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2023 Recap, Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday!

Merry Christmas and many thanks to my customers, subscribers, friends and family!

Friends, it’s that time of the year again! Welcome to my 2023 recap where we look at a few numbers and enjoy a gallery of wonderful vintage hi-fi equipment. A massive thank you to all who’ve helped make 2023 another fantastic year and yet again, our busiest yet. Here’s hoping the holiday period is a happy and healthy one for all. Thanks, Blanche for the beautiful feature image!

As usual, Liquid Audio will close for a much-needed break and reopen later in January. The dates are subject to change, depending on how I’m feeling (more on that below) and progress with some larger projects.

Liquid Audio is closed from 23 December 2023 – 15 January 2024.

summer christmas

Stats

Yet again, contrary to my expectations and given my reduced written output, site traffic continued to grow with another best-ever year. So far we’ve never gone backwards. I know it has to happen eventually, but not this year. Here are the final stats for 2023:

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The final result, updated 31 December. Again, I’m surprised by the growth but the content is fairly unique.

2023 saw over 370,000 views from nearly 200,000 visitors, up almost 50,000 views or 15% from 2022. The number of unique visitors was the most interesting stat though, with a 43.7% increase over 2022. There are a lot more people visiting, I just need to write more articles to meet the demand for content!

We also had some serious engagement from readers and nearly 270 comments on articles alone, which is awesome. December ended up being the biggest month in 2023 with 37,112 views, closely followed by July with 36,060. My YouTube channel is also growing, but only slowly, and that’s due to the lack of video uploads this year. A big thank you to all who’ve visited and watched my videos, I added a few music and motorcycle videos to the mix for this year.

The most popular articles and pages on my site include those on the Quad 405Marantz Model 6300, Mission Cyrus One, Yamaha NS-1000, Technics Sl-23 and Sansui AU-919, Kenwood KD-500/550, plus the Hall of Shame of course. Various FAQs including those on Old CD Players vs New, and Playing CDs in DVD Players, (heaven forbid) have seen huge stats this year also! This reflects the growing resurgence of interest in physical media like CDs. The largest number of viewers is once again from Australia, USA, Great Britain and Canada, in that order.

Growth & Evolution

You may have noticed website changes and I’m always working on things in the background to improve the UI and general user experience. Making the site easy to navigate is a focus, as is building the content and FAQs. The FAQs section has seen big growth with several FAQs being linked in hi-fi forums, as has happened with some of my articles, becoming some of my most viewed content as a result. Thanks to anyone who linked to any of my content, much appreciated.

There’s a growing demand for factual, science and experience-based knowledge rather than opinion in the classic hi-fi community, and thank goodness, it’s been a long time coming. The desire for knowledge drives everything I do at Liquid Audio and the science teacher part of me will always want to educate and help others. It’s a philosophy baked into this website and business.

My advisory service is part of that and has also gained traction. You can think of it as being very much like a visit to the doctor or a counsellor. You come out better than when you went in, hopefully having learned a few things that will improve your system, maybe even pointing in a new and better-informed direction. Judging from the feedback, people certainly appreciate the service.

The only caveat is the time and energy required to run the service means the service needs to pay for itself, like professional services offered by specialists across the board. Most folks have been incredibly supportive of this commonsense understanding, but there will always be a few who aren’t and this is okay. We may lose a few along the way but the customer-base as a whole grows stronger.

Health Update

Some will know that I’ve been dealing with chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS, on and off since around 2018. I have good days where I’m able to get a lot done, followed by crashes where I can hardly get out of bed. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t incredibly frustrating and perplexing and I estimate it cost me around three months of work time in 2023, significantly impacting my productivity.

I recently (November 2023) sought and received a second diagnosis after having just about every test and scan you can imagine, just to make sure there wasn’t anything else I’d missed. Nothing stops me and this won’t either, but it has slowed me down and for an ex-marathon and regular half-marathon runner, it’s been especially tedious. Here’s to ditching this thing completely, and soon.

Special Thanks

Thanks as always to Perth’s best retailers, in particular Dan, Pierre & Jim, Simon & Tony, and Kim at Addicted to Audio, Revolution Turntable, Douglas Hi-fi, and West Coast Hifi Joondalup respectively for their ongoing support and for appreciating that work done well is infinitely more useful than just work done.

Thanks also to my most excellent colleagues, friends and ‘repair brothers’ Jason @ The Speaker Doctor and John @ JW Electronics. These gentlemen do excellent work and care about the details, so please support them too. There are too many people ruining hi-fi equipment we love and I’m on a mission to stop that, in case you haven’t noticed.

I’d like to acknowledge those who’ve donated equipment they no longer want or need. We resurrect vintage hi-fi gear so that others might have an opportunity to enjoy it after a little TLC. Many thanks for supporting this endeavour and thanks to those who’ve purchased any of this equipment.

Lastly, I’d like to acknowledge all my customers and website visitors and welcome the many new readers and subscribers in 2023. That’s probably you reading this right now, so THANK YOU for supporting Liquid Audio. Specialist small businesses need people like you 😊

2023 Equipment Gallery

We’ve arrived at everyone’s favourite section, the 2023 equipment gallery! I worked on a fairly typical array of standard through to end-game equipment in 2023 and this is a snapshot of what I found most interesting. I think you will too. You’ll find the largest number of amplifiers, preamplifiers and tuntables, given that these make up most of what I work on, with a sprinkling of CD players, and cassette decks for your enjoyment.

Amplifiers, Preamplifiers & Receivers

I’ve written a little about each piece, for context and if you don’t find your equipment in the 2023 gallery, my apologies, there is far too much to include all of it and I have no doubt forgotten pieces that deserve mention here. There is so much classic hi-fi goodness in this group that is hard to know where to start, so let’s jump in with the obvious one.

Sansui BA-5000
I’ve become somewhat amplifier-focused these last few years, so alongside turntables, tricky repairs involving big, complex pieces like this stunning Sansui BA-5000 power amplifier are commonplace at Liquid Audio. The BA-5000 is anything but commonplace, an article on this one coming soon, that’s a promise, and I’ll be taking a look at the matching CA-3000 in 2024, too!
Accuphase E-202
I repaired and overhauled a bunch of E-202s in 2023, it’s one of my most commonly worked-on amplifiers.
Accuphase E-202
Another beautiful Accuphase E-202.
Kenwood L-1000M
The stealthy and beautiful Kenwood L-1000M power amplifier is part of a complete L-1000 system I worked on for a lucky owner this year.
Kenwood L-1000C
The matching Kenwood L-1000C preamplifier is a stunning piece inside and out.
Accuphase E-302
As one of Australia’s busiest (if not the busiest) independent legacy Accuphase repairer, this E-302 is one of many Accuphase pieces I worked on this year.
Pioneer M-90
This gorgeous Pioneer M-90 is nearly finished, thanks to her patient interstate owner for waiting. This one has been repaired, another case that was given up on by other repairers I believe.
Sansui AU-9900
Few amplifiers are as beautiful as this Sansui AU-9900 I repaired and serviced. Just look at her!
Accuphase P-360
OK, this one is more beautiful, to my eyes anyway! This stunning Accuphase P-360 is beautiful sonically and in terms of build quality and engineering. She received a full overhaul and has recently become part of the Liquid Audio reference system.
Onkyo Integra A-819RX
I rarely work on Onkyo gear but this Integra A-819RX amplifier repair was a technical and very rewarding one. Her owner is also thrilled.
Kenwood KA-8100
What a vintage classic, it was a pleasure repairing this beautiful Kenwood KA-8100 for her very lucky owner. Imagine trying to replace this with modern plastic junk..? They just don’t make them like this anymore, sadly.
BAT VK-500 BatPak
This is called a Bat Pak and it’s the dual 120,000uF power supply from a BAT VK-500 MOSFET power amplifier. This amplifier desperately needed some love, despite having recently been serviced. The original capacitors on these boards were rattling, I kid you not. This had been completely missed.
Marantz 2330
Gorgeous Marantz 2330 receiver. What else is there to say about this stunning piece?
Luxman C-10M
A true high-end heavyweight, I serviced this Luxman C-10M preamplifier for her fantastic owner in 2023. This is one of the very best preamplifiers available, at any price. You can take my word on that, line-level only though unfortunately.
Accuphase C-280V
This, on the other hand, is a fully integrated preamplifier, with a killer phono preamplifier built in. In my opinion, the Accuphase C-280V end-game preamplifier is even better than the Luxman and one of the two C-280Vs I worked on in 2023. These are right at the top of the list of the best preamplifiers ever made. I added one of these to the Liquid Audio reference system in 2023.
Luxman L-550
Another gorgeous Luxman L-550 class-A integrated amplifier, this one was a very involved repair including output device replacement with genuine originals. She will be for sale in 2024 and is one of the best-sounding integrated amplifiers ever made.
Quad 405
Quad 33
The timeless Quad 405 power amplifier and Quad 33 preamplifier.
Pioneer SA-9500II
I worked on many lovely silver Pioneers this year including this stunner Pioneer SA-9500 II integrated amplifier.
Accuphase C-200
I repaired this beautiful Accuphase C-200 preamplifier.
Mission Cyrus Two
I repaired and overhauled this very cute Mission / Cyrus Two integrated amplifier.
Sansui AU-707
Pieces like this lovely Sansui AU-707 are commonly seen on the bench at Liquid Audio.
Luxman SQ-505
Classic Luxman SQ-505 repair and service…
Pioneer SA-8800
Few amplifiers are as beautiful as this Pioneer SA-8800, repaired and serviced.
Pioneer SA-9800
This stunning Pioneer SA-9800 is one such piece, though to be fair, she’s about as beautiful as the SA-8800!
Sansui AU-X1
Sansui TU-X1
Here’s one that will annoy and delight Sansui lovers in equal measure – two lovely end-game pieces from my customer Sansui Rob’s collection.
Musical Fidelity A5 CR Power Amplifier
We saw a bit of MF gear this year including this very nice Musiccal Fidelity A5 CR power amplifier, here for repair.
Luxman M-4000
The beautiful Luxman M-4000 came to me for a successful repair after unfortunately being botched elsewhere. The result is all that matters though.
Perreaux SM2
The beautiful, understated Perreaux SM2 class-A preamplifier.
Quad 909
This lovely Quad 909 power amplifier came to me for repair earlier in 2023.
Hafler DH-500
The Hafler Five Hundred DH-500 MOSFET power amplifier is one of the classic ’80s power amplifiers and packs a real punch, more so after a complete restoration.
Pioneer SX-650
This simple, stylish Pioneer SX-650 receiver came in for repair and service.
Roksan Kandy Integrated
My repair of this Roksan Kandy integrated amplifier was a technical one, but very satisfying.
Sansui AU-517
Look at this sweet Sansui AU-517 integrated amplifier I repaired and serviced. There isn’t a bad model in this entire series.
Audiolab 8000C
Audiolab 8000P
This pair of UK legends, the Audiolab 8000C preamp and 8000P power amp came in for overhaul and repair earlier in 2023. These are great pieces from the UK, much better than many and highly recommended. You’re welcome.
Luxman 5L15
Lastly, what better way to end this amplifier section than with a piece that encapsulates why people bring their equipment to Liquid Audio? I was very glad to repair this gorgeous Luxman 5L15 integrated amplifier that had visited a known bad operator who just replaces capacitors (badly) and isn’t able to repair the actual issues with gear like this. This was a technical repair, but one that I’m pleased we were given the opportunity to complete.

Cassette Decks

Sansui SC-1330
This stunning Sansui SC-1330 received a major service and her Sansui-crazed owner loves her!
Marantz SD-4000
Likewise, this beautiful Marantz SD-4000 is serviced and running beautifully! Sorry I didn’t include more cassette decks this time, but I am limiting my cassette deck intake.

CD Players & DACs

Accuphase DP-90
The incomparable, legendary, system improving Accuphase DP-90 CD transport. This is next-level equipment and therefore joined the Liquid Audio reference system in 2023.
Krell KAV-250CD
This Krell KAV-250 CD is here from Queensland, thanks, Brett!
Meridian G-07
Repairing this “unrepairable” Meridian G-07 CD player was very satisfying.
Kenwood L-1000D
And what a great way to finish, with this stealthy Kenwood L-1000D, a true heavyweight CD player! They don’t make equipment like this anymore.

Turntables

Pioneer PL-70
This drop-dead gorgeous Pioneer PL-70 came to me via her new owner, from Japan, for a full set-up and service. Want to know what a really good turntable looks like..? It looks like this PL-70.
Technics SL-1000
Technics SP-10
Fidelity Research FR-64S
Fidelity Research FR-7
Or this, which is even better, a beautiful Technics SL-1000, the turntable part is called a Technics SP-10. I set this one up with a Fidelity Research FR-64S tonearm and FR-7f moving coil cartridge, one of the great pairings in turntabling.
Marantz 6300
I serviced and repaired five (I think) of these incredible Marantz Model 6300 direct-drive turntables in 2023. I love these things!
Yamaha GT-2000L
This is another real turntable, the iconic Yamaha GT-2000L, which I helped my customer source and then set up for him. This one is almost pristine.
Linn Sondek LP12
I don’t work on many Linn Sondek LP12 belt-drive machines, by choice, but always enjoy it when I do.
Ariston RD-80
Likewise, this beautiful Ariston RD-80 belt-drive machine is a relic of another time, here with a Grace G-707 tonearm.
JVC QL-Y66F
Victor QL-Y66F
This lovely Victor (JVC) QL-Y66F is a lesser-known but very decent machine, with servo arm control. That is what I repaired here.
Luxman PD-290
I was pleased to repair and service this sweet Luxman PD-290 for my customer and record store owner. I also fitted the Audio Technica cartridge.
Luxman PD-264
Each year I work on half a dozen or so of these Luxman PD-264 direct drive turntables and they are always a pleasure. Cheap, cheerful and so much better than an affordable new machine.
Thorens TD-160
I also see a steady stream of Thorens decks like this beautiful TD-160, here fitted with a lovely Fidelity Research MC-201 moving coil cartridge, a real gem.
Yamaha YP-511
Another lovely, but cheap and cheerful deck, the Yamaha YP-511, and again much better than a cheap new machine.
Pioneer PL-L1000
I worked on a couple of these heavyweight linear trackers from Pioneer, the PL-L1000. These are amazing turntables, but they can be temperamental, like this one!
Technics SL-1200M7L
A decent new machine this time, a Technics SL-1200 M7L, this is a very decent deck and an obvious alternative to various affordable new machines.
Denon SL-7D
The classic Denon SL-7D is another direct-drive machine I see a lot of.
Denon DP-3500F
I see fewer of the much better Denon DP-3500F here when combined with the plinth. A beautiful machine that I repaired for her very lucky owner.
Kenwood KD-650
And of course, how could we complete a round-up like this without looking at one of my all-time favourites the Kenwood KD-650 direct-drive beast, this one is here because she runs at approximately 250RPM!

Speakers

Yamaha NS-1000
The only speakers I work on are these Yamaha NS-1000 studio monitors, both these pairs came to me for a special series of improvements I developed on my NS-1000s. These are derived from testing and experience, rather than from anywhere or anyone else. Would you like to hear mine? Ask me. You’ll likely be as gobsmacked as everyone else.
Yamaha NS-1000

My apologies for the long gallery, but I wanted to show people what we do here at Liquid Audio. You’ll see the massive amount of work undertaken in the workshop this year, and this is far from everything. Liquid Audio is a serious endeavour and I’m trying to ‘extend the envelope’ with an extreme focus on quality and attention to detail. I’m aiming for as close to a 100% success rate as possible, with an additional as close to perfect workmanship as is humanly achievable.

Every single piece I sent back completed was repaired. Nothing was destroyed, nothing blew up or destroyed customer equipment. I didn’t receive any Fair Claims complaints, in contrast to certain other Perth repairers. This is something I’m very proud of, especially given the type of jobs I work on – often tricky, technical work that has been to others previously.

I’m not for a moment saying that I’m some kind of genius who thinks he’s beyond reproach. Far from it. What I can say with certainty though, is that you’re unlikely to find another repairer who cares more about the equipment or the results, or who takes more care than yours truly. That’s my undertaking to you, the customer.

Goals for 2024

  • I want to complete a ton of repairs on equipment I own, or co-own with Jason (The Speaker Doctor) and then move those pieces on to new new owners.
  • I want to repair my Kenwood L-07D and various other of my equipment.
  • I want to write about my recent Accuphase system additions and why they are so important.
  • I want to advise others based on my own system improvement experience.
  • And, of course, I want to continue to bring you the most interesting articles about vintage hi-fi equipment that you simply cannot find anywhere else.

Merry Christmas!

Toshi
Toshi and his toy mouse wish everyone a very Merry Xmas! No cat is sweeter than this little guy!

Don’t forget that 2023 saw the release of M83’s long-awaited masterpiece Fantasy. This album made my year, no question about it, and I share it with you here, for that reason alone. This is, after all, why we listen to music.

Thank you for your patience and if you are still waiting for a job to be completed, rest assured, I’ll finish it as soon as possible. Thank you to everyone who brought equipment to Liquid Audio for inspection/service/repair/overhaul, purchased equipment, engaged me for advice, kindly brought me beer, wine, CDs, and records, and to everyone who simply made the effort to say thanks. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this 🙏

Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement. Likewise, let me know which of these lovely pieces of gear you would most like to read about. Don’t hesitate to get in touch after we re-open if you’d like me to look at any of your hi-fi stereo equipment.

BTW, I’ve discontinued the Xmas emails because I found most recipients didn’t open them. This post serves largely the same functions and saves me a great deal of time.

Have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a relaxing holiday.

Here’s to a great 2024!

11 thoughts on “2023 Recap, Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday!”

  1. Rob H in Melbourne

    With thanks for the joy and education you share, and very best wishes for your Christmas and 2024!

  2. Hey Liquid Mikey,
    Merry Xmas dude,
    I am sorry I have missed a lot of your posts this year but they remain interesting when I finally get to them.
    Please everyone be kind to each other and have a beaut festive season.
    Kind Regards all

    1. Hey Frank, thank you so much for being a regular Liquid Audio contributor! Your generosity has earned you any consult you might need in 2024, so please don’t hesitate to hit me up for that/those. Have a safe and happy festive season!

  3. Good to see a growing appreciation in the audiophile community of science and engineering, instead of pseudo science and fraud.

    1. Merry Xmas Ralf and yes I agree. This has been brewing for a long time and I think many are just getting tired of the marketing BS designed to sell new plastic junk. I’ll finally be able to look at your Krell, hopefully over the next few weeks. I’ll update you when I have assessed her, thanks for your patience!

      1. No rush on the Krell.
        Have a good summer break.
        I reckon most of us send our gear to you because we would rather you take your time to do a thorough job, than someone else who will rush through it and miss problems.

  4. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your excellent work and write up articles, keep up the good work. I am sure there a lot of Hi Fi enthusiasts, myself included, hungry for more of your good work shown and explained as you do it, no to mention photos of fine vintage examples you provide here.

    Happy New Year and all the best to you and your family.

    Vlad

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