An Audiophile Christmas Story

I’ve spent the last few years tracking down my most favorite LPs but have kept them all sealed waiting for a system that would truly do them justice.

A few years ago, a WONDERFUL friend gifted me a McIntosh 4280 amplifier, a DAC, and Focal speakers for being the Best Man at his wedding.  Sadly the MAC was faulty and after 3 years of servicing it at McIntosh headquarters, it was declared dead.

The beautiful McIntosh MAC 4280... now retired.

But on December 23rd, 2012 he drove 9 hours across the USA and delivered me a replacement MAC and new cables to go with it!

I had also recently upgraded my linear turntable to a glorious Denon and picked out the best cartridge I could afford.

FINALLY after 5 years I’m removing the shrink and spinning my favorite LPs!

The new setup includes:

Denon DP-60L Rosewood Turntable w Ortofon 2M Red cartridge
and my trusty Yamaha CR-840 integrated tuner/amplifier
(The Yamaha was my first so I keep it around but powered off)

Denon DP-60L Rosewood Turntable and my Yamaha CR-840 integrated tuner/amplifier

Cambridge Audio DACMagic for my Music Workstation

Cambridge Audio DACMagic Digital to Analog Converter
McIntosh C39 pre amplifier w remote and manual

McIntosh C39 Pre Amplifier
Integra adm2.1 power amp

Integra adm2.1 Power Amp
Harman Kardon Solo
(repair in progress)

Harman Kardon Solo
Sonance Sonamp 260
(repair in progress)

Sonance Sonamp 260
Focal 814v floor speakers

Focal 814V floor speakers
Sennheiser HD 380Pro studio monitors
(I LOVE these headphones!)

Sennheiser HD380Pro studio monitors
Pair of XLO Ultra 10′ speaker cable

XLO Ultra 10' cable
AudioQuest Python interconnects


AudioQuest Python interconnects
and Tributaries Silver Series RCAs

(from the early 2000s before Trib became stupid)
NOTE: Sample image not an exact match – mine have silver caps on the connectors

Tributaries Silver RCA
Next I plan to order a VTI 304 cherry audio rack, one of the few units which can accommodate the mammoth size of these vintage components.

VTI 304 Cherry audio rack
THANK YOU, dear friend.  You made my Christmas one to remember!

Beefheart and More

It’s been a productive weekend for crate digging.  I started off at a local estate sale where I found a 1957 Harman Kardon PC-200 “Prelude” mono amplifier.

Harman Kardon Prelude PC-200

With the amp they let me throw in a few records, so I took home a Kraftwerk compilation called Exceller 8 and an early Hanna Barbera LP.  Exceller 8 features selections from the first four Kraftwerk albums, including the 3:09 edit of Autobahn which was popular on the radio at the time.  (The full version of Autobahn runs 22:30 as side 1 of the album of the same name.)  I already have the Autobahn and Radioactivity LPs, so this will serve as a nice intro to their earlier work.

Kraftwerk - Exceller 8

The Hanna Barbera album turned out to be among their first four records each released back in 1959 and the very first to feature the Quick Draw McGraw character.  The disc is titled Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound – TV’s Favorite Cartoon Stars.  A mint copy has a Goldmine value of $150.

Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound LP

The next morning at the local flea market I found an excellent copy of Steve Reich’s most famous record – Music For 18 Musicians.  Sadly, I was about a dollar fifty short of the $5 price tag, so I’ll have to pick it up the next time I find a copy.

Sunday I went to the antique mall and came across a number of discs I would have liked to have purchased.  First there was a double LP from Donovan I had not seen before, and then one of the few Leon Redbone discs I don’t already have – titled No Regrets.    My $2 instead went to Captain Beefheart’s Mirror Man LP.

Captain Beefheart - Mirror Man

In the last year I’ve passed up opportunities to buy original pressings of Beefheart’s Unconditionally Guaranteed and Strictly Personal albums.  I’ve also held all three volumes (6 LPs which never occupy the same room) of the Grow Fins collection in my hands but didn’t buy them, either.  So even though I had half of Mirror Man’s tracks on the Music in Sea Minor 10″ I couldn’t say no this time.

Captain Beefheart - Music In Sea Minor
I picked this one up in New York last year with an original copy of Trout Mask Replica

For images and detailed information about the 3 volume Grow Fins set on vinyl, visit the Captain Beefheart Radar Station here.  If you piece together the set online, it should run you just under $200.00.