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Marcoss
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Joined: 15 Jan 2013
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:48 am    Post subject: New to vintage speakers Reply with quote

Hello there people,

If you dont like a read, then scroll down for the short version Smile

Always when i visit my colleague i am just stunned by the sound quality he has with his setup. I really love the warm bass. Last week i just needed to know what speakers he was using, and guess. Yes 104ab. By knowing that i was getting the urge to look them up for availability on the net. It astonished me that the speakers are still easy to obtain. Also for a correct price. Now for sure i had to have them! Mailed to the guy that was selling a nice pair and agreed on a fair price, the only problem was that i couldnt test them. We made a deal that if they didnt work i could bring them back without a hassle, fair enough. I took them home with me. Yesterday i visited my colleague again and dragged the speakers with me for some testing. And i can tell you with my little experience, they sound really good! Very Happy

This adventure made me look up more about the Kef 104ab speakers and thats how i discovered this forum. A forum were everyone loves kef speakers. What more can i wish for. I can share the love for these speakers and even use the knowledge that is present here.

I guess you have noticed i am fairly new to vintage speakers, thats why i am hoping you guys can help me forward. The only thing that i have sofar are the 104ab speakers. I am not in a rush (allthough i want to!), as i am moving to live on my own i a few months. So thats the time i have to find me a propper setup.

Do you maybe have suggestions, i am looking for some affordable amps. I think it will do the speakers right if the amps will be vintage aswell. I really like volt meters (maybe some have the same). So these need to be on the amp if possible.

I am thinking about philips, as my colleague has philips amps, and i really love his sound. I dont know his amp serials. As he said the amps are rare so i am not even going to bother trying to get those. I dont have more experience with other amps so i really could use some help. And suggestions were to look for.

Other question. The guy that i bought the speakers from did have some aluminium foil in the fuse sockets. Ofcourse that was the first thing i removed. I noticed this because there were no fuse caps on the fuse sockets. I asked the guy that i bought the speakers from if he had them lying around somewere, but unfortunately, he does not have them anymore. A visit to the local electric store didnt give me much result either, other then some cheap 1,5mm speakerwire and a few banana plugs Smile.

Also a search on the internet didnt give me any result. It seems the measurements are very difficult, anyone any tips on fuse caps?

Thanks for the read sofar! hope you can foregive me for my gramma and errors in the text. Hoping to enjoy the speakers for as long as possible!

Short version:
Hey guys, anyone any suggestion on affordable vintage amps that go well with 104ab speakers (pref with volt meters) and were the hell can i get some fuse caps for my beautys? thanks!

Photo time:










[/b]


Last edited by Marcoss on Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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Marcoss
Introductory Contributor


Joined: 15 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And of course testing pics! my colleague got me into this Razz
(taken with phone)






3rd pic is how i bought it Confused.

4th pic is a original fuse cap that i am looking for (or something else that fits), seems the measurement what i am looking for is around 8 mm with the threat included. Anyone any pro tips on how to get replacements for my speakers?
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Richie
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Joined: 06 Nov 2010
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Location: Northamptonshire

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the 104 ab club, rightly or wrongly I bi-passed the fuses on mine, along with the contour control for better sound. Also re-capped the the x-over with Solens.......they sound fantastic. As for amps, there is plenty of vintage amps from Nad, Rotel Arcam and so on that are reasonably priced that will work well with the 104's, I wouldn't worry about volt meters......but each to their own.
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audiolabtower
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fuses are standard 20mm sizes eg here
http://www.maplin.co.uk/20mm-glass-quickblow-f-451

My 105 treble fuse was 500mA quick blow, the T27 fuse might have been the same or slightly smaller since the T52 has higher power handling than the T27. However Kef chose the fuses to match the thermal characteristics of the tweeters so you may only find an approximation nowadays anyway. I also bypassed the fuses in my 105s. They were mainly there for high speed tape spooling accidents, so common sense on the volume control should not need them. If you keep them metal polish the ends every year for good contact. Dump that silver foil.

The aBs will stand a bright amp much better than the original 104s. I used a Quad 405 many years ago, but there are more resolving amps around since. A good Audiolab 8000 60W version, or Rotel 840 or 860 type series, or mid range power Arcam or Nad will give nice stereo and have plenty of grunt in reserve. An amp with good bass control/damping is needed because of the ABR and the 104s are very inefficient compared to todays' speakers so a minimum of 50W rating is recommended. You are more likely to blow the tweeters by clipping a 20W amp than occasional clean peaks from a 100W amp. Forget volt meters.

If you are very brave wrap some sticky tape around you finger (sticky side out) and try and v - e - r - y gently tease the dents out.
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Marcoss
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richie, how did you know it was better to re-cap the cross-over? Or is that a giving seeing the age of the speakers? I really like to make the speakers original first. Also want to make sure that friends dont blow the speakers by mistake when checking how loud they go Rolling Eyes. So i dont want to bi-pass the fuse.

audiolabtower, yep i have read about the fuses, i have an adress were i can order 5x20 0,5A fast fuses.

Would a Rotel RA-913 do? or is that to much? Just love the looks of it. Really like to go for this one if it fits well and if i can get a hold on it.
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speakerguru
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Joined: 18 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fuses are a standard physical size "20mm" but that's all that was standard about them. See this thread: http://www.hifiloudspeakers.info/speakertalk/viewtopic.php?t=591&highlight=fuse+400ma

400mA(T) made by ELU Elektro Union GmbH in the 70s were the only fuses with a thermal time constant which matched the T27.
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speakerguru
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

audiolabtower wrote:
If you are very brave wrap some sticky tape around you finger (sticky side out) and try and v - e - r - y gently tease the dents out.

You can pick out the woofer dustcap with a needle or pin and then reseal the tiny hole with any adhesive.

I wouldn't try sticky tape on a T27 diaphragm. You're more likely to make things worse. The "kiss of life" is the your best bet. Wet your lips, pucker up and do your very gentlest sucking 'til you hear or feel it pop out.
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speakerguru
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can't find caps, change the whole fuseholder.

This http://www.rapidonline.com/Electrical-Power/20mm-Finger-Rls-Fuseholder-10a-250v-26-1577/?sid=518b7988-a61f-4160-963c-fdeb23d7d221
looks a likely candidate.
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Richie
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Joined: 06 Nov 2010
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Location: Northamptonshire

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marcoss wrote:
Richie, how did you know it was better to re-cap the cross-over? Or is that a giving seeing the age of the speakers? I really like to make the speakers original first. Also want to make sure that friends dont blow the speakers by mistake when checking how loud they go Rolling Eyes. So i dont want to bi-pass the fuse.


It was just reading stuff on this forum and talking to some of the guys suggests that they should be changed, they would either be leaking or their values would have drifted.
I checked mine and they weren't leaking, I changed them anyway with a kit from either Wimslow or Falcon (cant remember which) they are the same values as the originals but also better quality.
I did one speaker first, to do an A - B comparison, I was disappointed at first because there was very little difference, but over the weeks and maybe even months the one "treated" speaker slowly but surely started to come alive .....I think this was the burn in factor, so then I did the other one and now have a singing pair of 104 ab's.
They really do sound nice but at some point I will upgrade as they are a little bass shy.....in my view.
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Garethwatkins
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Joined: 18 Nov 2011
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Location: Tring, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Marcoss.

Welcome to the world of KEF speakers. As you have discovered the 104aB's are a great value speaker. At present I am running them from a 1980 Yamaha CR620 Tuner/amp. It's not a powerhouse but within its limits it sounds very nice indeed. One thing I recommend, get them off the ground. I find a couple of large plastic storage boxes are about the right size. Just need to get something a bit more aesthetically pleasing.
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audiolabtower
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marcoss wrote:
Would a Rotel RA-913 do? or is that to much? Just love the looks of it. Really like to go for this one if it fits well and if i can get a hold on it.


60W is certainly about right, but how old is it? It looks like it was the standard far east offering before Rotel got Stan Curtis to re-design the amp range with the latest (at the time) developments in circuitry and components? This really improved the range around the time they dumped the silver Japanese look and went all black. IMHO the older Rotel stuff was no comparison in sound quality to the British design input stuff that came later, and a 60W rated later design is likely to be much more powerful into real loads than the earlier stuff. If swinging needles are your no 1 priority the it is as good as anything I suppose.
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Marcoss
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Joined: 15 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey all, thank you all for the intrest and the posts! It is a really warm welcome. Learned alot already just this day.

Quote:
The fuses are a standard physical size "20mm" but that's all that was standard about them. See this thread

Speakerguru: As you mentioned in your link. I wasnt aware of that yet. The only thing i have read sofar when looking for the correct fuse is that ppl advice a 500mA (strange huh?), so to be sure its better to have some 400mA Fast in instead of the 500mA fast. I guess these will be perfect then:

click to show fuse at store

I will try the "kiss of life" and let you know Wink. i will leave the woofer dustcap as it is though.

Yes, i will have to replace the fuse holders. As a search for few days and emailing with KEF Sales & Marketing Support Netherlands didnt give any result. Those you linked i returned at the store. They are really cheap quality. I'll seachs for some more decent ones.

Quote:
they would either be leaking or their values would have drifted.
I checked mine and they weren't leaking, I changed them anyway with a kit from either Wimslow or Falcon (cant remember which) they are the same values as the originals but also better quality.

Richie: Ah okey, but the problem is, i dont even know how to test them. Is that easy for me to do when i have a setup and all? Do i use a program for testing or just play different sounds and lissen? Or just use a multi-meter? i'm so new to electronics but hell, i'd like to learn more about it, tell me more! I guess the kits you bought were pre-build and pre tested? can you maybe give me a link? What are your exact plans, upgrade like totally new speakers or rebuild them again?

Quote:
One thing I recommend, get them off the ground.

Garethwatkins: Hey Gareth! thanks! And yes, i totally did discover the 104ab's. Speaking about putting them up. When i was testing my speakers at my colleague. His speakers were on a stand, mine on the ground. We both could hear a diffrence. The 2 speakers on stands sounded more... open.. (?) you could hear a diffrence in quality. I am already trying to get a hold on 2 stands. You wont do the speakers right without them! Thanks for pointing it out!

Quote:
but how old is it? It looks like it was the standard far east offering before Rotel got Stan Curtis to re-design the amp range with the latest (at the time) developments in circuitry and components?

audiolabtower: the Ra-913 is made in 1979, i just picked it because of his looks. If i can do better then i will not take them ofc. I guess i just need a little more guideness of what to look for. There are so many diffrent ones. No, volt meters are not my prio. If i can get more value for money then i go with that. But i have to start somewere right? Very Happy, and why not start with what i like. though i'd like to stay in the in the range of 1970/1980, Vintage is more the word, am i right? Any more suggestions, as the rotel 840 or 860 you metioned is very hard to obtain.

The looks of a marantz is also very nice, maybe ppl have suggestions in this brand? or experiance with them?
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Marcoss
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As i looked into Garethwatkins his amp i found out about the Yamaha Cr-1020

specs:
1977-1978
2x 70W (8 Ohm, 20...20Khz)
Both channels driven (1Khz) : 2x 75W (8 Ohm)
Power bandwidth (IHF) : 10Hz...50Khz (at 0,05% THD)
Damping factor (1Khz) : 40 (8 Ohm)

Is this to much watts? And what do you guys think overall about this amp?
Same again, i like the looks, and dont know if it will do good with the KEFs. But the revieuws on the internet are good. And i guess these are still obtainable. I like the fact its a all-in-one also. or am i better off with a pre-amp and a end-amp? Or however 2 amps are called separately... Smile

Need your help!
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speakerguru
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Joined: 18 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marcoss wrote:
The only thing i have read sofar when looking for the correct fuse is that ppl advice a 500mA (strange huh?), so to be sure its better to have some 400mA Fast in instead of the 500mA fast. I guess these will be perfect then:

No. The Elektro Union fuses speced for the T27 are marked T400/250V. "T" in German is "traag" which would be slow or anti-surge. They are glass with visible tiny springs at both ends of the fuse wire. They are not opaque ceramic HRC types.
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Richie
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Joined: 06 Nov 2010
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Location: Northamptonshire

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With regards to the caps i didn't test them, for what they cost I just ordered new ones here

http://www.falconacoustics.co.uk/replacement-capacitor-sets/replacement-capacitor-kit-kef/kef-104ab-replacement-capacitor-set.html

Those are the Alcaps but for a bit more money I got the Solens (better quality) as recommended on this forum. They are the same, or near as damn it values as the originals so should keep that lovely Kef sound.

I also re wired the speakers internally with silver wire and put some good quality G/P binding posts on.
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