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Monday, October 19, 2009

Does audio smell?

Definitely, yes!

Last Saturday my old, trusty Marantz 7C's volume control gave up, after 42 years of untired, faithful service.

Fortunately, I found on Ebay a N.O.S. spare-part - an Allen-Bradley's "Type J" 500Kohm carbon-film double pot and, most important, on the very same day of the failure... not for cheap, BUT, hey... the very same as used in my 7C preamp, not a shitty (China) made and sounding plastic-foil pot.

In the meantime, waiting for the spare-part arrival, I connected to my speakers, an old, yet perfectly kept Radford HD-250 integrated amp.

Sound was not bad for such an "El Cheapo", old glory stuff... it worked for about 4 hours on Saturday and about twice yesterday, Sunday.

When I entered in my music room, I was caught by a new, strange smell... oh, oh... ;-)

Not the usual smell of vinyl, carton disc-covers, books paper, the vibes deadening black bituminous material on Goto's horns and some plants & earth good wet, miniature jungle-like smell... not only... a new smell was here.

I realized in few seconds the Radford, at working temperature, was heating the room, filling it with its inner components smell, like a sweating "man at work".

The HD-250's Partridge's transformer with its resin, copper and glues, plus the caps and the old resistors slightly warmed inside the amp chassis... all this was blending in a pleasant, yet "industrial" parfume... "Eau de Radford";-)))

Furthermore, like a perfect audio lunatic... yes, I did it... I smelled ALL my audio gears... the Partrdige's 300B with paper-in-oil smelled slightly of wood only, the Marantz 7C and the Revox G-36 had a VERY similar tubes/carbon resistors and old Bumble Bee's caps... a sweet, old-timey dusty, warm cork/tobacco-like smell.

The Studer A-730 disk player, the Studer B-67 and the Telefunken M-15A open-reels, all these pro gears have a similar olfattive "modern" footprint... maybe the Siemens' caps and the rubber belts or the oil in some motors or rotating parts...

The Philips and Bang & Olufsen CD players have a mostly electrical quality - i.e. like slightly "baked wire" mixed with a "baked plastic", not the best of essences, almost an android fart;-)

The EMT 930st has a strong oil-smell with some (pulley) warm rubber notes... the Garrard 301/Shindo smells only of warm (pulley) rubber.

Last but not least, the Goto speakers are a true symphony for the nose... dust;-))), as usual, and the bitumen, a mix between rubber, a swamp (sic!) and a Latakia tobacco & wet-tarmac scent;-)

It's a very power-plant, Metropolis' hinting kind-of smell, an industrial-with-a soul nose experience... like these gears own a soul.

Going lunatic, completely nut?

Maybe the "polenta & funghi" (wild mushrooms and corn-cream), last evening at dinner...

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