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  • Hi-Fi Entry Point: The Marantz HD-440s

    2014 - 10.25

    Marantz HD440s rightyThe other day at work I was talking with a coworker about stereo equipment and the brand Marantz came up.  I wanted to show him what their amplifiers look like so I did a Google image search for the word Marantz and what do you know, a photo that I took came up in the first couple pages of results!  That’s pretty neat, I thought.  Maybe I ought to post more photos of cool audio equipment that’s made its way into my house.  And thusly begins the first in a series of posts…

    First up is another piece of Marantz gear, the HD-440 speakers.  These actually belong to the drummer I jam with.  He scored them locally for $50 with worn out foam on the woofers.  We spent a couple hours drinking beer and re-foaming them and viola, pretty damn good speakers on the cheap.  They look pretty svelte too, as you can see in the pics.  Those aluminum trim pieces really make them look great with the grilles off.

    While we had the woofers removed for refoaming we took a peek inside.  There’s a lot of foam batting and the crossover consists of two large capacitors, that’s it.  Clearly the Marantz engineers were thinking ‘let’s use good components but use as few parts as possible’.  Since there are only caps that means neither the woofer nor the midrange have a high-cut filter.  They must have purposely selected drivers that had roll-offs close to the capacitor high-pass frequencies.  Either that or they depended on a summed response where the two drivers would combine to form a mostly flat curve.

    This was also my first time trying to re-foam an old woofer.  It wasn’t very hard although it was time consuming.  We also used scotch tape to try pulling out the dustcaps which had been pressed inward.  It worked decent on the woofer but the high range woofer had a dustcap made of fiberous material that started to lose some strands even from the light tug of scotch tape so we quickly gave up on that idea.  I would do a refoam operation again if I found some speakers which I knew were oldies-but-goodies and just needed a new surround to make their triumphant return to greatness.  As with the HD-440s…

    Marantz HD-440

    Kuo Horng 12″ light painted with lasers

    2014 - 10.20

    Couple years back I caught myself on of those svelte Taiwanese plastic fans from Kuo Horng I thought looked cool.  This fan debuted in a post which I think has the title for longest post name on the whole blog.  I have a 16″ Galaxy on duty in the bedroom and I’ve found that 16 is really overkill for most situations so I opted for the 12″.  Here is it light painted, because lasers are cool.

    Kuo Horng 12" oscillating desk fan, light painted

     

    Although you can hardly tell it here, the blade is a medium grey, and the piano keys on the pedestal are darkening shades of gray to match.  Probably the coolest part of the design isn’t seen well in the light painted image, but the photo at the bottom shows the graphic around the piano keys:

     

    Kuo Horng 12" oscillating piano keys

    Inspiring Model RR Video: custom MILW SD10s

    2014 - 10.19

    This is not my video, but I’m posting it here for easy referral later since this guy gets everything right: the layout is nicely built, the engines are custom made, the camera work is pretty good and includes plenty of shots of the rolling stock, and the cars are all lovely models too.  For a Milwaukee Road fan, this checks a lot of boxes.

     

    Great things have small beginnings

    2014 - 10.18

    So since I gave the green speakers to my brother, I’ve really been missing the sonic sweetness of their tweeter, the ScanSpeak D2606.  It’s part of their discovery series line, which aims to set some aggressively low price points for ScanSpeak drivers which are typically audiophile-expensive.  Pretty big deal to me then, that I’ve decided to construct a new set of speakers using the same tweet, paired with a 5.25″ Midwoofer also from the ScanSpeak discovery series.  It’ll be a small-sized bookshelf with an f3 of around 80Hz.  Not impressive in terms of bass extension but these will be paired with a powered sub eventually and 90Hz or so is a good range for the low end to be taken over by a fat power amp.  More details on this project as I progress.  This post is the genesis…

    ScanSpeak D2606 & 15W/8434G00

    Deep downtempo

    2014 - 10.14

    So I heard this song “Radio Juju” by Daniel Masson on SOMA.FM Groove Salad a while back and just rediscovered it.  Really feeling the minimal, almost background house vibe and the absolute wash of deep soundscapey elements that fade on top of one another, working in a hypnotic and creamy pad tone, some selectively-matched tribal sounds (I think?) that fit well with a rhodes, dialed all the way back on the tone bars who lays down the most interesting chords on display here.

    The guitar at the end is both anthemic and haunting with the telephone-EQ delay chasing right behind the melody.  And the French dude ends it just how it begins with what sounds like morning rainforest in an reverb-chamber.  That, dear readers, is how you make a real downtempo gem.

    Tis the season

    2014 - 10.12

    … to drink like ze Germans

    Local Texas Octoberfests

    ((Smoothness Intensifies))

    2014 - 08.29

    So I’ve finally picked up a safety razor after years of using a Mach 3.  It’s nothing too special; a Parker 96R butterfly double edge.  For a long time I’ve been curious about trying a safety razor but the sheer amount of products out there was pretty daunting.  Unlike the way I typically buy anything, I basically just didn’t research it much, and just went with whatever looked good in the first two pages of Amazon search results.  I’ve used it 4 times so far and only cut myself once.   Using it in the shower makes a big difference, moreso than with a Mach 3.  I like the weight of it and the knurled handle, it gives a good grip.  No more overpriced blades for this guy!

    image

    Primo Vino Art: Tic Tok

    2014 - 08.28

    IMG_5330 v2 BLOGSIZE tic toc

    Another cool but simple one.

    A King from Cleveland, ’67

    2014 - 08.26

    So maybe a year ago my mom bought an old King brand cornet at a farm auction.  I recently got it serviced at last and resolved some odd tuning issue it had.  And I gotta say, this thing is hot.  Maybe it’s just been a long time since I’ve played on any new instrument especially at length but man, this horn is really a breath of fresh air.  One with an awesome high range too.

    King Cornet.  Tasty.

     

    Hail to the King, Bb

    Primo Vino Art: V.No

    2014 - 08.25

    IMG_5324 BLOGSIZE V-NO

    This label’s pretty simple compared to a lot of the others in this series, but I figured I’d include it anyway because of the lighthouse and also it’s called V.No; a ready-made answer to that age old question, whatcha drinkin?