Good budget system comprised of used gear that soundstages pretty well despite an L-shaped main room. Great detail, depth, and image scale for movies using just two very slim speakers and a large but low-profile subwoofer. These 25yo NEAR 50me's are my third pair since the mid-1990's, and somewhat fussy-to-set-up, but are very robust, long lasting speakers (if you know how to manage the ff and re-centering them manually). They use ceramic/alloy spider-less transducers, which are very transparent drivers mounted here in utilitarian black-vinyl veneered MDF cabinets.. they are fast and smooth. Have had various older (and quite large) Von Schweikert and Magnepan products but keep coming back to these old cheap out-of-production speakers for their svelte profile, all round performance, speed and presence (albeit 3rd row, perhaps). I still go to shows and listen to new and very expensive gear, fyi.. and never leave feeling as if I'm that far behind. Early Wyred4Sound gear has the same ethos. A no-nonsense approach which invests little in opulent finishes, but are still sturdily built. The cost is placed where it matters most, of course.. the sound. I wish we could get more value in this industry and less ridiculous flashy superfluous nonsense. The Aleph 3 is driven DAC direct in the winter while the W4S monos take advantage of the Rogue preamp during the summer, and are a good impedance match. Investment was around 6200usd including the tube inventory (there are 2-3 more like tubes under each in that Pelican case).

Room Details

Dimensions: 22’ × 12’  Medium
Ceiling: N/A

Components Toggle details

    • New England Audio Resource 50me
    W Custom wool diffraction panels. My favorite 'budget' speaker of all time. Midrange ff refreshed by designer Lewis Athanas.. a lovely guy. I wish a company would pick up the task of a re-issue.
    • Wisdom Audio SCS
    Transmission line subwoofer using a DSpeaker Anti-mode2.0 for DSP. Not going to rattle the walls unnecessarily, but very fast and very deep. A good match to the NEAR's, having crossed them over passively at ~80hz and 3/4 restriction of the ports with lamb's wool material. Basically, a significant improvement over a resonating box's rear port. Integration done with the LARSA app on an iPad.
    • DSpeaker Anti-mode 2.0
    Subwoofer room correction DSP. The Wisdom SCS uses an unusual transmission line design so DSP is absolutely required.
    • Pass Labs Aleph 3
    A bit more 'shove' than the First Watts offer into 4-6ohms (which I need with my speakers), and w/ Vandersteen's M5-HP passive crossovers, they have even more control, but still sounds cohesively natural.
    • Vandersteen M5 HP High Pass filters
    Helps the Aleph perform with 86db speakers. Jumpers set to cutoff at approx 80hz.

    Upper bass control and sound staging is greatly improved because I am able to restrict most of the rear port and the amp isn't troubled with sub bass frequency. A DSP is used to bring in the Wisdom Audio subwoofer at 80hz.
    • Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2 DSD
    Using PS Audio Lan Rover ethernet.
    • Wyred 4 Sound sx500 monoblocks
    Summer amps.. dark but still very detailed. Not quite the 'whole cloth' sound staging that the Aleph3 offers, but nothing troubles them and they still have a smooth, sinewy character that's easy on the ears.
    • Rogue Audio Métis Super Magnum 'Black'
    Factory modded to Super Magnum by Rogue, and custom matching anodized knobs and stainless hardware was retrofitted. NOS Tung Sol VT-99's (with adapters) dropped the noise floor to all but inaudible while keeping all the goodness of the VT-231's. A great paring to Wyred's early Class D.. weaves it all together.. great depth.
    • Harmonic Technology Speaker Cables, Interconnects
    se & balanced
    • Nordost Speaker cables, Interconnects
    Blue Heaven

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