Description

I am back, folks. My system was the third most talked about system after Mike Levine's and Albert Porter's.

For some personal reasons I took a break from audio. But I am back with good news and not so thrilling news. The not so thrilling news is that the system is unchanged. And the good news is that it is so hard to improve it, regardless of the price -- I do not know what to upgrade, except may be cables -- as I hit the peak performance from my perspective. The sound thrills me still every time I listen. Still, 140plus tubes, embedded in the finest of amps and pre-amp driving a legendary speaker that can give a good run for money to speakers costing $100k plus, all making heat and magic at the same time. Wow, life is good.

Acknowledgements:

There are several people I wish to acknowledge who have helped me a great deal in building this system:

1. Charlie, who designed one of the finest preamps. Although, TRL Dude is marginally better, the Charlie X-2 will stay with me for ever and will continue to provide listening pleasures

2, Paul Weitzel of Tube Research Labs (TRL) for his helping on tuning the amps and on his feedback on many other technical aspects of the system at the micro and macro level.

3. David Royalty for building nice wooden battery casing for the TRL moded Sony CD player and also for numerous technical feedbacks.

4. Ivan Li of Hong Kong for showing me the insight into planar speaker placement.

5. Steve Dobbins of Xact audio for coming all the way from Idaho to install the tonearm and overall turntable tune up.

6. many visitors who have graced my listening room with their presence.

7. All audio friends who are not mentioned above.

8. Audiogoners who continue to post interesting and thought provoking comments here.
Read more...

Room Details

Dimensions: 27’ × 17’  Large
Ceiling: 10’


Components Toggle details

    • Apogee Acoustics Fullrange
    The Apogee Apogee
    • Sony Tube Research Labs moded DVP-S900V
    Tube Research Labs modified model DVP-900V and 535
    • Microseiki RX-1500fvg
    Micro Seiki Turntable
    • Reed tonearm 2P
    Reed 2P Tonearm being setup by Steve Dobbins
    • Ortofon A-90
    Ortofon A90
    • TRL, Inc. GTR-800
    GT-800
    • Charlie's DIY X-2
    based on Walt Jung's research paper
    • TRL, Inc. Dude
    TRL Dude
    • TRL, Inc. GT-400
    TRl GT-400
    • Pass Labs X-ONO
    X-ono phono stage
    • Denon 102R
    Denon 103R
    • Element Miscellaneous
    Miscellaneous
    • DIY speaker cables DIY
    DIY speaker cables
    • SME 3009r
    SME tonarm
    • TTWeight Audio Tip Toes
    TTWeight Audio
    • TTWeight Audio Tip Toes
    TTWeight Audio Tiptoes
    • DIY Turntable Stand
    DIY made wooden platform for the turntable
    • DIY Vibraplane support tennis balls
    My idea and it works perfectly, removed the vibration hum
    • REL Acoustics Stadium mkII
    Used only for home theater
    • TTWeight Audio Motor feet
    Motor feet
    • DIY Sound diffusor Cityline
    I made it myself
    • DIY cityline diffusor made of styrofoam
    cityline diffusor made of styrofoam
    • Chinese painting one of my favorite collections
    Oneof my favorite collections
    • Paul Weitzel Tube Research Labs
    My guest
    • Steve Dobbins Eact Audio
    As my guest
    • Albert Von Schweikert Famous spekaer design
    I am his guest and he was a very kind host
    • Apogee Acoustics Scintilla
    Previous system
    • Apogee Acoustics Centaur Major
    One of my favorite speakers
    • Apogee Acoustics Slant 8
    Slant 8 system
    • Apogee Acoustics Stage
    Apogee Stage Butterfly, my term for the attempted stacked Apogee Stages.
    • house audio room
    audio room construction

Comments 275

Center
Year after year, one of all time favorites to look at and admire!!!

Ag insider logo xs@2xzephyr24069

222222&text=ga
Owner
Mike:  

To be precise my room is 29' and a few inches long and 17' and a few inches wide. 

I am going to have several dedicated lines, custom walls, ceiling, and two conduits in side walls (one in each) and one in the foundation slab to carry AV cables. 

GD

gallant_diva

222222&text=ga
Owner
Hi Benjamin:

Thanks for sharing your experience. I still miss Paul and in face still haven't gotten over his departure. What a loss of the audio world, lost a genius and an excellent human being. Paul had a genuinely great heart. One day I will pay my tribute to Paul by writing my own story on how I met him and how we became friends. 

By the way is there any description of your system especially your SET amps? Any pictures or description of your system will be appreciated.

Every time I listen to music, I hear Paul. He is just there because the amps, pre-amp, CD players are made by his own hands. I never intend to replace any of these, not only in memory of Paul, but there isn't anything better out there, at least not for my taste. I have always wondered where Paul got his ideas from. 

gallant_diva

128x128
Hi, I was so tickled to see this system this morning!  The reason being that I was fortunate to have become a friend of Mr. TRL, Paul Weitzel.  I first met him at a get together at Terry Cain's speaker factory.  Later Paul modified my Sony 900 CD player, the same one you have, that I will never replace!  I was dead broke in those days.  However, Paul's brother Brain has told me I was one of very few people Paul trusted to enter his inner sanctum.  I was fortunate to see GRT-800's being built in his small living room.

One day I told Paul that I wanted to try a flea powered SET amp someday with my home made speakers.  A pair of mono-blocks began to emerge, based on the 45 tube.  I would make the 100 mile trip to his house (later his shop after he moved) and he would construct of portion of the circuit in front of me from his head.  Then, he would send me home with some parts so that I could copy his work in the other mono-block.  Due to our busy lives and the distance, it took four years to arrive at completion.  Eventually, Paul would tell me to take the mono-blocks home and listen to them.  When I they were ready to fire up and try, he told me there was still much to do to fine tune them.  He said to take them home and listen to them, and then let him know what aspects of the sound I would like to change.

I never saw him alive again.  Brain would discover that he had passed from his undiagnosed pancreatic cancer just a few weeks later.  Those amps sing just as they are!  They are my prize material possession.  I think of Paul and our conversations about religion, politics and audio every time I listen to them, which is as often as I can.

Sincerely,

Benjamin         

benjaminwebber

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Owner
Mike thanks. You are such a dedicated, knowledgeable and sweet friend that I can always count on your advice. I would love to hear your do's and don't do's

gallant_diva

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Ish,

i will be very excited to see how your project turns out. congrats on getting it started!!!

Mike

mikelavigne

222222&text=ga
Owner
The new house construction finally started after 2 years in talking to builders and improving on design and budget, The audio room of course is the heart of the house. The lot if prepared and concrete for the foundation is going to be poured next week. The media room is 28' by 17.5' with a 17.5' by 5' storage room attached to it. The walls are gonna be built with cinder blocks, soundboard,  wood studs, foam, and stucco on the outside. There will be 8 dedicated lines, and conduit in the foundation and side walls.

gallant_diva

222222&text=ga
Owner
hello H_A, sorry for the late response. 
I have not been very active here at audiogon lately for a few reason: One, too busy enjoying my system and there isn't much to improve. Second, started building a new media room. 

With regard to your question, here is my take: I am trying to find superman. yes, superman!! If i find him, I will ask him to take two things out of our planet and trash them into a far away galaxy or blackhole: all nukes and all active crossovers working with Apogees. Hope that explains. Active crossover are toys that falsely trap you into a false sense of system and acoustic improvement. But they suck life out of music. I am done doing all such active versus passive comparisons. The secret to my good sound is the purest approach: less is more in high-end audio. 

For the Apogee FR, the small ugly looking black box is a gem that you want to keep it. It is a simple RC splitter circuit that provides the right first order slope at the right crossover frequencies. That is the best solution. In the past I have been misled by people on forums on improvements offered by active crossovers. They are all wrong because either they have no good ears or they have systems with insufficient resolutions. So the lack a good reference to start with. 

So my advice is if you want to preserve the life and soul of your sound, keep that simple passive crossover. I went one ahead further, I added that simple RC high and low pass circuits inside my preamp permanently and eliminated extra wiring, the gain switch on the high-pass of the passive crossover), and extra interconnect cabling and connectors. That gave me the biggest improvement in sound. 

Hope that explains.

gallant_diva

222222&text=ga
Owner
hello H_A, sorry for the late response. 
I have not been very active here at audiogon lately for a few reason: One, too busy enjoying my system and there isn't much to improve. Second, started building a new media room. 

gallant_diva

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Hi g_d, might you have conclusions on active crossover for FRs that you'd be kind enough to share to my post on the Apogee forum or pm? Davey says he will see if he can find circuit for his design, and I'm willing to make one. I'd be grateful for your suggestions and tips after your extensive auditioning a while ago. I have original transformer box but no line-level passive crossover. I have the KRX-1 but seek a better solution. thanks from Scinemaniac

harnfield

222222&text=ro
Saw your comment on my system.  Would love to get to listen to your system and would happily host you at my house.  Not sure how we can direct message each other.  You can email me directly at [email protected]

robforst1

Center
This is still one of the most beautiful systems on this entire forum!

Ag insider logo xs@2xzephyr24069

222222&text=ga
Owner
Anthony: Thanks for the nice words. Yes this is a hobby of pursuit of perfection. 
You made quite accurate observations. But the system also owes to you, because of your cables. Your cables are so good that I have not had the urge to replace them. You too were an asset to audio. 

No system including mine is perfect. But mine is to a point (for the past several years) where it gives me a lot of listening pleasure every time I listen.  I cannot think of ways of improving it, which itself is a good and bad thing. Sometimes I feel bored not because of the sound but because of not finding music to suit the mood. Despite 1000s of CDs 100s of LPs I continue to seek new music. 

I am glad the suggested diffusers are working for you.  Your room and speaker together are "just one entity"

gallant_diva

222222&text=ga
Owner
robfrost1, you are welcome to come visit. How do we contact each other?

gallant_diva

128x128
Listening to your system again after almost 10 years was unforgettable!
While much of the components remained the same, the sound has improved past the reference level I heard in the past. This is probably due to your continuing pursuit of perfection and your meticulous attention to detail, congrats!
The first 10 minutes of the demo was my ears adjusting to your unusual speaker placement (at least unusual to me), after that it was the most memorable soundstaging and images I've ever heard from an audio system. The system was life-like, detailed, dynamic, and everything else you would want from an audio system.
Also, your advice to me about room diffusers were spot on and it has made drastic improvements to my room. Thanks again!

Anthony

scar972

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Would love to hear music on your system some time and you are welcome to come over here (in Southlake).

robforst1

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Owner
I said you are welcome to listen at my place. How do I contact you?

gallant_diva

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Not sure how to process your response so I will simply wish you the best with your endeavors.

The view from the top can be a lonely one.

Dave

dlcockrum

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Owner

Hi DL, thanks. My current room is built according to the Golden Ratio but I am not so certain if there is a scientific evidence behind it. When I built the current room I had to pick a ratio so I just picked it. My new room is still being debated with the designer and it may be wider than the Golden Ratio and probably I do not care so much about that. The reason being audiophile believe lot of unsubstantiated notions. One reason my sound is so great is to actually *not* follow what I call "audio dogmas" LOL.

Do these resonators also fall under that category?

You are welcome to drop by for a listen. Bring your CDs.

gallant_diva

222222&text=dl
An excellent system, carefully and intelligently selected and assembled, IMHO. And beautiful to boot!

Your proposed proportions for the room are very near the Golden Ratio IIRC. That is one thing you can't change after the fact so good for you!

A very good friend and diehard Apogee enthusiast has Scintillas, Full Ranges, Duetta Signatures, Stages (and other Apogee models I think) and uses DIY Helmholz resonators carefully placed between his Apogees with great success. He agrees with your assertion that absorption is not a good thing with Apogees (planars), rather choosing the resonators, diffusors, and other non-absorptive types of room acoustical treatments. FWIW.

I am located in the heat of Texas also and would love to hear your fantastic system sometime.

Dave
 

dlcockrum

222222&text=ga
Owner

More on the new room. Mike Levine: Thanks for the phone chat and suggestions on building the new room.


Mike: It seems we both think similar in many ways with regard to the room.


One, I am not a fan of bass traps or absorbers. Both in  my experience destroy musicality from sound and make it very analytical.


Audiophile start with pseudo-science and believe in room response (comb effect, reflection, standing waves) and then do room treatment

assuming that all science is taken care of without scientifically reconfirming the results. This is called half science which is worse than science.

 


Second, I am a believer in diffusion, just like you are. You have used some absorbing fabric which makes sense given than your tweeter is a bit on the hot side.


In my new room, I will use both science and listening by ear.


My goals in building the new room are


  1. No absorption and no leaking

  2. Maximum rigidity for the finest bass one can imagine

  3. No ringing

  4. Simplicity

  5. Bare walls which I can tweak later

     

    My room is gonna be 28 by 19 roughly and all 6 walls will be made of concrete to start with. I want to have zero bass loss which is so typical in American homes made with studs, insulation and sheetrock. When you have no absorption you may get reflections which can be tamed. So I rather have the latter than the former.

     

    After the room is built up I will experiment with the room response at the listening seat and also use extensive diffusion to improve reflections and peaks.

    Even some diffusors can act as suckers of music (because some of them will also absorb, in particular upper midrange and lower highs). May be some of the reported treatments using absorbers and bass traps work for folks with dynamic speakers but in my case, with dipole planar speakers, the game is very different. Over the years I noted that I get the best sound when the front wall is flat (except for the skyline diffusor in the middle which improves imaging).

    Sides walls sound best when treated with not so deep diffusors. I once built up 6-8 inches diffusors made of wood, following long discussions with a “knowledgeable guy” I made about 8 diffusors, each 1’ by 3’ and placed them on the sides. To my horror, the sound lost its magical touch and become boringly analytical. After than 1-2 inches Auralex metro diffusors have worked fine for me. But they are no longer made. I will try your T-fusors.


gallant_diva

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Hello @gallant_diva. I sent you a PM. Would be great to hear from you.
Best regards

reverendo

222222&text=ga
Owner

Thank you Zephyr24069 for the compliments.

In audio, listening, and not the looks (not even how logical and impressive the posts and comments are) is what matters. In my hobby, I only aim for the sound quality only. The system has hit the limit of sound quality and very little improvements are possible if any. I just enjoy the music although I am experimenting with some speaker cables.

I am also working on the design of a new media room. When I have some progress, I will post some information here.

gallant_diva

Center
Still one of THE most beautiful and intriguing systems and rooms on this entire forum!  

I always seem to look at your system a few times a year and would love to get to 'that place' in system-building where nothing changes for an extremely long period of time as it is all destination gear, speakers, cables, etc....

Ag insider logo xs@2xzephyr24069

222222&text=ga
Owner
Yes I am in the DFW area. Thank you for your compliments.

gallant_diva

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