Q: I have a Technics SL-10 turntable that looks pristine and sounds fine, but it intermittently ends playback early. My local repair guy couldn't fix it. Can you tell me where I can get it serviced?
A: The Technics SL-10 is a unique, classic-yet-futuristic turntable that sounds fine to anyone's ears. I have one that I use from time to time. It's a winner price/performance wise (especially at used prices), and I have seen them used in very expensive systems. See http://tinyurl.com/sl10system for an example. I will have more on this neat, classic turntable in a future column.
For repairs, I recommend Galaxie Electronics at www.galaxieelectronics.com, based in Pittsburgh. The owner is known as "The Turntable Doctor" and has been able to resurrect electronics of mine that no one else could fix. If you like future-retro art, his site is a must-visit.
The Mass Fidelity Core Wireless Speaker System is like having your cake and eating it, too.
I had heard the buzz about it before the annual Consumer Electronics Show. It was described as a single, small Bluetooth speaker that sounds like a pair of speakers placed 8 feet apart, and it fills the room with really great sound. I also was told that no matter how exuberant the reviews I read were, it still would blow me away when I heard it in person. And that was my experience. I heard the buzz, and I believed it, but the product and the demonstration still left me flabbergasted.
The Mass Fidelity Core creates a huge, 3-D soundstage, and the sound quality is absolutely wonderful. After the designer played a few demo tracks from his phone, he let me try the Core using music from my iPhone. Listening to music that you are familiar with is the best way to evaluate a sound system. Some manufacturers will only demo with music they have selected to show off their product in the best light, discouraging you from using music that it might not handle as well. Mass Fidelity had no fear and was happy to let me try out their product with whatever source material I wanted.
I shook my head in disbelief as I played track after track from my phone. The sound was clear, natural, detailed, alive, musical and magical, and the stereo image was solid as I moved around the room. I didn't want to stop. The mark of truly great speakers is they sound good with all kinds of music, and the Mass Fidelity Core took my breath away no matter what I played through it.
The only drawbacks are bass response and maximum volume. In a big room the bass is slightly thin unless you add the dedicated wireless subwoofer for $399. Though it can play at satisfying volumes, it cannot get really loud the way a pair of bookshelf speakers and a receiver can.
The price is $599, though preorders are only $449. While this may seem pricey for a Bluetooth speaker, I consider it a good value. The sound quality is as good as any $600 pair of bookshelf speakers I have ever heard, and you do not need to buy anything else to enjoy it. It also offers multiroom capabilities at the touch of a button. It sounds a lot better than the Bose Acoustic Wave Music System II, and it is much smaller and $500 cheaper to boot, even at full MSRP. www.massfidelity.com.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at www.soundadviceblog.com.