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SUSAN DARNEL wasn’t keen on the idea of having 29 cubic feet of loudspeaker in her 14 x 32-foot living room. “I almost ended up in the emergency room,” said the Long Island nurse, recalling the time her husband, Dave, first brought home the pair of custom-made three-way speakers, each with an 18-inch woofer and hand-wound Solen crossovers on top. “But when I heard them, I changed my mind.”

Her abrupt change of heart was not really surprising; the Dame/s take their music very seriously. When they couldn’t find just the right speakers, they went to their friend Andy Nittoli, an audio engineer who built a pair of transmission-line speakers using 18-inch JBL paper-cone woofers, Danish-made 3-inch midranges and 3/4" dome tweeters, and the Solen crossover coils. Dave liked the colorful crossovers so much that he had Andy put them under Plexiglas on top of the speaker cabinets.

Susan was also accommodating when it came to their turntable “stage.” Dave was concerned about feedback and vibration through the floor, so he built a birch platform and suspended it from the wall above six concrete blocks isolated in Styrofoam that sit in front of the wall without touching it. The setup acts as “a light-spring/heavy-spring junction,” he explained, transmitting most of the feedback energy back into the room instead of up the wall to the turntable. To make the stage more aesthetically appealing, Susan painted the birch with a faux- marble finish. She wouldn’t tolerate visible speaker cable, however, so Dave ran 10-gauge contractor’s wire through to the basement. He chose 10-gauge to accommodate the long runs, but he passed on designer brands because “in the audio band, all that matters is a sturdy connection and low resistance.”

The Darnels’ components befit serious audiophiles: a Nakamichi OMS-7 CD player, a McIntosh Model 7270 power amplifier, a Mcintosh C504 preamplifier, a Nakamichi Model 504 cassette deck, and a Technics SP-15 turntable with a Shure V-15 Type V MR cartridge, a KLH (Burwen) Model 1201A dynamic noise filter (for hiss), and an SAE Model 5000 impulse-noise suppressor (for pops and clicks).

The Darnels spend most of their free time in their living room—whether absorbed in Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” or swinging around the floor to the music of Glenn Miller. Susan can live with the cement blocks in her living room in return for being able to throw big-band parties. “We do a lot of jumping around,” she explained.


Source: Stereo Review (Jan. 1991)

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Updated: Saturday, 2016-09-24 21:05 PST