Description

FINAL - This system will no longer be updated as I have entered into the Audio business in 2009 and my system will be changed to be a showroom system around the great AudioNec Musicserver, that I distribute exlusively in the German speaking market...to keep private and commercial interests transparent and simple, the new system will be done under a seperate account (Audio_indulgence which translates to my German business name "Hoergenuss" www.hgfa.de).

So this was my last private System:

The system is built around the amazing Tidal Contriva speakers and a custom built PC Transport and USB digital source.

Last changes:

- Installed solid state disc for faster boot time and less noise and vibrations from a conventional spinning drive

- The Edge Signature 1.1 replaced the Clearaudio Balance preamplifier

- As the last assault on room acoustics after various passive measures the PC transport now uses a convolver FIR setup to provide also digital room correction. The icing on the cake really, never dreamt of achieving the sound I am getting now!
Read more...

Components Toggle details

    • Custom PC System Origen PC Case with Touch Screen
    This PC connected to the self built DAC via USB has replaced my modded Esoteric DV-50 as the main music source. I have ripped over 1500 CDs in lossless FLAC format using JR Mediacenter Software in secure ripping mode. In theory this makes the digital source data 100% error free. Conventional CD transports have to employ error correction. This is not required with the PC, the data is read in data mode from the CD and re-read until no errors were detected. The convenience of the interface is beyond anything a CD player could offer. Playlists, browsing through the archive for the next song or album whithout interrupting the music that is playing. All conveniently via the remote or by tapping the touchscreen. As a transport I can't think of anything better. Considering this is a very expensive PC case, the cost are still far below a reference conventional transport. I have further fine tuned it by using a solid state disc (SSD) so it boots much faster and runs almost silent. I'll rant more about the sound on the description of the DAC unit.
    • Finite Elemente Pagode Master Reference
    Just the nicest rack I could find. Besides the rack I also use the matching amp stand. Rack and amplifier stand sit on the Finite Elemente Cerabase feet. Besides beeing wood floor friendly, they provide very neutral coupling and improve over the standard spikes. On the bottom right is my previous Clearaudio Balance Preamp (for sale)
    • Edge Signature 1.1
    The Edge 1.1 Signature preamp provides a very transparent but smooth window to the recordings. In DC mode it runs from internal batteries, stepping up the sound quality another notch over the still excellent AC mode.
    • Self Built USB DAC DDDAC 60x1543 MK2 Kit
    I was interested in exploring a PC as digital source and started looking around for a good DAC with USB input capability. Because it was an experiment and I was sceptical if the sound quality could compete with my already modified Esoteric DV-50 player, I decided to go with a kit that would not be too expensive to built. It should also have the potential to upgrade in stages. I found Doede Douma's DDDAC 1543 project on the Internet and was immediately impressed with the idea. This DAC uses Modular n x 12-parallel non oversampling with asynchrone XO re-clocking and SPDIF and USB to I2S-bus conversion. It also has no active output stage, I built my unit with 5 modules (12 DAC chips each!) so the combined output of 60 DAC chips is enough to drive the preamp. You can read details on his website, thanks to Doede for the excellent kit and friendly support. I listend after building each module how the sound changed and it was very interesting. With one module the sound is in the category of a DVD player (so-so), add another and it reaches CD player level (OK), add another or two and you reach high-end CD players (good), after the 5th module the sound competed with my esoteric player quite easily. I then went through fine tuning the output stage with Mundorf caps, some black gate caps at recommended places, silver coated solid core wires, WBT nextgen connectors, an external battery power supply (you get the idea, an audiophile let loose) and reached a sound with lossless FLAC files from the PC transport that went past SACD quality from my Esoteric player. So there we are, the PC / DDDAC combo is now the master source and the Esoteric found a new and happy home in my home theatre system :-) You can see the external powersupply on the picture of the rack under the DAC. The dac runs very hot, so built cut outs in the lid over each DAC tower to ensure it can run without cooling fans.
    • Moscode 401 HR Tube Hybrid Stereo Poweramp
    After various experiments with other power amps and tube preamps I ended up with a solid state preamp again and the little tube magic that is required comes through the Moscode Hybrid, with it's input tubes sitting nicely on display :-) Sound is powerful, wide and deep with an inviting and seductive
    • Tidal Contriva
    The speaker that I could entirely not resist the first time I had the pleasure to hear it at Karel's home (thanks again for the demo and the wine!). Like the Merlin VSM-SE before the Tidal has ended my interested in other speakers for many years. Well now the new Contriva model is out with 2 ceramic bass drivers instead of the single Seas unit in mine (not sure what else has changed), but for now I have no plans to change. Besides the wonderful sound I am totally thrilled by the beautiful piano lacquer finish and wood of the speakers.
    • Velodyne DD-18
    The Tidal Contriva has enough bass output in theory. However, with the Velodyne DD-18 I was able to provide corrections for some of the room based peaks and valleys in the bass response. It also extends the low frequency range to include the ambience of large rooms. The best feature is the ability of the Velodyne digital drive to measure the response including the main speaker output and match both to a level of perfection that simply can't be done with many simpler subwoofers. Absolutely recommended... It is big though and thus makes for a good orchid stand :-)
    • Symphonic Line Transparenz
    Tuner with RDS. Very smooth and clear sound, as heavy as a high-end integrated amplifier. Sitting on the bottom shelf of the Pagode Master Reference Rack. The tuner gets very limited use these days though, sound quality of some stations is mediocre and if I have time to listen I usually don't want to wait for something I like...
    • Pure Note Paragon Enhanced
    Excellent siver cables from Pure Note. Tested against the big brand names and provided the best value and excellent performance. Used balanced from the source to preamp and single ended from pre to monoblocks.
    • Pure Note Paragon Enhanced Speaker Cable
    A simple choice since I liked the Interconnects so much already. Now that the length between the power amp and the speakers could be shorter than the wires I am using, I might look into the titanium series from Pure Note sometime. I have been very satisified with the Paragon Enhanced so far.
    • Analysis Plus Power Oval and Silver Oval
    Power ovals on poweramp and subwoofer, silver ovals on everything else.
    • Z-Sleeves Various
    Placed on each cable before the speakers, the power amp and the preamp. When I put them in the first time I felt they remove some hardness and haze from the sound, they have been put in the same place through every equipment change, basically part of the 'furniture' by now. I fear that if someone would take them away I am not sure if I'd really notice though...
    • SAP Relaxa 3+ Equipment Stand
    Magnetic isolation platform. It worked very well under my modified Esoteric DV-50 while I was using it as a source for CD and SACD. I did not expect the performance increase given the solid build of the Esoteric and my rack. In the meantime the Esoteric has been moved into my home theatre system for movie duties and 5.1 SACD so I tried the Relaxa under my PC that feeds the audio signal to the DAC. Guess what, it still improved the sound overall. It decouples the high frequency hard disk vibration from the PC very effectively from the rack and made the PC even quieter. To keep the PC quiet is very important for low volume listening as it is close to the listening position and any hard disk or fan noise would be a disturbance.
    • Harmonix TU-210 ZX Tuning Feet
    Placed under my preamp. I got the black version that matches the preamp better than the usual gold colored one. Effect on sound has been more important in older systems before I bought the Pagode Master Reference rack, but I still like the Harmonix feet.
    • Isoclean IC204P and 104 II power bars
    These two have replaced my Audiomagic Stealth. One reason was that I wanted to separate the power connections for my power amp and the rest of the equipment on the main racks. On comparison I am very happy with the unfiltered Isoclean power bars compared to the Audiomagic Stealth. Having two of these will allow me to place my rack away from the speakers, with only the power amp and the subwoofer remaining between the speakers to improve acoustics.
    • Finite Elemente Cerapuc Coupling Feet
    I use 4 Cerapucs under each speaker instead of the original spikes. Tidal by now has new speaker feet which are probably as good and maybe even better matching in looks. But I am somewhat of a Finite Elemente fan by now and don't see a need to change as the Cerapucs work very well and are easy to adjust when leveling out the speakers.
    • Transparent Acoustics & Others Various
    Dmitry from Transparent Acoustics provided a lot of creative input and help on optimizing the room acoustically. There is a big open dining area next to the living room and a study behind the listening position. Also big glass fronts floor to ceiling. Overall quite a challenge. On this photo you can see the ceiling sails that absorb the first reflections from the ceiling, two absorbers (pictures temporarily on stands as they are samples only) on the right wall. I also use corner treatments from Eigth Nerve.
    • Transparent Acoustics Felties
    The felt tapestries hang suspended from the ceiling and are double layers. They work extremely well to make the acoustics more symmetric and reduce room echoes (the room is open to the left).
    • Bass Trap Corner Position
    A problematic corner of the room got treated with a bass trap and some decoration on top...
    • Remote: Logitech DiNovo Mini Keyboard
    The convenience of the PC with the JR Mediacenter software is already great with the touchscreen, but it was a small challenge to find a remote that has a good keyboard to search directly to the right artist or album. The DiNovo mini works perfect for that purpose and is very reliable with the bluetooth connection. The backlit keys works well for late night listening sessions in the dark as well.

Comments 57

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222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Mike,

I had the pleasure to listen to the Piano Cera extensively for 3 days in a setup with the AudioNec Musicserver and Tidal Impact Stereo amplifier. The Piano Cera is an amazing speaker, one of the best I have ever heard and that is regardless of price.

I am sure you will enjoy it a lot, happy listening to you too :-)

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Eljaro,

Sorry for the late reply, I had no time to check back lately. The case kits I ordered from Thel Audio in Germany:

http://www.thel-audioworld.de/bauteile/case/case.htm

But they have new ones now, the ones I used with the blue material are no longer available.

Best regards

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
System edited: My commercial user name on Audiogon as of now is "Audio_indulgence" which translates to my German business name "Hoergenuss" www.hgfa.de).

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
System edited: FINAL Update - This system will no longer be updated as I have entered into the High End Audio business in 2009 and my system is going through many changes to be a showroom system around the great AudioNec Musicserver, which I distribute exlusively in the German speaking market! To keep private and commercial interests transparent and simple, the new system will be soon be available but under a seperate account.

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Karel,

Well sometimes good housekeeping is rewarded, I actually did a spreadsheet when I built the unit to keep an overview of my cost. Here are the figures of what I paid for the PC, DAC, Case etc..

Total = 2.811 € (100%)
PC = 1.159 € (41%)(not the current version on the photos here!)
DAC = 975 € (35%) (without case and supply)
Power = 84 € (3%) (without case)
Case = 593 € (21%) (for DAC and external power supply)

This was with a used touchscreen tablet pc I bought from ebay to get started, the current "upgrade" installation with the OrigenAE Touchscree case and SSD disk etc. Changes the PC cost to about 2000 Euro. I have alawys thought that my last upgrade would be to build a very good linear power supply (as you can see cost wise it is very low - the cost for the power supply case is in the "case" category). So I think looking at a way to just build the DAC in this "high end" version with an internal switching supply could be done for about 1400 Euro which would include DAC, Case and the switching power supply in a simple external case. With the big supply that I use including battery and charger it is more like 1800 Euro.

If you like to know more details or I can always email more details or discuss on the phone...do you still have my contact details?

Best regards

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Karel,

I have to say, the Tidal Impact is an amazing amplifier. I really really liked the Moscode and did not expect the Tidal to be so much better, but it is and I could not resist after I heard it in my system.

For the Doede Douma DAC I built the case and power supply myself. I ordered only the boards and the parts, then soldered the DAC boards and put everything together. It was quite a bit of work, but the kit is done very well. I spent quite a bit on upgrade caps too. The power supply I use can switch between battery mode and a switching power supply, which actually sounds excellent. The battery is only slightly more relaxed, I do not think it is absolutely necessary. I will look up my old orders and tell you what the cost was for everything. It has been a while since I built it. But what do you want to use as the digital source to connect to the DAC?

I am about to change my PC audio setup entirely though, which may be interesting for you as well. This will be a very high-end solution compared to what I am using now. It will replace my PC transport, the Doede DAC and the preamp for a very simple system straight into the Tidal Impact :-)

Best regards

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Kyyuan,

Thanks for your comment, the Tidal speakers are really nice, glad you liked them at RMAF. I have not updated it on my systems page, but I have changed the power amplifier from the excellent Moscode to the Tidal Impact. The Tidal amp is just as amazing as the speakers :-)

The PC server is a continously improving project and I am in the process of changing this unit to something very special in a few weeks!

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Semi,

I still have the Dodd battery powered tube preamp. It was in my system when I had a pure solid state power amp. With the Moscode as my power amp I found the Dodd in the system a bit more tube than I like. Sure, very organic and comfortable sound, but also somewhat lowered transparency and air. But I think I know what you mean. With solid state power amps and no tubes in the preamp I found the sound lacking a bit warmth and musicality. I guess that is why I am so glad with the Moscode hybrid. It has just the right amount of tube for me to make everything sing.

I am pretty much set with the Edge preamp, even thought the Clearaudio Balance and Dodd preamps are both excellent too (at a much lower price level).

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
System edited: Added the last updates for the best sound so far from my system: - PC transport now with solid state disc and convolver FIR digital room correction - Edge Signature 1.1 preamplifier replaced Clearaudio Balance preamp

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hallo Philip,

ich habe eine Weile nicht mehr bei Audiogon reingeschaut, daher erst jetzt meine Antwort!

Wuerde mich freuen, wenn wir uns mal zum gemeinsamen Hobby austauschen koennen! Schreib mir einfach eine E-Mail an [email protected] und ich schick Dir meine Tel. Nummer.

Frohes Neues Jahr noch gleich auf dem Weg!

Gruss

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
System edited: Came across the perfect little remote to control the audio software on my PC Transport, the Logitech DiNovo Mini. Bluetooth, rechargeable, backlit, all the keys for conveniently navigating in JR Mediacenter. Cool.

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
System edited: Just made good on my lazy ways and finally updated equipment and pictures to current state afer moving to our new home...it was a lot of work!

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Karel,

Great to hear from you again and I hope you're doing well. I looked at your system from time to time and saw that you had a number of changes going on as well :-)

Same over here, not just the system, we also moved to a different flat. By now my setup is very different from the one listed here. I need to take pictures and UPDATE!

The Tidals are of course still here, after the Horch (Excellent set, bought it used but sold again already...) I tried a DODD Tube Battery powered preamp (great piece as well!). Changed the Power Amp to a Moscode 401 HR Tube Hybrid, found that too much warmth with the Dodd and changed the preamp again to a Clearaudio Balance, which I am totally happy with. The source has changed as well, I have built a DAC unit with USB input and the main source is now a PC with touchscreen and all my CDs in lossless FLAC format. Sounds better still than my modified Esoteric DV-50 and is so convenient to use that I am never going back to CD players again :-) I am also using a Velodyne DD-18 subwoofer with the Tidal that integrates very nicely and helps to make the sound even more balanced and spacious.

After moving I also did more on the room acoustics as I found this to be the most important area rather than further changing equipments.

I still owe you an invitation with some music listening and a good wine!

All the best

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Dewald,

Thanks for the complements :-)

Regards,

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Chen,

Yes, putting the speakers across the corner did improve the sound. I did this mainly beacuse the other half of the room is used as the dining area, so I could not place the speakers perfectly on either the short or long wall. The corner placement has the advantage of allowing a very deep soundstage and less problems with standing waves (bass resonance).

But it still needed some acoustics treatments to improve :-)

Regards,

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi,

Sorry, have not been reading or updating for a while now! Actually I need to take new pictures to show the latest changes:
- Audionet Amplifiers were sold and replaced by a Horch 3.0S power amplifier and a Dodd Audio battery pre amp
- Room acoustics were further improved with Rosso Window Covers and some Eigthnerve corner treatments

To Audio999 - not sure about the US, I would think about 25,000 US$ (check with halfnote audio, they are distributors)

To Loxodrome - Did not try the resonators, but I might some time if I get the chance. I have 4 Rosso Acoustic Panels now covering the windows which I need to take photos off. They are brilliant and helped a lot. Do not look like acoustics treatment at all!

Thanks for your interest in my system :-)

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Chris,

Yes, I emailed you, thanks for the reply! I am using Analysis Plus power cords and some small German DIY brand to the Isoclean power bar. I was just curious about the Paragon, I have not yet found a better cable, but I pretty much stopped looking. I have not tried Ridge Street so far.

I have recently changed my amplifiers, will need to update my system here again.

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Thanks James. I left a message on your system page re your experience with the Zanden DAC. Seriously nice!

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Thanks for the kind comment! I see that you have VMPS speaerks, I am always intrigued by ribbon speakers! Did not have a chance to hear them over here in Germany unfortunately. Do they intergrate well with the dynamic drivers?

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
System edited: Added current pictures and a number of changes: - added RWL-1 room tuning panels from Furutech - Finite Elemente Cerapucs under speakers instead of spikes - Racks changed from 2 Copulare to one custom rack - Speakers are setup across a room corner Imaging, balance and depth have improved as a result :-)

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hallo Frankpiet,

Ich verwende keine Magnan-Kabel, auch keine von Siltech...habe bis jetzt noch keine probieren können. Ich bin ziemlich auf Pure Note Paragon Enhanced eingeschossen! Von den Pure Notes habe ich jetzt ein langes Kabel für die Strecke Vorverstärker zu den Monoblocks bekommen, so dass ich nun das Rack ausserhalb der Boxenmitte aufstellen kann. Das war aber kein Kabelwechsel, sondern das gleiche bloss in lang :-) Selbst bei den 8 Metern Länge in RCA ist das Kabel 100% absolut ruhig und ohne Störeinflüsse. Ich bin weiterhin begeistert.

Ansonsten habe ich noch Furutech RWL-1 zur Verbesserung der Akustik eingesetzt. Das sind im wesentlichen Diffusoren und die Wirkung auf die Räumlichkeit und den Klang ist prima.

Grüße

Jörg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Douglas,

I agree with you there, as much as the sound is the prime concern, it is also important to try and maintain a nice and clean look. After all, it is only worth the effort if one spends lots of time listening, so it should be friendly on the eyes too :-)
Your stereo and video rig looks great, I would love to have a dedicated room, my system is in the living and dinining room. I am waiting for some room tuning panels to work on the acoustics, I read your auralex panels helped too!

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
System edited: Added some detail photos for some components. Now I am waiting for the longer set of Pure Note Paragon cables and some Furutech room tuning panels to further work on the acoustics in my room.

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hi Eddy,

can't really say much. The Esoteric and Audionet work fine together, but I don't know the Studio 140.
I would put both the Esoteric and Audionet into the pretty much neutral and high resolution corner of the spectrum. If the speakers favour tubes they might be a bit much together for certain tastes. But really, from what I would think I can not see any reason why your setup should not sound fabulous.

Joerg

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Thanks for your kind words Joey!
I will need to update the picture though, took some today and will upload probably next weekend.

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
System edited: Added the Isoclean power bars and the Harmonix spike base and tuning feet. Replacing the Audio Magic Stealth and the standard spike bases on my speakers changed the sound from ultra detailed but over delicate to a more robust and natural sound. I think a change that was triggered by the new speakers that are more resolving then the previous ones.

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
For the non-German speaking crowd:
The questions above were about the power cord and interconnect used on my dv-50 (analysis plus power oval and pure note paragon enhanced XLR cable). A recommendation was made for the RAM mods on the DV-50 being very effective, wich I can entirely appreciate, as my player is already modified up to Level 3 from www.audiocominternational.com and the difference is really worth it to me as well.

In the meantime, I had time to compare the SAP Relaxa base under the Esoteric and it does make a significant, easy to determine difference to the sound. The good news is that the change is entirely positive. Increase in space between instruments, better timing and slightly rounder sound. Nice. I would say cartainly worth the price for what I paid used. Listprice is a bit too steep on the Relaxa IMHO. Frankly, I did not expect an obvious change in the magnitude, given that the Esoteric is not built flimsy as all and neither is the Copulare stand or shelf it sits on.

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hallo, Danke für den Tip. Mein Esoteric ist bereits modifiziert von www.audiocominternational.com.
Meine Mods entsprechen Level 3 + einige extra caps
(Superclock 3, neue regulator boards, upgrade caps...s. auch http://www.audiocom-uk.com/control/news/anmviewer.asp?a=178&z=8 für Details).
Bin auch damit sehr zufrieden, dadurch wurden so die letzten "Bedenken" beim Klang beseitigt. Allerdings ist auch die SAP Relaxa nicht zu vernachlässigen, die bringt noch mal was, obwohl der Player schon auf dem sehr soliden Copulare Rack steht.

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Hallo,

ich verwende ein Analysis-Plus Power Oval Netzkabel und Purenote Paragon XLR Interconnect am Esoteric DV-50. Ansonsten kann ich mitlerweile die SAP Relaxa unter dem Esoteric DV-50 als Erfolg bezeichnen, die erhöhr nochmal die Details und Klarheit der Musik.

MfG,

Jörg Klein

audionut2005

222222&text=au
Owner
Well, there are many speakers with that kind of design, I guess one reason is simply because it makes sense? I am glad Tidal does not incorporate too many slanted surfaces, I find the Avalon design a bit overdone in that area for my own taste.
Yes, they sound splendid. Will have to work on my room acoustics though to get the most out of them.

audionut2005