My involvement in audio has been an evolving journey for many years now, but about six years ago, I decided a return to Tannoy speakers was something I had to do. I sold my Dynaudio Contour 5.4's, and purchased some HPD 315 drivers and crossovers on Ebay UK.
I had enclosures built in Pennsylvania by Frank Wyatt, of 1 7/8" net MDF (an inner 3/4" laminated to an outer 1 1/8" layer), with a Sapele Pommelle veneer. They are 150 liter bass-reflex, and weigh 192 lbs. each; sans drivers and crossovers.
I built outboard crossovers using Mundorf SIO caps, 12 gauge Alpha core inductors, and Dueland resistors, with silver solid core 14 gauge hookup wire.
I like them so much, they are the speakers I will have till I leave this earth.
After several years with a VPI Scout Signature, I wanted to venture into the idler wheel turntable world, so again on Ebay UK, I bought my Garrard 401, and did a DIY restoration on it. Frank Wyatt built a plinth for me, which I later modified extensively with Purpleheart side pieces (keeping the original 3/8" thick Bubinga center section), and milled Purpleheart edging on the top edges, and framing the Garrard chassis.
I then installed the Dynavector 501 arm (so nice to not have the VPI wobble!). Several cartridges are available in my collection, two Actutex (LPM 415, LPM 320), the Soundsmith retipped Dynavector XX2MKII, Zu Denon 103R with ESCCO white sapphire cantilever and Paratrace stylus mods, which is my favorite by far.
I bought a used Modwright SWP 9.0 SE phono stage, put NOS tubes in it, and installed an upgraded power supply provided by Dan Wright. I feel no compulsion to change to a different phono stage.
I wanted to try a tube line stage, so I sold my much-loved Sonic Euphoria passive, bought a Transcendent Sound Grounded Grid kit, in which I used NOS Amperex 12AU7 tubes, Clarity Caps output caps, Goldpoint stepped attenuator and switching, mil-spec silver hookup wire, and Bent Audio remote volume control. This is an amazing sounding line stage, I see no need to change.
Next came the Assemblage Audio SET 300B, which I sent to Chris Johnson for upgrades, caps and resistors, using Kiwame film resistors, Jupiter Paper Beeswax caps, and Nichicon caps. With the EML XLS 300B tubes the Tannoys sound lush, detailed, and very much like live music, especially well recorded Jazz LPs.
Lastly, some would say I devolved, but to have a quality backup in case of tube failure, and to save hours on the 300B output tubes, I decided to give Class D Audio a try. I bought a 125 Wpc CDA 254 kit a try, and really enjoyed it. I installed an additional amp module in it, running in bridged mono mode, it bumps the output up to 500 Wpc, which snaps the Tannoys to attention, and they sound excellent.
My old five channel amp gave out, so I built another CDA 254 class D amp, with an added module, and I was able to convert it to a three channel amp, with 125 wpc for the surrounds, and 500 watts for the center channel. All in all, a very cost effective set of amplifiers that are every bit as good as some of the higher priced amps I've used over the years.
At this point, at my age ( I turned 70 in February), I am happy to stand pat with what I have, I am enjoying the best sound I've ever had the pleasure of listening to at home.
As of 9/2016, I've completed additional sanding/polishing of the enclosures for my Tannoy HPD 315 drivers. This time, I got it right. Up next, a redo of the Garrard 401 plinth.
Refinishing of the plinth for the Garrard 401 has been completed. Removed face and top pieces, made replacement 1" thick Purpleheart face with inlay, all new top pieces, and new arm board from Purpleheart and Australian Mallee Burl.
Added photos of redone plinth.
Regards, and enjoy,
More turntable photos added Mar, 2017
Added new photos 11/12/2018
Added SET 845 Audio Renaissance 845 integrated amp, just picked up on 4/20. Makes my Tannoys sound the best they ever have.
Added RCA 5693 Red Metal tubes in the SET 845 amp, made for a nice improvement in SQ.
Added Benchmark DAC 1 Pre, my digital front end sounds very much improved with this DAC. I know there are better ones available, but not in my price range. May be the best $500 purchase yet. I also discovered how much I was missing with a Musical Fidelity X-CAN driving my Sennheiser HD 600's, they sound amazing, who knew how much I was missing? (Not me!)
Added what is the best line stage I've ever had, the Modwright SWL 9.0. This piece has completed the quest to attain what is my ultimate goal in my system's sound quality. There is now a new liquidity, and completeness to the sound my system never had before. As this category says, "Done For Now", but maybe should be "Done Forever".
Upgraded surround speaker with very nice Andrew Jones designed Pioneer x-Z9 monitors. Concentric midrange/tweeter with a bass driver, built by KEF. Sound and look beautiful.
Added new photos of turntable with red Albert King LP
May 8, 2020
Replaced my old Kef Reference 100 center channel speaker with new KEF Q 650c center channel speaker. This is a very good upgrade in multi-channel music listening, and home theater as well.
June 8, 2020
Just added newly built 3C24 amp, built for me by Paul Birkeland of Bottlehead. It has the refinement like an SET 300B, but the power response similar to the SET 845 amp. Sounds beautiful, too.
September 12, 2020
Installed new Audio Technica AT440Mlb moving magnet cartridge. Always wanted to know what they may sound like, so I bought this one on Ebay. I'm really enjoying the sound of this rather inexpensive cartridge. Makes me want more.
Sepember 23, 2020
I added an Audio Technica AT ART-9 moving coil cartridge.
It's already my favorite cartridge, with only two hours on it.
Gratefully added Townshend Audio Seismic Podiums under my heavy Tannoy speakers. Effect was immediate and transformative. Made a very good speaker system a great one.
Added Class D Audio Gallium Nitride amplifier from Class D Audio. It sounds great.
In the process of adding a Herron Audio VTSP 3A/360 six tube preamplifier to the system, scheduled to arrive Friday the fifth. If it sounds as good as it looks, it will be a game-changer.
Added Benchmark DAC 3 DX