Description

Hello all,

My involvement in audio has been an evolving journey for many years now, but about six years ago, I decided a return to Tannoy speakers was something I had to do. I sold my Dynaudio Contour 5.4's, and purchased some HPD 315 drivers and crossovers on Ebay UK.

I had enclosures built in Pennsylvania by Frank Wyatt, of 1 7/8" net MDF (an inner 3/4" laminated to an outer 1 1/8" layer), with a Sapele Pommelle veneer. They are 150 liter bass-reflex, and weigh 192 lbs. each; sans drivers and crossovers.

I built outboard crossovers using Mundorf SIO caps, 12 gauge Alpha core inductors, and Dueland resistors, with silver solid core 14 gauge hookup wire.

I like them so much, they are the speakers I will have till I leave this earth.

After several years with a VPI Scout Signature, I wanted to venture into the idler wheel turntable world, so again on Ebay UK, I bought my Garrard 401, and did a DIY restoration on it. Frank Wyatt built a plinth for me, which I later modified extensively with Purpleheart side pieces (keeping the original 3/8" thick Bubinga center section), and milled Purpleheart edging on the top edges, and framing the Garrard chassis.

I then installed the Dynavector 501 arm (so nice to not have the VPI wobble!). Several cartridges are available in my collection, two Actutex (LPM 415, LPM 320), the Soundsmith retipped Dynavector XX2MKII, Zu Denon 103R with ESCCO white sapphire cantilever and Paratrace stylus mods, which is my favorite by far.

I bought a used Modwright SWP 9.0 SE phono stage, put NOS tubes in it, and installed an upgraded power supply provided by Dan Wright. I feel no compulsion to change to a different phono stage.

I wanted to try a tube line stage, so I sold my much-loved Sonic Euphoria passive, bought a Transcendent Sound Grounded Grid kit, in which I used NOS Amperex 12AU7 tubes, Clarity Caps output caps, Goldpoint stepped attenuator and switching, mil-spec silver hookup wire, and Bent Audio remote volume control. This is an amazing sounding line stage, I see no need to change.

Next came the Assemblage Audio SET 300B, which I sent to Chris Johnson for upgrades, caps and resistors, using Kiwame film resistors, Jupiter Paper Beeswax caps, and Nichicon caps. With the EML XLS 300B tubes the Tannoys sound lush, detailed, and very much like live music, especially well recorded Jazz LPs.

Lastly, some would say I devolved, but to have a quality backup in case of tube failure, and to save hours on the 300B output tubes, I decided to give Class D Audio a try. I bought a 125 Wpc CDA 254 kit a try, and really enjoyed it. I installed an additional amp module in it, running in bridged mono mode, it bumps the output up to 500 Wpc, which snaps the Tannoys to attention, and they sound excellent.

My old five channel amp gave out, so I built another CDA 254 class D amp, with an added module, and I was able to convert it to a three channel amp, with 125 wpc for the surrounds, and 500 watts for the center channel. All in all, a very cost effective set of amplifiers that are every bit as good as some of the higher priced amps I've used over the years.

At this point, at my age ( I turned 70 in February), I am happy to stand pat with what I have, I am enjoying the best sound I've ever had the pleasure of listening to at home.

As of 9/2016, I've completed additional sanding/polishing of the enclosures for my Tannoy HPD 315 drivers. This time, I got it right. Up next, a redo of the Garrard 401 plinth.

Refinishing of the plinth for the Garrard 401 has been completed. Removed face and top pieces, made replacement 1" thick Purpleheart face with inlay, all new top pieces, and new arm board from Purpleheart and Australian Mallee Burl.

Added photos of redone plinth.

Regards, and enjoy,
Dan         

More turntable photos added Mar, 2017 

Added new photos 11/12/2018

Added SET 845 Audio Renaissance 845 integrated amp, just picked up on 4/20. Makes my Tannoys sound the best they ever have.

Added RCA 5693 Red Metal tubes in the SET 845 amp, made for a nice improvement in SQ.

Regards,
Dan

08/09/2019

Added Benchmark DAC 1 Pre, my digital front end sounds very much improved with this DAC. I know there are better ones available, but not in my price range. May be the best $500 purchase yet. I also discovered how much I was missing with a Musical Fidelity X-CAN driving my Sennheiser HD 600's, they sound amazing, who knew how much I was missing? (Not me!)

Regards,
Dan

09/23/2019

Added what is the best line stage I've ever had, the Modwright SWL 9.0. This piece has completed the quest to attain what is my ultimate goal in my system's sound quality. There is now a new liquidity, and completeness to the sound my system never had before. As this category says, "Done For Now", but maybe should be "Done Forever".

Regards,
Dan

12/04/2019
Added new photos of turntable with red Albert King LP
Read more...

Room Details

Dimensions: 34’ × 16’  X large
Ceiling: 11’


Components Toggle details

    • Arcam AV 9 Pre-amp Processor
    Just added to replace defunct Primare SP 31. Excellent, so far.
    • Benchmark Media Systems DAC 1 Pre
    Just installed this DAC 1, which I bought off US Audiomart. It's sounds great just out of the box, best my digital front end has sounded yet. I'm very happy with this DAC, and now I understand what all the fuss was about. I'm sold.
    • Esoteric DV 60 Universal Player
    Universal player, XLR, HDMI connections, multi-channel capability.
    • Arcam FMJ DV139
    Universal player.
    • Modwright w/power supply upgrade SWP 9.0 SE Phono Stage
    Tube phono stage, with upgraded power supply from Modwright.
    • Modwright SWL 9.0 Line Stage
    Just bought from Dan at Modwright, it's had an upgraded power supply, new tube board, and the MWI caps added. It has turned out to be the missing link in my system, and can say with near certainty, that I am Done For Now!.
    • Garrard 401 with DIY Plinth
    DIY restoration of a vintage Garrard 401 idler-drive turntable, on which I just completed a six week redo of the custom DIY built plinth, due to problems getting the finish right. I sawed the front off, and removed all the top pieces. A 1" thick slab of Purpleheart with an oval Australian Mallee Burl inlay flanked by a different hardwood species I can't recall were added. A new arm board of Purpleheart and the Mallee Burl was made, and the pivot-to-spindle distance was adjusted to provide for easier cartridge to headshell connections.

    Top pieces were fashioned of Purpleheart, and a new labor-intensive finishing process (new to me, anyway), of Waterlox Tung Oil Sealer/Finish, followed by Waterlox Gloss Tung Oil finish. At least a dozen coats were applied between the two, each coat requiring 24 hours between applications. Thanks to Pierre France for his help in guiding me on the tung oil finish.

    I serviced the motor, cleaning, oiling, and replacing the suspension springs. Glad to finally be done, and finally satisfied. Analog withdrawals were starting to set in, but it now looks better, and sounds better as well.
    • Acutex LPM M320 III STR
    Lowest Possible Mass, Tri-Induction Magnetic System, 20-45Khz, channel separation [email protected] 1Khz, weight 5.45g.
    • Dynavector DV 501
    Bi-Axis Tonearm. DIY rewire with Cardas wire. This arm works well with a diverse group of cartridges, to my surprise.
    • Denon Zu Denon 103R
    Potted moving coil in 6061 aluminum body/w ESCCO sapphire cantilever/Paratrace stylus upgrade. This cartridge has proven to be the best of all my cartridges, and not by a small amount. Beautiful.
    • Dynavector XX2MKII
    Moving coil cartridge. Just re-tipped by Soundsmith with their top-line OCL re-tip. Made a great cartridge even better.
    • Acutex STR 415
    Ultra-lightweight MM cartridge
    • TTW Copper Mat
    Solid copper machined mat, great addition to 'table.
    • TurnTableWeights VPI Heavy Brass Clamp
    TTW Brass clamp I modified so it will work with their copper mat. (Threads would not engage spindle threads).
    • Pete Riggle VTAF
    VTAF on-the-fly modification by Pete Riggle for Dynavector 501/Garrard 401 Teflon and burnt silver finish options
    • Orsonic AV 101b
    Headshell
    • Mint LP Best Tractor
    Etched-in-glass cartridge set-up tool
    • DIY Ultrasonic Record Cleaner
    I've just completed a DIY Ultrasonic Record Cleaning machine, this the creation of BBtx, of DIY Audio. I thought it a very unique design, one that melded convenience, simplicity, and build quality.

    If I were to say I am pleased with it, it would be an understatement. For a couple of hundred bucks, it can't be beat. I've hankered for one of these for years now, and thanks to BBtx my needs have been fulfilled.   
    • VH Audio Flavor 2 DIY Power Cord
    Built this AC cord for use with the Transcendent Grounded Grid preamp. Great sounding AC cord.
    • Audio Assemblage (Sonic Frontiers) SET 300B
    300B SET Factory Upgraded, with EML XLS 300B Tubes. Just serviced by Paul Birkeland. All critical measurements were taken, two bad Blackgate bypass caps were replaced with higher-rated Nichicon caps, and the filament voltage was optimized to better suit the EML XLS 300B tubes.

    This amp now sounds incredible. Paul informed me the transformers in this amp are Mastersound, to him about as good as you can get. He also informed me this amp sounds as good as any $5000 SET 300B amp available in today's market.
    • Emission Labs 300B XLS
    Robust drop-in replacement for 300B.
    • Class D Audio CDA 254
    Kit built Class D amplifier. Running two, in bridged mode, providing 500 Wpc into 8 ohms.
    • Audio Renaissance (Mr. Liang) SET 845 Integrated Amp
    Just picked this up yesterday (04/20) from a good friend, with two sets of driver tubes, and two sets of Psvane 845 tubes.

    To my surprise, it is quiet, and it is, by a great margin, the best amp I have ever used on my custom Tannoy HPD 315 speakers. 845 tubes rule. After more listening, I've found there is a "Wholeness" to music I've never heard before, and an incredible amount of slam that is unmatched by any amp I've used before, and that includes a 500 Wpc Class D, 300 Wpc Aragon 3002, and others.

    It lacks the refinement of my SET 300B, but as for musical enjoyment, and what it is/does for me, there are many more thrills, chills per minute.
    • Class D Audio CDA 254
    Two channel amp converted into three channel by virtue of adding an additional CDA 254 amp module, RCA input, and single channel speaker terminals. Price for parts for modification: $194
    • Musical Surroundings Fosgometer
    Azimuth adjustment tool.
    • Custom built crossovers Custom DIY
    I've just completed an update on the crossovers for the custom HPD drivers. I actually used all the parts over again, including much of the solid silver hook-up wire. I made new mounting boards, and ran the wiring under the board, for a much cleaner look. I used heavy copper terminal lugs, which I modified to use a flat male spade connector, rather than wire. Wire runs are much shorter as well.

    I made new outlet cables, using Furutech locking bananas, and Cardas binding posts. I can't tell why, but this update improved the sound of these speakers much more than I expected. I've never heard electric guitar sound as it did on Steve Cropper and Felix Caviliere's "Nudge It Up A Notch", Cropper's guitar sounding just as he had wanted it to sound, with gorgeous tone, unlike anything I've heard before on a recording.

    Next is an internal speaker wiring update.

    I've just completed changing some components in the crossovers back to their original values. 27ohm resistors changed back to 47ohm, .68mh inductors reverted back to the original .82mh. I'm beyond pleased.
    • Tannoy HPD 315 w/Hard Edge Conversion
    Twelve inch Dual Concentric HPD driver in custom enclosure.1 7/8" wall thickness with custom designed and built crossovers. Weight is 200lbs. each. Finished in Pommelle Sapele.

    A complete rewire of the internal wiring was just completed. I made a 1/4" X 1/2" Teflon terminal board, with double-ended male spade connectors at the speaker. Wiring was completed at the input end with new crimped and silver soldered connectors with color-coded heat shrink tubing, and color-coded electricians tape.

    The results are a major improvement in clarity, detail and dynamics. These great speakers have just gotten much better at the things I love about them.

    After further study of fine wood finishing methods, and purchase of additional sanding/polishing medium, I again sanded and polished the enclosures for my Tannoy HPD 315 drivers. Got it right this time, now they are done. Next is the plinth for the Garrard 401.

    Dan

    8/3/19
    Some of you may recall my changing resistor values in my Tannoys back to the original value, to good effect. In that same vein, I just modified the .68mh inductors back to their original value of .82mh. I felt at the time when the crossovers were first built, the high frequency output was out of line, so I reduced it to better suit how my system sounded at the time.

    I had saved the .82mh Alpha Core ribbon inductors, and I changed them out yesterday. The results have shown me how much my system, as a whole, has improved, due to how well it sounds now as opposed to back 8-10 years ago. I feel I'm now getting what I was supposed be hearing all along. It's a great feeling. Now I no longer wonder what Dr. Arthur Loesch was thinking when he gave me this crossover design so many years ago now.

    Regards,
    Dan
    • Crown International XTI 2002
    Running bridged to single channel. This amplifier (rated @1600 watts into 8 ohms) has taken charge of the Tannoy 15" passive sub, and turned it into the most musical sub I've yet heard.
    • Tannoy Sub 15i
    15" Passive Tannoy subwoofer. with the Crown XTi 2002, does a superb job of matching, and augmenting, frequencies below 50 Hz.
    • Tempo Electric Big Twist Silver/ pair for each amp
    12 gauge solid-core silver in teflon tubing, 3 meters
    • PS Audio Power Plant Premier
    Power regenerating system. Reduces incoming distortion, Multi-wave, and Clearwave (degaussing) capabilities.
    • Synergistic Research Various cable models
    Interconnects, speaker cables, and power cords different models.
    • DH Labs Silver Matrix
    From phono to phono stage, internal cabling in speakers and crossovers.
    • Vibra Pods various
    Pods and cones under amps and most components.
    • Walker Audio Reference Hi-Def Links
    Eliminates ultra high frequency hash in signal.
    • Audio Metallurgy AG-0
    Silver coated oxygen free 22ga. copper
    • Quasi-DIY Velodyne/Eminence
    An old Velodyne 1250-X sub that had a 12
    • RCA Red Metal Can 5693 Tubes
    Mil-spec (10,000 hour) tube to replace 6SJ7 tubes in my SET 845 amp.

    Amp is quieter, and better sounding.
    • DIY Cable Interconnect from Benchmark DAC 1 to Trancendent Sounds tube preamp
    Used WBT-0144 locking connectors, and DH Labs BL-1 Bulk Cable

Comments 543

128x128
Owner
Jet, I still love the sound of my SET 300B, it's a bit more refined in how it sounds compared to the SET 845. The 845 just wakes up my Tannoys and makes them kick butt in a way the 300B just can't do.

I was listening to Reference Recording's "Mephisto & Co;" last night, and at a pretty high SPL, and it's hard to describe, but there is a "wholeness" to the sound that comes with the 845 that my HPD 315's really like.

My tech I found last year (Paul Birkeland, designer and builder for Bottlehead, gives me a hard time about it, since it's what he calls a $500 Chinese amp, I affectionately call my 100lb. boat anchor, really sounds spectacular. I would love to have a $30,000 845 amp, but that's not going to happen in my lifetime. Paul has done a great job, at very reasonable prices, of keeping it up and running. He's replaced all the caps, his last job was to replace the undersized diodes in the amp, using circuit boards he designed, and had built. 

I feel very lucky to have found Paul, and he is within driving distance, so I hope any other problems that come up he will be able to rescue me once again. I've had it on a lot lately, but I enjoy it so much I can't help myself. 845 tubes rule!  

Regards,
Dan  

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

222222&text=je
Dan, was reading thru your system pg and see you have switched from a 300b amp to 845s. When you have a chance would be interested to hear what the 845s are doing for your Tannoy. thanks!

jetrexpro

222222&text=je
Dan, was reading thru your system pg and see you have switched from a 300b amp to 845s. When you have a chance would be interested to hear what the 845s are doing for your Tannoy. thanks!

jetrexpro

Center
Hi Dan,

Have you thought about using the MyMat under your copper mat?

Check it out.

Steve

slaw

128x128
Owner
Hi, the 845 amp is a Renaissance Audio I bought from a friend, I haven't had it very long. I had it recapped, and It came with two sets of 845 tubes, both Psvane 845 that are identical, so I haven't tried changing output tubes.

It also came with two sets of Psvane 300B tubes. I am amazed at how good this amp sounds, I think it's now my favorite, the Tannoys just love the SET 845 amp.

Thanks for your nice comments, it's appreciated. Regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

Center
Hi Dan that looks like a lot of system you have there and it looks like you made All the Right Moves. It's always good to see someone who's not worried about their next upgrade and I'm sure your current system sounds amazing. I have one question for you which one of the 845 tubes do you like the best. My warmest regards Joe

needfreestuff

128x128
Owner
Uber, 

Thanks much for your kind words. The copper mat Is something I used bare for years, but I heard (read) you guys talking about Steve's MY MAT, and decided to try it. This mat is the only one in all these years I've heard a difference with. It's not a great improvement but discernable.

It seems to have reduced the amount of static electricity that builds up on the LP surface, so I guess it stays. I think I'd like it better if it were clear, though, as I like how the TTW mat looks.

I finally discovered how great a cartridge the Acutex is (M320 STR III). I don't know why, but it took me years to finally be wowed by it, and am I ever! I must not have had it set up right, but what a difference. My favorite cart right now, and it will probably remain that way, until something better comes along.

Regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

Center
Dan
Great looking system, I love that plinth on your 401!.
Now the ttw copper mat?
Best you have tried?
I have a hybrid cork and lead mat on mine right now but I do keep going between it and Slaws MyMat.
I also have an Acutex, the str312.
For the money quite something!

Keep enjoying the music brother!

Ag insider logo xs@2xuberwaltz

128x128
Owner
Lately, I've been getting a great deal of pleasure from my system. Last time I tried my Acutex LPM M320 cartridge, it was making some horrible sounds. Looking at the stylus, I found some fuzzy-looking material (under magnification), which I removed, and was rewarded with great, and enjoyable, sound. Sometimes we forget how good something is, until we give ourselves a reminder.

This cartridge, up 'til now, hadn't been used with the new Modwright 9.0 SE   Line Stage and the SET 845 amp, which also is sounding wonderful since it's recent rebuild by Paul Birkeland.

Lots of fun with my system and music these days. Regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

128x128
Owner
Noromance, tell me more about this bearing, if you please. It might be time to replace mine, after around 50 years, although it still sounds quite good to my old ears.

Thanks,
Dan 

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

128x128
Hi Dan. As you've not noticed an improvement after the idler replacement, I'm almost hesitant to recommend replacing the 401 bearing. I replaced mine with a SPH bearing - bigger, POM bushing and grease! Definite improvement and only $230 inc shipping!

noromance

128x128
Owner
The Modwright SWL 9.0 Line Stage has worked out very well. It's turned out my assumption of my preamp being the weak link was correct. The new line stage has taken my system to the state I've always been searching for.

I believe I really am "Done For Now". I think I may be "Done Forever"!

Regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

128x128
Owner
I'm making a change in preamps, going from my kit-built pre, to a newly upgraded Modwright SPL 9.0 preamp, with upgraded power supply, new tube board with the new MWI cap upgrades. This will match my phono stage, my still great-sounding SWP 9.0 Signature.

Probably have it early next week, I'm looking forward to it.

Regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

128x128
Owner
I just added a Benchmark DAC 1 Pre to the system, that I picked up on US Audiomart. It just might be the best $500 I've ever spent in this hobby. I know there are supposed to be much better DAC's available, but this thing is so good, it's almost scary. I also found out (after twenty years!) my Sennheiser HD 600 headphones are much better than I thought they were. The old Musical Fidelity X-CANS just wasn't doing justice to the HD 600's.

My digital front end has taken a substantial upturn in sound quality. I'm happy.

Regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

128x128
Owner
Saturday (04/20), I picked up an Audio Renaissance (Mr. Liang) SET 845 Integrated that I bought from my good friend Hermann. Included were two pairs of Psvane 300B tubes, a pair of Electron Tube (Shuguang), and a new, unused, pair of Psvane 845 tubes, along with several NOS Tungsol 6SJ7-GT small tubes.

To my total surprise, this amp is extremely quiet, and makes my custom Tannoy HPD 315's sound so much better than ever before. Music is richly enjoyable in a way I've never heard from my home system before. Absolutely no regrets buying this bargain-basement tube amp. I never expected much sound quality and enjoyment from such an affordable amp.

As always, best regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

128x128
Owner
Due to y Primare SP 31 Pre-pro going on the fritz, I've just added an Arcam FMJ AV 9 Pre-pro. Ebay to the rescue.

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

128x128
Owner
Since getting my Modwright SWP 9.0 Signature phono stage back from being checked out by Dan Wright, my cleaning of all connections and contacts, and rearranging some interconnects and power cables, what I'm hearing from my analog front end is the best it has ever sounded. It makes me wonder if Dan did some secret upgrades while he had it on the test bench.

I'm sure he didn't do anything except measure all parameters of performance, and declaring it a sound unit, and also that it sounded very good. It was probably the cleaning, cable arranging, and checking cartridge overhang (it was a bit off on both my Zu Denon103R and Dynavector XX2MKII). Sometimes it's good just to go through everything and clean and adjust to get your LP playing system operating at its best. I can attest to the fact it has never sounded this good. This TT, arm, cartridge and phono stage is actually better than I ever thought it was, and it has me smiling a great deal these last few days.


Regards, and Happy Holidays,
Dan 

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

128x128
Owner
Hello Noromance,

I replaced the original idler with the Audio Silente. I didn't seem to notice a great deal of difference, either I'm tone deaf, or the original was in pretty good shape yet.

Posted a few new photos taken with my new 105mm Micro Nikkor lens. Thanks for the nice comments.

Regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

128x128
Just popped over to check things out. 401 looks fantastic. Have you tried replacing the idler? I have replace both of my AudioGrail 401s with new ones. The improvement is impressive.

noromance

128x128
Owner
bullot, the crossovers were designed for me by the late Dr. Arthur Loesch of Tempo Electric, which he donated to me through a mutual friend. I built them, using the best innards I could afford, though I did wind up redoing them not too long ago. They were the first thing I ever tried to build, I barely knew how to solder, and they were a mess.

I studied the art of soldering, got much better soldering equipment, and after a couple of DIY projects, I was ready to tackle the rebuild. I'm much happier with them now.

Thanks,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

222222&text=bu
Hey Dan........thought I would check your setup out!  Really cool stuff you have done here.  Looks like you are very hands on and have your gear fine tuned and optimized!  Amazing mods to the speaker setup!  I don't even know what I'm looking at there!  Think it's a customized Xover!!?  Very cool.

bullot

128x128
Owner
An update on the situation regarding my Esoteric DV60 universal player. I've decided to keep this player in the system for listening to Redbook CD and stereo SACD's, in which it has had no equal in my home system.

To solve the missing multi-channel playback dilemma, I just purchased an Arcam FMJ DV139 for $600. I'm happy with how it sounds, although it's maybe not quite the Esoteric's equal, it is nonetheless very close.

It was quite a comedy of errors getting it set up, it has the most non-intuitive remote control button layout I've ever seen. After many frustrating hours of attempting set up, I finally stumbled upon the on-screen setup menu. Phew!

So that's the end to that story (I hope). Thanks to all who posted their concern, and commiserating with me.

Regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

Center
Looks good come check out miller time theater again made a few changes

hemi04

128x128
Owner
Thank you, hddg, for your kind words. I am very "at home" with my system these days, the angst of years past are long gone, nothing but hours of daily listening and enjoyment nowadays.

Regards,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

Center
Beautiful and very complete system, lot of thinking into it!

hddg

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