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  • In search of rounder images

    Lately I've been dissatisfied with my system. At first I thought it was a passing thing, but it has persisted for a few weeks and I'm starting to consider a change. Yeah, I know, familiar audiophile story.

    I am somewhat influenced by hearing somebody else's system that does excels at some things mine doesn't: rounder images, better separation of instruments and overall engaging presentation, especially with classical music.

    I have an all solid state system, having moved away from tubes a few years ago (mostly due to being annoyed by soft transients and too much color). I swore off tubes, but now I'm starting to think I need some tube presence in my system.

    There are a couple different ways to approach this: amps or preamp - or perhaps even just my phono stage.

    For those who have experienced with hybrid systems, what do you think is better: amps or preamp? I'm really hoping not to go down a slippery slope and change all my electronics.

    Thanks in advance...
    Magico M-Project, CAT JL7SE, CH Precision L1/X1/P1, Kronos Pro Limited Edition/SME 3012R/Atlas SL/Opus-1, Schiit Yggdrasil, ZenWave D4 ICs & SCs

  • #2
    Please list your equipment so we all know what we are dealing with. :-)
    Hugh Nguyen
    ACA

    Comment


    • #3
      Done... took me a bit to find how to add a signature...
      Magico M-Project, CAT JL7SE, CH Precision L1/X1/P1, Kronos Pro Limited Edition/SME 3012R/Atlas SL/Opus-1, Schiit Yggdrasil, ZenWave D4 ICs & SCs

      Comment


      • mkuller
        mkuller commented
        Editing a comment
        How did you do it?

    • #4
      Originally posted by Madfloyd View Post
      Done... took me a bit to find how to add a signature...
      That's a heck of a nice system Mad. What is it sitting on? Stand and platforms I mean? Your SS electronics I don't think would have a hard or etched sound so short of going to an all tube set up or at least in the preamp the shortcoming you are feeling could be coming from the Magicos. Myles could certainly comment on this, but I think the Magicos are not a warm or tender sounding speaker. And that might actually be what you are perceiving as not being rounded or having some warmth. You have a great system so make your changes carefully and one at a time.
      TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter matte & weight; Arcam R Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.

      Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer

      VTL 6.5 preamp Series II
      Pass Labs 150.8 Amp

      Piega C711 Loudspeakers

      Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls

      Acoustic Revive RR-888 Low Frequency Pulse Generator, Synergistic Research 12 UEF SE Line Conditioner, Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 power cords, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates, Synergistic Research Orange Outlet, & Blue Outlets, Furutech NCF Booster Brace, Audio Art Ref balanced ICs, MIT Oracle IC and Magnum Speaker Cables

      Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD800s Headphones.

      Comment


      • #5
        Since I never heard the Magico M-Project so I offer no comment. :-)

        Have you tried other speakers with your set up prior to the Magico?
        My own experience, from listening to customers' systems, with Pass is not a positive one but I hope the new models to be better than their old ones.
        Hugh Nguyen
        ACA

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by 1morerecord2clean View Post

          That's a heck of a nice system Mad. What is it sitting on? Stand and platforms I mean? Your SS electronics I don't think would have a hard or etched sound so short of going to an all tube set up or at least in the preamp the shortcoming you are feeling could be coming from the Magicos. Myles could certainly comment on this, but I think the Magicos are not a warm or tender sounding speaker. And that might actually be what you are perceiving as not being rounded or having some warmth. You have a great system so make your changes carefully and one at a time.

          I have a rack and amp stands made by Steve Blinn (link included). While my some Magicos (especially the Q series) can be on the lean and analytical side, the S series is more warm. My M-Pros are in the middle. I don't think my issue is the speakers (at least I hope not - they're 400 pounds each!).
          Magico M-Project, CAT JL7SE, CH Precision L1/X1/P1, Kronos Pro Limited Edition/SME 3012R/Atlas SL/Opus-1, Schiit Yggdrasil, ZenWave D4 ICs & SCs

          Comment


          • #7
            Originally posted by Madfloyd View Post
            Lately I've been dissatisfied with my system. At first I thought it was a passing thing, but it has persisted for a few weeks and I'm starting to consider a change. Yeah, I know, familiar audiophile story.

            I am somewhat influenced by hearing somebody else's system that does excels at some things mine doesn't: rounder images, better separation of instruments and overall engaging presentation, especially with classical music.

            I have an all solid state system, having moved away from tubes a few years ago (mostly due to being annoyed by soft transients and too much color). I swore off tubes, but now I'm starting to think I need some tube presence in my system.

            There are a couple different ways to approach this: amps or preamp - or perhaps even just my phono stage.

            For those who have experienced with hybrid systems, what do you think is better: amps or preamp? I'm really hoping not to go down a slippery slope and change all my electronics.

            Thanks in advance...

            Ian what components were in the system that you heard?

            ***My immediate reaction to the title was that you were looking for covers of Rounder Records albums!***
            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
              Is the lack of "roundness" apparent on both digital and analog sources?
              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


              • #9
                @Myles : Berkely Alpha 2 DAC into triode push pull amps (low wattage, forget the brand) into mini-monitor speakers (Reference 3A, approximately $3k). Also a Rel sub. Very simple. I've heard this system several times, usually with a different (older) pair of mini monitors.

                @Mark: yes.

                In my system, images are like flat, cardboard cutouts. In this other system, they appear round (something I've always equated with tubes) but have no lack of transients or detail. Also, quiet parts of classical music (e.g. obo or flute, bassoon etc) sound much more engaging.
                Magico M-Project, CAT JL7SE, CH Precision L1/X1/P1, Kronos Pro Limited Edition/SME 3012R/Atlas SL/Opus-1, Schiit Yggdrasil, ZenWave D4 ICs & SCs

                Comment


                • #10
                  "Flat, cardboard cutouts" sounds like early digital, and not something I would expect with a system of your caliber which is why I asked the question.
                  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


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Madfloyd View Post
                    @Myles : Berkely Alpha 2 DAC into triode push pull amps (low wattage, forget the brand) into mini-monitor speakers (Reference 3A, approximately $3k). Also a Rel sub. Very simple. I've heard this system several times, usually with a different (older) pair of mini monitors.

                    @Mark: yes.

                    In my system, images are like flat, cardboard cutouts. In this other system, they appear round (something I've always equated with tubes) but have no lack of transients or detail. Also, quiet parts of classical music (e.g. obo or flute, bassoon etc) sound much more engaging.

                    There's a lot more that can be said but my cheapest and simplest thought is unplug your digital equipment when you are listening to your analog system. Also keep any turntable power supplies off the main listening AC line.
                    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


                    • #12
                      Ian, I've heard Vitus is a good combo with Magico, something I would love to hear one day. While I can't say they are rounder/fuller images, reviews always talk about how engaging the Vitus electronics are.
                      Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Madfloyd View Post
                        @Myles : Berkely Alpha 2 DAC into triode push pull amps (low wattage, forget the brand) into mini-monitor speakers (Reference 3A, approximately $3k). Also a Rel sub. Very simple. I've heard this system several times, usually with a different (older) pair of mini monitors.

                        @Mark: yes.

                        In my system, images are like flat, cardboard cutouts. In this other system, they appear round (something I've always equated with tubes) but have no lack of transients or detail. Also, quiet parts of classical music (e.g. obo or flute, bassoon etc) sound much more engaging.
                        Ok, I'm approaching this from Ian's description of the system sounding flat. In the system you admire, what rack system is used and what aftermarket footers are being used? What footers are you using in your system Ian?
                        TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter matte & weight; Arcam R Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.

                        Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer

                        VTL 6.5 preamp Series II
                        Pass Labs 150.8 Amp

                        Piega C711 Loudspeakers

                        Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls

                        Acoustic Revive RR-888 Low Frequency Pulse Generator, Synergistic Research 12 UEF SE Line Conditioner, Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 power cords, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates, Synergistic Research Orange Outlet, & Blue Outlets, Furutech NCF Booster Brace, Audio Art Ref balanced ICs, MIT Oracle IC and Magnum Speaker Cables

                        Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD800s Headphones.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Madfloyd View Post
                          @Myles : Berkely Alpha 2 DAC into triode push pull amps (low wattage, forget the brand) into mini-monitor speakers (Reference 3A, approximately $3k). Also a Rel sub. Very simple. I've heard this system several times, usually with a different (older) pair of mini monitors.

                          @Mark: yes.

                          In my system, images are like flat, cardboard cutouts. In this other system, they appear round (something I've always equated with tubes) but have no lack of transients or detail. Also, quiet parts of classical music (e.g. obo or flute, bassoon etc) sound much more engaging.

                          I just acquired an 'obsolete' pair of Wilson Watt series III. I have them on stands augmented by two SVS subs. Over the weekend I changed out four different amps ( one tube, three SS) to get a sense of what ultimately sounds most real or life-like. W/o naming which SS amps (the pedigree of which is well known to all) an old all-tube CJ premier 11a - and i'm going to use some hyperbole here - stomped on all comers in ways you describe. The tonality, timbre, layering, depth, yada, yada was in a different league.

                          Ian, all I can say is I've been in your shoes too many times to recall, esp. when a 'lesser' system shows up your own in areas you really find appealing and ultimately feel like you cant live w/o. My only caveat is when tubes are matched to the 'wrong' load there's no saving them, when the stars align like my example there is no substitue, IMO of course.
                          Simon Yorke + MSL > B.M.C .> Valvet > Linear Tube Audio > Avantgarde

                          "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by 1morerecord2clean View Post

                            Ok, I'm approaching this from Ian's description of the system sounding flat. In the system you admire, what rack system is used and what aftermarket footers are being used? What footers are you using in your system Ian?

                            There is no 'rack' in the system I mentioned - just a glass table. No footers used in either system.
                            Magico M-Project, CAT JL7SE, CH Precision L1/X1/P1, Kronos Pro Limited Edition/SME 3012R/Atlas SL/Opus-1, Schiit Yggdrasil, ZenWave D4 ICs & SCs

                            Comment

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