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What is The Biggest Sonic Change in Your System in The Last Couple of Years?

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  • What is The Biggest Sonic Change in Your System in The Last Couple of Years?

    Every new component or speaker, accessory, tweak or modification, room treatment, etc. hopefully brings us one step closer to the sound of live or real music. What single sonic quality out of all the changes you've made to your system, has seen the biggest improvement in the last couple of years?

    For me, it's hands down my system's noise floor! Beginning with cj's GAT and removing the cathode follower, the addition of the Silver Circle PLC, the Magicos (a "quiet" speaker due to their settling time), Nick Doshi's newest 3.0 phonostage running in balanced differential mode, the Silent Running Audio bases, cables (take the MIT Oracle line), new connectors and AC receptacles have all served to tremenendously improve the system's musical resolution, the ability to see in the "mind's eye" all of the instruments in front of me, no matter how far back in the soundstage, the clarity and transparency at the frequency extremes, etc. After all, there's no veiling at a great hall and neither should there be in your home system. A live concert literally breathes life.

    Interestingly, the ear readily adapts to this noise floor and compensates; once this noise is gone, you're left questioning your perceptual skills muttering why you didn't notice this effect all along?!?! (In hindsight, it's scary to think of all the noise we put up with in our systems in the '80s and '90s!) Once gone, however, it's clear as the light of day when this noise if present when you change gear in your own system, hear an audiobuddies, attend an audio show, etc. What's more fascinating though is how this noise masks many critical musical elements and spatial cues on recording. Put on a well recorded choral piece or even a studio recording with reverb and it's shocking how much information was missing.

    What change in your audio system has allowed you to enjoy your music even more?
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    I guess you could say my personal evolution/revolution of my system started over 4 years ago when I became pissed at vacuum tubes because my system was driving me to distraction. I had a Jadis Defy 7 MKII amp that has to rank as one of the all time worst amps in regards to the bias design and the issues you have to deal with in order to check and adjust the bias. At the same time, I had invested or should I say spent a bunch of money on upgrades for my old Counterpoint SA-5.1 and SA-2 head amp. Between the distractions of the Defy 7 MKII and the high noise floor of the Counterpoint gear, I decided to sell the gear, swear off tubes for the time being, and go SS. I ended up with an all Krell system which was eventually composed of the KRC-HR preamp, KPE Reference phono stage, and the KSA-250 power amp. My noise floor suddenly fell through the floor and I knew that I could never live with the amount of noise that I had previously put up with in my tube system that I had dumped. I lived with the Krell gear for approximately two years before I decided to plunge back into the world of tubes knowing how low my noise floor was with the Krell and using that noise floor as my target.

    ‚ÄčAnd so in 2014 I bought the ARC Ref 5SE and the ARC Ref 75 and jumped back into the world of vacuum tubes. I also bought the NOLA KO speakers. Meanwhile back at the ranch, I was still using the Krell KPE Ref as my phono stage. My noise floor was very low and low to the point that you could and can distinguish each and every noise floor of the music and equipment. As a song on an LP fades out for instance, you should be able to hear the noise floor drop as the song fades out and the tape hiss goes away and the noise floor now becomes the noise floor of your phono stage and vinyl. When listening to digital, you should be able to discern the noise floor of the recording and how that noise floor fades into yet a lower level as the music fades out between cuts.

    In 2015 I bought the Zesto Andros 1.2 phono stage which also has a super-low noise floor and it took my LP playback to another level. Now we are in 2016 and I just recently received my hot off the production line ARC Ref 6 which is another step forward in sound quality.

    In summary, I have made drastic improvements in the noise floor of my system and the overall sound quality. My next purchase is going to be a serious audio rack to replace the piece of junk some of my expensive gear is sitting on.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

    Comment


    • #3
      Heard the Zesto at RMAF w the Kharma speakers. One of my favorite rooms. I'm surprised it didn't get written up more.
      Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s

      Comment


      • #4
        Going from VR-9s to VR-11s pretty much trumped all the changes I've made. Essentially doubling up almost all the drivers save for a pair of ribbons resulted in a more complete presentation. Side effects were also pretty cool. The added 3dB of sensitivity per side meant I no longer needed to use 4 mono blocks to pressurize the room. I could get to the same SPLs with half the power and do it with more ease. My plan all along was to have 11s so I built my room towards that end. Prior to the 11s, I was using brute force to make up for the 9's having a hard time pressurizing a fully treated 3m by 7m by 11m room with a bar area towards the rear left. The brute force approach worked for the most part but some strain could be heard. There were passages I knew well, so well that I knew where exactly the compression would peek its head in and say hi. Now the system just sails through these. I know I sound OCD but these tiny moments can pull me out of whatever moment I'm in. With that largely gone, listening is just so much more immersing. Now if only I can get my PCs back.

        Comment


        • #5
          A number of changes have similarly, as described above, lowered the noise floor. Last spring I had Ken Stevens fully upgrade the CAT JL-2, which was already a great purveyor of tube amplification. Gradually, I replaced all cables to High Fidelity....power, speaker and ic. The magnetic stuff has aided in removing a glare and film from the overall performance.
          And, most recently I swapped out fuses. All the hype on Audigon led me to experiment with Synergistic Black and Audio Horizon; first in the phono/pre, then amp and CD player, and finally sub-woofer. Unexpected results, mainly in the level of improvement. I don't grasp the science behind the expensive fuses, but I am extremely pleased with the results.
          Avalon Time, Walker Proscenium, Koetsu Coralstone, Air Tight PC-1 Supreme, Goldfinger Statement, Dalby record weight, Kondo KSL-SFz step-up, Jadis JP80-MC...heavily modified, Convergent Audio JL-2 Black Path, Sony NS999 ES Modwright modded, full loom High Fidelity Ultimate cables, Rel S-5 sub, Stillpoints ultra and 5's, Shun Mook, Dalby footers, Critical Mass bases, Acoustic System Resonators, Magnum Dynalab Etude, Telefunkens throughout, assorted fuses, Furutech outlets, PurePower conditioner.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by siddh View Post
            A number of changes have similarly, as described above, lowered the noise floor. Last spring I had Ken Stevens fully upgrade the CAT JL-2, which was already a great purveyor of tube amplification. Gradually, I replaced all cables to High Fidelity....power, speaker and ic. The magnetic stuff has aided in removing a glare and film from the overall performance.
            And, most recently I swapped out fuses. All the hype on Audigon led me to experiment with Synergistic Black and Audio Horizon; first in the phono/pre, then amp and CD player, and finally sub-woofer. Unexpected results, mainly in the level of improvement. I don't grasp the science behind the expensive fuses, but I am extremely pleased with the results.

            Yes, the old adage everything is important holds true!

            Don't forget to post more about your system!!! Would love to hear what else you are using!


            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
            -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JackD201 View Post
              Going from VR-9s to VR-11s pretty much trumped all the changes I've made. Essentially doubling up almost all the drivers save for a pair of ribbons resulted in a more complete presentation. Side effects were also pretty cool. The added 3dB of sensitivity per side meant I no longer needed to use 4 mono blocks to pressurize the room. I could get to the same SPLs with half the power and do it with more ease. My plan all along was to have 11s so I built my room towards that end. Prior to the 11s, I was using brute force to make up for the 9's having a hard time pressurizing a fully treated 3m by 7m by 11m room with a bar area towards the rear left. The brute force approach worked for the most part but some strain could be heard. There were passages I knew well, so well that I knew where exactly the compression would peek its head in and say hi. Now the system just sails through these. I know I sound OCD but these tiny moments can pull me out of whatever moment I'm in. With that largely gone, listening is just so much more immersing. Now if only I can get my PCs back.

              Time to send Joe the Barber!
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
              -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • #8
                My system is composed of Avalon Diamonds, Convergent Audio JL-2 amp, old but heavily modified Jadis JP-80mc preamp, Walker turntable with Black Diamond arm, Koetsu Coralstone and Air Tight Supreme carts, Kondo KSL-SFz step-up, Shun Mook record weight, fully wired by High Fidelity, Critical Mass...Black Diamond Racing...Stillpoints, Rel S5 sub, PurePower conditioner, souped-up Sony sacd player, Furutech outlets, and 20 amp dedicated lines. Not much in room treatment, although I have had the Acoustic System cups distributed on the walls for quite some time. All kinds of tubes to roll and shelves of records/cd's. I rarely listen to digital, have no aversion to it, just love the vinyl.
                Avalon Time, Walker Proscenium, Koetsu Coralstone, Air Tight PC-1 Supreme, Goldfinger Statement, Dalby record weight, Kondo KSL-SFz step-up, Jadis JP80-MC...heavily modified, Convergent Audio JL-2 Black Path, Sony NS999 ES Modwright modded, full loom High Fidelity Ultimate cables, Rel S-5 sub, Stillpoints ultra and 5's, Shun Mook, Dalby footers, Critical Mass bases, Acoustic System Resonators, Magnum Dynalab Etude, Telefunkens throughout, assorted fuses, Furutech outlets, PurePower conditioner.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by siddh View Post
                  My system is composed of Avalon Diamonds, Convergent Audio JL-2 amp, old but heavily modified Jadis JP-80mc preamp, Walker turntable with Black Diamond arm, Koetsu Coralstone and Air Tight Supreme carts, Kondo KSL-SFz step-up, Shun Mook record weight, fully wired by High Fidelity, Critical Mass...Black Diamond Racing...Stillpoints, Rel S5 sub, PurePower conditioner, souped-up Sony sacd player, Furutech outlets, and 20 amp dedicated lines. Not much in room treatment, although I have had the Acoustic System cups distributed on the walls for quite some time. All kinds of tubes to roll and shelves of records/cd's. I rarely listen to digital, have no aversion to it, just love the vinyl.

                  Sweet. Old but good that Jadis JP80MC! I assume you rolled the tubes in the Jadis?

                  A reviewer, colleague friend of mine had many years ago the original CAT amps (before buying the big Jadis 500 amplifiers) driving the early Avalons. That was a superb setup in the day (combined with the Versa table).

                  Hard to believe Ken and CAT are one of the old timers in the industry now.
                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                  -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                  -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                  -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                  -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                  -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                  Comment


                  • siddh
                    siddh commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The Jadis was heavily modified about 6 years ago by Steve Huntley...so this is not a syrupy overly lush pre. The mods were extensive allowing the frequencies to extend in both directions. Also, the tubes are now all Telefunkens. It's the one component I likely will keep, as I've had it since '94.

                • #10
                  Just getting back into two channel audio and building my system to what it is today has seen tremendous sonic changes along the way. It has been a fun and interesting ride that I cannot see getting off of anytime soon.
                  Marty

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    For me it's twice Ina few years
                    At 59 I grew up in analog but ran to CDs when they hit
                    Never really happy with digital I spent good money for bad results. My first really good digital sound came from my msb stack and it finally I had a sound that Felt right. At the price I paid it shroud of lol. I also grew up in the tail end of tubes again I ran to solid state. Now in the past two years it's lampi B7 and a halfway to golden gate head dac
                    This made the msb seem Mechanical in dsd but I felt the PCM was still better than the lampi. Well luk now has a new dsd 256 engine and a new PCM engine as well. It's now time to sell the msb. No other dacs I have heard seem like vinyl or reel to reel but the lampi now is close enough for me. And tube rolling allows me to hear my music in new venues as I roll. Did girl Maurice I feel can be great but I feel our industry has done us wrong and only a handful like blue coast and a few others give vinyl a run for its money in pure dsd. But I still do like PCM as well.
                    Reel to reel I feel is still top dog and dsd has the only chance to get close
                    analog stuff.
                    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                    sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                    new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                    thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                    thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                    kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                    phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                    speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                    mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                    digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                    Dacs lampi various

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Alrainbow View Post
                      For me it's twice Ina few years
                      At 59 I grew up in analog but ran to CDs when they hit
                      Never really happy with digital I spent good money for bad results. My first really good digital sound came from my msb stack and it finally I had a sound that Felt right. At the price I paid it shroud of lol. I also grew up in the tail end of tubes again I ran to solid state. Now in the past two years it's lampi B7 and a halfway to golden gate head dac
                      This made the msb seem Mechanical in dsd but I felt the PCM was still better than the lampi. Well luk now has a new dsd 256 engine and a new PCM engine as well. It's now time to sell the msb. No other dacs I have heard seem like vinyl or reel to reel but the lampi now is close enough for me. And tube rolling allows me to hear my music in new venues as I roll. Did girl Maurice I feel can be great but I feel our industry has done us wrong and only a handful like blue coast and a few others give vinyl a run for its money in pure dsd. But I still do like PCM as well.
                      Reel to reel I feel is still top dog and dsd has the only chance to get close

                      Welcome buddy! Glad to see you found you way here!!!

                      You need to get over here someday to hear some R2R again since the system is totally different since the last time you were over. You'd be even more astonished by tape.

                      It seems like we're almost back to the dawn of digital were the best CDs came from analog sources.
                      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                      ________________________________________

                      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I had to think pretty hard about this before I jumped in with a response as my system has done a complete 360 in the last 4-5 years. With every change I've heard an improvement (thankfully), but none bigger IMO than the addition of the Genesis G7.1f loudspeakers. Coming from rather warm sounding Totem Sttaf speakers, the G7's opened everything up and allowed me to hear much more of the music. I must admit that it took me a while to appreciate them and I wasn't so certain at first, but I stayed with them and am very pleased I did.
                        Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Likewise, the introduction of the Magico S5s has been revelatory for me. Never realized how much music I was missing or how distorted other speakers I owned sounded until the S5s...
                          Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            The arrival of the Forsell air bearing CD transport and matching DAC were one of the most important changes in my system. With them I could start listening to CDs with great pleasure and use digital for system evaluation and tuning.
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                            My opinions rely on listening mainly to acoustical, non amplified music. I do not care about electronic music or listening to rock at stadium levels, but I enjoy Mahler and Shostakovitch.

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