Audio Nirvana has arrived. Being involved in this hobby for the past 40 years proves that this is a journey and not a destination. Over these years I have had countless iterations of too many systems to mention. Over the past 15 years I have become a loyal fan of Wilson Audio speakers and have steadily moved up their production line. Four years ago I never thought it could get any better than my Wilson X-2 Alexandria series l until I heard the X-2 series ll this year. Suffice it to say the X-2 Series ll speakers were added in October of this year in Black Almondine and now occupy the center of my sound syatem. For the past 3 years I have been seriously considering a return to vinyl and was ready to make the move until I began reading about the resurgence of reel to reel tape recorders and The Tape Project. Recently I found a fully restored Studer A810 tape recorder and added it to my system as well as becoming a Charter Subscriber to The Tape Project. Needless to say I was smitten. Recently I also swapped out my much beloved Meitner digital gear for the newer Playback Designs PDS MP-S5 and have been more than happpy with that decision. Earlier this year the video side of my room underwent a complete change and installed the Sim2 C3X1080 triple chip DLP with an Isco lll anamorphic lens. This allows me to enjoy either 16 X 9 format as well as 2.35 on a CIH Stewart Firehawk G3 132 inch curved screen. When I did this I upgraded the subwoofer(s) in my room by swapping the Wilson XS for two JL Audio Gotham subs. It took the better part of four months to get these subs dialed in for my room but once done they are simply better than I could have ever imagined. As far as what the future holds in the hobby, I am in a holding pattern but I never say never.

Components Toggle details

    • Wilson Audio X-2 Alexandria Series ll
    I am in awe of this speaker both from the way it sounds as well as the way it looks. After 3 months of anxiously awaiting, the speaker finally arrived. Color is Black Almondine with Parchment Gray grill covers. The speakers weigh in at a cool 720 lbs each and stand 2 inches taller than the X-1's I had. Simply put, I have never heard a speaker as real as this. The soundstage is huge, more open than even the X-2 series l. The ease of setup as well was amazing. It took us only 2 hours to get the speakers operational. The wonderful thing about the X-2 is that the upper modules can now be meticulously set to image at ear level. The X-1's were always imaging just a bit high. These speakers are truly Dave Wilson at the pinnacle of his game. Just when I thought my X-2 series l's put me at audio nirvana, along comes the X-2 Series ll. The best way to compare this speaker to anything else is with a big smile rather than with hyperbole. IMO this speaker has brought me to Audio Nirvana.
    • Lamm Industries ML 3 Signature
    The ML3 is a single-ended (SE) tube amplifier utilizing a very powerful direct-heated triode GM-70 (125W plate dissipation) and a separate power supply. Combining the most sophisticated technologies and electronic design with graceful looks reminiscent of the classic era of tubes, the ML3 is our top-of-the-line, no-compromise product. It is a 32-watt amplifier that operates in pure class A and utilizes no overall feedback. The topology is absolutely unique and incorporates one of the most advanced power supplies ever featured in an audio device. These factors, along with the designer’s unique vision and understanding of the underlying principles of audio electronics, make the ML3 an amplifier without peer. With the ML3 as the centerpiece of a high-end system, the recorded event is recreated in one’s listening room with astonishing verisimilitude. The listener is able to experience an ephemeral yet tangible connection to the essence of the music. These are not empty claims. Those who have listened to the ML3 firsthand have unanimously acknowledged this phenomenon and have reported it to be utterly unique in their collective experience. IMO this amp rises above all others and is the the new king of the hill. Audio Nirvana has arrived
    • Lamm Industries LL1 Signature Dual Mono Line Level
    The monaural line level preamplifier model LL1 Signature is the ultimate statement of perfection in High-End audio. Just like ML3 Signature is the best creation of its designer's professional career among the LAMM amplifiers, so is the LL1 Signature among the line level LAMM preamplifiers. The LL1 Signature has been designed to complement the ML3 Signature amplifier, and this combination in a system represents a "match made in heaven". However, the LL1 Signature will perform magic with any other appropriate power amplifier. The LL1 Signature features a topology that brings out the most natural sound performance in the audio path. In principle, it is a single-stage unit that basically represents the shortest possible signal path. The preamplifier contains four very linear low impedance triodes paralleled into a single inverting gain stage. The LL1 Signature employs a pure single-ended class A operation, with no overall feedback applied. Also featured are specially selected high-transconductance dual triodes 6N30P-DR/ 6Н30П-ДР (original) in the signal path and TKD stepped potentiometers for volume control - the best available on today's market. The preamplifier's audibly neutral power supply features a full-wave vacuum rectifier. This rectifier, together with a choke-containing filter, allows to practically get rid of the hum and buzz and, in the end, to ensure the verity of dynamic range without coloration. Two solid-state analog voltage regulators supply dc voltage to the tube filaments (heaters). Other features include 3 inputs, one tape/HT processor loop, attenuator (-12 dB) switch, output 1/output 2 switches, protection circuitry designed to enable manual muting of the output signal, and built-in remote on/off for LAMM power amplifiers. The main distinction of the LL1 Signature from any other comparable type of preamplifiers is its practically inaudible sonic signature. When connected to an appropriate type of power amplifiers, especially LAMM power amplifiers, it assures the extraordinary transparency of perceived sound and recreation of a three-dimensional soundstage in the home, recording studio, etc., without boundaries and limitations. Each preamplifier is handcrafted of the finest materials and top quality parts like military-grade DALE metal-film resistors, PRC wire-wound resistors, BOURNS multi-turn potentiometers, CORNELL DUBILIER and UNITED CHEMI-CON electrolytic capacitors, ELECTROCUBE, ELCON and ROEDERSTEIN film capacitors; HAMMOND chokes, gold-plated NEUTRIC connectors, and military-grade low-noise long-life vacuum tubes. A custom-designed massive damping panel installed in the preamplifier unit significantly reduces all types of mechanical vibrations which, in turn, leads to a more extended, coherent and natural bass reproduction. The LL1 Signature features a custom-designed super-low noise power transformer. The LL1 Signature works on all world AC line voltages (100/120/220/230/240V).
    • JL Audio Gotham/g213
    Gotham® Your first look will tell you that you are looking at something special… your first listen will confirm it beyond a shadow of a doubt. The beauty of the Gotham® extends well beyond its exotic design and exceptional craftsmanship, aiming right at the emotional core of musical and cinematic enjoyment. This is a subwoofer system with limits well beyond the needs of the typical home theater application, delivering a weight and integrity of reproduction that can only come from a system that is always in control. Its allure lies as much in its ability to convey subtleties as in its prodigious output capabilities. It is simply devastating. A luxurious, handcrafted gloss-black finish is complemented by machined aluminum and stainless steel accents for a look and feel that fits perfectly with the finest home furnishings. More importantly, the beautiful cabinet houses a pair of JL Audio’s highest-technology subwoofer drivers. When demanded by program material, the Gotham’s amplifier can deliver voltage equivalent to 3,800 watts of RMS power to take full advantage of the twin drivers’ four inches of peak-to-peak excursion capability. This ensures that the Gotham™ can breeze through material that makes other subwoofers go into clipping, limiting or distress. Listening to a Gotham® reveals an entirely new dimension of subwoofer performance... a dimension so satisfying that listening to lesser subwoofers will forever become an act of compromise. Available Models: g213 (click for specs and feature list) Model: g213-GLOSS SKU: 96237 Cabinet Finish: High-Gloss Black
    • Playback Designs System MS5
    I just never thought that I would sell my Meitner gear because for years IMO it was the leader of the pack. Not so fast any more as along came the PDS MS-5 which creates music as close to vinyl as the real thing
    • Studer Reel To Reel A-810
    A fully refurbished state of the art Studio reel to reel
    • Krell Theater Amplifier Standard
    This is used to drive my center channel, surround channels and rear channel. I use it only for home theater however when Krell releases their SACD standard in May, I will delve into multichannel audio. I continue to use a Krell FPB-750 mcX for my Wilson XS subwoofer. I use 6.1 and not 7.1 in my room
    • Wilson Audio WATCH Center Channel
    I have used many center channel speakers but have found this one to outperform anything that I have previously owned. I use it with its accompanying speaker stand centered right under my screen. Recently upgraded this center channel to Black Almondine to match my new X-2 series ll speakers
    • Wilson Audio WATCH Surround (left and right)
    A perfect compliment for my Wilson X-1/XS speakers.
    • Nordost Valhalla
    I use this in my front end. An unbelievably transparent interconnect. I was using Tara Labs The Zero which was magnificent but I feel the Valhalla is a notch above even though The Zero was priced at $12,500 for a 2 meter pair of balanced cables
    • Wilson Audio WATCH rear
    I decided on only 6.1 rather than 7.1 and am very impressed with this speaker in my home theater
    • Sim2 Triple Chip DLP Projector C3X 1080
    For those following the buzz on the internet this is the latest triple chip DLP from Sim that has a picture unequaled for projectors of this price and size
    • Isco 2.35 Anamorphic Lens Model lll
    Anamorphic 2.35 lens for Sim 2 projector
    • Stewart Filmscreen Firehawk G3 CineV 130
    A CIH screen with native 2.35 aspect ratio and 120 inch width. Masks to 16 x 9 as well
    • Sony BDP-S2000ES
    Sony's flagship Blu-ray Disc™ player, with astounding audio enhancements and vibration-reduction that deliver phenomenal results in a rock-solid design
    • Lexicon MC12B-HD v 1.2
    Most impressive about the MC-12 HD is its extensive custom processing capabilities. Four 32-bit floating-point DSP engines provide vast resources for such proprietary features as Logic 7, Auto Azimuth correction, five-speaker enhancement, bass enhancement, and dialog enhancement. Lexicon?s bass management system, digital crossovers and tone controls are also powered by these DSP engines. This processing is performed at sample rates up to 96kHz with 24-bit resolution to retain top performance from all input sources. A fifth DSP engine is dedicated to decoding Dolby Digital and DTS sources. Inside and out, the MC-12 HD is designed to accommodate potential hardware and software advancements with internal expansion, a removable rear panel access plate, and two RS-232 connectors.
    • Nordost Valhalla AES/EBU
    A digital cable with XLR (balanced)terminations. Used to connect the Krell kps25sc to the EMM Labs DAC 6
    • Nordost Valhalla
    Simply the best and most transparent cable I have ever used. I sold my Tara Labs The Omega for these cables. As great as the Omega was, I find there is no comparison with the Valhalla
    • Nordost Valhalla
    20 amp IEC power cables (one pair) used for my Audio Research Refernce 600 Mark lll mono amps. This resulted in immediate improvement in bass as well as producing a somewhat more dynamic sound.
    • Tara Labs RSC Gen 2
    Used in my home theater
    • Tara Labs RSC Air One
    5 pair of balanced cables used in my home theater
    • Tara Labs The One
    I have 2 of these in my front end. They made a big difference
    • Absolute Power Line Purifier
    Used in my home theater side. A very solid work horse
    • Aurios Pro MIb
    Decouplers. An absolute must in any system. I use these under my Krell kps25sc and Audio Research Reference ll Mark ll. I have also found dramatic improvement in my bass when used under my Wilson X-1 Grand Slamm speakers. These are sold exclusively at Ask for Bob Williams. he will give you all of the theory behind this tweak.You can reach him at 1-877-944-5505
    • Acoustic Sciences Corporation Tube Traps
    The single best tweak to my room was to have ASC design room modifications (tube traps)according to the size of my room with the type of gear used. I have a total of 38 tube traps in the room in all sizes, varying from Super trap 20's, Super trap 16's and trap 13's, 11's and 9's. I did this in stages according to the plans provided by ASC and once finished I had a true 2C3D room. The walls are virtually invisible.
    • Acoustic Sciences Corporation Sound Planks
    Also part of the design rendered for my room by ASC. These sit at the front wall and have vastly improved the sound in the room.
    • Billy Bags AV Pro
    This is used for my home theater equiment
    • Billy Bags CD/DVD Stand
    Designrd specifically for my room I am able to store over 1000 CD's and/or DVD's
    • Zoethecus component stands Z.2/R (2 in all)
    Great looking, good support and excellent isolation
    • Zoethecus amp stands (3 in all) Z.block/1d
    Great looking with super isolation
    • Musical Fidelity Tube Output Buffer X-10v3
    high input impedance allowing me to drive my new JL Gotham subs without compromising my Audio Research Reference 3 preamp
    • Musical Fidelity Tube Output Buffer Power Supply
    Optional separate power supply for tube buffer which helps bass response from Gotham Subs
    • Transparent Reference (RSE) Interconnect
    20 foot pair from Tube Buffer Output to Gotham subs and one meter pair from ARC Ref3 to Tube Output Buffer
    • See Other Web site For More Details And Pictures

Comments 1014

It's no secret by now that Shunyata Research has released their Alpha Line of Power Cables. These have been described at the recent CES/T.H.E. Show

I now have two of these in my system, an Alpha Digital that connects from my Playback Designs to my Triton, and recently I received a pair of Alpha High Current PC's which I now have running from the wall to my amps and these have been burning in nicely for the past 8-9 days and I feel comfortable making the following comments.........


My buddy Marty was in town from New Jersey and we spent 4 hours yesterday doing critical listening with my full Shunyata Triton/Typhon for my front end components and twin Typhons, one in each AC duplex of each channel of my amps. Marty is presently using only a Triton on the front end and no Typhons for the amps.

When I first installed these components the single most obvious change is the sound volume. I have reference preamp SPL levels that I use for most music. I found that I had to turn down the volume in order to appreciate those levels to which I was accustomed.

Our experiment yesterday was quite simple and involved two different parts. Our reference track was Silent Night (Stille Nacht) from Cantate Domino. Initial listening levels on my Lamm LL1 preamp were set. We listened to the track and then disconnected the Typhons from each AC duplex of my amps and lo and behold the sound volume fell way off. In order to restore the same volume to the room we had to increase the gain control on each channel by 3 clicks. When we plugged the Typhons back in the gain was found to be quite high and those three clicks were dialed back.

Then the same experiment with the front end equipment. We listened to the same track of Silent Night at the same volume level we previously set. Then we diconnected the Typhon from the Typhon and listened again and much to our amazement the sound volume had again fallen off and in order to restore the same volume the gain control on each channel of the preamp was increased by 3 clicks.

The results of this were so consistent that we could reproduce the same each time we carried out the test

The two of us were quite amazed at how much of a positive result the use of a Typhon with the Triton for front end gear and the twin Typhons for the amps consistently and repeatedly.

There was no doubt in our minds as to the overall positive results with the Typhons in said locations. As Caelin properly categorized us as the Lunatic Fringe after that experiment I wear the badge proudly

The results were simply amazing and convinced us that this is the way to go.

When the Typhons were disconnected, the other thing we both noticed was a loss of the 3D imaging as well as the emotion of the music.The sound was polite but not nearly as engaging without the Typhons

I'm a believer.

I am hoping Caelin might comment on our findings as to why there was such a change in SPL. Is the sound floor reduced so low with the Typhon that the results are so consistent.....


I rarely add or change equipment in my system but many of you might be interested in my recent journey with new Shunyata gear and cables.....



Thanks for your reply and the very structured and informative write up on your whatsbest forum, many of us do not realize how much time and dedication goes into it.

After the long due upgrade of my Audience Adept Response 12, I am about to start the testing of power regen (two different approaches: PS Audio P10 and old technology Elgar 3006) with and without the combination of passive PLCs Audience Adept Response 12TS and PI Audio Ueberbuss.
Shunyata's products may be introduced, then as replacement, once the best combo is found.

In my case the total amount in power cords and power conditioning at least equals the part the amplification components in my main system, a ratio I still regard as healthy. Technology advancement necessitates regular revisits, as long as my ears convince my wallet.


Hi Doc, glad (but not faintly surprised) you are having such a fab experience with Shunyata... Caelin's "plasma" Is a very apt metaphor for that amazing effect of sound that seems to emerge from what feels much more alive than the "black background of old"... I often call it the "living silence". There are in my limited experience only a very few manufacturers who know how to yield that stratospherically magical level of music experience.. paradoxically using very different technological approaches... And Shunyata is part of the rarified group.

Saluti, G.


I can't disagree with your comments.

I have spent the past 2-3 months evaluating new cables as well as power conditioners

After a lengthy search I have started to go in the Shunyata direction both in power cords and power conditioning. I have begun to replace all of my Valhalla PC's with Shunyata Anaconda. I have also added the following equipment. For my front end components I have added a Triton/Typhon combination with Anaconda PC as well as an Anaconda umbilical. This is still breaking in after almost 4 weeks of warmup. I must admit that every report I have read about this system said it to be a truly incredible system changer. What I can say after 4 weeks is that this new gear has been a game changer for me. I say that because of my close to 50 years in the hobby wherein I can remember perhaps a handful of new components which were so great that for me they became game changers to my system. This new Shunyata has been a game changer in my system.

I liked this so much that upon reading further comments By Caelin Gabriel who is a member of my forum (, I have now taken this to such a step beyond, that Caelin calls this the Lunatic Fringe. I am proud to say that I am now a card carrying member of the Lunatic Fringe. What I did was to buy two more Typhons each with an Anaconda umbilical. Per Caelin's suggestions I have plugged each of theses into the AC Duplex of its corresponding dedicated line for each channel of my Lamm ML3 power amps. I wasn't prepared for what I have heard. Simply put, the noise floor is either so low or non existent that sounds now emerge out of blackness. There is what Caelin calls "the plasma" of the music which gives life and character to what we hear. The sound is so clear and beyond anything I have ever had in my system that I am now making out words in songs which I have used as demo tracks for almost 30 years. Recently I was listening to one of my go to tracks that I have played forever and as I listened to the song being sung, one word caught my ear and was different than what I have heard for all that time

This new equipment in my system has been so remarkable that I have been tight lipped about it and what I have been hearing because to do so would involve a lot of typical audiophile hyperbole. I suggest that anyone looking for the ultimate in power conditioning, this new gear from Shunyata must be auditioned in your system Simply put, "it is that good". For my ears I was simply stunned as I was not prepared for what I heard. These 4 units with cables don't come cheap with an MSRP for the units and cables of close to $30K. I just can't ever conceive listening to my system again without these Shunyata products

I plan to write about my experience with my changes made (once the two new Typhons have been broken in) at my website and specifically

I have also replaced a Valhalla PC from my Playback Designs with the new Shunyata Alpha Digital PC and I can say that it is as good or better than my Valhalla PC at 1/3 the cost

Once power cords have all been replaced I will then begin the process of changing all of my signal cables and speaker cables.

Once that has been completed my next change will be the use of Stillpoints through my system as well. There have been wonderful experiences by members at my forum with Stillpoints as well. I remain on the fence as to whether I will use these under my x2's in place of the spikes used forever on all Wilson speakers but for now it remains under consideration. Finally new racks will be added once the other upgrades are complete.

So yes, I do agree with you

Stay tuned


Hi Steve,

A superb system! I know this question have been posed last year but have you evaluated other interconnects or power cords to possibly replace the Valhallas? You have excellent speakers and amplification so one wonders if by replacing a cable / cables this great sound can be even improved. Re decoupling the Wilsons, have you tried Stillpoint Ultra SS or Ultra 5? I have found that the Ultra SS betters the Aurio MIB by a stretch, whether they are under upstream equipment or speakers.


System edited: Link added to other website for additional pictures and write up on the room build out


What a transformation from unused ceiling space. Another completely successful operation, Doc!! Thank you for taking the time to share your journey. I have Nick's Alaap and it IS fantastic!! And thank you, Nick!!



As always, it was good to see you and to be able to discuss all things audio on your recent visit. Sorry to say that the system still lacks vinyl as that remains my annual New Year's resolution for many years. However I must say that since I added Nick Doshi's tape head preamp to my system along with a perfectly quad matched NOS Telefunken ECC801S set of tubes that this has been a real game changer. For those with tape decks and are interested in what I call a world class piece of equipment I would say that an audition of Nick's unit is an absolute must. I have auditioned many makes of external tape head preamps but always found the tubed ones noisy in my system until I heard Nick's unit. It is dead quiet

Here is a write up of Nick (who BTW traveled all the way from Virginia to my home in Southern California to install his tape head preamp)



thanks again for being a great host during my visit a couple of weeks ago to your wonderful new room. it was enjoyable and the sound was really wonderful.

i also posted a few more thoughts about my visit on What's Best Forum



Steve, I think that your enthusiasm must be responsible for the increase...:).


Ag insider logo xs@2xunoear

I just found that out and indeed you are correct


I think Larry told me the MSRP has gone up to $12k now.


The Doshi tape preamp has an MSRP of $10K.

My Lamms aren't going anywhere but I must confess that I was so stunned by what I was hearing that I was wanting to hear Nicks preamp and amp in my system. I've discussed this with him



What an enjoyable read. Reminds me of the old days here at Audiogon where great sound was always being promoted and discussed.

Can you disclose the "retail" price of the Doshi tubed head preamp?

Are you going to give the Doshi line stage a try? That Lamm will be tough to beat, it's a wonderful piece.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

System Edit

Added the much heralded Doshi tubed tape head preamp as well as rolling an unused NOS circa 60's perfectly matched quad set of the Holy Grail of 12AT7's.

You can read about the particulars as well as a review and some photos here

Start at this post and read to the end of the thread


Hey Steve
Looks like you've been busy.
Congrats on the new room, it looks stunning.
Take care,



I would also thank Steve and Cathy for their hospitality.

It, truly, was a rare opportunity to share this experience with Steve, Albert, and Bruce.

Marvelous room and system congruence :-)
Congratulations, Steve!



Great system, really love your R2R, they really add magic and joy to audio.



It was a treat for me to finally have you visit. We had a fun evening and again thanks for all of your constructive input

You'll have to come back when my new Doshi tape head preamp is set up by Nick in the next few weeks. I've been waiting on this one for months. According to Bruce who was also with you at my house, the Doshi is the new king of tape head preamps. I should have it by the 3rd week in June.


who by all accounts liked the system. I knew that was tough for Albert as he is not a big Wilson lover.

The room, associated equipment and software made for a wonderful evening with Steve. I respect Wilson and understand the following but never heard them perform where I wanted to buy a pair.

This pair changed my mind, Steve's hard work on the room and matching with the big Lamm gear made for a rare listening experience. Really, really wonderful resolution, honest tonal balance and perfect image height and sound stage.

Thank you for having me and thanks to you're beautiful wife Cathy for the food and drink.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

With THE Show going on this past weekend and just a short drive to my house, I was able to host several members over these last few days including none other than our illustrious Albert Porter who by all accounts liked the system. I knew that was tough for Albert as he is not a big Wilson lover. There is something magic about the pairing of the Lamm Signature series electronics with the large Wilson speakers


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