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What Piece of Equipment have you had the hardest time settling on

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  • What Piece of Equipment have you had the hardest time settling on

    I went through a few Preamps.. Then I got my First Sound and I stopped looking.

    I went through a few DAC, then got the Mojo Audio and stopped looking.

    I got the STST Motus Turn table with Vertere arm and full stop. No more looking.

    Amps. Hmmm. I'm still not settled. My signature say Audion amps but honestly, I have not had them in my system more than a week and they have been out for repairs since. I still run the Casablanca. I don't have an amp that is my end all yet. Will I get another amp. I guess I will find out once I have a chance to put a SET through its paces and see how it performs.

    I'm also a little in flux on the tape deck. I talked a friend into the fray. Or at least a friend for now. He is looking for the right deck so I am seeing all the toys he is assessing and it makes me think are others better than my Otari. Will I get another tape player. Mmmmmm, probably not, but maybe.

    I'm pretty satisfied with my cabling too. I'm not looking. I'm sure there is other stuff out there better. But its not really on my radar.

    Owe yea, speakers. I'm pretty happy. PAP Trio 15 Horn is nice. I would probably only change them if I was forced into a smaller space. Otherwise I see keeping them for a long haul.
    PAP Trio 15 Horn speakers, Audion Black Shadow monoblocks, First Sound Audio Mark 3SI Paramount preamp,
    Mojo Audio Deja Vu server, Mojo Audio Mystique V3 DAC, STST Motus II TT, Vertere SG1 arm, Hanna ML, Allnic H1201 Phono pre, The Linear Solution Ethernet Switch, LPS to Modem Router and Switch, Blue Jeans Ethernet cabling throughout network, Akiko Corelli, Custom power strip direct wired to panel with OFC copper wire.10 awg dedicated branch circuits to amps bolted to power cords. Significant upgrades to 120 volt main power panel. Inakustik Ref Air 2404 Speaker cable. Genesis and Inakustik NF2404 Air Interconnects. ADDPower Symphony and Electraclear.

  • #2
    The problem is...there is always a better component. If it is the rare occasion where there isn't a better model, wait a little while, there will be a better model.

    Fortunately I am realistic and I have accepted the fact that the best is a foolish thing to try and secure for your own.

    There are classic components with audible traits that are very hard to match. These may not be the best but they are some of those components that you settle on.

    The ones that you settled on sound like components that deliver sound that is tuned to your ear and that is great. I am happy you found your reference components.

    Maybe that is the term. What we consider a "reference component" is something we latch onto and call our sonic nirvana. Other people might not agree but who cares? We love our gear and that is what is important. Save your money and buy more LPs or tapes.

    Spin more tunes,
    Life is is just samples thereof

    Analog: Walnut VPI Prime TT, HRX Pulley + 3 Belt Drive + ADS, Dual Pivot Assy, Tru Lift, HW-40 Feet
    Analog 2: Ortofon Windfeld Ti + Bob's Devices VPI Sky 30 Stepup + Liberty Audio B2B-1, Stereo Squares Dust Cover, Wayne's Audio Peripheral Ring
    Analog Care: VPI MW-1, Kirmuss KA-RC-1, Record Doctor V, Hunt EDA VI Brush, AQ Brush, Discwasher Record Care Kit
    Digital: TASCAM UH-7000 USB Interface, Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai Universal Disc Player, NAD C448 Internet Radio/Streamer
    Digital 2: Digital Audio Workstation (Toshiba P75-A7200 w/MS Windows 10, 24GB RAM, 1.5 TB Crucial MX300 SSD Internal Storage, Intel i7-4700MQ Processor)

    Amp: Rogue RP-9 Line Preamp, Schiit Loki Tone Ctrls, Parasound A21 Power Amp
    Speakers: Magnepan MMC2, REL T9/i Subwoofer
    Headphones: Stax SR L700 MkII + Woo Audio GES, Focal Clear + Schiit Lyr 2, Stax Lambda Pro + SRM1 Mk II
    Wires: Kimber Hero ICs, Kimber 8TC Speaker Cables, AQ Leopard Phono IC, Pangea Silver USB Cables, StraightWire Expressivo ICs
    Power: Furman Elite 15 PFi


    • #3
      Without a doubt a new cartridge. There aren’t many chances to try them out and return them if you aren’t satisfied.
      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

      Shunyata Hydra 8; Shunyata AC Cords; Synergistic Research Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 power cord, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates & 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.


      • #4
        Kingrex Your speakers don't have the efficiency to work with an SET, if you want something that has as much bandwidth as the speakers. This is because the bigger you make an SET, the harder it is to get bandwidth out of the output transformer. That's why the lower power SETs have the reputation of the better sound. It used to be that 30 years ago the 300b was the thing of reverence; by year 2000 the 2A3 was King; but since then the type 45 has ascended the throne. Honestly a type 45 in SET mode makes about 0.75 watts.

        So you'll be looking for a push-pull amplifier if you keep your speakers. Luckily they are efficient enough that you don't need a crazy amount of power. And you've not reached the limit of what is possible with the Casablancas; they could benefit from better coupling caps and a few other tweaks. Its really about how far you want to push it.

        I've not really struggled with what to get for my system since the amps and preamp was something I already had sorted out. I entertained the idea of Sound Labs for a while but my room really didn't allow me to set them up properly. But then I heard the Classic Audio Loudspeakers and I stopped looking. I think the biggest issue might have been the tonearm. The first really nice arm I had was an SME5; I struggled with arm tube colorations and used the Sumiko Analog Survival kit to try to tame them; then went to a Graham 2.2 but it was a disaster with my Grado cartridge. Then I finally got a Triplanar and that's when I stopped. The Triplanar is the only arm I've heard that allows the LPs to play everything that same as the master tapes; its arm tube is damped and it has some of the best bearings in the business so it tracks everything effortlessly and I simply don't do anything with it but play records. Its great.


        • Kingrex
          Kingrex commented
          Editing a comment
          I get what your saying as relates to power. I have an 845 amp, so its making about 22 watts. Yes its bandwidth is probably restricted. Its probably pretty flat from 32 to 20K. My speakers are about the same. Actually speakers start rolling off at 17k.

          I should have had you go further wit the Casablanca while you had them. But I wanted to hear what a correct circuit and topology sounded like. How much was just poor design. It was quite significant. I have not doubt building upon it would better what it can do. Maybe some day when I move to Bi-amp.

          Great content on tone arms. I am amazed at those that have the time, knowledge and ability to apply a variety of tone arms and cartridges to a TT. To tune the table to its highest performance. Its an art and science to not only install and set up such pieces. But to hear and understand the changes. Most people have little idea if a power cord change was bad, better of different.

        • atmasphere
          atmasphere commented
          Editing a comment
          Actually the Casablanca uses the old Eico ST-70 circuit, which is pretty good. The real issues stem from layout but fortunately were correctable.

      • #5
        Most likely DACs then Headphones amps
        Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,


        • #6
          Without any doubt speakers -- ones that are horn type, fast, see through, dynamic, yet have superlative musical midrange, integrated bass, etc. I thought I'd never find that combo. Took me some 55 years. Next in line but not nearly as hard was a superb DAC.


          • #7
            for the longest time my go-to component, a true constant that didn't change was the power amp, usually a Krell. It could drive any conceivable load id ever connect it to now or in the future--loaded for bear, as it were. All these years later my newfound preference for high sensitivity speakers and low-powered amps is what I toggle between.
            Simon Yorke S10 + My Sonic Lab Eminent GL + B.M.C. MCCI Signature ULN | Simon Yorke S9 + Koetsu Rosewood Standard + AcousticPlan Phonomaster | Wadia X-32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

            "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson


            • jonathanhorwich
              jonathanhorwich commented
              Editing a comment
              As a note it isn't the go to component but what one had the hardest time settling on.

            • Rob
              Rob commented
              Editing a comment
              I know, perhaps there was some ambiguity in the last sentence of my post. as of late, my speaker and amp choices have been in a state of flux.

          • #8
            Its all hard, if it was easy settling on a component , Audio would be out of business.
            Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,