Description

Sources: Michell GyroDec turntable, Aqua Formula DAC driven by a Mac Mini, Roon integrated with Tidal and Qobuz, Accuphase DP-65V CD Player, Day Sequerra HD Radio.

Amplifier upgraded to Gryphon Colosseum. 

What would be the next thing to upgrade to improve my sound quality dramatically? 

Preamp? 
Read more...

Room Details

Dimensions: 12’ × 12’  Small
Ceiling: 8’


Components Toggle details

    • Michell Engineering Gyro SE turntable
    A wonderful turntable. A beautiful object.
    • Spread Spectrum Technologies Ambrosia Second Edition Preamplifier
    James Bongiorno's new preamplifier. Amazing volume control. Very low noise moving coil section. Tone controls. Remote control. See www.ampzilla2000.com for more information.
    • Gryphon Cantata
    An amazing speaker that is engineered for small rooms, with a Q controller to tailor bass response.
    • Gryphon Q Controller
    Allows user to select three different Q levels depending on the liveliness of the room.
    • Gryphon PSC Speaker Cable
    Planar Speaker Cable - gold embedded in silver, the cables I assume Gryphon used when developing the Cantata. Seemed like the right choice.
    • Nordost SPM
    Transparent.
    • Aqua Formula
    A nice sounding DAC, paired with a Mac Mini running Tidal and Qobuz integrated under Roon.
    • Gryphon Colosseum
    A beast of a Class A amplifier. 165w.

Comments 22

222222&text=la
Owner
I have upgraded my amplifier and digital source. What component would I upgrade now for the biggest improvement in my sound quality?

larrykell

222222&text=la
Owner
For anyone looking to buy a Sumo Gold amp or a SST First Edition Ambrosia preamp, I am selling both on Audiogon now.

larrykell

222222&text=la
Owner
Hello,
Sorry, I haven't checked over here in quite a while. How is that Gold working out for you? Did you have it rebuilt by Rick? I need to put a speed control in my fans so I can turn them lower when it is cool and turn them up when it is hot. I found something from Mouser but I have not had time to put it in yet.

I am not sure of the best speaker wire for Gryphons. I found the PSC cable so I used that. How are you liking the Atlantis? I am wedded to the Cantatas for the long term. I have thought of experimenting with other amplifiers but Gryphon class A designs are not cheap.

larrykell

222222&text=35
Hi I just purchased a gold,and wondered if you can give me any pointers.Thanks

356a

222222&text=ju
Hello, i have the new gryphon atlantis.
one question, what speaker cable is the best for the gryphon speakers

regards
Juan

juanan

222222&text=la
Owner
System edited: I have made a few changes. After enjoying the Gallo Nucleus Reference speakers for a number of years, I decided to try something else. After looking for a used pair of Gryphon Cantata speakers for a couple of years, I found a pair about a month ago. I am enjoying these relatively small monitor speakers that provide big sound without being too loud in my space. They are dynamic and coherent from top to bottom, the drivers are integrated seamlessly. Very exciting. In other areas, I got my Sumo Gold amp back from a rebuild and am now enjoying the extra power. I upgraded my CD player to an Accuphase DP-65V. The music goes on. I signed up for the Blue Note reissue series. I am very impressed by the 45rpm reissues, great sound! The next step is to find the right audio rack for all of my components. Any ideas would be appreciated. The next big upgrade is to try to find a New York apartment with one more room so that I can separate the audio and computer equipment. This will be the hardest upgrade of all, wish me luck.

larrykell

222222&text=la
Owner
System edited: Added picture of the Sumo Gold amp, before I sent it out to get rebuilt.

larrykell

222222&text=la
Owner

It's a great preamp. Please feel free to list competing preamps that would offer similar features in a one box solution. I think it is only fair that the competing preamps be new units and that they be listed with their retail prices. I am curious what else would show up in the list. Remember to list units that have both moving coil and moving magnet sections, no linestage only units. ;-)

larrykell

222222&text=js
Wow, is the preamp really 7500.00? I love Jim's amps, to the point I will have him rebuild my vintage hadley 622/

But I would think at that price, there are many preamps that are complete in one box

jsujo

222222&text=la
Owner
Hey Walt,
Thanks for posting an answer on my system thread. I have thought about getting Maggies once I finish with this amplifier rebuild project. I think I will have enough power to drive the Maggies adequately.

Could you give me some information on the required placement of these speakers? My room is 12x23x8. Do I have enough room for the Maggie 3.6s? I can probably only move them about 3 feet from the long wall. Do they have to be toed in or can they be parallel to the rear wall?

Will they spread an even sound throughout the whole space or am I stuck in a small sweet spot? Will the rearward radiating sound cause problems with my next door neighbors? Living in an apartment, I cannot play loud all the time. Are the Maggies good for low volume listening late at night? How about nearfield listening? I often wind up sitting very close to my speakers while working on the computer.

Any information would be appreciated. I am trying to figure out if the Maggies will fit into my apartment and my lifestyle.

Regards,

Larry

larrykell

222222&text=wa
Larrykell, As to the preamp, there is, in my opinion, only one that I would consider, namely the Supratek Chenin tube preamp. This is a world class preamp that compares more than favorably to those costing $10,000 and more. It has a a phono by-pass also, if you want. If not, get the less expensive Chardoney model, the same preamp, but without the phono stage.
The Chenin goes for $2900 new, the Chardoney for $2100 new. Also, as to upgrading the speakers, why not try the Magneplanar 3.6's, a fabulous speaker for the money. You'll dance and dance your touche off.

waltchristensen

waltcertain

222222&text=la
Owner
Hey Cytocycle,
Thanks for the response. I'm glad you like my mix of gear. As for my preamp choice, I did a lot of research on paper regarding the features I wanted in a preamp. I don't have a lot of time and money to audition gear in person and it is hard to buy and sell stuff constantly in order to try different preamps.

There aren't a lot of people building one box preamp solutions, at affordable prices, that contain phono sections (MM and MC), tone controls, hi/low pass filters, and sophisticated volume control. James Bongiorno builds state of the art gear at real world prices.

As for buying an Ampzilla versus having a Sumo Gold rebuilt, I did think about it for a while. I kind of stumbled upon the Sumo Gold and decided to see what it would do for me. I have had a great experience with my little Sumo Nine.

I am sold on class A sound and the Sumo Gold is a rare animal and was the top of the line, at the time it was being built. Weighing in at 90lbs, it is an absolute monster. If I remember correctly, the amp has 36 output transistors and puts out 125 watts in class A! The power circuit is also massive, so I do not think I will have any trouble driving almost any kind of load.

I bought a little M-Audio Audiophile external USB soundcard for my Mac. The improvement in sound quality from the computer was dramatic but I still like the sound of my turntable and MR-78 more than the computer sources. I listen to my gear every day and it brings me a lot of enjoyment.

I may consider a speaker upgrade after I see how my amplifier experiment turns out. I have thought about Magneplanars or some Apogees but maybe a hybrid ribbon/dynamic driver system would be better. Suggestions welcome.







larrykell

222222&text=cy
Larrykell: Could you describe you search for a preamp and if you compared the Ambrosia to anything else?

Have you considered getting Ampzilla 2000's instead of rebuilding old SUMO gear?

I remember years ago listing to a friends Ampzilla amps and thought they were really organic, but now wondering if there would be a lack of resolution compared to what I'm running now.

The suggestions about the Squeezebox and upgrades are correct. Otherwise there are some DAC's with USB connections that are making great strides for computer audio. I used a Bolder Audio upgraded Squeezebox and Ultimate powersupply.

Love the system Mix!!

cytocycle

222222&text=la
Owner
System edited: New components added. Bought an MR-78 tuner with Modafferri modifications. I am now able to pick up stations in New York that I could not get in the past. Added picture of new Ambrosia preamp from James Bongiorno at Spread Spectrum Technologies. Now my volume control problems have been solved. I can listen to any source, day or night, at a good listening level.

larrykell

222222&text=jd
Killer system bro! I'm still stuck on old stereo with an active crossover to a subwoofer. I haven't integrated my video into the system, other that just running my TV into the stereo/sub via a pre amp input.

I am using a Van Alstine preamp to an active crossover to a SUMO Nine for my mains and a SUMO ANdromeda II (bridged) to my homemade Sub (W/ NHT 1253? long throw speaker)

Sources are a CAL California Audio lab MkII cd player, FM tuner changes every 4 to 6 months. (I buy and sell tuners on ebay 2 or 3 times a year) Tuners are my collecting hobbie these days. Lateley I have been switching between a Marantz 20, Sony 5000fw and a Technics st-9030. It's hard to beat the old tuners with anything made today.
Jeff

jdunbar

222222&text=la
Owner
System edited: Gone analog! I bought a turntable and have been getting back into vinyl. I love the sound, it is so much more organic than my CD playback.

larrykell

222222&text=da
This is truly an Old School System done right.

I suggest looking into four improvements for your classic system get better digital sourced audio injected into your classic amp.

1) Look for a Wadia w/ digital inputs and GNSC mods 2) Ripping to FLAC using dbPowerAmp software. It will down convert to any other format for your iPod, including AAC 320 which is as low as I suggest you go. 3) A Squeezebox 3 (with an after market linear power supply) to improve on the audio quality and interface to your PC-based music. 4) Using a Stereovox HDVX digital interconnect from the Squeezebox 3 to the Wadia.

I am either predjudiced or experienced as I have done all of the above, and just trading up from one Wadia w/ digital inputs and GNSC Ref Mods to another.

I find the transparency, pace, rythmn, attack and air of a Wadia direcly feeding amps to be stunning, especially w/ Gallow speakers. I am also using Gallo Ref 3s on Bright Star IsoRock GR3 stands and the Gallo SA3 subwoofer amp.

I look forward to seeing how your system continues to evolve.

/Daniel

Ag insider logo xs@2xdaniels5

222222&text=la
Owner
Thanks for the tips regarding Apple's Lossless format. Of course, the big issue is getting a high-end DAC! I started down that road by looking at the DAC1, Ack-dAck, etc but I really didn't know what to get.

I think Steve McCormack poured his heart into the analog section of the Signature player and it shows. It think his player has great dynamics and musicality and it was a bargain in the used market.

I suppose one of the problems I have is that I'm an avid photographer as well as an audio nut, so even 500 gigabytes of disk space starts to look small after a while. Still, disk drives are cheap, so maybe I should rip everything to lossless format. That still brings me back to finding a high-end Dac for my system.

larrykell

222222&text=az
Very nice job. I love the idea of implementing old school audio with new school computer technology. Couple of ideas for you, try importing your music in Apple Lossless format. This will be a much better than the AAC files you have. There is also a great applescript called Lossless To AAC Workflow, it will take a cd, import Lossless to your computer, and then convert to AAC, add the AAC files to your ipod, and then delete the AAC files from your computer so you don't have duplicates (It works great)!! From there you could look into a high end DAC because you have optical out on the G5. I have found this to work great because the computer is strickly a transport, and has very little effect on sonic quality. Happy listening!!

azavguys

222222&text=la
Owner
Hey,
I'm glad you guys like the system. Yeah, these speakers also make me smile and they make me tap my feet and dance around the apartment. I think that's what it's all about, the joy of looking at the speakers and the joy of listening to them. You're right, the Gallos don't have a "box" sound! These speakers are a true examples of thinking outside the box. I don't know what I would replace them with, perhaps Cabasse, but it would be a lot more money for similar speakers.

larrykell

222222&text=ch
Those speakers always make me smile when I see them, I bet they dont have that "box" sound that I cant figure out how many self proclaimed audiophiles love, have fun on your path!

chadnliz

Center
Very nice looking system, I am impress.

jayctoy

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