Ladies and gentlemen, an evolution I didn't anticipate would happen this fast. Thanks to some incredibly knowledgeable, trustworthy and unselfish audiophiles (like Barry Konigsberg from Transparent Audio, Jonathan Tinn from BluelightAudio, Alvin Lloyd Mr GPA, Herve Delatrez) that REALLY showed me what's possible in this fascinating hobby. If only I met these great folks before...
However, I believe I'm now set for the foreseeable future. Going to add a vinyl rig also, and then get back to listening to a whole lot of music...
To be added: Grand Prix Audio Monaco turntable, Dynavector arm & cartridge, GPA Monaco racks & amp stand, move to bigger room, and only then maybe some room treatment.
Sit back...enjoy the music...stunning system looks...I have finally arrived !!!
Dual Mono power amplifier, 2x100 Watt. If you ever get this amp not broken in, a word of advice. Do not think you've heard this amps capabilities until they have 700+ hours of burn on them...you'd be shortchanging yourself a piece of heaven. I use Geoff Kait's brilliant pebbles to minimize some residual grit as you can see on top of the amp.
Pre-amplifier with phono stage. Deadquiet battery powered pre with an excellent phonostage. How good is this amp? Well, Mike Fremer (aka Mr Analog) himself declared it better than anything he'd ever heard including his personal reference from Musical Fidelity! I personally love this pre-amp, the perfect match for the 108. No that's where I differ from MF's opinion...oh well, he may not have heard my complete system...
Evolution Acoustics MM3
The next big step in audio! And no doubt the best value for money out there today, as this competes, and in most cases betters transducers 2-3X its retail price. Gotta have the upgraded interconnects between the 3 modules. And, in my opinion, MM3 is more sonically balanced than MM2 if you have the space.
DartZeel Zeel Interconnect
10 mtr Zeel 50 Ohm interconnect. Better connection than any RCA or XLR terminated cable could ever establish, regardless of price! For the 30 foot length its a steal...
Jena Labs Model One
2 10 ft power chords with built in conditioners. Fantastically silent, low noise floor and non colored.
Finite Elemente Pagode Master Reference
Finite Elemente Cerabase
Isolation feet for the rack
Grand Prix Audio Monaco Amp Stand
Love it! The two first boxes on top of the MM1 crates, one for the amp stand, one for the shelve. Will get the whole Monaco shelve system soon, sorry Finite Elemente. Anyone interested? Send me a mail!
Grand Prix Audio Monaco Turntable
Got to read Alvin's white paper on this magnificent piece of technology. Direct drive, most accurate platter speed of any table that exists today, and yes, that includes the continuum, walker, rockport, SME 30 etc. I didn't plan to get into vinyl until I heard this...M I L E S above any digital I've ever heard. Simlpy jawdropping.
Evolution Acoustics Speaker cables
two double runs of these fantastic speaker cables just brings out the best in the MM3's. As it should.
Cable Elevators Ceramic
Just a tweak that makes sense and is audibly adding - air and transparency - to the already great sound.
My first arm, so I was recommended this one. Also the listening I did was with this arm and matching cartridge. On order, should get it next month. You think I need a CD rack?
Dynavector DRT XV-1s
Matches the arm, on order too. I'm not an expert here so I will not tell you more than it sounded FANTASTIC with the 507MK2 arm on the GPA Monaco tt to the Dart pre phono section to the Dart power amp into the EA MM2's...need I say more? Don't think so. Got to get a CD rack next...:-)
Fantastic! I have the Harry Belafonte live on CD, who hasn't...it's a classic recording that should have a place in anyones collection, wonder how that would be on good vinyl...probably a divinely superb experience. Great recommendations from a diehard experienced analog audiophile! Thank you Mark, I'm googling them already!
Henry Music reveiws in the British publication Hi-Fi+ is a great source. Their writers have introduced me to some artist I may have never come across.The music and recording ratings are spot on.I think they are the best in the audio magazine business.
Heres afew recommendations off the top of my head that should raise the hair on the nape of your neck heard through that incredible system of yours.The music and the recordings are [superb].
First up is a gold c.d. issued by Sheffield Lab. Harry James and his Big Band.Recorded live in a church in Hollywood I beleive.Sheffield Lab have done an exceptionally good job recording this great band.I have afew L.P.s of Harry James ,acouple first releases.His music is fabulous however the recordings are not that good.Hopefully someone will reissue this session on vinyl.Truly a remarkably great sounding c.d.
Harry Belafonte Live at Carganie Hall. This 45 r.p.m. box set reissued by Classic Records acouple of years ago is one of my all time favorite live recording. Much has been written about this performance over the past near five decades.
I know it well. As a child my Mother would play this record on occasion on our R.C.A. console.I have two other copies in 33 1/3 one of which I have had since the 1970s.
The man and his band are remarkable.The recording is exceptional....
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.Monin.I see AnalogueProductions have reissued this great L.P. on 45 r.p.m. The music and performance is moving.
My 33 1/3 copy is exceptionally well recorded.
Ella Fitzgerald... Clap Hands , Here Comes Charlie.A Classic Records reissue. I have many of her recordings.An incredible singer. The music and the recording is exceptional.
Antal Dorati Rachmaninov piano concerto # 3 in D minor. A superb Mercury Living Presence recording.Recorded on 35mm film tape.A Speakers Corner reissue. Superb.
Duke Ellington and Ray Brown,This Ones for Blanton. An Analogue Production reissue.
Absolutely superb music.The recording is absolutely stunning good.
Thanks Mark for your recommendation. I agree with you (and your wife) about the bookcase solution, it integrates better in a living room. Luckily the room is not straight, so I don't need to treat all surfaces.
With regard to vinyl, I haven't much experience yet and anything that I heard has been in other peoples systems since mine hasn't been set up yet. But I bought about 250 LPs to get started, from second hand to new, subscribed myself to the Blue Note reissue with Analog Productions. Here are some of the LPs that impressed me:
1) Doc Powell, The Doctor, Fone, in fact I got all the current Fone LPs insofar they weren't sold out. David Manley is a recording wizzard! Are there more of these guys out there? 2) Diana Krall, The Girl In The Other Room, Verve (especially when compared to the SACD its soooo much more palpable, high hats decay, whoah! 3) Temptation, Holly Cole Trio, my dealer introduced me to her. I love her voice. Would like to hear Trust In Me on LP some day... 4) Money for Nothing, Dire Straits, heard it on a Walker Proscenium Gold table, especially track 6 Ride Across the River, spooky... and the space 5) Adagio, Gary Karr & Harmon Lewis, organ is always very impressive on a good system but the LP takes it to a whole different level I'm sure that once I get set up and start listening, my list of LP favorites will outgrow my CD list. Any suggestion on where I may find an LP recording of Chopin's 19 Nocturnes by Artur Rubinstein recorded in Rome, Italy on Steinway, in 1965?
Anyway since I'm starting out, any LP recommendation I'll gladly check out!
Henry Your new listening room dimensions is pretty close to a small dance hall.If your having a reflective problem you could think about book shelves built floor to ceiling from the back wall where your speakers are located up too or near your listening position.My wife has close to 20,000 hard and soft cover books, most of them are in book shelves in our listening room.Tube traps and other treatments aren't needed,besides she wouldnt allow it.
I see from your list of music only c.d.s are listed.What about your vinyl?
For those of you who wonder what I listen to, I post a handfull of my favorites in no particular order:
(1)Diana Krall, The Look Of Love, Verve XRCD (2)Lara Fabian, En Tout Intimite, Polydor France CD (3)Shoji Yokoushi Trio, Greensleeves, Cisco Gold CD (4)Roger Waters, Amused To Death, Sony CD (5)Minnesota Orchestra Eiji Oue - Reveries, Reference Recordings HDCD (6)Artur Rubinstein, Chopin 19 Noctuners, RCA CD (7)Francis Cabrel, D'un Ombre a L'Autre, Sony/Columbia CD (8)Patricia Kaas, Je Te Dis Vous, Columbia Europe CD (9)Andreas Vollenweider, White Winds, Kin Kou CD (10)Yello, One Second, Fontana Island CD (11)Chris Rea, Shamrock Diaries, Wea CD (12)Holly Cole Trio, Blame It On My Youth, Blue Note CD (13)Erin Bode, Over And Over, Maxx Jazz CD (14)Renee Olstead, Renee Olstead, Reprise/Wea CD (15)Kari Bremnes, Svarta Bjorn, Kirkelig Kulturverksted CD (16)Metallica & SF Orchestra, S&M, Elektra/Wea CD (17)Gary Karr, Harmon Lewis, Adagio D'Albinoni, Cisco Gold CD (18)Charlie Haden & John Taylor, Nightfall, Naim CD (19)Doc Powell, The Doctor, Fone SACD (20)Dominique Fernandez - Savall, LaChrimea Caravaggio, Alia Vox SCAD (21)Yoko Fujita & Keiko Ogura, Stradivarious on Gold CD, Cisco Gold CD (22)Dire Straits, Communique, WB/Wea CD (23)Chris Botti,To Love Again, Sony CD (24)Horowitz, Live And Unedited, Sony CD (25)Art Of Noise, The Best Of, Rhino/Wea CD
These favorites are not by all means complete, and for some artists/labels its more than the one title, the longer I think the more I'd put down...but it's a start. Any comments or suggestions are welcome!
Thanks Shadorne, yes you are right, they are very close to the back wall in my prior home. That was the limitation of that room with two wide entrances, one to the left on the short wall and one to the right on the long wall. It still sounded fantastic due to the relative non-reflective nature of the room and those openings that lessen reflections to some extend. That room was 13 by 17 ft, but sounded much bigger. Now the space is 20 by 45 ft, but more reflective. I'll posts some pics soon.
Fantastic system. I hope your move to Europe allows you more space for those awesome MM3 beasts. Frankly, given such an absolutely stupendous system, I was a little suprised to see the listening position right up against a wall...perhaps I am just green with envy and could not help nit picking! Kudos to you Henry, if there is a Nirvana then you look like you are there already!
Container is arriving this Friday, I should be all set by the weekend...hmmm the anticipation alone is killing me! Starting early next year, when I have my vinyl rig setup, it will be ready for some serious analog sessions. Bring your favorite LPs!
The Dartzeel products are absolutely amazing, they made my previous reference (ML 32/33h) sound pale by comparison. Recently I was listening to Carmen McRae on XRCD and the additional detail that came out was out of this world, as if my ears were right there next to her in The Dug where it was live recorded. For example, I didn't know that she actually had long nails on her fingers, that you can hear tip the piano keys regularly during the recording...never heard that through my Levinson's.
Fantastic looking setup. I am sure that it sounds very nice. I have been lucky enough to talk with Jonathan and Barry about the Dart. Barry actually came to my house with one so I could listen to it in my setup. That was all I needed. It may take a while, but I will have the dart in my setup. Congrats on having a stellar setup.
Thank you Mark for your kind remarks. I'm sort of a late bloomer in this hobby, or the audiophile bug has been dormant inside me for many years, and only just reared its pretty head! I am in great admiration of those who have been in this hobby for years, even decades, and have equipment that has defined this hobby over the past 3-4 decades or so. Those would include tube gear ofcourse, and electrostats as well as vinyl rigs. I'm happy to explore the analog world because I've re-learned what great sound, and therefore great listening enjoyment can be had. I like to share my experience with others and prefer, at least for now, to integrate my system in a living/family room environment. My gear should be arriving in 3-4 weeks or so, can't wait...
Henry,This is what I love to see,an all out efford on a two channel system.Along with sitting for six ears instead the usual single chair. Looking forward seeing pictures of your new listening room in Europe and reading more of your impressions on your vinyl playback experience.Good luck with your move.Regards Mark
Henry - Holy cow! What have you done? We missed meeting up in the spring (I am the guy in West Chester) and now your leaving the country. Oh well, look us up if you're ever back in town. Would've loved to hear your set-up. Have a safe move.
Chadnliz, no doubt a winner combination, and the interesting thing is that we haven't even been able to enjoy it at full burn in or with our new GPA vinyl rig...
Fcrowder, all things in steps...the Finite Elemente MR rack I had before I started getting to know Alvin Lloyd and his wonderfully engineered products. So a switch there is also imminent. I do love the FE rack and Cerabase feet, I think they're great, buy the Monaco rack is clearly in a league above that. FE as a result is also introducing a modular high-end product...
Well, the whole system was wrapped and packed yesterday. Luckily I had some very strong movers that were extremely careful. The next five weeks are going to be long indeed... :-)
Just posted an updated pic that will last 2 more days. As all will be packed up starting monday. I've updated what I have today. I'm very excited about the GPA Monaco turntable which I will set up once back in Europe. That will take the system to new heights. So far I've got about 200-250 hours on the system and I have to say its already the best I've ever heard, and way above my previous setup. I just opened up the Dart NHB108 and changed the ground loop to kill a little ground hum coming through the midrange/tweeter. Sooo easy to do, clear instructions in the manual (thank you Herve). Changing the voltage to Europe will be an easy 2 second job on both the MM3s and the Darts. So for me moving around the globe that's fantastic flexibility/adjustabilty. The sound ... is absolutely to die for. I never imagined that these components could actually make you believe that you are there!
Thanks for looking/reading and constructive comment are always welcome. Henry
Someday, I will definitely take you up on that offer for a visit! Europe... here I come! :)
Thanks for the write up and it does make sense, what you said. The vertical dispersion is the small weakness that the MM3s have, and that's true for any ribbon/stat component. With me, my Martin Logan Summits have limited vertical and somewhat limited horizontal disperion from it being a stat panel.
Good luck in your move to Europe... I hope we meet someday.
Your system is wonderful and the idea of transporting everything to internationally is scary... how are you going about it and you're probably incorporating insurance in there somewhere right?
Henry, moving back to Europe??? The thought of shipping those monster MM3 scares me! Hopefully everything goes ok. Sorry I could not stop by when I was in Philly recently. The boss was with me which meant dinner meetings every night.
I am sure you system is sounding wonderful! Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts as it breaks in.
Hi Joey, long time no hear...:-) I have put about 150 hours on the MM3's by now and don't forget I changed my Levinson pre & power amps for the Dartzeel's. So the Dartzeel's are alos burning in at the same time. And I haven't got all my cables in place yet.
Here are my initial impressions. Several areas of significant improvement that I noticed in my room:(1) disappearing act, the MM3s just vanish...singing comes from inbetween the speakers regardless of male or female voice. (2) soundstage definition just seems much clearer and more spacious, proper distance of for example orchestral instruments,(3) the Accuton midranges give a fair number of acoustical instruments more reality, woodwinds, piano, violin and finally (4) the base is great, not intrusive, delicate, defined. I personally have to get used to the limited vertical distribution of the ribbon tweeters. It just means that for the most perfect listening experience you have to sit in the sweet spot. This was less so with the Strads. To be honoust, both speaker systems deserve more space around them then they are getting now. But I'm 100% convinced I've made a super switch here. The Strads are being offered for $45k, the MM3's for $38, the latter plays handsdown in a higher league.
So there you have it. I'll be moving back to Europe soon, so I'll be offline for a little while. But Joey, you know you're welcome any time to visit me from the windy city!
Congrats on a superb setup! I admire those speakers, though I've never heard them. I've never heard the Stradivaris either, but my local dealer has a pair so I can easily get my ears on them once I have the free time to do so.
Anyway, I was wondering if you have had formed any new opinions about the sound difference between the 2?
Please be as specific as possible in elaborating the difference between the Strads and the MM3s..