Saturday, 24 October 2015

Kenwood KD-3070 Turntable

It's been awhile since I've had a direct drive by Kenwood to come though my hands.  While it doesn't belong to me, it's quite interesting to be in one after all the the belt drives Kenwoods I've been in as of late.  While the base is not corian like the KD-2055 that we have for sale, there is a concrete block inside the plinth to give it the weight and I am sure it probably act as a dampener against vibration as well.

Some other odd features is the the anti-skate, there is actually a device that will hold it in place when being transported, neat feature.  As well, the mechanism inside that starts the platter and the automatic return mechanism is exactly the same as the KD-2055, which if my memory serves me right is also the same mechanism on a Telefunken (made in Japan of course) turntable.  Neat little tidbit.

It has an excellent motor with a very nice tone arm.  It is a 2-speed direct drive turntable with automatic return, what's not to love?  It has good platter mass, a nice clean design and in great shape.  It's been serviced and comes with a new headshell with leads and also one of my favourite Audio Technica cartridge, the AT12E with brand new stylus.

One side note, the strobe markings on the platter are only for the 33rpm for both 50hz and 60hz.  The 45rpm strobe is actually on the mat, the silver disc that sits on top.  Took me a while to figure out when I was adjusting the controls.


Sansui AU-101 Integrated Amplifier

It may be small but, it is sure a charming little fellow.  I've always enjoyed Sansui aesthetics, they've always been quite classy with the black face plates and wood sides.  I've had several little Sansui amps and big ones too.  I've always enjoy the designs of the early to mid 70s Sansui, from their triple digit series like the AU-505, AU-777, to the AU-7700 which progress to their AU-7900 and even their little receivers like the 441.  They always look great and sound great too!

Being of the early 70s design, the AU-101 it has a much more warm signature in comparison to say the G series receivers.  I find they often match well with acoustically sealed speakers as there the bass seems to a lot more pronounced.  But, that's just me wanting to balance things out.  I am sure they will sound great on any speaker design, as long as they're not power hungry!

But, back to the sound.  While it is a bit on the warm side, it is not overly boomy or mushy sounding like some other brands.  All I can say it's quite lovely to listen too and you have to listen to it to appreciate it or not.

Since, this little guy is only rated at 15wpc into 8ohms.  It does sound similar to the AU-555/555a and AU-666/777 and the like but, that's based off memory as those amplifiers are long gone to new homes!  But, I guess you could call this amp a pretty "sweet" sounding amplifier.  Though, despite being a tiny guy it does have all the necessary inputs like phono, auxiliary, tuner and tape (only 1 tape).  But, only one set of speaker can be used with this guy.

I think it would make a great den amplifier or even a nice computer setup.  It's in great shape and the best part is that it's been professionally serviced by the Tweakjunkie!


Audio Reflex 1979 Turntable

Audio Reflex, a company that has been importing electronics from Asia into Canada and Australia.  I've actually seen and read quite a bit on this brand, similar to EDS and AGS.  Much of their turntables were re-labeled CEC tables (think Radio Shack turntables) and they are great performers.  The name may not strike much confidence however, the innards do.  It has the usual markings of a CEC table, from the motor to the tone arm.

It is your typical 2-speed direct drive turntable with automatic return.  I did, however, had to replace the feet as they were all rotten.  Thankfully, they were replaced with much nicer rubber feet!  However, it does have the lovely wood-grain vinyl look that gives it the retro-vibe and the slighly smoked dustcover is a nice touch.

It's been fully serviced with a light polish to the dustcover.  It has a brand new headshell with leads and is nicely equipped with an Empire 2000ED cartridge with a brand new stylus.  You can't go wrong with those old Empire cartridges, they sound quite nice.  Can't find much on the Empire 2000ED?  From my measurements, it's just a re-labeled Empire 2000E, just like the Empire 5000MKIII I have lying around.  I had all 3 on my desk.

I always enjoy these tables, they make excellent starter tables and are quite the work horse!

EPI 100V Speakers

These are one of my favourite 2-way speakers of all time.  They are often over looked by other 2-way designs with 8" woofers, like the AR-4x and Dynaco A25 but, the EPI remains my favourite and in my opinion it is better than the ARs and Dynacos.  Why?  Neutrality.  These are one of the most neutral (i.e. flat) sounding speakers from 45hz to 18hz.  I actually own a really early version of the EPI 100 called the Epicure 100 and everyone loves them.

Over the Thanksgiving holidays I had the EPI 100V playing, they filled my living room with ease.  I think I paired them up with the Sansui AU-101.

They have been completely refurbished.  As usual, the foams were shot, so they were replaced with nice flitted foams from Rick Cobbs and then, the old 10uf capacitor was replaced.  However, here is where the fun part begin, well, it wasn't a fun process but, this is where it gets interesting.  I had a choice to replace the capacitors with a single 10uf non-polar cap however, I ended up doing a charge coupled network for them.  This was the same exact setup is what I've done on my Epicure 100.

They sound quite superb.  These inverted tweeters are excellent, they have great clarity and imaging, especially when recapped.  For their size, the bass is quite adequate.  Granted, they won't shake the fillings out but, they have some really nice bass for the size.  Let it be known I am a huge fan of Winslow Burhoe designs and I know many of his speakers.

I remember doing a A/B comparison with my Epicure 100 and the AR-4x, both were recapped with original drivers.  By far the Epicure was a nicer sounding one, much more open.  Bass was similar.  But, the tweeter was definitely better sounding on the Epicure over the ARs.

They are in great shape and are wrapped in wood grain vinyl.  They will make great entry level speakers but, can be so much more.  They're not that pretty with the grills off but, they do sound great!  At least they look a lot better than the masonite tweeters...


Note: Huw Powell is a great guy, you can actually buy the latest incarnation of the EPI 100V from him off the link above.  Still made in the USA with all handmade drivers!  Thanks Huw!