It all started with a need to replace my Rotel 855 CD player
The changes started in 2011 and a suggestion to get rid of the CD player and do Computer Audio and iTunes
I’ve, officially changed every component with addition of Revel Studio2 Speakers 

Lastly, Just added a full LP analog playback system
Every incremental change resulted in a noticeable sound improvement...

I’ve “ eaten” a lot of words over the years.
The first eaten words;  “Cables don’t make a difference”

Wow, Speakers make a big difference

Room Details

Dimensions: 34’ × 14’  Large
Ceiling: 11’

Components Toggle details

    • Revel Ultima2 Studio
    Full range 3 way
    • Pass Labs XA-30.5
    New Class A from Class D Peachtree 220
    • Conrad Johnson ET3
    Tubed Preamp
    Highly Detailed with great sound-staging
    Freely flowing musicality
    • Pro-Ject Audio Classic Turntable
    With Hana SL MC cartridge
    • Hana SL MC cartridge
    Moving Coil Cartridge
    • Musical Surroundings Phenomena II+
    Solid state Phono Preamplifier
    • Chord Electronics Ltd. Qutest
    DSD/PCM Dac

    Running Roon DSD 2X upsampling with Long Filter into Chord
    • Matsushita/National 7dj8
    6922 style valve
    • Velodyne F-1500R Subwoofer
    15" sub with remote
    • Sony DVP-NS55p
    CD transport only,Digital coax to Peachtree ESS Sabre DAC
    • Onkyo T-25 tuner
    Quartz FM High Resolution Tuner
    • Roon Labs Audio Player Software
    Playback software with upsampling, filters , DSP
    • Mac Mini Mini with optical drive
    80GB hard drive with optical CD
    • Grado SR80i Headphones
    Dynamic Open-Air Headphones
    • Hifi Man HE-400 Headphones
    Planar Magnetic Headphones
    • Mapleshade USB cable Mapleshade Clearlink Plus USB cable
    Upgraded USB cable from Mac mini to Preamp
    • Kimber Kable Interconnect and Speaker Cable
    Upgraded to Kimber Hero IC & Kimber Monocle XL from 4TC speaker cable and Mogami IC
    • Transparent Audio Plus
    Interconnect from DAC to Preamp
    • Cardas Audio Parsec Interconnect-RCA
    • VH Audio Power upgrades
    Upgraded to VH audio "Hot Box" and Furman Outlets in Gold
    • Playback Designs Merlot DSD dac
    Trial at home for DSD dac

Comments 36

Showing all comments by frozentundra.

View all comments


Sorry for late return message 
Pass and CJ use single ended IC cables
Pass pre and pass amp was very detailed 
The CJ tubed pre and my predominant music of rock era “ took the edge “ off crappy recordings and really was best of both worlds : tube & SS 

The stock CJ tube was sharp and detailed . I change to a Mitsubishi 7dj8 and the lush English gentleman sound  of preamps was presented 

The 25 db of gain vs  most other 8 db gives you a lot of flexibility with sound levels with the lower powered xa30.5 




Some thoughts for " mulling"
I heard Thiels with Mac 452's & Ayre amps
The highs were superb & I spent 4-5 years chasing the sound & finally got to SS Pass Labs & Tube preamp as end product.
Anyway, I've listened to a bunch of highly resolving speakers & the Mac's tamed the highs, always 
Something about the transformer outputs?
But, not much bass as to Bryston/Pass etc

Anyway, There "new sound" is something you should try to listen with Thiels

Room stuff is good start ( start by hanging blankets at reflection points and see what you hear).  It looks ugly, but works for " prove it to me" type of thing

Good $$$ going forward.  Lol




I spent a lot of time with adjustments in electronics, cables, power to tame the Thiel uber resolution. I found Thiels very persnickety of upstream components for them to sound best.
I thought there highs were spectacular, after the right stuff was inserted
I made the change due to the lack of fullness in the lower ranges.
My goodness, I thought the Revels were so-so when listening at Axpona, etc
Amps make a huge difference for Revels in the low end. ML, so so on bass, but pass was different animal.   Very full, like adding another couple woofers

Anyway, by taming the Thiels and then inserting the revels, I was pleasantly surprised how delicate the be tweeters are.
Delicate, resolving, lots of soundstage & more details to be heard.
The low level listening is great, greater than Thiels which excelled at it

I'm very happy


I just upgraded from Thiel to the Revel Ultima2 Studio.
I have been very impressed by the " delicacy" of the Revel Be tweeter and the ultra large sweet spot & soundstage

The size of sweet spot & soundstage goes against logic. Thiel with the coaxial speaker should have been a bigger and larger soundstage.



Updated components

Added Conrad Johnson ET3 and finally, detailed smooth musical sound is found

The last bit of hardness, stridency on 80's " crap" recording quality is gone.  My full library of music is listenable/ enjoyable

Tube rolling to Amprex & time of break-in completed the changes 



Did not a/b, but read & read
Listened to bryston cubed, my audio buddies have tubes and as amps to listen to,and my class d ice map
Then pulled trigger

You cannot go wrong with Pass!



It gets warm in cabinet
I cutout back and there is space by front face plate
The air comes in from back and rises up as it warms, just like a chimney
You can feel it rise in front of tv

Steady state is 130 f or so
Heat not an issue, even a tight fit like mine


Added a Pass Labs XA-30.5
Wow, big change from Class D to Class A.
It does " just sounds better"


I upgraded cables and power after discussions with my audiophile friends.
I thought that cables and power was a non-issue, being and engineer by trade.
Boy, Was I wrong.
The biggest changes in order of magnitude:
A) Kimber Hero WOW,soundstage, depth, treble harshness reduced and detail improved as much as new component
B) Power- everything improved, especially midrange & high smoothness
C) Kimber Monocle XL ebb and flow changed with lots propulsive bass and mids ( tie with power)
D) USB, lots of extra tinkly music detail & again soundstage improved



The Revels were still to forward for my ears. The bass was very nice but the treble was bright


Trying Revel F208's in home
Very nice, excellent midrange, best I've heard. 
Good bass with 8" woofers
Tweeter is bright, to me, so far


System updated:
Upgraded preamp with a new tube: Amprex 6DJ8
Up to this point I could not tell much of a difference with tube circuit in or out
Now,In less dense music, There is a big difference in the sound. I now know what tubes do!!
More depth,leading edge definition & euphonics; I am a fan.

Also,I have noticed the Peachtree amp gives the cymbals a "crushed leaves/glass" sound to the dense music of Rush,Van Halen,Foo Fighters etc. I Find that all the other styles of music are well delineated and crisp.
I am debating a power amp change. ANY SUGGESTIONS?

Jeff : Milwaukee


System edited: Added New Headphones


System edited: Added new headphones