October 12

My vintage stereo setup is now complete*!

After years of cycling through new, refurbished, thrift store and garage sale equipment, I’ve finally settled on the set up I’m going to use for the rest of Mark’s 365 Days of Vinyl.

The heart of the system is a Fisher 400 tube receiver circa 1965. I invited this into the family back on this blog.

The Fisher is driving a set of JBL Lancer 77 loudspeakers, also circa 1965 to 1970.

The newest member of the family is this 1970 Dual 1219 automatic turntable. This is a recent thrift store acquisition and has been fully refurbished by Joel Street in association with the Groove Merchants record store here in Spokane.

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I was previously running a Denon DP 62 L with an Audio Technica AT95 cartridge. This turntable is a mid eighties vintage and, although it has served me well for the past several months, I really wanted to get something with a similar vintage as the rest of my equipment for this hobbyist set up.

The Dual is set up with an Audio Technica AT120 E cartridge, so the head to head comparison was really more about cartridge selection then turntable accuracy.

And what a difference there was! The AT120 was a hotter cartridge right off the bat. I had to adjust the volume down on the receiver to match the AT95. The next thing that really struck out was the definition on the vocals. I was playing side one of the Dire Straits Making Movies album, which is always my go to new equipment reference. The new cartridge had Mark Knopfler’s voice well balanced and defined throughout his vocal range whereas the older cartridge was a little more woolly.

The new cart also had a bit wider sound stage and better seat of the pants bass response. But the most noticeable difference was an overall definition of instruments. I heard things on this recording that I had previously missed, finger snaps, vocal cues, drumstick clicks and things of that nature.

The recording really opened up as I never heard of before and so far I’m pretty happy with the change.

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All is not Nirvana though… the new TT has a noticeable rumble heard on the lead in groove… I’ll need to mess with that, but that’s what a hobby is all about, right?

*never really complete…

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