I might actually be done. I find that this is the system sound I have been looking for. It can be played from very low volume levels to very high volume and gives me what I am looking for. The mid range defines the system and it is all there. The low end is present but not overwhelming and the system can be listened to for hours without being fatiguing. I have it tweeked with my room. My concentration has been on buying music. . Thats it for now. Stephen
Golden Reference Speaker cable, Interconnects: Golden Reference amp to pre am, Golden Reference CD to Pre Amp, 300B Microtwin DVD to Pre Amp, Power Cords: All Golden Reference except Twinlink on DVD Player
Running Springs Audio Haley & Duke Power Conditioners
Power Conditioners Haley for pre-amp, cd player, and dvd player Duke for amps
This is an interesting discussion as I am always fascinated about the experiences of others in our hobby. I really believe that we have to be careful about how we categorize a complete class of amplifier. I understand the notion that some class D amplifiers can be fatiguing and have experienced that myself. But I have also had many class A/B amplifiers that performed the same way. It really depends upon the amplifier as well as the match with other components and how they effect the system. Remember, I came from Pass Class A XA100.5 mono blocks and before those I owned the Pass XA60.5 mono blocks and before those, owned the Pass XA30.5 Class A amp.
I have owned the Rowland 501 Class D mono blocks for a short time but I have put them through listening sessions of 3-5 hours and to be honest, they are just as non-fatiguing as my class A Pass Monoblocks. I am amazed at how good these amps are. I have a multi driver decently demanding speaker and the sound form the 501 mono blocks has surpassed my expectations. If any of you know the Rowland sound, you would be aware that it is extremely smooth and engaging through the midrange without being forward. At times, it is even described as laid back but I don't feel that way.
The sound from the Rowland 501 monos would compare to the Pass XA100.5 in this way:
Imaging/soundstage rowland/pass equal Bass speed/depth/definition rowland better Musicality rowland/pass equal both very engaging Midrange warmth edge to pass Detail (hearing things that you haven't heard prior) edge to rowland
Look, I have Rowland amps and a Rowland Capri Preamp and the sound is all there. Both the Rowland and the Pass do all the important things well. It is like picking a flavor. Class A when executed well does somethings that other classes cannot do and the Rowland Class D amps do other things that other classes cannot do.
The Rowland 501's are amps that you could listen to all day in my system and be engaged without any feeling of fatigue. they are full sounding with ggod weight, fantastic low end (if your speaker goes there), and a midrange that is all Rowland . I live in music for the midrange.
I have owned the Rowland 501amps for two days and have listened for about eight hours. They have the capacity to take hold of the drivers including the ten inch woofers. The result is a very strong low end that is fast and will go as low as the music and the speakers allow. I was a bit concerned about the midrange but it is very smooth and is delivered with typical Rowland sound. It is full and has a good weight and density. I am amazed that these small mono blocks can provide such a full range of sound. They are very dynamic and very involving for the listener. What I have learned is that each class whether A , AB , or D if executed with quality can provide enjoyment for the listener.
First, let me thank you both for your interest you have taken in reading about my system. I decided to keep my speakers, they are just so good and I don't want to experience the let down of a lesser speaker. I did go and make the big change with the amplifiers. Before I mentioned what I acquired, let me fist say that there are great amplifiers in the class a, class a/b and the class d applications. Its what these great amp builders do that is unique within each of the zones. In my opinion, great engineering and thought can create a wonderful amplifier.
Anyway, I picked up the Rowland 501 Monoblocks which are not being made any longer. I could be wrong but I believe they were discontinued somewhere around 2008-2009. These amps were designed for hard to push 4 ohm loads with lots of drivers. Let me tell you both that I have been knocked by them so far. They are extremely engaging and are a very good match with my SEAS drivers. They of course work well with the Rowland Capri. Its always hard to describe what an amp can do. I have had class d before but nothing that sounds like these amps. I will get into it more as I continue to listen. Stephen
I have made another change to my system. I thought the Pass XA100.5 amps were wonderful but based on a potential move, I am going with Class D mono blocks. My sense is that very few people read this but if you do, take a guess at the class D amps that I will be acquiring this week. Stephen
Thanks as always for your thoughts. I agree with you as I also really like the synergy between the Rowland Preamp and the Pass Amps that I have owned. It may take me a bit of time to find a Corus that comes via Audiogon but I am patient. As I also mentioned, there seems to be conflicting information as to whether Rowland will be releasing an update to the current Capri at CES next year.
Let me know how the Magicos impact your system when you have them in a few months. I am interested to hear your perceptions of them. They seem to be the most talked about speaker line at this point. Take Care. Stephen
Thanks for trying to help me with the Corus. It seems that its difficult to find anyone who has one, maybe there are not that many out there other than the ones that have been reviewed. It would be interesting to hear from someone who actually had it in their system. I am kind of in a hold pattern unless I find a used one. Also, I want to see if Rowland does any kind of an update to the Capri next year. I tell you, it is a fine preamp, and competes with many preamps that cost much more. I am hooked on what the Rowland preamps do for a system.
As for CD, it will be here for a decent period and I believe that even if they are not mass produced, they will still be able to be purchased even in a limited way. I think that digital will continue to improve and I think that disks will benefit from technology and will continue to evolve in sonic capabilities.
Wow! Started reading some of my early posts which are actually about eight years ago. This has kind of turned into a diary of my Audio life. Of course, it get me thinking about my life in general, as I read about all the changes I made over the years. How many times did I say that I was happy with my system and then went ahead and made more changes. I do think that I am at a point where my preamplifier is the only area where I could stand an upgrade but the Rowland Capri is no slouch. A more parallel preamp to the rest of my system would probably be the Rowland Corus. What can I say? I am stuck on what Rowland preamps do within my system as they bring out the musicality.
One other note. I read that many people are predicting that CD production with cease within the next 3-5 years. We shall see. Even if it stops in the main market place, I believe there will still be a niche for many years. There are still enough of us nits who want a physical entity vs a file, or at least I hope so.
That would be fantastic to hear from someone who combined the Corus with the Pass XA160.5. Thanks so much, I look forward to hearing from him. My email is [email protected] If he is in usa, let me know and I will provide a phone number. If not, email or my system board is great. As always, I enjoy our conversations and your assistance. Take Care. Stephen
Good Soundstaging Good imaging Good Bass Response Excellent sound weight and Density (not talking tube like qualities but sound weight) Sound in my system is laid back
Why do I like most about the Capri? When I listen to the variety of music that is my collection, the weight and realism of the sound is the quality that I value the most. I am not interested in having a collection of audiophile recordings that display quality sonics but are not my music. With the Rowland Capri, I feel uplifted by the sound. The music just sounds right, not that it is doing the ultimate in audio tricks but that its sound is real and has wonderful musicality. My sense would be that the higher priced Corus would add even more resolution and greater transparency.
Thanks for your thoughts. Still in the break in period. Why do Class A components take so long to break in. The lack of watts is what I have been told. If you ever get a chance, send me a photo of your system, would love to see it. Stephen [email protected]
Received the Pass XP-20 today and it arrived late this afternoon. It will need some break in time as it was out in the cold and is a like new demo unit. It is a very attractive preamp and I look forward to hearing it.
You make very good points about the balance within the system and so much of it is getting the right interaction that give us the resolution and transparency but not at the expense of midrange warmth. It is not about whether it is a tubed preamp or a solid state preamp but what fits into my system from the sonics standpoint. I decided to try the Pass XP-20 first for these reasons. The Pass XA100.5 Monoblocks are very rich and lush sounding with a wonderful midrange. They are full sounding and when I read about the qualities of the Pass XP-20, it sounded like it might be a better compliment in my system . The Pass Preamp was voiced to match with my amps and I am hoping I will retain all I am getting from the amps but also add greater dynamics, resolution, and bass response from the Pass preamp vs what I am getting now from the Rowland Capri. It will be interesting to hear and learn what kind of match it turns out to be.
As I think about trying the Pass preamp, I am wondering if it is going to be different than the Rowland Capri. Thinking about it is different than actually hearing it which should happen late next week. If I don't like the combination, I will probably try a tubed preamp. I have given some thought to a VTL or VAC but they are expensive.
I think we are looking for the same things in that the synergy between the components is so important to achieve the sonics we want in our systems. It can take a good bit of work to get that right fit and the room also plays a decent part in all of this.
Thanks for your thoughts. I am going to try the Pass XP-20 and see what the synergy is like before I venture into tubes again. I have been doing a lot of reading about preamps and my thought is that a good preamp should let the sound of the amps really come through and be as transparent as possible. I really love the sound of my Pass Monoblocks and if the Pass preamp gives me more of them, then I should be pretty excited. If that match does not do it for me, then I would lean toward trying a tubed preamp. Its interesting thought. These days, some tubed products take on the traditional type of sonics of ss gear and the reverse can happen also. I have actually spoken to some folks who have used ARC preamps with ss amps and have told me that the sound was leaner than some of the match ups with ss preamps. I guess its all about the synergy.
I am leaning toward trying the Pass XP-20 Preamp in my system and comparing that preamp with my current Rowland Capri. I had toyed with the idea of an Audio Research or another Rowland but am thinking that the synergy between the Pass XA100.5 monblocks and the Pass Preamp would be worth listening to.
Have you heard the Audio Research preamps with solid state amps like Pass. I am also considering the Audio Research LS-27 tubed preamp as another alternative and wonder how it would mate with my mono blocks. Thanks Stephen
Saturday night, hurt my back shoveling snow. Great New England weather. Enjoying my system, the amps are pretty much burned in. I have about 500 hours on them. I would not think I would hear many more changes but you never know. I may try the Pass XP-20 to compare it with the Rowland Capri.
I am sorry for any typos in my comparison but wanted to get it on Audiogon at this point. I checked it a few times before posting but just noticed a few. Also, I would like to thank Mark at Reno HiFi for his assistance in the process. I know many dealers get a bad rap but Mark is one of the good people in Audio. He takes the time to answer questions and is always willing to discuss anything related to the world of Audio.
Pass XA.60.5 Monoblocks to Pass XA.100.5 Monoblock I had written a review of the Pass XA.60.5 Monoblocks so rather than do another complete review, I thought it might be more informative to discuss the differences I have experienced when I recently upgraded to the Pass XA100.5 Monoblocks. I had asked for feedback on Audiogon about making such a change and would like to address some of the responses I received (and appreciated) now that I have had the real world experience of listening to the new amplifiers. I always have mixed thoughts about component burn in but for the sake of clarity, I have over 300 hours on the new XA 100.5 monoblocks. All of the other components and cables have remained the same from the time of the previous Pass XA60.5 monoblocks. The room is the same, my living room, which is 12 by 23 with the loudspeakers on the short side about seven feet apart, fifty six inches from the wall behind them, and about 2-3 feet from side wall and staircase on the other side. Certainly, not a perfect room, but we do the best we can with what we have. I will say that I have had systems in much larger rooms years ago and personally have been able to achieve better sound in a smaller room given imperfections in all the rooms I have had my systems in.
I should again mention the loudspeakers as they are a very important factor in the determination of the match with amplifiers. I have Tyler Acoustics/Woodmeres which have a sensitivity of around 89-90. These are fairly large speakers that are 4 ohm and have two 10 inch bass drivers, 2 seven inch mids, and the tweeter and are all SEAS drivers. If you look at the system photos, you can see the speakers. They can take a good amount of juice and the drivers react to any kind of component change I have made over the period of time I have owned them.
Some of the issues I will discuss are the following: *2db change from Pass XA60.5 to Pass XA100.5 *Stereo XA30.5 to XA60.5 to XA100.5-"sweetness of the sound"-concept that you lose some when you increase the power of the amp *Soundstage and Imaging Details *Bass (quality and quantity) *Weight and Fullness of Sound *Knowing what I do now, would I make the change again with the current information and knowledge?
2db change from Pass XA60.5 to Pass XA100.5
One of the thoughts that was expressed to me about the upgrade was that a 2.25 db change would mean nothing and the sound would not be very different. Well, the change in power makes a difference and in my case with my speakers in my room, makes a big difference. With the XA100.5, the system has the capacity to play very loud and at a very high quality but the bigger change is at lower listening levels, and normal listening levels. My music, whether rock, classical or jazz sounds more lifelike through the complete sound spectrum, highs to the lowest bass. The XA100.5 have the capacity to drive a more demanding speaker. Mine are somewhere around 89-90 4ohm( not inefficient) and the ease of the XA100.5 to drive them is highly evident. The XA60.5 did not take control of the speakers in the same way and the XA30.5 was not able to match well with the speakers due to the lack of power. Could one live with the XA60.5 and my speakers, in a word yes. It would be someone who does not push the amps by playing them loud at times or have the kind of music that tends to have dynamic swings. In my experience with the XA60.5, I pushed them enough that they went into A/B a fair amount of the time. Truthfully, I think the XA60.5 Monoblocks would be better with other speakers that are easier to drive.
Stereo XA30.5 to XA60.5 to XA100.5-sweetness of the sound-concept that you lose some when you increase the power of the amp
I read threads where audiophiles comment that the XA30.5 is the sweetest amp in the XA line and when you go to the higher powered amps, you lose that sweetness. Well, that is just not true in my experience as someone who has owned half of the XA line. The XA60.5 and now the XA100.5 have every bit of sweetness that the stereo amp had. I don't feel I lost anything in this area with the higher powered amps. I wonder if those who believe this have really heard many of the amps in the XA line. I have not heard the XA160.5 and the XA200.5 but if you have concerns about upgrading from the XA30.5, in terms of losing the sweetness of the sound, the mono blocks will give you all that you get from the XA30.5 and more. That is my opinion from owning these amps. My bias over the years has been to monoblocks. I think they drive the speakers with more ease than a stereo amp but that is always open to debate.
Soundstage & Imaging Details
The soundstage is wider than with the previous amps. I hear more sound coming from the sides behind the speakers. The images are more focused as if a lens has sharpened the picture. I hear and feel the separation on stage with all of the instruments and sometimes with the XA100.5, I am actually fooled as I hear things that I have not heard on a particular CD and it takes me a couple of seconds to realize that the particular CD was generating that sound. I actually have thought that something else was going on in my room. In addition, I hear more of the subtle information with the XA100.5 vs the XA60.5. I mean hearing the breathing of the performers and background instruments that I have not heard previously. The bigger amps pick up those nuances in the music much more than the other XA amps I owned. The images are bigger and fuller and that improves the presentation of the music.
The Tyler Woodmeres have the capacity to go pretty low and with the XA100.5 amps, there is an increase in the amount of low end that I hear. I can better differentiate the lower note details . The bass is more realistic using the XA100.5 than with the other XA amps I owned. Of course, if you have a loudspeaker that does not produce and deliver much of the low end, no amp is going to make that appear. The loudspeaker will need to have the ability to go low. Many speakers I have owned, quality loudspeakers, did not go very low, and the amp change would not have affected those speakers.
Weight and Fullness of Sound
Now we are getting to the core of the change and the biggest difference I experienced so far by upgrading from the XA60.5 to the XA100.5 monoblocks. My system is getting a much bigger sound in terms of fullness and weight. The smashing of the drum kit seems more realistic to me. On many of the recordings where there is much percussion, I can better imagine the drummer really hitting a full drum kit. All of the instruments have a larger, more realistic sound, including voices. The whole sound has a more weighty feel to it and that gives it a more realistic feel than what I previously had. Its hard to convey these changes without someone hearing the two sets of mono blocks but the XA100.5 give a bigger sound to the system and a thicker deeper sound to the system. These amps are taking more control of the drivers and the sound reflects that.
Knowing what I do now, would I make the change again with the current information and knowledge?
Well, as one goes up the XA line, one pays the price for the more powerful amps so there is always the question of whether the upgrades are worth that extra money spent. It hard to put an exact per cent in terms of improvement. All I can say with system component changes is that I have tend to have one of two reactions. One is that the effect is minor and not worth additional money and the other is that the change is great enough that I want to keep the new component and it is a significant improvement to my system. This change from the Pass XA60.5 mono blocks to the Pass XA100.5 Monoblocks is one of those significant changes. I am getting so much more from these amps and the system is playing at a higher level which is really all I can ask from a component upgrade. Again, it is always system dependent. I think that if my speakers were not as power hungry, the change would not have impacted to the same level. I have found that my Tyler Woodmeres are very sensitive to component changes which helps in evaluating what is happening. I have noticed this with amps as well with sources. I was surprised how much the system was effected by changes in the CD source when I tried about five different players in the system some months ago. And last but not least, the room is many times the biggest component in the whole system. It effects every aspect of how the system sounds including the amplification. I certainly do not claim to be any type of expert in the audio world. I have learned whatever little I know by trial and error. As you can see from my posted system (Forever Done, Never Done), I have gone through a great number of components. My opinions are only offered so they can be of some kind of assistance to someone else who may have some similar amp choices to make. To be honest, I am hooked on the XA line of Pass Amplifiers. I have owned many amps and they have all had many fine qualities but the Pass XA line is something very special to me. Yes, they do use a fair amount of electricity but once burned in, I leave them in the standby mode. They have an alluring midrange, a wonderful transparency, image really well, give me very good low end, and play with an ease and smoothness that allows me to listen for hours. The Pass XA line is very unfatiguing and that makes a big difference to me. My music listening is my therapy. I work in a conflict management role and when I come home from work, i can be listening for 3-4 hours a night and much more on the weekends. My living room is my stereo room. (one advantage of living with just my dog, she is very tolerant) For a frame of reference, other amplifiers that I have had in my systems over the years included Simaudio Monoblocks (500 watts per channel), Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista Integrated, Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista Integrated, DK Design Integrated, Pathos Acoustics Logos Integrated, Bel Canto 500 Monoblocks and Bel Canto Stereo 500, Conrad Johnson Stereo Amp, Adcom 555, B&K Inegrated, NAD Integrated, and probably many others I can't remember at this point.
One last point on this thread. If you have a different point of view related to anything I wrote or anything responders to my thread write, that is terrific. All I would ask is that we are respectful of each other. I get tired of reading threads where people are not respectful of each other. You may have more knowledge about Audio than myself or someone else, but the connection to educate someone or just reach someone through communication cannot be effective unless we are tolerant and accepting of one another. I hope new people want to get into high end audio and I hope some of those people want to have a 2-channel system. We need to cultivate that interest in the high end. Snobbery, intolerance, being condescending and sarcastic, does not foster positive relationships. I hope others will get into High End Audio and that is up to us to encourage. Thanks for taking the time to read this whole thread and I look forward to any responses from potential Pass XA amp owners, current Pass XA owners, or anyone who else who wants to share their thoughts.
I am getting my comparison between the Pass XA60.5 amps and the Pass XA100.5 amps ready. I should be closing in on about 300 hours pretty soon. I will add the comparison to the amps section and also post it on my system page.
Good word, audiophilia. What other plans do you have for your system? The only other change that I would really consider at some point would be the preamp. The Rowland Capri is very good but the Pass Xp-20 would probably be an even better match for the Pass Amps. Rowland also makes the Corus preamp but it is very expensive. Do you have any experience listening to Pass preamps?
I wrote my opening comments to the system back in 2004, more than 7 years ago when I thought I might be done with my system. Boy, was I ever mistaken. Is my system better now? Well, it definitely is but I made a lot of mistakes or attempts before I got here. What is next? Well, I hope to stay stable with the system. Some people have mentioned to me that they do not like Cardas Golden Reference but I find the cable very musical and natural so I have no plans to change it. I think the only other upgrade would be the preamp but The Jeff Rowland Capri is so good that it would have to be a strong improvement over the Capri. Rowland has the Corus now but that is out of my price range for a preamp. So other than the preamp, I hope to stay with the system and not make any other changes for a period of time. (I hope).
This is what I wrote 7 years ago:
I might actually be done. I find that this is the system sound I have been looking for. It can be played from very low volume levels to very high volume and gives me what I am looking for. The mid range defines the system and it is all there. The low end is present but not overwhelming and the system can be listened to for hours without being fatiguing. I have it tweeked with my room. My concentration has been on buying music. . Thats it for now.
Hi. I read the review and it was excellent, many specifics and so much information. Like you said, the amp is the engine that drives the system and the Boulder amp sounds like it does it at the highest level. It is an amp that lets the music come through and does not impose a signature sound on the system which is one of the hardest things for any amp to do. I hope you continue to enjoy it as well as the match with the Ayon CD5-S. Have a great 2012.
Sounds like you have a wonderful system. One aspect of being an Audiophile that can be disappointing is that we all live all over the globe and can't get to hear others systems. I have read about Boulder amps. They are extremely highly regarded. What do they offer to your system and how would you describe their sound. You are right about the burn in. Since I had two other amps in the same family, I can tell that the new ones are not yet as smooth and transparent as they will be with more hours on them. I am only at about 100 hours so far. By the way, happy new year and its always good to communicate with you. Take care. Stephen
Thanks as always for your response. I forgot what type of Loudspeakers you have. Mine are 4 ohm and the higher level amp really makes a difference as they can take quite a bit of juice. I also notice much at the lower listening levels. Once they are burned in, I will write more on the difference. By the way, what are your thoughts about amplifier burn in? How much has it made a difference with your amps and how much time did your amps need to be fully set. This current pair were purchased new vs the other pair which were previously used. I only have 70 hours on them so far.
I rolled tubes when I owned the Jolida CD player and it is sensitive to the tubes you select. You dont have to bias those type of tubes. I bought old tubes (NOS) new old stock and make sure they are matched. I know some good people who have these type of tubes so email me if you would like to speak. I recommend Telefunken, they are less dark then the Mullards and offer a very balnced sound. Look forward to hearing from you. Stephen
I put up a thread about reflecting back on 2011 and the changes we have made to our audio systems. While there are many Audiophiles who have changed components or for that matter complete systems, there are also many Audiophiles who have stuck with the system they have had over the last year or years. As we near another new year, I am hoping that I can join that group of people who have stayed with their system or made minimal changes to it. I certainly have a track record of changing my system over the years as the title of my system suggests. There is an enjoyment associated with the impact of a new component but there is also a pleasure i would think of knowing that you had a system that continues to bring you pleasure and the focus can stay with the music which is why I got into this crazy world in the beginning.
On another front (and seemingly a contradiction), I just got the Pass XA100.5 Monoblocks and am in the process of burning them in which will probably take a week or so. I have some initial thoughts of how they compare with the Pass XA60.5 Monoblocks but to be fair, I want to wait and listen morebefore giving you a sense of the difference. I can say that even fresh out of the box last night, there were apparent changes to my system from the new amps.
Day after Christmas 2011, awaiting the arrival later in the week of the Pass XA100.5 Monoblocks and will do an A/B with the new amps and my current Pass XA60.5 Monoblocks. Will update when i get a chance to get the new amps burned i n a bit.
Well, another year almost done and a time to reflect about our lives in the Audio world and out. As I looked through my threads during 2011, I realized I made many more changes than I remembered.
Lets start with what has remained constant . I still have the Jeff Rowland Capri Preamp. Some years ago, I had one, sold it, then bought another one. I am a big fan of the contribution of the Capri to my system and have thought about another Rowland but the Corus is out of my price range. I think that the Rowland Capri is one of the really good audio buys out there. I have all Cardas Golden Reference as my cable source which includes power cords, interconnects, and speaker cables. I know many people seem to bash Cardas but I don't care what they say. It is still the best cable i have ever owned and i have tried quite a few. It is musical and I enjoy its contribution to my system.
I really like Tyler Acoustic Loudspeakers. I have owned three pair and this past year I went from the Decade D1's to the Woodmeres which have the SEAS EXCEL drivers. Very smooth, very musical, and I think another very good buy in audio.
My amplification has changed. I originally got the Pass XA30.5 for the Tyler Decades but needed more power in my room with the Woodmeres. I currently own the Pass XA60.5 Monoblocks and will be upgrading to the Pass XA100.5 Monoblocks and will share my reactions when I get the Pass XA100.5 in my system. What can I say about the Pass XA line. I have owned many amps by many companies, I am addicted to the Pass XA line , that class A power is just so fine. Yes, they get a bit warm and use a bit of electricity but the midrange is what I live for in audio and these are wonderful through the middle. So realistic, the voices and instruments feel like they are in the room.
I changed my CD/SACD source. I tried a number of player which all had their strengths and weaknesses and worked my way through 3 player by Ayon Audio over the last few years. By the way, the last one I owned was the Ayon CD2-S. I also tried the Meridian(can't remember the number but not the highest level in the Meridian line), the Ayre C5xeMP, the McIntosh MCD-500, and eventually purchased the Luxman D-06. For me, in my room, it was the most natural sounding player and et the other components do what they do best. Very easy to listen to and I am very pleased with it.
So where do I go from here. Well, unless I move, this is the room I will be dealing with and I have done my best to work with it. As I mentioned, just added a rug and that has been an improvement. I will report about the Pass Monoblock upgrade. The only other area is the preamp as I would have to know it was a big step from the Capri but /i am happy for now. Some of you might say, what about a music system with files so I can get rid of compact disks (I own about 1000). I have no interest in a conversion to files. That is for others of you. I like owning a disk and looking at it and having a physical product. If they stop making disks at some point , that is ok as I will buy your disks with happiness as you go to files. No thanks on the files for me.
Anyway, on a more important note, it is a time to be thankful if you and your family have physical and emotional health. The rest of this stuff (and it is stuff) is much less important. I am so grateful that I have been blessed with some decent health as I approach 58 in a few days as well as the health of my family. Take care of yourselves, enjoy the holidays, and remember, lets that each other well on these forums. I cant tell you how many threads I read where someone does not show tolerance for other thoughts, other opinions, different levels of knowledge, and just a lack of respect for each other. Lets be decent to one another. Its great that others have a different view of my system or anything I or others have done. Thats what makes life so much fun. We all try different things in Audio and the most important difference is that we all have different rooms. Enough of me. Thank you all for responding to buy threads this year and I with you all well. Take Care. Stephen
Made another change to my system and thankfully this one did not cost anything. I moved a patterned rug into the room on top of the existing carpet which is on wood and I have noticed a difference in the sound . More damping and I like the effect on the sound. Sometimes the little things can make a nice difference.
I had been thinking about whether to make the upgrade to a higher level preamp or amp and decided to go with the amp for these reasons. In my room, when i get to the higher volume levels (and I do play the system loud at times), it does tend to go out of class A depending on the type of music. But , more important than that, the Woodmeres are 4 OHM and can take a good amount of power and it does make a difference with them. They are 91 sensitivity but have large drivers. I think and am hoping that the biggest difference between the Pass XA60.5 and the Pass XA100.5 amps will be at the lower listening levels with more headroom. I will makes notes in this system coverage once they have had a chance to burn in.
Pass XA Monoblock Amps I know there have been many threads on these amps and the different levels of power with each set. To those who owned the Pass XA60.5 and went to the Pass XA100.5 monoblocks, did you feel that the change made a big difference in your system or was it not that noticeable whether played at low to mid level volume levels or high volume. I currently own the Pass 60.5 and am contemplating the Pass 100.5. Some people have suggested that it would take a move to the Pass XA160.5 for it to really make a difference but that would unfortunately be out of my price range. The room is 12 by 24 and the speaker load is 2 ten inch seas woofers, 2 seven inch mids, and the tweeter. They are 4 ohm with a sensitivity of 91 but a big speaker. Any thoughts from Pass owners of these amps would be appreciated. The other direction i can go would be to upgrade my Pre-amp from the Rowland Capri but my initial thought was that the Pass amp change would be more of an upgrade. Thanks for your thoughts.
I am a current owner of the Jeff Rowland Capri pre amp. Are there any folks who have owned or heard the Capri and have owned or heard the new Corus pre amp. I am wondering how high level a system would need to be to recognize the differences between the 2 Rowland pre-amps and what those differences are. Thanks Stephen
Do you have any idea when it will be available. Would you be able to hear it prior to purchasing. What type of music do you primarily listen to. Most of my collection is Rock but I also listen to classical. Take care. Stephen
I took a look online and it looks like Accuphase recently came out with a new SACD player. It is two pieces with a separate transport. Here is the link I found to it: http://www.accuphase.com/pdf/dp-900&dc-901_ea3.pdf
Those are really nice speakers. It sounds like you found the right amp to drive them. Is Accuphase coming out with a new SACD player soon that you know about? A tubed pre-amp can really help a system. Do you have the opportunity to hear the Accuphase or have you already heard some of their line.
Are you going to keep the Ayon CD5S along with the Accuphase or compare the two players and keep one of them. It was interesting to compare the Ayon players with the other players I tried. As I said, the tires really meet the road when you have the players in your system in your room and you are switching them out. That is when you really know what you have. I still believe the most important elements are the amps, pre-amp, and loudspeakers but the source does impact the sound also. I was surprised by how much till I auditioned all the players in my system.
Nice to hear from you. I pretty much assumed I was writing these comments to myself as a kind of audio diary. Do you still have the Ayon CD5? I have not heard Accuphase but understand they are very good. Have you heard one?
I have had the Luxman D-06 SACD/CD Player for about three weeks and have played it about 70 hours so I am beginning to get a sense of the sound of that I receive with the Luxman in my system.
One interesting aspect that I had not noticed till I got this player and also went through the exercise of trying other players is that some offer a signature sound that they add to the music and some do not. Of the players I have owned, the Ayon players have the most of that signature sound. The Ayon CD5, The Ayon CD2S both have the Ayon sound. what is that sound. Well, the best I can say is that the Ayon players add a richness and glaze that is definitely a part of what you get in your system. The tubes as well as the rest of the design give that fullness and coated body of sound. The reason I mention this is that the Luxman is very different from the Ayon sound. The Luxman give me a full sound but I feel it is more reflective of the recording than anything else. The Luxman is very musical and smooth but I do not get that feeling that it is adding sound or a feel to the recording. It is more natural and organic than the Ayon sound. The Luxman has good body and the sound has good weight but it is also more dependent on the recording that pushing through the sound of the player.
I have noticed other traits in players I have owned in the past. The players that tended to give me all the detail and more depth as to what was in the recording at times seemed to lack a musicality and flow that seemed that it should be in the music. The Meridian I tried gave me the most detail I had heard in a player but it seemed to have a bit of steriility to it. I won't say it was brittle but it had a clinical aspect to it. The Ayre C-5xemp had more personality, was more aggressive , especially in the bass, but had a feeling of some unnatural bass bumps in my room. I did not find it especially musical in my system in my room.
Anyway, let me get back to the Luxman. Seventy hours is not a lot of time but the player has a very musical sound without taking over the system. It gives me the recording in a very musical way but has a nice amount of detail. It has a very smooth and refined sound and you tend to want to play the music louder as the system is very non fatiguing. I feel that I am getting the recordings in a very natural way which is the best i can say about the player. It fits in well with my system but does not own it. I listen to many genres from Rock (most of my CD's) to classical. I have mostly redbook as well as many MP3's so it is certainly not audiophile recordings. I will say that when I put on on a well recorded rebook cd, the sound is wonderful and the SACD sound with a well recorded one is stunning. There is another level of detail balanced with another level of smoothness and naturalness. The Luxman will take your system wherever the amplification ands speakers allow it to go.
So these are a few more impressions at this point. I don't know how much more the burn in process will have. I would think at this point this is pretty much of the sound and that is fine with me. I am very pleased with the player. I will continue to note the progression to about 200 hours.
On the music side, I saw Noel Gallagher lads night at the Wang Center in Boston and he was great. I really like his new CD Noel Gallagher and The Flying Birds. He did most of that CD and nine Oasis songs. It was a real rock show, not for the lightweights! I maybe 57 but I will rock till I drop. To me , there is nothing like the energy and feeling to a live rock show. To all, get out and hear music live. Its what it is all about . Then hopefully, enjoy your system as an extension of it.
Well, there has not been much to report on my new Luxman D-06 SACD/CD player. I lost power in Massachusetts saturday and it has been out since. Where I live kind of looks like a war zone with trees, and power lines down. I hope to report more when i get power back.
Picked up the Luxman D-06 from my dealer yesterday but did not get the chance to listen to it as I went from there to a concert (Blitzen Trapper, Oregon Indie Band). So you can imagine how I was caged up waiting to hear this machine. We get that way when we get a new component. By the time I hooked it up last night, it was about one in the morning and as my daughter had to work the next day, I just connected it and checked that it was functioning mechanically. With that done, I called it a night and decided tomorrow was another day.
So today, even though my ears are a bit blown out from the show last night, I have gotten the music going. I might add that it is good music weather up here in Massachusetts. We got an inch of snow a day ago and tonight where i live they are saying 6-12 inches. October, can't believe it.
Anyway, have only heard a few CD's. This is a SACD/CD player that I bought because it was recommended because of its sound qualities, not because it has every type of connection possible. Lets face it , I am a two channel guy who likes having a hard disk and do not want a music server. I know that goes against the new wave of high end audio thought. I have over 1000 cd's, mostly rebook, and I am happy with them. I am just beginning to explore SACD's and even though they are viewed as dinosaurs, I find that the high quality ones are outstanding.
So let me get to some initial thoughts about the player. I wonder if any of you have had this thought about digital sources. When you get one in your system that you really like, you start thinking about whether it is the sound or flavor of the digital source or is that source more capable of getting out of the way so you can hear the quality of your amp, pre-amp, and loudspeakers.
Ok, the Luxman D-06. It does not have a built in pre-amp. I run it through my Jeff Rowland Capri. I have had many cd players that went direct to the amp and one that had a built in pre-amp. I have always felt that the digital sources sounded better through a pre-amp. By the way, I had the Ayon CD5 at one point and went back and forth between direct and through a pre-amp and still thought it sounded better through the Rowland Capri vs direct to the amps.
So the Luxman has the capacity to connect to another digital source through coax but it is essentially straight ahead two channel SACD/CD. How does it sound out of the box? In a word, wonderful. I don't know how much burn in a player like this needs but if it does not improve from what I am hearing, I will be quite content. The sound is full with good weight. It is very clean with a good amount of detail but that detail is delivered in a very musical way. I don't know how to use the right words but it delivers that high end sound without being to analytical or annoying to listen to. I need to go out to today to do errands before the snow and I can't peel myself away from the music. Extremely easy to listen to. Again, it is working with the Pass XA60.5 Class A Monoblocks and Tyler Acoustics Woodmeres which have the Seas Excel drivers.
I hope to write a much more detailed set of impressions after more time but I will tell you I went through quite a few players to get to this point and I am glad I got to hear the others in my system because that is what you will be listening to with your equipment in your room. I had previously had the Three of the Ayon CD players. That included the Ayon CD5, Ayon CD2, and the Ayon CD2S. In addition, this time I auditioned in my system the Meridian (not the highest priced one, the other player), the Ayre C-5xeMP, and also the McIntosh MCD500. These were all quality players which would add to any system. But the Luxman is something very special in my system in my room.
I hear you about the convenience of a music server but it does not appeal to me as i like having a disk vs a file and can't get to the point where i don't have something that i can hold. In addition, the sound as you mentioned is better on a disk.
I will up update this with a few new pictures when i have the digital source in place. I am wondering if anyone out there has used the Rowland Corus Pre-Amp and if so how did you fined it in comparison to the Capri which I use.
I am probably writing this for myself as I get the feeling that these system profiles kind of serve as a diary for the individual with the system. I reread many of my posts related to all the system changes and I can't believe all the components I have gone through. Speakers, amps, tubes, CD players, and cables to name a few. I was thinking about it tonight and I think part of it was I could not hear most of the equipment in my system before it was purchased. Most of it was shipped to me and that was when i heard it. But I keep coming back to audio. It has been one of my interests from being a kid all through my adult life. I just have to remind myself that it is the music that is at the heart of it.
These days many people are going to music servers and i am still stuck in the cd world. I guess i still like owning the physical disk and would rather have that than a file. At this point, i am happy with my Woodmeres, Pass Amps, and my pre-amp. I have been playing around with the cd players as i mentioned.
System edited: Going through a few changes. I got a new listening chair that made a big difference as I am about six inches higher and better aligned with the tweeters. I also experimented with speaker toe in and doubled my toe in. The toe in is not that drastic but it does make a difference in the sound. I will post the last change in a few weeks. I have been auditioning a variety of CD players.
I might actually be done. I find that this is the system sound I have been looking for. It can be played from very low volume levels to very high volume and gives me what I am looking for. The mid range defines the system and it is all there. The low end is present but not overwhelming and the system can be listened to for hours without being fatiguing. I have it tweeked with my room. My concentration has been on buying music. . Thats it for now. Stephen
Thanks for the response. Hope you are doing well. I really like the Woodmeres very much. They are very easy to listen to for extended sessions, very non fatiguing, smooth, and musical as you said. Take care. Stephen
As I stated in the system description, I changed the interconnect between the Ayon Cd player and the Rowland Capri Pre-Amp. I went from Cardas Golden Cross to Cardas Golden Reference. The Tyler Acoustics Woodmeres are a bit warmer than the Decades and the Golden Reference is a better match for them. I like both the Golden Cross and Golden Reference interconnects and have used both in many of my systems depending on the components.
I did post the review on the amp section and added a few more words to it. Yes, I am very much into Native American Indian artifacts. I have more stuff in my house. Anyway, I listen to a full range of music but am a rocker from way back. I listen to current bands like Arcade Fire, Blitzen Trapper, and Spoon and Porcupine Tree but also like Tom Petty, Neil Young, and Colin Hay. Big fan of Lucinda Williams, Indigo girls, Wilco, Dave Matthews. In addition, I like baroque music, lute, harpsichord, etc. Stephen
Thank you for the feedback as it is always appreciated. Our minds must be working together as I just added a few more words to it and submitted it to the Amp Section of reviews so take a look. I slightly expanded in one of the paragraphs. Anyway, I am really enjoying the music and the amp is not even broken in. Have a good week. Stephen
Background: I had been running the Pass XA30.5 Stereo Amplifier for about the last year with this System: Tyler Acoustics Decade D1 Loudspeakers, Ayon CD-2S CD Player, Jeff Rowland Capri Pre-Amp. The Tyler Acoustics D1 Loudspeakers are 8 ohm and are fairly efficient and the Pass XA30.5 did a wonderful job driving them. The sound of the XA30.5 is something special for a solid state amp. I would define it as very smooth from the highs to the bass and the mid-range is what distinguished it in my mind. The voices seem to be right there in front of me with so much realism and feel that it seemed the musicians were there in my listening room (also my living room). Well, I made a change from the Tyler Acoustics Decade D1's to the Tyler Acoustics Woodmeres. The Woodmeres are four ohm loudspeakers and they each have two seas 10 inch bass drivers. They may have similar sensitivities to the Decades but they are a larger load to push. I found that the Pass XA30.5 gave me that same midrange with the Woodmeres but was lacking some punch, especially on passages that were dynamic. Then comes the big debate! How does the Pass XA30.5 Stereo Amp compare to the Pass XA60.5 Monoblocks? I made a post on Audiogon and got a wide range of responses. Some people told me that they felt that the difference of 3 db would not make that much of a difference in my system. Many people seemed to feel that putting the money into the monoblocks was not the way to go. Some other people talked about that I was underpowered for the speakers I had. Someone suggested that I think about more efficient speakers. Anyway, I got a variety of responses.
The Real World: The real world answer that that you don't know how anything is going to sound until you hear it. We can speculate all we want about how we think a particular component is going to effect our systems but until you hear it, you really don't know. I have said it many times but the biggest issues in most systems are the rooms the systems are in and the secondary issue is the synergy or lack of between the various components. I have been down the path myself many times worrying about how a cable change would effect the system. Well, the cable changes don't effect the system anywhere near the level that the loudspeakers, the amplification, the pre-am, and the source. And my room makes a big difference in what type of sound I can achieve. Well, I am getting off the track which is why I don't typically write reviews but lets talk about how the Pass XA60.5 Monoblocks effected my system. In two words, MAJOR CHANGE. The Woodmeres are being driven in a totally different way. The sound is effected whether I am playing the system at low, mid, or high volumes. My sound with the Pass XA60.5 Monos has all of the great qualities that the 30.5 stereo amp offers and much more in addition. Here is what I get. I get a much fuller, richer sound (much more weight to the sound). I get an even greater realism to the performances of the artists. The dynamics to the sound is dramatically different . The pacing seems different and the system is delivering a much bigger sound. Bigger is not just louder but more importantly, is that sense of involvement and engagement with the music whether it is the highs, the midrange, or the fantastic bass response. In my system in my room, the monoblocks just electrify me so much more than the stereo amp. The bass response is much tighter as the drivers are being controlled in a much different way. Having separate power supplies to each speaker makes a big difference in my system. I spent a tremendous number of hours listening this weekend and keep coming back to how wonderful the music sounds. By the way, having a terrific dealer like Mark at Reno HiFi makes a big difference as I was able to try the Pass XA60.5 Monoblocks and compare them to my Pass XA30.5 Stereo Amp and either buy the monoblocks or send them back to Mark and keep my stereo amp. Mark, unlike many dealers I have worked with in the past, is willing to have as many conversations about the products all through the various steps of a purchase and is someone who is honest and very easy to work with. You never feel guilty calling and having as many conversations as you want about a product. Thats just the way it is with Mark.
Conclusion: Sorry, if I rambled to much but speculating how a particular component is going to sound in anyones system is very hard to do and it is best to try try to hear a product before you make a judgement to purchase it. Audiogon thoughts and opinions are wonderful and we are lucky to have such a great forum to express our thoughts but in the end, your ears will determine how something works or does not work in your system. It is a trial and error and certain components work better with other components than others and all components are most effected by the room in the end and that is our biggest challenge, to get the most out of the room. By the way, I am certainly no expert , just another person who enjoys music and keeps listening. These are just my thoughts and I respect other opinions as long as we treat each other with respect and allow disagreement in a constructive way. Stephen
Those all sound like great possibilities. Is there any chance you can demo any of them. Anyone near you that has any of these or a dealer that will let you try them. Where are you located? If you want to email privately, my email is [email protected] Or I can give you my cell phone if you want to speak. By the way, I will be making a change in the amp section of my system. Talk to you soon .stephen
When you have the speakers, I look forward to seeing your complete system up on Audiogon. Send me a link so I can take a look at it and let me know your thoughts about the D1's. When do you anticipate having them?
Thank you for the nice comments. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the D1's. The D1's are very efficient and you have a very powerful amp so you will easily drive them. I had the D1's about 56 inches from the wall behind them. They were very easy to place so I would think you would be fine. How big is your room? I am thinking about the Pass XA 60.5 monos for the Woodmeres.
I posted this on the Amp thread and thought I would add it here also:
I currently have The Pass XA 30.5 in a 12 by 23 foot room and have my speakers on the short side. The speakers,as mentioned above are Tyler Acoustics Woodmeres which have Seas Drivers: 2 ten inch bass drivers, 2 seven inch mids and a tweeter. They are 4 ohm and have a sensitivity of about 90. When I listen to the Pass XA30.5 ,there comes a point when the needle moves and it goes into class ab operation. It is of course when the volume level is high. To those of you who have had experience with the Pass XA 60.5 Monoblocks,how much of a difference do you think they would make in my system.I would be interested in your thoughts about the amps playing at low volumes as well as high volumes. Thanks so much for your thoughts.
System edited: I have made a few tweaks to the room that would seem minor but do effect the sound. One is that I moved my listening position back about 4 inches and it made a big change. The other is that I got a larger carpet so the area that is between the speakers and my listening position is now all carpeted instead of some amount of hardwood floor. While the hardwood floor looked more attractive in some ways, I get better sound by having the area where I listen covered with the carpet.
I think you hit on it. The synergy between the components is very important and I would throw the room in as another component. You are right, the Rowland Capri is very musical and adds quite a bit to the system. It works really well with the Pass amp as well as with the Woodmeres. Its hard to believe that the Pass XA 30.5 is rated at 30 watts as it is easily pushing the Woodmeres at all volume levels. I look forward to hearing more about the development of your system. Have a good weekend. By the way, where are you loacated, I am up in Massachusetts. Stephen
Once I get some hours on the loudspeakers, I will try to get more specific comments up on my experience with them. Right now, I am really excited about the sound I am getting from my system and enjoying my music collection. Stephen
Well, I reloaded a number of new photos and a few of the room. Many times we forget that the room is as much a component and driving force in the way the system sounds as much as any piece of equipment. My room is 12 feet by 23 feet and i have the speakers on the short side. From the back of the speakers to the wall is 56 inches and the speakers are a little less than 7 feet apart and about 2 feet from the side walls. I sit about 10 feet back from them for serious listening and have a couch that is farther back for listening also. That is about 20 feet back.
Well, I received the new Woodmeres and what can I say, Tyler has done it again. I have only been listening for a few hours but the sound is wonderful. The voices are so lifelike and the sound is very smooth from the highs to the bass. I will describe more as they break in but the imaging is fantastic also. I will be posting new photos tonight of the system. Thanks again Tyler.
What is the rest of your system ? Any pictures? Are you content with it at this point. I am hoping the once I have the Woodmweres, I can call it quits to system changes for a period of time. It will be interesting to hear the interaction between the Woodmeres and the Ayon CD2-S. The Ayon give a good amount of detail and i find it neutral sounding. I have heard great things about the Woodmeres and how musical they are .
Thats neat with the turntable. I just cant seem to get myself to go in that direction. I am getting a different set of speakers. I will be getting the Tyler Acoustics Woodmeres. Take care and have a good night.
I posted this as a response to an Audiogon Thread in which a member commented how he was diasapointed that when he had company over to his house, the people were not impresssed with his primary audio system in which he has invested much money in. This was my response:
03-21-11: Pettyfeversk Everybody has different priorities in their lives and what is a passion for one person means nothing to someone else. Whether it is audio, cars, clothes, food, homes etc, people look at the world differently. When people see my system, they might make a comment or wonder why someone would do this. Music has always been a core to my spirit and that is outside of other people. What I will say is that anymore who has any disposable income for anything should feel very lucky and very grateful. There are many people out there who are worrying about having food on the table or a roof over their heads. In addition, many people do not have their mental or physical health and in that circumstance none of these material things mean anything. We are not entitled to anything and many people out there struggle much more than thinking about what cable would better compliment their amp. Enjoy the hobby and dont worry about what anyone else thinks. It should not be ego oriented but more enjoyment oriented. Just my thoughts. Stephen
I read a thread on speaker evolution and was trying to think about all the various speakers I have owned through the years. I have always maintained that if you had to pick out one element that defines the sound other than the room, it would be the loudspeakers. I cant recall all the model numbers but this is some of the loudspeakers that have been in my system. I started with Superscope which in the 1970's was a division of Marantz. I have also owned Monitor Audio, Triangle, JVC, and then got JBL 100's which was a milestone if my memory serves me correct. I had a very large Klipsch speaker system. I got into Polk and had the RTA 11T which I recall were very clear and nice sounding. I owned the Dynaudio Contour 3.0 speakers and the Dynaudio S5.4. I then owned the Von Schweikert VR-1, the Von Schweikert 4JR and then the Von Schweikert 4 Sr. Since then, I have owned Tyler Acoustics speakers. I enjoy them very much and have owned the Decade D2 and then the Decade D1. I am looking forward to acquiring the Woodmeres.
Hi Tim, I did an experiment and had my 23 year old son listen to a bunch of disks back and forth between the Ayon and the Arcam. His feeling was that the Arcam had a much more compressed sound. He felt the Ayon was cleaner sounding and presented more of the information from the disks. While the Arcam had a nice sound, the Ayon was another level in terms of its presentation. Stephen
I played a little with a few HDCD's and went back and forth between the Arcam with HDCD capability and the Ayon. When I listened to the Arcam, it was very warm and smooth. The soundstage was decent but not incredible. Very nice sounding, nonetheless. When I listened to the Ayon with the same disk, I just got more from the disk. The music felt more present and more alive. The soundstage was better but I think the thing i noticed more was more of an immediacy of the music. The music had a more toe tapping type of engaging sound. I hope this helps. Stephen
I dont believe the Ayon does. I can go back and forth with a few HDCD's between the two sources and see what I hear. I just have to get some time to do it. I will let you know what I hear. In general, I have been comparing the Ayon CD2s with the Arcam DV 88. The Arcam has a nice warm sound. The soundstage is not incredible and the detail is not astounding but it has a very nice sound overall. The Ayon has much more clarity, much more directness, and a much wider soundstage with the ability to har much more in the music.
It does decode HDCD. Interesting question as I have not tried the player with one of those disks. I do have some so I will have to try it and let you know. I wonder if I will notice much difference than with the regular disks. Stephen
I recently added the Arcam DVD-88 player to my system. I had the Arcam DVD 79 but it was starting to go (the transport). It had served me very well for many years so I bought another Arcam player. The DVD 88 is I believe from 2001 but it plays both DVD's and red book cd's very well. I believe it has a ver good DAC as it gives me a very nice sound.
I am going to post this in another category so some people see it but lately I have been going out to see live music. Most of the concerts are Rock but none the less, it really makes me think about listening at home vs what i hear when i go out. I read with the respect the vinyl supporters and how the digital sound will never touch the warmth and other special qualities of vinyl. Well, when you go out and hear live music and close your eyes, believe me, it does not sound like a vinyl rig. Un my opinion, the sound while has a in your face kick that is more like solid state systems. You can hear the bass lines and the pounding of the drums and the fire of the guitars. There is no tube glow and and warmth to it. It is alive and much different. In fact, I think the closest to it is a system with lots of in your face feeling that is realistic without all the mumbo jumbo descriptions we audiophiles tend to use in our quest for the holy grail of sound systems. Just go to some live shows, really listen to what you are hearing and your perspective should be clear about what real music sounds like.
I am posting this comment on my system thread as well as the Digital forum. I have been doing some thinking about the future of high end sound. Where will it go? What will happen in the digital arena? As a audiophile who primarily listens to a CD collection, I am not sure. With about 1000 CD's and a good CD player, I thought that was it for me. Recently, I tried a external hard drive connected to the cd player and while the sound is not quite a cd, it is pretty close. I run a USB cord into the Ayon and control selection via the computer. I was surprised how good the quality is. However, that could also mean the CD quality is not that terrific if the sound is that close. 32 bit may be the next change and music servers are happening. Will digital continue to evolve. Of course, but will it really jump to another level or will the audiophiles continue to move back to vinyl? I am not sure. Your thoughts?
Well, here is my latest update. A while back, I needed to sell the Ayon CD-5 for financial reasons and purchased the Jolida JD 100A CD player. That player was quite good for the price but i recently went back to the Ayon line and picked up the CD2-S. I wonder about this 32 bit technology and wonder how long it will be before that is in all high end cd players. You will also notice that i no longer have the Magnum Dynalab tuner. It is a wonderful tuner but i just could not get any reception regardless of which antenna i tried. My house is apparently in a valley and i could not get stations so i sold it. Otherwise, I still have the Rowland Capri, Pass X30.5 amp, and the Tyler Acoustics D1 loudspeakers.
Thanks for your thoughts. I have tried to simplify the system and get the most out of it. The Tyler Acoustics D1 Loudspeakers give a very wide soundstage and are very clear and clean from the highs to the mids to the bass. They are wonderful floorstanders and the Pass Amp has really taken a hold of them.
I think that much of the fit as to what amp is right comes down to the match with the other components as well as the room. In my room, I started with the Bel Canto 300IU Integrated and had some bass issues at high volumes. I believe I was asking the amp to do to much with the speakers. I then went to the Bel Canto Ref500s stereo amp which had increased headroom and the bass issues did not occur. I now have the Bel Canto Monoblocks Ref 500 and that seems to be the best match. Plenty of power and headroom and very dynamic sound. They play with ease within my system. The other change I made was going to balanced interconnects. I changed from Cardas Golden Refence unbalanced to Cardas Golden Reference Balanced and in my system, it made a dramatic change. Much more fullness and slam to the sound. In addition, more bass and more extended lower bass. I got more db's and play the music at lower volumes. Everyones equipment is different and balanced is not necessarily better for everyone. It is component dependent and that is why the amp choice is not the same for everyone. What works best in one system and room is not the solution in another room with different mating components. Stephen
Making two other changes. I am going from the Bel Canto Ref500s Stereo amp to the Bel Canto Ref500 Monoblocks. I am also coverting from unbalanced interconnects to balanced to get the full benefit of the amps as well as the Rowland Capri pre amp and the Ayon CD-2. Anyone gone from unbalanced to balanced recently? Did you hear any changes in your system?
This is it. I upgraded from the Bel Canto s300iu integrated amp to separates. I now have the Bel Canto Ref500s power amp with the Jeff Rowland Capri Pre Amp. All of the cables are Cardas with the exception of the DH Labs Air Matrix between the Arcam DVD player and the pre amp and the DH Labs power plus power cord on the Arcam DVD player.
I posted a discussion item on the forums but if you read this and have a thought, it would be most appreciated. As you can see, I am running the Bel Canto Integrated 300iu into Tyler Acoustics D2 loudspeakers with an Ayon CD-2 CD player. I have given some thought to picking up the Bel Canto s500 ref stereo amp and using just the pre amp form the integrated. Has anyone heard the Bel Canto s500 stereo amp and if so, how much of a difference would you think that would make interms of the quality of the sound coming from my amps. thanks for your thoughts. Stephen
This is the review of the Tyler Acoustic Decade D2 Speakers that I posted in the review Section:
I should preface my review and let you know I listen to all types of music from Rock to Classical, from low volume to extremely high volume. I dont enjoy systems that are uninvolving. I want to be moved by the music.
Tyler Acoustics Decade D2 Loudspeakers
Well, I am not a Audio person who typically would write a product review but I feel compelled to put some thoughts down about these outstanding loudspeakers. Mine have about 125 hours on them. Let me first state that I have been through many loudspeakers in the quest for Audio nirvana. I strated as a youngster with Superscope made by Marantz, Klipsch, JVC, and as I got older moved into JBL and Triangle. That was before I really got the bug and spent significant dollars on speakers from Dynaudio (Contour 5.4 was the last one) and Von Schweikert 4Jr and Von Schweikert 4SR. Each speaker had its qualities and the higher end Dynaudios and Von Schweikert speakers required many room treatments to handle the sound issues in the typical family room set up. I finally burned out on all of this audio stuff and for a while got out of it totally, both for financial and frustration reasons.
That is the history and brings me to the present . I wanted to put together a musically satisfying system that would bring me enjoyment, would not cost a fortune, and one which would provide me pleasure in my 11 foot by 20 foot living room. I talked to some people and Tyler Acoustics was recommended by many folks. I contacted some of the people who had Tylers speakers and they were extremely effusive about how wonderful they were. Well, I took the next step and called the company. To my surprise a very friendly voice on the other side of the phone engaged with me in a discussion about the Tyler Acoustics Loudspeaker line. This individual turned out to be the owner of the company, Tyler. He was extremely helpful as we discussed his loudspeaker line and the possibilities for my room. I never felt pressured and Tyler would take all of my calls directly and answer all of my questions as he wants his customers to be satisfied with their loudspeaker choice. I decided on the Decade Line and the D2 specifically. The speakers arrived and the first thing I noticed was how beautiful they were( Tyler offers 80 wood finishes) and how well thought out the cabinets were. The grills attach via magnets so there is no need to line up pins. Enough about the looks. I hooked them up and was amazed with the sound. The Tyler Acoustics D2 loudspeakers play the music effortlessly and very smoothly from the highs through the lush midrange to the extended bass. I can listen to them for hours and feel like I am rediscovering my Cd collection as I hear sounds that were not apparent to me before. Whether I sit in my special stereo seat to be perfectly centered for the sound or in another position in my living room, the speakers deliver the music naturally. The presentation is wonderful with a very lush midrange coupled with much transparency and much detail. You get a great soundstage and the music sounds coherent whether it is played at low volume, mid volume, or blasting all out volume. To get this sound from another loudspeaker , I would have to spend two or three times the price of the D2 speakers. They are that good. I am a fairly critical listener and I find myself listening to the music and just enjoying it. This beats listening to your system and analyzing the sound. These speakers let you get into the music and remember why you got the equipment in the first place. Its about the music and Tyler produces speakers that connect you to it in a most enjoyable way. I know this is not the most scientific analysis ever offered but what can I say other than that I recommend Tyer Acoustics D2 Loudspeakers. They have allowed me to once again enjoy the music and that is what I am doing.
System edited: As I stated in my main text, this is my system at this time. It is quite simple but offers me much pleasure. I find I am listening to the music, not the system which is nice. Have a good day. Stephen
Well, it has been a long time since I have written here and this is the first system change I have made in about 2 years. I have sold my Von Schweikert VR4 Jr's. There were excellent speakers that gave me much enjoyment. The sense of real bass as well well as real music has been a highlight. I will post an update when my new speakers arrive. Stephen
System edited: I posted this as a response to another thread relating to amplifier choices and thought I would add it here as it relates to the last question comparing the Pathos Acoustics Logos Integrated Amp with the DK design Integrated Amp. As I read CBucki's analysis of the comparison between the BAT and DK Integrated amps, I am reminded again about some of the traps and pitfalls related to judgements made from reviews in general and how that relates to the real world of putting a piece of equiptment actually in your system as cbucki did with these two amps. It took me a long time to realize the value of having a good relationship with a talented dealer who understands all of the variables that effect how an amp or speakers or cd player etc will work in a particular room setting. Let me connect this thought with the comparison that cbucki shared about the two amps. I too, have gone through many changes in my equiptment, and plead guilty to being an audio neuroic. My present system is pretty much the same as cbucki. I have the Von Schweikert VR 4 Jr loudspeakers and the same Lector CD player. My evolution related to amps has taken me from the Pathos Acoustics Logos Amplifier to the DK amp. In addition, my dealer has an extensive amount of knowledge realted to the BAT products and is very familiar with the BAT integrated which I have spoken to him about. Here comes the catch with all of this. Two people can have much of the same components but the interactions and kind of rooms that the components are put in can make them sound very different. What works well in one setting may not work as well in another room. While cbuckis room has wood floors and alot of glass, I have a 12 feet by 22 feet room with a high ceiling that is covered with carpet and rugs on top of that. I have drapes on most of the windows and the room is treated in the corners. My speakers come out about a third into the room from the front wall. They are no where near the front wall. I mention all of this as it effects the type of sound that one gets in my room. While I have not heard the BAT integrated in my room, I have discussed the possibility of it being in my system with my dealer. This dealer has heard the Pathos Logos amp in my system and as I mentioned, is quite familiar with the BAT as well as the DK amp. In cbuckis room, the comaprison showed that the BAT possessed more of the sound that he was looking for than the DK amp. It had tonal refinement and untimate mid range compentencies that the DK did not have. In cbuckis setting, the BAT provided more of the sonics that he is looking for and as a result, the DK is not the right choice for him. Does that mean that this same compariosn would produce the same results in a different room. Not necessarily. Lets shift to my listening foom. With the Pathos Logos Integrated amp, you get a good level of midrange refinement and decent power. Is it exactly the same amp as the BAT ? No, but it has some similiar qualities as the BAT and is a 5000.00 integrated amp that has been reviewed and praised for its rich and refined sound. I decided to try the DK bacause I was getting the sense in my room that the Von Schweikerts were capable of giving me much more sound than they were with the Pathos. Yes, my sound with the Pathos Logos was quite refined and enjoyable but I had the sense that I could get much more from the Vons with a more powerful amp. My room is large enough to support a BIG SOUND and I wondered what the DK would achieve with my speakers. When I put the DK in my system , the difference in the sound was remarkable. The system was transformed to a new level. Why? Because the DK has so much more power that it has the ability to control the drivers. I am not talking about playing the system louder. I am referring to the level of bass produced as well as the control of the bass. In addition, the dynamics in the music are take to a different level. The Von Schweikert speakers are taken to a different level with the DK amp in my room. The midrange aided by some 1960's tubes, is fairly refined although I am sure it is not the level of refinement that could be achieved with the BAT. When I spoke to my dealer, he mentioned, that if I wanted that ultimate in refinement throught the midrange, the BAT would give me that but it would not produce the music in the way I was now hearing it through the DK. In other words, I would get a smaller type sound with less bass with the music losing the dynamics and pace that it has through the more powerfull amp. Because I listen to a wide range of music from Bach to AC/DC, I did not want to give up that up. My room ,because of its size , can give me a fairly big sound, and I feel that the DK portrays the music with high levels of dynamics and pace and more of a live feeling to the music with the Von Schweikerts in my room. It becomes a judgement call, but I feel I get enough of a midrange with the DK that is a better match for my particular apllication. I enjoy the sound of voices and instuments through the DK and find the midrange very satisfying. Would the BAT be better in this area? No doubt, it would be but it would not give me the other aspects of the music that I value. In summary, I mention all of this because it is important to think about what you are trying to achieve in your listening room and what is the best way to accomplish that. No two rooms are exactly the same and plunking components into them without the correct thought process will only produce more frustration with audio. The same components can sound different in a variety of listening rooms. Unless we are blessed with unlimited funds, it is about compromises. If you have the money to buy the best speakers, the best cd player, and the best separates made for amplification, as well as the best cables and a perfect acoustic space to listen to the music, then none of this matter. To the rest of the audio population, it does matter and it is alsways a matter of getting something and giving up something else.
Nuno, I thought the Pathos Acoustics Logos was a fine amp. It is rated at 110 wattts per channel and delivered a rich sound that tended to slightly fatten up the low end, although not greatly fatten it up. Its plusses were its refined rich sound, its build quality, as well as its looks. It is a beautiful amp. I thought it did better with speakers that were not as demanding on the power side.
I have commented in other Audiogon posts on the DK but in summary, its plusses are its power reserves and dynamic abilities. It is rated at 150 wpc but regardless, it is very powerfull and delivers a very big, open sound. It is very nice through the midrange also. It possesses the ability to push speakers that are a bit more difficult to light up. I have it hooked up to the Von Schweikert 4Jr's and it does an excellent job of controlling the drivers and producing terrrific sonics. It is very large and heavy as it weighs about 80 pounds.
I did a little more tube rolling and have decided to settle with the Amperex Phillips Miniwatt SQ 6922 E88CC Holland. These tubes have the similiar sparkle as the Amperex Phillips SQ Holland 7308's but even add more smoothness and warmth through the midrange. They are excellent in my system.
I have been experimenting with different tubes in the DK Amp. After replacing the stock Chinese tubes, I went to the Amperex 7308 JAN PQ USA Orange from 1967. These tubes were very clean but a bit on the lean sounding side. They presented the music with much detail but seemed to lack some of the mid-range presense I was looking for. I replaced the Amperex 7308's with Matsushita 6922's. These tubes have a nice warme presentation through the mirange but suffer from a bit of noise when the music is played at any volume. Most recently, I put in Amperex Phillips SQ Holland 7308's. These retain the clean, detailed sound of the other Amperex but have more warmth through the midrange. They offer a very nice , balanced sound between clarity and resolution as well as midrange quality. They also seem to have that extra sparkle that adds something special to the music. I have not tried the Siemens CCA's but am very conttent with the Amperex I have in the amp. Hopefully, I will be able to find a spare pair for the future.
I have tried different tubes in the DK Amp and they all have a different effect. I went from the stock Chinese Tubes to Amperex 7308's JAN PQ USA Orange from 1967 to Matsushita 6922's. I will also be trying Amperex 7308 Holland in the Amp.
I have been going back and forth between the Audience AU24 Interconnect and The DK Interconnect between my DK Design Integrated amp and my Lector CD player. Both are fine interconnects and the differences between the two were slight. Overall, the Audience AU24 is slightly more neutral and is slightly cleaner providing more detail and resolution. It is slightly thinner sounding meaning in my system, there is slightly less body. The DK Interconnect is richer with a slightly more rounded sound. It has a more full bodied sound with slightly more warmth. Both cables work well in my system and I have gone back and forth quite a number of times. At this point, I have the Audience AU24 back in.
Today, I switched out the Audience AU24 Interconnect and put in the DK Interconnect. This has made a drastic change in the sound. It is much more full bodied and has much of the richness that I thought I would get from the NOS Amperex tubes. The DK cable seems to be quite smooth and quick and also full bodied. In my system, it added some very nice characteristics to the Von Schweikerts sound. I have only had the DK Interconnect in for a short time and plan to go back and forth with the Audience AU24 interconnect. So far, I have not noticed a loss of detail with the DK interconnect but have gained in the other areas as I mentioned. Audience AU24 is known for its detail and resolution and natural musicality. I plan to have the DK interconnect in my system for a period of time so I can hear more of my collection and how the music is effected. After a period of time, I plan to go back to the Audience AU24 and do another comparison by listening to that again. So far, I am very impressed with the DK interconnect as the system is quite enjoyable to listen to. I love the richness to the sound and the smoothness through the midrange. What are other DK amp owners doing in terms of this issue? Stephen
I had mentioned in an earlier post that my listening room is 12 feet by 22 feet with a high ceiling. The speakers are located on one of the 12 foot ends of the room and both the front and rear of the 12 foot sides have windows that are over 90 inches wide and 60 inches high. For the longest time, I had nothing on the windows. I added curtains on both of these large windows and they have made quite a difference in the sound of the system. It has been just about as much of a change if not more than changing components by covering up alot of the glass.
As I previously mentioned, I acquired the Lector CDP 7T CD Player and only have about 150 hours on it. I let it play continually with the amp off but with the tubes and digital all in the on position to get through break in process. I plan on running it this way for about 500 hours as I get acquainted with the Lectors sound. So far, what seems to be most prevalent is that the player exhibits dynamics in the music quite strongly and effortlessly. It is very clear sounding with a stong musical engaging presense. It is very smooth sounding and much less digital sounding than the other players I have had. The player comes with 2 12AT7 Tubes and I have purchased some 1960's NOS Telefunken Tubes but am holding off on putting them in until I am more familiar with the Lectors sound so I can more specifically identify the effect or lack of related to the higher quality tubes. So far, my impressions are that it delivers wonderful sound and I will update this after a complete break-in.
Dan, the Stillpoints are very effective in terms of eliminating vibration and adding much to the sonics in terms of focus as well as bass response. I use them with the Stillpoints risers and have them screwed directly into the bases of the Von Schweikerts. I also use the Stillpoints underneath my CD player as I have my player in a wood cabinet and wanted to eliminate the effects of the wood. I can hook you up with my Stillpoints dealer who also is a Von Schweikert dealer and is quite knowledgeable. Drop me an email at [email protected] Stephen
Thanks for the nice note, David. I just got the Lector and like you had a Wadia before it. In my case, it was the Wadia 302 which delivered much detail and digital information. However, in the short time with the Lector, the sonics from my system are even better than the Wadia. The Lector seems to deliver a much smoother sound and is less digital sounding. The instruments and the voices in the music have a refined pleasing sound. There is also a distinct clearness in the musics presentation kind of like a foggyness or blur has been lifted. I have a question regarding your players break in. How different did your player sound after 200-300 hours? As I said, mine is just out of the box. Do you leave yours on all the time when not in use? Thanks for the information. Stephen
Having a complete system of Audience AU 24 in my system has been as much of an improvement as adding a new component. As I stated earlier, I have it as an Interconnect between my CD player and amp, have 3 Audience Power Chords, and just recently added the speaker cable. Maybe a better way to put it instead of adding a new component is that I get to better appreciate the components that are in my system. The Audience products help to allow the quality of the components in a system come through in a very natural and musical way. Everything is easy to listen to and I dont have to worry that I am going to get lister fatigue. It really has been a very pleasant change to my system.
As I mentioned, I have changed from Cardas Golden Cross Interconnects between my amp and CD Player to Audience 24 Interconnects. I also changed from Cardas Golden Cross Power Cords to Audience Power Chords. The changes to the sound of my components has been substantial. My sound is now much more transparent with a wider and better defined soundstage. In addition, there is better defined bass. Frankly, it sounds as if a cloak has been removed from my components and they are showing what they can really do. The sound is very natural. I will be auditioning Audience AU 24 speaker cable later in the week and will report how the change from Golden Cross Speaker Cable to the Audience Spaeker cable effects my system.
System edited: I changed my interconnects from Cardas Golden Cross to Audience AU 24 between the Cd player and the Amp. I also switched from Cardas Golden Cross Power Cords to Audience Power Chords on my Cd Player, Amp, and from the PS Audio Ultimate Outlet to the wall.
I think that when I initally put the system together, I erred on the side of warmth through the midrange and had that coming from the Jolida JD-100, the tubes in the amp, and the Cardas Golden Cross cabling throughout the system. The Wadia presents the music in a very natural way. I get alot of detail from my discs that I did not hear with the Jolida as well as some of the other players I had. The imaging is very strong and I am getting a whole other view of my collection. I am very happy with it.
I replaced the stock Sovtec 6922 Tubes with Matsushita 6DJ8/6922 Tubes that were made in the late 1960's and 1970's. These are the tubes that were rebranded by National in 1987. These tubes are very neutral sounding and offer a wonderful smoothness throughtout the treble, mids, and lows. Thanks to Andy from Vintage Tube Services for his help. I am always pleased with the Tubes that Andy supplies. He has a great selection of NOS Tubes that are well matched and my Pathos Amp is sounding wonderful.
I picked up the PS Audio Ultimate Outlet which I will try with my Amp and/or CD Player. To those who have the Ultimate Outlet, do you get better results to just use it with the Amplifier vs putting the CD player on it also? Have some of you combined the amp and cd player on one outlet and gotten good results. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks
Update on the system: As I had mentioned earlier, I changed the stock tubes in the CD player as well as the amp and the Mullards made a big difference. In addition, the Cardas Cable that I used added more body to the sound and created a stronger midrange. The final tweak that I did with the system related to the burn in of all the new components. I had the sense that the components were still sounding like they were not fully burned in. I decided to purchase the Pursit Audio Design Burn In CD and ran it for six hours this past weekend through the cd player. I then put it in the DVD player and ran that for six hours. Upon listening to the system after running the Pursit CD, I can offer these insights. My system sounds much smoother and any harshness that I had on the high end seems to be gone. The Triangle speakers no longer sound overly bright to me when i play them loud. A lot of the hardness at high volume levels is gone. I feel that the Pursit disc made a big difference to my system and would recommend it to others. Just make sure you have 6 hours when you can leave the house and only play the disk at a normal volume leve where you can still have a converation in the room while playing it.
I had a question for Audiogon users. Has anyone else bought the Triangle Naia speakers? I would be curious how long your break in took as well as the kind of components that you have matched the speakers with. What size room do you have the speakers in? I have mine in a room that is 12 feet by 22 feet. They are on one of the short sides about 6 feet apart and my listening position is 10 feet back from the speakers. Any information from other Triangle Naia owners would be helpful or anyone who has heard the speakers. Thanks