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.
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.
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.
I too have a broken down P3...maybe I'll bring it back to life simply because the Rhea has multiple inputs...and I have an empty shelf!
The Rogue's are wonderful for the $...but they absolutley should be tube rolled...it makes the amp completely detailed and graceful...keeping the power that they are known for...I like having the tube sound without being limited on speaker selection.
Speaking of rolling tubes...the Calypso will also greatly benefit! Not too bad either since you only need two sets. Of course I would wait to see if you prefer it over the VTL first.
As far as the Calypso/Rhea...I think for the money it is a top drawer performer...I like their light airy sound and the ability to use a wide range of cartridges and alter the sound with tubes (I'm still new to rolling at this point, but I knew I would get here eventually).
Also, both Rogue and Aesthetix have great upgrade programs...The Rogues are going in to the shop soon to be upgraded to the new M 180 status for a reasonable charge. Now the Aesthetix will have to wait for Signiture upgrade but it is coming too!
System edited: This is my new room for listening only...recently brought in the Merlin TSM-MMe's to square off with the Usher Be-718's. Prior to both I had Spendor S8e's and S3e's (the 8's were too much for this room)...I wanted a change and have not regreted it yet. These speakers are night and day from one another and both are wonderful in their own way. This week the Ushers are bringing me happiness...next week it will be the Merlins. The reality is that the Merlins work Much better with my current equipment in the main listening room. The Ushers demand more current and get it in my HT system...the problem is that my equipment is better here and I can listen louder at night here...we'll see!?! Right now I a enjoying the options...it's fun and insightfull! Cheers
Spencer great to hear from you...with the weather I don't know if I will make it down...we'll see how the roads are tomorrow!
Right now I have Merlin TSM-Mme's and Usher Be-718's jockeying for position in the porch room (pictured)...both are great for totally different reasons...I have a feeling that the Ushers will end up in my HT system and the Merlins will enjoy Aesthetic/Rogue caviar for a while. The Merlins are most similar to the Spendors I grew up on.
Why didn't I listen to you earlier about these Merlins?
Why didn't Tom Wait's tour wind through Philly? Tell you about a band to check out...Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago...best of '08!
Albert - no hampsters...wish I had one spinning electricity so I could consider myself "green"...this bookshelf search is more fun than I've ever had with speakers!
System edited: Well...it's been a while! After 2 years of looking we finally found a home...of course I have been relocated to a winterized porch that is both small and complete with a tile floor!?! Can we say "problems?" The larger S8e's had to go...they are now flanking the TV in the family room. In with the Bookshelf S3e's (previously rear channel duty and now mains...they are loving their new role). I have never heard a bookshelf speaker sound full range before...it really is a matter of environment. Thus and so far I have been having a blast with these little guys...now I am seeing bookshelf speakers in a whole new light. Come to think of it...I can get a whole lot more quality for the $ now and still get room filling sound...I think I'm on to something.
System edited: Several changes...after aquiring the Rhea I wanted to change to a low output MC...just got in an Ortofon Jubilee to try. With all my hours spent listenning in this hobby I have no words to describe the sound of this cartridge. This is not befuddlement (? spelling), but rather confusion. For the previous year+ I have been listening (near daily) to a Benz H2...with all its tone, timber and athmosphere I could lose myself for days. With the Jubilee it is all business...which isn't bad...it renders the Benz slow but melodic...the Ortofon is the polar oposite...no time to hear the drum skin...we are got to give you the beat...and what a lovely beat it is...great dynamics and complete excitement/sizzle. I just can't decided which sound is for me...what cartridge gives me both? More time...I think the future holds Dynavector and ZYX trials...my hope is to decide on a signature sound amongst more affordable cartridges and then move on to a really nice piece within their lineup. Secondly, a major change in wire...in fact a complete redue. Prior my system was all Nordost Red Dawn (innerconnect and speaker) and one run of Audience AU24 between CD and Pre Amp. A year ago I bought an Asthetix Calypso and the seller from NC sent me a custom cable from his local dealer. I tried the cable between my Pre and monoblock amps, but it was only a meter and I couldn't leave the amps in the middle of the room. So I move the amps back and replaced the RD into the sytem. A year later my musical memory caused me to retry the custom cable and I wondered why I didn't jump on the chance to have cables built while I still had the contact. Long story short I was able to get a hold of Jam and he build me not only innerconnects but speaker cables too...man are these things amazing at a real world price! Ultimately I will sum up by saying that they hold the musicality of Audience and keep the detail of Nordost RD. I am beginning to think custom components are the way to go for $/enjoyment! Cheers Chad
Great to hear from you...having not heard the Rhea, EAR and I even considered the Manely, I went for the Rhea for the sake of matching my current system. No regrets...great music. I am floored by how the music just flows...recently I had a chance to hear a friends DartZeel/Evolution MM2 system and had to upgrade! Not that I am anywhere near that combo...but for the money I feel I have the essence.
System edited: Added the Aethetix Rhea to compliment the Calypso. Lately I've had the chance to hear really good vinyl playback and my system was not doing it prior...this phono stage has really brought me into that league. About a year ago I bought Branford Marsalis LP "Trio Jeepy"...I bought it after hearing how great it sounded on a VPI/CJ/Revel system...on my system I prior to the Rhea I thought I bought a poor pressing...it was lifeless and dead. With the Rhea this LP has jumped to life...as has every LP comparedly. "Trio Jeepy" is now as addictive as ever! d
Chadnliz...great to have you post...I've seen you post elsewhere and always enjoy your comments. The Calypso is fantastic...it greatly compliments the Spendor and Rogue combo. I've experienced several high high dollar preamps and this one does very well for its used market price.
The H2/Slee combo is good...there could be better out there, but I am happy. A few truths...1) The H2 is a soft/warmer/less detail more musical timber type of pickup. 2) You should have no worry about mating the H2 with the Slee in terms of voltage. 3) There could be more to squeeze out of the combo if you can pick up the Graham Elevator and therefore tweek in the variables.
Hope that helped...otherwise please condsider my table and arm in the chain as well.
The arm is an Origin Live Encounter...the Graham is a phono stage. The pictures do not reflect the arm or the Orbe upgrades...I did get the HR Supply...it is fantastic...after more than doubling the cost of the original Gyro I bought a few years back...I'd say the arm was the biggest leap...and everything else is done for now. Perhaps in two years when my needle breaks I'll look into a change but it is definely music time for now!
By the way, I did get the PS3...fantastic Blue Ray at a cheap price! I've also upgraded my older Arcam AVR200 to the 350 model...not enough of an improvement to offset the cost. I could use a better optical cable which I will address in a few weeks after I recover from Vacation expenses!
I have little experience with power cleaners...I've heard that they can supress soundstaging. would you say there are any tradeoffs? Or has your experience been mostly positive...are you using it with your amps? I look forward to your analysis...
good to hear from you, hope the system is sounding great!
System edited: Changed a few pics...added the Calypso shot. Made the family happy with a new TV. These sort of things. Would like to round out the system with the Rhea down the road. Then the Spendors will be hard pressed to remain...but they just sound so nice...
Chris_michael: Thanks for checking in...yes, I have to stop myself from pulling the speakers forward every night after my wife goes to bed...she's not a fan of speakers in the middle of the room!
Justin: I had mixed feelings about the Orbe platter until I got the HR power supply. I felt that I lost a little too much "pop" or "liveliness" that the Gyro platter gave me. Once the HR power supply came in it really brought most of the PRAT back plus gave me the black background and improved decay that the Gyro never had...it's almost the difference between SS amps vs Tubed ones...Leading edge or decay? Bottom line...The Orbe platter is now unquestionably superior.
I am now awaiting delivery of a new Pre Amp (Aesthetix Calypso) and then perhaps the Rhea in 3 to 6 months time?!? I think that will be the end of my TT journey! I wish I could hear your Messenger equipment!
System edited: Made a few adjustments on the TT for the better...still waiting for the HR power supply. Overall feeling good. I really should update the pics pretty soon...no longer using the Monster 3500 or the RGPC 400S. I'm actually getting to a great place right now...thinking about sitting still for a while.
The maple blocks do have oil in them, but it doesn't feel oily whatsoever. Haven't noticed any oil on my components...the wood is that dry. The biggest trouble is if you desire to stain them down the road...I did not do to living in a temperary housing situation...not sure of future wood decor to match. Point being that I imagine I will have to leach out the oil (bleach?) in order to stain. Good Luck!
You know you had a problem [with power] when weeks later you still smile a few moments after power-up without a buzz!
I suspected that load changing might improve sound quality of the H2. Unfortunately I only have the Slee V and not the Elevator that can be added on for load adjusting. I've been waiting patiently for one to appear used, but to no avail at this point. As soon as one does appear I'll be all over it.
I do have an Origin Live Encounter tone arm on the way though...excited for both the arm, as well as, wire upgrade...check back for my thoughts in a few weeks on how it works with the H2 and the Michell/Graham.
Thanks for the nice comments...I make sure my friends all find out that I build the rack...it was a fun project. In the next year my wife and I plan on making a residence change and I will consider staining it to match the decor at that point.
The Rogue's are wonderful...I still feel that way after several months (for my budget that is!). They have performed flawless and the Triode/Ultra Linear switch is used often...ie not a gimick, but a truely nice option.
As for the bass?!? I am using a single Spendor Sub 3, but there are two problems. The main issue is that my wife hatched an egg when I brought the first "big ugly box" into the family room. I definitely need a second, but this is clearly as far as I am getting. The second issue is that I've heard a few other systems that have truly seemless bass response throughout...I mean the kind that moves from treble to midbass and serious bass. I haven't been able to get that with the sub!
Thanks for your comments...let me know how your system keeps moving along...sounds like you are active on the speaker front?
It's always time for a little Tom Waits...I was glad you were there to give me acceptance. At the other meet it was all Jazz and Classical. I actually left my copy of Matisyahu in the car out of fear! I was quite pleased you threw your copy in!
Your system is outrightly outrageous! I especially like your homebrew rack...mine is not quite up to par, but it looks like we both had similar ideas! Everything else you have is overwhelming! Hope to get a chance get together sometime for a listen. You are always welcome here....
Check for my post on your system...I have a few questions there.
System edited: A lot of power changes recently. I had a horrible buzz coming from my speakers and I was busy as a bee trying to solve it. Being relatively new to tube amps I wasn't sure if the buzz was typical until I had an opportunity to hear another A-goner's tube system. At that point I became obsessed with getting the stable image that comes with proper electrics. I first bought the RGPC 400s for the Rogue amps...it did a really nice job of knocking the noise down my 75%. But there was still a buzz...I then happended to bring in the Symphony Quantum Pro by pure chance and it really didn't do much for my system, and nothing for the noise. Finally a fellow Audiophile suggested that I only ground my preamp and allow the system to be grounded through innerconnects. Silly me...I already use the PS Audio power cords with removable ground pins. So, off came the pins on both amps and the CD player...viola...problem solved...jet black backgounds and pure musical enjoyment! I haven't taken out the RGPC 400 because it has a slow blow fuse to protect against electrical surge now that the ground pins are out of the amps...and my CD player is on a power strip. In any event, give it a go if you are daring enough...one month later I am still musically statisfied!
System edited: Added a Richargd Grey 400s to my system...I think it is a generation old. Currently running the Rogue mono blocks...might experiment with moving it around, but it cut the background noise the amps were producing my 75%!!! This change has allowed a much more musical presentation to come forth. Gone is the fatiguing constant frequency that was present prior. I'm trying to make sure that the frequency extremes aren't limited in any way. The jury is deliberating. Instantly I notice that small details are more audible, making a more cohesive and bigger soundstage. I've also gained a little stage depth...which was rather good prior due to pre amp. I'll update again soon as I have a symphony pro on the way from Quantum as well.
System edited: added some new pics...there are some significant compromises in speaker placement (they sound great about two more feet forward and the couch roughly 3 feet forward from the back wall)...but my wife doesn't think it looks good to be sitting on top of the speakers?!? i'm still confused by her greak language. not sure if the amps are adversly effected by the speaker port in the rear, but it was yet another compromise. all together it is a nice arrangement that i can live with. my one wish is to regain the soundstage the speakers are capable of, especially when paired with the CJ preamp. but that will wait for another house. i think i am finally settled with all but my power issues...looking to replace the Monster power unit with an undetermined brand. suprisingly i have had great success by just changing power cords. now i'm waiting to see what is possible with a high end conditioner.
i haven't had the chance to hear the slam version yet...it's been a busy summer and i will hopefully get to another head-fi meet in the fall/winter. perhaps someone there will have the slam version for a side by side comparison. for now i am extatic with the singlepower amp. it represents a significant increase in performance over my former musical fidelity x-can v3. i really don't have an upgrade itch in this area...which is a good thing!
System edited: just finished my new rack...used custom cut maple butcher blocks, 3/4-16 threaded rod, neoprene washers, bolts and acorn nuts to cap off the rods. i studied several racks here in the virtual systems and chose a design i thought i could pull off...you can be the judge...total cost $250...now that's my definition of sucess in this hobby. i've been spending considerable time (enjoyable time at that) tweaking in my vinyl system. the gramm slee V is now run in properly and i have finished watching michael fremer's new setup dvd. the end result is that i confirmed a few setings and ended up with far less vtf than is recommended by the manufacturer and the results are fantastic. my vinyl rig is now mining out the detail i had been missing! i also settled on using Nordost Red Dawn over the Audience 24AU for the connection between the gramm slee and my cj preamp. now if i can just get that Michell HR power supply for a little more PRAT i will be satisfied. i have also concluded that the said audience wire is superior to the Red Dawn when connected from the cdp to the preamp. it is slightly less detailed but brings a fraction more musicality to cd listening...this finding came about over a very long period of time, and was not an overnight decision. in the end, with the audience cable in i would sometimes look up from my computer and start tapping my foot to the music because it grabed me that much more...this did not happen with the more anylitical nordost...the opposite being true in my analog system. next up is a TV stand...
Hey Maineiac...feels like it's been a while. I moved recently and threw up some crude photos...I finally finished my rack and I really should take some more appealing shots...oh well! I'm really enjoying the phono system. I'm not sure that I am mining out all the detail that is in the grooves, but the Gramm pre seems to be openning up a little, so I will hold off my judgement for now. I think my only mistake is that I could use a little more detailed of a cartridge with this particular system...I wish to try the Sumiko Blackbird, but I am sitting still for now...A/V furniture is actually hitting the top of my list. The Rogue's are GREAT! I can't recommend them enough...they are the closest to SS slam that I have heard, and still maintain that realism. Some have said that they are too close to SS, but in the end that is what I was after (it took 3 amps to figure it out). No one could escape my house with them!!! I'll post some more thoughts on the overall system soon...the only changes have been wiring...recently sampling Audience 24AU innerconects.
System edited: Just moved into new listening room...the room was horrible until i completely divated from the speakers previous setup...this room wants the speakers wide and close to the wall. Many changes...Rogue 150's are the perfect amp for my taste...they have a solid state bass response and the liquidity of tubes...i also love how the amps can flip from triode to ultra linear on the fly! Also added the Graham Slee V phono stage...pretty nice...still breaking in so I will hold my judgements till later on...it came down between this one and the Accoustech PH1 (not SE version). I'll repost when things get settled in, and or my new homebrew rack is finished (in a few weeks).