In process of revising virtual system thread... information below needs to be updated...
After selling my system several years ago, I have been rebuilding and finally assembled a very satisfying system. Upgrades have been more frequent than recommended however, improvement with system synergy in mind is always welcome.
The system goals are to accurately portray lifelike music reproduction - vocals, harmonics, timbre, tonal textures, decay, etc. first and foremost... With that in mind, I want a full range, musical presentation with lifelike dynamic impact, both micro and macro.
We have recently moved into a new home, in which my loving wife allowed me to dedicate the 2nd floor bonus room (16'W x 22'L x 9'H) into a listening room. We had the rear wall configured with built in bookshelves for the vinyl albums, as well as pull out drawers for cd storage. Exposed beam coffered ceiling to help break up standing waves, as well as a double stagger stud wall behind the speakers (shared wall with master bedroom). There is also info in this thread about the "rebuild" of that entire wall...
With the excitement and joy of a dedicated listening room, came the room anomalies that plagued the music reproduction. A great pair of speakers (Meadowlark Audio Blue Heron 2's) were displaced in an attempt to move to a speaker with adjustable bass (Martin Logan Summit). As the Martin Logan's were on order - I became aware that adjustable bass will help, yet not fix the problem... thus started the "wall renovation project." As luck would have it, the room response was improved, however I had been struggling with placement of the Martin Logan Summits. Once finally "dialed in" when you would listen at moderate volumes, you would over excite the room a bit... I tried (for months) to get "permission" to hang drapes behind the Summits - the same ones on the side wall... but no green light. Alas, it was a festering concern that the room wasn't treated properly for the Summits to perform optimally. If they couldn't be allowed to perform their best, the search began for their replacements, and the Summits went up for sale.
As of a couple of weeks ago, I received delivery of the Salk Sound HT3's. They are currently breaking in, and I will be working on room placement and positioning in the upcoming weeks. I am looking forward to getting the system back to a "stable" point!
This is the system "snapshot" as of early September 2006.
Top of the line 3 chassis unit offered by Emmanuel.
JPS Labs Aluminata - 1.5m Interconnect
1.5 meter from preamp to mono blocks
Fusion Audio Enchanter Power Cord
One on each H2o Audio M250 SE monoblock
H2o Audio M250SE (Special Edition Monoblocks)
The absolute latest from the mind of Henry Ho. This takes the former top of the line M250 Signature and improves upon it. Details to follow. This is the latest top of the line set of monoblocks from H2o Audio... the M 250 Special Edition.
JPS Labs Aluminata 10 ft. Speaker Cable
10 foot pair, used with Aluminata Jumpers
Meadowlark Audio Blue Heron 2
Pommele Sapele sides and rear, Honduran Mahogany front baffle with dual offset Red Heart stringers. A phenominal 1st order, time & phase aligned, transmission line speaker. Have tried many other speakers that fail to produce music they way these speakers do.
One under each Meadowlark Audio Blue Heron 2 speaker
http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-Start?ProductSKU=STRDA5200ES&INT=sstyle-homeaudiocomponents-tophero-7channel_receiver Used in Home Theater for center channel, and rear surrounds. Upconverts analog video to 1080p
http://www.stewartfilmscreen.com/ Firehawk SST - optimized for Sony VPL-VW50 1080p projector - Luxus Deluxe
JL Audio Fathom 113's (x 2)
http://home.jlaudio.com/products_subs.php?prod_id=371 Pair of these 130 lb. each monsters... Used in HT
Onix Rocket - RSC200
http://www.av123.com/products_product.php?section=speakers&product=100.1 Center channel speaker - used in HT
Onix Rocket - RSS300's
http://www.av123.com/products_product.php?section=speakers&product=7.1 Rear surround speakers. Used in HT
StudioTech U-22T RW/B
Component Stand - 67" W x 22" H
Eighth Nerve Room Pack
Accoustic room treatment
--- Room Renovation --- (listed below)
Room Reno - Room Prep - Rear Wall
Pic of the rear wall. Everything was removed and the shelving for the vinyl was tarped and taped. Furniture that was not moved out of the room was also tarped over.
Room Reno - Front Wall - Before
Pic of the front wall before renovation commenced.
Room Reno - Drywall Removal
Pic of the start... drywall cut above and below metal furring strips in horizontal rows to allow for removal of drywall
Room Reno - Drywall Removal continues
Pic taken after 8 solid hours of work. The metal furring strips were spaced 12" apart. Screws had to be removed from the strips as well as all of the blown insulation.
Room Reno - Furring Strips
This pic shows how poorly the furring strips were installed in some of the areas.
Room Reno - Front Wall - drywall mostly down
Pic of the front wall with most of the drywall removed. There are still some metal furring strips up to be removed.
Room Reno - Front Corner - Drywall Removal
Pic of front corner, most of the drywall removed, metal furring strips yet to be removed.
Room Reno - Front Corner - Progress
Pic of the drywall removed, metal furring strips removed, and insullation removed. Some original studs are removed and laying on the floor.
Room Reno - Studs
stack of studs ready to be installed...
Room Reno - Front Wall - New Stud Installation
Pic of the new studs being installed
Room Reno - Front Wall - New Stud CloseUp
pic close up... studs were glued with Liquid Nails, and screwed together with 3" drywall screws. Spacing was roughly on 9" centers.
Room Reno - Front Wall - New Studs Complete
Pic of the front wall... studs are complete, and insulation installed.
Room Reno - Front Wall - Plywood Begins
Pic of the front wall... 3/4" tongue & groove plywood being installed. Liquid Nails and 3" drywall screws.
Room Reno - Front Corner - Plywood Continues
Pic of the front corner, plywood installation continues
Room Reno - Front Wall - Plywood Complete
Pic of all the plywood up. All Liquid Nailed and screwed with 3" drywall screws. The white lines in seams and around outlets is acoustical sealant caulk.
Room Reno - Front Wall - First Layer Drywall
Pic of the first layer of drywall going up.
Room Reno - Front Wall - First Layer Drywall Up
Pic of the first layer of drywall up. Audio Alloy's "Green Glue" was used between drywall and plywood. First layer was mudded prior to second layer going up. Yes, one piece of drywall is backwards, as the Green Glue was applied before it was realized...
Room Reno - Front Wall - Layer Two Drywall Up
Pic of the front wall, second layer of drywall up and initial mudding
Room Reno - Front Corner - Second Layer Drywall
Pic of the second layer of drywall up and initial mudding
Room Reno - Front Wall - Semi Final Mudding
Pic of the front wall - semi final mudding
Room Reno - Front Corner - Semi Final Mudding
Pic of the front corner - semi final mudding
Room Reno - Front Wall - Primer Application
Pic of the coat of primer being apllied - before final mudding and sanding then final paint
Room Reno - Front Corner - Final Paint
Pic of the front corner, final coat of paint
Room Reno - Front Wall - Finished
Pic of front wall - finished and ready for system to be put back together.
Room Reno - Front Corner - Finished
Pic of the front corner, finished and ready to have system moved back into the room and set up.
Hey Kirk! Long time no talk with. I hope you are doing well. I'm curious where your current system is at. I recall that you sold your Blue Herons a while back. I can't remember what you replaced them with. Are you still working with Eric on the Fusion line? I still have a pair of the Predators on my monoblocs.
System edited: Continual improvements proceed. Dodd Audio preamp removed and replaced with the First Sound Audio, Paramount Mk II Special Edition preamp. First Sound has been inserted into the system and is commencing break in.
Hi. this is Lloyd over in Birmingham, Al. I haven't talked to you in a very long time. How are you doing? I'm sure that you don't remember me, but we've traded e-mails in the distant past on a number of different subjects. I'm also using Henry's amplifier along with a pair of Von Scheikert speakers. (We'd spoken in the past about the First Sound preamp.)I'm extremely interested in your observations on the Jeff Rowland Capri. Have you come to any preliminary conclusions yet? How is it's synergy with Henry's H2O's? How would you compare it to some of the preamps that you've used in the past? I don't want to rush you in making any comments, but input on this particular model is as scare as hens teeth and the fact that you also use the H20 makes your observations extrememly valuable. When you get a chance, let me know your thoughts. Again, Thanks for you input. Lloyd
Hey Tommy! Great to hear from you! As always it was a pleasure to speak with you on the phone today. I will give you a ring once I confirm what we discussed earlier.
Hey Ken - Thanks for chiming in. Since you last heard the system (the day after the demo's were replaced with new cabling) with 11 hours on it, I have continued to log some decent play time. I would imagine I am hearing the benefits of break in, however I am going to refrain from stating anything specific as I would love for you to stop by again soon, whether this weekend or next. As always, I appreciate your unbiased opinion.
LoL - thinking back... we have shared some equipment and listening sessions over the past several years or so, eh?
Let me know if you pull the trigger on the other amp you mentioned, I look forward to hearing your system that way too! Although I must admit, I am not sure we will prefer it over the current set up... :)
Hey Kirk.. Your attracting way too much attention on your system post. LOL!
Seriously..just a short blurb to confirm that what I heard in your system was nothing short of astounding! Ive heard just about all the iterations of your system over the years, and this current system's sound is easily the best you've ever had. I like to think I know the sound of your system fairly well, especially the Meadowlark BH2's sonic signature ( if I may call it that ) . I think you have them singing beautifully now. Complete coherence and balance from top to bottom. Easily the best bass you have derived from the BH2's..and that I know has been somewhat of an issue over the years. That Rev. Ring Tweeter has always been a jewel, and I think the Aluminata's allow the tweeter ( and the speaker in general) the opportunity to sound as good as they are indeed capable of.
Anyway..Guys..Kirks system is the real deal IMO. The JPS Aluminata really sealed the deal sonically. I know Kirk and he's a hard man to please..always not quite comfortable with some area of the systems performance. It was nice to see him smiling ear to ear after I just shook my head in amazement of what I heard. Yes, the JPS Labs Aluminata is expensive stuff, but I have to agree that this is one time I felt a cable was worth every penny paid! I only wish I could have a pair (or 2) of my own to play with!
Congratulations Kirk, and best wishes with the system.
Kirk! JPS Aluminata??? Nice!!! Given that you have had the chance to audition quite a bit of cables, your decision to go with JPS says a lot. I am going to have to give them a try. I am in the market for interconnects anyway. Assuming I dont have the budget (i.e. stomach) to go for the Aluminata, which JPS product would you suggest I try?
I was just trying to update the system, and just noticed your replies.
Art, I think the beans are spilled! I was able to make my decisions based upon the majority of my system cabled with the "next to the top of the line" JPS Labs cabling and found sonic nirvana. Without a doubt.
I plunged and went with the JPS Labs Aluminata, their top of the line. Which in fact is the same conductor and topology as the Superconductor 3, but with the Aluminata shielding added. So there was no guessing on the sonics, only the additional benefits of a lowered noise floor, and shielding of any possible interference - which made it somewhat of a "no brainer" to me.
Fellow AudiogoN member Kehut stopped by yesterday and picked up some cabling to audition. He was able to get a brief listen with the new cabling. I won't speak for Ken, perhaps he will post a blurb - but what Ken heard was with a total of 11 hours on the new Aluminata cabling, all new interconnects and speaker cables...
I truly hope both of you, Art & Sherod are doing well. Try to stay cool in that Texas heat! I hope it isn't worse than here in Atlanta!
Thanks for the detailed response, Kirk. Keep us posted on the JPS performance as the cables further break in. Also, an interesting comparison would be the Aluminata power cord with the Fusion Enchanter.
As a few of you are aware, and briefly mentioned in the system thread over the past several months I have been diligently auditioning Interconnects & Speaker Cables.
While I have had very, very good cabling in my system before. It has not been until now that the sonic performance transcends mere "hifi" and allows absolute natural music portrayal.
At this time I am not certain how stellar it will finally become, as I am breaking in all JPS Aluminata I/C's & S/C's.
While auditioning the JPS Labs equipment, I used one Aluminata I/C, along with one Superconductor 3 I/C, combined with Superconductor 3 speaker cables. The Superconductor 3 is one step below the top of the line JPS Labs, the Aluminata. This combination of one Aluminata and two Superconductor 3's clearly outperformed my complete Synergistic Research Tesla Apex I/C with Tesla Precision Reference I/C and Tesla Apex speaker cables. Again, as stated above the Synergistic Research was very, very good. It was actually the best I had heard in my personal system until being blessed to audition the JPS Labs.
I am eager to hear how the full Aluminata system will sound once broken in. Since the combination of the Aluminata and Superconductor 3 surpassed the performance I had with the full Synergistic Research I am excited to see how the full top of the line JPS Labs truly compares with what I had as the full top of the line Synergistic Research.
At this time I have about 32 hours on the new Aluminatas.
As an aside note, lest anyone try to spin the facts above, I would like to confirm they are truly based upon sonics alone:
We were previously authorized dealers for Synergistic Research. We are currently authorized dealers for JPS Labs.
As some may say that would state the entire reason for my sonic landscape painted, however friends and audio acquaintances alike know that even though I am an authorized dealer for many lines, I will only place equipment in my system that is sonicaly the correct fit, and an improvement to me. Hence you will see several manufacturer lines in my system that we are not authorized resellers for; Porter Ports, BPT, Dodd Audio(now manufacturer direct), H2o Audio, Meadowlark Audio, JL Audio.
To add to that, the Dodd Battery Preamp and the AMR CD-77 units were both purchased as a consumer prior to me becoming a business partner for an audio dealer. Due to the performance of these mentioned units, we pursued them as component lines we wanted to represent.
I just want to be clear, as much as some people say it is idiotic for me to not have ALL gear in my system from lines that we carry, I am an audiophile at heart first, and I follow my ears. Shame on me?
As we add new companies to our dealership, I will continually compare and contrast equipment, and improve my system when possible.
It was not until now that I discovered there could be such a significant improvement over other fine cabling in the industry.
For those unfamiliar with the JPS Labs Aluminata series, Art Dudley's review in Stereophile stated, "The differences made by the JPS Aluminata products were by far the most drastic changes I've ever heard when going from one interconnect, speaker cable, or AC cord to another. Put a little more bluntly, I've never heard wire do this before." Art also ends with, "At the end of the day, all I can say is that the Aluminatas are, without a doubt and by a significant margin, the best audio cables I've used."
if you have any time (ha ha) you should try turning Henry's babies around backwards (why not, they aren't going to win beauty contests ) and hide them behind your speakers. The time is needed to develop short thin ribbon speaker cable. I honestly have not tried any better. I sent a bicable set to Henry. He loves them.
Everything improved over all the cables I have tried, or heard. The stage front to back differentiation is the most noticeable. Increase in resolution, dynamics, and extension also improved significantly.
Guido - Thanks for the spreadsheet. I am near 700 hours on the new preamp, near 500 hours on the power correction unit, and almost 250 hours on the new cabling. One modification is on the way back from a manufacturer and should arrive tomorrow. I am hoping to have the system stable for another week of break in and do a final evaluation on it next weekend.
Shadorne - Thanks for the tips on the sub integration. I would do something similar. I do not want over accentuated bass response or to muddy anything. I would not mind filling in the extreme lower octave, however not at the expense of anything less than perfect integration. At this point I have not attempted anything with the subs, as I am in the process of evaluating new cabling throughout the system as well as new preamp. I am going to get a handle on what sonic changes they bring about in the system. Once that is finalized I will be experimenting with the subs next.
Wow - thanks for sharing all those pics and detail. Very very impressive, I'll be interested in you thoughts when you integrate the Jl's for stereo. Personally I don't follow the THX recommendations and run mains full range with the sub up to 90 HZ and only notch EQ the sub peaks to get flat in room response when combined with mains (mains are run without any EQ at all). I found this gives the most natural integrated sound.