Description

This system was built on the concept of optimizing system environment -- to deliver as clean electrical current at the correct voltage as practicable and to provide state-of-the-art isolation of system components from internal and external vibration. It has taken more than a year to spec and install the electrical system and to choose and acquire the isolation and audio components. Experimented with cable last 3-years. The room design itself is not bad with cathedral ceiling, non-parallel walls and protrusions to break up standing waves, together with drapes, carpeting and furniture. The system itself employs solid state, tube and hybrid components that mate well to create a very satisfying reproduction of music -- the best sound I have ever heard in my home by a very large margin. I am indebted to a number of A'goners for their patience and diligence in responding to my questions. You have not only been invaluable in making this system as successful as it is, but you've added to the fun of building it as well. I cannot name everyone unfortunately, but special thanks must go to Albert Porter, Tom Mackris, Doug Deacon, Rauliruegas, Rgurney, Sirspeedy and Nsgarch. I would also like to add special thanks to designer-manufacturers Kevin Tellekamp of SRA, Ayre, Wilson Audio, Synergistic Research, Transparent, Lamm, Allnic and especiallyAlbert Porter for their time, advice and patience.
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Room Details

Dimensions: 25’ × 24’  X large
Ceiling: 12’


Components Toggle details

    • Ayre Acoustics DX-5 Universal A/V Engine
    Ayre DX-5 is a combination audio/video/DAC that will play any audio or video 5. It takes 500 hours to fully break-in, at which point it is much better than reported by Michael Fremer. I do not miss my C-5xeMP or my Exemplar Denon 5910 with very expensive NOS tubes at all.
    • Silent Running Audio VR fp isoBASE Platform
    Designed for the Ayre DX-5. See pic of DX-5 on top of SRA VR isoBASE. Even though the DX-5 was on the SRA Craz Rack, adding the VR significantly improved the SQ.
    • Technics SP 10 MK 3 Porter Plinth
    The electronics on this MK3 have been completely restored & upgraded, Micro Seiki CU 180 mat, installed in a MK3 2-arm Porter Plinth with Stillpoint Ultras
    • SME 312S
    SME 12-inch tonearm in magnesium alloy with detachable headshell.
    • Koetsu Coralstone
    wonderful!
    • Allnic H3000
    Tube Phono Preamp LCR equalization technology and transformer coupled, patented Gel damping for tube sockets, 4 tonearm inputs, bal & SE outputs, new model with 4 gain level, upgraded, larger transformers
    • Ayre Acoustics K-1xe
    with phono stage and remote Using Aesthetix Io Signature instead of K-1xe phono stage. See Review http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/ayre_k1xe_v1xe_followup.htm
    • Lamm Industries M1.2
    Hybrid mono blocks with NOS tubes Great amps for sure, but replacing the Sovtek 6922s with NOS Amperex 6922/E88CC D getter made a huge difference in the sound. See Reviews http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/lamm_m12_followup.htm http://stereophile.com/amplificationreviews/205lamm/
    • Purist Audio Design 20th Anniversary Balanced XLR
    1.5 meters. Insane retail price. Awesome tonal balance and dynamics with rich, full sound. Floats 3-D images within wide, deep & high soundstage. Amazingly deep, tight & powerful bass. Extremely low noise floor. Remarkable clarity, liquid midrange, extended highs. In short, best IC I have heard in my system.
    • Purist Audio Design 20th Anniversary Balanced XLR
    3.0 meters. Insane price. Awesome tonal balance and dynamics with rich, full sound. Floats 3-D images within wide, deep & high soundstage. Amazingly deep, tight & powerful bass. Extremely low noise floor. Remarkable clarity, liquid midrange, extended highs. In short, best IC I have heard in my system.
    • Purist Audio Design 20th Anniversary RCA
    1.5 meters RCA. Insane price. Awesome tonal balance and dynamics with rich, full sound. Floats 3-D images within wide, deep & high soundstage. Amazingly deep, tight & powerful bass. Extremely low noise floor. Remarkable clarity, liquid midrange, extended highs. In short, best IC I have heard in my system.
    • Purist Audio Aqueous Anniversary RCA
    2 meters
    • Transparent Music Link Ultra MM RCA
    1.5 meter
    • Purist Audio Design 20th Anniversary Speaker Cable
    6 feet with WBT spades. Amazingly low noise floor. Natural tonal balance, textures, and dynamics. Floats 3-D images within wide, deep & high soundstage. Awesome deep, tight & powerful bass.
    • Purist Audio Design Purist 20th Anniversary PC
    6 of these, 5 1-meters and 1 2-meter. My reference power cord. Has everything the VD Revelation & Transparent PowerLink MM have, but in this system presents much better imaging and separation of instruments and voices and a more natural, less hifi sound.
    • Purist Audio Opis Rev C
    1 meter. Powers Turntable power supply.
    • Stealth Dream PC for preamps.
    2 meters. A bit cooler and perhaps not as much low level detail as the Purist 20th Anniversary, but otherwise similar to it.
    • Virtual Dynamics Master Series LE 2.0 PC
    5 foot power cord. Not quite as stiff as the pre-3.0 Revelation, but close to the Revelation 2.0 in overall sound quality.
    • Transparent PowerIsolator MM
    2 of these, one for each mono block. The MM is the top of the line in the PowerIsolator series. I need all of these PowerIsolators because I live in one of the lightning capitals of the world.
    • Transparent PowerIsolator 8
    For digital components. See Reviews: http://www.avrev.com/equip/transparentisolator/index.html
    • Transparent PowerIsolator 4
    For analog components. See Review: http://www.transparentcable.com/news/audiorevolution/AR_PI4_review.html
    • Square D Commercial Power Ctr & QO Load Ctr
    Meter connects to the Power Center via massive copper bars and cables which splits via breakers into 2 systems, a 200 amp system for the house and 100 amp system dedicated to the AV system. Each system runs to its own Square D QO Load Center with switchable lightning grade surge protector. The Load Center for the AV system is located close to the AV system. An 85' armored, cryo'd & cooked 00 AWG copper cable connects the 100-amp breaker to the AV Load Center. The 100 amp dedicated system has 5 circuits of armored cryo'd & cooked 10-AWG copper cables: 1 for each of the Lamm mono blocks, 1 for analog components, 1 digital components and 1 for the video projector
    • Virtual Dynamics Armored BX Cables
    0-awg, cooked & cryo'd from 100 amp breaker to AV Square D QO Load Center, 85 feet; 5 - 10-awg, cooked & cryo'd from AV Loan Center to each of 5 dedicated cooked & cryo'd Virtual Dynamics Hubble Hospital Grad Outlets: 1 for each of the Lamm mono blocks, one for the digital components, 1 for the analog components and 1 for the video projector
    • Silent Running Audio Craz Reference isoRack Plus
    twin Craz racks, custom size, wooden parts are sappel mahogony bleached and stained to match teak furniture in room.
    See Reviews:

    http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/silentrunning_craz_4.htm

    http://www.ultraaudio.com/equipment/sra_craz_4_reference_isorack_plus.htm
    • Silent Running Audio Ohio Class XL Plus 2 isoBASE
    isolation stand custom designed and set up for Lamm M1.2 See Review: http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/silentrunning_ohio_class_xlplus2_followup.htm
    • Loricraft PRC-3
    Record cleaning machine. Magnificent! As important to the sound of my analog system as any component. See Review: http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue15/loricraft.htm
    • Audiodharma Cable Cooker 2.5 Deluxe w adapters
    Not just for helping break in cables but excellent for maintaining them in top performing condition. Unfortunately, Alan shipped my cable cooker without the tonearm wire-phono cable adapter and I have been frustrated in trying to get it for almost 3 months now. I know cooking the tonearm wire and phono cable would make a big difference. His ability to supply this adapter is a real issue. See Review: http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0404/audioharma.htm http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue15/cablecooker.htm
    • Transparent PowerBank 2
    Scaled down from the PowerIsolator series, but still providing non-current limiting surge protection and grunge filtering, it is meant primarily for televisions. Used with my ceiling mounted projector.
    • InFocus IN83
    1080p Projector 1600 lumens
    • Transparent Multisource Protector
    A surge protector for CATV cable and antenna
    • Stewart Filmscreen Grayhawk RS G3 Deluxe Screenwall
    106 inch screen
    • 12" Primary Control Tonearm
    Amsterdam-based company specializing in custom-made tonearms designed by its electrical engineer owner, Bernd Hemmen.  It employs a unique, proprietary two-point pivot. The armwand is made of a titanium tube with a carbon graphite outer layer, separated by carefully inserted damping material to optimize resonant characteristics. Its sound is best described as 3-dimensional, accurate, lively, dynamic, and detailed with exceptional frequency extension on both ends. MSRP for this configuration is about $6,500.
    • Purist Audio Design Ultimate USB Cable
    • Auralic Aries Mini with external linear PSU
    Aries Mini with external linear PSU $848 bested my much modded Mac Mini

    Added Samsung 1TB internal SSD $350 to make the Mini a music server-Tidal streamer.  iPhone Lightning DS App controller is a joy to use
    • Lumagen Radiance 2123 HD Video Processor
    • Wilson Audio Sasha Series-2
    Mahogany Metallic with black grills and trim.
    • UpTone Audio Regen & Booster Power Supply
    • Synergistic Research Black Box - Low Frequency Resonator Array
    • Synergistic Research FEQ Frequency Equalizer
    • Synergistic Research HFT & HFT 2.0 - High Frequency Transducers

Comments 59

222222&text=th
Nice. I love your racks. I'm looking to move from Grand Prix
Audio Monaco to SRA Craz or HRS SXR. How much of a sonic
difference did the Craz Racks make?

thesaint519

222222&text=ci
Owner
Thanks, Saint. Yes, the 20th Anniversary Cables + the current analog and digital sources have improved the system to the point you can almost think it is real instead of reproduced.

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

222222&text=th
NICE SYSTEM!! I bet it sounds like "A Slice Of Heaven." :)

thesaint519

222222&text=ci
Owner
Bert, I replaced mine with Lamm M1.2 mono blocks, which I love.
Ed

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

222222&text=so
I can't find it out of all the gear you have listed. I own a levinsson 27.5 and am considering a pair of 20.6 / what did you replace your with? thanks, bert

soundit

222222&text=ci
Owner
I have forgotten the amps. When I had the lab power supply, I set it at 10 amps, but the Mac never drew that much. I will have to ask my engineering friend about the amperage the next time I see him. The Mac Mini requires 12-volts, and the power supply is set at 12.5 volts (slightly better sound) - there is a dial on the front of dt1732t to adjust the volts. An engineering audiophile friend did the mods to the power supply - not sure which caps he used (not Blackgates however).

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

222222&text=vn
I understand the DF-1745 delivers 8amp. Would it be a better choice?
What is the brand, Sinram?
Thanks.

vn101606

222222&text=vn
DT1732T? Would it be DF-1732T? Isn't it 5amp? Doesn't the mac mini require at least 8amp? If you don't mind, which caps did you use? Thanks, Vicente

vn101606

222222&text=ci
Owner
Vn101606,

After testing several, we went with a DT1732T and modified it with upgraded caps. I'm powering it with a Shunyata Sidewinder, which I would like to upgrade as well as the umbilical from the power supply to the Mac Mini.

In any event, it was the best of the group before the mod and much better than the others after the mod.

Ed

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

222222&text=vn
Did you figure out the best linear power supply for the Mac Mini?

I am looking forward to replacing my switching power supply, with the best external power supply available.

Thank you.

vn101606

222222&text=ci
Owner
Hi John. Thanks, and yes, I have never heard music in my home sound as real as it does with a good LP played on the MK3. It is simply stunning. My dealer and friend here in Tampa, George Liu, owner of Audio Visions South, helped me set it up in his store and then move it to my home. George has been in the business since he finished college in the early 1980s and has a lot of experience with analog and digital sources and performance modifications to both. The first time we played an LP on his store system (Ayre phono stage, Ayre KXR (alternating with ARC Ref 5) and McIntosh MC2KW Monoblocks (Alternating with Ayre MXR monoblocks) and Wilson Sashas, George said "This is the best source I have ever had in the store."

My modded Mac Mini/Ayre DX-5 is so good it was challenging my 20/2/Graham Phantom I/Koetsu Coralstone and pretty much forced me to try to upgrade my analogue system.

What Albert has accomplished is simply awesome.

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

Center
I bet this is a massive upgrade for you. I've heard Albert's tables quite a few times...along with that arm and cartridge. I saw you're SME for sale now...so I guess that's the answer on what you really think between the two!

Congrats on a killer good vinyl front end !

jfrech

222222&text=ci
Owner
System edited: Replaced SME 20/2, Graham Phantom 1, DV XV-1S with Technics SP 10 MK3 with completely restored and upgraded electronics, Porter 2-arm plinth with Stillpoint Ultras, Micro Seiki CU-180 Mat, SME 312S and Koetsu Coralstone cartridge. Replaced original Allnic H3000 phono stage with the new H3000 with the larger transformers.

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

222222&text=ci
Owner
Paul, my audio dealer did the mods. Most anyone can swap the RAM and the hard drive for an SSD. The only part of the mods that are delicate are removing the switching power supply and soldering in the leads and afixing a restraint for the umbilical cable to the external power supply. I'm just using a laboratory instrument linear power supply now - 10 amps (the Mini seems to draw anywhere from about 0.50 to about 2.00 amps) and an adjustable power supply. The 2010 Mini is designed for 12 volts. I am running 12.6 volts with no problems and I get better sound quality than with 12.0. Eventually, I will have a custom power supply built with specified parts, but must wait until the holidays are over to find the right guy to do it.

You will not believe the difference the mods make. Also, the Ayre Wave app is much better than iTunes and copying the files into a RAM disc also greatly improves the sound (and that's why you really need 8 GB of RAM.

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

222222&text=pa
Who did the mods to your Mac Mini?? I'm intrigued by that. I have a stock one feeding my AN DAC.

paulfolbrecht

222222&text=ci
Owner
Jfrech,

Good questions. Amarra is good, but to my ears, Ayre Wave is slightly better. Both are much better than iTunes.

The engineer my dealer and are working with on this project has a 2009 Macbook Pro with 8 GB Ram, a hard drive and the same Ayre Wave software. He ran his in Ram Disc just like mine and through the same system at my dealer's store. The new Mini with the SSD and the linear power supply that he has bought a Mini and is molding the same as mine.

The next step is to build a hi-end power supply for the Mini yo further improve the SQ. We have already established that upgrading the power cord on the power supply improves the SQ.

I don't have direct tv. I have road runner / bright house. But blu-Ray and DVD is noticeably better than the Sony and very much faster.

I think if you get a new Mini (much better SQ than the prior we found) and do the same mods and play through the ram disc, you will be surprised how wonderful the SQ is.

Let me know.

Ed

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

Center
Wow, congrats on the digital upgrade. I have always admired your system. I recently upgraded my digital also and have to admit, its pretty damn nice sounding.

A good hi rez recording and i dont miss vinyl as much. Getting to be toss up now and the recording dictates supremacy vs the medium.

I am thinking about adding a mac, i am thinking of going down the road of a macbook+amarra. Did you explore this or is the mac min + ssd, lin power supply, etc just superior?

My dcs also has a asynch usb like your ayre...

Btw, how is the video on the dx5? Better than direct tv or similar?

Thanks

jfrech

222222&text=ci
Owner
System edited: I have replaced my Ayre C-5xeMP and my Sony Blu-Ray player with the new Ayre DX-5 and added an SRA VR series isoBASE designed specifically for the DX-5. The DX-5 is significantly better than the C-5xeMP on all audio discs and even better than my Exemplar Denon 5910. I also added a modded Apple 2010 Mac Mini with 8 GB of SDRAM, an SSD, and an outboard linear DC power supply in place of the stock inboard switching power supply. It feeds the DX-5 through a Locus Design Nuclear USB cable. Music files are played through Ayre's Ayre Wave software (instead of iTunes) and a 4.5 GB Ram Disc. Altogether, this is the best digitally reproduced music I have heard in my system and narrows the gap with analog considerably.

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

222222&text=ci
Owner
System edited: Recently upgraded to Purist Anniversary speaker cables, so now most of my cables are Purist Anniversary. Improvement was awesome. Seems to have been the link that created the synergy that brought the system to the level I have been seeking.

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

222222&text=ci
Owner
Ryder,

Thanks for the system compliment. It is lightyears beyond anything I have had before. I love your system setup. Beautifully done. Blends in nicely, so that it's all about the music

"Last" is a vinyl preservative that is useful on new records but is even better on old records because it has vinyl restorative properties. Use if after cleaning a vinyl record.

Ed

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

222222&text=ry
Hi Cipherjuris,

Thanks for the suggestion on "Last" to renew vinyl in my thread. I haven't really cleaned any of my records yet but will keep your advice in mind. Being a newbie in the world of vinyl, I have no idea what exactly is "Last" and would appreciate if you can clarify. Is this a washing liquid? Any links? Sorry for the daft question.

At the meantime, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate you for your wonderful system. I just realized your Dynavector cartridge can buy a couple of my turntable, 3 to be exact with some small change. I can just imagine how awesome your system would sound like.

ryder

222222&text=ci
Owner
Thanks Timztunz and Glenfihi for taking the time to look at my system and for your compliments.

Timztunz, I took a peek at your system. Beautifully executed system! I envy your room setup. Unfortunately, the typical "Florida" plan leaves only one wall to place speakers, screen and rack of components and restrictions on how far you can bring speakers into the room. Wilsons, however, do setup nicely not to far from the front wall and are easier to place than most speakers. Even with the rack between the speakers, however, I do get a fairly deep soundstage as well as a wide one.

Enjoy the music!

Ed

Ag insider logo xs@2xcipherjuris

222222&text=gl
Smart and very smart system. Great look to your system, enjoyed reading your comments on the various components and your attention to details towards your design goals.

glenfihi

Center
Beautiful system and one of the best "convergences" of music and video I've seen. Can only imagine how wonderful it must sound with your choice of gear. Compliments of the highest order.

timztunz

222222&text=ci
Owner
System edited: Newest updates to system: Updated Ayre C-5xe to C-5xeMP and Purist Anniversary Balanced XLR interconnect. MP upgrade made CDs & especially SACDs much, much closer to vinyl sound. Installed between the Ayre C-5xeMP, the Purist Anniversary made the background much blacker than the Stealth Indra and the sound much richer & fuller (whereas previously, my one criticism of the C-5xe was that the sound was a bit thin compared to the analog system & the Exemplar Denon 5910.

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