Wow, what a great welcome! Thank you...
To answer some of the questions....Jazzman, come for a visit, it is cheaper than it has ever been for both flights and costs of museums, operas and such which are based on the ruble which is have the value it was a few years ago to the dollar. It is a beautiful city and probably the most cultured and educated city in the world...354 museums, 510 colleges, universities, academies institutes and conservatories, where even the teenagers regularly attend opera and classical music that is available every night of the week in more than one concert hall, but they are also very aware of popular music from all over the world.
Barry, not many Carver units that I have seen but there ARE some here and there is a lot of interest in systems. There is a lot of interest in jazz classical opera and dance music, and this was a major recording center for classical music during the USSR era. I repaired a Carver tuner a couple years ago, a transistor in the first RF amplifier was bad.I have a Motorola Service Monitor so any RF needs up to 1 Ghz is easy. As I mentioned I have no hi-fi gear anymore, gave it all away when I moved here. I like not having it in my living space, and know I can hear it live in some great concern halls, 2 of them have acoustics that is ranked at the top in world halls. In fact, I will probably go to one in a couple hours then when they gets out, the dance clubs start opening and I will be dancing until 6am. I am pretty well known and accepted here in the dance because I am the only old guy who goes regularly...beats going to a gym for exercise, trying to keep ahead of the 20 year olds. Every time some girl will come to me to ask how I can stay on the dance floor so long..."easy, I have 45 years more experience partying than you have" is my usual reply;>) It IS great exercise if you don't stop and really work up a sweat.
Aslan7 Thank you, smuggling in avoided the duty on importing what they would have thought was valuable equipment. Some might be hard to explain. Overall, in daily life,this a very low stress, laid back country, safe on the streets, even girls walking home alone from clubs or parties at 4am have no worries, regardless of which neighborhood. The impression one would get from the western media that this is a repressive dictatorship and poor is just not true. It is a great place to start a business or raise a family with so many services for free. I have a great time here and there are thousands of expats from Europe and the US who love it also. Besides, the women...the ones I know,,are beautiful, sane, fit stylish, well educated and nice people. I have been in 90 countries and there was not even a second's thought about where to move to, this city is unique,easy, and a secure low stress/high fun factor life can be had regardless of income. My monthly expenses are less than 10% of my cost of living back home in Marin Country in California.....and includes much more daily social activities than were even possible back in California.
AndrewJohn, We may have cross paths, I moved from Sacramento the day I graduated mid term from HS, at 17 to San Francisco 1967. I had no interest in music, I was am electronics nerd but the apartment I found was on the cliff across from the Cliff House and at the base of the cliff was the Family Dog Ballroom and Fillmore was a 10 minute Muni ride and the musicians discovered I could fix their amps hours before their shows. The second musician to knock on my glass wall facing down the beach was a tall skinny kid...like me, who just had recently moved from Tijuana Mexico, named Carlos. I fixed his amp on my kitchen table. The next day be brought another friend, Steve Miller who needed something, 2 days later it was two musicians from Jefferson Airplane. A great time in a unique city that SF was in 1967. I got into recording a few years later but before that, designed and built a unique sound system for a national tour by a band from the Uk, Jethro Tull for Ian Anderson's Aqualung album. It was the first concert system with tri-amplification, I built the mixer and power amps from scratch, the mixer was the first one with true balanced line input transformer-less, and the first mixer with switchable meter ballistics(Vu for American mixers and PPM for UK house engineers), and compressors/limiters on each channel strip.
Fun times for a teenager away from home in the big city;>)
PMAT, there is always a first;>) but if someone has a broken amp or preamp they don't want to repair I might be interested in buying it. They are light enough to ship here. I get my HiFi and electronics kicks from repairing and I would love to have some pieces like a M400 or M500 to return to duty. There is a Craig's list sort of community swap listing that has been going strong since about 1970. I don't see higher end equipment listed there however, but there are hi-end clubs, and dozens of stores that feature top brands.
Thanks all, hope to have something to contribute