WELL-TEMPERED: The Bill Firebaugh interview

J. Gordon Holt writes …..  Bill Firebaugh’s first product, the outrageous-looking Well-Tempered (tone) Arm, established him as one of audio’s most innovative designers. At the 1985 Winter CES, he showed a prototype companion product—the Well-Tempered Turntable—and was producing production units by January 1987. He discusses here the WTT’s unusual design features. (Readers should note that, […]

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EFFECTIVE MASS: Here is a cogent, scientifically based and rational explanation

Howard Popeck asked Geoffrey Owen, the driving force behind Helius Designs if he could and indeed would find the time to explain the reality behind effective mass and – in so doing – confound the misinformation, disinformation and scientific ignorance that clouds so many discussions of this topic. As an aside and somewhat mischievously, Howard […]

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QUAD: What wire for rewiring their power amps please?

Dear Colin, I’ve just picked up a Quad 405 ready for service. When I serviced my previous 405 I used the Dada kit which came with the necessary wire. Can you tell me please what size / gauge wire I should use to replace the existing power wires? Would this be suitable? http://www.rapidonline.com/design-te…0m-reels-62317 or could […]

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SANSUI: Capacitor replacement in vintage units

Q: I know vintage gear isn’t your business of course but, hey, I trust your expertise and so I wonder if you can help with a component issue please? I’m doing a Sansui restoration and the main caps are Nichicon & Elna. There are many differing capacitor ranges, do you have any specific recommendations? A: […]

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PIERRE LURNE: Design Philosophy For Turntables – a paper from Pierre Lurne Of Audiomeca

Enjoy The Music write ….. For those who are unfamiliar with his name, Pierre Lurne has been an integral part of cutting edge turntable design since the late 1960’s. Pierre designed his first arm design in 1968. He later was commissioned to do design work for a then major player in the audiophile turntable market. […]

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LM3886 Gainclone

Hello Colin. Can you enlighten me please? I’m building a LM3886 Gainclone design for a second system, and have a few questions on the best types of passive components to choose. As it’s a second system, not looking for any exotic/expensive components, just want to make best choice of sensibly priced options, while trying to […]

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Accurate & cheap capacitance meters – are there any?

Dear Colin, Accurate & cheap capacitance meters – are there any? Have decided a capacitance meter will come in handy for taking some of the ‘guess work’ out of cartridge loading, in terms of being able to measure the real-world capacitance if my phono cable/head shell wires/connectors together. Only problem is one of budget :/ […]

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Top resistors?

Dear Colin, Top resistors. Many threads with opinions on boutique coupling capacitors, but very little consolidated information on the sonics of resistors. Do you care to share your thoughts on the attributes of their favorite brands & types for specific tube and SS applications? How much of a difference does a good resistor make? My […]

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Do very good interconnects compensate for an only so-so CD player?

Dear Colin, An audiophile friend made the following argument to me: “Stop looking for a new CD player. With a very good to excellent high-end interconnect you will not only improve the performance of the CD, but other downstream components.” I had to disagree with my friend claiming a $400 or $500 IC is not […]

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The value of mains regeneration?

Hello Colin and may I congratulate you on your resurrection. My question is this. As it is generally agreed that as a consequence of the variation of the mains waveform systems sound different at different times of any twenty four hours, do you do your fine-tuning at a similar time each day for continuity? Or […]

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Impedance match of preamp and main amp

Dear Colin, impedance match of preamp and main amp. I am considering mating a McIntosh Mc602 with a Bat Vk 51se. I noticed the input impedance on the Mc602 is 10K. While most Bat amps are much higher. Do you see a problem with this? It seems I remember at Stereophile I used to know […]

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TRANSFORMER NOISE ….. through speakers when switched off!

Dear Colin, step up transformer noise. I purchased an amp from Europe that needs 240v [ I am on north American voltage].. I bought a step up/step down transformer to equalize the voltage. it works, but the transformer produces noise through the speakers, even when the amp is turned off. the transformer I bought was […]

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Sanyo Oscon

Dear Colin, Solid organic polymer capacitors such as the Sanyo Oscon series have a very good reputation for digital decoupling and I’d like to use some when refurbishing an old CD player of mine as I’ve got plenty in my parts stash. Before I go fitting any I’ve got a couple of questions:  1)   A […]

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The fine art (or science, or both?) of cable design

Colin, what are the current design and materials limitations that confront all intelligent skilled speaker cable designers today? It is not materials! it’s understanding that block A can go with block Z. The complex nature of the cable is not a easy thing to write here about.  And I will not be writing about the […]

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How often do we have to turn off our equipment?

Dear Colin, power supply question. How often do we have to turn off our equipment such as power amp, pre amp. cd player , power conditioner ……? Can we leave them on for days while listening on and off or do we have to turn them off after every session of listening? As a general […]

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4-Pin DIN plugs to construct an interconnect for a Quad 33/303

Dear Colin, I’ve ordered a pair of 4-Pin DIN plugs to construct an interconnect for a Quad 33/303 system. Do both the channels need to be individually shielded, or is crosstalk not an issue here, and one could use something like this with just an overall shield? http://www.van-damme.com/14.html Failing that, can you recommend a really […]

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Popping noise on turn off

Q: Hello Colin. The unit in question is a Lafayette 4 channel decoder. When turning off my system, there is a popping noise from the rear speakers unless I turn the volume down on the decoder first (I’m only using the rear outputs). I’d like to eliminate the problem. I’ve searched bypass capacitor and coupling […]

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What really are computer grade parts?

Dear Colin, Computer grade parts? What are computer grade parts.. such as Computer grade power-supply caps? Are these type of parts an upgrade and/or better than audiophile grade parts? For example, I’ve heard some people say, “I’ve upgraded my power supply caps in my amp to computer grade caps”. I don’t think I’d want computer […]

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STEP DOWN CONVERTERS: Do they degrade the sound?

Dear Colin, I recently saw a 240v integrated amp from the UK and was wondering if it is ok to use with a Step Down Converter? What are the pros and cons of using a step down device? Does it affect the sound and am I in jeopardy of blowing the transformer or ruining the […]

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Microphony, fact or fiction?

Colin. I appreciate your no-bullshit approach to providing answers. I am counting one now because I cannot get a credible answer elsewhere re microphony in amps. I appreciate that all objects vibrate and each has a fundamental mechanical resonance. So if microphony affects the sonic performance, then how and why – in general? How would […]

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DIY interconnects using Teflon braided hose

Hi Colin. I love your ‘clinic’. Neil promised that you might be offering education for us novices. So may I ask – have you ever thought about using braided hose to run your interconnects. I am talking about type usually found as brake lines on motorbikes and car braking systems, i was messing around with […]

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