Back in the late 80 s and into the early 90s I was a young guy really into audio. As my friends graduated from college and bought cars with the money from their first real jobs, I saved up and built up a nice system consisting of CJ electronics and Magnepans. To this day, I still miss some of that sound. As the 90s rolled in, it became harder and harder to get music on Vinyl and for those of you who were into it back then know, the sound of CD in 1990 didnt come close to that of Vinyl. I eventually became discouraged and sold off my system, replacing it with a NAD Receiver and CD player along with some Sequerra Met 7 speakers. The sound was nothing near what Id replaced, but since I was listening to CDs, it really didnt matter and in the end, I stopped listening to the quality and just enjoyed music. Read more...
For 20 years I had that same system. Then, a few years ago, the tweeter on one of my speakers died. I did some quick internet searches and decided that the PSB Alphas were a good cheap replacement. When I got them, I was flabbergasted by how much better the speakers sounded and I started enjoying the system more than I ever had. I thought, gee, if speakers have improved this much in the past 20 years, I wonder about CD players and amps, so I picked up a new NAD amp and CD player a few weeks later. I was surprised by how far equipment and digital had advanced. For the first time ever, I was hearing some dimensionality and musicality from my system that hinted at what Id gotten years before.
I was hooked and while I was lucky enough to have my own listening room, the room itself really isnt that ideal. Its small at 12x11x10 and seems to get easily overloaded as more air got pushed around in that space. I had a lot of small speakers rotate in and out of that room and in the end, my favorites were the little Silverline Minuets, the Kef LS-50s and the Harbeth P3ESRs. I was running them with a Musical Fidelity M3i with the Oppo BDP-95 as a source. The sound of that system was pretty good, but I really felt like I could get better sound out of that room within the same general budget.
As I got back into it, the low powered high efficiency speaker trend really intrigued me. Im a big believer in keeping things as simple as possible and this approach seemed to embody those concepts. I was lucky enough to have a dealer relatively near me that demoed products using this approach. After a couple of listening sessions, I nervously jumped straight in purchasing a 4 watt Decware Mini Torii amp and some single driver Omega Super3XRS speakers.
I couldnt be more pleased as this has increased my enjoyment to a whole new level. No question; a system like this isnt for everyone. I cant reproduce the effortless building of crescendos like some systems nor can I maintain a good solid soundstage if I start blasting complex music, but for 95% of my listening, I get an intimacy, musicality, dimensionality and soundstage thats just perfect for my listening space. If you had told me a year or two ago, or twenty years ago when I first was into it that Id be listening to a 4 watt single driver system, Id have laughed and laughed. Now Im smiling and grinning every time I turn it on.
Future upgrades...well, if you looked at the picture, there are a lot of LP's there with no turntable. I have fooled around with a Music Hall MMF2.2 TT with the generic cartridge but truthfully, I'm not getting overall better sound with that TT than CD. Soon I'll have to start experimenting with getting the most out of my vinyl collection.
I also need to upgrade my interconnects from low end Morrow to something a little better. I just changed to Clear Day speaker cables from Morrow and am really pleased with the results.