My current system is the product of 30+ years of experience with a wide range of equipment in different listening rooms. It is by far the most musically satisfying HIFI I have had the pleasure to enjoy. Over the past 10-15 years I have worked closely with several small manufacturers who have been extremely helpful throughout this journey. Lou Hinkley built me a pair of Daedalus Audio Apollo's that feature a custom quartersawn oak finish on all surfaces to match our Stickley heirloom furniture. I am thoroughly enjoying his latest design work! Lou introduced me to Alex at WyWires who has also helped me with cables that are crazy good for the money. I've also come to know Mark Schneider from Linear Tube Audio who builds some terrific amplifiers using David Berning designs. Getting great results using a pair of LTA Ultralinear + amplifiers outfitted with Amperex "Bugle Boys" which works brilliantly with Daedalus speakers--a match made in heaven! I have known Keith Herron for many years now having purchased his VTPH-2 phonostage after reading a number of glowing reviews. It is by far the finest phonostage I've owned and the recent "A" upgrades take it to another level. I liked the phonostage so much I purchased his highly regarded VTSP-3A linestage which I ran happily for several years before moving up to the VTSP-360 (Reference) in 2021. Wow, phenomenal upgrade which I have written about on this forum. Finally, I was able to connect with Pure Fidelity through Stellar Home Audio in NY on a custom Harmony turntable featuring a satin black finish and an Origin Live Conqueror MK4 tonearm. To this gem of a setup I mounted my Charisma Audio Signature One cartridge. This belt (subplatter) drive table is an extraordinary performer, providing a jet black background, even and coherent frequency response, and superior staging and detail. The Harmony/OL/Sig One replaced an excellent Sempersonus TE-2 idler-type turntable which I was running with a TW Acustic Raven (12") arm and Revopod footers. While this was a great setup, some early production fit and finish issues compelled me to return the TE-2 in favor of the PF. Very pleased! Recent release of the Conductor speed control unit takes the fit, finish, and performance of the Harmony to another level. I would encourage anyone considering equipment purchases from "better known" or "big name" audio manufacturers to seek out these "artisan" outfits--you won't be disappointed. Their equipment is first rate and the service and support for their clients is second to none. Highly recommended!!
Pure Fidelity Harmony turntable in custom satin black finish. Very well designed, engineered, and built with quality components throughout--ruby ball and bronze bearing, Delrin platter, compact design with excellent packing--a class product all around. Recent release of the Conductor speed control unit is a major upgrade over the Maestro, which was not on the same level of fit and finish as the table itself.
Origin Live Conqueror MK4
Extraordinary arm in design and execution. Ordered with 2M run of Silver Hybrid IC from the cartridge tags to the RCAs. Pure Fidelity Harmony comes with specified mount for OL arms making set up a breeze. The Conqueror MK4 has a great feel, with form following function without the fiddly downsides often present in other "super arms". The sound is exceptionally transparent and fluid, with ease and detail off the charts. Plays really well with the PF Harmony!
Charisma Audio Signature One
New, top of the line MC cartridge from Canadian designer, manufacturer Bernard Li.
Herron Audio VTPH-2A
The Herron VTPH-2A has been the most satisfying upgrade to my entirely revamped analogue playback system. Quiet, spacious, dynamic with tremendous inner detail. I doubt I'll need or own another phonostage. Stock feet replaced with Stillpoint Ultra Mini's to enhance isolation.
Herron Audio VTSP-360 Reference
Keith Herron's latest linestage is astonishingly good. It has all the features you need and none that you don't and sounds exceptional--super quiet, detailed, natural, with great timing and drive. Improvement over the VTSP-3A (R03) is across the board but particularly in the areas of dynamic agility and soundstaging, Stock feet replaced with Stillpoint Ultra Mini's to enhance isolation. This is the latest "Reference" version of the VTSP-360 circa 2021.
Linear Tube Audio Ultralinear Power Amplifier Plus (Monoblocks)
From the brilliant David Berning perhaps his most compelling low power ZOTL amplifier yet. Uses TV sweep tubes (like the ZH-230) and a radical switching power supply to deliver 20 wpc of extraordinarily clean and musical power. Ideal amplifier for high efficiency loudspeakers like my Daedalus Apollo's. The "Plus" upgrades offer subtle improvements and I added a second UL+ to run monoblocks in the summer of 2021 which stepped up the performance even further!.
The latest from speaker guru and musician Lou Hinkley and Daedalus Audio. These replaced my beloved, tricked out DA-1.1 V2's. They sound simply phenomenal--so engaging, organic and warm with gobs of musical detail. Paired with the LTA Ultralinear they produce some of the best sound I have ever heard regardless of price. Recently added a set of Track Audio Isolation Feet to raise the speakers to proper listening height and found to be an excellent sonic upgrade over prior Stillpoint Ultra SS.
Empirical Design ED-422
Superior to many cables I've tried at less cost. I ran these against Audience Au-24, Soundstring, Fusion Audio Romance, Dynamic Design and JPS Labs SC-3 and found them to be the best value. The JPS and Fusion Audio sounded slightly more detailed, spacious and natural but are harder to work with and considerably more money. Using between my Esoteric K-03xs and Herron VTPH-2A and linestage.
Empirical Design ED-416
Excellent performance but stiff like their speaker cable. I would not recommend these in tight spaces where multiple turns are required. Using to connect my Ayre L-5xe power conditioner to the wall outlet.
Empirical Design ED-316
The ED-316 has fewer conductors than the ED-416 and is thus thinner and more flexible. Great product for low power sources, easily besting my original version Audience Powerchord. Using with my Esoteric K-03xs, Herron VTSP-360 (ESP), and Herron VTPH-2A.
WyWires/Daedalus Audio Speaker Cable Reference Series
Speaker cables jointly developed by WyWires and Daedalus to provide synergistic performance. Cable topology mirrors Daedalus Apollo internal wiring. I consider these cables a necessity for Daedalus owners as they elevated the performance of my system considerably--much more vivid color and detail but more relaxed and spacious at the same time.
Recently upgraded to the new K-03xs after many happy years with my trusty X-03se. Still waiting to connect up and see how it sounds!
Ayre Acoustics L-5xe
Power conditioner used with my front end components. Connected to wall with WyWires Platinum series power cord.
WyWires, LLC Platinum Series Interconnect
Running these between my amps and preamp. Absolutely phenomenal cables--incredible resolution yet tonally correct and laid back. Tremendous balance and musicality. The WyWires are the first interconnects I've found that were worth paying more money for than my Empirical Design cables.
WyWires, LLC Silver Series Juice II Power Cord
Connects the LTA's to the wall. Nice cable but the UL doesn't respond to expensive cords--the power supply is so good I got the same results with the stock cord and an inexpensive Signal Cable PC.
Stillpoints LLC Ultra Mini's
Using 4 Ultra Mini's each under the Herron Reference linestage and Herron VTPH-2A. The Ultra Mini's work perfectly, particularly since I do not have a very high quality rack for my equipment.
Arya Audio Revopods
Using four Revopods as footers for my Sempersonus TE-2. Extremely well designed and manufactured, they allow ultra-precise leveling and provide effective isolation from acoustic and other vibrations. Highly recommended!
WyWires Platinum Series Power Cord
Currently used to power the Pure Fidelity motor controller. Overkill!
Open tiered rack system. Well made and easy to assemble. I'm using Lovan cable guides to keep things in place.
Just posted some photo updates featuring new Track Audio Isolation Footers supporting my Daedalus Apollo's. These are excellent--great build quality, adjustable for leveling, and raise the Apollo's to the proper height. Initial impressions are very positive!
Hey All: Just posting an update featuring my new analogue front end. Recently took delivery on a Pure Fidelity Harmony turntable with an Origin Live Conqueror MK4 tonearm. Cartridge remains the same from my prior setup (Charisma Audio Signature One). Only a few hours in but sounding excellent! The table and arm were a breeze to set up and both are extremely well designed/engineered products! I'll post comments once things are broken in and I have finished any tweaking of the set up.
That is a pretty nice sized room. I have experienced what large rooms can do to the music. Everything sounds so spacious and the imaging is expansive and the "height of vocals" is amazing in such rooms! Especially with the high ceiling. Enjoy your music.
The new room is 26 L X 15 W X 9 H (Going up to 16 feet at the peak of the vaulted ceiling). Not a huge room but the vaulted ceilings really increase the volume of the space and the lack of ceiling reflections created by the height and multiple angles transforms the sound. I've never had my system in a room like this and it is really eye opening!
Hey guys--updated my system profile following a move to a new, larger listening room and the addition of some new components--an outstanding Herron VTSP-360 ESP. Really getting some nice sound and appreciating the fine designers/manufacturers who have helped me greatly along the way. Happy listening!
I just recently discovered Revopods after doing some research to find replacement feet for those that came on my Sempersonus TE-2. While the stock feet work fine, I wanted something more attractive that would also offer potential performance gains. I just installed the Revopods this week and have only had a few moments to audition them (A-B comparison) in my system. So far so good. They are really well designed and made. I'll post more later and may try a set on my speakers and compare them with the Stillpoints Ultra SS currently in use.
Hey There--just updated my system with pics of the new room. Recent upgrades include the Sempersonus TE-2 turntable with TW Acustic Raven 12" tonearm and Charisma Audio Signature One cartridge. Breaking in now are a pair of WyWires Platinum series phono cables (DIN > RCA). While the new room is slightly narrower than the previous one it is a bit longer and since I am setting up on the short wall this time I have been able to move the Apollo's out away from the back wall a little further (maybe 26" compared to 18" in the old space). This is providing a deeper soundstage and more three dimensional sound. I was also able to move the rack to the sidewall instead of between the speakers so that may be helping a bit as well. While the room is small and very basic I'm getting some really good sound. Would love to hear your thoughts!
It's always nice to hear when a fellow A'gon member has a nice uptick in sound quality, especially when it's in a new room. Many folks lament about their room-associated problems, it's refreshing to hear when the opposite happens.
Hey guys--just updated my system with some recent changes. Added a K-03xs which I think will be my last disc spinner. LTA transferred my "shoebox" Ultralinear to the new Fern and Roby case and I upgraded the 12AU7 and 12AX7 input tubes to Amperex "Bugle Boys" as well as replaced the four 17JN6 power tubes. Also added an Ayre LX-5se power conditioner for my low level components--my new listening room does not have a dedicated line with multiple outlets so on a very knowledgeable friend's recommendation I decided to go with the Ayre. I also upgraded the cables between my amp and preamp with WyWires Platinum series. Looking forward to getting everything hooked up in my new space and seeing how it all sounds!
Hey Folks--Over the holidays I took delivery on a new pair of Daedalus Audio Apollo speakers. These are handcrafted from quartersawn white oak stained to match our furnishings with a lovely inlay pattern. I have been breaking them in over the past few weeks and will report on the sound once I have enough hours on them. At this stage the sound is very promising--retaining the natural, organic tonality of all Lou's designs with higher resolution and more precise staging than my previous pair of DA-1.1s. A full report to follow!
Thanks Dan--I've had several of the VPI unipivots and enjoyed them but the opportunity to try their 3D Gimbaled arm was too good to pass up. I really like the solid feel and the bearings are just perfect--taught yet effortless. Combined with the 3D arm tube it just makes great music. Really looking forward to the new Apollo's--hopefully not too much longer as I've been without music now for a while and I'm going crazy! Best to you and thanks for chiming in!
I owned a Scout signature for several years, and enjoyed it. I did, though, tire of the JMW "wobble". I see your new table has the Levinson arm, so it makes for a more stable platform.
I went a very different direction, by restoring a Garrard 401, DIY plinth, and Dynavector 501 arm. It would seem we are both happy, so congrats on your unique VPI table and arm, it is great that Harry and Matt worked with you like they did. The rest of your system is very special, and must reflect that in how it sounds.
You've come a long way since you first posted a Virtual System (I think we both started here about the same time). Getting your new speakers must have you on pins and needles, like a kid waiting for Christmas. I know that's how I would be.
Just posted a few updates to my system. New speakers on the way (Daedalus Apollo) and finally put up some pictures of the awesome LTA Ultralinear that will provide amplification. I am expecting delivery of the Apollo's sometime this fall and will post actual photos when they are positioned in my listening room. Can't wait!!
Just received my VTSP-3A back from Keith who updated the unit to R03 status. Keith Herron is such a joy to work with--I have such high regard for his integrity and client support. I will post a review on the updated unit once it breaks in and provide some illustrations of how great it is to own Herron Audio products.
Thanks, Ptss. The openings forced me to set up on the long wall of the room but it worked out in the end in terms of releasing any bass energy that might build in the corners thru the openings into the hallway. Overall, a pretty good room though I wish it was a little larger.....I have thought about treating the wall with some artistic absorption panels I've seen online but have not gotten around to it....thanks for inspiring me to look into this again.
System edited: System updated with new photos of speakers with latest woofer trim rings added. These add to the visual beauty of the speaker and subtly enhance the performance in the bass and lower midrange. Well worth the investment!
I had the same reaction to the news of the V2 upgrades because I was extremely happy with my DA-1.1APs. But a number of positive posts by people who did the V2 upgrades over on the AC and speaking with Lou convinced me to box up my speakers and send them out. I was nervous about potential damage and hoping it was going to be worth the system downtime and expense--for sure, it was.
In recent weeks, I've made some changes upstream, in my digital front end.
I've been thoroughly enjoying each listening session, and prior to reading this, I have wondered how the newer models can actually sound "better." ...and along comes an upgrade that surpasses the AP XO.
Thanks for posting your comments on the V2 upgrade.
Just a quick post to chime in on this thread now that my DA-1.1's have returned from Washington with the new V2 upgrades. The speakers arrived just before the holiday (great timing--thanks Santa, uh, I mean Lou) so I had plenty of time to let them settle in and do some extended listening. I'll try not to repeat what has already been said here and will try to put together a much more long winded "review" when I have more time but I would certainly agree that this is a "game changer" for Lou's entire lineup which pushes his speakers into an exalted status far, far beyond the price point. I have been fortunate to have had the AP upgrade completed several years ago and that was a big jump in performance--more speed, dynamics, agility and effortless sound without any loss of the tonality that makes Lou's speakers so very special. To my ear the V2 upgrades offer as big a gain as the AP crossover network but of a different type. This is all about refinement and purity, with an added touch of high frequency sparkle and heightened spatial cues--again, all brought forth without any downsides. With the V2 upgrades I find performance much more compelling as the subtle nuances of both voice and instruments are brought to life in my living room. This is really about both the unique qualities of the performers voice and singing style and the way in which instruments sound when played live, with the initial transients and subsequent decay faithfully preserved. For example, one track I played several times was Lyle Lovett's "Highway Kind" from his "Step Inside This House" covers of Texas songwriters. To listen to him sing and play this song is truly a thing of wonder. The guitar is so real, so live sounding that it knocks you over and then he starts to sing and his entire being simply appears before you in the room. At the end of the song he must lean forward or back because you can hear a creak as the guitar strap rubs on the body--spooky, and just like it would sound live. I'm also getting a bit more energy up top with the V2 upgrades--again, with no downside fatigue or lack of coherence. Just a bit more extension and sparkle that sounds more real and natural that before. I listened to a number of well recorded jazz LPs and was completely stunned by the shimmer and decay of the cymbals--again as you would experience them live. I am also shocked by the dimensionality of the sound with the V2 mods in place. The speakers completely disappear and the music emerges from a void in total 3D--eerie to the point where I found myself laughing out loud with my eyes closed--fun! I could go on but will stop for now and say that I could not be happier with the magic Lou has pulled off here. To be able to get this kind of performance jump without having to move up the line and abandon the beautiful custom cabinets that Lou built for me back in 2008 is phenomenal and a testament to Lou's dedication to his clients--many of whom, like myself, consider him family. This is a no brainer for all Daedalus owners and for those who are considering joining the family I cannot think of a reason on earth why you wouldn't want to pull the trigger, given the price to performance ratio and variety of models to choose from. Thanks again Lou--it has been a great ride and I am grateful for all your support and assistance along the way!
As to the technical aspects of the upgrade, Lou is a little tight-lipped about these things. I do know that there are modifications to the crossovers which are designed to eliminate phase anomalies as well as changes to the internal wiring feeding the tweeter which are designed to let that driver communicate more effectively.
Bottom line: These are very appreciable upgrades to the sound of an already fabulous speaker. Highly recommended!