I didn't realize what the rest of the components in this system could do until switching to the Calypso.
Aesthetix Rhea Eclipse
What a fantastic piece that was selected to match the Calypso...just makes vinyl so textured and interesting.
2016 - Very musical and a great color palette
Aesthetix Atlas Eclipse
2017 - Recently upgraded. Very detailed and musical
Walker Audio Procession Phono Amp
So different from the Rhea Eclipse. I can't believe I own both and each is so good, but different than the other. Infinite loading is a revelation. The jury is still out on which I prefer. Maybe I'll keep both?
Still my standard
Micro Seiki RXV-1500
Modified with brass footers and Starsound record weight...better than the vacuum hold down
Microseiki 505 Mk I
So far a real find. Soon to have a second one for a Benz H2 cartridge
Controlled with Roon and leashed to DAC via Audioquest Diamond USB. Sounds best when wired and using Audioquest Vodka to do that.
PS Audio DirectStream DAC
Their latest software has always been suprior, so generally the latest is installed
Musical Fidelity A5
Today this acts as transport only into my DAC - Does anyone listen to CD anymore?
Headphones w/Stephan Equinox Cable
Quadrant Systems Speaker and Interconnects
Small manufacturer whos wires have blown away the competition at the price point...very pleased!
Synergistic Research Outlets
Dedicated 20A lines to each amp, then a run for analoge and another for digital
Shunyata Research Denali 2000T
For Atlas Amp and Rel Subs (run from a PS Audio Power Strip)
Shunyata Research Denali 6000T
Behind the wall of my components
Small Green Computer SonicTransport i5
I'll use this post to also list the rest of my random digital chain - Regen, Jitterbugs and maybe a power supply soon. Tidal streaming and Netgear NAS for music.
I've lived with the Eclipse for over a year so my impressions on the improvement are over quite old, however I recall having two distinct thoughts.
First that the improvement was more significant from Signature to Eclipse than it was from stock to Signature. The second was that the the music had more nuance, which gave me more emotional involvement in the listening.
In speaking with Aesthetix they recommended doing the Atlas prior to the Calypso and Rhea. It was their instruction that the amp would yield the biggest benefit of the three. I have had the Rhea upgraded to Eclipse as well and the Atlas was more significant. My Calypso is still at Signature level.
Many changes since in 2017. The three most significant changes include a new room, taking the Aesthetix Atlas amp to Eclipse update and adding the Shunyata power conditioners.
While other changes were more subtle they proved to be musical. Adding sound diffusion from Hofa and absorption panels helped tame the room. Several turntable tweaks brought more musicality and kept the analogue ahead of the digital. Still, digital streams are vital for my musical journey and enjoyment.
Ultimately I followed your first bit of advice and have chosen to upgrade my existing phono stage from standard Rhea to Signature. I'll see what it yields, but I agree after much consideration that this is the right step prior to cartridge change.
Chad, in response to your question regarding a change in your analog rig, I ask you, have you considered trying a different phono stage?
You might see if you can borrow different phono stages, and see if that makes a difference you like. I tried many different phono pres before my current one, a Modwright SWP 9.0, with upgraded power supply.
Another suggestion is, try out a Zu Denon 103R cartridge. If you are looking for a bit of warmth, it should help some in that area.
I went a step farther with mine, I sent it to ESCCO in London, for their saphire cantilever, Paratrace stylus upgrade, turning the 103R into something really special.
Good luck with your search, it can be fun and frustrating at the same time.
Great looking system....You bought a Calypso from me several years back and I ended up with another one....still trying to find the Signature version for $3,500 or less so I may need to wait a bit longer. Thought you might like to know that Jam is now working for Cary Audio as their Director of Product Design. He still lives in Charlotte but commutes to Cary NC for three days a week. The first amp he worked on is getting some ++ press on 10 Audio. I still keep telling him that he needs to market his cables...they are about as open and transparent as I have ever heard. I go back and forth between his cables and some Acoustic Zen Silver, and like them both. I am seriously considering letting Jam modify my Calypso as he feels confident he can elevate it beyoned the signature level but I'm just not quite ready yet to take that leap. If I don't find an actual unit in the next 6 months I may go ahead and give him the opportunity!
Hi Albert...great to have you chime in. I need to update some pictures soon. I am running the Dynavector XV1s with the 505 arm. Really a nice combination, but I haven't tried too many combinations. At least not a cartridge of equivelant caliber. Do you have any experience with the Micro tables that you could share?
System edited: What's old is new...to me. Upgraded my analogue to Micro Seiki...really enjoying the change. Becoming convinced that there is some great gear that has been either overlooked through the years, or it's just new and therefore not in vogue...but still great!
Jt3 - the stands are Sound Anchor stands...they are not my favorite looking, but they are beefy...haven't come across a heavier or more robust stand to date. With that said my wife would never allow them in the family/living room...they have a utility look that only works in listening rooms!
Semi - The Usher is a good speaker. They are a totally different animal than the Merlin and Spendors...your conclusion on the tweeter is one I share...in fact when I moved on to try Volent speaker the number one concern I had was reguarded whether or not the ribbon tweeter could compare.
While the Usher is a good speaker...the Volent has trumped it in my system...more fluid and of a whole then the Ushers...the Volent just tick all the right boxes for me and that is no fault of the Ushers. In fact the Ushers now make up my Home Theater system, so I still am quite fond of them. For the price I still really admire the Ushers and can whole heartedly recommend them.
my impression of Usher BE-718, they never fatigued. They are detail with good extension but never harsh nor do they fatigue, I really enjoyed them and thought they were great value. in comparison, I found most silk domes lacking except the very fine Scanspeak Revelator.
System edited: 3 weeks ago I sent my amps to Rogue to upgrade to their new M180...check out their website for all upgrades performed. The upgrade certainly transformed these amps to much more refined level...there is now a much quieter background leaving so much detail to be had. I'd encourage anyone considering it to talk to Mark at Rogue.
Lapierre - I got the Merlins and the Ushers at the same time in order to do a shootout...I am enjoying each for different reasons. Lately I have been favoring the Merlins in the pictured system above. However, the Ushers are no slouch...in fact they are the prefered speaker under certain conditions...they reside in my family room as an HT speaker and that system is a PC Server based for the sake of working around the house and/or having parties! One big difference is that the Ushers fatigue these ears after an hour of listening, the Merlins never fatigue! This is a big deal given that I like to listen every night prior to turning in. But, the speakers are polar opposites with vastly different executions and requirements...the end result being a much different take on a musical presentation...both say something different and I like that.