Saturday, January 10, 2015

Vinyl Records - 180 Virgin LP Vinyl

TK7SU cartridge in TP-60 plugin Thorens shell
 A couple of years ago I resurrected my TD 165C manual turntable to advance my audio hobby. I quite literally dragged it up from the basement where it sat in a box for thirty plus years. At the time (2-3 years ago) vinyl recordings were starting to make a strong comeback. I guess people were not entirely pleased with the digital recordings of our new age and wanted to go back to the rich sound of vinyl. And yes, there is a difference! I was happy to see my turntable in action after almost thirty years and I was not in the least disappointed. Everything worked to a "T". Well, almost!

Attached to the Thorens TP-60 plug-in shell is an  Audio Technica TK7SU cartridge (the tonearm is a TP-11) which was a very respectable cartridge in its day and what I would consider to be in the medium to high end range. However, I discovered that the my Shibada stylus has a bent shaft. It's not that I didn't know this. I was pretty rough with it at the time and there were a few nights when I had too much to drink and manhandled my records.

Elliptical Stylus replaces original Shibada stylus
The turntable survived and is in remarkably good shape for it's age. A pity that the stylus was damaged because it was not really all that worn but it did not track very well, skipping and jumping grooves as I played my records. The Shibada stylus for the Audio Technica TK7SU is crazy expensive and I could not even consider paying several hundred dollars for the stylus alone but I did manage to find an elliptical stylus which was NOS (New Old Stock) and cost a little over $100 on the net which fits perfectly and sounds great though I had to wait 7 months for the company to get a supply. The stylus is the TKN22 which is a 0.2 mil. x 0.7 mil elliptical diamond bonded to an alloy tube cantilever.

While I was at it I bought a new drive belt as the old one had stretched quite a bit over the years.

Anyway, on to the recordings. To further my interest in audio I will only collect jazz and classical vinyl and as much 180 virgin vinyl as I can afford.

Most might think that 180 vinyl obviously means a better sounding recording. Not necessarily. I have some early Angel,  London and Deutsche Grammophon recordings that were done right at the time and still sound quite fantastic.

Thorens TD 165C
To begin with most LP records are between 120 and 140 Grams in weight. 180 is considered audiophile grade and of course, very desirable.

AT TK7SU doing it's job
Three things factor into a quality 180 vinyl record. First the quality of the recording itself; the miking, the acoustics and the care taken to record the sound in the right environment. Second is the editing and engineering. Once the sound is recorded it is mixed; the dynamics and positioning of the music is carefully manipulated to produce just the right ambiance. The third and final step is the pressing. Again, care must must be taken so that it is done right to ensure that the sonics are perfect or as good as good can be. Naturally the vinyl must have few imperfections (virgin vinyl has few impurities) during the pressing process. But a 180 pressing of something that was not good to begin with is not really going to impress.

Now to pursue recordings that will fit with my collection.

All photos are taken with an Olympus E-330 DSLR with the 50mm high grade F2 lens at between f2 and f5.6, tripod and no flash.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Flashlight update - Maglites Reborn

A brighter future
I had a couple of old 2D Maglites lying around the house and rather than buy new LED Maglites which are pretty pricy I did a little Amazon shopping and found 55 Lumen bulbs for around 10$ apiece. While my fingers were doing the walking I also bought a lower power 30 Lumen bulb for backup and that was about 3$.

Yes, I could have bought a couple of cheap plastic  LED flashlights for around the same price of the LED bulbs but Maglites do last a long time and my decision seemed to be a more practical approach. I do have a 2D LED Maglite and to be honest at 120 Lumens it does shine much brighter but it was also relatively expensive.

I found a 2AA LED flashlight also lying around that had leaked within the past year, one of those mini Maglites. I don't if you have ever had a flashlight battery leak in the flashlight itself but I can tell you that they are just about impossible to take out once they have become swollen inside. I tried vinegar, baking soda and nothing worked.

I went to Maglite's site and thought, well, I'll just send the flashlight to them for a repair / replacement. Not their policy; try the battery manufacturer they said.  Well, you can imagine that I would simply go around in circles with the battery manufacturer then blaming the flashlight maker and so on.

So, I thought I would take the flashlight apart and salvage the LED light so that I could replace an older 2AA Maglite that had a standard bulb with the LED light. Turns out that the LED bulb does not fit the older model no matter how hard I tried. Clever of Maglite forcing you into buying a new flashlight when the old one died.

Anyway, I now have two "new " flashlights.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Anrique Clock - Arthur Pequegnat Canadian Time clock - cleaned and oiled

Canadian Time clock
Escarpment looks good
 I have had this clock for close to a year and a half and have never opened it up. Today is the day.

I decided to remount my Canadian Time clock and in the process oil and clean it. In the end the idea that I had for remounting did not work out. The clock is on a large picture hook and I wanted to hang it on a toggle bolt since it is on a hollow gypsum wall. The bolt I wanted to use combined with a few washers could not fit into the clock hanger plate so it is back to the drawing board. The clock is time only so the good thing is that there is no second or third train to vibrate the clock off the wall (potentially).

Clock Movement
Maker's stamp

Compared to the case the movement is very small but since it is time only that is no great surprise.

I looked at the clock and it appears that the bushings are okay and so I assume that the pivots are fine as well. There is no obvious play in the clock. My guess is that after it was last serviced it did not run much if at all. A little oil on the moving parts is all that is needed.
Movement in it's case
I did notice one peculiar thing. At some point in its life the movement has been repositioned in its case and actually mounted about 2 centimeters higher. Why, I do not know. Perhaps it was to accommodate a new (and longer) suspension spring.

A little maintenance and cleaning is always good for an old clock and it will prolong its life as well. I got a little overzealous in polishing the brass and got some on the clock face, not much but enough to take a little paint off the tin in an area that is not very noticeable. Brass and paint are not a good combination. Anyway, a lesson learned.