Description

Ongoing project that has been a few years in the making. The system works great in the smallish Living Rooms I have had in various apartments over the years. Most recent addition is an Adcom amp I got for an unbelievable price. It's performed flawlessly and has really opened up a lot of options for me. I plan on starting the hunt for a pre-amp that fits me needs. I've got a few I regularly drool over, I'm curios to see what ends up being the winner and when.

I have had multiple local agon deals that have gone smooth as silk. being in the Chicago area has given me good access to used gear, agon or otherwise. I've also happily supported a few of my local hifi brick-n-morter shops.

I was fortunate enough to attend RMAF in 2010.

Future plans:

-Auralex Subdude

-tackling the wall behind me. I will be eventually getting a pair of acoustic panels.

-dedicated phono pre

*prices are MSRP at the time of purchase and do not reflect my price paid
Read more...

Components Toggle details

    • B&W 602.5 S3
    These were my first 'serious' stereo purchase. I bought these in 2009 at a local dealer that had a new pair they found. Buying them as new-old-stock allowed me to get them for an absolute steal, but still receive a brand new pair with all packaging, etc.

    Overall I really enjoy the sound; each upgrade has shown itself through the speakers well. They sit roughly a foot off the back wall, and about seven ft apart with a tiny bit of toe-in. They blend quite well with the Dynamo's crossover set at about 55hz. When the time comes to replace the speakers, I will most likely move them to a 2nd system as opposed to selling them.

    What I would replace them with: PSB Imagine B, Dynaudio Focus 110
    What I dream of replacing them with: B&W 800 series, Wilson Audio
    • Transparent Cable HP14-2
    I purchased a pair of 7' runs of Transparent's 14awg bulk cable with the speakers; when I went home I discovered I was given 14' runs. The extra length is nice, I can half each channel and use the extra cable to truly bi-amp my speakers... once future plans take shape. I'm using some nifty Vampire Wire bananas I got from a local dealer. I'll most likely stick with the brand if/when it becomes time to bi-amp
    • Martin Logan Dynamo
    I found an original Dynamo on Craigslist in great shape with all accessories for a whopping $100 The sub has been a dream, and fits the room very well. I get great results with volume a bit over 1/3 and the crossover at about 50-55hz. Future plans will be an Auralex Subdude II. Also, my amazing girlfriend keeps saying it would look better with a 2nd sub for the other side... so that just might happen :)
    • Marantz SR-4023
    This was purchased on a price-to-features ratio. I found an unbeatable deal on a brand new unit, and I like the fact that it has a phono pre, main in/pre-out, dedicated sub out, and a decibel based/digital volume. This is now used solely as a pre-amp. I am glad that I had the hindsight to get a unit with a dedicated sup out and pre-out, it has made integrating my newly found Adcom a dream. This unit will fondly be missed when I find a true pre-amp to replace it, but it will most likely be downgraded to the backbone of a great 2nd system as opposed to selling it.
    • Adcom GFA-2535
    My most recent purchase: whenever I go to thrift stores, I always peruse the electronics section... and always walk away disappointed. The Audio Gods finally smiled down upon me; I found this Adcom in near-mint condition for a mind-blowing TEN(!)dollars. In the weeks after I brought it home, I did a bit of research. The GFA2535 is a bit of an oddball; it is basically two GFA535II's in one chassis. What's unusual is that one of the amps can be a bridged 200W mono... but only one(?) I'm hoping to find a pre-amp with two sets of outputs, I can truly bi-amp my speakers with this unit. If it ever becomes time for a switch to HT, I will most likely get a matching GFA535II for the fronts and use this amp for all other channels. I plan on holding onto this amp for quite a while. Ironically, I had been on and off drooling over a GFA545II for a while before I found this. The amp is built like a tank, and has a lot of technology from the original GFA555 Nelson Pass designed. I have spent countless hours on Audiogon dreaming of having separates, and stumbling upon this gem has really made that possible!
    • PS Audio DigitalLink III
    I picked this up on Halloween in 2010 via a local agon exchange (Thanks again Erik!). The unit was in great condition and still had the dbl boxes. I did however receive an aftermarket power cable that was a very stiff no-name that didn't fit well. I replaced that with a PS Audio Jewel series I got a deal on.

    I was, still am, and probably will always be thrilled with the sound quality. I am also a total sucker for the thick aluminum faceplate *drools*. I am always overjoyed when I see mega-buck systems that have one of these keeping up. I have the generation without a power switch, the auto on/off feature has been great. My only gripe is that having one optical and one coax has been an issue as both of my transports have optical only... but I was able to work around that.

    What I would replace it with: probably nothing, unless I ever got a HT processor that I could run HDMI through. I also like the Peachtree iDecco
    What I dream of replacing it with: PS Audio PWD with Bridge
    • Apple TV (720p)
    Got this a few black Friday's ago when it was $90. How did I survive before this??? Streaming my iTunes library is easy and great listening solo and especially parties. I also use this for Netflix streaming, which is my only "television" source. I am running the opitcal out to the DL III and the HDMI to my television. Fun fact: this is my first and only Apple purchase What I would replace it with: nothing really What I dream of replacing it with: I think a Mac Mini would be a lot of fun, or a PS Audio bridge with a PWD :)
    • Sony Playstation 3
    Bought this for myself for Christmas in 2012. My hand-me-down Sony DVD player *finally* broke. I am glad to now have a 1080p source for my television. I play games casually, I had a N64 and PS2 growing up. The graphics and game play on the PS3 still blow my mind; a PS4 is many, many years away. Skyrim currently accounts for most of my solo gaming, the soundtrack is great through the system. The girlfriend and I enjoy playing Diablo III in co-op. I will say the slim generation is quite slick looking, for some reason it reminds me of a stealth bomber. Flat black, not at all boxy looking, and a few LEDs. I run the optical out to a opt-to-coax converter, and then run the coax to the DL III. The HDMI goes straight to the TV. What I would replace it with: another PS3, that generation. The 'super slim' models are ugly What I dream of replacing it with: Oppo Digital
    • Project Audio Debut III
    Got a great deal on a brand new unit. I absolutely *love* this thing. We had an old Technics (I think) in the basement growing up, and I had about a dozen or so punk rock/ska records that my friends and I would enjoy. After a few years off I got the hifi itch and picked this guy up... holy s--- this has been fun. I have tweaked the table several times with a new speed box, cartridge, and slip mat. Having done all of these had made me think less and less about what turntable I would replace it with, I sooner drool over new cartridges and phono pre amps.

    What I would replace it with: nothing really, unless it somehow broke and I needed to. Then probably another debut...blue or green this time.
    What I dream of replacing it with: Pro-Ject Xperience (olive wood), Clearaudio Concept
    • Herbie's Audio Lab Way Excellent II Turntable Mat
    Do you have a Project/Rega/Music Hall?? BUY THIS. NOW

    I was so frustrated with how many times the stock felt scrap would cling to records. Buying this fixed that 100%. The material is a weird type of spongy rubber that grips like glue but also allows me to remove records while spinning if desired. I also like the looks.

    I have found the best cleaning method is to remove the mat and give it a good rolling with a clean lint-roller.

    Seriously, this is essential for folks with similar turntables. Just get it over with.
    • Ortofon 2M Blue
    Bought this at a local dealer, on sale, when they were still $200. This made an enormous improvement over the stock OM5E that came with my Debut. I absolutely love the sound and looks of the cart. I was able to mount it myself, although I had to wait a while to get the larger counterweight needed.

    My only gripe is the terribly designed dust cover. It is super awkward to mount and could very easily damage the needle. Fortunately I keep my 'table covered all the time, so I never need to use it.

    What I would replace it with: lots of options in the general price range. I look forward to eventually trying other options from Ortofon, Audio Technica, Denon, Clearaudio, etc.
    What I dream of replacing it with: high-end Ortofon or Clearaudio
    • Project Audio Speed Box II
    Bought this after the cartridge swap, yet before the mat swap. This makes spinning 7"s easier. I also like the tiny little design. I would like to eventually get a Project phono pre box, I think a little rack of these boxes would look super slick....a rack within the rack :)
    • Samsung LN40D630
    1080p 120hz LCD. The 40 size fits the space and compliments the small equipment well. I find it annoying how size obsessive televisions have become. The set is a 120hz model, which at time looks a little... odd, but through the setting you can adjust the level and sensitivity of the automotion, really a great feature to customize. 4HDMI and a wealth of other in/outs prevents needing an AVR.

    I've mounted the set with a fixed low profile unit and concealed the cables with a flat plastic conduit. For a quick afternoon project, it really looks fantastic.
    • Salamander Designs Archetype
    Got a 3.0 in black with an extra shelf off amazon on sale to the extent of receiving the shelf for free basically. I love the four shelf, it spaces out quite nicely. I really love being able to infinitely adjust the shelves.

    What I would replace it with: nothing, but maybe someday I'll add the giant spike feet
    What I dream of replacing it with: maybe a Synergy series stand with metal sides if I get a lot more gear
    • PS Audio Quintet
    I got a great deal on a new-in-box local deal here on agon (thanks again, Tim!). This provides a great defense against apartment living. I am currently one of 6 units a building, down from 8.

    Great build, and I also dig the rainbow outlets. How the hell did I fill this thing up so fast??
    • B&W 602.5 S3
    These were my first 'serious' stereo purchase. I bought these in 2009 at a local dealer that had a new pair they found. Buying them as new-old-stock allowed me to get them for an absolute steal, but still receive a brand new pair with all packaging, etc.

    Overall I really enjoy the sound; each upgrade has shown itself through the speakers well. They sit roughly a foot off the back wall, and about seven ft apart with a tiny bit of toe-in. They blend quite well with the Dynamo's crossover set at about 55hz. When the time comes to replace the speakers, I will most likely move them to a 2nd system as opposed to selling them.

    What I would replace them with: PSB Imagine B, Dynaudio Focus 110
    What I dream of replacing them with: B&W 800 series, Wilson Audio
    • Project Audio Debut III
    Got a great deal on a brand new unit. I absolutely *love* this thing. We had an old Technics (I think) in the basement growing up, and I had about a dozen or so punk rock/ska records that my friends and I would enjoy. After a few years off I got the hifi itch and picked this guy up... holy s--- this has been fun. I have tweaked the table several times with a new speed box, cartridge, and slip mat. Having done all of these had made me think less and less about what turntable I would replace it with, I sooner drool over new cartridges and phono pre amps.

    What I would replace it with: nothing really, unless it somehow broke and I needed to. Then probably another debut...blue or green this time.
    What I dream of replacing it with: Pro-Ject Xperience (olive wood), Clearaudio Concept
    • Salamander Designs Archetype
    Got a 3.0 in black with an extra shelf off amazon on sale to the extent of receiving the shelf for free basically. I love the four shelf, it spaces out quite nicely. I really love being able to infinitely adjust the shelves.

    What I would replace it with: nothing, but maybe someday I'll add the giant spike feet
    What I dream of replacing it with: maybe a Synergy series stand with metal sides if I get a lot more gear
    • Ortofon 2M Blue
    Bought this at a local dealer, on sale, when they were still $200. This made an enormous improvement over the stock OM5E that came with my Debut. I absolutely love the sound and looks of the cart. I was able to mount it myself, although I had to wait a while to get the larger counterweight needed.

    My only gripe is the terribly designed dust cover. It is super awkward to mount and could very easily damage the needle. Fortunately I keep my 'table covered all the time, so I never need to use it.

    What I would replace it with: lots of options in the general price range. I look forward to eventually trying other options from Ortofon, Audio Technica, Denon, Clearaudio, etc.
    What I dream of replacing it with: high-end Ortofon or Clearaudio
    • Samsung LN40D630
    1080p 120hz LCD. The 40 size fits the space and compliments the small equipment well. I find it annoying how size obsessive televisions have become. The set is a 120hz model, which at time looks a little... odd, but through the setting you can adjust the level and sensitivity of the automotion, really a great feature to customize. 4HDMI and a wealth of other in/outs prevents needing an AVR.

    I've mounted the set with a fixed low profile unit and concealed the cables with a flat plastic conduit. For a quick afternoon project, it really looks fantastic.
    • PS Audio DigitalLink III
    I picked this up on Halloween in 2010 via a local agon exchange (Thanks again Erik!). The unit was in great condition and still had the dbl boxes. I did however receive an aftermarket power cable that was a very stiff no-name that didn't fit well. I replaced that with a PS Audio Jewel series I got a deal on.

    I was, still am, and probably will always be thrilled with the sound quality. I am also a total sucker for the thick aluminum faceplate *drools*. I am always overjoyed when I see mega-buck systems that have one of these keeping up. I have the generation without a power switch, the auto on/off feature has been great. My only gripe is that having one optical and one coax has been an issue as both of my transports have optical only... but I was able to work around that.

    What I would replace it with: probably nothing, unless I ever got a HT processor that I could run HDMI through. I also like the Peachtree iDecco
    What I dream of replacing it with: PS Audio PWD with Bridge
    • Herbie's Audio Lab Way Excellent II Turntable Mat
    Do you have a Project/Rega/Music Hall?? BUY THIS. NOW

    I was so frustrated with how many times the stock felt scrap would cling to records. Buying this fixed that 100%. The material is a weird type of spongy rubber that grips like glue but also allows me to remove records while spinning if desired. I also like the looks.

    I have found the best cleaning method is to remove the mat and give it a good rolling with a clean lint-roller.

    Seriously, this is essential for folks with similar turntables. Just get it over with.
    • PS Audio Quintet
    I got a great deal on a new-in-box local deal here on agon (thanks again, Tim!). This provides a great defense against apartment living. I am currently one of 6 units a building, down from 8.

    Great build, and I also dig the rainbow outlets. How the hell did I fill this thing up so fast??

Comments 17

222222&text=sa
Hello, Chriswilson,

I hope all is well. It's been 14 months but I was able to get the Bowers and Wlikins 683 S2. I'm in the B&W family and I am very, very happy!

Can't believe how long it's been since we talked about your system and speakers but interesting how fast it goes by too. Take care.

Cheers,

Scott

samac

222222&text=ch
Owner
System edited: new pics, now including all the toys. also, big changes in the semi-distant future!

chriswilson

222222&text=ch
Owner
System edited: New purchase!! I found an absolutely *insane* deal on a near-mint Adcom amp!! I have had the amp incorporated for about 72 hours now and have had zero complaints. Any sonic changes would be a bit more weight and mid-bass (I ended up turning down my sub a pinch), and sharper detail, without sounding brittle or fatiguing. Love it!!

chriswilson

222222&text=ch
Owner
yeah, unfortunately all of my PS Audio gear is now discontinued :(

Sometimes I look at the replacements, but I honestly think the Dig Link III and Quintet look much slicker than their replacements, and I am still quite satisfied with their performance. I would be curious to know what the trade in value is, but I doubt I would take advantage of it... maybe some day!

chriswilson

222222&text=th
If you have upgrade fever, get the PS Audio Dectet. I replaced my Quintet with it. No question about it, the Dectet sounds better. You can get it for a good price by taking advantage of PS Audio's trade-up program.

theduke

222222&text=ch
Owner
That album is part of the Blue Note Music Matters re-issues (hence the picture's title). The album was fairly pricey, but I must say it is my favorite of all the re-issues I have. The sonics, quality of the physical album, and photography are all absolutely outstanding! I'm a big Grant Green fan, my favorite track on Solid is The Kicher, which I believe is a Sonny Rollins tune... good, good stuff.

My copy of Solid is a 2xLP 45rpm. I've noticed online that Music Matters is now selling single LP albums, at a cheaper price at that. I would be curious to see how they compare. If they are anything like my copy of Solid, I highly recommend it!

chriswilson

222222&text=cz
I saw on the picture Grant Green record. Is it current re-issue or original? It's one of my favorite!

czarivey

222222&text=ch
Owner
thanks for the kind words everyone! I agree Czarivey, it's like a game; how good of a deal can one find???

Good luck on your upgrade, Samac. I had a chance to hear the 683, 684, and the short-lived CM7 at a dealer. Oddly enough, my ears really enjoyed the 684's, although that was before I had a sub myself so I maybe had some bass-shy bias. Also, if memory is correct, the dealer had them in a rather stark concrete floored room... not exactly the best for demo-ing

Let me know what you decide on! Although satisfied, I constantly stalk a'gon for deals and dreams :)

chriswilson

222222&text=cz
*prices are MSRP at the time of purchase and do not reflect my price paid
Who really pays MSRP? Maybe MSRP isn't MSRP after all, but something else...
Nevertheless, I believe that it's great punk rockin' system!

czarivey

222222&text=ch
Owner
System edited: more pictures of the new place and now have included sub info!

chriswilson

222222&text=sa
Looks like another great set-up in the new room, Chris Wilson!

I'm hoping to get a set of Bowers and Wilkins (683S2) in my room soon to demo. I've had a couple extended listening sessions with them and I think they might be my next speaker.

Cheers,

Scott

samac

222222&text=ch
Owner
System edited: new listening room and now officially 2.1 !!! details coming soon

chriswilson

222222&text=ch
Owner
thanks for the kind words, everyone! I've changed a few item pictures and added a few more details here and there.

I like the cleanliness of your system too, Samac :) I actually find it funny when I hear users mention low WAF...although my system is rather small, it's the obvious focal (hifi pun intended) point of the room. And I've received many compliments on my place from men and women alike. Maybe it's a generational thing...?

I agree, Bojack. I drool over replacements all day, but it's really just for fun. The speakers and amp really are a great match, I'll most likely keep them together for a long, long time. I've never once come anywhere near max volume.

I'm in the burbs, 35-45min from the city. But the overall area is a great community, and huge, which makes my agon/craigslist/thrifting odds very good. Both "listening chairs" were CL purchases, actually. But don't worry, the lovesac's cover is washable...

chriswilson

222222&text=bo
Very cool little set-up, and word to the wise…If you like it, don't fiddle with it! BTW, was just in Chicago, and that is a happening city (I am jealous).

bojack

222222&text=sc
Sounds like you are quite wise for your age, keep it up!

schubert

222222&text=sa
Very nice. Looks great and I bet sounds wonderful too.

samac

222222&text=ch
Owner
added some more info and a few more pics!

chriswilson

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