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Hanging with Andre on Saturday Again

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  • Hanging with Andre on Saturday Again

    So Friday night I packed up a bag of LPs and a box of tapes in preparation for a journey to Andre's home the next morning. I also pulled my Ampex 350s from my rack and packed those for the journey too. I woke up at 5:30 AM on Saturday morning and was out the door by 6:00 AM for the 3 hour drive to Andre's house. I showed up at right around 9:00 AM and Andre and I unpacked all of my stuff from my vehicle and packed it into Andre's listening room.

    Since my last visit (which was also my first visit), Andre has gotten into tape in a big way. Andre bought an Otari MTR-10 professional tape deck that was basically in very good condition. Andre went through it and did a complete alignment and bias adjustments across all three speeds and made a few other tweaks and minor repairs to put the deck in tip-top shape. I also have an Otari deck (MX-55), but the MTR-10 is simply on another level with a much more sophisticated tape path and servo electronics for tape tensioning. It's actually cool to watch it work when it sets the tension for the tape. Needless to say, listening to tape was high on both of our agendas for the day.

    So after Andre gave me a tour of his MTR-10 and we had pre-positioned the Ampex 350s and their power supplies, we started off listening to tape through Andre's normal signal path. The first tape was a Sonorus sampler tape which I wasn't fond of for a number of reasons. All of the songs on the tape were sourced from digital and they had all been run through some sort of jigger-pooky signal processing. Next up was Suryodaya from Yarlung. This tape showcased Andre's system and what I think he has set out to achieve in his system: quick with lightening fast transients that stop and start on a dime, dynamics that will give you whiplash, super low noise floor, and a very full range sound with a big bottom end (more about that big bottom end later...).

    Andre's system is all SS and his speakers are the Vandersteen 3As with a pair of the Vandersteen subs. Andre's room is a very good sized room that also loads into his kitchen and the dining room behind that. Andre has his system setup such that the Vandersteen's completely disappear as the source of the sound. Instead, you find yourself focused on an enormous sound stage with very good layering from front to back and side to side. Oh, and did I mention the two Basis tables with Vector arms and the Etna and Titan cartridges? Andre has analog covered.

    We listened to tape after tape and sometimes bounced between tapes and LPs that Andre had cued up so that the tape and LP were playing closely together so we could switch between them via the remote to hear differences. Andre's system is definitely full range. I don't know where the bottom end rolls off, but I can tell you it's in the bottom of the bottom octave. Andre's system is capable of literally shaking your bones if the information is encoded into the tape or LP. You can easily hear how a pipe organ pressurizes a huge cathedral. If you have the MoFi DCD reissue of Into the Labyrinth, Youlunga should pressurize your room as well as your body. If it doesn't, your system is probably missing the last octave of bass or your LP rig can't extract the low bass information.

    After awhile (and man did time scream by yesterday), we hooked up the Ampex 350s into the tape path. I was interested to hear the differences between the stock tape path and having the Ampex 350s in the path. I know from experience with my Otari that the stock electronics sound a little too SS for my taste. They tend to favor the leading edge of transients by not fleshing out the bass as well as parts of the midrange that help put meat on the bones so to speak. I personally preferred the sound with the Ampex 350s in the signal path. I felt I heard more information and not less information. Bass was more fleshed out, drums and cymbals sounded better to me with better decay of notes, and I could hear more of the human noises as horns were being played. For whatever reason, it did make Jacintha sound a little on the nasally side on both tapes we played, but I have never heard that on any other tape I have listened to. I'm pretty sure that Andre preferred overall the sound of his stock Otari electronics, but he can comment on that if he chooses. We all have different preferences for the sound we are trying to achieve in our systems and we all take different paths to get there.

    I felt like we had only been listening to music for a few minutes and looked down at my watch and noticed that 3 1/2 hours had just gone screaming by. By around 1:30 or so it was time to break for lunch and I was ready to eat. Thankfully, Andre's house is literally a minute away from a large shopping center packed with places to eat. We went to Chilis and we ordered an appetizer of chips and salsa while we waited for our entrees to arrive. So I'm munching on some chips and salsa and spilling salsa down my shirt and I said to Andre "You have a big bottom end" meaning his system of course. Andre busts out laughing while he was looking around the nearby tables to see if anyone overheard my statement that could have been misinterpreted and people wouldn't understand we were audiophiles discussing system sound.

    We returned back to Andre's house and proceeded to dive back into more listening with a mixture of tapes and LPs. The next thing I know, it's almost 4:00 PM. I couldn't believe that 7 hours had really come and gone since I arrived. I felt like we had just started listening. But, it was time to pack up and head out for the 3 hour drive back to my house. I felt like we had barely scratched the surface of music I wanted to play and I wasn't ready to leave yet. So, it was another great day of friendship, hanging out, and listening to lots of good music through a system that does the music justice. I look forward to our next listening session.

    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

  • #2
    That sounds like that was such a fun time! Wow, you are so right. Time can fly when two (or more) audiophiles get together. No one ever wants to leave!

    I love Andre and one day will have to get out to Cincy and hear his system. I love how Andre gets something and being the inveterate engineer has to take it apart and figure out how it works. At least in his case, it gets rebuilt and there's no left is over parts! You and I know how he took that tape machine apart that was already checked out and managed to eke even more performance out of the deck! Might I add, in literally no time.

    And yes, that Suryodaya is an amazing recording. Not too many clunkers in the Yarlung catalog.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

    Comment


    • #3
      Mark,

      Just like the last time you visited, I had a fun time with music and conversation. Since this was your second visit you knew what to expect with the baseline configuration. What was new this time was the tape deck which was performing great with all the tapes we played. This time, we were all analog with either vinyl or tape and the day flew by as you mentioned.

      I liked the Ampex 350s in the system. I did think they took a little off the initial transients (on notes in favor of clearing the sonic picture for sustain and decay) and slightly shifted vocals but that's all listening preference and such. With the Ampex 350s in or out the sound was still very much enjoyable and didn't take away from the listening session. The musical foundation of the sound and presentation of the system still came through clearly in both configurations.

      You are now up 2:1 on visits. I'll have to fix that soon.

      Dre
      **************************************************
      Every day is a good day to play analog.
      - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
      - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
      **************************************************
      Every day is a good day for live music.
      **************************************************

      Comment


      • Rob
        Rob commented
        Editing a comment
        Andre, you're using the MTR-10's stock repro electronics and does it handle both IEC and NAB eq?

      • Dre_J
        Dre_J commented
        Editing a comment
        HI Rob,

        Yes, I'm using the stock repro electronics. (It will be pretty simple to wire out for an external repro in the future when the need/desire arrises)

        The deck can handle both IEC eq and NAB eq for 7.5ips and 15ips. It also has the AES eq for 30ips. I've calibrated it for all three eq settings on playback and record at all appropriate speeds.

        Dre

    • #4
      Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
      That sounds like that was such a fun time! Wow, you are so right. Time can fly when two (or more) audiophiles get together. No one ever wants to leave!

      I love Andre and one day will have to get out to Cincy and hear his system. I love how Andre gets something and being the inveterate engineer has to take it apart and figure out how it works. At least in his case, it gets rebuilt and there's no left is over parts! You and I know how he took that tape machine apart that was already checked out and managed to eke even more performance out of the deck! Might I add, in literally no time.

      And yes, that Suryodaya is an amazing recording. Not too many clunkers in the Yarlung catalog.
      We had a fun day Myles. You are more than welcome to visit when the day comes. I'd love to return the DJing favor you gave us when we were in NYC and paid you a visit.

      Dre
      **************************************************
      Every day is a good day to play analog.
      - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
      - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
      **************************************************
      Every day is a good day for live music.
      **************************************************

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by Dre_J View Post
        Mark,
        [snip]...

        You are now up 2:1 on visits. I'll have to fix that soon.

        Dre
        Mark,

        I'm looking to fix this visit deficit soon!

        Dre
        **************************************************
        Every day is a good day to play analog.
        - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
        - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
        **************************************************
        Every day is a good day for live music.
        **************************************************

        Comment


        • mep
          mep commented
          Editing a comment
          I look forward to seeing you again too!

      • #6
        Sounds like you guys had a blast. This is what this hobby is all about.... enjoy!!

        Comment


        • mep
          mep commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks! Hanging with Andre is always a good time.
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