26 April 2016

Dream Onken Speakers

For a few months I had a dream...
Custom Onken Speaker Cabinet
...to build some high end speakers.

The design was an Onken box,
using Altec Model 19 components,
supposedly one of the better DIY systems.
Altec Model 19
Once channeling the correct sources,
it didn't take long to locate the goods,
or most of them.
Here's the starter kit.
The 15' woofers are awesome.
Altec 515b's with big alnico magnets.
Altec 515b
The dust cone had a little screened hole in it.
Great Plains Audio reconed Altec 515b
These were reconed by Great Plains Audio,
a specialty company of previous Altec techs,
using original Altec factory equipment.
Altec 515b
These had mismatched frames,
but tested the same on the ohmmeter.
This one was most likely 1947 vintage,
when Altec was based in Hollywood.
Altec 515b Hollywood
There's a HOLLYWOOD stamp
camouflaged in there!
Altec 515b Hollywood
Another puzzle piece were these bitchin crossovers.
The knobs spun with professional resistance.
Altec Model 19 2-way crossovers
The crooked stickers advertised real veneer.
One capacitor was smashed,
however a recap is typical anyway.
Altec Model 19 2-way crossovers
These horns copied the model 19 style,
using an altec 811 flared horn.
There's a ton of theories on which horn to use.
Altec 811b horns
Plans for the Onken cabinets are free,
and the build is very square.
No crazy angled cuts like Klipsch La Scalas.
I could pull this off...
Onken speaker cabinet diagram
Well the dream speakers bubble kinda burst.
I snapped out of it
after listening to a previous project.
Klipsch KP302
The Klipsch kp-302 speakers were cheap and quick,
and there sound is decently above good.
Klipsch Cornwall with Altec 511b
Our main house speakers are over the top too.
Klipsch Cornwalls with the 511 horn,
with the La scalas in the rear.
The main problems are the amps powering,
as well as the typical fuzzy grateful dead bootlegs,
are much better with speakers not as bitchin!
Kinda like the very top photo,
the guy is using a multi-$$ tube amp.
That's the trap!
Finding the weak links and the spiral starts...
So off everything went!
Now the plan is to rebuild the engine and transmission 
in the green 40.
It's been slippin and smokin a bit undeserved.
Or really a dozen other projects...
Custom Onken Speaker Cabinet
Monster speakers will be on hold...

22 April 2016

Anchors Away

Just a fun project
that took 2 weeks to prep for
and about 2 hours to complete!
I understand this guys dilemma,
docking is the most stressful part of boating.
Especially on a windy day,
and especially with a bunch of gawkers.
He tagged it hard to bend the 1/2"+ stainless!
Definite scar on the dock pylon.
It took the two weeks to come up with the plan.
The owner had an idea to fix it 
that wasn't going to work.
Just leave the thinking to me!
Good ole bumper...
Was made for this chit...
Another simple trick with the clamp party.
Just enough heat to soften,
didn't even turn red.
There ya have it.
Not perfect but not $1500 for a new one!

21 April 2016

Europe 1990 score

Probably one of the dumbest things I've done...
going to see these guys in Europe.
I blew my load on all the tickets
and a eurorail pass,
leaving $250 for the trip.
Yeah smart!
I survived partially 
by selling peanut butter and jelly sandwiches 
to the US deadheads at the shows.
A little piece of home...
Tough to find peanut butter over there!
I'll write more about that trip in the future...
Seeing the dead play in a 2500 person audience,
was totally worth it!
At the time I couldn't afford one of these cool posters.
It would've gotten ruined anyway!
I did scrounge one of these off a wall.
When I saw this pop up on eBay,
I had to jump on it!
Typically this poster is in a higher price range!
This c-note version is funny though...
Why pay $100 for a poster printed 
a year after Jerry Garcia died,
6 years after the tour?
C'mon now,
obviously a desperate attempt at money grubbing.
So yeah thanks but no thanks!
I'll stick with the faded looking 
possible knockoff version!
Perfect for the shop wall,
next to Mike Ferguson's 185 mph El
Mirage  grille shell!

18 April 2016

Pioneer SX-9000

I'm backed up here with posts to do!
Here's the stereo update...
Yes another one...
The newer black box NAD sounded clean,
crisp but kinda boring.
The wife even asked why it was there.
We rarely used the cool remote feature.
Bummer too was the quick fix 
was starting to glitch.
Remember that twisty wire?
The right side would occassionally disappear.

Well during a weekend lunch break,
what pops up but an old pioneer receiver.
I'll jump on anything that'll be in the c-note range!
Within an hour of the sellers posting,
it was already dissected on the table.
The insides were dusty,
and a quick vacuum cleaned things up.
Here's a big bomb drop.
I've officially peaked 
and started slippin down the slope.
There's something called the trombone slide,
that has nothing to do with playing music.
My close-up vision was a little fuzzy,
and leave it to the wifey to get on it.
Maybe too many hours on this little phone...
I'm wearing 1.25 readers right now!
Holey Chit...
I'm hesitant on getting throw-aways,
or a really pimp pair that I'll end up trashing.
Whatever the case having crisp vision again is nice,
especially when fiddling with this little chit.
Ok where were we...
Early Pioneer's used this funky speaker plug.
I tried modifying some spades,
and it worked great,
until I plugged it in.
The receiver sounded like a$$.
The seller said it was his pops',
and had it plugged in.
No way!
This needed the contact cleaner treatment big time.
huffing station
Nothin like a huffin Sunday morning!
Bring the whole family for the fun...
I ended up having to cut those spades off,
to plug the Sansui in temporarily.
Basically wasting the last spade connectors.
That's what I get for not testing it out first.
The new wire fix was easy,
soldering the wire ends flat with fresh solder,
making them more ridgid.
1972 Pioneer sx-9000
Here's a quick front view.
Dig the trick little secret door,
and the cabinetry level wood.
That distracts from the simple meter-less display.
All hooked up again after some burn in time,
and the early sound was back.
Definitely not as technical as the NAD,
more of a Bloody Mary morning haze.
Grateful Dead bootleg recordings 
are so much better through 70's solid state!
We tested it for flick night,
watching Star Wars 7,
one of the few movies we've seen on the big screen...
Hey what can I say,
other than standin in line for the original
Star Wars was passed to the next generation.
The movie was great,
but the AMC theaters sound system sucked.
We're used to getting knocked out by the explosions 
in our home theatre!
Pioneer SX-9000
For now the 1972 pioneer 
will be in the main position,
until the next one!

11 April 2016

4-Banger fun

A couple posts ago I wrote about
smashing my hands in the garage door.
Not my finest moment.
Here's the prequel to that lameness.
The Big3 swapmeet was coming up,
perfect time to move heavy chit around,
and unload it on other people.
In rare form,
I'd start a couple days early,
trying not to rush it as in past years.
I was going for the heavy hitters,
big ticket items instead of a ton of little ones.
Of course after an hour(s) of cleaning,
this transmission ended up back home!
At the last minute,
we decided to extract this 4-banger
from the future project truck.
let's pull a stuck engine out
45 minutes before the sellers gate opens!
We had the tools,
and the man-boy power...
If you look closely,
here's the accident waiting to happen.
The A-frame was too tall to get in the garage,
and the chain hoist was at a crazy angle.
We got it out no problem,
but even with a seized rearend,
the truck had inched up just enough.
We'd push it back later...
The A-frame is the best.
This is the 3rd or 4th year we brought it.
You'd think a model A Ford engine wouldn't last,
at a swap meet put on by the A Ford club.
It was like fishing,
a bunch of nibbles and finally a bite.
There's always a catch,
the guy was from Northern California.
Could he pick it up later?
Oh allright...
Guess I'll have to load it back in the van,
and unload it one more time...
We could have sold it 4 times after that!
The engine sat at the yard for weeks,
stuck right in front of the new driveway,
along with the cherry picker,
in the dirt.
Sloppy had actually made this deal,
and somehow never got the guys #!
Finally a stray call from a NorCal area code...
Ed and his wife drove all the way down
from Pleasanton in this luxury rig,
pulling a trailer only for this engine!
We joked how he could have rented a trailer here.
Crazy 4-banger guys!
Always good for a story...
We shoulda pushed the truck back though!