Saturday, 4 May 2019

Energy Encore 2 Speakers

My family were the original owners of these speakers. We actually had the entire Energy Encore 5.1 surround set, minus the integrated stands. Slowly, the rear speakers were sold. I kept the subwoofer to use with my sound bar, and the center channel broke. All that remained were these little guys sitting on the same shelving unit for the past 15ish years. I used them for a bit for my computer setup but, opted to use my Mirage Omni 350 instead.

While these are considered "big box store" speakers, they are still great little speakers. These were made in Canada. Used their hyperdome aluminum tweeter that made Energy famous from the Pro22 days (thank you Burhoe!). A super nice black piano finish and sealed box, with a 4" long throw woofer.

Some Specifications that I took from the web:
System Type: Magnetically shielded acoustic suspension satellite
Tweeter: 1" (28mm) Aluminum dome with cloth suspension
Woofers: 4" (112mm) Multi-laminated aluminum polycarbonate cone with rubber surround
Crossover Point: 2.0 kHz
Frequency Response: 70Hz - 22kHz
Room Efficiency: 89 dB
Impedance: 8 ohm compatible
Recommended Amp Power: Up to 125 Watts
Dimensions: H 7.5" W 5.1" D 7.5"
Finish: Burnished Ebony Gloss
Grilles: Removable: IM frame with black cloth knit
Flexible bracket system built in, allows wall, ceiling and side wall mounting. Also functions free-standing with optional stand
Construction: 1/2" Solid MDF cabinet, injection molded composite resin baffles with NBR rings for resonance reduction

With the right amplification, I used a nice Crown D60, they sound pretty good for their size. I think they are better than the Realistic/RadioShack Minimus 7, and their Canadian to boot!

They are no bass monsters but, they have a very nice mid and lovely airy highs. Very clean and transparent sounding.

Sony PS-2250 Turntable with SME 3009 S2 Tonearm

Primarily for posterity as this lovely turntable found it's new home in California, what a packing job that was! This was my main table and my baby ever since I got it on trade. I had the tone arm re-wired with cardas and primarily used a Shure M91ED with an original needle. However, since I now use my Technics SL-1600nkii (I like the fully automatic functions) this has been sitting in the spare room for quite some time, hence why it had to go.

Nonetheless, this was and still is an excellent.

Let's talk about the Sony PS-2250. Such a good motor. These early Sony turntables were one of the best. Extremely well made and bulletproof. Cast aluminum (I think) housing, really nice piano key switches for the 33/45. The platter was almost a 2-piece, similar to a Thoren. The overall plinth is good, real wood veneer.

The arm, now that was special. A low mass tone arm, which is why I paired with the Shure. Fixed headshell, good or bad, depending on how often you enjoy swapping cartridges. Knife bearing, which was good. These arms are really nice. It needed a bit of work, had to re-fill the silicone dampening fluid, and find an original anti-skate weight, if I recall correctly, which I did.

Truly, a fail-safe turntable. No overly complicated mechanics, motor is easy to repair without any overly complicated electronics. Hrmm, why did I sell it? I can't remember. Probably, on the lines of having too many turntables and I no longer really listen to records as much as I used too. Oh well, I still have pictures.

Aiwa AP-2200 Turntable

I've had a lot of turntables that passed through my hands and even though some were excellent turntables without a recognizable brand name, I do not think I've ever called one a "sleeper" turntable. But, if I did, I take back my previous statement.

This Aiwa turntable sat on my local listings for about a week, when I initially looked at it, I didn't think too much. Aiwa is a brand I rarely came across but, the metal tone arm gimbal kept intriguing me. The black colour scheme didn't help it's appeal as it could easily be mistaken as a "cheap" turntable. But, upon initial research, the specifications are really interesting.

Furthermore, the more you researched the more you realized the Aiwa is actually a competent turntable and quite well made. Apparently, in Australia it had an MSRP of $269AUD in 1979. It was an decent mid-level turntable of the time.

Let's begin with some basic specifications, it is a direct drive with semi-automatic return. Some interesting features are the separate 33/45 speed controls, height adjustable feet and (yes), length adjustable feet. What does that mean? Well, it means you can shorten the overall stance of the table to fit on wide or narrow shelves (according to the manual). The rubber insulators are also in great shape.

Overall, the condition of this unit is excellent, the owner(s) took very good care of this turntable. All it needed was a bit of the usual servicing, cleaning and replacing of the strobe light (that was a bit of a pain to do).

What's even more intriguing is the motor. It uses a Hall-Effect Direct Drive motor. There are only two other companies that I know off the top of my head that had these motors: Sony and Pioneer. "Under the hood" I initially thought Pioneer because of the motor. However, I do believe this was made by CEC, just the mechanics and how the platter was designed gives me an inkling that CEC made it. Also, CEC was one of the biggest produces of OEM turntables. Though, I could be wrong but, I do not think so. The automatic return mechanism is resemblance of an older Hitachi belt drive unit where the cog/gear is actually part of the platter, rather than having a polymer cog/gear on the shaft of the motor.

The original headshell is quite nice, definitely better than a lot of OEM turntables, it's nice and solid.

Let's talk about the plinth, the Aiwa weighs 6.9kg, so it's quite hefty. The plinth is a combination of polymer and rock wool insulation from what I can gather, so it's quite dense. It's quite easy to clean but, a finger print magnet due to the colour.

Now about the arm itself, definitely different from the norm of a typical Japanese turntable. The weight is for a "rough" adjustment. This arm can accommodate various different cartridge weights. In front of the gimbal is where all the fine adjustments occur. Just like how you adjust for a normal tone arm at the rear of the gimbal, the front actually slides the shaft at the rear forwards and backwards for the fine adjustment. Quite interesting, if you ask me. This is how the Aiwa can accommodate various cartridge weights. Very neat feature!

Now, it didn't come with a cartridge so I looked into my extremely sparse parts box, I tried an Audio Technica AT-10 but, the cantilever was slightly off. Had fall back to my usual favourite: Shure. Had a Shure M70 with a new Astatic needle. It might be a conical but, it sounds really good.

Overall I am quite impressed by this turntable, definitely a "sleeper."