My sister and I bought a 1219 Dual turntable, but we could not afford the rest of the catalogue, so that's when I built my first speakers - full range 17cm from Audax in a DIY enclosure filled up with an old bedcover Mum gave me, valve amplifier kit bought from Cibot Radio, and DIY transistor preamp. The temperature in my room was always a few degrees more than the rest of the house as a result: cosy to listen to the Beatles WHITE album!
My sister has since acquired a Dual CT-1440 tuner
BRAUN was another brand also on my radar at the time, although I couldn't afford it then, and has probably gone too iconic today to be affordable now. As proof, this CSV-1000 found at Hifi Vintage Christian Grados in Paris is for sale for 1200 euros!
It has been said that Braun aesthetics were an big inspiration for John Ive, the chief designer at Apple, and yes I am a fan, as we are a complete Apple household from a 27" iMac - the one I am using right now, to a number of Macbook Air, iPhones and iPads...we are completely addicted!
Santa Claus included in His shipment of goodies this lovely, simple and inexpensive new toy - and I gather my friend Len Wallis had a hand in this this...
But between my own travels, visitors from overseas and...work, I have not had a chance to try this wonderful addition to my hifi kingdom.
We are experiencing a very strong storm here in Sydney, really the tail of a cyclone hitting the Coast 6 hours drive north, so it is a good time to set it up (a breeze...sic) and clean a few records and take the time to listen to the results.
First cab off the rank is "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" by Simon and Garfunkel, a 1969 CBS record pressed in Holland and purchased in Paris for 49.00 francs, which was quite a sum at the time) which has seen many needles and turntables over the years (Dual 1219, Clement for a few nights, ERA 455, Rega Planar 3 since 194, and more recently Rega P1 branded NAD. BTW, as my daughter is in Paris for six months, I have pinched the glass platter of her (my old...) Planar 3 and installed it in the P1 which brings a significant improvement to the overall sound.
Back to cleaning, after three spins clockwise and three counterclockwise and a good dry with the special doth provided, it has to be said that most of the surface noise is gone, and it brings clarity to the whole affair. For sure, there is still audible noise in the groove in between songs, indicating that the brushes are not doing a great job in the depth of the groove, but gently clean the upper part of it satisfactorily to bring back the music to a very low level of noise free enjoyment.
Next I tried my original 1968 US pressing of the "White Album" from the Beatles bought in Mexico City at the time. This record has been abused at parties, on portable plasticky japanese player a la Teppaz, then on the same turntables as mentioned before. It is so damaged that I bought the 30th anniversary pressing which is still in pristine condition. However the 1968 pressing is still quite not there after the cleaning, as the needle collects a nice little fluff of dirt after the second side of the record finished playing. I think I will have to try a second clean another day and maybe keep it as a collector item, rather than a playable pleasure...I will let you know.
(That's 25 years ago, mon Dieu...)
Having said that, this Spin-Clean costs less than one hundred dollar and will restore most of your precious "galettes" to a listenable condition. To get something more efficient would cost about ten times more with a Clearaudio machine that would probably be my next choice up. But frankly, I rather spend the price difference on more records! Let me have your own cleaning stories...
When I was at Uni - and still living at home, as most students did at that time - my passion developed further, and I was keen to use my new found knowledge - I was studying for a BSc in Electronics - to build my first hifi system.
Coincidentally, my sister and I were gifted a DUAL 1219 turntable for Christmas, so I decided to get down to work.
My budget being quite limited, and having settled for a full range high efficiency speaker and valve amplifier, I went shopping...
I was confident I could design and build a solid state preamp, so I did, but for a strange reason, I didn't feel confortable designing the amp from scratch, so I went and bought a kit from Cibot Radio and assembled it myself, crossing fingers that I would not put the house on fire on first power up. As I am still here to tell the story, you have your answer...an added bonus though was that my room was
always a couple of degrees Celsius warmer than the rest of the house, as you wouldn't switch that amp off, would you?
It was quite an ugly thing in military green lacquered perforated metal for the cover, but the sound...ah that glow in the valves transcribed itself in velvet music! Even my crude preamp could not ruin the sound...
For the technically inclined, it seems that this was the valve configuration: 2xel84;2x12ax7;ez80, but it is a while back, so I can't be sure.
If anybody has more information let me know via our contact form or the comments function. Thanks in advance.
Now, for the speakers, I used a full range 17cm drive from SIARE in a closed box made of MDF and filled up with wool bed covers kindly given by Mum...
At the time, Michel Visan was the technical director of SIARE. He ended up starting Davis Acoustics, who continues to make some full range speakers inspired by the ones he designed for SIARE - see photo above. We ended up quite good friends and I would use some of his paper cone woofers in future designs, but more on that later.
I have never been a fan of Kevlar which started to be the rage in the 80s, when both Jacques Mahul at Focal (ex technical director of Audax and arch rival of SIARE, and Michel Visan at Davis Acoustics introduced drivers using this "space age" material.
I still believe paper cones have the ability to sound better than any thing else for the midrange, as they respect the timbre of instruments better.
The whole system was housed in a white laminate "structure" with the amp on one side, the preamp and turntable on the other side to avoid picking up rumble from the amp, a desk in the middle and the "legs" containing the speakers at the top and some space at the bottom for records stored vertically (bien sur...). I will try to find a photo from my parents archives or else, I will make a drawing of it
(but do you really care...?).
This system kept me happy for quite a while, until I came across the Elipsons and Supravox. But that will be my next story.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.