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Rescue Audio - Part 1 - Finding the Gems

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Rescue Audio - Part 1 - Finding the Gems
Author - Mark Cerasuolo
As you read this, chances are that someone is abandoning a classic audio componentmaybe something you always wantedat a thrift store near you. Here's how to rescue and enjoy it.


Back in audio's Jurassic Period (pre-digital early 1980s), a friend in Boston showed me his latest acquisition. He's been driving in Upstate New York, and in stopping at a roadside shop had spotted what was tagged as oriental-style room divider screens. The shop owner explained that the dividers were priced to reflect the fact that someone had replaced the typical printed fabric with plain white clothwhich is how my friend snapped-up a pair of near-mint KLH Model 9 full-range electrostatic loudspeakers for $80 (the shop owner even knocked $10 off each divider if he'd take them both).

For readers unfamiliar with them, the KLH Model 9 is ranked by The Absolute Sound magazine as one of the 12 Most Significant Speakers. A restored pair typically changes hands for several thousands of dollarswhen you can even find one. A bit later I got to house-sit for my friend for several weeks when he got married and went off to Europe, so briefly lived with his pair of Model 9's, and I can verify that TAS was, if anything, understating their capabilities. Aside from an indelible audio experience, the Model 9's imprinted a belief on me that a sort of audio El Dorado meets Treasure Island exists around the corner if only one can be in the right place at the right time.

Read the complete article at HomeToys.com
post #2 of 32
Great read. I look forward to part 2 and 3.
post #3 of 32
A friend of mine gave me a jewel. "Too nice to toss in the dumpster."

The bottom three pieces in this stack.

post #4 of 32
Funny since every time I go to a thrift store I check the electronics section for gems. This article has gotten me interested in starting a routine. There are a lot of thrift stores here.
post #5 of 32
Yea I agree I saw andold THORNS turn table in one once and I said hmm I think thats things worth some $$$. I remember THORNS way back when I was too young to be talking about turntables...... so I was told by a store keeper many many years ago......
post #6 of 32
thx good read sounds fun
post #7 of 32
nice stack, I remember my dad's Marantz set up and Advent speakers, loved the blue meters
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by petew View Post
A friend of mine gave me a jewel. "Too nice to toss in the dumpster."

The bottom three pieces in this stack.
I've always loved the old Nak gear. Always great sounding, maybe overpriced & tempermental at times. But always great, clean sounding. I still have my old TA1A (I think) reciever. I just may turn it on tonight!
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic C View Post
Yea I agree I saw andold THORNS turn table in one once and I said hmm I think thats things worth some $$$. I remember THORNS way back when I was too young to be talking about turntables...... so I was told by a store keeper many many years ago......
In all the time spent in thrifts I hardly ever see decent turntables. Then yesterday I found a Dual 1019 in great shape, even had the headshell and accessories except the dustcover.
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post
Great to see an article on Vintage gear. I have always loved the old 70's electronics, even though I was not yet a teen when the era came to an end. I remember being in awe of my friend's father's silver stack, monster power meters flicking with the beat. I have had no luck at the various pawn shops or thrift stores. 99.8% plastic rack junk would be my guess. Have stumbled across a couple pristine pieces at garage sales, but just like today, its the lower end units that sold enmasse.
Here is a picture of the Vintage gear I have collected over the past few years, mostly from E-bay I'm afraid. I have them on display as part of my screen wall and although none of it is currently connected everthing works like new. The second page of my theater build link below has closeups and the name of each if you want to have a better look.

I find the same thing at pawn shops and garage sales, and it may be regional. Unfortunately one of the first garage sales I stopped at had two Dynaco amplifiers in good shape so I spent a lot of time hitting them but never had a repeat experience.
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by thxman View Post
Great read. I look forward to part 2 and 3.
Thanks, appreciate it!
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by petew View Post
A friend of mine gave me a jewel. "Too nice to toss in the dumpster."

The bottom three pieces in this stack.

Great find! I also love the old Nakamichi gear, especially the 600 series. I've probably found a half-dozen Nak decks in thrifts over the past two years, people just don't hang onto them any more.
post #13 of 32
Yeah, I hit up my local Goodwills, and Salvation Army's, about once a month. I will also walk into random thrift stores, when I feel the urge. Mostly, the stuff I find is hit or miss, but sometimes there are a few gems.

I actually pict up a JVC HR-D7504 VCR for $5.06 from my local Goodwill. I kept the price tag on it to remind me, that no matter how expensive the rest of my set up is, right in the heart of it, is a Goodwill VCR for only a fraction of the rest of the components. It worx like a champ too, I just used a head cleaner.
post #14 of 32
This has more to do with speakers, but I have 4 technics 3 way speakers we got at the Goodwills we looked around. I also got a Luxman amp to power our subwoofer. yes they are alot better than some of the speakers you might get at your local best buy.
post #15 of 32
I stoped in to a Savers today and they had a pair of Yamaha NS-A8.2 speakers. The grills were missing but the drivers looked to be in top shape. I didn't pick them up cause I couldn't find any info about them. So are they any good? I guess I should have got them they were only $20.
post #16 of 32
I've seen some of the Technics speakers at Goodwill, the phase-array stuff from the late 70's and honeycomb drivers from the early 80's. Usually the woofers are rotted, but when you consider the cast frames, compression drivers and flat mids and tweeters they can be a real find.
post #17 of 32
I remember growing up admiring my uncle's reel-reel tape deck.

And, ah, early adopters! My grandmother was had an 8 track recorder before I ever saw my first cassette deck. When my mom bought a vtr (vhs), my grandmother bought one also - a Betamax!

I like checking out thrifts for classic computer items, although now days that means it is a Windows 95 game or accessory. I've never seen decent audio pieces though.
post #18 of 32
Man all I need is another thing to hunt for lol.

Anyone have any luck finding headphones? Like maybe some old AKGs like some Sextetts or anything like that?
post #19 of 32
Great read. My very first audio find at a garage sale was a Dual 1229Q fully serviced in the box for $5.00 I had no idea what I had bought but when I researched it I was hooked. Now I have some great vintage pieces that are older than I am. And I also make a point to mention my gratitude to my very understanding girlfriend when discussing this hobby with others. Rock N' Roll and thanks!
post #20 of 32
Garage sales are great as well. I picked up a B&O system that had the linear tracking 4002? turntable and matching receiver for 50 bucks, a Carver m 1.5t amp for 20, which I later blew up and spent 350 on getting rebuilt etc.
I don't even use them but for that kind of money for classic high end gear that still sounds great I couldn't pass them up.
post #21 of 32
Appreciate the kind words, Hank, and it's the best to have a patient significant other if classic audio gear just sorta "keeps following you home." I'm sure that one of the reasons for the demise of the kit industry is that as guys started settling down, the option of having a half-built kit project on the kitchen table for two weeks became limited.

I think the Dual 1229Q is the finest idler wheel turntable ever made-- that's a great find. The very first piece of classic gear I got was a hand-me-down Elac turntable my uncle had picked up in the service, same general vintage.

I cover this in a later installment of the article, but if you ever need a dustcover TAP Plastics can build you a new one. I did that for my Thorens 125, and it looks better than the original (they used heavier acrylic, built the height up a bit, and clear instead of smoked which is a lot classier looking). They have locations all over the west coast but you can order on-line and either send measurements or a broken original cover and they'll duplicate it.
post #22 of 32
Dartman, finding a 4002 is kind of the jackpot of audio treasure hunting. I've found a few B&O turntables but never in good shape. I do see Beocord cassette decks occasionally.
post #23 of 32
I have not seen any decent headphones, but now that you mention it they usually are in a pile near remotes and keyboards so I am going to start checking out that bin-- who knows what might be in there? The nice thing is you can check them out right in the store with so much gear with a headphone jack sitting right there.
post #24 of 32
Thanks, it was pretty gunked up inside and barely worked but I was able to tear it down and clean and lube it the best I could with what I had on hand and got it tracking and working again. Had to test it on the receiver that was made for it as it has the weird B/O DIN plugs on it of course and it seemed to even sound OK and track well.
I have it put away in the main closet in the front room so hopefully it doesn't freeze back up or get covered with mouse turds. I do have the adapter now so I can hook it to RCA plugs just haven't bothered to drag it back out again.
I did some research and of course they use proprietary carts that almost nobody makes now and would probably cost quite a bit to replace but it sure is a beautiful piece of gear that is well made and probably sounds great when right. I should probably sell off some of the things I never use but when my friend called me and told me what he found and didn't want I drove right out and bought them.
post #25 of 32
I'm looking forward to reading the other installments that are waiting to be released. Thanks for the heads up on the dust cover, as of now mine is still only very lightly scratched but who knows what can happen in the future.
You're very helpful and thanks again. Enjoy the hunt
post #26 of 32
Yep, will be great to read the rest as you do them and we can all compare notes again It is fun to end up with something you read about back in the day but figured you'd never be able to afford.
post #27 of 32
My grandma found a brushed aluminum "solid state" vintage pioneer receiver for $10 at a garage sale in very good shape. Late 70s/early 80s. Sounds pretty good for the price!
post #28 of 32
I stopped at a couple places near me and their Electronics section were less then stallar. Very small and basically a bunch of small appliances and vcrs lol.
post #29 of 32
That's true 4 out of 5 times I stop in them as well, it takes some persistence and it also depends on what you are looking for. For example, yesterday I stopped at a St. Vincent de Paul store I hit regularly on my way to a weekly meeting. Appliances and electronics are mixed together, and usually the same story. Except yesterday there were two pairs of Fisher XP-55 speakers with fretwork grilles in great shape. I don't have a use for them, but I know someone who does and called him immediately (he wants a garage system like mine).
post #30 of 32
It's all in the persistence and always have some cash on you. You never know when you hit a sale or a thrift store and hit the holy grail of some high end unit that nobody cares what it is and sells it cheap.
Got lucky on my turntable and amp but that's after years of hitting sales almost every weekend looking for deals or things I can use.
It makes all the wasted time looking worth it when you hit the mother-load finally.
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