Update July to November 2012

Income: 456.92 $ 

What is Vintage-speaker-Review.com doing?
It has been a while since I updated this blog, but every now and then I feel that I should write an update regarding the $1000 challenge. 
The vintage speaker review website is still up and running. I was unable to create new reviews for a couple of weeks in August and September, which led to a decline of visitors from 7500 in August to around 6000 in September. As I did not find any interesting old speakers, I spontaneously translated my English articles into German and restored the google ranking of the website. The goal for November is to beat the website´s visitor record, 7492 (July 2012).

What is the Challenge doing?
The most recent Google Adsense payment has arrived in October, being 110,90$ and another $10 from the amazon associated program.  I won´t be able to beat my swiss competitor, but that does not matter anymore. I guess we both are happy about the little extra income we get every now and then :).


Update June 2012: Website grows!

June 2012 is nearly over and the Vintage Speaker Review Website grew bigger than expected. Instead of investing time in many posts, I spent a few evenings improving layout and format of my posts. Also, in the upper left corner you will now find a few options for social networking and sharing.

Personally, I was most impressed by the increase of visitors, which happened despite me only posting a few new articles. Reason for this could be that my reviews received new backlinks from Craigslist, trading forums and several audio forums in Vietnam, France, Russia and the US.
Reviewing my post from the beginning of June, I set the goal to attract 4500 visitors in June. Now, on June 29th, vintage-speaker-review.com did just hit 5000 visitors for June, which is way more than I expected.
Click it, if picture is too small!
Google Ads
As mentioned in my short update from Yesterday, I did receive my first check from Google and am again heads-on with my closest competitor from Switzerland, as we did both passed 300 $/CHF. I am glad to see that changing, testing and optimizing banner locations really makes a difference and that my adsense revenue is slowly growing. The overall frequency of clicks increased by about 0.2% to about 1%, which is probably ok for a website that does not offer or advertise a clear product that is offered at google ads. With the increase in traffic, the clickrate did finally show some upwards trend. The picture below shows also the frequency of ad clicks before the website went online (Jan/Feb. 2012) and the increase starting during the middle of February.
Rate of clicks on Ads

Goals for July:
July will become a busy month as I have to find a job, probably in one of the big cities at the US East Cost. I´d be glad, if traffic increases to 5500 visitors and if I can post another 6 articles.
As I mentioned before, I tried to improve my website layout, its content and more. I´d appreciate, if you could have a look at it (click). If you have any feedback or suggestions, I´d be happy to read them! Post them as a comment or here (PS.de forum).

Thanks for reading, see you all in July :)


Google adsense works!

Income: 336.02 $ 

About one year ago, I posted the first google adsense banner on this blog and it took a long time to reach the minimum cashout requirement. With my vintage speaker website, I have now a more stable click rate and finally cashed out $105,67.

My June update will comes soon, but I´d like to post it now, as it brings me ahead of the Swiss competitor...at least for a few days ;)


How to build a bog part 4: 1st organic link building

Another month has passed and my vintage speaker review blog is still doing fine. The goals for May had been to write 15 reviews and get at least 3000 visits (up from 2300 in April).
However, I did not achieve to write that many reviews. I managed to post 6 reviews, 2 of which are now the begin of a special category in which I restore an old set of speakers.  Despite the low number of posts, I managed to increase my visit number to 3742 for May! 
And even better, not only that the blog gets most visitors from search engines, but several people linked to my reviews from audio forums, craigslist and ebay. I feel that in particular  linkbuilding will play a huge roll for high ranking of my blog in the future and will therefore actively increase link building.

A big step regarding the original challenge is also coming up: I reached google´s minimum withdrawal limit this month! It will be deposited on my bank account on July 1st, so there is still some time to wait.

Below, the monthly graph to show the increase of traffic on my blog:

Click Me!
Goals for June:
1. For June, it is my plan to post 8 reviews, which I still have on my posting list. It becomes more and more difficult to find vintage speakers that qualitfy for a post. On the one hand the speaker needs to be searched for frequently enough. Second, it needs to be a decent amount of information available to write about it, but at the same time not sufficient information on one single webpage.

2. Hitting 4500 visits!  This will be tough, in particular as this means there has to come additional traffic from somewhere "new". Links from Craigslist and 2 audio forums brought approx. 350 visits in May, I hope to be able to do some SEO to increase that.

See you in July!


How to build a blog part 3: Consistency

What has happened since my last post? 
1. Until about a week ago, I successfully posted 3 articles a week. Therefore I have now 17 articles about 17 different vintage electronics.
2. I changed the positioning of my adsense advertisements and positioned a leaderboard ad directly on top of each article. The click rate jumped up from 0 to about 1%. Not much, considering my current viewer count, but it is a noticeable change.
3. Until I posted the last time (~12 days), the daily viewcount consistently increased until about 100 viewers a day. I had to stop posting new articles and after about 4 to 6 days, it was clearly recognizable that less viewers would be referred to my website by google.
4. I invested $10 to buy a URL: http://www.vintage-speaker-review.com/ . Since then, I received more and more google referrals, who were searching for a combination of the three words, it really made a difference.
5. I am THAT close to my first adsense cashout, but I will post about this another time.

Where is my blog now?

Notice the decrease in traffic during the second/third week of April, during which I did not post new reviews.

April, the first month for my blog, was more successful than initially expected. Admitting, that I am not too knowledgable in SEO optimization and solely focused on content and a few (<10) links in related forums, the blog welcomed more than 2400 viewers in the past 30 days.

Another great development is the traffic type distribution of visits. A clear majority of visitors is organic and mostly linked to my blog by google. My reviews frequently rank in the top 5 and I am quite confident that they will rank in the top 3, as long as I keep blogging.

What to do in May?
For the coming month I plan to post 15 new reviews, which will probably be less influential, as I already reviewed the most searched vintage speakers. Second, I will try to write a few related articles about typical issues of vintage electronics. To create some revenue, I will use amazon associates to link to some tools as appropriate. My goal for May is to reach 3000 visits and over 100 visits per day in the month´s last week. Currently the daily visitcount is fluctuating between 45-140.
My overall theme for the coming month is CONSISTENCY!  April illustrated clearly that the amount of organic traffic decreases fast, if the website becomes "old". I might start to schedule new articles, to refresh my content more regularly over time.


How to build a blog part 2: What do people search?

This post provides an update on my current blog project and my aim to produce organic traffic. Over the past three weeks I posted on average three reviews per week on my blog and made a few backlinks (<10) in relevant forums. I was trying to write reviews of approximately 300 to 400 words length with 1 to 3 pictures, depending on my ability to take them myself or relying on other sources. This worked out for the past month and I am quite happy with my results. The organic traffic of my blog went up and it feels great to see that my reviews actually do increase traffic. The chart below does show the increase of organic traffic (not overall traffic) of the past 5 weeks. Note that I did not post any reviews between March 10 to 19, as I spent a few days traveling. I am not sure whether the lack of updates directly relates to the small decrease of organic traffic, but I will keep an eye on that.

Organic traffic from 2.22 to 3.30

How to find the "right" speakers?
There are hundreds of vintage speakers out there, some of which are totally unknown, information about them is lost and people don´t search for them. On the other hand, there are many vintage speakers that are rare, but frequently searched for. For some of these speakers you can already find much information in forums and websites, for others you won´t find a lot and have to do some research.
To differentiate between speakers of low interest and those that might attract many viewers, I am using the normal google keyword tool. I use lists of  specifications for vintage speakers , brand names and type specifications. After exporting the results to excel, I look at first at the competition of my potential keywords. The keyword tool lists the competition from 0 to 1, one being a very high competition. As I do not want to compete with other websites that already provide the information I have to offer, I choose keywords/ speakers with very low competition, preferably <0,1. My second look goes toward the number of exact global searches for the specific speaker. In the example you can see the keyword "dynaco a25", which is a vintage speaker that has been sold very successfully in the 1960ies. I chose to write a review on this speaker, as the competition is very low with only 0.06 and 880 exact searches. The post on this speaker is currently one of my most visited reviews and a major part for the strong increase of organic traffic during the last weeks of March.

 General objective for the coming month:
I will continue to post reviews, one at a time, hopefully on average two per week. I will also try to create some more effective backlinks, which is not as easy as it sounds, as many websites have "NoFollow" tags for posted links.A second goal for the coming month is to achieve an average of 100 organic views per week.


Day 263: Organic Traffic and a Lot to Learn

Today I am blogging about my decision to open a blog about vintage speakers and the reasons that led to this decision. This blog, the challenge blog, does now exist for nearly 9 months and during this time I played with google analytics and figured out some changes that occured during the past three months.
About 96% of visitors during June 2011 (the month this blog went online) and November 2011 have been referrals from pokerstrategy.com, who either clicked on the link in my signature or used a link in the relevant thread. Since November 2011, the origin of my website traffic started to change. Have a look at the following pie charts of November, December, January and February.

Traffic in November 2011:
Nov. 2011: Referral traffic: 91,18%; Organic traffic: 4,71%
During the month of November, organic traffic (viewers that were linked to my website by a search engine, such as google) appeared for the first time. However, 92% of traffic is still coming from referrals (pokerstrategy.com). Some occurances of organic traffic exist before November, but those were mostly generated by myself, trying to find my own blog on google.

Traffic in December 2011:
Dec. 2011: Referral traffic: 77,97%; Organic traffic: 12,99%
During the Month of December, you can see how organic traffic rose from ~5% up to 12% and took over much of the share of referral based traffic. It is not clear to me yet what the medium (none) means. Is this traffic that typed the url directly into the browser?

Traffic in January/ February 2012:
January 2012: Referral traffic: 67,94%; Organic traffic: 22,22%
The described development continued during January and February and I am looking forward to see how the distribution of traffic will be in March. Organic traffic is now more than one third of my total traffic. Interestingly feed traffic did not exist before January and I am curious whether feeds will play a bigger role in the future.
February 2012: Referral traffic: 56,58%; Organic traffic: 32,56%
Considering the changing distribution of traffic that enters my blog I was curious what the reason for this development was. Looking at the keywords and the posts that the organic traffic looked at it became quite clear why more and more traffic is coming from search engines.
The common theme is that organic traffic has in about 98% of the cases searched for vintage speakers, the fisher speakers or the bose speakers, which I blogged about during the last months. During Fall, a short wave of traffic entered my website because of the keyword "Irene", after I posted 2 videos about hurricane "Irene".
Overall the blog got over 300 organic viewers during the last 3 months and so far the amount of organic traffic seems to continue to increase. The graph below shows the incoming organic traffic per week, starting last year in September, where the first organic traffic appeared and ending with the first week of March.
Increase of weekly organic traffic from October 2011 to now, March 3, 2012
Based on this development I decided to open a Vintage Speaker Review blog which focuses solely on vintage speakers, their specifications and small, subjective reviews of them. Many of the organic traffic of my current challenge blog comes from pictures, as in particular my Fisher DS-826 speakers rank No.1 and 2 in googles image search, but also the pictures of my Bose speakers rank usually somewhere on the first page. Therefore, I will try to make many photos of vintage speakers, whereever I can find some. I will also review newer speakers and other "more vintage" audio equipment, as I already did with my yamaha RX-395 receiver. I read on several SEO blogs that it would usually take up to 3 months until organic traffic appears more regularly on a new blog, so I am going to be patient. I created a mental schedule to write one review at least every 4 days, if possible more frequently. As soon as I have about 10 to 15 reviews, I will start creating some backlinks in comment sections of other reviews about the same speakers.
I would assume that the organic traffic coming to this blog will rather decrease during the coming weeks/months, as I won´t post too detailed about speakers here, but on the new blog. However, I will keep posting anything related to the challenge here, which also includes the repair of the old receiver.

Furthermore, I am coming close to the minimum payout limit of google adsense. As soon as I reached that limit I am planning to invest the money into my first own webspace and a .com domain.

I´d love to get some comments about my thoughts here, as I am very new to SEO and all that. So please let me know if there are any crucial mistakes ;).


Day 257: Yamaha RX-395 Receiver for 20$

A little while ago I bought a Yamaha RX-395 Receiver at a Garage Sale out of town. The receiver has is from 1997 and has a few visual and mechanic issues and I was able to get it for 20$, actually without knowing about its real value (which is not too far off).
The issues I am going to deal with during the coming days are:

Yamaha RX-395 rx 395 receiver
Yamaha RX-395 Receiver
1. The On/Off button is broken. It is lying loose in the inside of the receiver and it seems that some thin plastic strip broke away that was supposed to hold it. I will try to fix this issue. So far, I am not able to turn the receiver on and hope that it is really just the button..  I blindly believed the elderly man who sold it to me.
2. The receiver is full of dust and has many bad scratches. I think the former owners tried to open the RX-395 with a screwdriver at different spots. Some of the screws are quite tricky to find. Luckily, I figured out where they were located and did not continue to damage the receiver case. I am not sure what to do with some of the spots yet, as there is some 1-2 mm of metal looking up at some of them.
It is a bit hard to get information about the value of the RX-395. According to a past ebay auction, it sold for around 40$ + shipping. I hope to get around 30 to 35$ for it, in particular because of the visual flaws. In particular the issue with the On/Off button seems to be critical for the success of my little investment. Wish me good luck!

A short Review is on my Vintage Speaker Review Blog

More Pictures:
Yamaha RX-395 rx 395 receiver
Yamaha RX-395 Receiver
Yamaha RX-395 rx 395 receiver
Yamaha RX-395 Receiver

Yamaha RX-395 rx 395 receiver back
Back of Yamaha RX-395 ReceiO
Yamaha RX-395 rx 395 receiver back
Back of Yamaha RX-395 Receiver


Day 250: New Speakers! ..not yet

Acoustic Research 18 AR-18s
Short Update: I am currently looking for new speakers that are hopefully in a rather bad condition. I found some Acoustic Research 18s (Ar-18s), but decided to skip them, as the price was too high. As you can see on the picture, I would have to refoam them and probably spend a lot of time cleaning. That sounded great to me, but the owner wants 60$ and I would have to invest 25$ for new foams.  The value of the AR-18s is rather between 40 and 70$..

I will continue my search!

By the way, as my blog receives around 10 clicks per day from my Bose and Fisher speaker pictures, I decided to open a blog in which I review my past, current and new vintage speakers. Have a look at it :), I simply call it:  All Speaker Reviews


Bose Acoustimass 5 Series 2 Redline Soundsystem

Bose Acoustimass 5The Bose Acoustimass 5 Series II speaker system is despite its age still a popular soundsystem. The newer  systems have 5 to 7 speakers, which is the reason why many owners of the older series are looking for an identical acoustimass set. In a home theater component setup, the Acoustimass 5 speaker system is then used as a choice for the surround speaker system rear channel.
Each cube array is composed of two small cubes which can be swiveled. Each cube contains a 2.5" Twiddler cone driver. The two satellites are video shielded to prevent interference with TV signals.
Wires are run from the left and right speaker output of the receiver to the bass module which has two spring clip speaker inputs.

What about the price?
Bose Acoustimass 5 subwooferInterestingly, you can buy the Bose Acoustimass 5 without any closer specification of the series. Bose spends a comparetively high amount of revenue on marketing, which strengthened their brandimage among the public, but hurt its reputation among professionals. The company is also often criticized for recycling old audio concepts and claiming innovations to be there own, even though they are years old. In audio forums, such as audiokarma , you will find people talking rather negatively about Bose speakers, not at last because of a general perception that they are bad in performing lows and highs.
Overall, I have to agree with the criticism. The Bose Acoustimass 5 definetily look great, whether it is the "redline", the normal black or even the white version of the system. My ones also sounded nice and clear. However, I was missing some depth and warmth when listening to them. When watching movies, I can imagine the Acoustimass are quite appropriate, not at last because of the woofer, but when listening to music (which is what I did), the sound was noticeable shallow. I would assume, for the usual auction price of $120-150, there are better speakers out there. Find them!

Bose Acoustimass woofer backDimensions (WxDxH):
Satellite speaker : 3.1 in x 4 in x 6.2 in
Subwoofer : 18.9 in x 7.5 in x 14 in
Enclosure Color Black
Speaker Type Passive Input
Recommended Amplifier Power 10 - 200 Watt and 4-8 ohms output
MSRP $749.00 in 1990.
Current price: $100-140



Day 239: Bose Acoustimass 5 sold!

Income: 215.35 $
Bose Acoustimass speakerI posted the Bose soundsystem I bartered for my free vintage speakers in fall 2011 again on craigslist and lowered the price from $150 to $135, but excluded the speaker cable. I also changed the description of my post and kept the whole ad very short and clear. I have the impression that this made a big difference, as I received 4 serious requests within 2 days. Instead of including the cable into the overall price I added it for 5$ extra and it worked out. I thus received 140$ for the soundsystem and cables.

For the coming days I will spend my time working on an art project, which will be subject of another blog. Let´s see how that works out!


Speaker Article Series Part 1: Basics: Speaker Types and Differences

What is a Stereo Speaker? 

The Stereo Speaker is the most important piece of equipment found in a stereo system. Speakers convert electronic audio into a mechanical movement of the speaker cone. The movement of aur caused by the speaker is what you hear. The greater the movement, producing sharp clarity of sound and a wide range of frequencies, the better the speaker will be.

Speaker Types:
Speakers come in many sizes and shapes. Most average speaker enclosures have a large woofer, midrange and tweeter speakers. The lower priced shelf units might have one to three speakers, such as my old DS-826 speakers.Others might have several tweeters, up to eight midrange speakers, or a separate large woofer. The speakers used for the high-frequency range (tweeter) are usually small metal, hard-coned or horn-type speakers. Midrange speakers vary from 3 to 6 inches, and woofers vary usually from 8 to 12 inches.
The best frequency response is from 20 to 20,000 Hz; most speakers ary from 37 to 20,000Hz. Very few men can hear above 15,000Hz or below 50 Hz, but some women can hear above 22,000Hz. Besides the frequency response, how a speaker sounds is significantly influenced by its speaker enclosure.

1. Acoustic Suspension:
Acoustic Suspension Speaker
AS speakers are completely sealed
Speakers in an acoustic suspension (AS) enclosure are completely sealed without any extra openings. The AS enclosure offers easy listening to all types of music. A three-way acoustic suspension speaker system might have two or three speakers. Because it takes more power to move the air with AS speakers, they usually have a higher maximum power-handling capacity. The tweeter might be a 1 or 2 inch cone, dome, or ribbon-type speaker. The midrange speaker might consist of a 2 to 5 inch cone or dome-type speaker. A woofer speaker in the AS enclosure might be 6 to 10 inches in diameter. The frequency mightvary from 22 to 44 kHz, although many AS speaker frequency responces can go above 50 kHz.

2. Bass-Reflex
Bass Reflex Speaker
Bass-Reflex speakers have a visible porthole
The bass-reflex speaker produces stronger and deeper bass frequencies. They are designed with a tuned porthole to allow the enclosure to resonate and produce low-frequency notes. Some bass-relex enclosures have up to three different sizes of portholes. Bass-reflex speakers can be driven harder and are designed for people who like high-power music.
The small bass-reflex enclosure might have two speakers with a bass-reflex porthole, and a 1 or 2 inch cone speaker supported with synthetic resin for eliminating distortion caused by edge resonance. You might find a 1 to 2 inch conce or dome speaker as tweeter, with a 2 to 6 inch midrange and an 8 to 12 inch speaker as woofer. For power-handling capacity, heat resistant voice coils and adjustable thermal-relay protection circuits are found for safety under high-power driving. A carefully tuned bass-reflex enclosure for producing tight and solid bass reproduction is found along with an antiresonating baffle board in some units.
The bass-reflex enclosure provides good reproduction for classical, jazz, easy listening, rock, and country music. The average frequency response varies from 35 to 20,000Hz. The bass-reflex speaker is capable of covering the entire musical range.

3. Passive Radiator
Passive Radiator Speaker
Note the smaller radiator of this PR speaker
The passive radiator (PR) speaker enlcosure produces greater bass than any other type of speaker. The passive radiator enclosure has two separate woofer speakers, but one is a simple cone without any voice coil or signal applied to it. It has thus an active main driver and a passive radiator.
Actually, the passive-port cone acts as a variable port, increasing the bass frequency response. A two speaker PR enclosure might have a 1 inch dome and an 8 inch speaker with another 8 inch dud cone. The passive radiator is usually larger than the bass speaker. In some units, the woofer cone might be a special design with corrugations for wide-range response.



Fisher DS-826 Speakers

Vintage speakers Fisher DS-826I bought these speakers for 20$ at a garage sale, which is more or less what they are worth. They were quite messy and full of wax, dust and oil, which I cleaned off. The grill had several holes and I decided it would not be worth spending money on new fabric. Their outlook is actually quite nice without the grills and even though they are far away from high-end, I enjoy looking at them, as the white woofer (12") and the red lines of the other two speakers (4" and 3") create a strong contrast to the dark cabinets.
These 80ies vintage speakers have a perfectly fine sound for their price and are some decent garage speakers. It is often criticized that the speakers have a very "warm" sound, which can have different explanations. According to audiokarma the legend is that Avery Fisher insisted on personally "voicing" all of the speakers. Apparently his personal preference was a very warm sound, one that today would be considered to have very rolled off highs. At the time it drove his engineers nuts.
Vintage speakers Fisher DS-826I thought about selling them for 30$, but after having them in my apartment for several months, I decided to not give them away for now. However, as I plan to buy, repair and sell several other speakers in the coming months, I consider putting them back on craigslist in the nearer future.

Model: Fisher DS-826
RMS Power Rating: 10 Min. Watts  100 Max. Watts
Impedance: 8 Ohm Nominal
Reasonable Price Range (2012):  10-20$

If you need some further information about DS-826 speakers or the value of Fisher speakers/ electronics:
- DS-826 Speakers
- Fisher speakers/ electronics



Day 214: Repairing vintage speakers and radios

It is not too difficult to restoreold audio equipment, as many pieces have only become very dusty, rusty or have scratches. It can be worth spending some effort on cleaning as there is a decent amount of customers for vintage radios and speakers.
With enough patience it should be possible to find an old radio or a set of speakers in a garage sale or somewhere else on the internet. I will look for something suitable on craigslist and check out some garage sales in the area.

If you are looking to find information about specific vintage speakers, you should check out vintage-speaker-review.com with reviews and tips on many different speakers (Acoustic Research, Fisher, JBL, and so on..)

So far, I have never worked with electronics and don´t have any deeper understanding of radios and speakers. I ordered three books in library to learn more about how to repair vintage electronics:
The first is the Antique Radio Restoration Guide by David Johnson, which is supposedly the best available literature for people who have not yet restored and repaired old radios.
The second is Old Time Radios! Restoration and Repair by Joseph Carr. I heard less positive things about this book, but I thought it might be wise to have more than one source, in case something appears to be unclear.
The last book is Troubleshooting and Repairing Audio Equipment (TAB Electronics Technician Library) by Homer Davidson. I ordered it, as it includes the diagnosis and repair of speakers, which is not content of the other two. According to customer reviews, this one might be rather for people with some prior understanding of electronics, but I will just try my best.