An early spring audio adventure

Last Week I had been watching a Marantz Model 16 Amplifier on eBay. This particular Model 16 was being auctioned by a local seller, so there would be no shipping costs and no chance for any shipping damage. I watched right up to the end of the auction and I had my maximum price set in my mind. In the last few seconds everyone went crazy and the price almost doubled and the 16 sold for nearly $400.00, bummer.

The following morning I emailed the seller and to let him know that if the winner flaked out on the deal, he could contact me and maybe we could work something out. He thanked me and I pretty much forgot about the 16.

Monday morning the seller emailed me and said that he had a couple of other items he wanted to sell and he wanted to know if I was interested before he put them up for auction on eBay. He forwarded a picture of a Model 7T Pre Amplifier that he found on line and said his looked just like it only his had a wood case. Cool.

He shot me a price which was fair, but at the top of what a 7T would sell for and I really didn't want it that badly. I sent back a more realistic price and he agreed, wow. I made arrangements to pick it up that night in San Francisco.

While I watched the clock all day in the shop it occurrence to me, what if he actually had a Model 7 Tube Pre Amplifier? A novice could easily mistake the two models at just a glance. If it were a model 7, its value would far exceed our negotiated price and I would be obligated to let him know what he had, good Karma, you know.

We stopped off for dinner at the Hick'ry Pit in Walnut Creek on the way so we would have a better chance of missing any bridge traffic into the city. There was a Giants pre season game that night at 7:30 and traffic can get real bad on the Bay Bridge on game nights. I counted the minuets until the waitress brought the check and we hit the road. There wasn't any traffic so we made record time into San Francisco.

The seller lives in a nicely restored 1940's row house in the Excelsior District that was filled with mid-century modern and Danish furnishings. We actually got a parking space right in front of his house, no small feet in the city.

It turned out that all of the equipment he was selling belonged to his father, who had worked for Superscope in Chatsworth for years. His father recently relocated back to the Bay Area and everything in the Los Angeles home is being sold.

His father bought all of the Marantz equipment, which included the Model 16 Amplifier, 7T Pre Amplifier, and a pair of Imperial 5 Cabinet speakers with the optional wood grills back in the late 1960's. There was also a 5120 cassette player that he added in the mid 1970's. All of these items were bought using his employee discount, so I guess he couldn't resist getting the best they had to offer.

After chatting with the seller and a brief powering up of the items, we loaded everything up including the 5120 and we headed towards home.

The 7T is a near perfect as I have ever seen. Based on the amount of dust inside the wood case, this pair has been together since the beginning.

When I removed the cover there was that unmistakable smell of vintage electrons, sweet. I doubt that the cover has ever been removed since it was sealed up at the Woodside, New York factory.

I wasn't sure if the wood case was a genuine Marantz case because it's made of Walnut veneered plywood, not particle board like later cases. After doing some research and inquiring on AudioKarma it seems that early factory case were made from plywood.

The 7T sounds fantastic, not a single dirty control or switch I the entire unit. It's just sweet sounding and maybe how all of this worked out means it was meant to be paired with one of my 16's.

See all of the 7T pictures


Early Pre-Amps are great

Yesterday was a good day at the shop, I figured out how to repair a modern piece of equipment (not Marantz) that had a chip level board control problem and FedEx dropped off a package.

Inside was a really well packaged Marantz Model 33 Pre-Amplifier. I have another Model 33 that I have rebuild and I use it with a 100 wpc Model 16B Amplifier. The Model 33 was the second solid state pre-amp that Marantz designed, it came out after the 7T.

The Model 33 pairs with either a Model 16, 16B or Model 32 Amplifier. Inside you you will a well laid out unit which is easy to work on. There's a single power supply board and a matching pair of tone boards. One of the nice features of the model 33 is the separate headphone amplifier with its own headphone volume control.

See all of the Model 32 pictures


I won something really good today

I was looking through this mornings offerings on eBay and what did i see, someone selling a really nice looking Marantz 1200B Integrated Amplifier.  Not only does it look like it's in great condition but form the description I have high hopes that it is in working order.  


The seller describes it as, When you turn it on, the blue light turns on and a few seconds later you can hear a click.  They tried to listen to it, however they only got a little volume out of it.  I noticed in the picture that the pre-out  main-in jumpers are missing. Hmmmmm, I have high hopes.

I'll post pictures once it shows up.


Small things can make such a difference

Small things can make a real difference. I have a pair of Pioneer HPM100 speakers that I bought last year off eBay from a local seller. They are in good condition and I really like how they sound. When they're paired with the right preamp and amplifier they really rock.

The only thing about them that bugged me was their missing grill badges. I searched on eBay everyday for the past 9 months only to find single badges or pairs that went for outrageous prices. One pair sold for $80.00 plus shipping.

As much as I wanted the badges, I wasn't going to spend that kind of money. 2 Weeks ago I finally won an auction for a pair of badges at a reasonable $24.00 price.

Now my HPM100's are complete.


Rubidium Frequency Standard Module FE-5680A

Every now and then it's important to work on a project that isn't audio related. I'm a fan of Dave Jones of the EEVblog, Dave always makes me think and this leads not only to new ideas but new ways of looking at electronics.

Recently Dave reviewed a Rubidium Frequency Standard Module that he bough on-line from eBay. You can watch his tear down and review in episodes #235 & #236

I though this would be a fun change of pace project and in the end I might end up with a new piece of bench equipment. I looked on eBay and found exactly the module as the one Dave had. The cost was $35.88 for the module and $19.99 shipping. A few weeks later I received the nicely packaged FE-5680A Module all the way from SenZhen, China.

The FE-5680A requires both a 12 volt and 5 volt DC power supply, so I will be using my bench power supply for the 12 volts and an old computer power supply for the 5 volts. I found a technical manual for the FE-5680A on the manufacturers website. There's also another video on where the Rubidium package is taken apart, very cool and impressive engineering.



Testing begins this weekend. . .


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