Nostalgi-fi (Mission 760i, HK6100 and Teac CD-Z5000) 
Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 14:09
Posted by Anders
This is a nostalgic look back, and experience, of an early 90's budget dream system of mine that never happened for various reasons.

Back in the late 80's early 90's In my hometown of Kalmar there was but one true HiFi retailer, HiHibutiken, which was located on Kaggensgatan 38 and was managed by the ever so patient and always very nice guys Dzintars Roske and Stephan (whose last name unfortunately escapes me, sorry Stephan).

Visiting HiFibutiken was an education, the demonstrations was first class and the explanations all made sense, it was not the standard quick sales approach, instead it built long term trust in their expertise and choice of brands but most of all they made it fun and it fueled my interest a lot, thank you!

I cannot remember how many time I stood in that place and listened to Tracy Chapman's "fast car" on various equipment and grabbing a bunch of brochures from the the names of interest at the time to fuel my dreams, names like Infinity, Harman Kardon, JPW, Mission, Teac, Onkyo etc.

It was here I first heard the Mission 760i speakers, the Teac CD-Z5000 and the HK6100 and the impressions made by these at this time stayed with me all the way up to now, and will thanks to recent developments continue to do so for some time to come.

Fast forward to 2021 when I managed to get hold of both the HK6100 amplifier and the Mission 760i speakers locally here in the western part of Sweden, in good condition and for reasonable money, the Teac CD-Z5000 was tracked down and brought from Denmark.

The speakers needed a bit of love and care, mainly concerning the filter components, but luckily I know that particular kind of people who both can and want to lend a helping hand with parts of it.

Let's start with the speakers, the Mission 760 and its subsequent variants was very well regarded in the budget category in the early 90's, and for good reasons, I opted for the "second generation" 760 called 760i which had an updated bass driver and crossover network (CN).



Before restoring the filters with modern components (but the exact same component values, of course) I needed to find out what the annoying rattling one of the speakers suffered from depended upon and fix it.

It turns out that the glue fixing the spider had lost its bond on the chassis side, so I set about taking care of that first.



It was demanding and precise surgery involving some toothpicks and some glue I found lying around, very scientific.



Rattle now gone I could form a decent opinion on the sound with the original 30+ years old filters still in place, and it was... disappointing, very dark, dull and distant, proof that the CN-components had not aged that gracefully.

Enter Engelholm Audio and my old friend Pär, he was more than happy to help me out checking the components and replace the ones that had drifted to far out of original spec. to provide the experience the manufacturer had originally intended.

Pär took care to document the process in which it became all to clear that old electronics, capacitors especially, does not stand the test of time all that well.

Original filters getting stripped:



Checking the values (note capacitance drift):


The updated filters arrive, the quality of the new components was chosen by Pär to be in line with the speaker overall, meaning not over the top but just right, a class act.



The updated filers goes in:


In the process of putting te nwe filter in I took the opportunity to document the driver labels as I guess there might be others out there interested in this:




New filters in place and... what a difference! this is more like it, tighter, brighter and more focused and detailed, I strongly recommend anyone with borderline vintage speakers to undertake the same exercise as it makes a huge difference and brings back the intended sound.

The electronics from the same era that I'm now using to provide signal and power, note that the Teac CD-Z5000 is equipped with two of the now legendary Philips TDA1541 16Bit ladder dac's, and to be sure it sounds brilliant, rich and powerful even now, as does the amp and indeed the entire setup, impressive.



Lessons learned:

30 year old budget hifi equipment can, if some care is applied, still provide a rewarding experience and the price to performance ratio is usually excellent when compared to current offerings.

Take care to update old filter components, speakers usually holds up fairly well mechanically given that the material quality is decent to start with and the environment has been kind to them, but the electronics, capacitors especially, should be checked and fixed if the speakers are this old.

I'm very happy with this, some say you should not revisit the dreams of old but I disagree, this was an eye opener and it puts things into perspective when judging new and old hifi gear.
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