My passion lies in vintage hi-fi and Rock or Beach fishing. I have done all kinds of projects that date back to the year 2000. I remember while in the US, during the 90's coming across a lot of old Western Electric gear in all those Florida and San Pedro Pawn shops. Unfortunately, at the time I did not have the means nor the resources to venture into this line, As my wants and needs were two different things at the time, I had to just look admire the equipment and move on.
A few years later in Australia I was travelling through a country town in Northern NSW and went past an old cinema. I went in and asked the owner if he had any thing left from the good old days. He looked at me and said - are you for real . He then took me to a back room and showed me a couple of things. I did purchase most of the old gear in that cinema and carried it back to Sydney. In the weeks to follow I started spending long hours and late nights finding out what,how, why, and when about old equipment. This, began my quest to learn and understand what all this old gear was about. So, in 1998 I started a new chapter in my life. This whole experience has basically been one thing " perseverance". If not for the application I would never have come this far in this field.
The next step was to find the old gear . I remember taking down about 152 contact details of cinemas in NSW and border Victoria and Queensland. It took me nearly 4 days to call all the places and ask if they had old gear. Well, I did manage to find gear in 4 cinemas. Not bad for a start.
The big find: In 2002 I came across another guy who was as mad as myself to buy and hoard all this old gear. We got on very well from the start. Together we both managed to hunt down all those old Wide screen instillations, in those outback cinemas. One particular cinema had a whole lot of 4pcs ta-4151 drivers, 10pcs 555, 12a and 15a horns, Lansing 815U, two complete set ups of 41,42,43 amps and a few other old pieces.
I never looked back after this. In the year 2002 I designed and made my first Field coil full range speaker. A 12" single cone speaker with aluminum voice coil and a big 5lb field coil , with a heavy and over built magnet structure. The speaker was very efficient. I mounted them in a pair of Goodman enclosures. After some initial tests I fixed a whizzer cone and this improved the highs greatly. I then wanted to experiment with High frequency drivers. As I had a lot of WE, Lansing, Tannoy, Klangfilm, Kalee and Siemens drivers, I found one thing in common with all these drivers. They all use Duraluminum diaphragms in their high frequency drivers.
Around the same time I stumbled upon a shop in the US that had about 20lbs of duraluminum foil exactly similar to what the vintage driver use. It was exactly what I was looking for in thickness and hardness. I purchased the lot and then started working with a tool and die guy that would make the dies for the various diaphragms. Unfortunately today every second person is making field coils and offering anything but the real deal. Bare in mind ,field coils with regular aluminum diaphragms sound completely different to field coils with duraluminum diaphragms. The sound lies in the material. Once you listen to a duraluminum diaphragm ,I doubt very much if you will ever settle for the regular aluminum diaphragms.
I have since made Lansing 801 and 288 type field coils with duraluminum diaphragms.I have also made Klangfilm KLL302 diaphragms that sound exactly like the original. I have offered some of my diaphragms to some of my close friends in South Korea, Hong Kong, and China who were very happy.
Moving on from here I started building amps, Before this the only amps I had built were a pair of 2a3 and 45 single ended amps.besides a Gibson style GA-5 guitar amp.
I started collecting and picking up large lots of tubes that come up for sale in shops and through dealers.
I have since built many amps ranging from the famous 300b , KT66 , EL34, EL84, 6AQ5, EL95, ECL82 and a few others that don't come to mind.I was fortunate enough to run into a few rare tubes so ,I am presently working on a pair of DET25's STC 5B/255M and 211 amps.
Around 2010: I met a metallurgist who shared a lot of his knowledge in metals. Over the next couple of days I spent a lot of time at his Investment casting factory learning the basics in investment casting ,pouring and smelting of metals. This resulted in the design of a 6.5" field coil full range magnet motor with two different quantities of cobalt and iron 20% and 48%. I still use these speakers in my home system. They have improved a lot since I fist made them. I am currently working on 12" field coil full ranges based on Tannoy and Philips cones using Pure Iron. But, I am forced to discontinue with the Permendur magnet structures ,due to increasing costs of electrolytic iron and cobalt. I have settled for just pure Iron instead.
2011: I met a skilled craftsman . This time I ventured out to build the western electric 24 horn. It took a lot of work and time but, we finally managed to build them to exactly the original ones. A lot of the initial ones were badly built and wasted. All the inside sections are made just the same. The weight of the horns are on par with the original ones as I have had quite a few of the original horns to compare. The horns are basically made exactly to the original ones. I have a pair offered for sale. I have sold a few pairs to some rather satisfied customers.
Late 2011: I designed two guitar amplifiers a ML-4 and ML-14. The smaller amplifier is designed around a single EL84 tube with a sound that is a mix between a Vox and Marshall amp. Just 4 Watts. The ML14 is based on the fender twin amp with a pair of 6V6's. Both amplifiers have been well received.
Through the years I have always been fortunate enough to find some very nice gear or parts that would be ideal for restoration work. I have picked up numerous mirrophonic baffles , a lot of Lansing, Klangfilm, Gaumont Kalee and Tannoy equipment.
To me the only way to get these prized pieces of sound equipment, is to go after it. I have no regrets for the number of years I have devoted to this field. It has taken its toll on my health . But,I have thoroughly enjoyed it and would not think twice if I had to go through this all over again. To a shikar (hunter) ,the moment in a life time is coming face to face with a Tiger in the wild . Well, coming face to face with a Western Electric Mirrophonic,a Lansing Shearer or a Klangfilm Euronor is the closest I will get to that Tiger in the wild.
Thanks for visiting my website. Michael De Magry
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Online store for vintage audio & Tube audio products