Description

Dear fellow audiophiles and other readers. Audiophile Heaven has successfully moved into its new home from the US. The speaker placement has now been optimized. In the end I moved them closer together and moved the listening sofa a bit forward which increased the soundstage definition and coherence.

Now the area to improve on are general acoustics of the room. To that effect I will place in due cource some furnitures (bookshelves, CD racks) against walls. Plants also help to naturally diffuse soundwaves. I will consider also some Shakti and Sound Resonator products later. I already changed the carpet from the one in the picture, to a larger one.

The installation of the GPA Monaco record player was professionally performed by my american dealer Barry Konigsberg of Transparent Music Systems, Macungie PA. I flew him over especially to ensure that I wouldn't foul things up. I have to say that the professional installation process is IMHO not something you can do right by yourself when you have NEVER done this before. Especially the unusual Dynavector arm is a high tech mechanical piece of art that has many adjustable pieces, and miniature screws, of which some are spring loaded etc. Needless to say that was a worthwhile investment in Barry's time. And I much appreciate him and his lovely wife taking the time out to come and visit us this January.

As those of you whole followed my threads since 2006 may have noticed I have taken a relatively short period to arrive at what I perceive to be one of the penultimate systems today. And at the pinnacle of that journey is the discovery of vinyl as the best experience to enjoy music reproduction. Don't get me wrong, there is much music out there on CDs that is great, most not available on vinyl, and some that is unbelievably well recorded. But none of that reaches the level of reality, palpability, and emotional connectivity as the very best vinyl does. The only caviat is that you have to be able to listen past some of the noise that comes with vinyl. And I'm such a fan of the dark inky black silence in some musical passages and great dynamic ranges! Especially on great classical recordings, but also some great female vocal recordings. Oh well, there's always a tradeoff somewhere. In any case music on this system just seems to float in my room, there is a sense of nearness to the performance. The giant speakers just "disappear" when your eyes are closed. The bass/mid/tweeter integration is seamless, the adjustability of the speaker to the room is absolutely fantastic. The base is extremely tuneful and not obtrusive, no booming. Micro detail is abundant, and as the system still keeps breaking in detail emerges that keeps your head shaking in disbelief. Micro detail that was otherwise heard before takes on a more clear defined dimension. In the next couple of months the system will be finally fully broken in and if what I am hearing now will still keep on improving... I have to come to the conclusion that I have made the best choice of components possible. And none of the choices were by contribution of ANY professional audiophile magazine/review(er), but by lengthy auditions and reading about other audiophile experiences.

Over the past two years I have amassed about 1500 CDs, now its vinyl's turn. I've started with about 300 LPs and slowly growing, some new and some handed down from the "family archives". There is so much vinyl to be discovered, and it doesn't even have to be very expensive. Of course there is the higher maintenance, but that comes with the hobby. Reminds me to get a record cleaner some time soon! Loricraft or Haenl? Later.

Long live the Audiophile hobby! May many (re)discover what it is to really sit down and listen to music as it was intended to sound like. For what would we be without that?

Constructive comments are always welcome.
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Components Toggle details

    • EMM Labs CDSA SE Digital Source
    CD/SACD player upsamples to 5.6Mhz thru Meitner proprietary signal processing technology, and sports the worlds first and only discrete dual differential D/A conversion circuit. Using aerospace-grade composite laminate circuit boards provide superior performance enhancing musical reproduction. I never turn the player off, so the power supply is warm at all times. The player reaches its best after being on about 48 hours. It is much more analog sounding than when switching on/off every day.
    • Playback Designs MPS-5 CD/SACD Player
    New CDP ... burning in 500 hrs (or 3 weeks non-stop) for optimum performance level. USB input, BNC 50 Ohm output (to Dartzeel pre-amp), easy SW upgrades, Esoteric transport, awesome DAC. Sleek modern design, nice metal blue backlit remote. Among the very top, if not the best, one box players around! I took off the standard feet and replaced them with GPA Apex feet with upgraded nitrate balls ... takes this CDP even higher!
    • Grand Prix Audio Apex Feet for CDP (x3)
    I have 3 of these with upgraded nitrate ball bearings under the CDP for increased space and definition. Well worth it, highly recommended.
    • Grand Prix Audio Monaco Turntable Analog Source
    Connected to the right system, with the Stealth Hyperphono cable and Dynavector's 507Mk2 arm & XV-1s cartridge this turntable will convert a diehard digital guy into analog. It did for me! This is easily the most simple component once setup. It consumes no power, doesn't need warming up, a true gem. I'm not surprised at all that HiFi+, the well respected audiphile magazine from the UK, declared the Monaco 2009 product of the year. Congrats Alvin!
    • Dynavector DV-507 Mk2 Arm
    Among a handful of the best out there. A proven design that has been around for decades. A true audiophile piece with a bit of weight. Adjustability options are easy and in extremely small steps.
    • Dynavector DV DRT XV-1s Cartridge
    Matching cartridge for the arm/tt. Many respected audiophiles and reviewers out there respect this cartridge to be among the best there is, with a superbly tracking needle combined with maximum detail and dynamics.
    • Stealth Audio Cables Hyperphono phono cable
    Superb phono cable to transport that delicate signal to the phono stage in the Dartzeel NHB 18-ns. This phono cable ranks up there among the best today.
    • DartZeel NHB-18 NS Battery Powered Pre-Amp
    Never heard before 18 no switches. This pre-amp is amazing. Michael Fremer, with regret, came to the conclusion that it smokes his recently purchased Musical Fidelity pre (see his review) and Manley Steelhead phono stage! Battery powered, extreme short signal path, revolutionary volume control that does not touch the signal path, fantastically quiet phono stage, Zeel 50 Ohm connections. An absolute marvel.
    • DartZeel NHB-108 Model One Poweramp
    Never heard before 108 model one. This is the latest B-version with auto dc compensation. I have the dc compensation turned off and manually biased the outputs. I changed the voltage myself. It is extremely transparent, fast, natural sounding power-amp I heard. It's head and shoulders above my previous reference, the ML 33h. And to top it off its a true piece of eye candy!
    • Grand Prix Audio Monaco Isolation Amp Stand
    For DartZeel NHB-108 model one power amp. Its a tri-pod and is waiting to be upgraded with the racing shelve and apex feet.
    • Evolution Acoustics MM3 Full Range Speakers
    The next step in audio. At -6db 7Hz-77Khz, reported to have hit 3Hz at a high-end show! These speakers are awesomely beautiful and massive and still have the awesome capability to disappear entirely and leaving you just with the music. 4 powered subwoofers (1000 watts) treated paper in a closed cabinet design, adjustable for x-over, volume, bass style (tight vs full), octaves, and a rumble filter for vinyl lovers. I love the bass speed of this design, and the fact that it goes extremely low. The Aurum Cantus tweeter is also adjustable by -11db. The powered subwoofer takes the sonic character of the Dartzeel poweramp exactly because its not an active subwoofer. The midranges are the well known Accuton ceramic ones that many top designs use. These replaced my beautiful SF Stradivaries ... with no regrets. And what is unbelievable they've appreciated in value since I got them!
    • Acoustic Arts Powercord Silver (x2)
    Silver powercord for the powered MM3 class D amps. Needed a sound but cheaper solution to go with the power strip.
    • Evolution Acoustics 1 Meter RCA Interconnect
    Same as internal speaker wiring. This interconnect smoked my prior reference the balanced NO Valhalla. Massive, needs room, l+r connectors cannot be too close due to the big and oh so solid terminations. Comes in a flight case.
    • Evolution Acoustics 2 x 3 Meters Double Runs
    Same as internal speaker wiring. Two dubble runs, one for the plus one for the minus. They easily creamed my Valhalla speaker cable in a direct a/b comparison before I changed from my previous system. They are resting on 8 ceramic cable elevators for improved space and clarity.
    • Jena Labs Model One Powercord (x2)
    AC filter power cord, beat my prior $3000 Gutwire handsdown! Uncompromising. One is conncting my power-amp, the other the CDP.
    • Marantz ST-17 Tuner
    Old tuner that I had lying around. You know the downside on radio frequency band etc. But when I listen to my favorite local classical music station I actually hear a lot of the originla recording, microdynamic detail that I didn't expect to hear through radio with cheap monster interconnects. Fantastic! Wonder how the Accuphase T1000 would sound with some real good interconnects...
    • Accustic Arts Silver Interconnect
    From tuner to pre-amp. Cheap solution replacing my Oehlbach XXL interconnects.
    • Finite Elemente Pagode Master Ref Isolation Rack
    5 shelve black and aluminium. I love the thought and technology that went into this rack design. The shelves are variable in height (except top and bottom) and they are resting on Cerabase feet. Will be replaced by GPA at some point in time.
    • Finite Elemente Cerabase Isolation Feet (x4)
    A must with the Pagode MR rack.
    • Acoustic Arts Active 6 Powerstrip (x2)
    As solid as they come, with net filter, digital and analog sections. Good value.
    • Acoustic System Resonators (x15)
    1 platinum, 2 special gold, 2 gold, 7 silver, 2 basic, infinitely tunable, lot's of fun and UNBELIEVABLE positive impact. No other room treatment or component could do this, ever! One silver in the kitchen fridge! Read up reviews on 6moons.com
    • Acoustic System Sugar Cubes (2x17)
    Tuning devices. 6moons review. I have two sets, also in my bedroom, we really do sleep deeper and better!
    • Acoustic System Phase Corrector (x1)
    Phase correction behind the speakers when reflected sound inverts naturally, ingenious!
    • Acoustic System Diffusor (x4)
    Diffuses resonating surfaces, three behind the speakers on the windows, one under the power-amp.
    • HannL Mera EL Record Cleaning Machine
    Modern RCM that doesn't take forever to clean, has variable speed turning left and right, variable suction helps too. Using the HannL standard X2000 cleaning fluid for now. Dustcover from HannL to fit exactly, pretty good looking if I may say so! For all vinyl lovers, this is an absolute must have!
    • IKEA Hemnes Stand
    Dedicated RCM (night!)stand with a handy storage space for cloths, fluids and other accessories, 15x15x30 (WxDxH) inches. The height is perfect, no bending forward needed as the record is cleaned at about 42 inches off the ground.
    • Ceramic Cable Elevators (x8)
    Ceramic cable elevators, four each side under the double run Evolution Acoustics speakers wires. It helps to space the double runs the recommended 2 inches apart better.

Comments 206

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222222&text=gr
Henry,

Gods speed on your move. Hope all goes well.

grr6001

222222&text=gr
Henry,

On the DZ Mono's, What kind of size are we talking about?
I talked with JT but forgot to ask. He was very impressed as well.
They are on my radar for sure.
Not putting down my 108 (which is just awesome) but mono's have always been a thing for me.

I recalibrated the TT a few weeks ago with the Feickert alignment tools. I highly recommend them. I thought I had things dialed in fairly close, which I did , but the small adjustments made paid big dividends. Analog keeps sounding better & better.

Wow! another move! Sure hope it's worth while.

grr6001

222222&text=gr
Henry,
That had to be a long plane ride, ER rides.
I've heard nothing but great things from Jonathan & company's room.
Maybe I can make the next show.
Your thoughts on the rooms you did visit.
Thanks

grr6001

222222&text=gr
Henry,

Any follow up to your impressins of the different 50ohm cables you were trying out?

grr6001

222222&text=gr
Vinyl & Cd,
These are some that hit my TT & CDP this week.
Metheny, Mehldau-ECM ****
Metheny, Medldu Quartet-ECM ****
Tomasz Stanko Quartet / Suspended Night-ECM *****
Trio / Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, Michal Miskiewicz-ECM *****
Patricia Barber / the Cole Porter mix ****
Cyrus Chestnut / with ***
Warren Bernhardt / Trio 83 ***
Mike Stern / Between the Lines *****
Lee Ritenour / Wes Bound *****
Bruce Hornsby / Harbor Lights *****
Jackson Browne / Time Conqueror ****

How was RMAF? Did you bring along the Napoleon Cognac?

grr6001

222222&text=gr
Henry,
At the 250 hr point is where you will finally hear what this player is all about. The changes are hard to believe strictly as a result of burn-in. Of all the players I have owned or heard this one is the closest to analog.
Well worth the wait.

grr6001

222222&text=gr
Hi Henry,
Nice Media storage. Any words on the Playback Design Player?

grr6001

222222&text=gr
Hi Henry,
Nice new pics / much better!!!
The GPA stand & rack do make a major improvement, I was suprised by the improvement, more so than any other rack & stand I have ever used.
I'm trying to get to the Monaco TT but have to move my TT first. May take some time.
Spoke to Barry a few times, nice guy , just as crazy as me. Loves music which is good.
You need to ck out the Blus Smoke system server, the best digital I've heard yet , very impressed.

grr6001

222222&text=gr
I agree , sometime the 45's can be a pain in the %#&^. But it's worth the effort. I'm really enjoying vinyl again, so far so good. I've been picking up some very good pressings.
You did it right Henry, get the best or very close at the start so you don't have to go the upgrade path. I wish I could have done it that way , but I will get there. I like your analog setup. It's what I'm headed for.
Thanks for the suggestions on music, I will check out. Shoot me some more & I will likewise.
The system is so easy to listen to, no hint of fatigue whatsoever. Even after hrs of listening.

grr6001

222222&text=gr
My wife & I would love to visit Europe some day. We have discussed it many of times. Maybe after we get done with the son's college. Two kids thru college is enough, 3 more months of paying & I'm done, thank God.
Getting over the 336 hr mark on the darTZeel, things are changing. Bass is getting quicker & more defined. delineation, decay, & the soundstage, all fantastic.
Musical line separation and placing images in a defined soundstage are great, better than any amp - pre combo I have ever heard.
The Instruments posses a 3D image and clarity I have never experinced in a system before. I also know the mm3's have alot to do with this.
I know the darTZeel combo & the Evolution MM3's have found a long time home in my system.

grr6001

222222&text=gr
Henry, Turntable looks awesome. I'm sure it performs just as well.
I need to work something out with JT in the future.
I like that it doesn't take much space either.
Let me have some feedback on it, pros & cons.

grr6001

222222&text=gr
Henry,
I have heard nothing but good things about the Acousic Resonators. They have been on my radar to try ever since I finished my room. After I do the Dartzeel upgrade I will look into them. Let me know your results .

grr6001

222222&text=gr
Hi Henry ,
Much better pics. Nice big room.
Good luck on setting the room acoustic treatments. I think you will find a combination of both Absorption & Diffusion work the best. Where to set them will be the key.

grr6001

222222&text=gr
Henry,
Good to see you are finally enjoying music & your system again. Room looks good. Acoustics will improve as you tweek
it out. Send me a pic of the turntable.
How do you like the Stealth Hyperphono ?
Gary

grr6001