try the Allison Ones. Boy, did they sound like crap. Turns out that the mid and tweeter wires were loose. Wait, no, the tweeter wire crumbled to dust. I can't solder hair, can you? OK, @Redboy probably can, but I can't. Those get off to the repair area, which now looks like a pod of manatees crowded around a head of cabbage.

I'm down to the Allison Twos. I do love these, but I hate the incredibly fragile, badly chipped dust covers. One is great, the other is ugly, with a couple of large gashes missing and covered with black electrical tape. I get anxiety any time a kid gets too close to them, I'm sure they will crumble to dust with one little trip or kick.

Then I spot a pair of Sony SS-M7 on Craigslist, turns out to be sold by AK member Bostown, who is a straight up great guy. These have been on my radar for a good 10 years, so I grab them. Audio euphoria begins as several recent posts on this board will testify. Huge step up for me, and I thought I was doing pretty good.

Interestingly, in recent discussions, several people mentioned how some new speakers are worlds better than most vintage. I was truly perplexed. I know horns. I know folded horns. I hear friends' systems with modern speakers and they are unnaturally revealing and fatiguing to me. How can this be better? Now, I'm beginning to understand.

Well, I decide that want to hear some records. Jazz at the Philharmonic, good pressings, very clean. Click click, bounce pop. My old turntable is bouncing and skipping with a side of ground hum for garnish. Out, OUT! I'm sick of this crap. Let's strip down to basics.

Peachtree Audio Nova 125 integrated amp. Mac Mini with Audirvana. Live concert FLAC library and Tidal streaming. Look how many interconnects and cords I can get rid of! Wow, that's clean.

Now I can get rid of the Ikea glass table with wheels that everything sat on. I hated that thing from the time I bought it. Too big, too clear, doesn't blend with the living room at all. Cheap and rattling. Out you go, to the basement.

Everything now is prototype. Speaker stands are bits of IsoCoustics speaker stands, with a touch of tilt provided by bamboo coasters. My new audio platform is an old wooden component shelf (I knew it could come in handy someday!) supported by my specially-designed Isocelain™ feet (three upside down Ikea porcelain coffee cups positioned in an isosceles triangle). It's compact, not particularly elegant yet, but it's a start!

I've listened to more music over the last 3 days than I have in I don't know how long. I'm so happy. Thank you for reading my rant.

Yes, new stuff can sound exactly the way you describe. Or not. Choice is yours. Drivers are a ton more exact and honest then they have ever been. It's just up to the designer to decide what they want to do with them.
 

HepcatWilly

Junior Member
For me, it was "I have Allisons and LSTs and 9s. They were top of the line, what could I be missing?" and, coming home with bleeding ears from some sessions, I felt like: "Du, you miss nothing, brah." But was I to know?

The difference between the Allisons and the Sonys was breathtaking. I played the Allisons all Saturday night with friends over and couldn't believe how great they sounded. They still do of course.
 

HepcatWilly

Junior Member
I saw that, but the Twos were broken when purchased. There's about a 2 x 1 inch gash that's hard to overlook.
 
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