Monday, 12 November 2012

The Gear Still Flows


I've been happily listening to my Technics 1200 and have swapped back in the Yamaha CR-820 that arrived from Seattle several weeks ago, after a few weeks with a Carver MXR-130 hooked up. The Technics still has a minor issue or 2 which hopefully I can resolve and so does the Carver.

The turntable speed still has a tendency to fluctuate for a few seconds when I first turn it on. This is probably circuitry or solder joints that are suspect but it might just be the pitch slider. I am going to order one from KAB as that is a relative simple and inexpensive item to replace.

The record above, by the way, is Muddy Waters at the Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago, recorded 1981. It's a great package of a double album, 1 black vinyl and 1 white, plus a DVD of the show. Most of the Rolling Stones (Mick, Keith and Ronnie) showed up Muddy was soon joined on the tiny stage by all 3 of them. Terrific show and a nice presentation in this recent release.

Carver MXR-130 Receiver 2

I don't have any pictures of the Yamaha yet but the Carver I have snapped. I listened to it for a few weeks essentially without issue and have done nothing to it internally or externally as it is in nearly perfect shape. A couple of the controls are a touch scratchy & in need of cleaning and the lamp behind CARVER is burnt out. When I switched it to the tuner the other day I found the first indication of the issue that the previous owner pointed out and one that is well documented with the Carver receivers. The tuner tends to stop working or perform erratically and that is exactly what this did.

Being as well known as this issue is and Carver being not only well known but also not a cheap piece of crap, it has also a well documented set of repairs. There is an issue of a trim capacitor and an IC in the tuning circuit that are prone to fail. In addition the output relays and some resisters are frequently problematic. In fact there is a vendor on ebay that markets kits with instructions for just these repairs.

I am going to proceed with most if not all of the failure prone areas even if only the tuner is currently causing problems (and the bulb and pot cleaning from above). I ordered the tuner TC9147BP integrated circuit from ebay, though from a different vendor, and will get the relays and other parts as well. As usual I like to try to upgrade if I can, and I will actually install a socket for the IC instead of direct soldering to the printed circuit board. I don't want to burn the IC and I figure out of 42 pins I might mess up 1 or 2 and overheat the darn thing. 

The Carver won't be a keeper. I don't need 130 watts (!) per side, or is that over 150? It's the same receiver apparently as the MXR-150 and they both don't clip until around 157 watts. It's cool and all that, but I figure with the amount I spent on it plus the time and parts I will come out well ahead if & when I sell it. 

Akai AP-004X

Sansui R-5

A few more things will go on the block soon too. I have a recently acquired Akai AP-004X turntable that will clean up nicely. A Sanyo receiver and a small Sansui R-5 receiver will complement one of my turntables just fine and along with a set of just refoamed EPI 100 speakers will be an ideal system. 

Actually though the best match for that Akai even though not quite of the same period would be the Mitsubishi DA-R10 with its rosewood finish. I will be sad to see it go but I fear it must...

Mitsubishi DA-R10 top

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