Description

this room and system is the result of 10 years in High End audio. my system has been stable for a couple of years (except for transport and amplifier upgrades within the same brand). the room has been in the planning stage for about 18 months and i actually moved in a little over a month ago.

my audio philosphy is to have the system get out of the way of the event. i like as pure and simple a signal path as possible and, at this point, prefer passive to active gain stages. i love all the formats and enjoy having lot's of music.....vinyl is my favorite but i listen to at least 60% digital. the new room really reveals the benefits of SACD over redbook.

the system and room truely allow the event to be recreated before me. i love the way the speakers disappear and i am transported to another place/time.

i have choosen my cables, sources, amps, speakers to have as little of their own sound as possible.

recently, i upgraded my digtial transport from the modified Philips SACD 1000 to the new emmlabs CDSD.....this was a significant step upward in performance.

i have written an article in Positive Feedback regarding my room building experience.....here is a link;

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue16/lavigneroom.htm
Read more...

Room Details

Dimensions: 29’ × 21’  X large
Ceiling: 11’


Components Toggle details

    • Evolution Acoustics MM7's
    twin towers, main tower, 82
    • darTZeel NHB-468
    Mono block Amplifiers. 

    traded in my 458 amplifiers for the new version, the 468.
    • darTZeel NHB-18NS
    battery powered preamp with 2 separate phono stages. uses BNC 'zeel' cables between pre and amps.
    • Evolution Acoustics 7.5 meter 'Zeel'
    7.5 meter pair of BNC cables from preamp to amps.
    • MSB Technology Select II with dual power supplies and 33 Femto clock
    State of the art dac. modular and updatable.
    • MSB Pro USB
    digital interface combining USB with a fiber cable and lowering noise between the server and dac. proprietary to the modular MSB dacs.
    • Gobel LaCorde Statement USB cable
    1.2 meters. significant performance upgrade. eliminated any digital glare.
    • Taiko Audio Extreme Music server
    state of the art music server, includes 32 tb of PCIe solid state storage for music files.
    • Saskia model two idler turntable
    180 pound slate plinth, + 40 pound platter = 220 pounds. the ultimate idler. i have 7 arm boards with it. super image, tonal density and energy projection.

    designed and built by Win Tinnon in Alabama.
    • CS Port LFT1 turntable w/arm
    air bearing platter and air bearing linear tracking arm; string drive with zero feedback dc motor, low pressure, low flow air system with zero noise air box.

    world class musical flow, nuance and delicacy, combined with authority and ease. serves the music completely.
    • CS Port C3EQM2 phono pre
    tube phono stage, zero feedback, uses a SMPS. has a MC output, and 2 MM outputs. top level build quality.

    very quiet, refined and dynamic. battery powered, plays 8 hours on one charge, and takes 9 hours to recharge.
    • Wave Kinetics NVS
    direct drive turntable
    • Durand Tosca tonearm.
    gimbal bearing design. the finest tonearm i have heard.
    • Etsuro Gold Reference 2 MC Phono Cartridge
    duraluminim (A7075) body, 24 carat 'Kinpaku' Gold Leaf finish, diamond cantiliver.

    .3mv output, 4 ohms.

    finest cartridge i have heard by a significant margin. WOW!
    • Durand Tonearms Telos Sapphire
    12" unipivot tonearm with sapphire bearing tower and anti-skate bridge.
    • Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement MC

    State of the Art moving coil cartridge, the best one I've heard in my system.

    .5 mv output. ultra detail and energy, extremely nuanced.

    • Ortofon MC Anna
    low output moving coil. titanium body built using the SLM manufacturing technique.
    • Miyajima Premium Be
    mono MC
    • Synology 30 Terabyte NAS (a pair = 60 TB) music file storage
    mirroring music storage for my music files.
    • Studer A820 Master Recorder
    1/4 inch. refurbished by Fred Thal of ATAE. head switch installed by Ki Choi allows direct out into custom output electronics bypassing stock electronics for playback.
    • Studer A-820 reel to reel master recorder; 1/4" and 1/2" heads, guides and hubs.
    this 3rd A-820 machine is used as the recorder in my system and can record both 1/4" and 1/2" tape. has transformerless audio output cards.
    • Studer A820 Master Recorder
    1/2 inch machine. has a direct out head switch allowing a choice to use the stock output electronics or direct out to the King-Cello tape repro output electronics.
    • King/Cello w/meters and pots tape repro/phono
    custom output electronics for the Studer A820. built by Charles King based on the Cello circuit. separate power and output boxes. upgraded adding meters and pots to allow fine adjustments for heads.
    • Taiko Tana (5 of them) Herzan TS-150 (2) + TS-140 (3)
    active isolation under 5 separate components: (1) the NVS turntable, (2) the MSB dac, (3) the darTZeel preamp, (4 + 5) both darTZeel mono block amplifiers. custom modifications by Taiko Audio add a linear power supply plus panzerholtz top layer + Daiza platform to provide full frequency resonance attenuation to each platform.
    • Taiko Audio Daiza isolation platform--22 used in the system
    Panzerholtz Platform with spiral cutouts reducing mid and high frequency resonance while retaining life and energy and not changing tonality.

    22 Daiza platforms in the system of various sizes under every piece of the signal path.
    • Adona Zero GTX rack---3 of them--each 4 shelf.
    all three with 27" x 21" turntable top.

    solid rack for best direct floor connection.
    • Tripoint Audio Troy Signature
    Grounding box for chassis grounding the darTZeel 458 mono block amplifiers + grounding the passive main towers of the Evolution Acoustics MM7 speaker system.
    • Tripoint Audio Elite
    Tripoint Elite grounding box. this does chassis grounding for my sources. it uses a a pair of Tripoint Thor SE Master Reference ground cables for my dart preamp and the MSB Select II dac. there are also 4 Signature Silver ground cables to the two arm boards of the NVS tt, the power supply of the NVS tt, and the SGM server.
    • Equi=tech 10WQ
    10kva balanced Isoltion transformer and distribution panel.
    • Furutech GTX-D NCF Rhodium duplex outlets
    10 in the system. used with 10 Furutech covers and frames. uses NCF (nano crystal formula) material to reduce noise by emitting negative ions.
    • Absolute Fidelity power interfaces
    power cords specifically designed for either motors (tt and tape decks), amplifiers, and components. 11 in the system.
    • Wave Kinetics A10 U8 decoupling footers
    8 sets-of-4 in the system for individual tuning of each piece of gear.
    • Auralex T-Fusor diffusers
    i use 20 of these. 6 each on the front side walls, and 4 each front ceiling and rear ceiling.
    • Klaudio Record Cleaning System
    automatic record cleaner
    • Acoustic Revive RL-30 mKIII CD-LP demagnatizer
    for demaging any disc.
    • Furutech DF-2 LP disc flattner
    will remove warps from Lps
    • Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Anniversary Ed.
    will cook any cables
    • Winds ALM-01 Stylus Force Gauge
    easy accurate, repeatable, measurments.
    • i-Tower by Koncept LED floor lamp
    (3) are used. best audio light ever. 2 'warm', 1 'cool'.
    • Quietrock THX 545 drywall
    specialized drywall with a 1/4" metal layer. used in my front sidewalls to establish proper room boundaries.
    • view...... what i look at...
    ...while listening. Rattlesnake Ridge.
    • Barn.... ......room is....
    ....most of the ground floor. 29' x 21' x 11'.

Comments 3373

222222&text=ch
Hi Mike, 

I know you had a Placette passive preamp for a while and I was looking for some advice.  I currently have a Placette preamp and I'm looking to upgrade my amplifier.  My plan is to upgrade to the nicest amplifier in the budget right now and keep my Placette.  The other options is to pair a new preamp with the same manufacturer as the new amp.  Obviously with the budget I would have to go down in level for the amp and preamp combo versus keeping the Placette.  

Thank you for your advice!

chauncey

222222&text=mi
Owner
hi bimmerman2, 

thankyou for the kind words. i really do enjoy my system and space. my system pictures are about a year out of date now. my digital is different, and i have different arms and cartridges. otherwise mostly the same.

i looked at your room and set-up and it is very well done. great place to listen. nice job.

to me it's more the effort and attention to detail that i appreciate in looking at systems. your is tip top in that regard. congrats.

btw; i notice you live near the Seattle area, where i'm at. you are welcome to stop by and listen if you are in the area.

cheers,

Mike

mikelavigne

4c756a48 6582 4c8f 9b42 f644b2b305ca
This has to be the best setup/room I've seen posted here. Truly amazing, the gear and the space. Well done.

bimmerman2

222222&text=ke
Thanks mike heading to Phoenix for a little sunshine next week I will give you a shout after we return thank you look forward to the visit

kefman1

222222&text=mi
Owner
hi Andy, 

thank you for the kind comments. nice to connect with a local audiophile. Gary Radka in Ohio, is my fellow Evolution Acoustics MM7's owner. great guy and he has a formidable system.

i would love to have you and your wife visit anytime. just let me know. 

four two five seven six six one five six one.

look forward to getting together,

cheers,

Mike

mikelavigne

222222&text=ke
Good morning mike beautiful system I live in bothell wa we have mutual friends in Ohio he said I should have a listen to your system my buddys friend owns the evolution mm7s also in Ohio you probably know who I’m talking about anyways would love for me and the wife to hear your system if that’s possible thanks andy

kefman1

128x128
Thanks for the invite! will certainly stop by if I get a chance. A

scar972

222222&text=mi
Owner
hi Anthony,

thank you for the kind words. i do enjoy my Evolutions and darTZeel, and appreciate the help of Jonathan over the years. loving my tt's and tape decks. you would be welcome to visit any time you are in the Seattle area. hope you can do it.

cheers,

Mike

mikelavigne

128x128
The audio barn....this system is beyond words! I love the room, tape decks, turntables, and so much more....would love to hear it one day. I got to hear the smaller Evolution Acoustic speakers driven by darTZeel electronics in Jonathan Tinn's room at AXPONA and that was memorable. Congrats on a great system! Cheers, Anthony

scar972

222222&text=mi
Owner
hi Panda,

i never auditioned the JVC RS3000 4 years ago when i made the change, but jumped all the way to the RS4500 from my Sony VW1000ES. so i cannot comment on the differences. i am really happy with my RS4500 now 4 years into the ownership. perfect for my smallish room.

btw, the link that brought you here from AVS is for my separate 2 channel room. i don't have a room thread for my separate Home Theater room. in case you look around here and it does not make sense.

mikelavigne

222222&text=pa
Hey Mike out of curiosity in overall picture quality is the JVC RS4500 better than the RS3000?

panda2560

222222&text=mi
Owner
hi Ray,

thank you for the kind comment.

i saw you are building a dedicated room. sounds like you are having fun with it. enjoy the process, i know i enjoyed building mine.

cheers,

Mike

mikelavigne

Center
amazing!  simply amazing

oleschool

222222&text=ol
That is a beautiful, breath taking room, of pure WONDERFUL!!
WOW, I can see years of work..  Truly something of MY dreams..
No doubt, you must dream of your own, creation. Outstanding..

My hats off and on the floor, I have to dance... around the hat I go...
LOL OLAY!!

Highest Regards..

Ag insider logo xs@2xoldhvymec

Center
Got Damn, now that’s SEXY.....
Love it. Thank you!!!

billj

222222&text=ro
Hi Mike,

I have known about you for a decade, especially when I was heavy into high end audio.  You are a legend in this industry and have always admired your systems.  I took an 8 year break from Audio to get into other hobbies and now I am back to attempt an all out assault since the stay at home order took place so I am back in the game.  I noticed you use Tripoint Audio Elite Grounding and I was wondering what you used for interconnects, speaker cables and power cables.  Thanks so much.

robertdo916

222222&text=mi
Owner
16f4,

thank you for your service. and thanks for the kind words.

you would be welcome to come by anytime you are in the Seattle area. and i meant what i said on your thread. a simpler system has it's attractions. i've spent 25 years building this system and it has it's value but also a degree of limiting gravity in my life. 

cheers!

mikelavigne

128x128
Wow!  My dream system if I had money and taste.   And didn’t spend most of my adult life moving around.  Can I come by and set goals?

16f4

222222&text=rh
Thanks Mike, appreciate the suggestion. some guidance does really help. Like you say they are sexy.   Will  look into that also.  Thanks Mike

rhodes

222222&text=mi
Owner
Ken,

my guy is not too available. where are you located?

the more i think about it, if i were starting over now, honestly i would recommend the Ampex ATR-102 as the most sensible choice for a top level deck. it's really similar to my A-820 Studer's and much more reasonable to repair and get parts. the Studer's are sexier to look at and play with, but the Ampex will perform in the same realm.

i did own an Ampex ATR-102 for 5 years and it's a great choice.

atrservice.com is who i would contact. great people.

mikelavigne

222222&text=rh
  Thanks Mike for the help and compliments.appreciate it. I was doing good until I saw your 3 Studers. I had 2 other makes in mind but it appears that must be reconsidered. If a person of your experience has these it's a no brainer for me. If your local guy takes in other work it is worth sending it to him?

Regards, Ken.     

rhodes

222222&text=mi
Owner
hi Ken,

nice room and system, btw. congrats!

the A-807 is a 'little brother' to my A-820's, and if you can find one of those in great shape, then it would be a great choice. what's important is to either have the skills to fix it, or know of someone who can help. this era Studer uses early EPROM's for system control. so repairs are not simple. and parts can be hard and expensive to source.

i'm lucky to have a local guy who really knows Studer's.

these machines are works of Art and tape handling is superb. so they are worth the effort.

best wishes for your quest.

mikelavigne

222222&text=rh
Can't believe the Studers. I am move up to a Studer. Any suggestions for a model. Would an a807 be a good one to start? Thanks.

rhodes

128x128
Gotcha!  Agree with all of your points, esp listening with lights dimmed. A tapestry is a better idea than an oil painting anyway, and you've also got me thinking about a really neat antique horse blanket I have, and now Navajo & Cherokee blankets and quilts too.  The neat thing about a solution like that is how interchangeable it would be.  But I understand that it's not likely to be a priority in a serious, dedicated listening room where the lights are low!

PS: I finally read your PF essay.  Impressed by what you said at the end about classical music.  I've always said that rock music sounds better at home than it does in a concert venue, while classical music always sounds better in the concert hall.  You appear to be one person who has transcended that limitation.  Salut

archguy

222222&text=mi
Owner
Archguy,

appreciate the kind offer. it is a blank canvas and you are not the first to suggest i do something artistic with it. in some ways it's a missing piece of the visuals.

the cloth that covers that 'half-round' resonator is acoustically significant. maybe someday i will find a tapestry that could replace it that would add the right touch.

OTOH i live in the mountains, so everywhere there is beauty. and i listen in dim light, seeking a 'zen' state and travel in my mind with the music. so any art on that wall would mostly help with the pictures of the room, and not my listening experience.

there are two windows i have plugged, that offer a wonderful view; but the sound is better with those windows plugged. so that is my priority.

mikelavigne

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