Description

The main system is setup in my 18'x24'x10' underground bunker...fully stocked with Audimute acoustic panels, bass traps and other various room treatments. There are three dedicated circuits with high quality breakers feeding three PS Audio Soloist CI with 12ga romex. One line is just for the MC30s and MX110z and one line for the D100 and MVP-851.  One last line supplies power to the TD-124 and the rest of the equipment. I also use PS Audio Noise Harvesters on these circuits with 9 AudioPrism Quiet Line throughout the rest of the house.  AudioPrism Ground Control on the Tannoy speakers.

Tweeks include:

Target turntable shelf
Black Diamond Racing isolation cones 
ceramic cable elevators 
AudioPrism Ground Control 
PS Audio Noise Harvesters
AudioPrism Quiet Lines
Cardas caps
Caig ProGold
Last stylus care products
DB Systems cartridge alignment tool
Shure stylus force gauge
VPI HW17 record cleaning machine
Salamander Archetype 5.0 in cherry
Wiremold power strip
Grado SR-60i
AKG-550
Lat AC-2 MkII power cable with Oyaide 037 connectors for TV and PC

I am very happy with the results. Great sound for a guy on a fairly tight budget and I enjoy it everyday folks!  I have been archiving and enjoying great music for almost 25 years now.  The McIntosh/Tannoy/Lampizator/VPI combo with these great cables, and the Dynavector are making MUSIC happen here.  My collection of over 3,000 enjoyable LPs and a terabyte of high bitrate WAV files helps keep me occupied in my spare time.

Comments, questions, or criticisms are certainly welcome. I am always interested, willing to learn more, and willing help others build a great music system if I can.
Read more...

Room Details

Dimensions: 24’ × 18’  Large
Ceiling: 10’


Components Toggle details

    • McIntosh MX110z
    Incredible sound from this vintage jewel.  Wonderful in so many ways.  One of my all time favorite audio components.
    • McIntosh MC30 amplifiers
    Maybe the best sounding amps I've ever heard.  Perfect match with MX110z.  These were restored by Yves Beauvais and look almost as beautiful as they sound.  GE 6L6GC, Telefunken smooth plate 12ax7, Black plate RCA 12bh7, Gold Lion b749(thanks Jim McShane), and RCA 5u4g.
    • Thorens TD-124
    Simply one of the finest sounding turntable on the planet.  This is probably my favorite audio component of all time.  This one sports a gorgeous Ortofon style solid walnut plinth and a walnut armboard from Jim Campbell.  I recently added the SME M2-9 tonearm and it sounds wonderful with an array of different cartridges.
    • SME M2-9
    Great new 9" tonearm.  I'm thoroughly impressed ol chap.
    • Tannoy Monitor Royal
    These 12" dual concentric drivers in custom black walnut cabinets make some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard from a loudspeaker.  I love them driven by McIntosh MC30 amplifiers.  These have updated crossover networks and SwitchCraft binding posts.  They rest in StarSound Sistrum stands
    • Altec 15095A transformers
    Used as moving coil step up devices for Koetsu Onyx Sapphire, Koetsu Black, Monster Alpha 1, Sumiko Talisman Sapphire, Denon DL103, and others running into the McIntosh MX110z phono section
    • Dueland DCA12GA, DCA16GA, and DCA20GA
    Using DCA16GA and DCA20GA as RCA interconnects and DCA12GA as speaker cable.  If you haven't tried these yet, you owe it to yourself to give them a chance because they sound great....especially with quality vintage tube audio equipment.
    • Star Sound Technologies Original Sistrum stands
    Used under big Tannoy speakers with incredible results.  Highly recommended.
    • Star Sound Technologies Sistrum Apprentice
    I use this under my MX110Z.  The performance improvement here in my system has been noticeable to say the least.  Great product makes the MX110Z sound even more impressive.
    • VPI Industries Aries Scout
    A quality performer that is dynamic as hell with toe tapping musicality.  Solid foundation for playing records.  Mounted to the JMW9 tonearm is a Dynavector DV20xh with SoundSmith ruby cantilever and fine line stylus.  Purist Audio Design Venustas phono ics run the signal out to the MX110z phono section.  Ginko cover.
    • Dynavector DV20XH
    This one has been fitted with Soundsmith ruby cantilever and fine line diamond by Peter at SoundSmith.
    • Koetsu Onyx Sapphire
    The most amazing phono cartridge I've ever laid ears on...or eyes.  A masterpiece from the master, Sugano.
    • Denon DL-103
    Every self respecting audiophile needs one in their cartridge collection.
    • Koetsu Black
    I love the romantic Koetsu sound.  This one has it too.
    • Purist Audio Design Dominus power cable
    I believe this is the best power cable EVER made.  The fluid jacketed Dominus power cable used with the McIntosh D100 DAC.  This cable will allow you to hear what your equipment is really capable of.  I have never heard a power cable do what Dominus can do.  Incredible....
    • Purist Audio Design Venustas Preasto Phono
    This is the best value interconnect on earth for my money.  Incredibly solid, lifelike presentation of the music.  Opening my ears to the music on a daily basis.  Thanks Mr. Aud.
    • Purist Audio Design Ultimate USB cable
    Used from PC to the McIntosh D100 and I love the excellent sound.  A well balanced, organic, superbly detailed, full bodied, and musical USB cable here folks.  Once you hear it, you'll never use that Belden again.
    • McIntosh D100
    Great sounding DAC with extreme functionality.  I don't miss the Lampizators because this D100 is producing some of the most enjoyable digital sound I've heard.  When used with the PAD Dominus power cable and PAD Utimate USB this DAC has truly great sound and holds its own with some of the best.  D100 also sports an impressive headphone output.
    • McIntosh MVP-851
    A fine sounding silver disc spinner and wonderful transport for D100 too
    • LAT International AC-2 MkII power cable
    Silverfuse power cables with upgrade Oyaide p-37 rhodium plated connectors. This is a very quiet, nuetral, and very well balanced power cable, made even smoother by the Oyaide connectors.  Used on the Sony 65" 4k monitor and the PC running JRiver Media Center 20.
    • Dell Upgraded PC running JRiver Media Center 20
    Really enjoying using JRiver and I'm listening to 1411 bit rate WAV files running through the PAD Ultimate USB cable into the McIntosh D100 playing at 32bit 196kHz

Comments 59

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Thanks Adam. I'm glad to have two good cartridges, being able to swap them in and out in less than five minutes is a real plus. As with my selection of amps, It allows me to save hours on my two favorite carts, as I save hours on my EML 300B XLS tubes with my kit-built Class D amps. 

Once in a while, I even pull out my Acutex LPM 320 STR III, and LPM 415 cartridges, that still amaze whenever I use them. I'll have to swap one of them in again, it's been awhile since I've done that.

Regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

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Owner
Dan, you have two great cartridges there.  If it's possible, keep both.  Swapping carts is a good way to keep away the upgrade bug for me.  When I get a little bored with one and ready for a different perspective on the tunes, changing a cartridge can keep me satisfied for awhile.  The Denon DL-103 is playing now through the Altec step up transformers and into the MX110z phono stage.  I'm loving the sound, but still saving up some fun money for the AudioMusikraft shell.  
I imagine that the Zu with the sapphire cantilever and fancy tip is a real music maker.  I'm gonna read up on that ESCCO Sapphire cantilever.  The two carts I have with Sapphire cantilever are the Koetsu Onyx and the Sumiko Talisman Sapphire.  They both have a serious emotional connection musicality thing  going and that is my bag as you know.  Selling my Zu Audio DL-103 was a mistake, I wish I could get a redo on that.  Maybe there is one of those in my future???
 I also imagine that the XX2MkII sounds dynamic as hell and has some great synergy with the 501.  That's also a sweet setup my friend, enjoy.

waxwaves

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Owner
@ astewart8944, that album is a really great one and one of my favs!  Glad to hear you got to take in such an intimate performance from old Bruce.  I'm sure it was one for the ages.  Hopefully played some of your favorites?  Maybe you took along your copy of this killer album for an autograph???

waxwaves

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Adam, great to hear back! I'm torn between my two main cartridges, a Zu Denon 103R with ESCCO white sapphire cantilever and Paratrace stylus mod, and my Soundsmith re-tipped Dynavector XX2MKII. I love 'em both. Either one works nicely with the Dynavector 501 arm.

Keep up doin' what you're doin'!
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

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Your system is very cool! Love the Bruce Cockburn Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws album in the pix. I'm going to see him again this Saturday in venue that holds about 200 people.

Ag insider logo xs@2xastewart8944

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Hey Dan, ain't it great!  These are the finer things in life buddy and I am enjoying the music.  I've gone full circle back to another MX110z and MC30 combo.  I've realized that this is where I belong and those vintage Tannoys are not going anywhere.  They are phenomenal as you know.  As a matter of fact, your knowledgeable and informative postings on this forum has reassured me on several occasions that I was making the correct decision by keeping them, so thank you.  Yes, we do have much in common.

Next project...Audiomusikraft body on the DL103.  I'll Report back on that.  All the best to you as well sir.

Sincerely,
Adam

waxwaves

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Waxwaves you are still a man after my own heart. We have a lot in common, custom built vintage Tannoys, idler drive turntable, Dynavector and Denon  MC carts, and we are still enjoying ourselves greatly every day.

Stay well and happy, regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

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Owner
Back to the vintage McIntosh.  Terry DeWick't MX110z and Yves Beauvais'd  MC30 amplifiers playing 12" Tannoy's.  I have the Thorens TD-124 setup with a nice new SME M2-9 and loving the sound.  McIntosh D100 handling the digital duties and I think it sounds great too...don't really miss the Lampizator DACs too much.  Dueland DCA16GA and DCA20GA tie it all together with some PAD thrown in...just the right spots. 

 I'm enjoying music now more than ever.

waxwaves

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Owner
Well I've moved away from the vintage McIntosh and gone modern McIntosh integrated for awhile.  I've added StarSound Technologies stands that I'm super impressed with.  Some PAD and Fusion Audio cables were the icing on the cake for me and the results are so pleasing.  Still miss the vintage tone and soulfullness of the MC30/Mx110 combo sometimes, but this fairly maintenance free and remote controlled setup offers headroom and distortion free dynamic capabilities the vintage couldn't match.  Always music playing here.

waxwaves

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Owner
Thanks all for the kind words! I'm just really happy with the setup. I can listen all day long and enjoy every song. The vintage Mac has that big lifelike sound I can't get enough of. The time spent with Tannoy Monitor Royal has been so nice that it has made me very curious what a pair of 15" Monitor Red would sound like here?!

Thanks Roxy54 for the tip on the Sound Star platforms. I will definitely research them for the Tannoy. I am always looking for ways to improve and learn more about setting up a great sound system.. The speakers are resting on BDR cones, then on carpet that's been installed over a concrete floor, so there is room for improvement. I previously had them sitting on 3cm absolute black granite slab material. Using the stone seemed to leave me missing the deepest bass notes? I'll be reading about the Sound Star stuff

Next, with the help of Budburma, I'll be working on power conditioning and using an isolation transformer to power the audio system. Later, adding a second seperate transformer for the analog rig and a third isolation transformer for the digital gear. Exiting stuff!

waxwaves

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Waxwaves,
Really love the whole concept of your system. It really looks like it's made for music. The amp and speakers look like a match made in heaven.
I notice that the speakers are sitting on the rug, and I suggest that you would experience an amazing upgrade to your musical enjoyment if you put Star Sound apprentice platform beneath each of them.

roxy54

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Love the vintage Mac gear and Tannoys. Very cool!

pdreher

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I am enjoying seeing your system and having heard Tannoys regrettably only once and imagine your are hearing wonderful music! Regards-Jet

jetrexpro

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Owner
System edited: Added a few pics of my updated system. In the past few years, learned that I really enjoy the sound of the Vintage McIntosh tube gear mated with vintage Tannoy dual concentric monitors. Also digging the sound of the Burson modified MiniMax DAC output into Jade Audio Vermeil Gold interconnects with Bybee Technologies Gold Purifiers! Thanks to Terry DeWick for the upgrades to the C20, MC275, & MC225! Also thanks to JD at Jade Audio and Chris at Black Cat Cable for building amazing interconnect cables! Lastly, I'm really enjoying having all of my digital music WAV files playing thru JRiver media center, thanks Grey9hound!! Enjoy the tunes everybody...

waxwaves

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Owner
System edited: Added a great sounding VPI Scout with JMW 9 arm and Sumiko Talisman Virtuoso Boron. Dynavector DV-20x on the way with Soundsmith ruby cantilever and line contact stylus.

waxwaves

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Owner
System edited: Photo added...of the rack in it's present state. Who knows what may end up here? It's been rotating like the records...

waxwaves

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Owner
Thanks Pops and Mitch2. This really is fun stuff. I love music and cannot live without it. I tried once, didn't work, almost died!

I must admit fellows that I have been lured by the sound of a McIntosh MC225 and a great sounding McIntosh C20. Lured by TUBES once again. I took them both to Terry DeWick for a good going thru. Terry worked his magic, and they sound incredible to my ears. I haven't gone to bed at a decent hour since I got them back! LOL!

I love my upgraded McCormack gear too! There are qualities that it provides that the tubes just can't. Like ultimate transparency and that SS bass slam. The upgraded McCormack gear matches the multidimensional presentation typical of the tube gear I have had. Mitch2, I enjoyed my TLC-1 Deluxe and miss it often. Used it in passive mode with the Gold Edition DNA-1 Dlx and occasionally a DNA 0.5 Dlx...pushing those Hales Rev. 3s...Pure music! The gent that bought my old TLC-1 Dlx sent it to Steve for the full upgrade treatment. He wrote back to tell me that it is SO amazing now and thanks a lot...hehe! My audio journey has taken me off course more than once, lol. Mitch, I will bet the house that you will adore your DNA-2 Signature Edition when Steve is finished, it will surely be completely mind blowing...Good sound decision sending it in to SMcAudio....;)

But, as I listen to my copy of Bloomfield, Stills, & Cooper...I am amazed by what the old Mac tube gear can do! Yes, people were making great sounding audio equipment in 1959! One thing the Mac certainly does better is presenting a full-bodied, harmonically rich sound at low volume. Its quite delicious IMHO. Either way, I am extremely lucky to be able to experience some of the best of both tubes and solid state. Extremely thankful to have both to enjoy.

Pops, do you think an SEC team will WIN this basketball tournament? I do. The media hype has effected peoples minds once again...and the SEC was underrated this time too, with FL being the exception. Might be an 8 seed that wins it all?

waxwaves

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Nice system, and clearly one you had fun putting together. The journey is the reward and your journey seems to have given you much joy and satisfaction.
I have never heard Hales speakers but a good three-way can really hit the sweet spot, and they seem to be highly regarded.
I am also impressed with the folks on this thread who appreciate Steve McCormack's work, and I am sure your DNA-1 Deluxe Gold sounds great. I have been fortunate to have owned some of Steve's gear along the way like the DNA-2, DNA-500, and RLD-1 Platinum and, currently, a fully tricked out TLC-1, and a DNA-2 LAE that is in Steve's shop getting the works. The work Steve did on the TLC-1 is outstanding and puts it at the very top of about 20 very good sounding preamps I have owned, including the RLD-1 Platinum and a VTL TL 5.0. If you can swing it, I strongly recommend getting another TLC-1 and having Steve work his magic on it.
I envy your modded DAC-1, and always wanted to hear one. Steve himself told me that, when modded, DAC-1 is incredibly musical.
Enjoy your well thought-out system, and give that TLC-1 option considertion.
Best regards,

mitch2

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Adam, love the shot of the back of you Mccormick, complete with Tara! Vols would wear MI OP out for sure in a rematch!

pops

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Where are you located Shubert? I will keep an eye out for you.

waxwaves

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Kind of you Wax, I appreciate it.
But. I'm 78 -they are heavy , its 1100 miles roundtrip and we're getting hit with storm after storm. Plus I don't think they'd fit in my Nissan Maxima.

schubert

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Owner
Hey Schubert check out this add carefully. A pair of Rev 2 and my goodness...low and behold...a pair of Rev 3 also, both with black finish. Though you might like to know. Located smack dab in the middle of this great country. It seems they may still be available? I would buy them just for replacement drivers, but don't have the funds at present...boohoo!!

http://stlouis.craigslist.org/ele/4265143815.html

waxwaves

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Beats Me-LOL .

schubert

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Owner
Schubert, I wish I could deliver a pair to you.

As far as drivers losing tone with age goes, I have not noticed any degradation taking place yet. Knocking on wood... Maybe I am slowly becoming accustom to it, but they are still knocking my socks off. Wonder if it would help to turn the drivers 180*?

waxwaves

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A problem for me is I'm old and they are heavy which presents a problem with palet shipping. IMO after about 15 years drivers do start to lose tone etc but owners tend not to hear a gradual process for quite a while.

schubert

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