System Update, Version 3.0 - 2010 was a good year for my system with the acquisition of a new home with dedicated 2 channel listening room. Gone are the CAL CL-25 (sob), the Bel Canto Pre1, the Musical Fidelity V-DAC and the Roku Soundbridge.

I was able to complete my vision of tri-amplifying the Apogees. I added a third pair of channels on the Marchand crossover - crossover frequencies are 70hz and 700hz - and a third Bel Canto S300. I also moved into the world of hi-rez music downloads - playback is accomplished by either burning DVD-A discs from 24/xx FLAC files or accessing them directly off the network with the Squeezebox Duet.

On the front end, the Roku was replaced by a Squeezebox, and an Oppo BDP-83 replacing the CL-25. Both of these replacements are due to the desire to play higher resolution source material. The CL-25 would not play homemade DVD-A's and the Roku does not stream FLAC files. These sources feed the DAC-3 which has replaced both the Pre1 and the V-DAC, greatly simplifying the signal path. The DAC-3 will handle up to 24/192 data feed.

Overall system definition, range and sound stage are each vastly improved. Individual instruments are now easy to place and I'm hearing details not previously heard. Next up is some room improvements with replacement of the wall-to-wall carpet with hardwood and rugs first on the list.

Old System, Version 2.5 - A simple system assembled from quality used equipment. In this case, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The key to the system is the use of an active crossover and the wonderfully quick and transparent Apogees. The Marchand crossover is set at 80hz between the panel and the sub/stand. I found the CL-25, Marchand, the Bel Canto pieces, Apogees and MITs on Audiogon.

The Apogees were an upgrade from my original (bought new in '86) ADS L1290's (not for sale).

The Bel Canto equipment is my latest passion - I love this stuff and the BC staff is accessible and responsive.

Recent changes include replacing the CAL Icon II with the later CL-25 CD/DVD player and addition of the Roku Soundbridge feeding a Musical Fidelity V-DAC.

The next upgrade will be a larger dedicated listening environment and a TacT preamp/crossover/RCS.

Components Toggle details

    • Oppo BDP-83
    Well reviewed universal player - plays virtually any format disc including my homemade 24/96 DVD-A's
    • Bel Canto Design DAC-3
    The DAC-3 serves a dual role as both DAC and preamp.
    • Marchand XM9L-3AA Electronic Crossover
    3-way crossover - crossover frequencies set at 70hz and 700hz.
    • Bel Canto Design S300
    Very nICE amps. Three amps - one each for highs, mids and lows.
    • Apogee Acoustics Stage / Mini-Grand
    Upgraded with Mini-grand sub/stands.
    • Acoustic Research AP030 and Pro Series II PR130
    Sam Tellig's recommended El Cheapo cable.
    • MIT MITerminator 3 (3 pairs)
    Three 10' pairs, one each for highs, mids and lows.
    • Monster Power HTPS 7000 MKII
    Power Conditioner

Comments 11


i like your system very much and its interesting how you chose similar crossover frequencies as my larger version of the mini-grands. I am not a big fan of digital amplification and the Stage certainly can sound extremely well with a moderate power amplifier based on the technology of your choice. It even works well in rooms with a surface area of 80 ms2 +

Enjoy your system


System edited: General revision to bring everything up to date.


Thanks - no new IC's required. I'm not a big believer in expensive cables - the plain-Jane AR cables work fine for me (and Sam Tellig).


Looks great Steve.

Did you have to buy new IC cables with the new rack height?


System edited: Updated the rack photos to show current components.


System edited: Swapped-out the CAL Icon II for the later CAL CL-25 with HDCD and 24/96 DVD-A capability. Also replaced the Apple Airport with a Roku Soundbridge wireless digital music server feeding a Musical Fidelity V-DAC.


Sweet system!! Well done!!

One of my great experience in HiFi is listening to Stages with Mark Levinson.


Thanks for the feedback guys - looks like I'm in good company.

Best regards,


Stevethe6th, my first Apogee was a Stage speaker on stands like yours. That was my favorite speaker. I liked it even more than the Duettas I replaced the Stage speakers with. Now I own the Apogee Scintilla.

Like you, I have ICE amps. I worked tirelessly on improving their sound. I succeeded beyond every expectation.


Very nice, clean looking set up. Interestingly, in the early 90's I had a very similar system having the CAL Icon player and Adcom 555MkII amp.driving a pair of ADS L1290's with a CJ PV-5 tube pre and Adcom ACE enhancer...I sold the 1290's for a pair of Stages that have the same finish as yours.

I also had the S300 recently to drive my Emerald Physics CS-2's, and it was a really nice sound, so am familiar with the BC's...I would think the BC's do a great job on the Stages as well, but never heard that match-up.

Your system definitely brings me back to a good place in time and a very good sounding system in my journey.

Congratulations and enjoy your fine system.



System edited: The Adcom 555's have been replaced with the greener, high-tech BC S300's.


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