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Amp selection for archiving (Read 12039 times)
78 archivist
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Amp selection for archiving
04/12/12 at 17:54:07
 
Hi,

I'm building an archival system primarily for pre-war 78rpm shellac recordings from the 1920's and 1930's. So far I have a Garrard 301 in a huge oversized CLD plinth with two Ortofon 309s and Expert's truncated styli. I have two McIntosh C8 pre-amps which are necessary for pre-RIAA equalization. I have a pair of vintage Klipsch Heresy II's which I eventually will want to replace with a couple full range drivers but I'm going to start off with them for the time being as I've already been using them for 12 years. My question is which amp would be compatible and ideal for my setup? The Torii, a pair of Zen triode, or Zen triode integrated?

thanks!

78 archivist

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« Last Edit: 04/12/12 at 17:55:50 by 78 archivist »  
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Lon
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #1 - 04/12/12 at 20:12:49
 
Interesting! I think that with the speakers you won't need the power of the Torii. Reading your message I thought of the new Integrated. I love the sound of the single-ended EL34 or 6CA7, and think that could compliment the disc sound well. Then again, with the deep bass and rich midrange that can be had from 78s, the basic Zen amp with it's pure clarity could be just the ticket. So my two cents is to consider those two amps.
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #2 - 04/12/12 at 22:45:17
 
Hi 78, and welcome to the forums!

My first gut instinct is the same as Lon's... only I would likely just narrow it down to the SE34I.3.  It has a touch more warmth, weight, headroom when compared to the SE84C+.  The transparency is very close but you might enjoy it's forgiving nature in this set up.  Otherwise, you could upgrade it with VCAPS and clearly be pushing the envelope of what is possible.

Steve
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78 archivist
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #3 - 04/13/12 at 00:05:18
 
Hi Steve,

Appreciate the quick reply. I tried emailing you through the site but an error code came up every time saying I had the four digit number wrong so I emailed Sarah.

The SE34I.3 it is! And I will go for the VCAP upgrade.

I'm a very serious record collector and it's only in the past year I discovered the magic of shellac. Even on my current HH Scott 299a and janky Thorens TD124 I've literally been blown away by the fidelity compared to vinyl, ironically I was expecting the exact opposite since I've never read such difference on any audiophile forum and people complain about the noise. I'm afraid if I'm this spooked by the holography now what it's gonna be like once my new system's in place! Honestly vinyl sounds dry and thin in comparison.  [smiley=mir27.gif]

I used to spend many days inside a vintage studio transferring old masters off 30 ips 2" tape through McIntosh amps so my 'benchmark reference' is nearly unbeatable. Of course not too many people interested in 80-90 year old music, but I believe historically poor transfer quality much to blame for that.

regards,
78 Arch
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Lon
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #4 - 04/13/12 at 00:11:30
 
Hey 78, awesome! I know the sound of shellac pretty well. I grew up with a wind-up Victrola that was my Dad's parents' and then became his. I also had a friend who had several 78 portable players that sounded pretty darned good. The sound on those discs can be astonishing. I'm a big fan of early jazz and hot dance, so I'm a big fan of the music too.
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #5 - 04/13/12 at 01:24:14
 
Lon,

The fact that shellac sounds charming on such primitivity of a Victrola is a true testament to its quality. It dawned on me last year that shellac has a groove width four times greater and rpm speed two to three times faster than vinyl. The material itself has a very unique sound signature as well obviously. I have some 78s from the 50's that were pressed on vinyl and they do not sound as good as shellac. I own thousands of extremely rare vinyl LPs and 45s from the 60's and 70's and I have very little interest in them anymore, just as much sonically as the actual music. I'm only 31 years old btw but I much prefer pre-war music now. I'm amazed how many 78s (race records) I've found already that have NEVER been reissued in any format yet either.

78 arch
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Lon
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #6 - 04/13/12 at 03:22:21
 
I know. I've heard shellac on really fine systems too, it's amazing. I have tons of pre=war music on cd, because I do cd, I know it's not the ultimate sound and there's much better in the analog realm, but for a number of reasons I'm a cd person who loves pre- and post-war music, mainly jazz.

I have a few friends who collect 78s, mainly of Texas bands of the country swing variety, much of which has never been on any other format, it's a lot of fun for them. Would be frustrating for me. I know the thrill of the hunt, but the thrill went out for me about fifteen years ago when I as in my forties and struggling to define and rally into my final years of my state career with a wife who was not really supportive at the time with my music habit. Just can't imagine collecting records again, vinyl or shellac, cds are easy and there is so much out there to discover and enjoy!
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« Last Edit: 04/13/12 at 03:24:01 by Lon »  

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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #7 - 04/13/12 at 06:56:53
 
With your high post count here I'm surprised CD's would be your source format. I just read Steve's article "Potential Fidelity of CD's vs LP's" from 2001. I would've thought most using Decware amps would be primarily analog only. I don't say as criticism but mere observation.

I do have one question before I order the SE34I.3. If at some point I decide to combine the signal before the pre-amp instead of sending to two separate pre-amps and only use one channel input on the SE34I.3, is there any problem with doing so? I know this is a simple question but I know very little about electronics. If not a problem would I just turn the volume knob of the unused channel all the way down?

thanks,
78 arch
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Lon
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #8 - 04/13/12 at 11:30:12
 
Well, when I started becoming obsessed with music, much of the music I desired to collect was not available on lp or very hard to find, this was before I got interested in the sound of recordings as well. I made due with tapes and tapes of the lps from others. Then the cd revolution began, and suddenly hundreds of lps I'd been wanting to hear became available at once, and hundreds to follow. My course was clear. I found ways to make cds sound better, Decware was a big help in that department. I discovered cabling, isolation of components, power conditioning. I will clearly admit the sound of vinyl and shellac is amazing, but I've learned to really love the sound of digital done right. And so I have collected over 15,000 cds and some amazing equipment for playback.

As for the "one channel option": yes, you could turn one channel way down. In the earlier incarnations of the Integrated you could keep one on standby or even off. Alternately if desired you could use a very high quality "Y" adaptor to connect both amp channels to one preamp channel.
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« Last Edit: 04/13/12 at 11:31:03 by Lon »  

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78 archivist
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #9 - 04/13/12 at 19:48:32
 
Well, I have to tell you the cleaning and storage process of shellac drives me a little nuts. My filing system involves one cardboard filler pad, a white cardboard hole-less sleeve around the filler pad, with another holed sleeve which holds the actual record plus two polyethylene sleeves around the former for just ONE shellac record deemed too rare for my 'regular' not-rare-enough filing system which involves half the material with two records. I'm half-japanese so my attention to detail is OCD but I am archiving historical artifacts. I own several hundred CD's as well, but mostly ones which were never commercially released, or recently of Document Records to hear how mediocre their pre-war are, no disrespect to them as they're the only label in the world taking on such an immense task over the years.

It looks like I just missed an original version of the SE34I, with separate dual mono, in the classifieds for half the price of the newest version.  :-/ But I do like the look and function of the new meters.  :)

The only reason I'm keeping the two channels separate is so I can pick the lesser degraded of the two groove walls for transferring purposes but ideally for simple playback I'll eventually want to bi-amp an Altec 604 or similar. I forgot to mention most of my raving of shellac is based on true one speaker mono playback. The image depth, combined with the lack of near-infinite phase errors of two speakers which can't be understated, is in my opinion the holy grail of audio reproduction. When the holography doesn't allow you to not listen actively, that is a rare experience. With vinyl it was borderline, but with shellac it really grabs you by the cojones.  :D
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #10 - 04/13/12 at 19:58:20
 
Oh, most of my shellac listening was to one speaker, so I know whereof thou speakest, and yes it's something else.

I just no longer seek "the holy grail" sonicswise. I want a system that makes most of my material sound really good, and with my CD/SACD sources and Decware speakers and amps and the good cabling and power conditioning I have I've achieved that goal. For me it's about the music far more than the sound itself.

Handling and archiving and using a collection of shellac discs requires more patience than I have! Kudos.

Document certainly isn't the ONLY label doing pre-war music, let alone the only one doing "race records" on cd, there are Yazoo and a few others for that genre. I'm much more a fan of jazz and hot dance and there are a number of good labels for that, my favorite being Jazz Oracle. I have every one of their releases, most with restoration and mastering by J. R. T. Davies, whose work I appreciate.

Anyway, I think you'll really enjoy the Integrated. Enjoy the long wait. Smiley
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« Last Edit: 04/13/12 at 19:59:07 by Lon »  

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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #11 - 04/13/12 at 20:19:40
 
The long wait's the only thing keeping me from ordering right now! Three months actually isn't that long for custom audio but I've already waited a long time for all my other components.
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #12 - 04/13/12 at 20:28:37
 
And I did mean non-jazz pre-war. For sound quality I was very impressed with the recent Frog Blues & Jazz Annual CDs which come with the 'magazine'. They've only had two releases so far.
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #13 - 04/13/12 at 20:29:18
 
Lon,

I haven't picked up any of the Jazz Oracle stuff. What titles would you recommend?
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Lon
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Re: Amp selection for archiving
Reply #14 - 04/13/12 at 21:27:00
 
Well, there's a chance a used one will come up. Jump on one if you see one and want one, as they sell within days!

And if you haven't tried them out, the Yazoo cds should have music that interests you and the sound is not bad.
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« Last Edit: 04/13/12 at 21:33:59 by Lon »  

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