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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:34 pm 
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Location: Richmond Hill, ON, CA
I visit CAM quite often as I enjoy reading about all things relating to this audio hobby but I do not post unless I have something pertinent to offer.
This is one of those times that I feel that I must put fingers to keys and share my recent experience.
I will try not to bore all of you so I will attempt to be brief.
I had read several years ago about a small company in the States that was doing extensive modifications to some pieces of gear that I happened to own. These were a Phono Stage and DAC of the same manufacturer that were built in the 1990s. I also had the Preamp from the same manufacturer but didn't have that modded. I took the plunge and sent the units to the States. When I got them back I was pleased with the sonic results although not overwhelmed. I thought the sound was better but maybe I was just trying to convince myself. After a few years I got tired of my system and for the last few years I haven't even turned my main system on.
About one month ago, the audio bug infected me again and I decided to fire up the system. Yes it sounded good but.....you know what I mean. It was good but not where I wanted to be.
Then one evening I googled the name of the company that had done the mods and saw that their website was gone. I also noticed a post on another audio forum from someone who had looked at this company's mod work with very negative comments about the approach that had been taken.
This really bothered me. Not so much that someone else was negatively commenting but more so about the safety of the units as the power supplies had been worked on.
So I picked up the phone and called John Costanzo the owner of My Kind of Music who has always steered me in the right direction audiowise and told him the story. He said 2 words to me: Tom McCartney.
He told me that Tom is a very talented electronics technician and that Tom does all of his clients delicate electronic repairs.
I contacted Tom and brought him the 3 units. Tom works out of his home in Etobicoke and he has a fully equipped electronics lab in his basement. It was kind of like a scene from Back to the Future. I felt like Marty McFly visiting Doc Brown for the first time. I told Tom what had happened and read him the concerning comments that I had discovered and when his eyebrow went up, I felt like he was about to tell me about flux capacitors and jigawatts!
The last 2 weeks have been an education. Tom has emailed me constantly along the way explaining in detail in words and pictures what was wrong and what he was doing to correct, restore and improve where feasible. Interestingly, the Preamp that was still in stock form really impressed Tom. It measured virtually perfect and even after 25 years needed absolutely no work to be done - that is honesty.
I learned from the outset that Tom is not impressed by the brand name of a unit or how much it cost. Tom is only impressed when he opens the cover of a piece and sees well designed and engineered electronics - whether the unit cost $200.00 of $10,000.00. Tom was not impressed with the mods that had been done to my pieces - certainly on the opposite scale of the stock preamp which he thinks is a gem of a unit. He actually commented that the modder in the States actually had a very clever idea with the phono stage but just didn't implement it properly.
Tom is a nocturnal individual - I would wake up in the morning, turn on my cell phone and be notified of Tom's emails that he sent at 3 or 4am complete with discussion points and photos. It was actually quite exciting to wake up every morning!
So yesterday was the big day: The units were ready. I picked them up and couldn't wait to get home and hook them up.
I let everything warm up for awhile and then cued one of my favourite records that I know very well.
I was stunned - I mean really wowed. I am not going to write all the normal audio fluffy silly comments about pace, rhythm, lucidness, etc blah blah. Here is where I didn't have to be a DeLorean engineer to realize. The sound was breathtaking. Powerful, clean, musical and above all absolutely noise free.
The system noise was gone - no hiss or hum from the speakers whatsoever. Before bringing the units to Tom I noticed that there was always a hiss coming from the speakers. It wasn't terrible but it was there. Now - it is DEAD QUIET. I couldn't believe it. I actually turned the volume dial all the way up and no hiss - zilch.
You see, here is what I have learned: Audio is above all a science. Tom McCartney in my estimation is an electronics scientist. He knows electronics!! He knows how a piece is supposed to measure and if it doesn't measure right it is not going to sound right!! For the phono stage Tom built me an outboard power supply that he has perfected. He explained the benefit of having the power power supply separated from the main chassis. He adjusted the phono stage to match the specs of my cartridge.
He brought the DAC back to life. I know what some of you will say: It is a 1990s DAC - how can it sound good? Well, let me tell you that it rocks. He knows how to reduce and/or eliminate noise from the system' he is that good.
I am truly thrilled.
I want to thank Tom and also John Costanzo for his recommendation (BTW - no one knows analog like John!). I whole heartedly endorse and recommend Tom. The proof is in the sound pudding.
Here is Tom's #: 905 301 3074.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:47 pm 
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Interesting.

I did a quick search and noticed that almost all of your posts are related to the attempt to start the TAAS (Toronto Area Audio Society). No offense, but as a bit of an 'outsider' I have to confess that this kind of detailed promotion strikes me as a little unusual. Is this 'society-related' news? Just curious.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:10 pm 
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Philosophil wrote:
Interesting.

I did a quick search and noticed that almost all of your posts are related to the attempt to start the TAAS (Toronto Area Audio Society). No offense, but as a bit of an 'outsider' I have to confess that this kind of detailed promotion strikes me as a little unusual. Is this 'society-related' news? Just curious.


I did establish the TAAS many years ago and it was around for a few years but it no longer exists. It was fun while it lasted. The post that I wrote about Tom McCartney has nothing to do with that. It is my personal experience. I am not sure what purpose looking up my past posts had to do with this. I am not sure what "strikes" you as being "a little unusual". If attempting to write on a public audio forum about a positive experience which may help others in this hobby is unusual then so be it.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:36 pm 
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Spirit84 wrote:
Philosophil wrote:
Interesting.

I did a quick search and noticed that almost all of your posts are related to the attempt to start the TAAS (Toronto Area Audio Society). No offense, but as a bit of an 'outsider' I have to confess that this kind of detailed promotion strikes me as a little unusual. Is this 'society-related' news? Just curious.


I did establish the TAAS many years ago and it was around for a few years but it no longer exists. It was fun while it lasted. The post that I wrote about Tom McCartney has nothing to do with that. It is my personal experience. I am not sure what purpose looking up my past posts had to do with this. I am not sure what "strikes" you as being "a little unusual". If attempting to write on a public audio forum about a positive experience which may help others in this hobby is unusual then so be it.

Couldn't agree more. Just curious, that's all. Glad to hear about such positive experiences. Enjoy. :D

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:50 pm 
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Spirit84 wrote:
Philosophil wrote:
Interesting.

I did a quick search and noticed that almost all of your posts are related to the attempt to start the TAAS (Toronto Area Audio Society). No offense, but as a bit of an 'outsider' I have to confess that this kind of detailed promotion strikes me as a little unusual. Is this 'society-related' news? Just curious.


I did establish the TAAS many years ago and it was around for a few years but it no longer exists. It was fun while it lasted. The post that I wrote about Tom McCartney has nothing to do with that. It is my personal experience. I am not sure what purpose looking up my past posts had to do with this. I am not sure what "strikes" you as being "a little unusual". If attempting to write on a public audio forum about a positive experience which may help others in this hobby is unusual then so be it.

Good for you for saying so.
There is no point whatsoever except out of boredom to retrieve someones old posts and publicly quote them.

Congrats on your achievement of restoring and coming to terms with your existing equipment.
Many Cammers can benefit from your post as i know i will.
I have wanted the contact for a great electronics "guy" for many years and you have answered me with your post.
Again congrats and pay no heed to someone digging up the past.
There is no point to it.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:09 pm 
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Chipmunk1957 wrote:
Good for you for saying so.
There is no point whatsoever except out of boredom to retrieve someones old posts and publicly quote them.

Congrats on your achievement of restoring and coming to terms with your existing equipment.
Many Cammers can benefit from your post as i know i will.
I have wanted the contact for a great electronics "guy" for many years and you have answered me with your post.
Again congrats and pay no heed to someone digging up the past.
There is no point to it.

I respectfully disagree. That someone who doesn't post very frequently suddenly decides to post a very long, very elaborate post is somewhat unusual (which the OP him or herself also explicitly noted).

Enough said.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:12 pm 
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Whatever Phil...
I disagree with you.
Enough said.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:28 pm 
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never mind all that ^^^^^^

I just wanna know what the golden sounding equpiment is :D


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:22 pm 
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Location: Leduc, AB, CA
Phil, the proper word is "deviant". That said, the study of deviance is a branch of sociology, which, in a nutshell, defines deviance as that which is out of the ordinary. There are both negative and positive classifications. By definition, Albert Einstein is considered deviant. I would consider the initial posting to be particularly deviant, but in the best way possible. One seldom comes across a consumer so pleased to finally have such a happy result after so many years of frustration. I don't think you can fake that. His story rings true with me. Otherwise, he should go to Hollywood.

So, putting you in a brighter spotlight, Phil, I know that you like to listen to FM. I have a Magnum Dynalab T-102 and found it to be the only good sounding tuner I've ever heard. Then, because I moved out of the city, I decided to purchase the Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna because the ribbon antenna couldn't cover the added distance. The upgrade to the sound is stunning; I can literally hear the differences between the CD players used by the various stations when they spin a CD that I own myself. If you are like anyone else our age, family members have a hard time trying to figure out what to get you for your birthday, besides CD's. So drop some hints, or leave a copy of this post lying around the house and let us know what happens. I could go on gushing, but I'll wait for you . Tag, you're it!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:04 pm 
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Testimonial threads like this can be a good resource now and down the road. Audio Gear modifiers and fixers aren't growing on trees anymore. Some people in these threads have mixed feelings about the referral source, I don't know him. I feel like I've heard McCartney's name here before in a positive way. talking about the brand of gear can help as one guy suggested and also putting a dollar value on it. Not sure I understand why a dac would hiss, but the concept of outboarding the PS on a tube phono pre is a good one. I'll bet that cost though....

I guess in General, we have so many dodgy experiences in hifi, it's always good to hear about good guys who can fix and improve stuff. It's always a little more upbeat than hearing how magical the latest $1000 bong cable, fuse or power cord is.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:55 am 
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TwentyKHzPlus wrote:
Phil, the proper word is "deviant". That said, the study of deviance is a branch of sociology, which, in a nutshell, defines deviance as that which is out of the ordinary. There are both negative and positive classifications. By definition, Albert Einstein is considered deviant. I would consider the initial posting to be particularly deviant, but in the best way possible. One seldom comes across a consumer so pleased to finally have such a happy result after so many years of frustration. I don't think you can fake that. His story rings true with me. Otherwise, he should go to Hollywood.

So, putting you in a brighter spotlight, Phil, I know that you like to listen to FM. I have a Magnum Dynalab T-102 and found it to be the only good sounding tuner I've ever heard. Then, because I moved out of the city, I decided to purchase the Magnum Dynalab ST-2 antenna because the ribbon antenna couldn't cover the added distance. The upgrade to the sound is stunning; I can literally hear the differences between the CD players used by the various stations when they spin a CD that I own myself. If you are like anyone else our age, family members have a hard time trying to figure out what to get you for your birthday, besides CD's. So drop some hints, or leave a copy of this post lying around the house and let us know what happens. I could go on gushing, but I'll wait for you . Tag, you're it!

Thanks for the clarification and the recommendation. When I used the term 'outsider', however, I wasn't referring to the original poster but to myself as an 'outsider' of the Toronto Area Audio Society and the audio scene in Toronto in general (though I may also be an outsider in many other respects as well :lol: ). I honestly wasn't calling the OP an outsider and sincerely apologize to the OP and everyone else if that's how it came across. :oops:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:11 am 
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I learned over the years that some us CAM'r spend more time posting to forums than we do listening to our stereos. It's all just opinions but there is some irony in the fact that even I have noticed, at times, I will spend more time reading posts and posting on this site than listening to my stereo. I also mean just spending more time on the internet in general. Now that's odd or unusual to me.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:45 am 
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I am one who rarely posts, and tries to limit how much listening time I spend reading forum posts. That being said I have learned a lot reading posts (not the least of which is to be discerning!) and find the OP's story to ring true. I also want to second his praise for John at My Kind of Music. I recently had a very positive interaction with John that resulted in my purchase of a piece that provided the upgrade I was looking for in my system at a price point that suited my budget, and included substantial discussion and advice along the way.

I have had a similar experience in the finding a gifted technician to repair 'that special piece' that you don't want to take to just anyone, and can attest to the great relief and satisfaction that brings! Unfortunately my angel technician does not operate commercially and it was a one time referral for me. Cheers!


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:32 am 
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Spirit84 wrote:
I will attempt to be brief.

I think your attempt failed! :lol:

Just teasing, actually was good to read about your experience. :D


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