My favourites

 

...are those with which I prefer to listen to the music after 30 years of experience in live listening (and many tested components).
These systems are not for people seeking the "black inter instruments" or for people seeking the "punch" of a Klipschorn or the 20Hz range, but they are systems that offer, if properly installed, a sound that mainly respects the live music and that surely will meet the tastes of people who appreciate the Dahlquist DQ10 speakers or the Rogers LS3/5a 15ohm (liking them mostly than almost any other modern speaker regardless of price). In essence, they are systems that have precisely those qualities (transparency, timber, harmony and consistency) that have made them such famous speakers (if the electronic chain allows it of course) that makes us forget that ugly audiophile propensity for cutting the sound in "parameters".

These systems take into consideration objects produced in the 70s / 80s of German production which for some represent an insurmountable heresy. Apparatuses that were too snubbed at the time in place of the much more praised and appreciated English, American and Japanese production (perhaps due to unsound rancor due to the Second World War).
In the course of years of experimentation I have had the opportunity to find particular qualities especially in the context of a specific German brand: Grundig (see the paragraph concerning amplification in uncomfortable truth). Looking at reality without prejudice can sometimes lead to choices that are anything but planned, I would even say rather unseemly (to be admitted) but which should not be denied for this if one is honest with oneself.

 

 

 

HEAD

SHURE M85G + N91G (for PS1020 installation)

SHURE DM95G + N75GT2 (for Grundig/Dual 491, 1239 and others)

 

 

In an era where the mainstream acclaims only moving coil, it is absolutely anachronistic (in fact some people thinks I'm crazy) to appoint the above cartridges ... even if they were the top of the line of Shure! But I've tried a lot of moving coils, see my list of the "tested components" (and the list is outdated ...). Also I tried the top of the line of Shure of that age but I have not found the thickness and the harmonics and the trasparent middle range that I find in these models as well as the flat linearity (it annoys me that little boost in the high range of some top moving coil ...). There are significant differences between the styles for these Shure cartridges and I suggest, in order to get the benefits promised, to use only the styles conical (G)and not the elliptical (ED) or the cheaper conical model (B, that tracks worse). On the compact systems with Dual turntable, the DM95G is excellent (not to be confused with the M95G, it is a different matter) always to be used with stylus N75GT2 original. The tracking force range for N91G and for N75Gt2 was 0,75-1,5gr, but the tracking force to achieve the highest level of harmonic freedom is 0.8 gr.
This is a tracking force elusive for the majority of current moving coils that, with higher mobile masses, are forced sometimes to track with more than 2g what the GT2 can track at 1 gr.
You only need to pay close attention to a variable (again a not known one...) that can lead to considerable changes in sound: the manufacturing tolerances of styles can cause a difference of "compulsion" in the inclusion of the style in the cartridge. The best results (by far) are obtained when the stylus enters the guide easily without being forced. In case it is too much "forced", you should leave it slightly pulled out from the guide stopping the insertion just starting to feel it is "tight". Just try it :)
 

 

TURNTABLE

GRUNDIG PS1020 or PS1020a

 

 

Not only if you still have the conviction that your big EMT is the best, but also for those who have already begun to appreciate Garrard 301 - 401 or Thorens 124 and 125 turntables. I recommend everyone to listen to a PS1020 (complete) within an effectively transparent chain in order to realize where the musicality of a turntable can go. On these turntables are important left inserted the adapter for 45 rpm in the special compartment, the presence of the original mat, the superimposed metal circle, the original shell and head and the removal (as in all the turntables) of the cover while listening. The best results on the PS1020s are obtained with the supplied Shure head M85G provided it has an original American N91G stylus. It is preferable to focus on the first two versions "PS1020" or "PS1020a". If you already have a PS1020b at home you can apply a small adaptation to make it similar to the first two (here) as well as equip it with an internal fuse (present only on the first two models).
ATTENTION to details, these products are not at all!
After having owned several turntable the fact of finding myself with a plastic turntable that, if don't care to choose the base on which it is supported (well rigid and stable on 4 points with respect to the floor), suffers also from acoustic feedback (*) it is certainly not the top but so far it is the best that my ears have listened to and I will be so grateful to the person who will make me feel better in direct comparison (and this applies to all the objects listed here).
While in the case of "separate" turntables the best performance is obtained with a rigid frame and suspensions on the support feet, in case of integration of the turntable with the electronics (the "compact" classics for instance) the best solution as suspension is the counterframe floating so take good care to NOT modify / alter the old Duals present on the Grundig compacts: they are the top possible in that context. The Dual turntables are decidedly worse than a PS1020 if taken instead stand alone. There are particular frame rules to be respected and depending on the context in which it operates, one or the other of the two solutions wins. The best Duals (again with reference to the "compacts") are those equipped with a mat that lifts the disc through radial strips. This fundamental aspect (together with the metal ring) unites the PS1020 (and PS1010) with the custom Grundig Duals of the best compacts.

* It is intended for acoustic feedback (or acoustic feedback) interaction that occurs between the input and output in an audio system. The acoustic wave emitted from the speakers coming to hit the turntable causes a return to sound through the cartridge and this is highlighted with a loud noise (feedback) typical low frequency which grows in intensity with increasing volume. This phenomenon is less present in turntable with floating subframe being equipped with these (average) of a resonant frequency of the suspension system / lower frame which determines a greater isolation from vibrations coming from the step but ... Contrary to the beliefs of many, this has no correlation with the sound of the turntable, however, depends on many other things .

 

 

CD PLAYER

PHILIPS CD960 + LT modification

 

 

Airiness and concreteness. A lot worse the standard version: flat and metallic. Similar benefits can also be obtained with other actual CD players, see LT mod, though I still prefer to modify this cd player for his linearity of frequency response and because of its good costruction that offer a good basis for the CCI modification.
A similar and equally good performance is offered also by three Grundig CD players developed with CCI criteria: the cd7500, cd7550 and CD35 (unfortunately all of them without remote control).
The CCI improvement of a CD player allows you to understand that the limits that are often attributed to digital are in fact attributable to other factors....: compared to analog, the equivalence is remarkable.

 

 

PREAMPLIFIER

GRUNDIG XV7500

GRUNDIG X6500tp

 


The only pre Grundig which benefited from the whole experience on the CCI treatment. Personally, I've designed and built (thanks to the knowledge acquired in the CCI) also a preamp to match the LT power amps but (against my own interest). I don't propose it because it's sonically equivalent to the XV7500 (taking care to exclude the tones and the loudness) but it shows a double disadvantage: 1) it is more expensive. 2) it does not features any tone controls that can correct some old recordings (prior to the advent of hifi). On this preamplifier the only problem is the possibility that the time and the tamperings make rare the opportunity to find one fully intact. Referring to this problem, for those who have doubts on the exemplar in their possession I am available to execute a complete check up.
A great alternative for the lazy is the Preceiver X6500tp with remote control ... rare to find and even more rare to find without faults. Integrated with a cassette deck also existed the XC65 by the prohibitive dimensions in width but not remotely controllable.

 

 

AMPLIFIER AND LOUDSPEAKERS

GRUNDIG & LINEAR TRANSFER

 

The LT power amps used in my two systems are an LT MA-X and an LT MA100, both with the same chassis approach (see LT story). As for the choice of speakers, I am more inclined (it will be the age) to prefer those that do not involve image distortion due to the type of speaker arrangement on the panel. For this reason I tend to prefer solutions capable of simulating a one-way point-source. The MTM solution (midwoofer-tweeter-midwoofer) is among these the most performing, although it involves various problems to be solved to obtain a significant timbre result. In my two systems I therefore use, almost exclusively, the Grundig SL1000 for the environment with four useful reinforcements in the low range (see loudspeakers installation) and the LT DSL for the environment with three useful reinforcements.

I am not able to fully express in words the amount of work behind projects such as DSL speakers or LT amplification, there are no years of work, there is my life.

 

 

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