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Everything posted by JohnnyB

  1. My first Hamer-USA was a vintage orange Eclipse-12 I bought used at a vintage guitar store in Seattle. It was pretty easy to play and produce convincing jangle. It required patience, but I found it surprisingly easy to restring. I liked it but sold it in late 1999 to get a freshly minted Hamer Anniversary.
  2. I forgot to add: I didn't even see any consignment money from Seattle's now-defunct "Guitarville" for these gorgeous and gorgeous-sounding basses. It turned out that the owner had moved his shop and hired some contractors to modify the interior to add teaching studios. The contractors evidently absconded with the basses and Guitarville's owner moved to Hawaii.
  3. I'm sitting at the computer reading some news, checking email and Facebook, and figured I could use some music to comb the kinks and gnarlies out of my brain waves. Fortunately, I chose this LP wisely: This is Metheny in pure acoustic solo mode with a range of guitar-based string instruments. The album opens with Simon & Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" played on Metheny's bespoke "Pikasso" 42-string guitar: He also plays on a nylon string classical and an acoustic baritone guitar: These tracks are amazing. He has an incredible way of creating instrum
  4. Meridian Audio of England introduced a decoding scheme in 2015 called MQA (Master Quality Authenticated). It introduces mirror-image frequency curves to compensate for the very steep filter slopes during digital recordings (which screws up the phase relations between various voices and instruments, and restores those drastic slopes into gentler, more natural and musical decoding slopes that neutralizes that edgy "digital sound." I've heard a laptop-based presentation of MQA-processed playback, and it was wonderful, with authentic-sounding timbres and the authentic-sounding imaging and soundst
  5. Yesterday I listened to Lou Rawls' first album, Stormy Monday, recorded and released in 1962 backed by the jazz pianist Les McCann and his trio. Lou and Les became acquainted with each other when they were both performing in the jazz club scene in Hollywood in the late '50s. They finally figured out a way to record together by having a late night/early morning session at the Capitol Records Building in Hollywood after their club gigs. For me, this is one of those "treasure albums," where a jazz-oriented singer gets paired with some charismatic jazz instrumentalists be
  6. I don't have direct experience with Counterpoint products, but they made several preamp models over time and the SA-5000 was considered the classic one. It combines a phono preamp with a line-level preamp. I've only recently discovered that if you play low-output moving coil cartridges, a good line stage helps dial in the volume you want without adding noise, which often happens if you're dealing with a low-level signal. The SA-5000 was $3600 when new.
  7. I had a used ASAT Special for awhile. It was Lake Placid blue with MOTO pickguard, stock SC soapbar MFDs, and user-added copper foil lining in the control cavity. I had a Gibson ES-335 Studio at home, but once I got the ASAT home, it was all that I played until I got rid of the ES-335 studio. There were several things I liked about that ASAT; it had a clear, articulate tone and presentation, and for a single-coil pickup it had quite a bit of output, which made it fun plugged into vintage amps. I didn't need no stinkin' booster pedal. The ASAT had the balls to light up a 6V6-powered Silvertone
  8. Since this would be a video selfie, wouldn't portrait orientation be more appropriate? Unless, of course, you want to see the backdrop of his seedy room, which may reveal why he's weeping.
  9. Friday I'd been a bit sluggish and needed to straighten up the kitchen so I put on an album that featured a single I used to listen to on my AM clock radio when I was 12--"Got My Mojo Workin'" by Hammond organ jazz/R&B master Jimmy Smith: This was 1965, when The Beatles' "Help" and "Rubber Soul" topped the charts. I liked The Beatles, but Jimmy's Hammond organ technique really lit me up every time. My mom was our church organist and played a Hammond C3 there. It was electronically identical to Jimmy's B3 but the resemblance ended there. So... talk about a nostalgia trip
  10. I'm 66 now and had a tough 2019 in and out of the hospital plus a stroke that seems to have turned me into a "sentimental old fool." When I dropped digital for vinyl, it amped up the tear factory. I find the analog signal chain and my refining tweaks to have an emotional impact I seldom had in digital. I grew up in a simple Evangelical Christian home. My parents were born in 1909 and 1912 and grew up in rural Illinois. When I was listening to "Down to the River to Pray" on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, it evoked an overwhelming wave of nostalgia. My dad died in 1982. I remember hi
  11. One of the stories I heard was--that for radio play--when listeners turned the tuner dial--the louder songs are what they stopped and listened to, which also translated to more record sales. Compression made it easier to set playback to higher average volume. This never quite made sense to me, because I was under the impression that the radio stations could apply compressions to their broadcasts to make the music louder. I've heard a few anecdotes about the recycled vinyl era. Some claimed that they saw metal shreds and remnants of record labels pressed into recycled record pressings, but
  12. I did find some wide variety of cassette quality, even on copies to the decks with reputations. The store I worked in carried Nakamichi 700 and Nak 1000. Compared to my Tandberg open reel transfers, the Nakamichis sounded "meh." On the other hand, we also had some Advent factory-recorded CrO2 cassettes, and I was trying to copy an Advent orchestral classical recording to my Tandberg open reel deck. To my surprise, the Advent tape had so much dynamic range, my open-reel Tandberg running at 7-1/2 ips couldn't handle the dynamic range of the Advent's real-time transfer onto a CrO2 Compact Cassett
  13. If you're referring to ready-to-play cassette tape versions of album releases, you are right. Those were crap. However, with a good open reel tape machine from Tandberg, Teac, Sony, Revox, etc., or a cassette deck from Advent, Tandberg, Nakamichi (though very expensive) using blank tape from TDK, Maxell, Sony, and a few others, you could achieve a better sound than from an LP. I'm talking about the '70s here, when home audio was getting big, and there was a worldwide petroleum embargo, causing the record companies to use thinner and less pure vinyl to make LPs. RCA came out with a really thin,
  14. It depends on what analog source you want. If it's for personal use, you can get a brand new, pretty high quality cassette deck from Amazon for only $159. Front: Back: It turns out that vintage open 7-1/2" reel restored vintage tape decks are becoming more common, too. Restored Teac 7300 for $600 on eBay:
  15. It also might help expand a fan base with after-gig record sales. In that situation, the relatively slow reproduction time wouldn't be too much of an obstacle.
  16. It may still be "digital," but with a pro-quality DAC, it may sound like pure analog. The DAC circuit in your CD player is usually a $40-$150 DAC. The transfer of a digital recording to an analog master probably uses a thousand-dollar (or more) professional, studio quality DAC, and they sound like it. E.g., the Dire Straits' album, "Brothers in Arms," was one of the earliest and most "pure digital" recordings in pop/rock music. I have the LP of it, and on playback, you'd never suspect it was originally recorded digitally. It has a lush, full, detailed, and most of all, musical sound to it. Fro
  17. Because of two factors: 1) Some potential customers may have a turntable but no CD player. This is especially true when vinyl's popularity started coming back (first as a novelty or nostalgia concept) around 2007. From this standpoint, the attraction could be based on an old medium that's still trendy and can stimulate cash flow and/or commerce. But you don't have to be a golden-eared high end audiophile to prefer vinyl. There is a fairly large nostalgia market for the Crosley reproduction record players and radios. ... etc. In fact, one of my wife's co-workers received one of
  18. Another advantage of pressurewound strings is that--if you're playing a fretless bass and you need something with a more assertive, roundwound style attack than you get from flatwounds--I've found that pressurewound strings split the difference between the attack and tone of flatwounds and roundwounds. And they're easier on the fingerboard than a full roundwound would be. And if you use a flat pick on pressurewounds, you'll get all the attack and leading edge you could want from a fretless.
  19. The amp/speaker synergy is certainly significant, but there are many guitar/amp factors that can influence total tone: Guitar materials and construction (wood quality, laminations (if applicable), hollow/solid body) Pickups and wiring Guitar wiring Pick material, shape, and thickness Player's pick attack Strings: e.g., roundwound, flatwound, ground roundwound, compressed roundwound, nickel coating, stainless steel, etc. That's about 36 possible combinations, not counting the subcategories, amp tubes and condition, wiring, solder joints, pots, resistors,
  20. I used to have a recording of this album, retrospective of the Moody Blues' most signature songs released as a 2-LP album. I was working at a stereo store in 1975 and this was one of our favorite demo albums. I made a recording of all 40 minutes of the album on my Tandberg reel-to-reel and listened to it often. I really felt like it gave me a representative collection of their songwriting, musicianship, and variety of styles and themes. Then 12 years later I sold my reel-to-reel to help finance a move from California to Boston, and I had no way to play my open reel tapes. I went without f
  21. When ELO first came on the scene, to me they sounded like where The Beatles had been heading musically if they hadn't broken up, It looks like several people noticed it before me.
  22. Say, HHB, is that what's in your TopHat combo or speaker cab? I have a Club Deluxe, a combo with a 6V6 power section based on a Fender Deluxe powering a 12" Celestion Greenback. It's a good match with a lot of dynamics and Brit/uSA tonal possibilities.
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