I finally started piecing together gear that was built and known to work together. This came after discovering the sound that does it for me. To me, the most important component.
August 10, 2019 - My daughter, Kelly, has purchased her first turntable, a Rega Planar 2. After reading about this table's sensitivity to vibration, especially in close proximity to speakers, I was surprised that there was zero effect from vibration when we turned up the volume with her speakers less than one foot from the table. The speakers are normally pulled out into the room, but not for this initial TT test. The bass was generous and I did some jumping up and down without issue. Is the cheap Ikea Lack Rack that we built handling all of this? If so, impressive.
May 2, 2018 - My daughter's audio rack is now completed. There are a few system pictures added. A really fun to build project on the cheap. What added the most cost, was using Herbie's Giant Threaded Stud Gliders for the bottom base. And, full length hard maple inserts for the legs.
March 23, 2018 - Work is progressing for daughter's first audio rack. Cost is a priority, as her first audio system is coming together. We decided on a DIY rack built from 4 IKEA Lack side tables ($8 each).
October 17, 2017 - Added NoRez material to quiet the sub cabinets from being heard. My system is sounding great in my open floor plan. Most of the DIY work was done by Jay (Captainhemo) who builds and sells custom flat packs for the sub cabinets up in British Columbia. You can find him on Audiocircle and you can see from my pics that he does marvelous work.
June 6, 2017 - Upgraded my Raven 1 table with latest bearing and Black Night feet. Background is blacker, sound is smoother, and bass is better. Added Townshend Isolation Bars to my subs. The subs work seamlessly with my Horning speakers, and have finally provided me with a full range sound that is also relaxed.
A wonderfully simple, but extremely well made design. Sounds fantastic. Tonearm: Ortofon RS-309D Cartridge: Miyajima Shilabe Tweaks: Motor Control: AC/MC Isolation: Silent Running Audio platform. Black Night feet. Platter Mat: TW-Acustic/Zanden Audio 5mm. Fuse: HiFi-Tuning Supreme. And, upgraded the bearing.
Great arm that works with the Raven. If I add another arm to the TT, this one will stay for mono.
My first truly high end cartridge, and the only I've tried with my Raven TT.
Tron Seven - Phono
Hand made Phono Amplifier that can be custom built. This one includes the caps from the Reference model and pseudo balanced outputs added for convenience. This may be upgraded to the Ultimate one day. Isolation: Eden TerraStones with brass balls, but currently trying them all. Tweaks: HiFi-Tuning fuse.
A temporary solution while saving up for a new line stage. I recently had Boulder Amplifiers upgrade the caps, and now the sound is wonderful.
TW-Acustic 300 B SET
Mono Block, 6 watts. Best component that I ever added. Now, I hear anything and everything that I change in my system. It brings my system together like it's sewn together from the same fabric. Designed and hand built by Thomas Woschnick.
A long-term personal project started in 1989, as I first found the MR-71 chassis heaped on top of other non-working and discarded gear. I simply could not let it die, and the price was right. Restored by Audio Classics and then upgraded by Sam's Audio Labs. The tuner sounded very good after Audio Classic's work, but Sam's transformation to full triode, wow! Birdseye Maple cabinet was built by High Quality Reproduction Cabinets who specialize in old gear.
Horning Aristotle Zigma Ultimate
This one has the DX65 drivers and finished in Apple Wood. The cabinetry is superb. These loudspeakers have given me "my"sound in spades. Their low end if driven properly is suberb. However, my house move took me to a setup with a large open space when the loudspeakers want a medium sized room with corners. This is the only reason, I added the DIY subs. And, I'm glad I did.
DIY - GR Research/Rythmik Sub Project Open Baffle
Variation of a GR Research cabinet design. Uses GR Research servo drivers in combination with specifically integrated and external Rythmik servo plate amps. This is a patented design between GR Research and Rythmik. Even though this has been a long process to set up and tweak for me, the subs work seamlessly with my Horning speakers. Tweaks: Symposium Super Plus Isolation Platform on top of Townshend Isolation Bars. The Bars, completely cured previous oscillation problem from mechanical feedback to my turntable.
DIY Siamese Rack
I built this to my specific requirements, so didn't really save me money as a DIY project. However, very rewarding and just what I wanted. Thanks to everyone on Audiogon who helped me out with this project.
Panel: Eaton Ultra all house surge protector.
Source: Two dedicated and isolated ground 20 amp circuits to Porter Port receptacles in floor with shielded covers.
Components: Brick Wall surge protector for TT Motor Controller and Boulder line stage.
Thank you for the accolades and kind words. However, I must admit that my nature as a person were developed from past experiences both good and bad. Except for Audiogon, I have real issues in becoming a "joiner." So, I tend to run away from the crowd. This is why I tend to seek out boutique gear and sometimes unique DIY solutions.
Again, thanks for all of your help and kind words.
Jay's associate did a great job matching the sub's veneer to your speakers, Kenny. I was pretty sure the OB Subs would provide the sound you were looking for, as that is the same sound as was I. I know you investigated the sub thoroughly, and understood the reason for it's unique sound---it's design! But it was still a leap of faith to go ahead with a pair of them, sound unheard. I applaud your bravery, with enough self-confidence and independence to invest in a product from a company lacking high-profile (at least, amongst Audiogon participants), or popular audiophile approval. You're a rare bird! Beautiful system, beautiful room.
Good to hear the GR Research/Rythmik OB/Dipole Subs met your high standards, Kenny. My pair work very well as substitutes for the stock woofers in a pair of Eminent Technology LFT-8b loudspeakers, from 180Hz down. The OB's can be used, unlike "normal" subs, up to 300Hz.
I built my rack a number of years ago and it was on the pricey side back then, because of the heavy brass hardware used. I think it was something like $1,100. I also removed two of the shelves after I moved my digital gear elsewhere. The full-length top and bottom shelves I had made up by a woodworking company. The middle shelves are butcher block cutting boards from Overstock. All the shelves are hard maple. The feet are from Mapleshade and I had a machine shop tap them for the heavy rod thread. The drawer was DIY and my daughter made the G-clef that's glued on as a Christmas present.
I love how adjustable the rack is, but I've changed my philosophy somewhat when it comes to vibration control due to my suspended floors. I'm heading into the direction of individual equipment isolation instead of trying to solve it all somehow with a rack. I've been looking at the isolation products from Townshend Audio and others, as I've had fantastic success with their Seismic Isolation Bars that are under my subs.
I just saw your comments here. You already have a very fine system, so perhaps the bug is bitting? Damn, I hate/love when that happens. (LOL)
The TW 300Bs are very special to me. Now, anything I try out in my system is revealed. And, tonally spot on for me. That's my best explanation.
A 16x20 room as you describe, can be turned into a great listening room with not much effort. At the same time, my open floor plan has added detail to my sound and with the subs, I've added the fill-in and bass that was somewhat lost. I'm in a good place with my system and will be upgrading my line stage soon to a Tron Ultimate. Next, will be my phono stage. That's all I need, besides some new wire! (LOL)
Your system just keeps getting better and better! So I'm very interested in your TW 300b amps and the Aristotles. I think my next move when I can save up the $$$ will be upgrading amps again.
You have a challenging room with the speakers in that position in terms of bass. Do you think that a more traditional listening room say 16x20 with 12' ceilings and corner reinforcement would produce pretty deep impactful bass? I can imagine the clarity and tone everywhere else is incredible it's just the bass definition and power that for me separates a world class 300b amp from others.
Thanks. I am extremely pleased with how things have worked out in my new home. The one exception, is my loss of some bass energy due to my open corners, but I have gained additional detail and my soundstage is big.
I am working on DIY project to add fill-in bass by adding two open baffle/dipole subs. Hopefully, these subs using h-frame cabinets and components designed jointly by GR Research and Rythmik will do the trick without taking away any of the magic.
It's great to know of your success with your sub experiment, because those DIY adventures are most rewarding when they deliver. Congratulations!
My room, is 31' long and just under 18' wide with a cathedral ceiling, so similar. My system cuts this room in half, or thereabouts. The sub recommendation came from my dealer, who has customers who have paired Horning speakers, like mine, with subs. He recommended MJ Acoustics subs whose staff used to work for REL, but he does not sell these. I would definitely have to try a loaner, before committing to something.
I am also trying to complete my system with a new line stage, and that expense is being weighed against the subs. Things, are also complicated, because my old Boulder line stage, somehow sounds so damn good in my system. This is causing me to stumble around and be indecisive about my next step.
I'm happy, that your efforts provided great results. That's cool.
Kenny, even though my Tannoys are good producers of bass, in my 16 X 34 w/cathedral ceiling room, I felt a couple of subs wouldn't be out of line. I rebuilt an old Velodyne 12" sub, using a new Eminence 12" subwoofer, and a plate amp. Also, I found a 15" passive Tannoy sub I paired with a Crown XTi 2002 amp, bridged to mono, it delivers 1600 Watts into 8 ohms.
I feel better connected to my music than ever before, it's a very pleasant experience. Hope you will find what works for you.
We're not getting alerted of new posts to our virtual systems, so sorry for the late reply.
After adding the 300B, the best overall improvement was simplifying and dedicating my power. The loss of some bass due to missing rear corners, was more than made up and surpassed by a virtual realism due to pulling out my regenerator and plugging my 300B and Tron Seven straight into the outlets. For safety, I added an all house surge protector, and for sound, dedicated isolated ground circuits with Porter Port receptacles, and Shun Mook Power cords to the mono blocks. I am extremely fortunate, that the power to the new house is stable and low in distortion as is.
The bass did improve with these changes, so gave me more fill-in. Now, I'm not so hungry for subs, but I'd love to try out a good pair with the system. If they could sync with the Hornings, I'd be done if not for tweaking.
Well, I finally have set up my new room in our new home. There are still compromises, so the road goes on and on.
The place has a nice open floor plan, but not a single room with two closed corners, so as you can see openings to the left and right of my speakers. This drops the supportive reflective energy affecting the fill-in of my soundstage. At the same time, the detail of my sound has noticeably increased. Does reflective sound smear detail?
I am toying with the idea of adding a pair of subs for fill in, while retaining the detail. I've never cared for subs, but my memories are from the old days. Any thoughts?
BTW - Once the system warms up, the sound is quite beautiful, and does better my old setup. The two exceptions are soundstage width, so sound levels are diminished extending out to the left and right of my speakers. And, there is a slight loss of bass energy.
i don't have that way grippy surface problem, so easy for me to remove my vinyl.
I think some combinations work better than others, so perhaps why some negative reporting. No matter, I love what I'm hearing.
I went underground for awhile, because we've moved into a new home, and now all has changed. New system challenges as well. I'm not ready to add system pictures or get serious yet, but I have set up my system. Once, I get my act together, I will report back.
I feel the same way about the TW/Zanden mat. The improvement was only positive for sonics with the only potential downside being the extreme care needed when removing LPs off the grippy surface lest they go zinging off my turntable! Seriously I don't get the whole love/hate threat on this mat on the analog forum. It's a no brainer. Btw, I see the huge upgrades in your system recently. Must be sounding awesome! Congrats -Ed
System edited: Just arrived and added the TW-Acustic/Zanden Platter Mat. I don't know if this mat is designed for Raven tables or meant to be generic, but this was by far the biggest bang-for-the-buck tweak I've ever performed. The result is greater purity of sound overall, and I can't hear anything added or taken away to feel that something has been compromised. I have tried other platter mats in the past and never liked them, because there were tradeoffs. This addition came right after my TW amps opened up and started singing. Improvements are across the board, so more natural and organic sound realized from lower noise, better focus and imaging, but at the same time retaining all the air. Improved tone, dynamics, and soundstage all provide a more believable presentation. I'm thinking, greater resolution from extended isolation, but that's a guess. For the way, that I feel a system should sound, this mat exceeded my expectations in that direction. I'm also thinking, that my new amps are allowing me to hear, better than ever before, changes that I make to my system. An absolute winner of a tweak for my system and my ears.
We've been cleaning house getting ready to sell, and I hit a point where I could stop and do some listening.
After about 1-1/2 sides listening to The Alternate Blues, Clark Terry and company, the magic happened. I don't know if the amps or the new tubes just kicked in, but there it was. Natural and believable sound just pouring out. All aspects elevated, smooth and open. My goodness.
I will find more time to listen in my chaos, and get back with a better report. I am still using the $6.95 generic power cords, waiting for my Shun Mooks.
My speakers are dead silent. More so, than any other speaker I've owned. However, I do have mild transformer hum, but this has no effect on the speakers or sound. The hum will be remedied soon by Thomas. No big deal.
I've had little time with my system, because now I'm about to put my home on the market and get a new place. I have been thinking about a new dedicated room, so less time for listening and more time in fantasizing.
I can say, that I've been able to flip on a side or two, now and then, and the sound keeps giving. I'm playing and enjoying less rotated records, outside of my heavy hitters, so that should be an indicator that I'm finding these amps to be joyful. No sit-down serious listening, lately.
From going over your previous questions, Ive picked out a couple of attributes that seem to be important to you. These are bass and pinpoint imaging. Of course, there are others, but these seemed to be the ones youre most concerned about. Ive covered the bass, but we may have different expectations for imaging. What are you looking for in this respect? Kenny