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What Was the Best Audio System (s) You Have Heard?

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  • #61
    Sometimes synergy develops from using like brands and sometimes it develops from what appears to be a hodgepodge of brands. It isn't possible to pass judgment on a system by how it appears, only by how it sounds.
    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.

    Comment


    • #62
      Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
      I had the pleasure of hearing fellow member Marty Wax's system this past weekend and have to say his audio rig was one of the best high-end systems that I've heard in quite some time. Marty’s system really meets one criteria that many systems fall short of: a big—no make that huge soundstage—with full frequency range reproduction. Interestingly, unlike many audio systems with huge soundstages, focus and holography did not suffer in return in his system. Images of instruments and singers were solidly focussed whether it be digital or analog playback, whether it be between or outside the edges of the speaker. And make no mistake. There’s a ton of things going on outside his speakers and wish I had remembered to bring along a copy of Harry Belafonte at Carnegie Hall. (I have to start putting a travel list together).

      Nor did he fall into this sound by accident. Marty is meticulous in his choice of gear, set-up and his room is probably second to none. I don’t think I’d be putting my neck on the chopping block when saying we'd all kill to have a room like Marty's (literally built fromt he ground up and measuring in at 24 ft wide x 35 ft long x 14-16 ft high). Moreso, for those who don’t know Marty, he has had a very interesting journey through high-end audio starting in college working at Paul Heath Audio up in Rochester trading pay for equipment and later moving on to owning his own store out in California that later became GNP Audio (hope I remembered that right!)

      I don't have an exact listing of the gear in Marty's system but here's a general rundown.

      Speakers: Pipedreams crossed over at 78 Hz to JL Labs Gotham subs
      Electronics: Spectral 360 amps and VTL preamplifier (?). Gothams are self powered.
      Front-end: Goldmund T3 table/T5 arm/Benz Ruby cartridge/Vibraplane; Meitner digital (?)
      Cables: MIT interconnect and speaker cables

      Marty was a great host and humored me playing all the albums I had brought over with me. See, my philosophy like clothes and travel, is to overpack. You never know what you'll need and better to bring too many LPs rather than leave something home and regret it later! Even so, that system isn’t perfect.

      Besides the aforementioned qualities, what also impressed me about Marty’s system was the ease in which it discriminated between miniscule changes in tracking force, differences between LPs and CDs etc. For instance, his changing the VTF up or down by 0.025 grams was instantly apparent. (Remember changing VTA/SRA on the Goldmund arm is not the easiest thing in the world to do!) Not that it was ruthlessly revealing of faults, but every recording on his system—as it well should—sounded different. There was no overwhelming coloration that obscured the differences between recordings.

      Probably the other thing that really impressed me were his new Spectral amplifiers. They weren’t cold and icy like previous iterations of Spectral gear. Admittedly, Marty is balancing out the sound of his system using the VTL tube preamplifier, and one wonders if using the Spectral amplifier in combo with the Spectral preamplifier might just be too much of a good thing. Where the Spectral amplifiers really stood out to my ears was in the midrange. They (or the system) were neither too tubey nor too solid-state sounding. Voices were magnificently rendered (something the Benz do so, so well) and were really clean (or had exceptional clarity) and detailed without being overly analytical.

      Thanks again to Marty for being a great host and indulging me. It was a fun day and we certainly put a few hours on that cartridge Saturday. As I said to Marty, those internet trolls that diss high-end audio as being snake oil and the only thing that counts are measurements ought to hear Marty's system.
      Myles,
      Thanks for your kind comments and company. It was a great night and I'm glad to have gotten to know Heidi a bit as well. (The hot tub event with the Astors, Williams and Waxes was also fun). To me, this is the beautiful thing about Forums such as yours. You and I have known each other fro a while, but not until a few months ago did I have the chance to listen to your wonderful system and I was happy to finally have the opportunity to reciprocate. Getting to know other audio enthusiasts and learning from each other is really a pleasure. (I really appreciated your help in fine-tuning the tracking force of the Benz!)

      A few equipment corrections if I may:

      Speakers: Pipedream 18/36 "Hemispheres" crossed over at 78 Hz to JL Labs Gotham v2 subs using JL CR-1 crossover
      Electronics: Spectral 400 RS mono bloc amps and VTL preamplifier (TL7.5 Mk III ). Gothams are self powered.
      Front-end: Goldmund Studio table/industrial DC power supply//T3F arm /Benz Ruby II cartridge/Vibraplane; Meitner digital (TX2 and DX2)
      Cables: MIT interconnect and speaker cables
      Power Cords- Audio Art 1PSE with Furutech F28 G connectors; all wall outlets, Furutech GTX-Gold

      I totally agree that at least for me, if I didn't have a tube in the gain stage somewhere, I'd probably go nuts with an all Spectral system. However, the choice of tube is critical as you can surely appreciate Everything counts towards trying for an overall balance that is the most pleasing. I found that when I had the VTL Siegfrieds, my preference was NOS Telefunken 12AX7 in the VTL preamp. But with the Spectral amps, I think NOS Mullards are the way to go.

      I know, I know, I gotta get a tape machine. We shall see....
      Thanks again for the visit.
      Marty

      Comment


      • MylesBAstor
        MylesBAstor commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks so much for the corrections!

    • #63
      Way to go marty! Must have been a lot of fun with Marty and Steve as well!
      Analog: VPI Aries 3, custom suspension/Magnetically stabilized JMW 10.5i/Ortofon A90/Modded & shielded Pass XP-25 Digital: Spectral 3000SL/Heavily modded Alpha DAC & Yggy2 Amplification: Spectral DMC-30SV/DMA-500AR Speakers: Heavily modded MartinLogan (custom Mundorf xover, cabling, woofers; structural mods)/Modded REL Cabling: Shielded MIT Oracle 50ic,MA-X/Oracle 90.1 Power: MIT Z-Strips, Magnum Z-Traps; Shunyata Black Mamba CX HC cords, Typhon

      Comment


      • #64
        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


        • #65
          Oh there have been so many. I never judge a room based on my own aesthetics but rather the goals of their owner. Myles for example looooooves the micro dynamics. He definitely has spades of natural sounding micro. Didn't need to sacrifice anything else to get it either. Steve with his SETs and Tape let me here a different side to the X2 S2s and how much more capable they are than I had thought. Ahhhh, Sam's stacked Quads total ESL HEAVEN. I could lie there for a week. Sam's tastes are very similar to Myles'. Victor's ALE based horn system made me want to pick up a drum and march. LOL. Then of course there's Jim whose system is my personal reference and we're still finding ways to make it even better despite that. I could go on and on.

          Comment


          • MylesBAstor
            MylesBAstor commented
            Editing a comment
            You need to come by the next time you are in NY! 😉 Pretty much everything has been changed save for the amps. The new cj monoblocks should be here early summer.

          • JackD201
            JackD201 commented
            Editing a comment
            You and Heidi are a top NYC priority for me buddy

        • #66
          I am honored that Lloyd mentioned my Genesis 1.1/Kondo set up.

          Myles, may I ask you the following: I believe you visited HP and listened to his various systems various times. How would you rate the sound quality of HP's set ups?

          Comment


          • mkuller
            mkuller commented
            Editing a comment
            See my post below.

        • #67
          I think the best is a impossible commnet for me to claim about. I have heard many very good systems havin said that each is different due to many varying Components
          even jjst the kind of drivers used matters to the overall sound. For me horns and ribbons are best. But stats yikes details they don't. As I wind down in hi fi I do love mine very much and they are hard to compare others too. Not better but different. One is just the size they are almost 8 feet high and a line source too very odd implementations that for yield what I love. I have heard faster or detailed but at a cost of weight. Lastly if you have your setup style for a long time it's very hard to judge better. Someone who sits in your room can better judge what may be better and why. One without hearing I'll bet blows mine away is the g1.2 as they are further refinement of mine. Bobs goldmunds were pretty amazing and all in one too cheap for what anyone would spend in separates.
          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


          • #68
            rockitman 's system! He even let me play an LP with his $12k needle!
            TT- ATLP120 mod> AT120eb (Lofgren), Denon 103
            Pre- Emotiva XPS-1 Phono, McCormack Line Drive
            Power- Parasound New Classic 2125v2
            Dig- JRiver 20 server> Adcom GDA-700.
            Speakers- Mirage M7si, Stax SR5, Stax SR34
            Wires- Transparent, Kimber, AQ, Tributaries

            Comment


            • #69
              I'm not sure if it was the best but certainly the most memorable. No system since has been able to recapture the illusion that a pair of Beveridge Electrostatics , Audio Research SP 6 and Goldmund TT that I heard in the early eighties.

              I've got the Beveridges back and I am working toward that feeling.
              Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
              Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
              Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
              Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
              Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
              Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

              Comment


              • kcin
                kcin commented
                Editing a comment
                Nice neighbourhood! you lived in as a adolescent. The current Beveridges I have were the very same ones that I heard maybe 35 years ago. They stayed local and I managed to acquire them. Having lots of fun with them.

              • mkuller
                mkuller commented
                Editing a comment
                I heard the Beveridges at Audio Dimension near San Diego in the early 1980s, too. I recall sitting there with the speakers about 8 feet apart facing each other while they played Willie Nelson's "Stardust" album with Willie's big head floating there in the center. Pretty amazing.
                Last edited by mkuller; 05-07-2017, 02:47 PM.

              • Socrates
                Socrates commented
                Editing a comment
                Ha! yes--I used to pop into see Harold and have a listen --combining the trip to collect Sheffield Lp's--and recall him telling me they were making
                a Pair for Julis Andrews in Panelled Mirror Glass finish!.

                Also spent many a fine listen with Ike and his Mum at AD in San Diego--where I first heard the Lionel Seemungal Pre--still the finest Phono stage I've encountered

                Soc

            • #70
              I've heard a lot of amazing systems but the best was HP's big IRS system in Sea Cliff. I heard it in 1985 right after he invited me to write for TAS since I happened to be visiting my in-laws in Philly. He took my wife and I out to dinner and when we came back to his house we sat down on the couch and listened to those huge amazing speakers in his smallish room. We listened to a number of things but I vividly recall him putting the Human League's "Don't You Want Me" dance single on and saying, "Now listen to the seven layers of depth as they come in."

              I heard the system again the next year at the one and only TAS staff meeting weekend (https://www.audionirvana.org/filedat...9503&type=full). We listened two or three at a time so it wasn't as much fun but the system sounded even better. Tom Miiller said he thought the improvement was the new Koetsu Rosewood cartridge.
              Thiel 7.2s, Manley NeoClassic 250s, Wadia 850, MIT Oracle V3 speaker cables, MIT MI-350 Oracle interconnects, Black Diamond Racing Shelves and Cones in a dedicated room with ASC Tube Traps, Room Tunes and 3 X 20 amp dedicated circuits.

              Comment


              • #71
                I still own a pair completely revamped top to bottom.
                My own personnel fav but I am sure there better always better.
                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


                • #72
                  I still own a pair completely redone top to bottom. Ina room for them. There is always better to have or hear but never best
                  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


                  • #73
                    Originally posted by Boltman92124 View Post
                    rockitman 's system! He even let me play an LP with his $12k needle!
                    Lol...it sounds a lot better now....
                    Christian
                    System Gear

                    Comment


                    • #74
                      Originally posted by mkuller View Post
                      I've heard a lot of amazing systems but the best was HP's big IRS system in Sea Cliff. I heard it in 1985 right after he invited me to write for TAS since I happened to be visiting my in-laws in Philly. He took my wife and I out to dinner and when we came back to his house we sat down on the couch and listened to those huge amazing speakers in his smallish room. We listened to a number of things but I vividly recall him putting the Human League's "Don't You Want Me" dance single on and saying, "Now listen to the seven layers of depth as they come in."

                      I heard the system again the next year at the one and only TAS staff meeting weekend (https://www.audionirvana.org/filedat...9503&type=full). We listened two or three at a time so it wasn't as much fun but the system sounded even better. Tom Miiller said he thought the improvement was the new Koetsu Rosewood cartridge.
                      Nice comment, thanks. Would you mind to describe in somewhat more detail what you liked about the big IRS system? And were you able to compare this set up to the big Genesis loudspeakers HP used later?

                      Comment


                      • mkuller
                        mkuller commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Everything about it amazed me. The power, dynamics, scale, detail, imaging, musicality - probably the closest to live I've heard in a room. Those two times were the only time I heard HPs system so I can't compare it to any of the others.

                    • #75
                      So far the system in GTT's big room is the best I have heard. I've heard it in two locations and it really shined in GTT Audios big room. My wife and I both really got pulled in by the music this system was making. So much so, that we have changed our phono cartridge, phonostage, Preamplifier, amplifiers and most of our cables to match what is used in the room when we were there.
                      GTT's system is made up of Kronos table w/Black Beauty arm, Air Tight Opus-1 cartridge, AudioNet Pam G2 phonostage w/EPX power supply, AudioNet Pre G2 preamp, AudioNet Max monoblocks (X4), YG Acoustics Sonja XV speakers, and all Kubala/Sosna Elation! cables. All digital is AudioNet too.
                      SOURCE: VINYL - EAT C-Sharp with, EAT LPS power supply, My Sonic Lab Signature Gold
                      DIGITAL - Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC. Roon Nucleus w/EAT Lps power supply. Auralic Aires G1
                      PHONOSTAGE: AudioNet PAM G2 with AudioNet EPX power supply.
                      PREAMP: Audionet PRE G2.
                      AMPLIFIER: Audionet MAX monoblocks.
                      SPEAKERS: YG Acoustics Anat III Signatures (upgraded to Sonja 1.2) SVS SB-4000 subwoofers (x2)
                      CABLES: Kubala-Sosna.....Audio Desk Systeme RCM, Adona Rack, GIK & Acoustimac room treatment, Isoacoustics

                      Comment


                      • Rob
                        Rob commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Bill demo'd the YGs w/ AudioNet at shows out here and I left impressed. IMO, the SQ was a few notches higher than the Tenor amps YG showed with previously.

                      • tom_hankins
                        tom_hankins commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I agree, to me the Audionet gear w/ the YGs is a step above the Tenor combo. I really liked the Tenor amps alot, but they never had me come home and have a fire sale on my system like the Audionet stuff has.
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