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Old 04-17-2009   #1
rbinck's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 772
Default Equipment Evolution

I think an interesting thread would be to have members go through all of the amps they have had
and see the evolution of their systems.

The first amp I had was one I built. A friend of mine was working for an electronic
distributor and had an output transformer returned and it had been sitting on the shelf for
quite a while. He ask me if I had any interest and suggested a Sams for constructing a power
amp with it. This was for a pretty high end amplifier that had taps for the acceleration grids
and windings for the cathode circuit, much like McIntosh circuitry used at the time. I was
hooked once I looked into it and decided to build it from scratch. It turned out very well
with a separate chassis for the power supply and the audio amp. I went with dc filament supply
to reduce the noise. The output stage was a pair of 6L6's and for the time (early 60s) had
plenty of power. Stereo had not gotten started much and a good Hi-Fi was what most people had.

That quickly changes though and by the mid 60s stereo was in full swing followed by 4 channel.
The next stage was a Heathkit solid state receiver I built. I can't remember the model number,
but I remember it had slider controls. For the rear speakers I had a Quad amplifier (from
England). That receiver had to be replaced when my son pushed all of the sliders to the right
and then turned the receiver on. The FM station it was on managed to bubble the right speaker
voice coil and lock up the woofer. The amp followed shortly. They were not big on protection
back then.

Next I went with a Pioneer amp with a Pioneer preamp. Still had the Quad for the rear. I also
added a digital 8 channel delay unit that I ran in 4 channel mode. That was more gimmick than

Sometime in the late 70s I replaced the Pioneer separates with an Audaire Forte power amp and
preamp. That was a sweet pair until the preamp went out. I ended up using the power amp as a
DJ amp for a while with a Radio Shack mixer.

Next in the early 80s was a Pioneer pro-logic surround receiver. 100wx3 for the front channels
and a 50w surround channel as I recall with a Crown amp for the 18" sub I built using a re-coned
Electrovoice driver.

In the early 90s we downsized to a condo in Houston and a condo in Hawaii. Space was at a
premium for both places, so I converted the 18" sub into a side table for the Houston condo and
used a Cambridge Soundworks Digital theater system. In Hawaii the only thing I could find that
was small enough yet would give passable sound was a Bose Lifestyle surround system. It
actually didn't sound as good as my Houston set up, but it was ok given the situation. Since
sold the Hawaii place and shipped the Bose back to Houston. I use it in the living room and the
Cambridge in the bedroom. Man I miss having a large system.
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