Description

Speakers are Focal Grande Utopia EM in black finish

Analog music sources, Technics SP10 MK3  with two Kuzma 4 Point 14" arms.  Koetsu Blue Lace on one and Air Tight Opus One in the other.   Studer A820 half track tape machine with three sets of cards, each rebuilt by Studer electronics experts so I can compare upgrade performance.

Digital music source is Aurender W20 Special Edition into Soulution 760 LEEDH.  THe best input for music so far is Purist new USB cable and AES/EBU close second place.

Soulution 725 preamp, Soulution 755 phono stage Soulution 760 LEEDH and Soulution 701 mono block amps for electronics.  See image posted Nov 18, 2022 to see how it looks.

Cable is 100% top tier Purist Audio design.  All latest 35th Anniversary,  all ten AC cords are the new Purist 35th Anniversary AC.

My space is 18 X 31 and acoustically treated with RPG panels, tube traps and fiberglass acoustic treatment over triple reinforced walls and ceiling. The floor is lamination beams over steel plates to concrete pier and beam.  Two sheets of 5/8 epoxy lamination sheets make up the floor with two inches of concrete topped with India multi color slate.

Whisper Wall rail system and fine textured acoustic cloth covers the work, making  everything appear as a normal room of painted sheet rock or decorative cloth covering.

The room acoustics were conceived by RBDG and the entire space was torn out to bare dirt under the foundation and bare studs in the walls.  The combo of all new electrical and acoustical treatment resulting in best sound I’ve ever had.
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Room Details

Dimensions: 31’ × 18’  X large
Ceiling: 12’


Components Toggle details

    • My Photography http://www.albertporterphoto.com
    Commercial + Advertising Photography, Dallas, TX.
    • Focal Grande Utopia EM
    The best offering from Focal, shown with Stillpoints Ultra 5. Ultra 5 was an amazing upgrade for the speakers !
    • RPG Acoustics QRD 734 (variation)
    On front wall, now obscured by acoustically transparent cloth, is floor to ceiling RPG (similar to QRD® 734) in foam, so it's partially absorptive.
    • Studer Studer A820
    Found a near mint A820 at a production studio in Illinois.  I was so excited about it's condition I had it driven here in the back of an SUV, covered with moving blankets.

    Head block sent to John French and all cards at Soren Wittrup who worked for Studer.  This is the machine I spent more than a decade searching for.
    • Technics SP10 MK3 Rosewood with Stillpoints Ultra 5
    Technics SP10 MK3 Panzerholz + Rosewood shown with Stillpoints Ultra 5
    • Technics SP10 MK3 Panzerholz + Ebony
    Technics SP10 MK3 Panzerholz with African Ebony lumber (no Veneer). This is the original design by John Semrad and myself, copied to death now.
    • TTM Stainless Mat and Oil Damp Weight
    Japan, TTM Stainless mat (6.61 pounds) plus TTM oil filled record weight.
    • TTM record stabilizer TTM three piece set
    Very hard to find, grateful I was able to purchase this last week.  Three piece TTM record stabilizer replaces my previous single piece unit.
    • Air Tight Opus
    Air Tight top of the line phono cartridge
    • Mutech Hayabusa
    Excellent MC cartridge, retail about $4500.00
    • Koetsu Blue Lace Platinum
    Top tier stone body Koetsu, perfect alternate to Air Tight Opus One
    • Soulution 725 preamp
    725, Soulution best preamp, shown in system
    • Soulution 755 phono
    Soulution best phono stage, unbelievable amount of adjustment for cartridge including channel balance to 1 DB
    • Soulution Soulution 760 LEEDH
    Soulution top tier DAC, really pleased with performance of this DAC.  

    I still prefer analog but many recordings that were digital to begin with (and vinyl cut from CD master) are better on Soulution than on turntable.
    • Soulution 701 Mono Block Amplifiers
    Soulution top tier 2KW solid state amps from Switzerland
    • ORB-DF03 USA version DF03
    Excellent LP flattener, simple to use and so far perfect result
    • Aurender W20 Special Edition
    Aurender music server, model W20 SE with 16TB solid state storage on board.
    • Vibraplane 2212-01
    Under my Technics MK3,  powered by Silentaire DR-150
    • Degritter Ultrasonic LP cleaning machine
    New from Estonia, very powerful ultrasonic LP cleaning machine.
    • Degritter and ORB LP flattner Degritter and ORB LP flattner
    View of two important pieces to maintain LP collection
    • Milbank Transocket three phase 750 amp
    750 amp meter base. Pass through design, three phase power is a huge benefit in conjunction with our dedicated transformer.
    • Porter Port Cryo outlets 20 Amp
    14 of these in my system, each to a dedicated breaker in copper based electrical box
    • Furutech NCF Booster
    New NCF Booster added to majority of AC cords in system.  Easy to see against light colored wall, arrow points to NCF Booster to my (previous) owned Allnic M-5000 amp.
    • Purist Audio Design Focal EM Supply cable
    New four conductor cord, replaces stock Focal supply cord from EM drive box to back of speaker. Amazing upgrade
    • Purist Audio Design 35th Anniversary XLR (4 total)
    (1) Soulution 755 phono to Soulution 725 preamp
    (1) Soulution 725 preamp to Soulution 701 mono blocks
    (1) Soulution 760 LEEDH DAC to Soulution 725 preamp
    (1) Studer A820 to Soulution 725 preamp
    • Purist Audio Design 35th Anniversary Bi-Wire
    1.5 meter Bi-Wire, Soulution 701 mono blocks to Focal Grande EM
    • Purist Audio Design 35th Anniversary AC Cables
    New STUNNING cable from Purist Audio, silver and seven stage network box.  This cable brought so much dynamics, resolution and transparency to my system it qualifies as a main component.
    • Leica Disto D2
    Super laser measuring tool. Indispensable for setting distance and alignment of your speakers

Comments 4731

Center
Owner
Just updated with a different (old) image of Tuesday night music group, I need to set up and take a new image  since there are so many new additions.

Updated all Purist Audio Design to 35th Anniversary!

I’ve had these in my system since last year but could not disclose since they were not released.   Now available and an amazing upgrade as Purist always manages to do.

Also removed Bricasti DAC and listed Soulution 760 LEEDH along with image of same.   I need to add Furutech outlets since they are just about everywhere in the system.

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Center
Owner
A few hour ago I received the new Kuzma 4 Point 14" with sapphire-ruby bearings.  Currently burning in with a modified interconnect cable thart routes my CD player signal through the tonearm wire.  This would take forever with the .5MV cartridge and put unnecessary wear just for break in.

Probably  200 hours or more since it’s silver wire,  then mount the Air Tight Opus One cartridge and back in prime position on the turntable.

I have another Kuzma 4 Point 14" in the second tonearm position with standard bearings.  I hope within the next month or so to determine if the bearings are an audible improvement or just a long term reliability upgrade.

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Center
Owner
The new Soulution 760 LEEDH is fully broken in now and it’s the first time in my long history in high end audio that I have actually ENJOYED digital.  The Soulution 760 is way beyond just acceptable,  it actually exceeds some of my LPs (same album) and I have a top flight LP playback system.

For me the main advantage of a DAC was access to music not available on LP.  Now if an artist has an album I want, I download or purchase the CD and enjoy it rather than waiting for a release that may never happen.

My only regret is having had to wait so many years for digital that sounds right. I've had a dozen DACs and although some were "good" they constantly reminded me of why I preferred listening to LPs or tape. 

Much credit must also go to new Aurender W20SE and it’s matching Conductor app.  The Soulution could not perform at this level without best files and the Critical Listening Mode Aurender now offers.

I will be selling the Purist Audio Design AES/EBU and also the Purist SPDIF/BNC.    The Purist Diamond USB is still the winner with the Aurender + Soulution just as it was with the Aurender + Bricasti M1SE MDX.

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Center
Owner
Soulution 760 LEEDH arrived yesterday about 3:00 PM, I got it in place and have been running signal through it for a day now. Listening to Paper Airplane and Alison Krauss is sounding mighty good.

I also have newest Purist AES/EBU on order to test it against their best USB, which was preferred cable with my Bricasti M1SE MDX.

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Center
Owner
When I made this change it was strange to not have tubes, then as the Soulution got more hours on it I fell in love with the tight deep bass, impossibly low distortion and dead quiet signal to noise.  I guess my goal to have both tube and solid state was dissolved, although I was very close to having all VAC system.

This mess with Russia had not occurred, so I'm lucky to have made the decision when I did.  My favorite power tubes are Russian, meaning harder to find and horribly expensive.

Hope you come and listen, comments welcome as to where you think my system landed.  Just let me know, we will make a spot for you !

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Albert left tube land - how did I not hear about this! Will come for a visit as I’m in Dallas regularly now on business.

keithr

Center
Owner
nrchy,

I myself would not have believed it either :-).

I began with solid state when I built my first stereo system many years ago.   It was not until Counterpoint Electronics stunned me with the SA9 and SA11 somewhere in early 1980s that I owned my first tube gear.

After Counterpoint there were lots of tube product in my system,  Audio Research, Wolcott, Atma-Sphere, Air Tight, Tube Research, Viva, VTL, Aesthetix and Allnic  to name but a few.  I honestly never thought I would own solid state again.

I am no longer distributor for Allnic, but when I was, I wanted solid state to offer to customers as an alternative.  After listening to Soulution 7 series it was 1984 all over again, time to flip the switch the other way. 

What ultimately drove me to Soulution was the beauty and weight of the music,  which is much like the best part of tubes.  That coupled with unbelievable bandwidth and signal to noise in a presentation that revealed more of the music than I have ever experienced I was hooked.  

The magic of tubes did not go away, it was just replaced by Swiss technology that does so many things perfect,  I was happy to make the change.

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Albert Porter owns solid state amps?!?  Will wonders never cease?

nrchy

Center
Owner
Thank you !

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Center
lovely !

tomic601

Center
Owner
Pulled two old images.

Added new photo of LPs and tape which includes Soulution 755 and 725.  Nice view of  includes A820.

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Center
Owner
stgrim,

Thanks for dropping in to my system, always good to read comments from others.

I owned Aesthetix when you could still find NOS Telefunken and not at super high prices.  I contributed to several threads at Audiogon about tube tests in Aesthetix and what my results were.

I did photography for Aesthetix as well as several other high end pieces and was happy with Aesthetix IO and Callisto including the revised models referred to  as partial eclipse and full eclipse.

During that time I auditioned ARC, Allnic, Einstein, Upsilon and Messenger preamps and phono stages.   I bought and used Allnic for many years and was happy with it's sound. I was Allnic distributor until just recently and that caused me to evaluate all my gear again.

It came down to VAC and Soulution and if I had the money I would have bought both and done a shoot out.  As it is, I'm friends with Soulution importer and I took his word at what Soulution was capable of.   I've had it in my system for about three months but the 755 phono was back ordered and I just received mine last Friday.

All the guys in my group are tube guys, just like me.  Last Tuesday with only a few hours on it the Soulution I got almost 100% agreement that I had reached a new threshold in performance.   I did not expect solid state would ever be able to do what this achieved and I'm now considering the 760 DAC with LEEDH.

i don’t know where you live, but if travel ever brings you my way you are welcome to listen with me and our group and see what you think.

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Hey Albert I own the Focal Scala Evo Utopias, am a lifelong focal fan. Currently use an Aesthetix Calypso Signature and you are right it's so hard to find quiet 12ax tubes. Really thinking of changing to another pre amp that's quieter and more reliable. Did the solution work well as a replacement with the same imaging and Soundstage the Aesthetix is known for?

stgrim

Center
Owner
Took a new photo showing room and amps, the previous image was very old.

Break in is going well, new gear is spectacular with master tapes.

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Center
Owner
I owned Aesthetix for a long time, from basic to signature to Full Eclipse.  It's hard to get quiet enough 12AX7 tubes, especially if you want NOS like Telefuken.

I don't know if Soulution will stand alone or I'll add tubes.  Its so new it's still changing every few days of break in.

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Albert,

i have a tubed CS Port phono i like alot, and have acquired a used Aesthetix Io Eclipse phono which is at Aesthetix for some updates on it's way to me.

so a few tubes here and there can also be a choice. but maybe if i had the Soulution 755 phono i might not have bothered with those phono's. but it's  a spendy unit.

mikelavigne

Center
Owner
Thanks Mike, I may add a tube preamp at some point but first going to try all Soulution.

Seems the Swiss solid state designs are winning hearts, I see tube guys going with darTZeel, Soulution, Nagra and CH Precision.

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hi Albert,

as a tube loving solid state user i can relate. i view my swiss solid state darTZeel as sounding like music, not tubes........or solid state. i do think musical reproduction bliss can be fully found with the right solid state. and an appreciation of tubes does help.

congrats on the Soulution gear, it's is at the very top level.

best regards,

Mike

mikelavigne

Center
Owner
Radical edit on my system, removed all Allnic now that I am no longer associated with them and VERY happy to be listening to Soulution from Switzerland.

Never thought I would go solid  state but the rep is a 30 year plus friend and talked me into taking a chance.   All I can say is solid state has moved light years since I last owned in in early 1980s when I switched to tubes.

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128x128
Sounds like a plan, look forward to it. A

scar972

Center
Owner
Anthony,

You can reach me direct at [email protected]

I hope to open up again in April when more folks have received their Covid vaccinations.

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128x128
Albert, I will make my way up there when Tuesday is opened up, drop me a line when that happens. I've used Soren before, good tech!

scar972

Center
Owner
Hello Anthony,

I will be opening up Tuesday night listening sessions again soon since Covid vaccinations are making headway.   When that happens you can listen with us.  The Studer cards were sent off to be rebuilt, I actually have two sets and two technicians did work on them.

Soren (from Denmark) did the first set and Studer tech in Canada did the second, my plan is to listen to both and see if I prefer one over the other.  These two Studer technicians have different opinion as to what parts to use, especially caps.

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Hi Albert,
I've been eyeing your system for awhile, it is very impressive! Congrats on the new Studer A820, it doesn't get any better if you can get it in the hands of the right tech. I'm a fellow Studer owner and not far from you in Fort Worth. Would love to stop by for a listen one of these days. Cheers, Anthony

scar972

Center
Owner
Tony,

First of all I apologize for not responding earlier, Audiogon did not notify me about your post on my thread.

I have heard both Magico and Focal Grande EM at audio shows and I was both impressed and disappointed, depending on set up, room acoustics and associated equipment.

When I was speaker shopping I had a dozen on my list before deciding and ultimately it was a set up in Montreal that made me decide to buy the Focal Grande EM.

Something to consider with any speaker are parts and service.  Since my Focal Purchase several of the speaker companies or specific model I was considering are no more.  Either company changed hands or model is gone.

 That makes me wonder, what if there are no exact replacement parts later on?  

When I spoke to Focal they told me to my face that they could provide an exact and perfect replacement for any driver or crossover part in my EM Grande for all foreseeable time.  Nine years have passed and their promise is still true.

If you have not already found your ideal choice, I hope you are successful and have the will power and patience to match up other pieces in the chain necessary to make your system as perfect as you can.

Ultimately all the other pieces in the system are as important as the speaker.  I achieved that in my system and honestly if someone ask to buy my speakers I would not sell.   I have no idea where I would go to replace them.

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