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Are you hearing what your supposed to hear?

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#1 Transistorized

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 11:22 AM

I recently acquired another boom box of the same make and model as one I already had. Right off the bat I noticed that it definitely seemed like a stronger performer than my other one. It's not quite like night and day but it just seems like it has a little more pep in it's step sound wise (if you know what I mean). I remember thinking, how could that be?
Then in another post Superduper stated this:

The sliders indeed often do feel cheap and sticky or loose, wobbly or grabby. But mind you this is after 35 years of wear and tear and deoxit or solvent treatments. However if you ever felt the controls of my rebuilt slider control boards, which is how I would imagine new ones would feel, you might opine differently. This is why I sometimes caution against making generalizations about Boomboxes, because our observations don’t always comport with those of all examples of the same models. Just mho.

This got me to thinking. Maybe the other "weaker sounding" box was used more. Maybe the environment it was in affected a few of the components or the capacitors, etc.. The speakers are in good shape so I'm ruling those out.


The reason why I think this is a good to know is, up until I heard this other box I had no idea that it had the ability to sound that good. I figured from the other one I had that that's just how they sounded.


So now I'm left to wonder, how many of us just have one box that they think is working perfectly but it has lost some of its mojo over the years. Might not be a significant difference unless compared side by side with a fully restored model.


Anyone else seem to have noticed this? Anyone confirmed this? Finally, I leave you with this thought. Have you heard another box just like ones you only have one of in your collection that you have noticed a difference? If so were you able to determine the cause?


It just lets a little but of air out of my balloon because knowing this now has left me to wonder how many other boxes I only have one of that I am not aware have lost their pep over the years because I have no one else's to compare it too.


I guess this is the importance of meets. It pays to listen to other boxes you already have just to see how yours compares. Now that I am aware of this, the first thing I plan to do is replace the amp capacitors and see if that allows the amp chips to punch those woofers with a little more authority.

#2 panabox1

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 01:43 PM

Good point. I’ve thought the same thing sometimes.

#3 MyOhMy

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 05:41 PM

This is all very interesting, I like your thinking on this.  While I have not (so far) compared models like for like, I have noticed very similar models in a range with vastly different sounds even though they share components.  I know this isn't what you were identifying within your excellent lines but it does make me think a little wider. 

#4 jimmyjimmy19702010

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 10:52 PM

I’d suggest that many vintage boomers won’t sound quite as a good as they did 37+ years ago. :-)

#5 Reli

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 11:19 PM

I have a Hitachi TRK-9140 that sounds like ass, no bass at all, but when I connected it to someone else's speakers from the same model, it sounded much better.  After examination I discovered that my speakers had extremely stiff and hard surrounds.  Perhaps they had been harmed by the environment somehow. 

#6 jimmyjimmy19702010

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 11:29 PM

It’s weird but all of the 9140/9150 speakers I’ve seen have all been super stiff. When I replaced the factory drivers in my Yamaha PC-8 with TRK-9140 drivers, I found the Hitachi drivers now sounded much, much better than they did in their original application.

#7 Reli

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Posted 26 November 2017 - 11:47 PM

When I'm talking stiff I mean can barely move.  They can't produce any bass with the power that box makes (which is only 7-8 watts per channel).  Someone must have spilled something on them or let them sit in the sun for years.

#8 jimmyjimmy19702010

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 01:22 AM

True story from a few years back:

Picture this: A friend of a friend brings me two big sharps for deck servicing:

1 x very sad looking, bashed to hell Street box GF-777 that’s been hammering out the beats non stop since it came out of the box..
1 x immaculate, minty gently used GF-777 that has seen only light use on a weekly or monthly basis.

Ok, which one is the performer with superior highs and solid, distortion free bass??

The minty one right??? Wrong!!!!
The bashed up beater is the performer here, the minty one is a dog with weak bass and flat highs!! :-)

So you never really know how a box will perform based solely on its’ appearance or its mileage. :-)

P.S Local member Dan had the opposite experience with his 2 GF-777s. His minty one sounds awesome!!! :-)

#9 Superduper

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 12:24 AM

Many of my boomboxes are present in my collection in multiples and I can say definitively that there often are variations in performance between examples of the same model.  My experience working on some boomboxes have taught me that the current condition often is not representative of how the units likely performed when new.  I've mentioned this already as an example but in every case of the M70 slider boards that I have reconditioned by disassembling the sliders and manually rebuilding them (as opposed to a deoxit recondition) and replacing the caps in the tone board, there has been a sonic improvement, sometimes dramatically from before and after.  On the other hand, some boomboxes don't seem to respond as dramatically either so that isn't the case with all boomboxes.  Also, some boomboxes are plagued with oxidation issues that seemingly will never go away for very long with deoxit treatments.  This includes some very popular and high end panasonic models.  In these cases, the only lasting solution is to manually disassemble the controls for a mechanical cleaning and hopefully some contact preservative since although longer lasting if performed in this manner, still will likely come back.  It has to do with the quality of the parts.  You can get an idea if you shop for electronic components such as switches from large suppliers.  A huge range of similar products are available to choose from but typically speaking the cheapest ones use tin contacts whereas high cost ones will use noble metals (or at least coated) so that are far longer lasting.  Needless to say, parts coated with noble metals are far more expensive to manufacture if for no other reason than the cost of the gold or whatever alloys they use. 


Bottom line is that one should be careful to judge or review a piece of gear that is 3 or 4 decades old by it's current performance and apply that opinion across the board because it's not necessarily true.  Opinions are of course our own but the problem is that this is after all, the internet and hit and run passerby's that seek information often take something they read (from the internet) and consider it the absolute truth.  It must be true after all, if you found it on the internet right? :lol: