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=mt
Owner
Frank, the MPS5 outplayed the CDSA SE (before the upgraded drive & feet) to my ears in my system. No I haven't compared it to the Nova Physics, it is not widely available for testing as far as I know, and I'm not convinced that the technology employed is worth its pursuit. In addition, since I first heard of it the balance of the discussions was confusing at best. If it had any serious merit it should have taken the audiophile world by storm, it didn't, so that should tell you something.

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Pierre, you and I could probably spend a good deal of time over the good ole days from the past, while enjoying some great music and wine ...

If you're ever in my nick of the woods, you'd be most welcome!

Next this thread will close, my system is being packed today. That means reduced music enjoyment (iPod etc) for the next 4-7 weeks. Once I have found a new home for it I will start up a new thread. I'll probably have to call it "Audiophile Heaven Moved Again!"

Enjoy the music!

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Microstrip, I am happy to have been able to rekindle some of your memorable musical moments! And I would be the last one to claim that DartZeel products could recreate that magic for you. But what I can claim is that DartZeel can recreate many magical moments for me...

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
When I used to live in London UK, the musicians in the underground and on street corners, Picadilly Circus, Leicester Square used to catch my attention. We'd hang around after a catching a Westend show for hours ... until the first train next morning would take us back home. The tunnel reverb of a saxophone tune is something that I'll never forget, coming down on an elevator, drop 50 pence in the hat. Sigh, those were the days ...

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
David congratulations, I hope you both enjoy music as much as we do (married, three kids).
Henry

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Thank you Dlanselm for visiting my blog and compliments. Before I answer your question I have to say that I have read your whole blog from beginning to end and I am grateful for you sharing your experiences and thorough evaluations when describing them. I sure do miss seeing your "favorite" component, I hope that no replacement was necessary there... :-)

I fully agree with you when you are in a position to enjoy real life acoustic instruments at reasonable SPL's, there's nothing better. Especially when they are played by the most talented of musicians, and the musical scores are interesting. Now that can, and should, be used as a reference. However, I have been in many live musical events where conditions for optimal enjoyment were not there. Sure those conditions also depend on your expectations and other factors. I have been in Jazz clubs where the sound was way too loud, acoustical instruments mixed with over-amplified ones. Many classical concerts where I was sitting in the back or to on side of the hall, and the reverb was distracting. That's why I said "NOT always". But when a piece of music is well recorded, minimal editing, good equipment, pressing etc. often I can enjoy a piece better than if I would have been at the live event. Often classical music. But if you sit in the mid-front of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Bernard Haitink is doing Bruckner's 7th ... wow, nothing beats that. Now Jazz and rock is different, as the ambience of live is very difficult to capture on tape. I have been fortunate to have been at the Live Aid , Mandela even Pink Floyd concerts in Wembley Stadium in London during the mid 80s. That LIVE ambience I have never felt since, also not on CD/DVD/LP etc. Some other substances may have helped those experiences too... :)

I agree with you about the street violin player ... and I remember that one of your goals is to have a live violin in your room. And I don't claim to have that with my system, no system can do that, but if you close your eyes and you imagine the violin player there in your room, any system that does that in my opinion is quite a feat. When I play the Violins of Cremona recordings from FONE, I have to admit that it gets scarily close to the real thing. I know it when I get chills on my back, arms and/or face. I make the emotional connection with the recorded piece. To me that's what its all about, making the emotional connection is the ultimate. Don't need to every day, but if you are in the right mood, and it happens, it's almost as good as an org**m. When you think about and expensive one, but one nonetheless.

My first system didn't give me that emotional connection, my current one does, and as I learn more about how to optimize my room I am amazed at how more and more real it gets. But its as much about the recording and the room as it is about the system and design/technology used.

I love your enthusiasm, and welcome the dialog!

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Pierre, without thinking too much I would say my GPA Monaco turntable. It's my most easy and solid performing component at the cutting edge of technology. However, there is no single best component in my system really. In my case all the components are excellent and together are more than the sum of each, when well setup.

I have, by now, during the past four years since I started listening to high-end systems, not heard a complete system sound this close to real sound, as being right there in the venue with the recording engineer. And when he does his job well, there is nothing between you and the music. I have learned a lot along the way on each step of the process of capturing a recording, studio or live, all the engineering choices that many people make along the way to eventually coming out of my speakers into my ears at home. It's fun to be able to better understand a particular technology, material, design philosophy and its sonic effects. Not that I'm an expert, but I am certainly better educated than when i started. And it continues.

I learned that live sound is NOT always the reference from which to judge a system. But understanding how a live instrument compares or a voice certainly helps to judge the palpability of a system. The room is one of the most ignored components of a system sound. Recently I have been putting a lot of effort into this area, and boy-oh-boy, the improvements I get are easily ranking up there with one excellent component. I am amazed at improvements that can be had in this area. Each time though you have to look at its technological base and the reasons how it should function.

I like to compare this hobby to that of oenology (wine tasting). There is a long learning process to go through before you can claim any type of understanding. There is a lot of trying out to do, and making up ones own opinion and choices. Ultimately to find out there is no one best way, each has their merit. That is why it is a fun hobby, after all, there are NO LIMITATIONS set to the art of reproducing recorded MUSIC because music as an art by itself has no limits.

Sorry for rambling on, I just couldn't help myself. Enjoy the music!

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
I was looking for a CD treatment solution over and above the cleaning i currently do. So I looked at Furutech, Nespa, Audio Desk Systeme and Creactiv. It's amazing what there is out there and the workings of each are sometimes technologically diffucult to explain let alone understand when your not a physicist ... ie most audiophiles.

I have at home now the CD Optimizer of Creactiv, it seems to me the best improvement possible without altering the physical state of the medium. Increase in soundstage definition and information, improved sound of instruments and voice. One example was one of my faviorite songs, Diana Krall's, When I look into your eyes (Verve SACD). Much, much improved, but very noticably her eSS's had become extremely palpable, where as before on any CDP, including my current one, they came across a bit harsh and overpronounced.

I think this one is staying. It's just a piece of treated granite that eliminates electrosmog and electrostatic build up on a molecular level. the disc after becomes an optimizer in the CDP. 30 seconds and done! I'll have to get the LP version and try it out on my vinyl.

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
I'm not sure about the size, the pic you see behind Kevin on one of the CES report sites, is as close of an image there is ... its computer animated Herve said. Not sure whether the're the size of our old 33H mono's, perhaps slightly smaller, but a lot less heavy and ofcourse more powerful and better sounding.

When my dealer came over to set up my tt he used the Wally Tracter, it worked great for me, only adjusted VTA after to compensate for the cantilever suspension break in. Have you heard about the XV-1T cartridge yet? Supposedly a step up from the XV-1S ... a 2X retail though.

I've had so many new titles recently (200+) that I have not taken the time to post them. One stands out though, Alejandro Escovedo, Room of Songs. Live recording with a string quintet, fantastically captured, double CD only. I also recently got some of-the-planet-good-sounding SACD's from Harmonia Mundi, and some smaller German audiophile labels.

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Hi Pierre, yes I did hear the V2 ... no I did not go into the Vienna Acoustics room. And yes, I do have the crates, fully assembled, this will be their third move, you could say I have experience with dismantling and putting together the MM3's :-)

Btw, Emmlabs sounded very good in Ray Kimbers 4 channel room!

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Well, for me it was a lot of aural and visual stimulation packed in three days. But I did like some rooms more than others, many rooms were dissappointing though. Jonathan's room was definitely the best sound for me, the mono's were amazing. Herve and Serge were great, Andreas and Kevin & Jonathan too. The speakers are little jewels!

I liked: Ray Kimber's TAD room, and the monitors next door, I liked the Crystal Cable room, the new glass speakers, I liked the big Swedish $300K speakers too, can't remember the name ... I liked Ocean Way room for its most dynamic sound, butt-ugly system though.

I was expecting better from, the Hansen King's, Wilson Alexandria's, Magico M5 and YG Anat's. Also the Continuum room was not among the best sounds either.

My biggest disappointment was the MBL reference room, what a boomy base ... yikes!

Most memorable person I met was Chad Kassem from Acoustic Sounds, what a great guy!

I'm moving again pretty soon, this time Dubai. Hope my records won't melt!

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Coming back from CES, what a relief to hear my own rig again. Saw some interesting stuff though...

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
New VINYL today:

Hank Crawford - Sould Of The Ballad (MSFL 1963)
B.B. King - Lucille (MFSL 1968)
Wes Montgomery - Goin' Out Of My Head (Verve 1966)
Dave Alvin - Blackjack David (MFSL 1998)
Harry Belafonte - At The Greek Theatre (RCA 1963)
Tower Of Power - Back To Oakland (WB 19??)

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
New VINYL today:

Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues - Jimi Hendrix (2003 Classic LE blue vinyl)
Hans Theesink - Slow Train (2007 Blue Groove)
Hans Theesink & Terry Evans - Visions (2008 Blue Groove)
Peter Gabriel - Passion (2002 Classic LE)
Grant Green - His Majesty King Funk (Verve reissue)
Jim Hall - Concierto (CTI Records)
Cat Stevens - Izitso (1977 MFSL)

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Vito, thanks for your kind remarks, and congrats on owning the MPS-5 too. The Apex feet, on my F-E Pagode Master Reference rack, lowers my noise floor and therefore defines micro detail better, expands my soundstage. I also feel that dynamics improve and base tones are better defined. I'm talking about audible improvements over the standard plastic feet, and for the money worth it every penny!

Good luck.

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Thank you Barry (bkonig). Barry send me a record a while ago that he thought was a very good recording. Power of three - Michel Petrucciani, Jim Hall and Wayne Shorter. Its a Blue Note live recording from 1986 Montreux Jazz Festival. Its all the more amazing since Michel is severely handicapped.

Original Blue Note, not sure if it was ever re-issued. If you can get your hands on one grab it!

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Gary, I haven't been following through my comparisons thoroughly. But what I can say is that I am spoiled at the level of resolution, which puts my cheap bnc cable solution with Audioquest in the no-go category. I can hear the cable reflections clearly, albeit when concentrating. A lay person not enjoying these levels we're used to may well say: "Sounds fantastic!".

With regard to the supplier DZ uses for the cable Huber & Suhner, one could purchase a cable with them for say $80 a pair, but Herve does something to the termination that improves from standard termination. It's his secret, and our guess to if its worth the difference to make it a $500-$600 value. My guess in our system its probably audible, but no clue on what makes up the sonic improvement.

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Shadorne, the link is to Ben Liebrand's website. I know him from my youth, we used to go to the club where he was the resident DJ (Keizer Karel Club in Nijmegen, Netherlands) in my teens. I grew up there for a large part. He was famous for making the 1 hour non-stop year-end mix on newyears eve in those days. I guess he never quit music.

VERY COOL - THANKS !!!

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
The Pentatone Hans Vonk Legacy 8 CD series I referred to a couple of posts above ... is a remarkable set of live classical recordings. For 16/44 recordings it ranks up there with the best I've heard, yes including many well recorded RR CDs. There is very, very little tape his. Only at loudest listening levels. So you hear all the little coughs and scuffels of the crowd and orchestra members. The dynamics are fantastic, from very quiet to very loud without distortion. I guess it depends on your system/room a lot. Many passages I was holding my breath as there were intense suspension emanating from the score, quite breathtaking. So far I listened to the Bruckner No. 4, Tchaikovski Romeo & Juliet Fantasy-Overture, Mahler Symphony No. 4 and Messiaen's Turangalita-symphonie.

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Thank you Shadorne for your kind remarks, the system, for its size, is remarkably refined despite its big looks...

I'll check out the source and let you know if I find some interesting stuff.

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
New music on LP:

Kraftwerk - Minimum Maximum box-set (EMI 2005)
Serge Gainsbourg - "Gainsbourg Percussions" (Philips 1964)
Rickie Lee Jones - The Evening Of My Best Day (Diverse 2003)
Sara K - Hobo (Chesky Records 1997)
Eleanor McEvoy - Out There (Diverse Records)
Eric Bibb - Spirit & The Blues (Opus 3 1994) 45rpm
Eric Bibb - Needed Time Good Stuff (Opus 3 1997) 45rpm

Only listened to the Kraftwerk so far, classic electronic music German style, its all live recordings, pretty good.

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
New music on digital:

Wes Montgomery - Goin' out of my head (DCC 1993)
Ry Cooder - My Name Is Buddy (Nonesuch 2007)
Todd Garfinkle - The Immigrants Dilemma (MA Recordings 1991)
Milcho Leviev Dave Holland - Up & Down (MA Recordings 1993)
Complete tribute to Hans Vonk (8 CDs by Pentatone) when he lead the St Louis Symphony Orchestra

The MA recordings are one point stereo recordings, extremely natural, and well defined space. The DCC disc is out-of-this-world good, I like Wes' playing, but here its captured with an extremely well defined soundstage. Ry Cooder's My Name is Buddy is about a red cat named Buddy and his journey through time and space of the America of yesteryear. It comes complete with integrated booklet! Haven't listened to the Hans Vonk stuff yet, but its very promising.

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Mike, don't get me wrong, you will hear each incremental benefit when adding. Just that when you put a set in for the first time, its already awesome. Every expansion will add to the enjoyment. Don't forget you'll get used to the improved sound quickly, just to know, for fun after a while you remove all of them and listen critically again and then you remember very quickly why you got them!!!

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Mike, I really can't answer that question as I put 12 resonators, 4 diffusors and the phase corrector in at the same time. I haven't got the patience to try each one by itself and listen to the sonic impact. None of these elements by themselves give a huge impact, but all together they do. The diffusor acts as a little helmholz air traps and reduces airflow vibrations, adding to clarity. The phase corrector impacts phase behavior where the floor meets the backwall, adding to, particularly, clearer base tones. Does that help? You have to try for yourself ofcourse, my room is different in size and materials too.

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Hi Mike, I'm not sure I am qualified to answer your question in clear language. If you read some of the reviews, some experts do offer some explanation. For me it just sounded good in combination with the resonators, small incremental improvements though. But once you have em in you aint going back to before ... guaranteed!

Enjoy.

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Edit - the 1st Belafonte is the 1959 Live at Carnegy Hall

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Recent vinyl purchases:

Yola - Eleanor Mcevoy
Early Hours - Eleanor Mcevoy
Teaser and the firecat - Cat Stevens (MoFi)
Tea for the tillerman - Cat Stevens (MoFi)
Live peace in Toronto 1969 - Plastic Ono band (MoFi)
Belafonte returns to Carnegy Hall 1960 - RCA Victor
Belafonte returns to Carnegy Hall 1960 - Living Stereo
Nina Simone at twon hall 1959 - 4 men with beards
Green is beautiful - Grant Green (Blue Note)
Solid - Grant Green (Blue Note)

New digital recordings:

Neil Young live at Massey Hall 1971 - Reprise
One day you'll dance for me New York City 2004 - Thomas Dybdahl

All in all some very enjoyable titles, once thoroughly cleaned, that are absolutely magic and therefore not to be missed.

Enjoy, and keep 'm turning!

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
I've had a few auditioners in recently, and each was amazed by the system sound as a whole and said only my room is a limiting factor. And these are people in the high-end biz for decades...

Reently someone suggested to try OTL tube power amplification (like the berning's), to bring the system to the next level. I'm in no hurry though.

I certainly think that the sound from my system is pretty MAGIC!

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
Thanks Microstrip for sharing that elaborate burn-in sequence you've applied there. I asked herve before and he told me burning in inputs on the Dart pre is only important for the XLR and phono connections...

For you, any before/after impressions you could share?

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
DartZeel burn-in tip of the month:

You can dramatically improve the sound by burning-in the outputs (if the pre-amp seems to be still not fully "opened"):
1) Connect the preamp to the NHB-108, the latter being switch OFF.
2) Play a CD on the NHB-18NS, and set the output volume to maximum. You will hear some low level, distorted sound coming fro the switched off NHB-108. This is normal since even when off the NHB-108 still have very little juice on its capacitor banks. If the sound disturbs you, just remove NHB-108 AC plug.
3) Play for about 1-2 hours with the CD in loop. NO NEED to play a burn-in CD. Just play real music!
4) Then do the same for BNC outputs B and C.
5) Move back the Pleasure Control to normal listening levels
6) Switch the NHB-108 ON.
7) Enjoy!

So I did it with a RR disc for all three BNC/Zeel outputs, and indeed it opened up the pre-amp noticeably giving music more air, more definition around instruments, increased decay finesse on for example piano notes. I did one hour for each output yesterday, i'll do another hour for each today.

Herve is to be thanked for this tip, making the already incredible DartZeel even more enjoyable!

mtkhl567

222222&text=mt
Owner
No, I was never going to the RMAF, need to read up on the event though.

Instead I went to the VAD Show in Eindhoven The Netherlands. That was interesting, talked a bit with Alon Wolf about his Magico V3's that he had there paired with Soulution & PAD cables. That was IMHO the best sounding room, a little on the warm side, the high were somewhat muted, well that's hotel/conference rooms do.

This weekend I listened to the same system (bar the 740 for a Zanden CDP) in a real living room at a local dealer. It just showed that you need a well treated room to get the max out of such a high caliber system. The system sounded base heavy, and the small living room lacked space, but had a lot of resolution, palpability, dynamic and low system noise level. Yesterday I was able to listen to my familiar music, and when I came back home and repeated the list I was happy with my system. IMHO the V3 cannot match the MM3, but Soulution comes eerily close to DartZeel, is has the same stability, speed and control, but in sheer musicality is just a tiny notch below DartZeel.

New music I liked was Gabriel Rios, a live recording (not issued on CD yet). Very well miked, very intimate. I also got some old Yello (The Eye) and Kraftwerk (Man-Machine). Vinyl that made me smile lately was Simply Red, Hucknell has such a distinctive voice ...

No Napoleon cognac recently, but on your next European vacation ... the way the USD is going :-)

mtkhl567

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Microstrip, thx for your suggestions. FNAC is certainly a source of CDs for me.

On your last point, sure they can ... mainly because of the closed woofer design and woofer adjustability, you can actually place them close to side/back walls. One MM3 owner on the Gon actually has reported on this earlier and was surprised on the ability of the MM3 to be close to the back wall, without loosing imaging, space, soundstage depth etc. Btw I also had that with my old Stradivari's, they went way beyond the physical boundaries of my small room back in the US.

The room would need to be well treated though. And you'd probably not get the full potential from the MM3's. If you've heard the speakers before, and like their sonic's, you may want to consider the smaller EA speakers.

mtkhl567

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Thanks Microstrip, that's a great recommendation. Do you have any other recording labels at this audiophile level to share?

mtkhl567

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Those are two excellent recording examples. The Offering CD just made me listen specifically to the cymbal sound and decay between the Emm and PD. The second CD I listened to was Norris Turney's Alto - Big Sweet n' Blue and specifically Jimmy Cobb's drum work on this recording, and yes the delicacy of the high hats etc., great cast, and what fantastically intimately recorded Jazz music.

The Mapleshade catalogue is a treasure trove of fantastically recorded music of all genres. I love the owners philosophy on music and recording. Highly recommended to listen on a good audiophile system. These are among my best recorded RBCDs.

mtkhl567

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Here's a recommendation: try the Mapleshade label recordings ... absolutely fantastic 16/44.1 recordings, jazz, blues I could recommend you some specific titles if you'd like to...

mtkhl567

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Lapierre, I'm surprised by my own shallow loyalty to Emmabls, but hey a personal choice is a personal choice. That's what happens in digital!

But I don't think a software upgrade to the CDSA would bring it to the same level as the PD. If I had to sum up the improvements of the PD in favor of the CDSA it would have to be that it just sounds closer to my analog rig, which is my reference.

But now that you mentioned cymbals, yes, the shimmer is more real sounding and has longer decay on the PD vs the Emm, but still not on the level of top vinyl. If anyone could hear the difference between the two brands probably depends on their personal experience, I probably wouldn't, but I suspect many drummers would. But they may equally hear the difference on both players, just they would say that the PD would be closer to what it really would sound like.

Yellowjackets are a go !

mtkhl567

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Dan, my sincerest condolences to you, and your family. I hope music plays a positive role in this difficult time you are going through.

This last week, after about 180 hrs, I had two evenings of visits from some audiophile friends, and both evenings were positively in favor of the Playback Designs CDP. Words that were used were, impressive, large sound stage, very nice fluidity, natural tones, real.

Then I didn't listen for two days, and today after about 260 hours, I listened to a Chris Anderson on piano (Naim CD) and the latest Patricia Barbers - Mythologies CD. The piano tones sound so eerily realistic ... and Patricia is so near, instruments so well defined in space.

I also increased my LP collection by 30 odd old favorites from the 70/80s ... like mint Alan Parsons Project, whow, Eye in the Sky on vinyl, the best! When I hear that, in my mind the CDP cannot even get close to that ... later on that bc I have the CD to compare at some point.

I have now attained a l sonic level that I was longing for 2 years ago when I switched around my whole system, the Monaco tt and the PD MPS-5 are the best sources I've ever had.

Keep spinning 'em!

mtkhl567

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This player will sky rocket past the Emm ... after 100 hrs I have no doubt about that any longer.

mtkhl567

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Mike, I did recently see someone sell his Evolution Acoustic speaker cable in Europe, lucky sod who got those. So keep your eyes open, you never know ... when opportunity knocks!

Oh my God. I'm falling in love with my CDP ... Clannad, Dido, Snow Patrol, Killers ... how can it be this good after only 80 hrs ... somebody pls rescue me, this is just not fair, and I just know in my gut Jonathan/Andreas can do even better than this ... NOT FAIR , NOT FAIR, NOT FAIR to everyone else!

mtkhl567

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No problem Cincy_bob, I'm not pressed for time lately, although that doesn't seem to solve my impatience on getting the PD up to its optimal performance level. I guess it only takes time ... :-) and I've got lots of it!

As you indicate I already start to hear the improved three dimensional image definition taking shape vs what I was used to from my digital. Particularly on the fantastic ESE Sessions SACD from Blue Coast Records. And natural tonality, my brain already picked that up as a major strength within the first day, without extensive a/b-ing. I do have plenty of old CDs that I want to go through one-by-one, its like rediscovering what was missing all those years before.

For fun I put on a CD from Andreas Vollenweider, White Winds (Seeker's Journey) CBS 1984. It was one of those from the beginning of the digital era, and I heard it on our Philips and later Kenwood CD players often. When I listen to it today, its an absolute different experience from what is burned in my memory from back then. His harp sounds powerful and natural, the waterfall sounds like real water falling. I let my dad listen to it, and he smiled saying, yeah for this kind of money ... pulling me right back down to mother earth. Objectively he's right, subjectively I'm happily handing over my hardearned $$$ for this experience ... as they say: priceless!

mtkhl567

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Hi Mike, I only ever compared them directly with my NO Valhalla cables and interconnects. If my memory serves me well the improvements were in lower noise floor, more natural timbre (not that difficult to notice if you know Valhalla cables intimately), and finally the speed that the Valhalla's sport about wasn't different in the Evolution Acoustic cables (despite copper vs silver design). The deep base was more defined, and the very highs less edgy.
I think the difference was greater in the speaker cable vs the interconnects, but the cost was also significantly lower on the Evolution. I was able to sell my Valhalla's at 55% of retail and buy the Evolution new with that, so that was an easy choice. I have to say that these cables are easily the best I have ever heard, when choosing Valhalla, I passed on Kimber Select KS 3038/1021 and Audioquest Everest/Sky, also no slouches on the scene. Highly recommended, but not sure whether you get some without ordering a set of speakers!

mtkhl567

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Thanks Gary for the advice, like Skamok, its very very hard not to listen to the player before 250 hours are there. Unlike some, I haven't got a long trip planned to help me out with my impatience :-))

Shamok, like Gary said, things will dramatically improve further from what you are experiencing now ... its mindboggling, that's all I can say!

mtkhl567

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Put in a CD, turn off the display, and forget about it for a day at least ... then some of the magic starts coming through ... 36 hrs for me now! Sorry, there's no way to speed up time :-)))

mtkhl567

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I know what you're going through, mine sat in customs for 6 days ... what a pain or rather agony that was. You'll get it today if its planned. OK so you auditioned at Kevin's? My player is indeed on repeat with one day an SACD the other XRCD, complex classic stuff (Mahler, Mendelsohn)

You know its worth the wait! Enjoy...

mtkhl567

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Thanks Dan for sharing that, in what system did you listen to the PD? I've stopped listening for the moment, the hour to hour improvements drive me mad! I'll have a good listen to it again after 96 hours (4 days makes that Sunday afternoon), its 34 hours so far and burning...

Just noticed today that the PD remote also triggers the Emm CDSA (!), now I can play two of the same discs and a/b very easily :-)))

mtkhl567

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System edited: Updated some of the pics

mtkhl567

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Thanks Bob, with less than a day on it ~21 hours its already starting to open up nicely. You do immediately notice the larger and deeper soundstage compared to what I was used to. But also some more microdetail is starting to emerge, as well as a increased natural tonality that I noticed at first. Did you burn in CD and SACD separately?

This is a real treat indeed!

mtkhl567

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Dan, I hope you listened to both in your own system/room, there is more to music than a large sound stage ... what strikes me most is its natural tonality

But yes, you should be getting very excited, because for me too, after about 10 hours or so going back to the CDSA is just not likely ... it was like going from the Accuphase DP77 to the Emm CDSA all over again ...

... anyone out there interested in a 2nd hand CDSA (230V)?

mtkhl567

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Mike, its been burning in since I received it this morning 11am CET, and believe me after about 8 hours now its already putting a BIG FAT SMILE on my face :-)))

Briefly I did an a/b after 3 hours with Friday Night In San Francisco (Di Meola, McLaughlin, De Lucia) live recording from 1980 CD vs vinyl. I know its not fair, and the MPS-5 couldn't get anywhere close to vinyl ... BUT ... what I heard through the MPS-5 wasn't bad at all, surely too thin and closed by comparison. I hope to redo this comparison when there are a couple of hundred hours on the MPS-5.

The MPS-5 will only get better from here ... I have the unique opportunity to a/b the PD MPS-5 against the Emmlabs CDSA SE too over a longer period ... since I own both and maybe more relevant.

Maybe I should start a seperate thread...

mtkhl567

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... ofcourse I'm referring to the Playback Designs MPS-5 CDP, and yes it's powercord is my active Jena Labs Model One. 2 hours into the burn-in its starting to get much better already, highs are opening up, speed has improved, the three dimensional soundstage is huge. It can't get near my GPA tt yet, but its not a fair comparison at this stage ...

mtkhl567

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System edited: CDP arrived today, after spending some time with customs authorities, who eventually decided it was kosher to have it delivered to me. Out of the box it sounds extremely promising, highs are still closed, base is a bit wooly, slightly slow at the start, but already promising midrange bloom against a black background. Diana Krall, Thad Jones, John Coltrane will do the losening up today. I'm using the massive Evolution Acoustics interconnect and 3 GPA Apex feet. Will update my view later...

mtkhl567

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System edited: Well I finally got a dedicated RCM stand at IKEA with a lamp. Waiting for the RCM cover from HannL to finish it off. Nice little storage cabinet for all kinds of stuff beneath. While I was at IKEA I saw the Benno CD rack solution, at 13 ct/CD stored it doesn't get much cheaper than that! Took me half a day to put the whole thing together, but it was time well spend. Actually need more CD storage space, what you see there is about 1300 of my some 2000 CDs.

mtkhl567

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System edited: Record cleaning machine that rotates left and right, with variable torque and suction. Same the the $3600 Acoustic Sounds Ultra, except 40% cheaper in Europe, for a change! Initial impressions, static build up is gone and yes vinyl is much quieter. Now I have to experiment with fluids. Anyone with suggestions, please come forward.

mtkhl567

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Mike, I'm happy you like the rack and its impact. I put three GPA apex feet with nitrate balls under my CDP and, WHOAH, I heard details on recordings I had not heard before. And that is a relatively small upgrade...

I'm behind you on the GPA racks though, I know they'd make a very positive impact on my system too...

mtkhl567

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Easiest tweak, I've decide not to turn off my system overnight anymore (unless I go on vacation). When the system is warmed up the sound is so much more analog. I started with the CD player, then the power amp, now also the pre amp and the tuner stay on. Not sure what that will do to my electric bill (goes up I guess!), nor the longevity of the components. The power amp runs the warmest.

Anyone any thoughts on this?

mtkhl567

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Mike, without exception everyone - I know of - that heard Barry's system came away saying it was the best they ever heard, including me. I consider myself fortunate to belong to that group of MM3/Dart/GPA owners.

mtkhl567

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Point of no return, we audiophiles are all afflicted with that I guess. Barry has carpet on his floor, so when your jaw drops it should be a "soft" landing :-)

Enjoy!

mtkhl567

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Lapierre, on the resonators, the difference is immediately noticeable. However, normally takes a couple of days to settle in. For me it took the good part of a week to reposition the speakers such that the music seems not to come from them but is rather free standing in the "virtual" room. In plain speak, the room seems much larger than it is and the music does not come from the speakers but is just there in front of you (or around you, depending on the recording). Now the speakers are not toed in at all and slightly closer together (9 ft instead of 10 ft) and my ears are exactly 12 feet from each tweeter in the sweet spot. The sweet spot seemed to have grown too...

I'm playing with the sugar cubes now... see what that brings! Another side effect, we all seem to sleep much better, especially the kids seem to have more difficulty waking up in the morning! Deeper sleep...

On the Emm I did install that latest SW upgrade. I didn't seem to find a huge difference, but to be honoust I didn't do proper a/b testing either. I seemed to me that the lower to mid base tightened up a bit. But then came the resonators...

Mike, once you have heard some resonators in your system, be careful, you will not want to go back to before :-)

mtkhl567

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Lapierre, thanks for your reply. Obviously the fuses need to be in the signal path for them to have any sonic effect. Both my pre and power amps do not have the fuses in the signal path, therefore no impact. The Emm I'm not so sure about. I've never opened the box up either.

The resonators have settled in and I'm now moving them around a little to optimize their effect. For now its most amazing, the increased sense of space, the lower noise floor, the higher level of detail. Fully recommended!

mtkhl567

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Lapierre, did you a/b the upgraded fuse in your CDSA player? If so, can you say something about that?

mtkhl567

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Lapierre, the resonators are fantastic, especially in smaller rooms where room acoustics (modes) are quickly evident, these little guys make a HUGE difference. Barry has a small room, he knows. I tell you, there is nothing like this, forget absorbing & diffusing with big stuff. I've got them in for 9 hours now, and I would have paid just for the improvement I'm hearing now, after 2 days settling in NIRVANA will have arrived, the room will have disappeared and the music will be outside my speakers ... spooky. Franck Tchang, what a guy!

mtkhl567

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Moerch in Europe has been around for quite a while, one man show, like the guy in the US that makes the Phantom B-44 tonearm ... forgot his name. Buthe has a decent reputation.

For me the choice was the cartridge first, the XV-1s seems to work extremely well with the characteristics of the GPA tt, extremely high transparency and resolution, excellent PRAT and dynamics. And the DV507II arm sort of seemed logical choice for me. At least as a first step into analog. I haven't been disappointed, it sounds fantastic, or should I say within my system it sounds fantastic. Be careful about a tt manufacturer saying that they can have any arm mount, it may be possible, but it may not sound best with that table. Here you have to ask around from people with experience on what matches, and preferably listen yourself. Trying tonearms is tricky though, with the whole setup process etc. Good luck!

mtkhl567

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Hi Mike, the GPA magnesium composite platter is 12.5" in diameter and my DV507II measures just over 12" including cartridge. I'm no expert, but I am told that the Dynavector arm is relatively heavy, and therefore doesn't lend itself for mounting on some turntables, just ask someone like Barry to confirm.

Mike, the vinyl vibe, when did this hit you? :-)))

mtkhl567

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Hi Underdog, thanks for your nice comment. I like the simplicity of your room/setup very much too. Nice balance of room/components/source.
I only heard the Evidence Master powered by the big Chord amps at a dealer, very impressive! I guess with the DZ in a smaller room it must be out of this world. Nice to see that you're getting into vinyl, I have as well and I don't regret it a bit ... if your really serious about listening to music its a must. Thanks for the Z sleeve recommendation, is this something DZ sells or where do you recommend me getting some?

mtkhl567

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Mikeduke, you can start with a basic between the speakers against the front wall by the floor, and a silver 12 inches above the tweeter on between the speakers on the front wall. That's the minimum, then you can put a diffusor just below the silver and a phase corrector in front of the basic. Then you can take it from there... every step up though you can never go back, that's what they say! Read up on the 6moons reviews, if you haven't done already.

mtkhl567

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You know the room dimensions are significantly different from before. Going from 220 sqft to 1000+ sqft naturally requires a different spacing between the speakers. The whole acoustic property of this room vs my old one is very different, and that is very audible. In this room the soundstage is much larger than before, the spacing of the speakers help in that as well as the large open space behind the listening position. Also being 6 feet from the front wall helps. On the other hand this room echoes more than the room before. The resonators should take care of that, and more...

A full set of resonators is equivalent of taking my systems performance up by 30-40%, more than any component switch I could make. So they should arrive this week.

mtkhl567

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You're going to be in for a treat at in Macungie ...

I don't understand your non-critical components comment, ALL my components are isolated in some way or another on decent racks/stands. I couldn't think of any electronic component that would not benefit from isolation. I heard the Sound Anchor racks are really good too though.

mtkhl567

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Vegas, yeah, planning for it already ... hope to meet lots of great people, fellow audiophiles, and of course fun products & superb music. Maybe some entertainment on the side, we'll see!

mtkhl567

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Patience is good, especially in this hobby :-))

May see you in Vegas then? Looking forward!

mtkhl567

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If its automatic and outside the signal path, fantastic! Saves fiddling about with it. I should ask Herve if my amp can be upgraded with that feature ... although now I've figured it out it really doesn't need any adjustment anymore. The only thing is that the eyes blink for the first 5-10 minutes when you turn on the amp from cold. So you are putting in for the integrated? Should be a nice value too. I heard they will pair it up with the new smaller Evolution Acoustics speakers at the next CES 2009. That should be a great performer!

mtkhl567

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Hi Mike, you'll love the GPA Monaco racks ... light and stunning, both visually and sonically. On the DC compensation, when its on it biases both left and right channel automatically, when off, you have to manually find the best setting that when you turn if off for the night the next day it reaches an acceptable level for DC voltage after the amp warms up, typically -300mW to -400mW. When there is no DC compensation there are sonic benefits to be had, like what I described above, I'm sure that would be similar with the integrated Dart amp. Worth asking Herve though...

mtkhl567

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Hi Bart, good to hear from you! Thanks for your nice comments, I'm glad you like the pics. Its worth a day-trip, my invitation to you still stands. Just send me an email.

mtkhl567

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Update: DC voltage drift compensation circuit turned off. Whoaw, what an improvement in the performance of the power amp. Its a bit of a pain getting the toggles such that you stabalize each channel between -300mV and -400mV. They are so sensitive, that it took me the good part of this morning! But at least I didn't electrocute myself. Nor did I blow a fuse, not difficult, but a pain to replace for those of you who know :-)

But once you've done it the benefits are fantastic. The signal to noise ratio must have improved by at least another 10db. Soundstage has increased, noise floor dropped further making microdetail more apparent, more articulate. I think that the dynamics have improved too due to the higher s/n ratio. I should have done this ages ago. Thanks Herve for the perfect instructions in the manual!

mtkhl567

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Mike, it takes the room effects largely out of the listening equation besides adding subtle overtones, adding real three dimensional soundstage, lowering the noise floor, and managing other acoustical problems (ie base resonances). So, the right combination of resonators in the right spots actually has the effect of "no room" or at least a much bigger room. I thought Barry came to visit you to try it out? Didn't you hear any effects?

Here is the simplified way it was explained to me. A resonator placed on a reflective surface, ie a wall, takes the reflections and bundles them into a point source (the resonator). The reflection of a point on the wall is not noticable vs reflections on a full wall. Now depending on what metal you use and where you place them on that wall manages different aspects of sound and frequency range.

For me it really worked well beyond what I imagined. So well, that its the next item on my upgrade list.

mtkhl567

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Joey, its a pleasure to hear from you again! Are you still in Chicago? I apologize for moving even further away, as I remember I invited you over to Exton, PA where I used to live. If you're ever in Europe, the invitation still holds. How is the hobby coming along for you? I still don't see your system thread & pics, or is it private?

Yes, the Strads, funny you remember, I got an email yesterday from someone asking if they were still for sale!!! The Levinson gear is almost gone too. The step to MM3/Dart/GPA has been an absolute shot in the rose, couldn't be more happy. It's not a coincidence that there are quite a few of us with this combination out there... its simply absolute magic.

mtkhl567

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"Warm Tenor", Zoot Sims, Jimmy Rowles, George Mraz, Mousey Alexander a Norman Granz record for the Pablo label in 1979. If you love the lush sound of a tenor sax, there is almost none better than Zoot. Granz found him to be almost like Lester Young in Blues for Louise, when the recordings were less formally organized, a lot of improvised recording moments happened spontaneously without. Like Blues for Louise (side A song 3) in this case also a "warm up" jam session before the group was fully present. I loved all the tunes on this record, a great jazz recording, with some great names. Got to get some more Zoot recordings...

Nothing better than a little Sunday lunch jazz!
Keep em spinning...

mtkhl567

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Gary, glad you like the pics! Some thought went into that :-)

I like the Blue Smoke entertainment system music server solution. I looked at the YouTube presentation and it seems that its a really good product. I like the fact that you could upload your vinyl collection at 24bit/192Khz resolution. Thanks for the headsup, did you hear it in your system or somewhere else?

Last week I was listening to a great LP. Natalie Cole (Nat King Cole's daughter) who issued a tribute double LP to her father called Unforgettable With Love (Elektra 1991). She has got such a nice soothing voice, and her singing her fathers greatest hits 20+ years after his death has some special magic to it. It also has a picture of her with her dad playing piano on the back and one of her performing at home when she was a little girl. It just exudes the 60s feeling... very enjoyable.

mtkhl567

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Mike, big rooms also have big acoustical problems, mine is no exception :-) With
regards to the red record on the GPA Monaco, I thought it was cool to do, as the
Dartzeels have red in them as well as matching the reddish wood of the MM3.
The record is As I Am from Alicia Keys, not an audiophile recording, but looks
great huh? When are you getting your GPA racks? Let me know about the
improvements you'll hear. I also want to move to all GPA racks, but you know,
you can only spend a buck once...

Thanks for your kind words!

mtkhl567

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System edited: Well, it was time for some updated pics with the new camera. Here they are, let me know if you like what you see. Next improvements in the pipeline are a record cleaner, room acoustics, and then digital. Loving every minute of the vinyl though. Yesterday evening we were melting away to the tunes of Holly Cole. Oh btw, if you are wondering about the red vinyl in the pictures, that's Alicia Keys latest... Enjoy!

mtkhl567

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Hi Antone112, not sure why you are asking me. As you see I have no music
server in my system (yet), nor am I experimenting with any at this time. But
what I heard is that there is stuff out there capable of connecting streaming
media to your system. I suggest you google on "Media Servers" or
"Computer Audio" or alternatively go to the any audio eZine website
and read up on reviews of the Olive Synphony or Sonos ZP or higher up in the
audiophile world Linn and Naim have some neat new products. I heard and saw
the Naim recently at a show and was very impressed, both with sound and the
interface which could be run from a laptop.

Good luck!

mtkhl567

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Hi Mikeduke, thanks for your nice comments. Barry and Jonathan indeed have the ears, experience and sincerity you can rely on that is sometimes difficult to find in this hobby. I am so glad to have bumped into them while I lived in the USA.

The Dart pre & power amps are amazing products indeed, as is Herve, their designer. On the resonators. They have an immediate positive sonic effect, however, it takes 2-3 days before they have fully settled in. I played with 2 basic, 1 silver and 1 special gold before for two weeks, but didn't hear the full potential until I tried the entire set of 11 properly (1 platinum, 2 special gold, 2 gold, 4 silver and 2 basic). Its not cheap but I rate it a better upgrade than any component I could buy. It basically allows your system perform without the negative impact of your room, and adds all the sonic benefits mentioned in the above couple posts.

Have fun trying!

mtkhl567

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Totally agree with the above. I would add that, at least in my room it added an unreal three dimensionality to the soundstage with incredible imaging and detail ambient information. Boy, this was a rude wake-up call on the limitations of my room, if ever there was one.

I put in 11 resonators on saturday, was immediately impressed, sunday morning was an amazing wake up, and monday morning I was trying to scrape my jaw off the floor... the speakers and the room had disappeared!

Barry, how's that platinum resonator sounding? Btw, I was told you should put one or two in adjoining room(s) too.

mtkhl567

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Chad, good to hear from you! Hope all is very well with you. Yeah, the sound in Barry's basement is out of this world. Especially in the "sweet" spot. Never in a system have I heard more of just the music/recording as opposed to the room and system. And f course a bigger well treated room would take that to yet even higher levels...

About the resonators, I'm interested to hear what your sonic experiences are. Which ones do you use and where have you got them placed. I have seen some coloured ones, where the wooden body is white for example. Not sure if it was ordered like that. I had a set in for 2 weeks and it made a huge difference, increased soundstage, added clarity on microdetail, but depending on location they could also do strange things too. Having an expert over this weekend to help me with a full set. Let's see what happens!

mtkhl567

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System edited: Added some Acoustic Arts powercords and strips. Lowered the noise floor and increased the black background from which the music emerges. Very good value for money products. Not sure what I'll do with the Jena's model ones now...

mtkhl567

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OK, obviously the last 6 weeks I have been busy doing all sorts of auditioning. I have had some interesting components to evaluate and also been burning in my record player. It is sounding soo good now that the gap to digital has widened significantly, making my Emmlabs CDP sound less and less satisfying to critically listen too. Here is a list of stuff I tried:

Acoustic Arts activ 6 powerstrips. Whow, with 3 meter extension cords build as solid as they get, heavy too. They made a good deal of difference vs a stock strip from the local DIY. And they should! They have digital and analog sections with each their separate filter. The noise floor dropped, revealing more detail and allowing the detail that I heard before to be better defined. I compared this to the PS Audio Premier and for the price difference the latter wasn't worth it. Needless to say I ordered 2 AA active powerstrips.

Wire world gold eclipse powercords and interconnects. Made a good impression, but not to make me spend several thousand. The Gold Eclipse PC retails in Europe for $3000, and second hand on the Gon they go for $600, go figure. So I ordered a set of AA Silver Powercords, just for the speaker subs.

Accoustic Arts Tube DAC II. I am in total awe for this DAC. Using my Emm as a transport (!) into this DAC with a Wireworld Digital XLR made for a wonderful analog experience. The best I have ever heard from digital and in my system. Drawback, it doesn't do SACD. It's tubed, and you can play with that. I'm wondering what I heard was coloring of the tubes or increase in realness. Not 100% figured that out. But this 32 bit DAC was sounding superb. Maybe I'll try it out again with their new Drive II transport after it comes out at the Munich Highend Show.

PS Audio Premier. It's a nice piece of gear. However with my active Jena PCs it didn't make all that much of an impact. It actually took some dynamics and fluidity away vs the AA powerstrip. And it doesn't help that it retails for $4200+ over here. So it went back. The store siad I was the first one to return a loaner. So be it.

Acoustic System resonators. UNBELIEVABLE. These little guys are making such a big difference, that I am starting to save up for a complete set. I have now in the system for the next couple weeks 1 silver, 1 special gold, and 2 copper resonators. Silver and gold between the speakers, copper on the side walls. The increase in openness, widening of the soundstage, more detail, clarity increase across the board. Base is more defined. Better than any upgrade of a component. I knew that my acoustical room characteristics were not a plus, but this test really showed it and, well I'm not going to need any ugly visible room treatment. I think. Recommended highly!

I was looking at the Harmonix feet too, as the stock EA's are pretty basic. But we'll do that some other time. I've learned that when you audition something do not try too many products out at the same time, as it will diminish the ability to identify the improvement and attribute it to the component added/changed.

Hope some of this has been useful reading.
Enjoy the music!

mtkhl567

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Thanks Rugyboogie. I didn't know one of the first MM3 versions was actually MDF, compressed glued and plied birchwood is what it is now... most georgiously finished too. My wife says she likes the wood finish better on the MM3 than the SF Stradivaries we had before, but likes the shape better of the Strads. She does think the MM3's sound much better than the strads. But that may also be due to the Dartzeel and the excellent digital/analog frontends.

Thansk for your kind words, I'm enjoying every evening...

mtkhl567

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Here's one LP that you should look for if you haven't got it already: That's Him, Abbey Lincoln with the Riverside Jazz Stars. Recorded in New York, October 28, 1957. Abbey was still in her mid-twenties, unknown, and requested to Riverside to record an album with some good musicians. These turned out to be Kenny Dorham, Sonny Rollins, Wynton kelly, Paul Chambers and Max Roach... My favorite song on this album is the Billie Holiday song Don't Explain. Enjoy!

On your last comment I completely agree, it's in my opinion in large part due to the great enclosed woofer design...totaly tuneful, non-boomy (read non-fatigueing), and yet so present, detailed, deep.

mtkhl567

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Gary!!! You hit the nail on two heads. I still have to go through what you're going through with regard to the kids education... expensive hobby too (LOL) with paybacks we can't even begin to imagine :-) Thank God for trustfunds.

The other nail being the MM3 Dartzeel combo! A perfect match for a long long time to come. I think to get ahead from this point would require at least 2-3X more budget for a couple of % improvement. For me the room probably being the gross of that budget. Also, the more and more I listen to vinyl, the more and more I am finding it the ultimate music enjoyment experience. Sooo much more satisfying than any digital I heard and own...and I own a lot.

As I am writing this I am listening to Arthur Rubinstein on piano...what pure enjoyment that is, the piano so real, his virtuosity so abundantly there. And my favorite Rubinstein still remains him playing the Chopin Nocturnes back in 1965 in Rome Italy on an RCA reissued CD!!! Got to get that on vinyl, anyone with suggestions where to get this recording on vinyl pls come forth...

The MM3/Dart combo continues to break in through about 700-1000 hours, I'm note even there yet, and the Monaco/Dynavector is just about 75 hrs young! Am I glad to have run into these guys (leading me to this combo) when I lived back in the US. Count your blessings!

Another suggestion: Blue Note ultimate vinyl reissue subscriptions, so worth it, that is if you can stand 45 rpm (meaning getting up every 12-15 mins to change record/sides). By the time you get around your vacation planning my vinyl collection should be shaping up real nice!

Your vinyl friend,
Henry

mtkhl567

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Thanks Glen for your kind comments. I certainly hope that you've found similar bliss when you got your system two years ago!

mtkhl567

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You know I am very inexperienced with vinyl rigs. This is what convinced me:

- I actually attended a demo with Alvin Lloyd at my dealer in which he introduced himself, his philosophy and the Monaco turntable. I was very impressed. Especially how he explained all the fundamental flaws of traditional, read belt, turntable designs and their sonic impacts
- The speed stability implementation that is the number one important deliverable was second to none
- The second most important is resonance control, GPA already had great achievements with their racks
- The fact that its goodlooking, modern, compact, and doesn't need a lot of space
- Ultimately I spend a good deal of time last year listening to the table at my dealer before I postponed my digital upgrade quest ... cuz dis guy is now a vinyl convert!!!
- Lastly, for comparable turntables the cost was very reasonable, even a good deal, considering what's out there and also that its something that lasts a long time (ie longer than any digital box)
- And very lastly I heard a Walker Proscenium Gold fully kitted ($50k) sound less convincing in its setup. Although I have to admit that much was probably due to the downstream components. But it gave me a great comfort about the Monaco!

Reading his whitepaper you can download from his website explains a lot of his philosophie. I can only describe the sound of this vinyl rig to be more natural, brings you closer to the music, more lively and colorfull presentation and it beats most of my CDs by a considerable margin. Especially classical music, but also jazz. When I go back to some of my nice CDs, they sound good but just a bit sterile, clean. It then sounds more silent, controlled, but also less involving, less emotional, less soulfull. There are plenty recordings that are so jaw-droppingly good (ie the David Manley early 90s recordings issued last year on Fone), that I bet any non-vinyl guy would be convinced on the spot.

You're welcome to plan a little European vacation... (or alternatively contact my dealer)

mtkhl567

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Update - 22 Jan 2008

Finally the GPA Monaco and the Dynavector 507 MkII arm and XV-1s cart were united. After the arm had a detour via Madrid, Spain it did find its way to me in belgium LOL. Until then I'd never heard of a Wally tractor...now I have :-) Thanks to Barry (bkonig) for taking the time to visit me and setting up the table to perfection. I know of no other dealer on the planet earth that would do something like you have for me (=happy customer).

And the result? Well, VINYL RULES, escpecially great vinyl. So I have a new favorite/reference song: St Mary's Infirmary by Satchmo at 45 rpm. Unbelievable recording, wish all vinyl could sound like that, so real, so close, so palpable. And even my room is still acoustically untreated.

After a week and a half with the GPA Monaco I have to really wonder what Michael Fremer was hearing when he had it in his system (or maybe what he wasn't hearing) when he wrote up his review. No need to regurgitate any of that on my page here. After all you can't write about what you haven't heard! But let me tell you, to my ears the speed accuracy of the table has a positive impact on the full audio spectrum, not just the lows.

It helps that I can tune my MM3's to adjust to my room acoustics though. I also found that some older recordings were limited dynamically and I first mistook that for lacking highs, but really the recording technology of those days (50s/60s/70s) is not what it is today. So I listened to all of the Fone Records, including the single sided 45 rpm limited editions, and there the high hats just kept on shimmering, as they did with Holly Cole and Diana Krall albums. The soundstage too was clearly set in space and instruments and voices just sound more real.
No digital can reproduce that to this level, and I have plenty SACDs/XRCDs and lately K2 HDs to prove that. Although I have to say that the latest K2 HD Flamenco from Pepe Romero is extremely dynamic and three dimensional. A great demo disc.

So, yesterday evening I listened to three specific records from my early youth. Records that were played by my parents back in the early 70s. My parents brought me two boxes of old records from which I selected the following: Harvest by Neil Young 1972, Tea for the tillerman, Cat Stevens 1970 and Aloha from Hawaii, Elvis Presley 1973. Although these records were old, never cleaned they sounded NM/NM- and were in great shape. What great music, they don't make songs as lyrical as that these days. All accompanying instruments were clearly identifiable, and the voices were so palpable, lyrics were clearly understood. The sound was involving, enveloping and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Made me wan't to explore and buy more of this kind of music!

I'm new to vinyl, and I'm so glad to have made this decision. My kids were commenting on how "strange" this music sounded, in a positive way, and they are hearing music that they don't make today any more. My son was identifying all the instruments he could hear, he loved the harmonica on Harvest because he owns one too...

I'm looking forward to receiving all the Blue Note reissues to continue satisfying my craving for great analog sound. Any suggestions on great music LPs is welcome. And I haven't even begun starting to explore classical music yet.

Long live the LP!
Henry

mtkhl567

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Roeland, thanks for the tip. As far as records are concerned I currently buy mostly from the web. But I like the idea of rooting through buckets of second hand stuff, to search for some treasurers! I need some more experience about what to look for though...

mtkhl567

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Thanks Gary, I guess the latest Sony 8 megapixel camera from Santa works like a charm! I got a larger rug yesterday, but more needs to be done. Have you got any experience with the acoustic system resonator technology (http://www.avataracoustics.com/acousticsystem/pro_link_test_report.pdf)?

Happy new year, may it be filled with beautiful music!

Henry

mtkhl567

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System edited: I hope these pics are an improvement on before. I moved the rack left of the listening position and guided the Zeel's up along the mass beam ceiling (yes through them!) and down to the DZ pre. Perfect 30 ft Zeel connect, am I glad I took the longer set! It actually improved the sound significantly by providing more air, space and clarity, as opposed to being curled up on the floor. The vinyl rig is ready for arm/cartridge mounting...will post new pics when that's done. How to improve the room acoustics will be my main focus over the next months or so. Absorption or diffusion, or other technologies. I'm having some room response measurements done soon, so that will show me what to tackle first. Enjoy the music! Henry

mtkhl567

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Gary, I just set up the GP Monaco table yesterday, leveling the oil in the bearing. Soooo, easy to set up, pretty much fool proof plug & play (bar the arm/cartridge). My Dynavector DV507MkII arm will get here tomorrow, the Dynavector cartridge DRT XV-1s in January.

So the phono cable connect's to the arm (right? I'm such a novice in this area!) so I haven't been able to listen to it on my table. However my dealer has the exact same table with the same phono cable, he upgraded from Nordost Tyr. This cable is the equivalent to the Indra of their IC line...among the very best that exists. And if you're a Stealth beta tester you get it for 1200 instead of the proposed retail of 2800 when it comes to market. So it was a no brainer to me. I have to say I have not listened to any other phono cables, this is my complete vinyl starting point as you know.

I figure if I start at this level I won't have to go thru the many experiments, changes & upgrades that others do. I can concentrate on buying lot's of great records that put digital recordings to shame, as I've heard it do so convincingly on many occasions in the past two years.

mtkhl567

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Elberoth, you're most welcome sometime early next year. I live near Antwerp, Belgium. Shoot me an e-mail with your details. I looked at your room project since I lived in the US, very nice indeed! The good thing is that you can easily drive MM3's with ARs, due to the active subs. The detail you'll get from recordings with the Ref 3 would be absolutely amazing...

mtkhl567

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Diamonds, coming soon...my dealer is flying over from the US to set it up in January. So currently its waiting in its wooden crate in my office...

mtkhl567

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Appreciate the advice Bart. I'll have a look whether my new T200 works better, supposedly it has a better flash also.

How are you finding your ASR? Did you stumble upon it, or did you select it after auditioning other gear. I was impressed by the Emitter II version Blue fully kitted out, huge battery packs!!!

Anyway, happy holidays. Look forward to meeting you in the new year.

Henry

mtkhl567

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Some first pics of the new listening room aka my living room. The fire place is an antique from an 18th century castle. How nice to go back from gas to real wood burning.

I appologize for the not so good quality pics due to the pocket size Sony DSC-T7's limited flash ability inside. Will try some during daytime next.

Enjoy the music.

mtkhl567

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JF, thanks, my objective is to have a balance of acceptable room acoustics because this room is not my longer term solution ... I know it sounds crazy just having moved, but that's unfortunately part of my reality.

Pls do let me know your APL upgrade specs and results, how much will that cost you?

mtkhl567

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Hi Tom, I'm actually living in Schilde, east of Antwerp, on a clear road 30 mins from Mechelen! Would love to have you over, when I'm all set up with my vinyl rig.

Greetings
Henry

mtkhl567