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DoctorSpuds

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About DoctorSpuds

  • Rank
    Stargunner
  • Birthday 07/24/1998

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  • Custom Status
    This body is under new management
  • Gender
    Not Telling
  • Location
    The Funny Farm, Oregon
  • Interests
    Moonlighting as an amature Sci-Fi writer and 'artist'
  • Currently Playing
    All sorts of things...
  • Playing Next
    I don't know. I'm not a psychic, you tell me...

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  1. I blame him directly for this recent surge in interest in vintage HiFi!
  2. I’ve always liked vintage HiFi, ever since I was a kid and had absolutely no idea what it was. Recently I’ve taken up refurbishing and selling old HiFi equipment, a ‘flipper’ in fewer words. I’m scooping up untested stuff that’s been left on the side of the road, or being sold at garage sales or that have been donated to local thrift stores, and I’ve found some excellent pieces of kit. From some gorgeous Polk Audio bookshelf speakers to a late 80’s Turntable, CD Player, Twin Tape deck, abomination from Fisher, I’ve seen some nice stuff, and stuck my fingers in some nasty places. I’m no stranger to what time does to the belts of a Cassette Mechanism, they eventually decide that they’ve had enough with being a single, solid, entity and melt back into the oil they came from. It’s a mess. Today I almost met my match when it came to a particularly pretty tape deck with a particularly nasty player. I picked up a matching pair of equipment, a Pioneer SX-4 Stereo Receiver and its accompanying tape deck, a Pioneer CT-3. They’re quite eye-grabbing, with a color I’ve never seen HiFi take on before, beige. They look like holdovers from the 1970’s, even though they’re from ’81. The Stereo works thankfully, no bad caps and the knobs weren’t even crackly, the tape deck was another story. It didn’t work, no big surprise, and upon further inspection I saw that the play button had snapped and fallen into the machine, at least it was still there. Let me just say this, I am not a professional, I am not an engineer, I am not a technician, I am just a kid with an unhealthy interest in vintage electronics, so when I say I rather bungled things is an understatement. The belts had perished, in a big way too. It was fairly clear this guy had been sitting in storage for a long time and when the previous owner had decided to turn it on for the first time in 30 years the near liquefied belts decided to say adios and go flying off, splattering wherever they pleased. It was a mess, maybe even a travesty depending on how you choose to define the word. Looking online I couldn’t find any official belt kits for this model of player, it doesn’t seem to be a remarkably popular machine. So… I made due. The first order of business what to fix the play button, which was a shambles, it was stuck in a small space which the rest of the buttons what was wholly inaccessible. So, I unfastened the entire tape mechanism from the chassis. This involved removing the door, which is screwed on with four tiny screws and as soon as it’s free you have to deal with the hinges flopping loosely around and falling out since they’re held in place entirely by the piece you just removed. Next is removing the matte black plastic piece from the front since it hides a screw or two you need to remove in order to mode the mechanism, there was also another hidden behind the door just for good measure. One you get those bits away you have free access to shift the mechanism about as you please, but be careful there’s still a load of wires to be cautious of and the power supply is worryingly close. After getting the play button back in place I had the joy of putting everything back together again. At the time I wrote off the thing as a lost cause and just wanted in good outward shape for some crazy person to clean up and repair later, but it seems I’m both fickle, and stubborn, and maybe a bit stupid. So, after I had put everything back together I decided to clean the mechanism or the belt remnants. An hour or so later, after poking with screwdrivers, dabbing with q-tips, and rubbing with rags and paper towels I finally have most of the evil gunge off of the mechanism. But I have no belts, so I used the next best thing, rubber bands. Pioneer seems to have put in an extraordinary amount of effort to make replacing the belts yourself has difficult as possible. Two of the three belts were no issue to replace since they were in the open air with nothing to prevent easy rethreading. The main drive wheel was another matter entirely, it was pretty much sealed in, sandwiched between the main tape drive and a metal portion of the chassis that made it impossible, at a glance to replace the belt without disassembling the entire mechanism. But, after a few minutes of angry staring you can just make out the most infinitesimal of gaps between the wheel and the chassis. You can try to get a belt around the wheel all day but you’ll never manage to do it, not without being able to get it through that infinitesimal gap, and the only way to do that was to pull it through by force. Now, there is a small plastic bracket clipped into the chassis, probably to catch the belt in case it slips off, that makes it near impossible the thread the belt from the top, you just can’t get any force to get the belt through. You have to go through the bottom. There is a flap of metal, specifically machined onto the bottom of the main body, directly underneath the main drive wheel, giving you limited access to the mechanism inside. You have to feed the belt up through the bottom of the machine and then pull it upwards and try to squeeze it through the gap in order to get the damn thing onto the wheel. But I did it, and holy fuck it works perfectly! Using standard size rubber bands out of a bulk bag the machine plays at the proper speed and with zero noticeable wow or flutter. I know that this is a temporary fix since the rubber bands will perish eventually, but that fact that I now know the sizes that make it work and how to replace them I don’t think it’ll be too much of an issue. Was this more trouble than it was worth? Yes. Was I stupid for doing this? Probably, but holy hell was I lucky. I’m pretty sure I did just about everything wrong in this scenario but still wound up at the best outcome. Small plug: I do sell stuff on craigslist so if you're in the Portland, Oregon area and are looking for a new vintage stereo, speakers, or a hifi repair project (I have a few that are beyond my help), drop me a line. I also sell more novelty items like CD changers.
  3. Sadly I had to replace my JVC Stereo due to some unfortunate technical issues, mainly the left audio track cutting out completely at random, and from the way the power supply was buzzing I didn't want to use it much longer anyways. Swapped it for a Pioneer SX-201 and even though there isn't a difference in sound there is a major one in peace of mind.
  4. Just got a HP Jordana Pocket PC. Gonna try to get doom on it!

    1. joeatari1

      joeatari1

      I don't see why not.  It's playable on a pregnancy test.

       

      https://www.pcmag.com/news/yes-doom-is-playable-on-a-pregnancy-test

       

    2. DoctorSpuds

      DoctorSpuds

      Problem is it's an old version of CE, 3.0.9348, and it doesn't look like there's a lot of surviving software for it let alone Doom ports. Most of what I find leads to dead webpages or forum threads from 2001.

  5. My cheap desktop sound system has gained two new members! I recently gave in to temptation and took a grand tour around the handful of antique malls and junk shops in and around Portland to get a general vibe on which ones I should keep an eye on in future. A few of them piqued my interest even though I didn’t wind up buying anything. One thing I did encounter more than a few times on my tour were old Realistic brand speakers, all for a bit more than I’d like to pay for them, especially untested as they were. Opportunity came-a-knocking though in the most unlikely of places however. Since my parents were in town we decided to take a long weekend up to Long Beach in Washington with my sister and the dog. I of course, being the type of person to relish being surrounded with junk, looked up every antique/junk store on the island. I found the motherlode! The North Coast Antique Mall, such a place has only ever existed in my wildest fantasies, but now it exists! On the outside it looks to be a dilapidated warehouse and when you enter you aren’t treated to a much better impression. Mountains of what could liberally described as ‘stuff’ is arranged in a pseudo-labyrinth in a relatively unfinished part of the building before you get to the front door. It was here where I found The Boys. Upon entering the store however your opinion of the place will immediately change from one of apprehension to one of amazement. A maze, an actual one this time, of antiques. At least 40,000 square feet encompassing floor, wall, and ceiling. It feels like a massive scavenger hunt, where anything goes and a flashlight is a necessity. Toys, clothes, movies, music, decorations, art, everything was there. Need a wall phone from 1898? They had three of them. Need a wind up phonograph that actually still works? They had one. Need a bartop touchscreen CRT casino arcade machine? Yup. A brassier from 1957, yup. At least 70 pairs of cowboy boot? Try a hundred. Everywhere you turn is a new nook to poke your head in, with at least four different flavors of dust to tickle your sinuses with and more, so much more. You could spend at minimum four days picking through everything but I only had a couple hours, but boy did I make the most of them. Ultimately I only grabbed The Boys. It was like they were following me, Realistic Minimus-7 speakers, at just about every store I went to. Relics from a bygone era when budget bookshelf speakers were made from solid metal, actually sounded good, and Radioshack was a major player in the tech industry. It was 10 dollars for the pair and at that price I couldn’t pass them up, all the other prices I’d seen were two to five times that price. I’d only looked up reviews of the speakers after I’d bought them and only then realized what a following Realistic brand speakers from this time had. Rich and stalwart were the two words that seemed to describe these things best which was interesting since my Klipsch Satellites are very cold sounding, favoring the high end and giving a nice amount of sparkle to the treble. I was very excited to test The Boys out. So how do they sound? Well, on their own they are indeed very rich sounding, to the point of getting a bit woofy on bassier tracks, which is a bit of a problem since I listen to predominately EDM music. The sound is by no means bad, the separation between instruments is quite good and the high end is fair, very warm speakers. But my stereo can output to two pairs of speakers at once at the expense of a bit of volume, and each pair specializes in opposite sides of the sound spectrum, the Klipsch’s on the high end and the Realistic’s on the low end. So how is it when they’re played together? Well, words can describe the feeling I got the first time I listened to the two at the same time but it would be easier to say I just giggled and made an evil little smile. The soundscape is immense, with the low end bass seeming to blast from the center with the high end dancing around the edges of your hearing. Here’s how they’re arranged on my desk, the deep, rich, Realistics are on either side of my monitor with the sparkly Klipsches placed higher up. On the rare occasion where I turn on my subwoofer it just feels like you’re enveloped in sound. I’ve used a few songs to test the overall sensation of just how these speakers sound and oh boy does it do them justice, even if they aren’t the highest quality tracks. These are just a few of the songs I’ve used. You’ve definitely heard of some of them but a few might not be on your radar. One of the most varied songs I’ve used is Nina Simone’s ‘Sinnerman’ and the separation is excellent. The hi-hats and underlying guitar riffs seem to be coming exclusively from the Klipsches while the piano and vocals seem to coming from the Realistics. The clapping potion in the middle of the song is amazing, it’s like you can actually point to where they’re coming from. Stellar. Another song is called ‘Quasi Motion’ from Kevin Macleod. It’s a bouncy instrumental with a handful of instruments, predominately percussion, with a guitar and bass keeping a background riff going and a high pitched woodwind instrument carrying the melody. The instrument separation is again excellent. The percussion is wonderfully layered not staying exclusively in the center of the soundstage which for the percussion interlude in the middle of the song simply enhances it more. A very catchy song and definitely my favorite from Macleod. ‘All Along the Watchtower’, specifically the Hendrix version. It becomes ascended. The stereo mix, though annoying to listen to with headphones, truly shines here. The three portions of the music, left, right, and center, all mix together and give a feeling of surround sound. Crisp, clear, catchy, a classic! Here’s an odd one, ‘Mantra’ from the group Material. It starts as a very atmospheric song, with low drones but quickly morphs into a calming experimental rock song with distant percussion a clear central bassline and some jazzy saxophone and clarinet running circles around you. A smooth, calming, song with just the barest hint of malice hanging around in the background sounds and drones. ‘Assassin’ by Bill Laswell. A chunky and percussive song that evokes images of the desert. The droning strings feel as if they’re echoing from the back of the room while the bassline feels like its right in your face. So many elements dance across the speakers that you get an excellent surround sensation. The percussion break in this song is otherworldly. So long instrumentals, we’re talking EDM now. One of my favorite EDM tracks to listen to is from a niche genre of hardcore EDM known at Frenchcore. ‘Up & Down’ by Boro Szypcioro hangs out an unusual amount in the high end for a song of this genre which normally is meant to flatten the waveform with the amount of sub bass present. The lyrics and frantic piano stay remarkably separate from the chunk monster bassline keeping the song from getting muddy. ‘Voodoo’ by Noisia. I’ve only just recently heard of these guys but oh man is their stuff phenomenal. These guys make the EDM equivalent of Death Metal and it’s pretty much a love or hate affair. This song is dark, it’s low, and it’s chunky, with gobs upon gobs of rough bass dominating the center. That doesn’t mean the high end is ignored, actually there’s plenty of representation, in the percussion of all things. The hi-hats and distant bass warbles just tickle your ears and really complete the experience. ‘MDMA’, specifically the Remix by Australian DJ S3RL. This rave song flits between spats of low end and high end with some elements juggling themselves between the inside and outside of the soundstage. The addition of the vocals make the song poppy and almost hypnotic. This is without a doubt my favorite song from S3RL and he’s got some serious bangers if you’re a fan of rave music. Coming out of left field a bit is ‘Ukigumo’ from Japanese musician Hige Driver. Ukigumo is a fast paced chiptune track with an unexpectedly epic melody and a real sense of scale. The instrumentation chosen is original sounding and lives rent-free in my head at all times. The separation is lesser with this song than with the previous two since much of the song lives in the mid-range and low end, but the arpeggios dance wonderfully from either side of the soundstage. This song is actually my go-to to test the quality of speakers as the arpeggios and higher end portions of the song are absent on weaker/cheaper speakers. Another Aussie DJ, SCNDL, is here as well with his song ‘Tombstone’. This percussive and gloomy EDM track has a catchy melody that initially takes you a bit off guard. Coupled with the thunderous yet smooth beat and ¾ timing it is a very unique song that I’ve listened to hundreds of times over. The soundstage, especially with the echoing slightly plucked melody, really make this song a treat to the ears. A veteran of the electronic music scene The Crystal Method has to make an appearance with their song ‘Weapons of Mass Distortion’. This song is a blend of electronic and heavy metal rock with a driving bassline and heavy percussion all set beneath a distorted guitar that just seems to come from everywhere. The amount of energy this song generates is immense evoking apocalyptic and dystopian imagery. And lastly, even though I could keep going of forever, is a little ditty known as ‘The Flute Tune’ by J-Cut. This goofy song’s main melody is a really catchy flute tune, hence the name, with incredibly aggressive drum and bass tracks underneath it. It really is a song best to experienced first hand if only for how strange it is, but goddamn if that melody isn’t an earworm.
  6. I am an unwilling passenger of my own legs.

  7. Snagged a couple of Realistic Minimus-7 speakers from a junk mall in Washington. I never though bookshelf speakers could sound so gorgeous!

    1. GoldLeader

      GoldLeader

      Raises beverage!  Here's to random goodness still weaving its way through our lives in this universe!

  8. It is hot, please send help.

    1256913715_Screenshot(79).thumb.png.9ccc3fdf206e0e3541550c9b63875004.png

    1. atari2600land

      atari2600land

      It's 111 now in Salem, OR.

    2. atari2600land

      atari2600land

      Now it's 115.

    3. retrorussell

      retrorussell

      Closed all my windows by 9AM this morning after leaving them open all night.  Makes a HUGE difference!  Still not ideal but feels WAY better.  Gotta put off sealing my deck for another day though..

  9. Watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture yesterday and promptly passed out. I thought people were exaggerating. 

    1. Show previous comments  20 more
    2. doctorclu

      doctorclu

      The comment about the Spock arc is so true.   From nearly purging himself of all emotions, to becoming more a balance of his vulcan and human self, and we saw in full swing in Unification (TNG) and the Kelvinverse movies.

    3. GoldLeader

      GoldLeader

      ^Well, he may only be half human,  but ya don't have to call him a spork!

    4. doctorclu

      doctorclu

      Well he multifaceted like a spoon and fork... and Vulcan and a human.   Perfect!  :)

       

      (Got that name edited.)

  10. Today I found out that whale songs are the scariest things on the planet.

    1. Show previous comments  7 more
    2. DoctorSpuds

      DoctorSpuds

      @Rogerpoco Well, I am a shallow bastard, I'm judging the boy based purely on its looks.

      As someone who has clearly immersed themselves in the many legged world of the insect, what insect would find itself on the patent pending 'not-nice bug' list? Is it an obvious choice, like a venomous/poisonous, bug (Spider, scorpion, wasp), or something that's just a pain to keep alive due to specialized environments, I know insects are pretty hardy but there's sure to be a few diva's out there.

    3. Rogerpoco

      Rogerpoco

      Oh, Assassin bugs aren't hard to keep, but you do NOT wanna get bit by one!

      Centipedes-'pedes with a nasty bite can really hurt you, they are insanely fast, and they are a bit difficult to keep.

      Tarantulas are funny-there are mean ones, and nice ones, by species, and also dangerous and not dangerous ones, based on species(none actually lethal.)

      Most New Worlds are "nice", but the ones that aren't are especially ornery, big show of defense to scare you-but they can't much hurt you, mostly the bite itself, not the venom.

      Old Worlds, however, are mostly referred to as "ornamentals", i.e., don't ever mess with it, it'll hurt you.

      They mostly run and hide, they seem aware of their potent venom, but if it tags you, you'll likely go to the E.R., haha!!!

      Scorpions, not quite the same, but similar-you can handle "Joe" over here, who kinda looks the same as "Pat" over there, but Joe won't ever sting you, and Pat will kill you.

      :)

    4. DoctorSpuds

      DoctorSpuds

      So, much like any other pet/companion with the looks being generally off-putting to many. Now I'm wondering if there's anybody crazy enough to try and be a 'wasp-keeper'

  11. Just found a SMB3 cart on the side of the road. How odd.

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. GoldLeader

      GoldLeader

      Were you walking?   Driving?  How'd you happen to notice it?

    3. DoctorSpuds

      DoctorSpuds

      Walking the dog. Folks like to put stuff out on the side of the road so that anybody can take their pick before it gets hauled away, a pretty effective form of recycling if you ask me. It was shoved down the side of a box partially obscured by an old receipt printer of all things.

      Not a bad find considering how vigilant folks are about 'the good stuff' around here.

    4. Cebus Capucinis

      Cebus Capucinis

      @CPUWIZ do you still have that photoshopped Westboro sign? GOD HATES NES - NES FRIES GOD LAUGHS :lol:

  12. Your consistency is consistently inconsistent

    1. x=usr(1536)

      x=usr(1536)

      Much like every point-of-sale card reader currently in use!

  13. Smoke alarms started chirping at 2 this morning, no stores open until 7. No batteries in the apartment, no hope, no sleep.

    1. Show previous comments  5 more
    2. DoctorSpuds

      DoctorSpuds

      They're hooked up to the mains as well, we took the batteries out and they still kept beeping. And beeping, and beeping, and beeping.

    3. GoldLeader

      GoldLeader

      If they beep without the batteries,    Umm ...  Then why do they even need batteries?

    4. GoldLeader

      GoldLeader

      I know,  I know..In case fire knocks the power out.

  14. Screw it!

    I'm takin' a nap!

    1. CPUWIZ

      CPUWIZ

      Who's?

    2. DoctorSpuds

      DoctorSpuds

      Nap's cancelled, I couldn't find one.

    3. Kiwi

      Kiwi

      Yeah, naps are hard to find.

  15. According to the Internet, Mario dies today.

     

    https://tinyurl.com/mario-is-dead-bro

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. DoctorSpuds
    3. carlsson

      carlsson

      If that is Japanese time, they're already into morning hours of April 1 which means he's dead now.

    4. Serguei2

      Serguei2

      I smell April Fools.

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