Here we are. 12 years after I started my journey. Periodically we all find that we make massive jumps or shifts in our setups. Maybe your personal music tastes have changed. Maybe you wind up with noise-induced vertigo and sound sensitivity (such is my case) and can't enjoy the 90dB levels. But alas, here I am with my latest setup. Talk about massive leaps! It likely would not have changed had it not been for a resistor in the old modded Bada DC-222 that finally went and took out a small chunk of the circuit board. Had it been repairable, I'd have never made any changes. I was absolutely happy with that tube integrated. I struggled for years to find anything that could compete. Just never found any winners (at my pre-existing price point, which is relative). But then I stumbled on the Stellar M1200 and since they had tube buffers, it made complete sense to go this direction. 

New Edit: I just added an Audio Research SP-20 PREAMP! I finally made that leap as well. You can find more specific comments about it in the equipment list notes. 

Next will be a balanced DAC so I can run balanced inputs to the pre-amp. The old Cary Xciter DAC is still awesome but with the pre-amp getting a massive upgrade from that Creek 100A pre out, I no longer have an excuse. I have a few in mind but might stick with Cary and go with the 200ts tube DAC. I do love the Cary flavor! 

In addition, not because the MA GS10s have lost their flavor, as a matter of fact I'm hearing them at their best for the first time since I bought them 12 years ago. I still can't believe what these little bookshelf speakers can do. Of course I did a full Cardas internal rewiring. That helped. But this is something else entirely. I'm blown away. However, they still lack that airy mid-range from a full up 3-way. So I'm gearing up to bring in a pair of MA Gold 300 or the Platinum PL300 II. Very aware of the differences but at some point I'll need to flip a coin. Either way, I win!

If you've followed my system setups you'll notice the AAD 2001s are not pictured. They are still in the room but not hooked up. However, with all these recent upgrades, they may once again have a place in the system. Excited to play around with those again in the coming weeks. 

Anyway, feel free to leave a comment! I'm open to constructive criticism too. Thanks for looking!

Room Details

Dimensions: 16’ × 21’  Large
Ceiling: 11’

Components Toggle details

    • High Desert Audio 1M RCA cables
    I made these. I find them to be excellent for any SE application. Served me well for years.
    • Audio Research SP-20
    Replaced the previous integrated amp with a no-shit pre-amp....finally. All I have to say is... it's pure magic now. I don't have to turn it up to get the magic which is fantastic! One of the best purchases I've made yet. And the synergy in this system is on point. Absolutely no issues whatsoever. And those four 6H30 tubes... wow.
    • Moon Audio Black Dragon 1M SPDIF
    Also one of the first additions years ago. No need to change. Does an excellent job!
    • Mojo Audio Power Cable
    This was also one of the very first additions when I started this journey. I made a small modification of my own. But other than that, still does things that power cables do!
    • Cardas Audio Gold Power Cable
    Still does things that power cables do.
    • Shunyata Research Cirrus IC Helix XLR 6'
    No opinions formed yet. Just added.
    • Synergistic Research Tesla Apex 6' Speaker Cables
    Finally, a cable to replace my cheap, entry level Cardas cables! But in this case by leaps and bounds. :)
    • Cary Audio Xciter dac
    This one has been along for the ride since the beginning (including the GS 10s!. Produces a very engaging sound.
    • PS Audio Stellar M1200 Monoblock
    1200W each. Currently has Gold Lion 12AU7 tubes installed in the tube buffer stage. Northern Electric is, however, my favorite in these amps.
    • Monitor Audio GS 10
    2-Way Bookshelf Speakers. Modified with Cardas internal hookup wiring and additional damping material.
    • Simaudio Moon MiND 2
    Hi-Res Streamer
    • Angstrom Stella
    Class A Integrated Tube Amplifier. 95wpc in high power, 55wpc low power mode.

Comments 3

Damn you sir for stirring the pot! Hope you appreciate that work input into finding an appropriate preamp! 🤣 

All kidding aside, I meant to for a long time. And I’m absolutely blown away by this configuration. Pushing these speakers as far as they can go and they’re keeping up with the changes. Absolutely amazing. Kind of owe you a big thank you for pushing the idea. Got the wheels turning just enough and I couldn’t be happier.  😁👍🏻👍🏻


Appreciate that. It is what it is, right? Such is life. I manage. 

As for the Creek, yes! Most definitely on the list of things to replace as I can only get single ended out to the amps which accept balanced connections. I have my eye on a few. The Creek will suffice for the moment. Also looking into an all-tube balanced integrated amp as well. Really just enjoying this journey again. Was stagnant for years and wondered why I was so depressed. 🤣 


Nice little system! And sorry to hear about the vertigo that can be brutal I know but you really have put a nice balanced system together. Next step I'd recommend replacing the Creek with a dedicated preamp.


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