Monday, October 16, 2006

Tchaikovsky's ultralinear topology

Last night - Sunday night - I spent some time with Tchaikovsky's fourth. This by means of the Cleveland Orchestra captured by Soundstream in the early 1980's, SACD conversion, two monaural, 12-watt Harman Kardon receivers circa 1956, and highly efficient, home built speakers using vintage University drivers (HF-206 and 4409 horns - hence the cognomen "Reciprocating Bill" - and C15-HC woofers). The sound quality of this recording is absolutely astounding, vastly superior to any redbook recording I have ever heard. Equally amazing is the sound quality attained by this ancient suite of equipment when provided a wide range, analog-like source: horn choirs that are both silky and perfectly etched (not shouty), beautiful massed strings, and authoritative percussion and dynamics. I've recapped the amplifier sections of the receivers (power supply and coupling caps), which run 6L6GBs very conservatively through a ultralinear topology. But most important was this sometimes manic, sometimes sweet composition. Worth the time and felt thought.

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