November 1, 2019 at 7:34 am #155
I am thinking about what the best amp/preamp set up for SL speakers is (with consummate plates).
1.Dr. West recommended Parasound JC-1/5.
2. Pass Labs
3. Atma Sphere
What would you recommend in a 400 sq ft room? I don’t listen at rock concert levels.
November 1, 2019 at 8:09 am #156
for a room that size, suggest a 200 watt tube power amp. I use VTLs with very good results; other high quality tube amps of this output should work fine. My suggestion is get a very good preamp to make your system really sing, like a Audio Research LS-28, Ref.5 or 6.
good luck, and post your choice with comments.
November 1, 2019 at 12:32 pm #157
1) Atma-sphere MA-1 – Presently Owned; They replaced my CAT amps.
2) Any CAT (Convergent Technology Amps) (Owned JL1’s and JL3’s) At 100 watts and 150 watts respectively, CAT amps are very, very under rated.
3) Parasound Halo JC1 (Auditioned)
4) Mark Levinson (336 Owned) The CAT JL1’s replaced this amp. The JL1’s improved upon every sonic signature, especially control/drive on my then M1 Soundlabs.
November 1, 2019 at 3:27 pm #158
Thanks Ken and Mike
It seems that a lot of people like tube amps with SL. Is it something specific about SL that goes well with tubes or do you feel this way with all speakers?
Mike, so you don’t use M1’s any more? What do you use now?
November 1, 2019 at 4:08 pm #159
Left transistors 25 years ago, for sonic reasons!
Yes, they are great on SL and I think they just sound more natural.
November 1, 2019 at 4:34 pm #160
“Left transistors 25 years ago, for sonic reasons!”
25 years ago, that was true. Today, not so much. Pass Labs do an amazing job on Sound Labs, without any of the hassles associated with tubes. Wolcott amps do a great job with Sound Labs, but I’m not going back to tubes.
The Parasound JC-1 amps do a very competent job, but lack soul.
A great preamp is an asset in any system.
November 1, 2019 at 7:24 pm #163
What changed in SS evolution over the past 25 year that improved the SQ?
November 1, 2019 at 7:25 pm #164
“Mike, so you don’t use M1’s any more? What do you use now?”
I sold my M1’s for M1PX’s with Hot Rod and Consummate upgrades; recently purchasing Atma-sphere MA-1 OTL’s.
The former SLOG forum contained a several page post relative to amplification and specifically my amplifier sojourn.
November 1, 2019 at 8:15 pm #165
“What changed in SS evolution over the past 25 year that improved the SQ?”
Nelson Pass and Dan D’Agostino could better answer that question than I. They both have had a lot to say. A little research should provide some answers.
November 9, 2019 at 3:28 pm #169supportmacParticipant
I would recommend Atma Sphere as well. I have recently purchased Soundlab speakers which I run with Atma Sphere M-60 + MP-1 right now. I live in Paris. We have many fine tube amplifiers here in Europe. But I largerly prefer Atma Sphere gear over any other tube amplifier which I have listened so far. That should tell you how good these are.
November 9, 2019 at 4:34 pm #170
November 9, 2019 at 4:36 pm #171supportmacParticipant
I’m using Dynastat III. Very nice speaker. He actually replaced Quad speakers
November 20, 2019 at 5:05 pm #196
It’s been the great debate for years: SS vs.tubes. Both platforms are better now than 25 years ago.
Just passing on my experience and pleasure enjoying a tube based system. Love the natural, full sound and fabulous dimensionality. No regrets here.
November 22, 2019 at 10:40 am #207bk12Participant
I have had a number of great amps, but I have settled on Atma-Sphere MA-2 combined with MP-1 preamp to power my U-1s. I have heard great things about VTL and Wolcott as well. I had the Atma-sphere MA-1 and MP-3 previously, and that also did a phenomenal job on the speakers (with the consummate backplate).
December 2, 2019 at 1:53 pm #212
Powerful tube or solid state amps should do well with Soundlabs,depending on personal sonic flavor.Own Triangle Art TA 200 mono,ARC 250 SE mono to drive A1.Pre amps are Jadis JP 80 mc,Spectral 30 sv,SF sfl2 and triangle art reference pre amp.Listening room 40x35x9.Volume set usually between 10 and 12.Music:classical,jazz,blues,hard rock.Other good amps:Atmasphere A2,Pass labs 350,old Krell 300/400 cx,Theta Citadel ,VTL and Parasound mono.Soundlabs speakers are very revealing from top to bottom frequencies,deserving great electronics,and sources.Khai
December 20, 2019 at 6:08 am #217RalphParticipant
I use Audio Research but like everything else it is a case of matching. If you use low input impedance solid state amps, tube preamps are likely not ideal. Since I use VTL tube amps with high input Z, tubes work great.
December 22, 2019 at 7:35 am #219
My Triangle Art TA 200 mono and Krell CX as amps have input impedance around 100K ohms so they have no problem matching with tube pre amps.You are right Ralph.Btw,I forgot to mention in my first post Atmasphere MA-2 OTL amps sounded superb with Soundlabs I heard at audio shows too.
December 22, 2019 at 8:17 am #220
Those of you using Atma=Sphere MA-2 with their Soundlabs have you
any problems with amplifier clipping with dynamic source material?
I just acquired a pair of MA-2 MK3.3’s to run my U890PX/BF, current backplates but have not connected them as yet. I normally listen to Jazz, Large Scale Orhestral including Soundtracks at fairly healthy volume levels.
Up to this point the panels have been driven with bridged solid state but I’m looking for something with more finesse and delicacy, hence the MA-2’s but am a bit concerned about their ability to drive the panels without any difficulty.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by John V.
December 22, 2019 at 8:58 am #222
Hi John, they played high volume at these Stereophile shows.How far up are you turning your preamp volume control?Mine at most between 12 and 1.I did not hear any clipping or strains between atm and soundlab at the show.The loudness is similar at my home and at the show.
December 22, 2019 at 9:25 am #223
Thanks for your response. It would be difficult to draw a direct comparison as the volume control position for output level as it will depend upon the output level of the source connected to the pre-amp. That being said, I’m glad to hear the MA2’s handled the levels you experienced both at home and at the show without audible distress.
December 22, 2019 at 9:32 am #224
Your question reminds me of my experience when switching from a Levinson 336 to CAT-JL1’s almost 20-years ago. Before this, my mind was stuck in the measuring/comparing wattage mire. That is: how could the CAT JL-1’s at 100W/Ch drive my then M1 Soundlabs (no PX panels, Torrid II or Hot Rod electronic upgrades) better than the Levinson 336 at 350W/Ch? Thus, I delayed dragging the pre-owned CAT’s — 190lb (each monoblock) — home from my audio dealer’s for an audition. But I convinced myself to not only try the CAT’s but Parasound JC1 Halos. Upon hooking up the CAT’s, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The entire frequency spectrum was better and I could find nothing worse, only better (harmonics, immediacy, imaging, sound stage, et al! However, drive was the big difference. Bass was better, but what about treble, it too was better….there were no downsides, only pluses!!
The CAT’s controlled/drove the Soundlab’s like nothing else I had heard to that point in 2006! The difference was so great that I jumped up from my listening chair and let out of few expletives while pacing to and fro. I had finally heard for myself what all the tube-talk fuss with Soundlabs was about! Of course the CAT’s (as I imagine the VTL’s are), are anything but run of the mill tube amps!!
At any rate, the MA-2’s should drive Soundlab’s — let alone PX Panels with Torrid II (Consummate) Backplates — with aplomb. My MA-1’s perform very nicely with my M1PX’s with current SOTA backplates.
When I first obtained the MA-1’s, I frequently watched the meters when I thought I may be pushing things, but the meters never exceeded their limits, nor did I hear any signs of clipping. So, with my rig/room, the MA-1’s are more than satisfactory.
As a side note, I heard the MA-1’s and MA-2’s back-to-back in a large room and the 2’s were a tad/bit better. However, “better” simply means that the MA-2’s drove the U1PX’s with a little more gravitas, for lack of a better word to describe the difference. My point in saying this is, I can’t imagine the MA-2’s will run out of gas.
However, it would be beneficial if you would report your actual findings after you install the MA-2’s. If you haven’t heard the MA-2’s and Soundlabs, my experiences suggest that you are in for a real treat!!
December 22, 2019 at 9:49 am #225
Thanks so much for your very thoughtful post.
Your right regarding the “wattage mire” as being from the technical repair, measurement camp I do tend to get fixated on that. I have had poor experiences in the distant past with some tube equipment trying to drive my earlier U1’s, hence the present concern.
Will report back once everything is up and running, and you are right, I’ve not heard the MA2’s on any SL’s up to this point.
December 22, 2019 at 3:50 pm #235
I have been impressed with the fact that one can pull and switch tubes from the Atma-shpere’s while they’re running. Of course some highly insulated “grilling gloves are necessary, unless fried fingers are on the menu that day.
I also asked Ralph Karsten a similar question about switching speaker cables and interconnects and whether it was prudent to do so with the amps in standby. Ralph said standby was fine. But he then advised that he usually didn’t bother with standby and just left the amp on, saying it was “pretty good that way”.
December 22, 2019 at 6:59 pm #239bk12Participant
You will likely find the MA-2 to handle those panels easily. Mine don’t get pushed too hard, and I have my panels in a big open area due to an open floor plan in current house. Even the MA-1s did a darn nice job. As pointed out by many, not really easy to compare SS watts with Atma-Sphere watts on Soundlabs.
December 22, 2019 at 7:50 pm #240
In my opinion, Sound Lab speakers need a very good match with the amplifier to really come to life and show their potential.That said, it is my belief the optimal choice of preamp is an entirely different issue, one that has more to do with system/room synergy and personal preferences rather than the speakers themselves.As mentioned by others, SL speakers being highly revealing, will show the character and quality of a preamp clearly. Your budget will be a factor. Everything matters. Clean power, vibration control, etc. are also important.
December 24, 2019 at 12:07 pm #242
“….SL speakers being highly revealing, will show the character and quality of a preamp clearly.” “Your budget will be a factor. Everything matters. Clean power, vibration control, etc. are also important.”
I couldn’t agree more TWB!! SL’s are only held back by the upstream equipment. My experiences with this concept make me wonder how much better could SL’s actually sound!?! I think I’m pretty much at their best, but…??
Soundlabs are amazing transducers. Before replacing my M1’s in 2013 with M1PX’s, my son and I attended the 2012 RMAF mainly to audition speakers. With the exception of some open baffle designs, horns, electrostats and other planars, nothing else provided the “effortless” presentation of those types of speakers.
My personal ownership experiences and findings suggest that potential speaker buyers should listen to as many different types of speakers as possible — cones & domes, stats, horns, ribbons et al. From those, down select to a type and then proceed to audition speakers within that type. This may be a bit simplistic, but definitely a way to pare down the myriad of available speakers to audition.
April 11, 2021 at 3:29 pm #865
I have tried Levinson 333 and Kinki Studios (Goldmund clone) monoblocks the ML sounds better to me on M1PX however my backplates are old pristine non torroid. I am getting a set of a3 backplates upgraded by dr west right now
April 11, 2021 at 4:11 pm #866Loudspeaker7Participant
Hi, I have used both MA 1s and PS Audio BHKs with excellent results. Both sound different: the MA 1s are warmer while the BHKs are more transparent. Now I have to mention that my MA 1s are several generations back and I have not listened to the latest ones. I love my SoundLabs (Ultimate 845s). Sandy
April 11, 2021 at 4:26 pm #867
Are you on thr fb group “i love my soundlabs”
April 11, 2021 at 4:27 pm #868
Levinson with M1Px
April 11, 2021 at 4:30 pm #869
April 12, 2021 at 10:52 am #871kilkilParticipant
I’m a little late to the discussion, though I agree with TWB, Pass Labs is excellent, i have the XA 160.8 with XP 30 pre.
I was prejudiced against tubes for quite a while, I never heard a tube amp (Headphone specific amps mostly) that i liked. Over the last few years i have enjoyed some tube amps. I really would like to hear an Atma-Sphere amp in my system, though I think I will still prefer the Pass sound.
April 12, 2021 at 1:25 pm #872
As general rule with this wacky hobby of ours, until it’s heard, it can’t be imagined or quantified. Some attempt to do this with the various forums and their debates about solid state vs tubes, a pre-amp vs a CDP direct, this measurement vs that measurement etc. Most of us are here trying to obtain information and make comparisons vicariously by using other people’s experiences and opinions. That’s all well and good. In fact, I have received superb insight and recommendations over the decades from forums; finding kindred spirits in the process.
However, much time must be spent wading through the chaff of forums to find the wheat that makes sense and is acceptable to our personal audio sensibilities. But until I heard how CAT amps drove my original M1’s with the original torodial transformers, I too couldn’t have believed it. As I mentioned in a post previously in this thread, I was gobsmacked! I couldn’t believe how the CAT’s were controlling the SoundLabs.
I thought my Levinson 336 stereo amp was pretty darn good and it was. But the 190lb./ea CAT JL1 monoblocks (@100W ea.), were – pardon the metaphor — in another zip code! The audition pair of Parasound JC1 Halo’s went back to the audio store where I obtained the used CAT’s and my Levinson was promptly traded for the CAT’s.
I’ve heard Soundlabs with Ayre, Pass, Parasound, Levinson, CAT and Atma-sphere MA1’s and MA2’s. I presently own MA1 Mk3.3’s (With Optional Power Supply Boost [uses custom built filter caps for MA-2] & Caddock® resistor package). VTL’s would be amps I would like to hear, but haven’t. The amps from these manufactures will all drive SoundLabs and in isolation, they all sound great, because SoundLabs sound great!
I’m sure all of us who have amplifiers that will drive our SoundLab’s are enjoying excellent reproduction. However, there could well be other amplifiers that are not only better, but significantly so. This obviously is specific to each of us and our audio preferences, upstream components and rooms. But never say never and always go into an audition with eyes wide open, minus preconceived thoughts and conclusions. And don’t let the comments of others drive your direction or cloud your decision to try something or not. I’ve been surprised far too many times with far too many components to believe otherwise.
April 12, 2021 at 1:53 pm #873
I have to agree with MikeB’s comments. Additionally, I would add that the various sizes SL makes is also a factor. The smaller size panels are less efficient and require more power than the larger ones. The back plates have improved over the years- the latest generation of back plate, previously an upgrade, is now standard on most models, and provides a significant improvement over previous generations. The room in which the panels are placed is a major factor. Cubic footage (not just square footage) of the room vs. panel size is very important.
I have 2 systems, one with the U-545PXs, another with the U-1PX, both driven with Pass Labs, but different models. The difference must be heard to appreciate. SLOG members are welcome to visit to hear for themselves and learn more.
- This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by TWB.
April 12, 2021 at 5:37 pm #876
Hey TWB: Which model Pass amps are you using with each of your SoundLab models? Additionally it would be interesting and informative to hear your comments and sonic comparisons of the various Pass amp models you own and have auditioned.
Thanks for your moderation efforts. -Mike
April 12, 2021 at 6:10 pm #877
My system has both pure SS and pure Tube components which sound excellent in their own ways making it impossible to choose one as superior over the other. Companies that produce such audiophile equipment deserve tremendous praise for the satisfaction they give to our auditory and visual cortexes.
Preamp: EMM Labs PRE or Atma-Sphere MP-1.
Amplifiers: Pair of PassLabs X600.8 monoblocks or Atma-Sphere MA-1 pair of monoblocks.
Stereo Speakers: Pair of Sound Lab Ultimates U1-PX (Ultimate 745) with latest backplates.
Subwoofers: Two REL G-1s, Left and Right.
April 12, 2021 at 7:18 pm #878
Do u think u need the subs with the U1?
I put in m1 and took out my subs.
April 12, 2021 at 8:41 pm #879
I find the subs add substantially to the soundstage assuming the REL subs are set up correctly.
April 13, 2021 at 1:04 pm #880
bstspkr1: With the Pass X600.8 and Atma-sphere MA-1’s plus the pre-amps from both manufacturers, you are indeed dealing with quite rarefied equipment! Add-in your SoundLab’s and oh my! I’m sure you’re quite correct about trying to place either the amps or pre-amps above each other. Different is just that. It doesn’t necessarily mean as you said: “superior”! This can be said for much of the hardware at the levels many of us own.
I switched from CAT amps to Atma-sphere because of the CAT’s 190lb/ea. weight (MA-1’s 32lbs./ea.) and the need to replace a resistor that acted as a fuse for each of the 32 tubes in my JL2 amps. A tube blowing almost always equaled a blown resistor. I am disabled so having to get down on the floor to flip-over a 190lb amp and remove multiple screws and de-solder and re-solder a resistor was figuratively and literally a PITA! Otherwise, I would still own the marvelous CAT beasts (meow). I did audition the CAT’s against the Atma-sphere MA-1’s before purchasing the MA-1’s. There were differences, but neither was superior. So, it was painless opting to make the trade.
I would love to hear your Pass and Atma-sphere amps back-to-back. I would say in a shoot-out, but that assumes the selection of a winner. When bulls-eyes are hit by both, there is no win. Congratulations on what must be a fine sounding audio room!!
Did you audition or own other Pass amps with your SoundLabs before settling on the 600.8’s? If so, do you believe the 600.8’s are the pinnacle of the line when driving SoundLab’s? If you didn’t own the 600’s which other Pass amps would you select to pair with your U1PX’s?
Although I’m sure it’s difficult, are you able to make a verbal comparison between the Pass vs Atma-sphere amps with your SoundLabs? Is there one you find yourself using more than the other for sonic enjoyment reasons? I’m not generally a believer in using one component verses another for music types/styles (e.g. jazz vs rock vs classical vs vocals etc.) reasons. But perhaps your 600.8/MA-1 choice may be as such music style/type related as opposed to other traits. At any rate, having such a choice is a wonderful dilemma!!!
April 13, 2021 at 3:22 pm #881
Hey TWB: Which model Pass amps are you using with each of your SoundLab models? Additionally it would be interesting and informative to hear your comments and sonic comparisons of the various Pass amp models you own and have auditioned.
Originally, on the recommendation of Mark at Reno HiFi, I purchased a pair of Pass Lab X-260.8 Class A/B) for use with my U-1PXs. I was very pleased with the results; they did a great job, and never ran out of power. Later, I was setting up a small system with relatively efficient dynamic speakers in SF and decided to purchase a pair of Pass Lab XA-60.8 amps, since I had never owned a pure Class A amp before. I was ecstatic with the results. Then I replaced the speakers with a pair of Sound Lab U-545s and found that the XA-60.8 amps, while lovely at low levels, would distort when played loud in the higher octaves. So, I switched the 60.8s with the 260.8s from my country system. the 260.8s drove the U-545s well, and the 60.8s also did well, bringing the Class A quality to the larger, more efficient speakers. However, I do believe the U-1PX panels would benefit with more Class A power, and at some point in the future, I expect to move up, probably to the XA-200.8 amps. I have not done any auditioning of other choices. However, SLOGERS are invited to visit if they would like to hear mine.
- This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by TWB.
April 13, 2021 at 4:08 pm #883
TBW: “However, SLOGERS are invited to visit if they would like to hear mine.”
Assuming you’re in the U.S., what State are you located TBW?
April 13, 2021 at 5:15 pm #884
My city system (U-545) is in San Francisco, and my country system (U-1PX) is 2 hours north of SF, at the end of a private 5 mile gravel ranch road, in the bonnies.
I would add, on the topic of amps, that as a Sound Lab dealer I have attended and played the role of host at many shows where Sound Lab exhibited. More often than not, Atmosphere amps were used so I am very familiar with them. They do a great job and I would recommend them to anyone who wants tube amps. Personally, I prefer not to have too deal with the maintenance issues that come with tubes, particularly since I tend to have my amps on 12-16 hours/day!
- This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by TWB.
April 13, 2021 at 5:42 pm #886
TWB: Asking the question I did of you and then of “bstspkr1” was to file your answers away in my hip pocket for potential future reference. Solid State is appealing for the maintenance issues you expressed. There might come a day when I need to move to SS.
Additionally, I’m sure there are others that will benefit from your insight and from when “bstspkr1’s” addresses my questions about comparisons of the Pass and Atma-sphere amps he owns and may have auditioned. That sort of personal insight goes a long way to downselecting which amps one should audition. Anything better than throwing darts at a board littered with amplifiers, is beneficial. It is one of the important reasons why I participate on forums like this. For example cabling is littered with many brands and numerous models within those brands (some with pricing as high as the amplifiers being discussed). The question of where to begin the auditioning process becomes an important one; especially for our beloved electrostatic speakers. Which generally have different cable requirements than cones and domes. That is, a cable that works well with normal drivers may not perform equally well on stats. But I digressed from the topic at hand….
April 13, 2021 at 7:50 pm #887
Back in the days before Audiogon was sold to new profit oriented owners, it was also a credible forum which attracted many knowledgable posters. Among them was JaFox, an advanced audiophile and music lover who was a very articulate writer. He owned Sound Lab A1 speakers and Cat amps starting in about 2006, previously being a Maggie and ARC fan. His many posts over the years, which I enjoyed and benefitted from can be found here:
His comments about CAT amps start here:
His thoughts on Sound Labs, come later. A lot to read, but worth the time!
April 13, 2021 at 8:55 pm #888
TWB: I believe you and I discussed John Fox in a previous post here or on the previous SLOG. Meeting John was one of the motherlode moments of my countless hours of forum participation!!! John is one of the audio kindred spirits that I mentioned above. His audio preferences and mine coincided; which is a marvelous occurrence. Each of us having essentially the same equipment, helped the comparing of notes and other equipment on a long distance basis. Indeed any posts John authored are worthy reads!!!
April 14, 2021 at 5:11 pm #890
In re to MikeB’s and other comments:
Amplifiers I have used in the last 20 yers or so with Sound Labs M-2 and M-1/M-1PX speakers: Balanced Audio Technology (BAT) VK-1000 monoblocks did not have enough power to drive speakers. Pass Labs X600.5 mono block amps were ideal. Sanders Magtech Stereo Amp was also very good but not as smooth as the Pass amps. Finally, replaced with Pass Labs X600.8 and Atma-Sphere MA-1 monoblocks – both sounded beautiful and had plenty of power with headroom to drive Sound Labs speakers.
Pre-Amplifiers I have used in the last 20 yers or so with Sound Labs M-2 and M-1/M-1PX speakers: Pass Labs XO.2 and Pass Labs XP-30, both sounded very neutral without coloration, however, both were very bland (blah … the music lacked authority and excitement, i.e., almost boring). Meitner/EMM preamp PRE-2 and Atma-Sphere preamp MP-1 were excellent and enjoyable replacements.
In these set-ups, I always had stereo REL subwoofers of various types over the years, all of which added to the soundstage.
I upgraded in 2017 to the Sound Lab Ultimates U1-PX (Ultimate 745) and have the updated backplates. These have been excellent with SS (preamps PRE-2 or PRE by Meitner/EMM and PassLabs X600.8 monoblocks) or Tubes (Atma-Sphere preamp MP-1 and Atma-Sphere MA-1 pair of monoblocks) in conjunction with stereo REL G-1 subwoofers.
Sources are either Basis 2001 Signature Series Turntable (via Atma-Sphere MP-1), SACD/CD player TX2 by EMM, DA-2 DAC by EMM, or digital files on a Mac Mini using Audirvana software.
In reply to MikeB’s specific question: I do not do A-B comparisons, song by song, track by track as it is cumbersome (a fragmented back-and-forth mental and audiovisual exercise). However, every 4 weeks or so I switch between the SS and Tube components while continuing to hear varied music I was into the prior 4 weeks or so in order to have a concentrated and wide comparison. There is no clear winner in this type of “back-to-back” contest – both are very revealing, the SS is slightly better in this aspect. However, as is well known, the Tubes sound warmer and more bass heavy than SS; thus I have to reduce the bass setting on the backplate by 1 when I listen to Tubes.
All I can say is music seems “New” or “Have I even heard that song that way before” when switching from SS to Tubes or vice versa. Bulls-eyes are hit on slightly different targets by both, so there is no clear winner. Hats-Off to the individuals and companies that provide such products.
April 15, 2021 at 10:49 am #892booboobaerParticipant
The amps that work with my Sound Lab M1 PX are the Convergent Audio Technology monoblocs (CAT). As far as preamp I have the Tube Research Labs preamp (The DUDE). Lets just say it is a match made in heaven. I have painfully gone through many brands.
April 15, 2021 at 10:38 am #891
Hats-Off to the individuals and companies that provide such products.
Let me add NOT only hats off to the individual designers and companies that provide the outstanding products we enjoy; but to you bstspkr1 and everyone who shares their experiences in such a cogent and open manner.
As I previously stated in this post, while maintaining an open mind, I’ve been pleasantly surprised countless times with products unknown to me and of configurations different than the norm. As such, over the years, I’ve bought several pieces from little known boutique designers, always with outstanding results. In the process, one or two of these designers/manufacturers have become friends, with one visiting my home for an audition of his equipment from 1,500 miles away, while he was on a road trip elsewhere.
bstskr1: you have, and have had access to many high-end audio products at the pinnacle of the audio heap. Different, but none outshining the other, is the clarion call for the level of products you own.
While reading your comparisons, I found myself shaking my head with an understanding of how you must feel when switching out components. It’s good that you don’t make a science of it. Our desires to recreate a musical performance in our homes, is an emotional, subjective one. Attempting to categorize that listening, musical experience with a priority connected to the scientific method is, to me, a misguided one, but one the internet with its far reaching access, has popularized.
Since you mentioned your components, I will do mine. Before disabilities precluded me from spinning vinyl, I owned a Galibier Quattro turntable with a Tri-Planar arm. My tube pre-amplifier was a Michael Elliott (formerly of Counterpoint) direct-sale design. It was an Aria Audio WVXL, with phono. Both pieces are now at my son’s house, being enjoyed by him. I jumped into computer audio almost at its inception with DAC’s from Wavelength Audio (a Brick and then Crimson). Later, those were replaced in my main room with a Lampizator Big7 and then Lampi’s Golden Gate. Presently, I’m using Roon on a DIY Windows HTPC connected via Ethernet to a dCS Rossini DAC. Not needing switching, the Rossini is directly connected to the Atma-sphere MA-1’s.
Cabling is in a large state of flux. When I received my new S/L Majestic 845’s last year, I found one of my speaker cables shorting. For a quick and very inexpensive stop gap, I bought Signal Audio’s top-of-the-line Silver Resolution cable. Astronomical pricing per pair, begins at $289.00!! The Covid Shyte storm halted trying other cables. But that will change shortly. Along the same lines my Atma-sphere to Rossini XLR IC’s were procured from Atma-sphere’s Ralph Karsten. Like the Signal speaker cables these IC’s were very inexpensive and were bought as a tentative beginning point for future cable auditions. Hopefully in the case of each cable type, because of their cost, I will be pleasantly surprised when the comparisons begin.
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