Description

I've made three significant changes to my system in the last year: Jim Smith voiced my system. I added isolation to the components. And I upgraded my entire analog front end.

Jim Smith, author of "Get Better Sound", voiced my system to my room resulting in a much better room/speaker/listener relationship. The equipment disappears and I am left immersed in the music. Tone, Dynamics and Presence reached a new level.

Isolating the equipment resulted in much improved resolution, quieter backgrounds and greater extension. Music sounds much more natural.

The new analog front end extracts information that I did not realize was in the medium. I have a new respect for the importance of the source component.

I listen mostly to acoustic, small-scale classical and jazz on vinyl. Ray Brown, Shirley Horn, Chet Baker. Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.

I listen about 12 hours a week and just get lost in the music. I'm now working on growing my collection of records and learning about classical music.
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Components Toggle details

    • Air Tight Supreme
    Wonderful cartridge. Replaced my Air Tight PC-1 Very quick, detailed and extended. Excellent dynamics and body. Natural timbre.
    • SME Series V-12
    Replaced the SME V. This 12 inch arm is more detailed, has better extension and less distortion than the standard SME V. It is an extremely solid and controlled tone arm.
    • SME Model 30/12A
    This replaced my SME Model 10/A. The table and Vibraplane (everything black in the photo) weigh a total of 400 lbs. The added mass, isolation and newly designed power supply for speed accuracy and stability are a significant upgrade. Refined, detailed, and extended, the SME 30/12 with V-12 arm sets a new standard in analog playback for me.
    • Pass Labs XP-25
    Upgraded from the Ono, then XOno. More refined sound. Excels in tonal density, timbral accuracy and spacial layering.
    • Pass Labs XP-20
    Replaced the X-1. Lower noise, more detail and air. Better dynamics. Extremely neutral and low in distortion.
    • Pass Labs XA160.5
    Had to go with monoblocks because of speaker location on each side of fireplace. Upgraded from the XA100.5. The Mini II's need the extra power/current. Wonderful control, transparency, timbre and sense of effortlessness. Best amps I've had in the system.
    • Magico Mini II
    Replaced Eggleston Rosa. Incredible transparency, lack of distortion, and coherence. Scale, dynamics, timbre all very natural. Demanding load. Very appropriate size speaker for my small room. The room/speaker interface works very well.
    • Transparent Audio Reference PowerIsolator
    Noise suppressor, surge protector and line conditioner. Replaced an Equi=Tech Q650
    • JPS Labs In-Wall AC
    Three 15' cables terminated with Furutech IEC's are directly connected from the AC panel to each of my amps and to the Equitech unit bypassing outlets.
    • Transparent Audio REF XL
    Phono cable DIN to RCA, 3' IC RCA from phono to preamp, 20' XLR from preamp to amps. These replaced Harmonic Technology Magic Link 2.
    • Transparent Audio REF XL Speaker Cable
    8' mono cables. These replaced Harmonic Technologies Pro Nine Plus.
    • Vibraplane 2210-01-13
    This is the passive 24
    • Townshend Seismic Sink Model 2
    I have three (5) of these on my rack. They are the older version with air bladders and LED lights to indicate level of inflation. I use them under my TT motor controller, my phono amp and my pre amp. They isolate the electronics from floor born vibrations resulting in increased clarity, focus, more apparent detail, particularly in the bass frequencies. Bass is more articulate, defined and has more weight. Along with the Vibraplane under my TT, the added isolation is a significant improvement.
    • Loricraft PRC4 Deluxe
    Replaced my VPI 16.5. Cherry finish, very quiet. Works exceptionally well, especially with Audio Intelligent 3-step cleaning solutions. I follow this with a demag sweep and new MoFi inner sleeves. Startling improvement in detail, clarity and dynamics. The only down side is cost and the 20-25 minutes per side cleaning time.
    • Audio Intelligent Vinyl Solutions #15 plus 3-step formulas plus rinse
    Very effective cleaning regimen. I use five steps in total and it takes about 30 min. per LP side, but the results are worth the effort. With super clean records, more information is extracted and the noise floor is lower for increased details and dynamics.
    • Mint LP Best Tractor
    Arc-type protractor for extremely acurate alignment. Patience required, but results are well worth it. Clear audible improvement.
    • Mint LP Protractor
    Custom made arch-type protractor. Note the flatter arch for the SME V-12 arm versus the SME V arm and the shorter overhang. Result is lower distortion.
    • Acoustic Revive RR-77
    Shuman Resonator. Positive effect on sense of space and depth.
    • Acoustic Revive RWL-3
    Diffusion panels. Increased stage width and made sound seem more natural.
    • ASC Tube Traps 16
    I have these in the four corners behind my speakers. They help tame bass nodes resulting in increased clarity and coherence. They also help with stage depth and imaging.
    • Acrylic Custom Dust Cover
    Custom made acrylic dust cover for SME 30/12.
    • DIY Custom Rack
    I designed and built this custom birch-ply and cherry rack for front end equipment. 17-ply birch selected to match speakers. Extremely strong, heavy and rigid. Replaced Zoethecus four shelf rack. The top shelf alone needs to support the 400 lbs of black steel in the Vibraplane and turntable. It can't be moved or rocked by hand.

Comments 162

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Center
I've heard Peter's table. And owned a SME 20/2 + SME IV.Vi arm. SME makes a great table. Others do things differently, hard to say better...Also heard a SME V-20 before...they make good stuff.

I'm pretty happy with my current arm and table...but if I ever got a 2nd table...it'd likely be a SME...

jfrech

Center
Hi Peter, how is the cartridge shoot out (couldn't think of a better word) coming along...

jfrech

Center
Hi Peter, as always, your careful listening notes really help to understand what you are hearing...and since I've heard your system, helps me to grasp the differences.

I'd like to encourage you to stay with Transparent..I think sticking with one brand has its benefits that manifest itself over time-over the long haul...I do understand how you feel about Transparent's XLR pricing...it can give one pause...

jfrech

Center
Congrats on the new phono stage!! Read so many nice things about it, what diff did u hear from your xono? Will be surprised if u swap out wire...

jfrech

Center
Hi Peter, it was great to meet you and listen to your system! It sounded FANTASTIC !!

This is one of those examples where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole...really awesome transparency and imaging. I can tell great car went into room and speaker set up...also cartridge set up!

Honestly, one the better systems I've ever heard! First time I've heard a all pass labs system...and it was pretty special! Of course that SME 30/21 is to die for!

Congratulations. Beautiful home also !

jfrech

Center
Hi, oh man, congrats on your new table !! Wow, I bet that sounds just killer! You'll have to post more on what the sounds differences are. I used to have a SME 20/2 and SME IV.Vi, so I can relate to your (now) former SME 10

Congrats again !!

jfrech