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Recurring themes in near-end-game system

J. Frum

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End-game? Well, no, of course. I’d still like to buy a Bluetooth receiver, renovate my networked audio, maybe replace my power conditioners with a beefier single one, and add a record-cleaning rig.


As it stands: Altec 604-8G, SVS PC12-Plus x2, Almarro A205A MK2, NuPrime DAC-9, JuicyMusic Tercel II, Technics SL-1210MK5 w/ Supex SD-900/E+ Super, Marantz DV8300, Raspberry Pi 4B w/ Volumio, Furman PL-8C, Stageworld PCLM, Kroehler hutch

Beyond that, I’m only aiming to tweak the system and room I have. I feel like things are in balance, and I’m unlikely to run across better elements without seeking them out and tying up more money than I’m comfortable with.

There are several recurring themes I’d like to explore, because I’m a stereo nerd with a Lit degree.

Kissing Cousins?

To start with, let’s take a look at the Almarro A205A MkII amplifier and Juicy Music Tercel II preamp, which share an eerie number of similarities.


Sure, my preferences shaped both purchases, but it gets a little Unsolved Mysteries.


Both were made around a decade ago, by people (Yoshihiro Muramatsu, Mark Dineen) who started cottage industries making tube-type electronics after retiring from other professions. Both companies are now defunct, but have cult followings. Both products were the least-expensive in their respective lines. Amp and preamp both have a “bowling alley” construction, with tubes and transformers on top, and use solid state rectifiers with chokes in the power supply. Hell, both of them use three 9-pin miniature tubes, with a 12AX7 flanked by two of another type.

We’re through the looking glass here, people…
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I’ve strayed further and further from vintage audio, but I should make some acknowledgement. The Kroehler credenza and vacuum tubes all date from the late 50s and early 60s. The finished wood surfaces of the speaker cabinets were made in ‘66. The motors/frames of the Altec 604-8G drivers and the Supex SD-900/E+ Super cartridge and Supex headshell (at least from the nub of the original cantilever on up) are from the late 70s. The Stageworks power conditioner was originally purchased for a cinema in the early 90s.

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Just Used:

On the other hand, the Almarro A205A Mk. II amp, the JuicyMusic Tercel II phono preamp, the Marantz DV8300 I’m using as a CD transport, the Technics SL-1210MK5 turntable, and SVS PC12-Plus subwoofers are 10-20 years old, each purchased used near the bottom of its depreciation curve. There’s lots of new parts and accessories, but the only component I bought new is the Furman PL-8C power conditioner.

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Pacific Rimmer:

From Japan, we’ve got the Almarro amp, the Marantz player, the Technics turntable, the speaker cabinet shells, and the Supex cartridge. The NuPrime DAC-9 DAC/pre is made in Taiwan. The Altec speakers and Juicy Music phono pre are Californian.


The SL-1210MK5 is kin to the SL-1200MK2, which was launched in ‘79, specifically targeting club DJs. The Altec 604 series was famously used in studios the world over, and NuPrime specifically markets the DAC-9 as studio-grade. The Furman power conditioner was made for pro use, and the Stageworld power conditioner has seen it, having been originally deployed in a movie theater. The homemade Belden 1694A interconnects consist of parts aimed at installers.

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