Classic Valve Amplifiers And Stuff!

If you are like me ? you will love ?old? stereo equipment, especially valve amplifiers. Some might say landmark manufacturers such as Leak, Quad, Thorens, Garrard, Shure, SME, etc, who made an impact on the development of ?Hi Fi? (does anyone call it that these days?).

My memories of record systems and valve amplifiers go back to pre-33rpm; when our dad had a large collection of 78s. I remember he had an electric record player (very posh!) and by its side resided a small box. In this box lived needles ? these were religiously changed every eighth record. Dad kept a pad by the record player and each time it was played he would make a note on the pad!

With the introduction of LPs into our house, the equipment to play them also changed. First, dad bought an HMV valve amplifier/radiogram – of course ? but before too long he changed this for separate stereo pieces.

The first set-up he bought in the late 1960?s consisted of:

Thorens TD150 record deck; SME 3009 Series 11 Tonearm; Shure V15 cartridge; Leak 30 Plus amplifier; Leak Sandwich 600 Speakers.

I am very proud still to own the Leak 30 Plus Amplifier. I also still have the original packaging and brochure which came with it! The style of instruction inside it is like going back years!

Dad (as dads do!) gave me his cast-offs when he updated, so I continued to use his Leak stuff for a number of years ? including the fantastic Leak Sandwich 600 Speakers ? boy did they sound good? Regrettably I don?t have the speakers anymore.

Over the years some of my friends bought Quad valve amplifiers ? which at the time were way out of my range! But it did sow the seeds of interest, and around 10 years ago I was fortunate enough to acquire an un-molested set of Quad 11 valve amplifiers & Quad 22 control unit. Some people in the 80?s thought it good to ?Modify? them ? a bit of advice ? if you want a pair of Quads, do not buy anything but unmodified stuff. The others have been destroyed.

Last year I bought a pair of Quad ESL-57 electrostatic speakers from EBay ? unseen and untested. I am pleased to say ? like lots of people on EBay ? the seller was a genuine person and I now own a great pair. They are not yet operational as we are in the process of some serious renovation work in our home and when completed I will have a ?Listening room? especially for my Hi Fi. I?ll keep you updated with progress!

So now my system consists of:

Thorens TD125 Mk11; SME 3009 Series 11 tonearm; Shure M75ED; Quad 11 mono blocks; Quad 22 control unit; Quad ESL-57 speakers.

Currently I am using Tannoy Mercury Speakers ? they?re good through the Quad 11 valve amplifiers ? mind, I do have them on a pair of good quality stands ? makes a world of difference.

The Quads are going to the Quad service department for a well earned restoration ? so I?ll keep you updated with the renovation.

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