Welcome to the Lion Audio Information and FAQ page. You will find this page to contain very useful information in three primary areas. First, you will find the Lion Audio exclusive "Vintage Audio Generic Owner's Manual." Back in the old days, when you bought a piece of audio equipment, it came with an owner's manual. But even more important, everyone pretty much knew how to interface and, to a certain degree, work with their audio system since everybody you knew had one. They weren't always the same brand or the same size or quality, but there was some general knowledge of how to put it all together. Nowadays, not so much. Many young people are inheriting dad's system or getting interested in the purchase of some neat old piece of equipment. For young people, if it doesn't have a remote control or plug into their computer, then they are absolutely clueless. The Generic Owner's Manual will tell you how to put it all together.
Next, you find interesting articles that I will post — as I think of them. The entire world of vintage audio is really, really big, and there are all sorts of things that you as enthusiasts can benefit by knowing. The articles are meant to enhance your enjoyment and to minimize your frustration as you delve into the world of vintage audio. This section will be enhanced by the FAQ section.
I have lived in the world of audio sales and services for the better part of fifty years. Over that time, I have been asked more questions than you can imagine, and what's more, most of these questions have come from folks who are for the most part non-technical. As a result, I have become very adept at explaining technical and semi-technical matters in ways that are understandable to the average person. The FAQ section is meant to be a saved version of what I have been doing forever. So if you are puzzled by something relating to your vintage audio system or your vintage audio desires, go to the Contact page and send in your question. I will answer as many of them as time permits. Some questions will generate simple answers, whereas others will be seed material for longer articles.
The idea here is to make the Lion Audio information services page something useful to you. The better informed you are, the more you benefit from your foray into the world of vintage audio. I benefit from being able to do business with well-informed customers. Remember, we go to the trouble and bother with these old pieces of equipment because they give us pleasure and "it is all about the music."
"We were having a party and it quit working!" Boy, have I heard that before. Back in the day, that statement was a common precursor to a service job. It was a pretty repetitive sort of situation, and the reasons will surprise nobody. First, we shall eliminate the obvious — if you spill your drink into the stereo system or knock over the table that it sits on, you will damage it. Let me introduce you to the other most favorite method for damaging your system and tell you how to avoid it. When folks are having a party and the party gets going really well, what does everybody do? Well of course, they turn up the music. Sometimes, they really turn it up. The dirty little secret is that you can overdo turning it up — just like anything else. Let me tell you how to have as good a time as you may and still not damage your system.
All stereo systems are not equal. There are large ones, and there are small ones. There are systems that are able to be loud enough to easily get you arrested, and then to varying degrees, there are all the others. What you have to do here is know the limitations of the equipment in your party room and be satisfied with what your system can do, or resolve to get a bigger one. Here is the key — vintage audio systems typically have the rotary volume control. You cannot turn that puppy all the way up. Let me restate that. DON'T TURN IT ALL THE WAY UP!!! I just wanted to make sure you could hear me. If you overdrive your system, besides sounding distorted, certain things will happen. Your amplifier will run hot. It will also begin to "clip." When an amplifier is driven into clipping, it essentially runs out of power and the sound wave is clipped off at the bottom and the top. Driving an amplifier into clipping will cause certain types of distortion that will destroy your midranges and tweeters. Additionally, playing the system really loudly for a period of time will cause the voice coils in your speakers to heat up and eventually fail. When that happens, it will sometimes cause your amplifier to burn up. You don't want any of this to occur. So how will you avoid such evils?
You will hear me referring to your music as source material. Bear in mind that all source material is not equal. Some is louder, or one might say has greater amplitude than others. If you are playing some hard rock hair band material (ugh), it will be louder than say jazz. Conjunto will be louder than choral (rarely heard at parties). The 1812 Overture complete with real cannons will be louder than a flute concerto. OK, I have carried the analogies far enough. Most parties will feature relatively loud and or dancy music. Visualize it this way. The volume control is much like a valve. It controls the volume relative to the amplitude of the program material coming in. When you wish to play the music loudly, here is your rule of thumb. First, see to it that your bass control is in its 12:00 position, and that the loudness control is OFF. When playing loudly, you don't want any bass boost as this will eat up all the power in the amplifier and move your woofers waaay too much and make it flat. Next, never turn up the volume control past the 2:00 position. With most program material, 2:00 is where clipping begins. Furthermore, if the system will be playing loudly for a long period of time, as often happens at parties, you may not play it with the volume at 2:00. The danger of overheating and causing damage is too great. Play it at 2:00 for your favorite song (like "Amor de la Mexicana," that sounds really good loud, or even better, try the Leningrad Cowboys with the Red Army Chorus doing "Sweet Home Alabama"). Scale it back to 12:00 for long term. You are not quite at the danger point and the system is able to handle that.
One last thing to consider—if you are using a digital source, they will usually have internal volume controls. If that is at maximum, this may throw off the entire calculation by making the source material "hotter." Set those internal volume controls at 3/4 of the way up. Then it will be comparable to a CD or something of that nature. Finally, be cognizant of what it sounds like. If you are hearing distortion, it is too loud. Find a safe spot and keep it there. This will save you no end of trouble.