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I found my engineer's safe place

rdenney

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I figured that since I had spent a couple of hundred hours reading posts on this forum I might as well join.

I'm a typical audio enthusiast: Too old to hear most of the top octave, too foolish to spend money wisely, too into equipment to care about music (not really), and just as likely to ruin something as repair it when I take the lid off (really).

Profession: Civil engineer, noting that the word "civil" is a term of specialty and not necessarily a character trait, but, as they say, self-awareness is half the battle. I am a specialist in road traffic management systems, which is multidisciplinary and means I hold memberships in both the Institute of Transportation Engineers and IEEE. Mostly it means that I paid attention during statistics classes--the necessary building blocks of traffic flow theory--and that makes me different from most people even a lot of engineers. And I teach systems engineering methods, which makes me rather different from most traffic engineers, who are inclined to build stuff and then try to figure out what it's good for.

Avocations: Musician (tuba, currently--were it not for Covid--performing with two local ensembles, and relentlessly pro-science participant in tuba forums), amateur radio, restoring a vintage 1973 GMC motor home, collecting fine wristwatches, collecting and using well-made axes, photographer (sometime professional), bicycle freak (and former avid participant in much-missed bicycle science groups such as Hardcore Bicycle Science), church treasurer, and generally whatever else that involves interesting apparatus that is expensive enough to preclude retirement at a reasonable age.

Audio stuff:

Former sound-board operator for a country band (that was a loooong time ago). Sometimes assistant to radio station engineer. Sometimes assistant and mentee to rarely excellent PA system installer. Good friends with audio engineering firm owner, good friends with high-end audio equipment company boss.

My first decent system was a Kenwood integrated amp with its matching tuner (both at the bottom of Kenwood's range at the time, which was 1977), the cheapest belt-drive Technics turntable, and (of course) Advent loudspeakers.

My current main system (always changing): carefully restored Thorens TD-166II with AT440mla cartridge and outboard power supply (to permit accurate speed adjustment), Nakamichi BX-300 cassette deck (as a musician, I have lots of old tapes of groups in which I played that need to be transcribed), Tascam CD-401 CD player (soon to be replaced by an Arcam CD92 if it works when it arrives, or maybe a Cambridge CXC if it works when it arrives, with a Topping E30 DAC), Carver TX11a tuner, Adcom GFP-565 preamp, Benchmark ADC-USB and Musical Fidelity V90 DAC connecting a computer to the other tape loop, Yamaha YDP2006 digital parametric equalizer in the processor loop (used with REW and calibrated mic analysis). The preamp drives two B&K Reference 125.2 amps, each of which drives a pair of Advent NLA speakers (including the pair I bought in 1977 and have restored twice since).

My work office system is the old Technics table (with Grado cartridge), Cambridge Audio D500SE CD player, Kenwood C1 preamp, Adcom GFP535 amp, and Pioneer SP-BS22LR speakers in near field.

Home gym (meaning: spare bedroom where the elliptical stair climber resides for days when it is too inclement to run): the old Kenwood integrated amp (which still works beautifully), ifi Zen Blue bluetooth receiver (for my iPhone) and Canton GL260 speakers. I chose the Zen Blue because it clearly shows what Bluetooth protocol it is receiving with color coding a nice British female voice annunciator. If it has a British accent, it must be good, right?

TV watching: fairly recent Yamaha AVR, pair of old Linn Index Plus fronts, pair of cheapish Polk Audio rears, and Boston Acoustics sub. It's good enough for listening to sound effects, dialogue, and background music.

My home office system uses a Creative X-fi USB sound card into a Carver PM300 commercial amp and a pair of cheap Alesis speakers from about 25 years ago.

Lots of stuff in the fixit pile.

For those of you who made it this far, I always sign my name using an internym. It annoys some folks, but I've been doing it since the days of newsgroups. I apologize in advance.

Rick "fully forgiving those who did NOT make it this far" Denney
 

Katji

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:)
I got as far as the civil part :) (in the RSS feed text) and I had to come and read the rest.
 

BDWoody

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I figured that since I had spent a couple of hundred hours reading posts on this forum I might as well join.

I'm a typical audio enthusiast: Too old to hear most of the top octave, too foolish to spend money wisely, too into equipment to care about music (not really), and just as likely to ruin something as repair it when I take the lid off (really).

Profession: Civil engineer, noting that the word "civil" is a term of specialty and not necessarily a character trait, but, as they say, self-awareness is half the battle. I am a specialist in road traffic management systems, which is multidisciplinary and means I hold memberships in both the Institute of Transportation Engineers and IEEE. Mostly it means that I paid attention during statistics classes--the necessary building blocks of traffic flow theory--and that makes me different from most people even a lot of engineers. And I teach systems engineering methods, which makes me rather different from most traffic engineers, who are inclined to build stuff and then try to figure out what it's good for.

Avocations: Musician (tuba, currently--were it not for Covid--performing with two local ensembles, and relentlessly pro-science participant in tuba forums), amateur radio, restoring a vintage 1973 GMC motor home, collecting fine wristwatches, collecting and using well-made axes, photographer (sometime professional), bicycle freak (and former avid participant in much-missed bicycle science groups such as Hardcore Bicycle Science), church treasurer, and generally whatever else that involves interesting apparatus that is expensive enough to preclude retirement at a reasonable age.

Audio stuff:

Former sound-board operator for a country band (that was a loooong time ago). Sometimes assistant to radio station engineer. Sometimes assistant and mentee to rarely excellent PA system installer. Good friends with audio engineering firm owner, good friends with high-end audio equipment company boss.

My first decent system was a Kenwood integrated amp with its matching tuner (both at the bottom of Kenwood's range at the time, which was 1977), the cheapest belt-drive Technics turntable, and (of course) Advent loudspeakers.

My current main system (always changing): carefully restored Thorens TD-166II with AT440mla cartridge and outboard power supply (to permit accurate speed adjustment), Nakamichi BX-300 cassette deck (as a musician, I have lots of old tapes of groups in which I played that need to be transcribed), Tascam CD-401 CD player (soon to be replaced by an Arcam CD92 if it works when it arrives, or maybe a Cambridge CXC if it works when it arrives, with a Topping E30 DAC), Carver TX11a tuner, Adcom GFP-565 preamp, Benchmark ADC-USB and Musical Fidelity V90 DAC connecting a computer to the other tape loop, Yamaha YDP2006 digital parametric equalizer in the processor loop (used with REW and calibrated mic analysis). The preamp drives two B&K Reference 125.2 amps, each of which drives a pair of Advent NLA speakers (including the pair I bought in 1977 and have restored twice since).

My work office system is the old Technics table (with Grado cartridge), Cambridge Audio D500SE CD player, Kenwood C1 preamp, Adcom GFP535 amp, and Pioneer SP-BS22LR speakers in near field.

Home gym (meaning: spare bedroom where the elliptical stair climber resides for days when it is too inclement to run): the old Kenwood integrated amp (which still works beautifully), ifi Zen Blue bluetooth receiver (for my iPhone) and Canton GL260 speakers. I chose the Zen Blue because it clearly shows what Bluetooth protocol it is receiving with color coding a nice British female voice annunciator. If it has a British accent, it must be good, right?

TV watching: fairly recent Yamaha AVR, pair of old Linn Index Plus fronts, pair of cheapish Polk Audio rears, and Boston Acoustics sub. It's good enough for listening to sound effects, dialogue, and background music.

My home office system uses a Creative X-fi USB sound card into a Carver PM300 commercial amp and a pair of cheap Alesis speakers from about 25 years ago.

Lots of stuff in the fixit pile.

For those of you who made it this far, I always sign my name using an internym. It annoys some folks, but I've been doing it since the days of newsgroups. I apologize in advance.

Rick "fully forgiving those who did NOT make it this far" Denney

Welcome! Always nice to get a full introduction.

It looks like you have a lot of older but quite decent gear. Anytime I see Adcom amps, I figure there's another person that hasn't fallen for a lot of hype.

Your specialty is an interesting one. When I tell people my nephew is in City Planning, unless they know better they may be surprised he is one of several in his group from the MIT City Planning Master's Program that work for the New York Transit Authority.

Interesting stuff. Not for everyone.
 
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R

rdenney

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Welcome! Always nice to get a full introduction.

It looks like you have a lot of older but quite decent gear. Anytime I see Adcom amps, I figure there's another person that hasn't fallen for a lot of hype.

Your specialty is an interesting one. When I tell people my nephew is in City Planning, unless they know better they may be surprised he is one of several in his group from the MIT City Planning Master's Program that work for the New York Transit Authority.

Interesting stuff. Not for everyone.
I'm more operations than planning, but in my current role (which discretion prevents me from being too clear about, but I do live in the Washington DC area), I work with the NYC agencies on their operational strategic planning regularly. It's a different way of thinking there, and what works there might not work anywhere else in the USA, but they are no less expert for all that. Really enjoyable and satisfying to work with them.

I certainly did NOT go to MIT. Texas A&M and the University of Texas at Austin for my two degrees.

When I reconstituted my main system a couple of years ago, my theme was "what would get respect from experts for quality and value in 1990?" Everyone has to have a theme. I figured (pretty much rightly, as it turns out) that 1990 was new enough not to have acquired fetish status among nostalgic collectors, but old enough to be fully depreciated. The amps are a bit newer--late aughts--but solidly in the B&K ST140 tradition. They are better amps than the ST140, though--a little less warmth distortion and a higher current capability. The speakers are old, but those are my fetish objects. It took some doing and a couple of cans of Deoxit, but it all works very well. My goals were not "staging"--my speaker placements would defeat that in any case. My goals were clarity, tone, and sheer dynamics. With four Advents driven by 125 watts each, I can simulate the experience of being in a live orchestra on stage (not a rock band) with peaks in the 108 dB SPL range (yes, I know). That was a use case for me--I occasionally play along with recordings and don't want to have to hold back (wife not home, of course). (I do this with CD's, of course--the cartridge becomes noticeably microphonic in the presence of loud tuba playing.) But I can shut one amp off and listen at low levels without having to attenuate the signal to nothing. And the Advents, though dated and far from perfect, are supremely musical and represent instruments sounds accurately--an absolute requirement for me. Some highly rated and expensive modern speakers make trombones sound like euphoniums and French horns sound like trombones. It's proved to be a good setup for those goals.

Rick "who thankfully never gave away his vinyl albums" Denney
 
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