Description

I put together my first music system over 40 years ago (receiver, speakers and a turntable, for under $500). I am into analog, digital (CD and Hi-Res) and FM, and some of my LPs are original purchases of mine from the 1970's (I have every LP I ever bought, except those I may have "loaned" out and never to be heard from or seen again). I have never been more pleased with any system I've assembled and this system was carefully assembled. If it's on the recording, I can and do enjoy dynamics, warmth, reasonable detail (I am not into hyper detail), good soundstage to the point that it's often impossible to locate my speakers. Spooky good. Cabling is good, nothing exotic. I'm a big fan of OCC interconnect cables. The oldest piece of gear is the MR78, and I've owned my LP12 since 1998. Some other gear is newer, so this is a blend of new, old, and even older but it all works well together.

No plans to change gear. One day, I know, my Arkiv B cartridge will be done for and will need to be replaced. I'll worry about that down the road. 

As terrific as my system sounds, listening to live music always reminds me that what I'm listening to at home just can't compare to live.

What do ya' think of my set up? 
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Room Details

Dimensions: 18’ × 12’  Medium
Ceiling: N/A


Components Toggle details

    • McIntosh MR 78 Tuner
    Legendary and lives up to the hype. Very sensitive, but not just for DX'ers. Very musical and quiet when fed a good signal. Very flexible to boot but really sensitive to RF interferance (solved by a ferrite core on the antenna input). And to my eyes, handsome piece of vintage gear. May 2017 addendum- had the tuner recapped and the dial bulbs (one was dead) replaced with LEDs. October 2018 addendum- new panel glass installed. A very handsome tuner!
    • Revel Studio 2 Speakers
    Beautiful full range speakers. These are my 2nd pair of Revels. Started with F30's which I owned for 15 years. Before the Revels I was a confirmed Magnepan fan and owner (SMGa; 1.4; 2.6R). Solid, delicate, and great imaging.
    • Linn LP12 Turntable
    Another legendary component. Linn LP 12, Kore subchasis, Trampolin base, Ekos 2 arm, and Arkiv B cartridge, Silver T cable, with a Lingo power supply. Maybe not the very best by 2019 standards, but gets me their. My only concern is my aging Arkiv B - if and when the cartridge is replaced, quite torn on what to replace it with.
    • Pass Labs X250.8 Power amplifier
    Power and subtlety- says it all. I ran tubes for many years- with the Pass gear I don't miss the tubes. On a side note- this amp has the best binding posts I've ever seen. Solid connection, impossible to over tighten
    • Pass Labs XP20 Preamplifier
    Simply the best preamp I've ever owned. Any questions?

    Prior to this the best preamp I ever owned was a CJ Premier 17 LS2
    • Sim Neo 260D Transport
    This is my second Sim purchase. Good company, well made CD spinner which these days is used solely as a transport. However, I have listened to CD using the internal DAC and was impressed as well. If I did not own my Bricasti M1, I doubt that I would use an external DAC with this machine.
    • Bricasti M1 DAC
    An astonishing DAC. While I am not going to say it  sounds "analog" I will say it just sounds like music with no need to make any excuses such as "it sounds good for digital". Fabulous DAC!

    Adjustable filters are subtle but still useful.
    • Bottlehead SEX 2.1 Headphone amplifier - integrated amplifier
    Home built tubed headphone amp. If you're good with a soldering iron, and your vision isn't shot, fun to build too. My 2nd Bottlehead build, this headphone amp is no longer quite stock, not not far from stock. Quiet, liquid, authoritative, versatile too as it can also power high efficiency speakers. Great on-line Bottlehead community, all with the blessing of the chief cooks and bottle washers, has helped me make this great amp even better.
    • Pass Labs XP15 Phono Preamp
    Quiet, flexible and dynamic. Does the job very well. Cartridge settings on the back are a bit cumbersome but in all fairness, it is a "set it once and forget it" thing.

Comments 22

Center
Owner
Thank you Jafant!

zavato

Center
Owner
Hi Iceman-  the rack in the middle is a Sound Organization stand. From England, and I bought it close to 30 years ago. These stands we ubiquitous at Linn dealers decades ago. 

Thanks for the nice comment!

zavato

222222&text=ic
Awesome system!  One quick question: where / what vendor did you get MIDDLE audio rack from?  The ones on the ends say "SolidSteel".  The one in the middle has no visible brand.  What brand is it?  Pls advise & thanks!

iceman_sg

222222&text=ja
Beautiful system!  Happy Listening!

jafant

Center
Owner
Hi Jeff- the Bricasti is the 2nd DAC I’ve owned. I used to have a Wyred4sound DAC. A friend had a Bricasti, and after hearing it decided I wanted the Bricasti. Really didn’t listen to anything else as I simply concluded the Bricasti sounded great, not just “great for digital”.  And yes, the Pass with the Studio 2’s is fabulous. At insane levels, I can get the needle to move, but that last happened when a friend came over and insisted on listening to something at eardrum busting levels. I’ve not made any changes to my gear since buying the Bricasti and have no intent or desire to make any upgrades. I am forever mindful that my cartridge is old and can’t last forever and eventually will go to cartridge heaven. 

Nate 

zavato

222222&text=fr
Z;

The revel studio2 with pass sound great, so far
They get pretty loud and never move the needle 

What's your spin on Dac's?

Bricasti is pretty sweet.
What other Dac's got your to the bricasti?

Jeff

frozentundra

Center
Owner
Thanks wloeb!

zavato

222222&text=wl
Great system !

Ag insider logo xs@2x abdf614339752151f5a39fd39f1fe03e3239f64f3035673d678ffc1d1b640bd3wloeb

Center
Owner

Thanks Hamr.  If you contact Mark at Reno Hifi, I'm sure he could arrange for an in-home demo for you. I am very satisfied with the Pass electronics.

I've had good gear in the past, and I can say without any doubt the Pass amp, pre-amp and phono stage that I have now are the best I've ever had in each respective category.

zavato

222222&text=ha
Great system! The Pass gear looks interesting. I wish we had a dealer nearby where I could get a loaner to hear it at home.

hamr

Center
Owner
Hi Jeff- can't comment on the newer CJ preamps. The last CJ preamp I ever heard was my 17LS2. The 16 series is excellent too. I don't consider myself a detail guy overall, though detail is important. Ultimately, I found the CJ too much gold. 

I can honestly say I don't think there's anything the 17LS2 did better than my XP20. It has inner detail in spades, but no harshness. It has excellent micro dynamics which gives the music life. In a way, I think the pass is more neutral. 

Plus, the Pass gear has a lower noise floor which I think is important too. 

Bottom line is I am thrilled with my Pass gear. The CJ was quite good, but I also came away feeling I liked Rogue tubed gear better than the CJ gear. 

zavato

222222&text=fr
Z;

I forgot to ask;

You; Being an old CJ fan
How does a CJ Et3 / ET5 compare to the CJ 17

I've never heard the " older" CJ 12, ART, or 17

The general consensus was the 17/16 series was the " Best" 
A perf Ct between CJ golden glow and detail

Jeff

frozentundra

222222&text=fr
Zavato;

I'm interested in your comment on Preamps!
CJ 17ls vs Pass Labs

I assume you are a detail guy with the Revels?

I'm looking to temper the details with a bit of warmer tone with my Pass/Thiel system

I was recommended to get a used PassLabs X1 from the Pass guys
They said it's a middle ground between all detail and warm

So; The CJ Preamp sound signature compared to pass?  Opinions
I'm very succeptable to harsh highs, old guy hearding

Jeff

frozentundra

Center
Owner
Yes, I do have experience with the x150.8's. The x150.8's have enough power for my Revels, and initially, that's wha was driving my Revels. I later switched to the more powerful amp not so much becuase of the power, but becuase I thought it sounded better. I happen to think Pass is fantastic gear. 

Thanks for the kind words

zavato

222222&text=ro
Love your system! ... I am considering demoing the Pass X150.8 and the X250.8 and see that your speakers are close in sensitivity to mine (Proac D30r's). I have heard nothing but positive and rave reviews on all Pass amps and would like to explore the possibilities in my system. Have you had any experience with the X150.8? I currently have a Classe 100w amp. Thanks, Ron 

ron17

Center
Owner
I used to have tubes driving my speakers but no need with the Pass gear.

zavato

222222&text=fr
Pretty special system,

Do the pass labs really remove the need for the tube fix?
Your hear great things on them.

I've always thought Revels were on the forward side &  I am assuming the Pass tempers the Revels?

Well done

Jeff

frozentundra

Center
Owner
Yes, of course it's a subwoofer between the speakers. Works well when occasionally watered

zavato

Center
Those Revels look as good as they sound. Is that a sub between them? Haha.

treadman

Center
Owner
My LP 12 started out with an RB300 arm, Rega cartridge, and Basik power supply. Over the years I went to the Lingo power supply, Ekos 2 arm, Arkiv B cartridge, trampolin bases, silver t cable and I added the Kore subchasis in 2015

zavato

222222&text=ra
Wow owned you LP12 for 18 years impressive. Have you had it upgraded? I owned one for many years until 2007. Loved it and had it upgraded throughout the years. Was always please with them.

rainteaut

222222&text=ad
Lovely system!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

adeep42

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