I now feel that after 30 years I'm hearing my music the way I've always dreamt of.. Fluent, effortless, high bandwidth,image placement is very precise, low level detail and ambient sounds are so clear,the sense of the acoustic space of the recording is now very apparent. Sheer joy!
Balanced Output power supply. Replaced a PS Audio P10, self designed and built to order; 3 individually isolated supply circuits, one for digital (game changer), one for analogue source, and finally a 1.5Kva for amplification. Full DC elimination filter circuit, safety protection fuses on each line, 10 Furutech outputs sockets (gold). Neutrik input socket, selectable voltage display, current displays for each circuit, diplay off switch, non magnetic casework, all silver plated pure copper internal wiring. Led status display for each outlet.
This literally transforms the sound of the system beyond any other upgrade; the P10 did nothing in comparison. The improvement to already good digital is the big shock, just using 16 bit, tonality, space, air, depth, frequency extremes are all transformed. This is how to use digital; isolated power, seperate form all else, very simple! More to follow!
Concert Fidelity Reference DAC 040
Valve NOS DAC, very Natural!
Concert Fidelity LSX2
Hybrid minimalist pre-amplifier of extreme purity, this is Japanese perfection.
Concert Fidelity ZL-120V2SE
120w Mono power amplifiers, solid state purist perfection.
Concert Fidelity ZL-200
The ZL-200 is Designer Masataka's masterpiece, and adheres to his philosophy of less components in the signal path equal better sonics, IF you have the deep understanding required to acheive this, and Masa does, evidently when you hear his work. The ZL-200 is very very special.
Z:axis Audio Components 'Mirage'
Designed with two goals, sonic isolation and energy damping, and sculptural aesthetics that display British craftsmanship at it's very best. The 98.8 here is the result of an 18 month journey through material selection and combination, and it allows the system to breathe life into recording..
Z:axis Audio Components Livewire
Solid, clean, transparent, and ultra dynamic, they have proved to be a revelation, far beyond expectation..
Single ended RCA interconnect. Duelund silver foil/Bocchino B2/damping medea.
Martin Logan Spire
Hybrid Panel and powered 10" Bass Driver, modified with new external crossovers, rewired direct to panel, bass cabinet clad in granite & ceasarstone, Finite Elemente Cerabase feet. Custom crossover's built to original ML spec using Clarity Caps MR's, Duelund resistors & Mundorf copper foil inductors. All SPC wired.
z:axis Audio Components Infinity Digital Interconnect
75ohm Digital, sounds clean as a bell.
Z:axis Audio Components Reference Power Leads
I have 7 of these in the system, and the difference from a budget power lead is significant! These are my own make, good quality parts only, time consuming to produce but with the whole system on them the sum is greater than the parts..
PS Audio left the system earlier this year after I had to question it's contribution in the end. It sold very quickly and the new owner is delighted with it which is great. So, the design for a replacement power supply began last Xmas, and the finished (well, almost) in in use now, and the sonic difference between mains wall outlet, and P10, is an eye opener. I will add more detail about it, but this afternoon a colleague will bring a Kemp conditioner that he uses for comparison, (i don't think there will be any btw). See my system details and pics for more info on what I built. All i can say is it is by far the biggest single jump in sonic ability I have ever heard in my system here, and my wife agrees for once, which means something!
Thanks Peter, and yes I did and replied just this week..
Kevin, I wouldn't be able to judge any arm on an LP12, except Linn's own of course ;-). The two TT's using a SEAC that I have heard have been outstanding, but of course, it is the whole package that makes music, or not!
The MY Ultra Eminent BC will arrive here in the UK in August probably, so I aim for late september to have the turntable plinth built and installed, and this will be run into the new Concert Fidelity TUBE phono stage, SPB040. This piece is not intended to improve upon the original SPA4-c JFET stage, that would be difficult. It is being introduced as the JFET's are now in very short supply, and CF need to hold their remaining stock as service parts. The new design I've not yet heard, but includes MC & MM input, along with a TAPE head input. Gain is by 12AT7 & 12AU7 at output stage. More valve fun ahead then ;-) Rgds, Paul.
Back in the day, our local shop had an SAEC with sintered ceramic headshell mounted on a Linn Sondek of all things. The SAEC was supposed to be "the thing." I listened to it and it was nothing special. Perhaps the set-up was lacking, I don't know. But it was a massive tonearm and sonically not particularly distinguished. Even the shop's owner wasn't wild about it. How it developed this reputation over the years is anyone's guess. Maybe it is great, but I auditioned that set up many times and it wasn't.
Vinyl playback is not too far away now, the motor unit is the Denon DP 3000, modified and rebuilt by Concert Fidelity owner, Masa Tsuda. He replaces all the circuit boards, makes external power supply, rebuild motor, replaces bearings with Sapphire and Ruby bearing, plus some other things i'm not clued up on. We used one of these at T.H.E Show, Newport Beach, and it is staggeringly good. I have sourced a 1978 mint condition SAEC 506/30 tonearm, complete with the ULS-3x Ceramic headshell, and the AS-600E stabiliser weight. It is on my desk as I write, the bearing seem to exhibit seriously low friction, it just dances freely when prompted, wonderful Japanese engineering indeed. Cartridge choice is the MY Sonic Labs Ultra Eminent BC, a decision made after using the Eminent BC at T.H.E show. It seems to be a very special maker indeed, held in very high esteem in Japan. The plinth design is also complete, image above hopefully. Most likely COCOBOLO main plinth, acrylic top plate, solid EBONY tonearm pod, silicone gel isolators in the underside. We will produce two plinth to begin with, one will be for a Sony TT-s 8000 motor unit, the other for the Denon DP 3000. This should be fun!
Very exciting Dan, I'd like to hear your thoughts, i'll give you a call soon. I have not heard a system using the Tripoint but a friend uses the Entreq with fantastic results, so it is something I'm keeping an eye on for future inclusion here perhaps..
Hey Defride sorry I missed your input here, and yep, i did try to convince myself otherwise (i'm told) to avoid the long round trip to pick up a set of speaker platforms but the difference was all too obvious wasn't it?
Domestically, the system is at an all time high, what with the new digital Infinity IC and a rewire to the ML's, it's pretty convincing now, and i'm sure you'd notice on a future visit.. (Always welcome of course)..
While Paul might not be so vocal about his supports on the forum I'm happy to be!
I heard the before and after using the speaker platforms in the CF/TAD show system. They helped flesh out the tonality and sense of focus/presence. A very worthy enhancement to an already very decent setup.
The TT project sounds interesting, look forward to seeing where it leads. Though I've even less vinyl than you the temptation to do something about that continues to nag.
A development to the Infinity digital IC has provided an improvement in terms of low level articulation, finer details are standing out better now, coherence across the frequency band has real even-ness whereas before, with all other digital IC's used, there was evidence of a slight muddying only apparent after we have installed this one: so worthy of inclusion in the system without doubt.
Next year will see the system re-gain a Vinyl source, more of a personal project for me as I probably only have 80-100 lps that I would choose to play out of the 500 or so that I have, taste moves on, and my focus on CD and maximising the sq from it has reached a very happy, thrilling and therefore satisfying point now. I have been working on designing a skeletal plinth for a Denon DP3000 that Mr Tsuda has been working his in depth magic on, and will pair this with his wonderful SPA 4c phonostage, a SAEC 506/30 tonearm, but cartridge is to be selected once all up and running, so open to suggestions!
Paul wonderful audio system you have put together, the Concert Fidelity audio equipment is very impressive in build and sound quality, I am sure it would sound wonderful with the TAD loudspeakers. Paul would it be okay to post a picture of your audio system on my Parmenter Sound Facebook page promoting Concert Fidelity. Please let me know. Thanks Jason.
Knghifi, you're welcome, do let me know how you get on, I think ZL120V2SE will be used with CR1 at CES next January in CF room..
Metralla, the bases are a product I have developed along with the rack support, well spotted!! They do help the CR1, each time I have used them, I had to have them placed on the bases, which incidentally I produced for my own ML's. They do raise the speaker more than I would live with personally, but they tighten up the LF and mid range adding better definition and imaging. We initially didn't expect to use them at the show, and left them behind when we set off but after set up and testing, we tried the CR1 on two of the spare shelves for the rack which are of similar construction, and it was clear that we had to use them, so thankfully a colleague drove the 5 hour round trip to collect my pair for when the show opened..
I am not keen on using forums etc to promote my supports etc, but they may be available worldwide next year, and in use at CES 14 in several rooms.
Apologies, I was away and missed your post; back now to catch up..
TAD CR1 is a wonderful speaker, and benefits from power being slightly inefficient at around 86db, but, I would not say there is a huge difference between the two Concert Fidelity amplifiers unless you crave concert hall volume. In a normal domestic setting, both are superb & very synergistic with the TAD's. All pieces have incredible transparency, and although I have not personally heard the E1, I do know that Mr Tsuda has used them very successfully with both ZL-120V2SE and ZL-200. The ZL-200 is very special, but the 120V2SE is in no way a slouch, I happily live with both!
System edited: A development to the shelf providing total isolation form the support has been implemented and will form the basis of the final model. The O2 shelf allows such ease and natural flow of music to an already solid foundation. We showed this system at the UK National Audio Show recently using the TAD CR1's, many visitors suggesting that it topped the best of show sound list.. Immensely pleased indeed..
Just noticed I didn't update that I made it to Paul's and sampled his wonderful hospitality.
Having seen Paul's craftmanship previously the visit reinforced the perception of quality. The attention to detail in his work is sublime and must be seen to be appreciated.
I've had a sample of of the Z:Axis speaker cable in my system for the past couple of weeks and am impressed. It's delivering air and tonality that I'd not heard previously in my system backed up by it's usual solid foundation.