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    Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

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    corndog71

    Posts : 453
    Join date : 2013-03-19
    Location : It can get windy here

    Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

    Post by corndog71 on Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:03 am

    I never went to the major audio shows in Denver, Vegas, etc. because I usually just can't afford the travel, hotel, etc.  This past weekend I attended the 2nd year of Axpona (went last year too!)  and had a blast listening to the uber expensive gear.  I picked up some new vinyl as well as a Blue Circle power conditioner.

    The best part was coming home to my mostly home-built system and hearing how it easily competes with dozens of systems costing 10 times the price!  Sure there were things that blew my system away but that's like comparing a top Mercedes to my Nissan.  I'll probably never be able to afford those state of the art speakers and electronics.  But I can get within spitting distance of them for a fraction of the cost.

    I finally picked up a heavy vinyl, double LP of Muddy Waters' Folk Singer and it makes my stereo sound ridiculously good.  Now I get why it has long been an audiophile staple.

    My modded ST120 has made a huge improvement to my music enjoyment!  Now I'm considering building a custom ST70... you know...  for fun.  Wink


    Last edited by corndog71 on Thu May 01, 2014 11:06 am; edited 1 time in total

    sKiZo

    Posts : 1310
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

    Post by sKiZo on Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:40 pm

    I cringe every time I sit back to listen to new setups at the local stereo shop, thinking I'm gonna walk out with a much lighter wallet. Not so much an issue any more with the ST120.

    Truth be told, it's given me the incentive to get into rebuilding a lot of the other gear in the rack, just so I can get the most out of that sweet tooby sound ... just recently dragged a Sansui QRX-9001 that I picked up back in "naught eight" out of storage,and that's on the bench as we speak.



    Here's what it looks like now ...



    260 some odd capacitors, a whole bunch of resistor upgrades, a few choice circuit tweaks, plus repinning a double sided board from hell later, I have high hopes that I'll be able to remember how it all goes back together. It'll be worth it though if it all works out - the 9001 IS the king of quad!!

    PS ... it's much bigger than it looks.  affraid

    Guest
    Guest

    Re: Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

    Post by Guest on Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:03 pm

    I really like the 70's audio designs...they had some class.
    Here's a tip for ya. Get some black gaffer tape, tape all them pcb's up in a big bunch and stuff it all back in the chassis....it'll work...no worries!!!  What a Face 

    j beede

    Posts : 328
    Join date : 2011-02-07
    Location : California

    Re: Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

    Post by j beede on Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:07 pm

    corndog71 wrote:I never went to the major audio shows in Denver, Vegas, etc. because I usually just can't afford the travel, hotel, etc.  This past weekend I attended the 2nd year of Axpona (went last year too!)  and had a blast listening to the uber expensive gear.  I picked up some new vinyl as well as a Blue Circle power conditioner.

    The best part was coming home to my mostly home-built system and hearing how it easily competes with dozens of systems costing 10 times the price!  Sure there were things that blew my system away but that's like comparing a top Mercedes to my Nissan.  I'll probably never be able to afford those state of the art speakers and electronics.  But I can get within spitting distance of them for a fraction of the cost.

    I finally picked up a heavy vinyl, double LP of Muddy Waters' Folk Singer and it makes my stereo sound ridiculously good.  Now I get why it has long been an audiophile staple.

    My modded ST120 has made a huge improvement to my music enjoyment!  Now I'm considering building a custom ST70... you know...  for fun.  Wink 


    Some of the exhibiters at CAS have stopped demo'ing their gear. I suppose that the poor sound does harm--from a marketing point of view. I have consistently been amazed at how good the sound is "at home" after returning from the show. That alone makes it worth the trip!

    The best part of the SF/ACS show (for me) has been the opportunities to chat with the likes of Luke Manley, Keith Johnson, Frank Van Alstine, and Dan D'Agostino. I will say that the MBL room has always been astonishing--not sure if it is good or bad--but it is astonishing. I'd be delighted to buy some vinyl at CAS. I've never seen any for sale.

    corndog71

    Posts : 453
    Join date : 2013-03-19
    Location : It can get windy here

    Re: Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

    Post by corndog71 on Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:35 pm

    j beede wrote:
    I will say that the MBL room has always been astonishing--not sure if it is good or bad--but it is astonishing. I'd be delighted to buy some vinyl at CAS. I've never seen any for sale.

    No joke there. The MBLs have been fantastic sounding. But then they drive them with their own massive MBL electronics.

    Last year I was in the room when they were playing some classical music. It was a packed room and after one particularly impressive crescendo one guy in the crowd couldn't help but say "Oh my!" I almost said that myself. Fun stuff.

    Yeah my top picks in speakers alone were Acoustic Zen ($18,000/pr), Focal Utopias ($65,000/pr), Sony's Flagship speaker (!) ($20,000/pr), and some outdoor planter/speakers which I can't remember the name of but sounded amazing ($3,500/pr). Actually there were a bunch more but I can't keep track of them all. The Acoustic Zen speakers were just plain gorgeous sounding although they were helped by the massive 211 amps driving them. I took pics but have yet to sort through them. Maybe I'll get to them tonight.

    tubes4hifi
    Admin

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    Join date : 2008-11-30

    Re: Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

    Post by tubes4hifi on Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:58 pm

    SKiZo . . . what I like to do is buy those old 70s receivers and totally GUT them out!!
    Just make sure you get one that is at least 4" tall. I've built ALOT of preamps and amps using tubes stuffed into those chassis.
    One of my very first tube preamps was a clone of a Marantz 7 built into a $20 used Superscope integrated amplifier chassis (was probably $200 new back then).
    I think my total cost on the project was around $100, or about 1/25th of what you would have to pay for a Marantz 7.
    Let's see, 260 capacitors to rebuild your SS Sansui at 50c each and you'd have $130 into just caps. I'd rather spend the $130 on good tubes and $5 capacitors!!!

    sKiZo

    Posts : 1310
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

    Post by sKiZo on Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:21 pm

    I may just do that if I screw up the rebuild ...

    The 9001 I'm working on was Sansui's TOTL quad though ... it does everything, and does it gracefully. Even without a bunch of true quad source material, it's synth capabilities are outstanding. Truth be told, I can't remember when's the last time I turned of SQ except when I'm playing true QS or CD4. Hall and Surround are also a treat with the right material.

    The internal amps are pretty impressive too ... 240WPC in X2 mode. I actually bypass the front amps using the ST120 to drive the big boxes and use just the rears for ambiance into two sets of rear speakers driven by a Dynaco Quadraptor. Not that those front amps are wasted - those are handy for driving the rest of the house.

    Although ... Hmmm ... maybe just one tube ...  sunny 

    PS ... Corndog ... sorry about the hijack. All ya got to do is tell me to shut up and I'll shut up. I'm good at shutting up but usually won't shut up unless somebody tells me to shut up. Seeing it's your thread, you can tell me to shut up and I WILL shut up ... so should I shut up now or maybe shut up later? And if I shut up now, should I keep shutting up later? And if I can quit shutting up later, how much later should I figure on before I stop shutting up again? Your call ...

    Tom

    Posts : 166
    Join date : 2011-04-04

    Re: Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

    Post by Tom on Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:12 am

    Sorry for the continued thread jack but hurrah for old cases!

    Here's a SP-9 "stuffed" into an old Nikko case with room for spare tubes.
    Input selector and various other parts are salvages from the Nikko
    which was a dump pick during a morning run.  Heavy to carry home!
    Apologies for the blurry pic.  


    Brap

    Posts : 83
    Join date : 2013-11-28
    Age : 61
    Location : Lisle, Illinois

    Axpona Chicago

    Post by Brap on Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:23 am

    What a great venue this year. Really enjoyed all the different vendors and 9 hours was not enough. Found IMHO the best speakers I have ever heard -- Sonus Faber Aida. Truly outstanding and just amazed at the imaging, soundstage, asthetics, etc. At $120K/pair they netter be good.

    Two others worth a major listen and consideration are the Zu Druids (I will eventually get these Very Happy ) and the new Spatial open baffle -- those are really nice. Need to save my pennies for the Zu's. 101 spl and the dynamics / attack were outstanding for a pseudo SDFR design.

    corndog71

    Posts : 453
    Join date : 2013-03-19
    Location : It can get windy here

    Re: Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

    Post by corndog71 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:06 pm

    Brap wrote:What a great venue this year.  Really enjoyed all the different vendors and 9 hours was not enough.  Found IMHO the best speakers I have ever heard -- Sonus Faber Aida.  Truly outstanding and just amazed at the imaging, soundstage, asthetics, etc.  At $120K/pair they netter be good.  

    Two others worth a major listen and consideration are the Zu Druids (I will eventually get these Very Happy ) and the new Spatial open baffle -- those are really nice.  Need to save my pennies for the Zu's.  101 spl and the dynamics / attack were outstanding for a pseudo SDFR design.


    Yeah, I forgot about the Zu Druids.  I want a pair too!  The imaging wasn't the most precise but they filled the room so well it didn't matter.  It was like being at a concert!  Crazy dynamics too!  


    The Spatial OB speakers were also very good and at $2K-$3K not insanely priced.

    tubes4hifi wrote:SKiZo . . . what I like to do is buy those old 70s receivers and totally GUT them out!!
    Just make sure you get one that is at least 4" tall.   I've built ALOT of preamps and amps using tubes stuffed into those chassis.
    One of my very first tube preamps was a clone of a Marantz 7 built into a $20 used Superscope integrated amplifier chassis (was probably $200 new back then).
    I think my total cost on the project was around $100, or about 1/25th of what you would have to pay for a Marantz 7.
    Let's see, 260 capacitors to rebuild your SS Sansui at 50c each and you'd have $130 into just caps.   I'd rather spend the $130 on good tubes and $5 capacitors!!!

    My first attempts at modifying anything was with a Superscope 210 that my dad picked up at a yard sale for $5.  I bypassed the headphone connection and ran the output directly to the speaker terminals.  It worked for me in my early audiophile days.


    Last edited by corndog71 on Thu May 01, 2014 11:05 am; edited 1 time in total

    corndog71

    Posts : 453
    Join date : 2013-03-19
    Location : It can get windy here

    Re: Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

    Post by corndog71 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:02 pm

    sKiZo wrote:
    PS ... Corndog ... sorry about the hijack. All ya got to do is tell me to shut up and I'll shut up. I'm good at shutting up but usually won't shut up unless somebody tells me to shut up. Seeing it's your thread, you can tell me to shut up and I WILL shut up ... so should I shut up now or maybe shut up later? And if I shut up now, should I keep shutting up later? And if I can quit shutting up later, how much later should I figure on before I stop shutting up again? Your call ...

    It's scary how much we have in common.  Twisted Evil 

    corndog71

    Posts : 453
    Join date : 2013-03-19
    Location : It can get windy here

    Re: Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

    Post by corndog71 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:05 pm

    Here's my slideshow for those that couldn't make it.

    Axpona 2014

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    Re: Even after Axpona my ST120 sounds amazing! (pics added!)

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