Well I'm back. My "Best of Stereophile" needs to be revised with my latest upgrades. I always felt my speakers (MMG and Q100e) were my weakest link and that has been confirmed. With the addition of the Martin Logan Scenarios and the upgrade REL Strata III, I have more detail and solid bass than I ever imagined was possible on my budget. The Scenarios play much louder with less power required than the MMG. The REL Strata III is much more flexible than the Q100e. In addition, it provides deep bass without the strange noises at higher levels. I cant imagine any other changes that could provide this level of improvement
I have a system of all Stereophile recommended components for just over 3000 under "opinions please." I cheated a little and included class K speakers, and no cables. With cables (at ~%10 of my budget) I'd still be under $3500--with SACD and analog sources. Check it out.
Muralman is right on the money with the Jolida JD100. I replaced the stock chinese tubes with Electro-Harmonix and it sounds gorgeous, even through my Outlaw 950 (in bypass mode) and Sherbourn 5/1500A amp. I'm taking delivery of a Portal Panache Integrated next week and can't wait to hard that combo...
Your speakers did not flag me as the weak point for what I saw as a stunner system under 5K. The Planet has to go. It is way out of date, with rolled off highs and poor detail retrieval. For the very best in budget CDPs, try the Jolida 100. You will never regret the change.
Just for fun, I decided to work out what I would buy at around $5k from Stereophile/TAS recommended components.
Harbeth HL Compact 7ES Speakers Arcam DiVA A75 Integrated VPI Scout Turntable Grado Black Cartridge Sony SCD-CE775 CD/SACD player (if needed) Whatever Interconnects/Speaker wire the dealer will throw in to make the sale!
I actually own a pair of the Harbeths, a high standard of natural tone with sufficient bass and levels for a normal sized living room. The VPI gives you a quite fine record deck to play into the Arcam, which, while not a miracle worker, is a steady performer in the Arcam tradition. The Grado will exhibit organic wholeness over transparency, but is actually pretty nice for a budget saving $40. The Sony machine will play CD's ;=) Regards, Kevin
Thanks for the comments and email, Audiovoice. It sounds like the TDS enhances the Planet well.
Aside from the Margules unit (I had 2, sold one, and will put the other in my second system soon), I use the Taddeo Digitsl Antidote II. I have the Active version, incredible unit, best of any post-digital analog processing for me. They aslo make an inexpensive passive version, similar effects, but perhaps rolls off the highs more. Still a nice upgrade to many DVD's, Laserdiscs, or older CD's otu there.
I am using Audioquest Type 4+ speaker cables and Monster Cable M550 interconnects. I dont believe in spending large amounts of cash in cables. Dont believe the hype. The key is to keep all cables as short as possible.
I have to say there is nothing like a REL. It has a level of flexibility that is unmatched. Perfect for bass augmentation of very high quality speakers. If you are primarily into movies there are a lot of good subs out there. If this is for music primarily REL has no competition at this price range.
TDS Passive is the tweak for the non tweaker. This unit make real tangible improvements in sound quality (more detail and greater harmonic content). Sales of the unit suffered from poor marketing and limited corporate resources. The technology is patented and based on real science not techno-babble. TDS received awards from Discover Magazine and CES for innovation. If you can get one used or obtain the new version from AR (Recoton Corp) do it.
REL is a very musical sub, at a pretty reasonable price too. Velodyne is overpriced sound/$$ today, after they switch manufacture to China they hardly lower their price to improve their performance/price ratio.
For music, REL is the one. For movie, ever consider Hsu at a much lower price than Velodyne.
Nice setup, I agree. Next step is to upgrade your source, IMO. Planet is very nice and smooth, but it shows its age. Some very nice designs out there for under $1k that should beat it.
How do you like the TDS unit ? I ask because I sold a Margules ADE-24 "Analog Digital" processor to a Planet-owner, he said it was noticably better than stock Planet. I think the concepts of the ADE-24 and the TDS are similar, but the implementations different.
Looks like a cool setup. I too own the Audio Refinement and love it. I also had the MMG's and got rid of the quickly as the Audio Refinement couldn't keep up. I didn't think it would be able to this Martin Logans either, but it sounds as if you don't have any problems. What kind of cables are you using?
I really like your system! How do you like your REL? I personally haven't heard one. Right now I have a Velodyne CT-100 and is very deep and musical(at least to my ear). I was planning to upgrade to a Velodyne SPL-100 to get a little more punch but was wondering if REL would be worth a try. Thanks and happy listening. :)