Posts Tagged "OLC review"

Spica TC-50 speakers test review – by Howard Popeck

As it my policy re these mini-reviews, I only write as a consequence of direct personal experience of the product.I sold these during my time at Subjective Audio in the 1980s. The demonstrations followed a fairly predictable pattern. Initially the potential customer would say that (a) the cabinets looked odd and/or unusual and/or unassuming and then (b) they looked poor value and (c) I had to be kidding about it producing reasonable bass output. Hmmm. Well yes, the cabinet shape was unusual, to say the least. Yes, compared to the immaculate finish on say a B&W, it didn’t look particularly appealing. However within its design aspirations, in performed superbly. It wasn’t designed to be a JBL-beater. It wasn’t designed to out-scream the highly coloured Linn Kans. It was designed for musically credible musical performance optimised towards peerless midrange reproduction.
It was designed to produce a spacious presentation plus crisp and unexaggerated imaging. My notes from the time state that we discovered, just as the importers claimed, that the TC-50 had
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Boothroyd Stuart Meridian 101/105 / Revisited – by Howard Popeck


At Subjective Audio, we were the most successful Meridian retailers for six years commencing in 1977 and thus arguably have sold more pairs of Meridian 105 power amps and 101 pre amps than anyone else. We have very happy memories of that era, the reliability of the equipment, the value and indeed the outstanding sound quality which in many instances equals or exceeds the performance of amplification up to perhaps £2,500 or £3,000 at today’s prices.

Fully sorted:

My primary recollection is that this is a ‘fully sorted’ combination. By this I mean it was certainly possible to substitute alternative pre-amplifiers but with very rare exceptions, the sonic performance was only made different rather than better. I’ll be coming on to this a little bit later. Similarly it was possible to use the Meridian preamplifier to give a sonic boost to other types of amplification and in particular valve power amps.

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The Nakamichi 680ZX dual-speed cassette deck – test review by Howard Popeck

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Launched in 1980, the maker’s claims were, on the face of it, outrageous; “True high-fidelity performance at half-speed”.

Although cassette recording and play-back technology were, through outstanding engineering, approaching the theoretical limits of what could be achieved, and enthusiasm for the medium was probably at its peak, true audiophiles rarely accepted that cassette technology really could achieve high-fidelity. After all, neither Linn nor Naim built cassette decks, ergo the technology had little credibility, in the UK at least.

Clearly then, to claim audiophile quality at a mere 15/16-ips was, in the eyes of the ‘flat-earther’ either heresy, or lunacy, or both. Having said this though, Nakamichi cassette decks had at that point long enjoyed a reputation for high performance and technological innovation and their other products, such as the strange but technically brilliant Dragon D1000 turntable and the extraordinary tiny monitor speakers were attracting favourable comments. So maybe, just maybe, they were on to something.

So I bought one. I still use it to this day. It has standard speed too and yes, I rarely use it on half-speed – but that’s really not the point. An extraordinary machine, a joy to use and yet very rare. In fact, absurdly rare. Can you think of another company that ever released a half-speed cassette deck? More on this later.

The front-loading 680ZX uses 4 d.c motors in its

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