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 3355

Center
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

Center
  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

Center
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

Ag insider logo xs@2xarchguy

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

128x128
I'd give anything for the opportunity to execute a painting on canvas for that convex surface.  But I've the feeling that a surface covered with oil paint might complicate the acoustics, even if it helps the aesthetics.  Hmm.

Ag insider logo xs@2xarchguy

222222&text=mi
Owner
hi Arnie,

sorry for the delay in my response. somehow i missed this until just now.

and you are correct; that front center large round diffuser had a triple tall RPG Skyline stack (which did resemble ribbing) from about 2008 to 2015. then in 2015 i was working on room tuning and fixed some issues that eventually led to me to understanding that the Skyline was causing a problem. one of those situations where you have a band aid that is a net positive, but when you fix the underlying issue then that band aid is revealed to be a problem. 

so it has been gone for almost 5 years now.

if you scroll down and go to the previous page there are a series of 4 posts that describe my year long room tuning process and this issue with the Skyline is put into context in much detail.

best regards,

Mike

mikelavigne

222222&text=st
At one time, did the convex front wall had ribbing?   If so, what's the reason for 'flattening' & 'smoothing' it out?  Thx.

steakster

222222&text=da
Hi Mike. Thank you for your detailed and comprehensive response. I will look into the 'passive' Daiza Panzerholz platforms. The Tana, based on my understanding of what you've shared, doesn't appear a functional fit with my components (and is outside of my budget).

One point to add, the Daiza are aesthetically pleasing and will be easy for me to match / coordinate with my rack, room, etc.

Thanks again!

Ag insider logo xs@2xdavid_ten

222222&text=mi
Owner
hi David,

good thoughtful question. sorry if this answer is long winded, but it's not simple to answer.

the basic differences between the Taiko Tana 'system' and a single Daiza platform is that the Tana is 'active' and the Daiza is passive. and also that the Tana 'system' includes the main shelf element of the passive Daiza.

n essence; the Tana 'system' includes (1) a Table Stable (brand name Herzan in the western hemisphere) TS active shelf, (2) a 10mm top Panzerholtz layer attached to the top plate, (3) a thin rubber membrane, (4) a Daiza Panzerholtz shelf (without footers), and (5) a very well built and elaborate separate linear power supply (replacing the stock SMPS in stock Herzan units) that even has a Panzerholtz case and uses a separate Daiza shelf underneath.

the Tana 'system' combines the active portion that optimizes frequencies below 200 hz, and then the 10mm top plate + the rubber membrane + the top shelf that optimizes higher frequencies. so as a system it attenuates full frequency.

i did start a thread here on Audiogon about this product with more details. here is a link;


there are no other anti-resonance devices in industry or high end audio that can compete with the Tana system. the only 2 gotcha's for the Tana are (1) the gear being treated cannot generate it's own noise, or the active Tana will get caught in a feedback loop of noise cancellation.....and burn itself up. some turntables, for instance, transmit resonance to their footers, these are not candidates for the Tana 'system'; and the other gotcha is (2) the cost. not cheap. another thing is that the Tana requires a solid rack and floor to be effective. suspended wood floors are not recommended.

"The Daiza is an acoustically optimized vibration damping and control platform, made from CNC machined German Panzerholz". it also has special two piece footers that provide excellent impedance breaks between your gear shelf and the gear chassis. and you can stack two Daiza sheves on top of each other for greater passive resonance attenuation. i have 4 such dual stacked Daiza's in my system.


why do i have 22 Daiza's?

5 are part of my 5 Tana active systems.
5 are under my Tana linear power supplies.
8 are 4x2 under my dac, dual dac power supplies, and server
2 are under my 2 box King Cello tape repro
one under my Tripoint Troy Signature grounding box
one under my Tripoint Elite grounding box.

mikelavigne

222222&text=da
Mike: Can you comment on the differences / advantages / disadvantages / what one leaves on the table between the Taiko Tano Herzan and Taiko Daiza platforms? And your reasons for adding 22 Daizas? Thanks. - David.

Ag insider logo xs@2xdavid_ten

222222&text=mi
Owner
finally posting a bunch of new additions.

---2 new turntables, 1 with new l
---new phono preamp
---new phono cartridge

---addition of 22 Daiza passive anti-resonance platforms.

CS Port LFT1 turntable;

Saskia model two idler turntable

CS Port C3EQM2 phono preamp

Taiko Audio Daiza anti-resonance platforms--22 of them.

Etsuro Gold MC Cartridge

mikelavigne

222222&text=ri
Hey Mike, that is one heck of a man cave, more like man house. Great job getting to that position in life. I'm sure you toiled countless hours to get there. 
So I am going to ask about probably the least expensive piece of audio equipment in your room. The Claudio record cleaner. As you know, I believe they went out of business and the remaining devices are quite a deal. However, watching the videos on how to use them, it seems rather cumbersome! Your thoughts and experience with it?

Rich

ricmci

222222&text=mi
Owner
@b_limo; again sorry for my delayed response.

appreciate those very nice words. my system certainly has been a labor of love and very long term effort. many low spots to get to the good places.

as far as 'other systems' and what i've heard, that's a hard question to answer. i've been in this room now for 15 years. for the first 10 of those years i heard a few systems that did do some things as good or better than my system. did i prefer those systems overall? not that i recall. but there were things about them i aspired to capture in my system. so i was inspired to keep pushing.

then about 3-4 years ago i made some significant changes and found some fine tuning progress in my system that took things to another level or three. since that time i think i would say i've not heard anything that i like as much or prefer to my system. keep in mind there are many top systems i've not heard.

i hesitate to use the word 'better' or 'best'. as there are many paths to musical reproduction bliss. for my particular musical compass i feel i'm where i need to be. i feel that i have a system that synergizes well and that however hard i push things the system can deliver. and my big advantage over other systems trying to do big music is that my room is not limiting. it's purpose built to do it all. lots of amplifier headroom. amazing bass capability. and i have top level sources with digital, vinyl and tape.

there are many, many 'uber' systems around the world. many with good rooms and as expensive or more expensive gear. where maybe i might have an advantage is in the passion i bring to the equation. i never stop trying to make things better. expensive pretty gear is only one part of great sound. for 10 years i had a great room, and top level gear. but i had not figured out the room synergy. i know what sort of hunger it took to break through that barrier.

sorry if i got carried away with my answer......but this is obviously a very huge thing for me.

and obviously i love to have music lovers visit me for a listening session. it's why my room is fairly large and i have lots of seating. love being a DJ.

mikelavigne

222222&text=mi
Owner
@sbonamo, sorry for my late response. not paying enough attention.

thanks for the kind words, and glad the Aqua Formula has been good for you. i've heard very positive things about that xHD upgrade. congrats!

mikelavigne

128x128
Hi Mike!  Your system is incredible.  The planning and effort that went into your listening room is staggering.  What a labor of love :-)

I’m curious if you have heard other systems that equaled or even surpassed yours in terms of sound quality.  

Anyhow, very very nice set-up!  And for you to offer to share it with others is awesome too!  

b_limo

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Looking great Mike. Thanks again for the recommendation on my Aqua Audio Formula DAC purchase, still sounds great and even better with the xHD upgrade. Happy Listening!

sbonamo

222222&text=mi
Owner
hello Andrew,

thanks.

you can come over whenever you are in the neighborhood. i often have music loving visitors and enjoy it.

Mike

mikelavigne

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Holy cow! When can I come over.

andrewkelley

222222&text=mi
Owner
thank you facten, for the kind comment.

mikelavigne

222222&text=fa
Mike,

Amazing system and room! Enjoy the music

facten

222222&text=mi
Owner
hi Simon,

thanks for the kind comments. and obviously agree on the Tosca.

regarding the Taiko Stechi grounding boxes; i do use 5 in the system right now, one with each Tana. i suppose i need to take some pictures and add it to my gear roster. they do add this little bit of goodness to the whole picture.

Jonathan reported to me a couple months ago how much he enjoyed the vinyl in your system with the Tana. there are not many of the Tana systems around so that was fun to hear about.

best wishes with your move back to the UK and getting settled there....again.

mikelavigne

Center
Hi Mike -- with my system now in storage for a year I'll have to live vicariously through yours. 

Agree on the Tosca, I had mine up and working for all of an hour and even with that limited experience it was clear it was delivering something no other tonearm I'd experienced had ever done (more linear, more open, more tape like etc).

I only have the one Tana but I did find that adding earthing to the BNC testing port on the rear added a soucon extra -- maybe drop in some of the Taiko ground boxes? 

folkfreak

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