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

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  • microstrip
    replied
    Until recently the most impressive system I had listened to was Sonusfaber TheSonus Faber (Fenice) speakers powered by Audio Research REF610 monsters and REF40 preamplifier driven by a Metronome Kalista C2A combo. All Odin cabling. It had scale, dynamics and real presence. It is the kind of system that makes you remember that some people have cats as pets, others have leopards or even panthers ...

    However a shorter audition of the Wilson XLF with similar front end using the Constellation Audio Hercules II plus Altair II managed to rise the bar. The effortless 3D layering capabilities of such system, distributing the energy of the sound in the correct places in the exact moment with no hang over in the stage was memorable.

    But if life dynamics of rock music was my main interest I would have no doubt - the enormous German Physics Gaudi was the winner by a large margin!

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  • nc42acc
    replied
    I have heard some good systems at the two audio shows I have attended but the conditions prohibit me from saying any were the best. There was always someone talking loudly in the room, people walking around in front of the system, limited familiar music for rooms that will not play your material. I think audio shows are horrible places to gauge greatness. I think you can hear enough to pique your interests and then listen in better conditions of your home or a well set up dealer. These are the places to hear greatness. Just my opinion.

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  • MylesBAstor
    replied
    Originally posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    "other than mine" .......

    at CES 2003 or 2004 there was a quad surround system comprised of a pair of Von Schweikert VR11SE's and a pair of VR9SE's with 4 darTZeel stereo 108's vertically bi-amped for power, and the EMM DAC6, EMM transport and EMM Switchman multi-channel pre for electronics.

    I still recall the SACD surround of The Who's 'Tommy' playing the native quad recording 'Pinball Wizard' at warp factor 9. not saying it was the best or most refined, but memorable....yes very!!

    unforgettable.

    Ha! That was during my audio sabbatical.

    Leave a comment:


  • MylesBAstor
    replied
    Originally posted by astrotoy View Post

    Working with Winston on my Decca book (published by his FIM company), gave me a chance to hear his system several times in the past few years. He spent more money, time, care on the design and construction of the room than most of the super high end audiophiles spend on their equipment. Wonderful experience.

    Larry
    Not to mention nicest gentleman in the world and makes some pretty fine sounding recordings too. It was Winston who finally pushed me over the edge to jump into tape.

    Not sure how current this picture is!

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  • astrotoy
    replied
    Originally posted by Bruce B View Post
    I'd have to say the system Winston Ma had about 5yr. ago. He's always had the Avalon Sentinel's, but the amps and pre he was using at the time was by David Berning. The room had a lot to do with the sound as well.
    Working with Winston on my Decca book (published by his FIM company), gave me a chance to hear his system several times in the past few years. He spent more money, time, care on the design and construction of the room than most of the super high end audiophiles spend on their equipment. Wonderful experience.

    Larry

    Leave a comment:


  • MylesBAstor
    replied
    I thought the Sonjas at CES three years ago with the Tenor electronics IIRC was a nice match.

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  • allenh
    replied
    Two rooms come to mind for me.

    Innovative Audio used to have a location in Brooklyn. Downstairs was a room with some early version Watt Puppies (5-7 variant), driven by Rowland and sourced by Wadia. Setup with curtain and proper lighting, it looked like a stage to a venue. With the lights turned down low except for the spotlight in the center, it seemed like Holly Cole was in the room singing her a** off. A holographic image, not just of voice, but head and instruments as well. Amazing presentation, visually and sonically.

    The second room was most recent: Bill Parish's big room with the mighty Sonja 1.3s driven with Audionet and fronted by a Kronos Pro. Talk about life size imaging and scale! And so effortless! One of my favorite rooms!

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  • Mike Lavigne
    replied
    "other than mine" .......

    at CES 2003 or 2004 there was a quad surround system comprised of a pair of Von Schweikert VR11SE's and a pair of VR9SE's with 4 darTZeel stereo 108's vertically bi-amped for power, and the EMM DAC6, EMM transport and EMM Switchman multi-channel pre for electronics.

    I still recall the SACD surround of The Who's 'Tommy' playing the native quad recording 'Pinball Wizard' at warp factor 9. not saying it was the best or most refined, but memorable....yes very!!

    unforgettable.
    Last edited by Mike Lavigne; 02-17-2016, 07:16 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Steve Lefkowicz
    replied
    Not sure it was "the best" I ever heard or not, but one that left the biggest impact on me was in the late 1970s (78 or 79), getting to hear a full Mark Levinson HQD system in a real home installation while I was in college. The sound was clearly the best I had heard at that time, and by a large margin. I wish I could remember what turntable was being used. Unfortunately, the person who owned it felt the records a few of us brought weren't worthy and insisted on playing only from his collection. I got to play about one minute from one of my records (Tarkus, by ELP) and was made to feel like I was wasting everyone's time.
    A friend from our old Inland Empire Audio society had built his own version (stacked modified Quads, not sure the tweeter, and his own design woofers, his own design Class A amps, preamp and electronic crossover). It was pretty amazing too.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rob
    replied
    Best show I've attended (Stereophile, SF Bay Area) also had three of the best systems I've heard...Audible difference brought Infinity IRS V with top of the range ARC, Versa Dynamics 2.0 and the 2-box Spectral digital front end. Same show had the mammoth four piece Martin Logan Statements with ginormous Krell Reference gear. Jason Bloom demoed his magnum opus the Apogee Grands...they don't make shows - or audio systems- like that anymore.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bruce B
    replied
    I'd have to say the system Winston Ma had about 5yr. ago. He's always had the Avalon Sentinel's, but the amps and pre he was using at the time was by David Berning. The room had a lot to do with the sound as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • 1morerecord2clean
    replied
    Originally posted by nc42acc View Post
    Greg Berons MBL system with his UHA R2R as the source. Bar none the best ever for me.

    I'll second that one.

    BUT, right up there would be Lloyd Walkers in his house.

    I would only nominate in this category based on extended listening sessions.

    Leave a comment:


  • MylesBAstor
    replied
    Another really impressive system that I heard many years ago was also based around extensively modded Infinity RS1bs. This chap lived in NH and was a friend of AJ Conti, owner and chief designer for Basis turntables.

    Bob had a huge room and the rest of his system comprised ARC M100s (one of my fave old ARC amps maybe next to the D250 Servo) on the top end and a cj Premier 1 driving the bottom end. The rest of the system consisted of an ARC SP10 preamplifier, Goldmund table/T3 arm and a Carnegie cartridge and like Sid, all MIT wiring. (he also had one of AJ's first prototype tables so that gives you a hint how long ago this was!) Well, there is no substitute for space and this system was about spaciousness and full range reproduction. When Bob put on some of the old Decca/RCAs recorded at Kingsway Hall, you knew why they eventually built the Kingsway filter. You could hear and feel the Underground passing under the hall during the recording (the only other system that I've heard that had the type of resolution was HP's; when Harry talked about hearing AC noise at CSO, he wasn't kidding! It just depended upon which day you visited HP and who was his set up guy as far as the sound went.) But Bob's system was more than just a toy; his system transported you back to the recording and it really played music, especially for what was out there in those days. Whether it was a Mancini RCA, a Mercury, etc., there was just an ease to the music, a delicacy, resolution, that brought the music to life. (that's why I consider the Infinities a classic speaker design!) And the low end was thunderous! We were lucky enough to spend the weekend with Bob and we were sad when he had to pack up on Sunday and head back to NY!

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  • MylesBAstor
    replied
    Originally posted by siddh View Post
    I have been fortunate to have heard some very close-to-the-real-deal audio. My first foray into ├╝ber high end was at Peter Macgrath's Coconut Grove shop. He had a tricked out room, with Wilson Puppy's/sub driven by some outrageous Mark Levinson amps; front end Mr. Macgrath's own master tapes. He blackened the room and bang. The stage and delicacy and realism was awfully real.
    Peter McGowan had a demo with the Genesis One's powered by his electronics in, of all places, the back room of a Best Buy in Chicago. Huge space that sounded all to true.
    The Vandy 7's pulled it off, as did my buddy's Avalon/Wadia/CAT based system.
    At Axpona 2015, I found the Tidal room stunning. We were in the sweet spot until being tossed, due to the end...of the show.
    Took him a lot of work to get that sound in that room too!

    Leave a comment:


  • david k
    replied
    Originally posted by microstrip View Post

    David,

    So, you have heard the famous Lyrec turntable - remarkable! But as far as I remember it was was manufactured in Denmark. Their tape recorders still show for sale from time to time in Nordic countries.
    Ok, so that's what it is, thanks for the clarification Francisco. This was the only time I've come across a Lyrec, don't know anything about their R2Rs.

    david
    Last edited by david k; 02-17-2016, 12:58 AM.

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