An Audio Journey part 2

To gain a better perspective, you might want to check out
An Audio Journey part 1




An Audio Journey part 2
Nothing to do one night, I decided to position the Epicure speakers ala “audiophile” – 3 feet away from back wall and 6.5 feet apart between speakers with about 3 feet each away from side walls.
Aba! Nag image ng maganda. Hey! nice imaging.
Knowing the limitations of the equipment, I was still intrigued by what this vintage stuff can do. Also, I was fascinated by the retro design of the front panels.
I then rounded up my old receivers – some lent to friends and relatives, some gathering dust in storage, etc. . . I had then the Trio, Marantz quad 4430, Sansui alpha 607, and another Pioneer receiver.
This was the start of my collection which would reach 60+ receivers/int amps at its peak!

Needless to say, my wife always had that questioning look every time I’d take home something other people consider junk.
But when cleaned, polished, and lit up, these receivers did make a handsome bunch.

It was also then that I was heavily active in the Monster Receiver forum. Exchanging notes and posts from the guys in the forum, I got to learn more of the vintage stuff and what units to acquire and to avoid. I then focused my collection on the 100+ watt “monsters” as they were fondly called by the members of the forum and was able to obtain some prized TOTLs.
There’s nothing like listening to the Stones or Stevie Ray with that loudness switch on! :)

see vintage stereo collection

In 2010, a few of us WS guys set up Flashback Audio. The main intention of the group was to spread the virtues of vintage gear in order to make this hobby more affordable to newbies. (Hey, properly matched with the right gear, these old stuff do sound good! Budget of sub P20K and you’re good to go.) Another plan of Flashback was to put up sort of an exchange of vintage gear and repair and modification services.
Unfortunately, the partner/technical guy could not fully commit to the venture.
I’m still hopeful that we can realize this vision at some time in the future.

Sunday Life
The Philippine Star

We may never pass this way again
AUDIOFILE By Val A. Villanueva
Sunday,December 26, 2010

At a certain age, reminiscing fondly about years gone by presents a healthy diversion from the stress that today’s life-in-the-fast-lane brings. There may have been heartaches, confusion, regrets and lost opportunities, but life then still seems far simpler and more laid-back. And no matter how different my past experiences may be from yours, who we are now as individuals had no doubt been shaped and will forever be defined by the people we have encountered, the places we have visited and the events that have touched our lives.

When I was growing up in the late 60s and the 70s, Star Wars was the movie not to be missed. The chaos of the 60s — from war and social upheaval — was carried through to the 70s. But never in my wildest imagination would it have occurred to me that much bigger changes would happen in our home beyond that new green-and-orange shag carpet (an icon in the 70s) in our living room. Do you still remember what a telephone booth looked like then? What about going gaga over Rubik’s cube, Sony Walkman, disco music, bellbottom pants, the Brady Bunch, platform shoes and pet rocks? And then of course there was Martial Law.

But my most vivid recollection of the 70s was my fascination for solid state audio receiver gadgets such as Sansui AU Alpha 607 KX, Sansui AU 20000, Sansui 9090db, Sansui G8000, Sansui G900db, Luxman L45a, Marantz MR250, Marantz 2330B, Marantz model 2325, Pioneer SX1250 Pioneer SA9800, to name a few.

I was still in high school and had no means to own any of them. Instead of photos of movie or sports celebrities, I had posters and pictures of audio gear on my bedroom walls. Like any typical “fan,” I religiously read audio magazine reviews about these gadgets and fantasized about owning any one of them someday.

I had a rich classmate whose father had the fortune to have the Sansui 9090db which was driving a JBL horn speaker system, and we would listen to the music of Carol King, Carly Simon, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Queen in their house during weekends. Sometimes, my classmate would host a party for us, and we would rave and dance to the music coming out of his dad’s audio system.

Critics didn’t actually give much credit to70s music, describing them as shallow, but who cares? It’s the era which saw the rise to fame of hard rock, a subgenre of rock music in which Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Journey, Aerosmith, Kiss and AC/DC would rule supreme; and where heavy metal (unrecognized at that time as a separate genre from hard rock) gained a cult following. Led Zep, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple carried this genre to worldwide prominence, and later influenced Judas Priest and Motorhead of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in the 1980s.

Audio receivers may have faded against the market onslaught of audio component gadgets of the 80s, but the sonic character of the former remained in my music memory bank. It was after all the sound of my era, where all beautiful memories were made.

But lo and behold, I heard the very same sound texture wafting as I walked along the corridors of Manila Mandarin Hotel last month during the Hi-Fi Show. The sound was distinct and unmistakable. It was coming from the room of the Flashback Audio Group which I later learned was into restoration of vintage audio receivers. The imposing presence of Sansui G-9000DB driving a high sensitivity horn speaker system in a passive three-way configuration was more than enough to make one drool over it. The room was one with the highest visitor traffic during the November Hi-Fi Show.

It was their affinity for vintage solid state gadgets which brought the Flashback Boys together. Friends Boy Bustamante, Robert Crespo, Mike Reyes, Ruel Felix and Orli and Ampot Javier decided to pool their resources to put up a group which would specialize in the restoration of vintage audio gadgets and assembly of horn speaker system.

Like any other audio ventures, they started out as avid music lovers who found something amiss in the way music is being reproduced by some so-called high-end and high-fidelity sound gears.. Music, they chorused, should be appreciated and not merely analyzed. They long for the halcyon days of listening to music just for fun and pleasure, without worrying about the soundstage precision, focus, transparency, and what-have-you.

Yes, an audio receiver — aside from providing the convenience of having a high-grade tuner for accurate capture of FM and AM audio signals — drives a horn speaker system such that it gives out certain energy in music that is both engrossing and untiring. However, as the Flashback Boys have proven time and again, an audio receiver should not be limited to accurately recreating the music of the 70s; it must reproduce other music forms such as jazz and classical with the same almost-magical vibrancy. With every audio gadget they restore, the Flashback Boys provide audiophiles and music lovers with an opportunity too tempting to pass up.




Our move to a smaller place last year simply did not allow much space for all the stuff. I had to let go of most of them and am just left with a handful now – Marantz 4400, Sansui AU111, Pioneer SX650, 2 Sony Vfets and a few others.
Presently, am rotating between a Sansui Quad qrx7500 and Pioneer SX 800A tube receiver driving the Epicure 100V speakers.

Not much, in relation to HighEnd but . . .
Roger Daltry? . . .
Yup, he still has that smile on his face.
. . . and I still have mine. ;)




4 Responses to “An Audio Journey part 2”
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] An Audio Journey part 2 […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: