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  • Save Your Pennies for a Rainy Day

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ID:	994 Or how a New Yorker spends a rainy Wednesday, 60 degree winter day. Click image for larger version

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    Absolare's new Passion integrated amplifier. Definitely audio eye candy. A hybrid design employing solid-state amplification and tube line stage.





    The system at Rhapsody Music and Cinema with the new Magico S7 speakers (that I reported on back in August in Positive-Feedback). Here instead of Soulution, the S7s were driven by either the Kondo Kagura or the Vitus Sm011 amplifiers. Click image for larger version

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    Praying at the altar of the Holy Grail? The 211-based, 50 wpc Kondo Kagura single-end amplifiers (?) Kondo Kaguras flanked byVitus SM011 "intelligent design" Class amplifiers. Click image for larger version

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    I don't know about you but I can't get enough shots of these beautiful looking tube amplfiers! Click image for larger version

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    The Kondo turntable patiently awaiting installation of an Io cartridge.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by MylesBAstor; 02-04-2016, 12:02 AM.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
    -Ensemble Fuoco hybrid integrated amplifier
    -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 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, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, 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, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies 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
    So how did the system sound?

    Before getting to that, I'd like to thank Bob Visintainer, proprietor extraordinare of Rhapsody Music and Cinema for his invitation to come hear this magical combination of equipment. Bob is one of the classiest, not to mention easiest going audio proprietors that I know and am proud to call a friend. Bob has a keen ear for sound and when he says come down to my place and hear something, you know it's special. In fact, it was Bob who after one audio show insisted that I come to his store and hear his pair of Magico speakers; shockingly or not, the Magico S5 and S3s were far better sounding than at any audio show; so good in fact, that I jumped at the opportunity when Irv Gross from Magico called and asked if I had any interest in reviewing the S5s for PF. But it's hardly the first--nor will it be the last time--that a product sounded bad at a show and sounded good elsewhere. Most of us wizened show goers types know that if a product sounds good at a show it's worth investigating; on the other hand, if it sounds bad, it's meaningless.

    And as they say the rest is history. Then almost two years ago, Bob most graciously hosted an Audioshark.com weekend audio extravaganza at his emporium where once again he had the Magicos purring. One of the highlights that weekend--and it was admittedly on tinkly type, small scale music--were the Magico S3s driven by the Kondo Kagura amplifiers. This was truly a very special combination. The Kondos possessed a delicacy and resolution that most--maybe no--amplifier could even dream of.

    Jump ahead another year and Bob and I have have been corresponding back and forth about the pair of S7s he now has in house again driven by the Kondo Kaguras. Now for those not quite up on the S7 or the new S5/S3/S1 Mk. 2 (see: http://positive-feedback.com/audio-discourse/magico-s7/), Alon Wolf has because of the new graphene speaker material been able to eliminate parts of the crossover design relating to controlling driver break-up modes. And as we know, less is more. The end result is the new S series speakers are much easier to drive and that admittedly by today's standards, 50 wpc Kagura should sound even better. So never being able to resist temptation or the chance to listen to another audio system, it was time to pack up some records and take the subway down to Bob's store down in the Chelsea section of Manhattan.

    So now came the biggest disappointment of the day. Bob's big Kondo turntable was out of operation so all that time spent carefully choosing those albums to play on the big rig went for naught. Luckily Bob's digital front-end set-up with the Aurender and Berkeley Audio DAC proved up to the task at hand! Then came the biggest surprise. Bob had since my last visit, taken on the Vitus Audio electronic line. So I was able to give a listen to the new Magico S7s coupled to either a tube or solid-state based audio chain. And the results were fascinating and maybe answered once again the question posed here:

    http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/th...tube-amplifier.

    But first, the starting line-up for each team!

    System 1 Tube Based:

    Kondo Kagura 211 SE amplifier ($160K)
    Absolare Audio line stage ($40K)
    Aurender N10 music server ($8000)
    Berkeley Audio Alpha USB Alpha DAC ($16,000 plus $2500 for USB)
    Absolare Audio line stage ($40K)
    All Kondo Ag wire


    System 2 Solid-state based, (run balanced):

    Vitus SM011 amplifier ($55K)
    Vitus SL102 linestage ($40K)
    Aurender N10 music server ($8000)
    Berkeley Audio Alpha USB Alpha DAC ($16,000 plus $2500 for USB)
    All Einklein balanced cable

    And the music. All the selections (RBCD) was played back through the Aurender/BAD combo including Holly Cole's "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" and Dean Martin's "Blue Moon" as well as selections from Reference Recording's Arnold Overtures, some Van Morrison, etc. And that might have been the second best RBCD I've ever heard.

    So returning to the initial question: how did the Magico S7s and the system as a whole sound? Big. Bold. Dynamic and effortless. Resolution up the wazoo. Instruments solidly anchored in the soundfield. Most of all, just quiet and transparent. Both the solid-state-based Vitus Audio and the tube-based Kondo/Absolare combos were exceptionally neutral and transparent sounding. The Kondo had it when it came to delicacy; the Vitus when it came to grip especially on the low end; the Kondo/Absolare combo when it came to midrange magic. The Vitus excelled at detail; the Kondo/Absolare at resolving musical nuances (the little things that bring the music to life). Instruments and singers were a touch more focussed with the Vitus; the singers had a touch more air and reverb surrounding them with the Kondo Absolare gear. In the end, I'm sure that I could live quite easily with either system especially once a turntable or tape deck was introduced into the equation. Of course, long term listening and further tweaking would be needed to draw any meaningful conclusion but someone has to do it so why not me?!?!

    So once again a big thank you to Bob for the couple of hours he spent with me and I'm sure that he would gladly host any NY area audiophiles who would like to hear this SOTA combination!
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
    -Ensemble Fuoco hybrid integrated amplifier
    -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 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, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, 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, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies 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


    • #3
      That Absolare is a definite woody for me.
      TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Transfiguration Proteus Cart; Arcam R Phono Preamp; Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer; VTL 6.5 preamp, Pass Labs 150.8 Amp; Revel Studio Ultima Loudspeakers; Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls; Shunyata Hydra 8; Shunyata AC Cords; Audio Art Ref balanced ICs, MIT Oracle IC and Magnum Speaker Cables; Schiitt Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD700 Headphones; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner

      Comment


      • #4
        Or if you are into leather!
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
        -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
        -Ensemble Fuoco hybrid integrated amplifier
        -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 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, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, 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, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies 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


        • #5
          I need to get to Bob's. Wanted to hear the Vitus, but don't think that's going to happen anymore with this market.
          Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s

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