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For Torontonians of the era, the closing of the Flagship Sam's Record store on Yonge Street in 2001 was truly the end of an era. Since 1937 this 140 store record giant led the way in music retail. In the late 1960s, the iconic spinning record replaced the previous neon signs, with the second neon record being added in the mid 1980's.  
I remember heading down from Richmond Hill on the Subway as a kid to lug back as much vinyl as my wallet could afford. Often collaborated a meet (via a real rotary telephone - no cells back then) with my good friend and vinyl aficionado Yuri. I anticipated that trip weekly and could not wait to crack open the finds on my arrival back up North. Sam's if I recall, was four floors of Genres with bargain bins and tapes galore. Gone are the days when you'd wait in line for your purchases to ring through. Christmas was unreal! Lines to the back of the store. It was as I look back  true engaged, experience. Have conversations with staff about releases and special pressings. The visit would last hours and it was not out of the norm to weather any storm to get there. 

Another shop a few steps away was Peter Dunn's Vinyl museum. Deleted Funkadelic records still sealed in the days when nobody actually wanted the stuff, every Stevie Nicks record ever released, of course Jonathan Richmond and strange old Rock Operas from the early Seventies, you name it! You could find it, touch it and acquire it. I scored my first pressing of Nucleus self titled LP for $25.00 there.

With what has been called the resurgence of vinyl, could we see another retail vinyl giant like this ever again? Perhaps this blogger is clinging to tightly to the memories of the past. 


The BALA stand-mount speakers Deliver! Viitums Sound Labs


  The Bala Stand-Mount Speakers from Vitums Sound Labs represent all that is analog. Hand built Drivers and Cabinets ensure that these engineered beauties stand among the greats of the Golden Era of audio.  Handmade in Muskoka Canada. 
Meticulously designed crossovers with only high end components from France. Exceptionally crafted cabinet suspension ensures that any inter modulation effect from the bass cabinet is isolated. Dampening is balanced with authentic pulled Sheep's wool. 
A hand coated paper cone 8" bass driver along with a 3/4" soft dome tweeter with huge magnet deliver it's accuracy. 

So how do they sound? In demonstrations the clarity and balance is mentioned each and every time. A great balance which is highly musical, is what defines a great analog design. As if the speaker is not there. No signature on the source signal, just delivery. Although floor shuddering bass is not what you acquire when you review bookshelf sized systems, the Bala deliver a precise musical bass tone that is truly music to your ears. Again, a balance in a two-way that we haven't heard in years. You will hear signals in recordings that you inherently know that were not present in your previous delivery. 

For a Canadian company that prides itself in Vintage design and Pioneers of yesterday, this certainly is a committed start to their line of Analog gems. the Bala stand-mounts deliver precision and Craftsmanship old school. They truly make you love music all over again. 

For more information visit www.vitumssoundlabs.com


Vintage Bookshelf Mission 760i / the Bassface Swing Trio LP

Newly arrived are one of the nicest 2 way bookshelf speakers I've heard in a while. From the English, always impressive Mission Corp, these are a beautiful audiophile pair of 6ohm - 89db sensitive speakers. At first glance they are seemingly plain and not that remarkable due to a weak plastic grill design that looks like it belongs on a child's toy. However, behind it they have a bold and distinctive blacked out design. Protruding driver face and front-ported they are truly elegant in appearance. Only available in black ash which was the thing into the nineties.

A 5inch (130mm) low frequency driver hails suprising results as in a small room they truly fill the space quite nicely from 300Hz and below. specs state they travel down to 70Hz and its a real natural sounding bass for their minimal size, only 11 inches high. They are crossed-over at 4500Hz to the high frequency unit It's a Polymide Ferrite cooled driver with natural clarity. These are very musical and suspect the crossovers are of high quality given their sonic abilities. The demo vinyl of choice was the Bassface Swing Trio'sBDirect to Disc cut of their Tribute to Cole Porter 180gram release. If your familiar with Stockfisch records releases you will anticipate the level of sound here. A beautifully musical airiness to them with some great punch value makes them a delight to listen to for hours on end.
I cant imagine any improvement in these other than simply creating it 3 ways. A (very) slight soft spot for my tastes in the midrange but apples to apples its a sonic vintage sound home run.


  • Fidelity for such a small speaker footprint
  • Sleek, slick look
  • Good Bass response 


  •  a touch light in the midrange
  • small rec room at best for driving higher 

This vinyl is a must for serious sound aficionados. Not to mention the incredible performance captured here. Absolutely a top ten pressing for demos. The technique in the recording/pressing process has not been done and is a stroke of genius. I'll let you read up on it as its quite extensive when you acquire this vinyl gem.
Frank Sinatra's Swing Easy original duo-phonic US pressing poured out of them effortlessly.