Thursday, 24 March 2011

I've Got Wood! (and Aluminium)

You can't have a vinyl obsession without having some decent gear to play all your treasures on. Welcome to my second obsession: vintage hi-fi. Now, I can barely screw in a light bulb so the technical aspects of turntables, amps and speakers leave me baffled, but I know what I like. My ears have just about enough life left in them to separate the hi-fi wheat from the chaff and I'm a sucker for the aesthetics of wood and aluminium. Looks like a job for the 1970s!

Main system

The main system consists of a Linn Sondek LP12 with an Origin Live modified Rega RB250 arm coupled with a Denon DL110 high output moving coil cartridge which tracks like a tram and makes car boot sale records sound like virgin vinyl. I feed all this through my Luxman R-1040 receiver which, as the name would suggest, kicks out 40 watts per channel into 8ohms, but as was always the case with amplification from this era, the stated output is very conservative. If I were ever to crank this baby up it'd do more than blow the bloody doors off! For those occasions when I want to listen to one of the Devil's coasters I have a black plastic CD player (is there any other kind?) Up until recently I was squeezing the noise from this set-up through a pair of Kef Concord IVs which are superb speakers and are going absolutely nowhere, but I couldn't resist purchasing a pair of B&W DM14s which may well end up in the second system at some point in an attempt to boost its analogue warmth.

Bowers & Wilkins DM14

Things of such beauty! And they sound wonderful too, with crystal clear highs, a precise and uncluttered mid-range and warm, musical bass. The Kefs, lurking in the background, wouldn't win any beauty contests but you'd definitely want them on your side in a fight. Part of the appeal of speakers like the DM14s is the quality of the materials and workmanship that went into making them. None of your wood-effect black ash here!

Get a load of that grain!

Why is it that speakers look so much sexier with the grilles off? Is it just blokes who think like this? Perhaps we're reluctant to leave anything to the imagination: hi-fi porn anyone?

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