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Old 19th May 2006, 08:36 PM   #1
Z33 is offline Z33
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Northern VA
Default One (rambling) thing leads to another.....

Long story shorter: I added a NIB Marantz CDR631 to my mixer rack. Nice unfancy gear.

Then I got to wondering whether it was any good as a transport, and started listening to it, out of the headphone jack (AKG240DF 600-ohm cans). Not bad, but... Wanted to hook it up to my old Son of Ampzilla. Got an SAE P101 for cheap on eBay (relays and switches OK), put a spare BBE (462) in the processor loop, and in the AKGs sounded lots better. The BBE has virtually no effect on decent recordings (Krall, recent Vai), but does magic on some of my favorite old CDs (Mystery School, Dead Can Dance)

Then I hooked it into the SoA driving a pair of Polk monitors.

And was blown away by how good it all sounded. Much better than the Pioneer Elite A/V that usually drives the Polks, set for stereo direct. Shazbat. I'd thought the little Polks were the weak link. Not so. Opened up the SoA and saw that it had been ... modified. A few of the caps were obviously new, the bias ICs were discrete transistors, and it was all very, very clean.

And I was getting ready to gut the SoA and use the carcass to hold a quad of SKAs. Don't think I can bring myself to do that, now that I've heard what it can do. I'd got it a few years back with a pair of DQ-10s and an oddball preamp, from a buddy who'd upgraded to Bryston electronics and Vandersteens. I gave the DQ-10s away when the preamp died, and the SoA sat on a shelf until this week.

Been to the SAE forum and learned some things, but I'd be grateful for any insights folks here might have regarding Son of Ampzilla upgrades and mods. My short list includes new signal-path caps and bias pots, and some PS mods, and this might be enough, given that it works as well as it already does. It does run a bit warm.

Alnd I'm wondering whether this old gear has been A/B'ed with the likes of GC or SKA. I'd have thought technology had moved on, but this old stuff has really surprised me.

Cheers,
RandyB
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