Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Today's walk report: 082813

The more boring the walk, the longer it seems.

Vintage: A calculated long term corporate scam. In the case of stereo equipment, 1st outmode the media. Get rid of vinyl records. In the beginning everyone complained about CDs, that the quality was less than that of vinyl. But soon people forget and CDs become the excepted format. Then it's MP3s and AAC taking over and CDs start to disappear. All they have to do is tell people over and over that it's just as good or better and eventually the masses agree. I wrote about the resurgence of CDs in the year 2020 here and interestingly enough it's one of the most frequently hit posts I've written (that doesn't mean it was any good but it means I was at least onto something). Next music becomes download only, soon it will only be available via subscription streaming. But wait a minute, "Vintage" kicks in, now records are cool again but they don't cost $4 anymore, now they cost $24. The $150 turntables of the past now become vintage "stereophile" at $100s more with rogue companies making basic decent equipment at highly inflated prices. Meanwhile receivers which accommodate phono connections are high-end elite. It's all planned out. Bring shit back, charge plenty for doing so and all along the consumer thinks they're so hip, right there, on the cutting edge of what's cool. People remain clueless and kids getting into vinyl then use their USB turntables to convert the plastic to MP3s for their iPods. It's a viscous cycle of stupidity.

The walk.

I would have sworn once I got to my destination I had walked 3 miles or 4.83 km. Of course had I stopped to calculate I would ave realized that was not true.  I walked alongside the Orange line bus line. I had decided to look at A/V receivers at the nearby Best Buy, I was trying to resolve a day-long dilemma I was dealing with. I didn't resolve anything but I think I've come to a conclusion.

Here's the start of the pedestrian walkway/bike path which parallels the metro Orange line busway. So boring I can't even come up with something boring enough to compare it to. Four more blocks that away also gives you a ridiculous amount to traffic to breathe in off to your left.

Back in June I had posted about fixing the old Harman Kardon TA-260 stereo receiver which I fondly grew up with. It was a momentous occasion. I have been enjoying music once again from this almost everyday since... for hours on end... until today. It stopped. Power still went on and seemingly all of the appropriate tubes were lit but alas, no sound. It's a question mark on the 4 tubes with the caps on  you see in front because those particular tubes have tubes have the filament almost completely encased in the plate structure so it's normal not to see them lit. The caps, of course, come off easily. I took it out of the cabinet once again and inspected top to bottom. There was nothing obvious.

So I searched for someone local. This guy was really helpful and referred me to someone else. The deal there is $150 to get this on the bench and see what's wrong. Ouch. However, what I found on the other side and the reason in part for the trip to Best Buy (horrible place to shop by the way--don't shop there) was that you cannot find a receiver anymore less than 17" wide. Within about a 1/4" that's the "standard." Two, even if you find something close that might fit in the cabinet here, it's not going to have a phono connect. Nope. Sorry. The other thing is the vertical mount, not every receiver can go vertical and that's what I want, otherwise the cabinet loses it's class. So... that also means a slightly recessed cabinet and some front bezel to mount. Vintage Marantz receivers fit this condition however they are usually too wide, hard to find and when you find one people want ridiculous amounts of money for them because they're "vintage."

Marantz 2225 stereo receiver.

I have an inquiry into one other location for repair on the TA-260. Hopefully it's a lower bench price from someone who is as confident and nice as the guy I ended up calling on the referral. The $150 to look at guy. The guy who is also 5-8 weeks out on projects. It's $150 because it's tube by the way. It's much more difficult to trouble shoot than solid-state.  Solid-state is $75. Fortunately I have a schematic. I'll name names once I get this going. I'm sure there's another walk in here somewhere. By the way the floor guy at Best Buy time lined his life for me like this, turns out he went to all of the same schools I went to before college... "When I got out of elementary school Star Wars came out, Junior High grad was The Empire Strikes Back and High School was Return of the Jedi." Oh no! I looked up at the "Geek Squad" sign and immediately started questioning how I measured my own life.

The walk for anybody keeping score was only 3.80 km in each direction.

UPDATE, 083013.

The TA-260 is in for repair with this company. So far, a very pleasurable experience. I enjoy talking a/v with fun and knowledgeable people. It will be close to a week before a damage report comes in. Part of the conversation was the resell value of the receiver. While I understand the popularity of "vintage" audio I was a bit surprised to hear an approximate value of $1,250. So, at least to a degree, the repair becomes less of a want and more of a potential investment. To be honest, I hadn't really thought about it before.

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