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I know that title is a bit heavy and all, but that's what it sounds like to my ears and to my brain and heart.
A little backstory....
Purchased this preamp/tuner after hearing it a friends. It blew me away to say the least running a MC240 (now mine after he bought a pair of MC30s) into Tannoy HPD speakers (now I have 15" Monitor Golds and they sound amazing in this combo).
I wanted to be safe so I found that Audio Classics had them for sale as restored by Richard Modafferi. This sounded great so I paid the $2000 USD and waited for it to arrive. It did...and it went 'poof' upon it first being turned on. This was then sent back to Audio Classics via UPS and then they found out that one of the screws that held the bottom on was too long and made contact with a diode and it shorted it out. Ok - back again after that....
Now it had no bass. I mean anaemic bass that would suggest that this preamp was wrong. Nobody could help me out with this and back in New York State (I am in Toronto I have to remind everyone) it was incredulous but they were willing to help me.
So me and a pal (the one who turned me on to Mac gear) drove down to AC and met with Modaferri and went back to his home where he changed out the two caps he didn't change out before - bass back.
Ok this continues on and I enjoy the unit for four years and then things start to go funny. A hum starts to happen and I take it to the local repair guys (they are old school repairmen) and they change half a cap out and put in a Mallory capacitor to replace the 50/50/50/50uf cap with 40/40/40/40uf 350v Mallory cap which I am wondering about and also they add a 1000uf cap underneath to aid in the half failed cardboard can next to the tranny. I am particularly uneasy with this and my tubes sound tinny. ALL OF THEM! (they did find and solve one great thing though - it appears that Modaferri didn't connect the fuse in line with the power so all this time I was using the 110 it didn't have either the fuse or the thermistor connected - kind of a fire hazard and completely not up to code and illegal I think in Canada with our CSA ratings!)
I start a thread here on the asylum and to my rescue comes Michael Samra, who offers me his time, his experience, and his kindness along with extensive patience and knowledge as well as a few good jokes and sets me at ease.
With some pictures back and forth and a few calls it is deduced that the other can cap is original and has to come out and the other Mallory is probably old stock or new old stock, but questionable in it's durability at this stage.
Recommendations for new diodes were made and a parts list was drawn up.
The parts were procured and two cans as well as two caps and a few diodes were ready to go.
A little about me at this time....I make music and I listen to music. I never learned beyond conceptually and theoretically (basic everybody!! very basic!) why things work, but I did marry a woman whose father taught her how to soldier as well as read a schematic. Her patience and eagerness in these things as well as being a totally awesome human works wonders and she has bee the one to put soldier to terminals in restoring the MC240 (a McShane/Samra creation) as well as helping me restore Dual turntables and crossover networks. SHE is the one who does the real work - I just dream...
So Michael was on the phone, patiently guiding us and mainly my wife through the process. Nothing blew up, and ya know what? It sounds way better than it ever has - the music is effortless and grain free.
He asked me the night we did this whether I heard (we were halfway there having put in the cans but not the caps replacing the back 1000uf/2000uf cap and the diodes weren't in yet) a difference for the better. I really couldn't - I was just happy we hadn't killed this thing!
But when the final parts went in, and a few choice tracks were played, I noticed that the above qualities were there in full force.
Michael says it will only get better as the caps burn in - I believe him. I totally believe him.
I am thoroughly pleased and when the spring or summer comes - (because nobody up here knows how to align the MPX!) we will drive to say hello and thank him in person.
More questions abound about dealing with checking in on the 240 for future reference, but I'll leave him alone for a while!
Really, this is quite the long thank you, but it's sincerely true - Sarah Vaughan is in the room right now. How much better does that get?
Nice story & a happy ending.It's very cool that your wife is into audio and has the skills to work on tube amps.Mike is certainly a expert and is a nice guy.I hope that you and your wife enjoy many happy hours listening to music together.
How many times has Mike helped others here? I know he helped me out more than once. When you love a hobby you share. Thanks MIKE!!!!
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