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.
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 designers 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 ones 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 Audios highest-technology subwoofer drivers. When demanded by program material, the Gothams 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.
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'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
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
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 http://www.audionut.com 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
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 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 (http://www.whatsbestforum.com), 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 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.
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)
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.
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
I am just seeing this now as I hang out typically at my forum wwwwhatsbestforum.com.
I have deliberately remained mum on the ML3LL1 Signature Series with my Wilson X-2 ll's as I am afraid that I would get carried away with all of the typical hyperbole.
Simply put, at 32 wpc Class A this is the finest amp I have ever owned.What's remarkable is the sound produced with the Wilson speakers. For my ears it is a match made in heaven as the music IMO is beyond equal.
Does it drive the X-2's...with aplomb. I have driven the speakers to near ear bleeding SPL and never had the amps clip
The LL1 with the ML3 creates even more magic. What's important to remember is that the LL1 is an inverting preamp and you must remember to reverse the polarity of your speaker cables from the preamp to the speakers.
I can also say in all candor that the reason I have posted so little here is that with the addition of these electronics I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to change my system other than my typical annual rant that I remain interested in getting back into vinyl.
Short of that how does one spell "Audio Nirvana" :)
if you have a chance to audition the LL1 with the ML3 remember that it is an "inverting" preamp. As a result make certain that either you or your dealer switch the polarity on your speaker cables as they come out of the amp.
FWIW, Vladimir designed the LL1 Signature preamp to go with his ML3 Signature amp. It is a revelation to hear, so much so that you quickly forget that the preamp (as do all Lamm preamps) lacks a remote. In spite of this shortcoming the musical event for my ears is about as real as it gets and even though there are likely other worthy preamp contenders there is something magical about these components played through Wilson speakers
As I said previously, for my ears the Lamm LL1 Signature preamp used with the Lamm ML3 Signature amp is just the best sound that I have ever heard. I have no desires to change out gear as I feel my system is where I want it to be
No I have not compared the Kondo and Lamm preamps nor have I compared the ML3 to the WAVAC. For my hears quite honestly, I have no desire to explore further as the sound I hear with the Lamm ML3/LL1 combination with the X-2's is simply magnificent
I have had the ML3 for 2 years now and it is rock solid with absolutely no tube failures whatsoever
I did buy an extra pair of matched copper plate GM-70 tubes from Vladimir. (Only 6 matched pair were ever available). They weren't cheap at $900/pair but I went back to the stock carbon plate GM-70's as I feel they just sounded better. I do use a pair of matched 12AX7's (ECC803, the holy grail of NOS 12AX7 tubes and would never part with these as they are so special).These also did not come cheap but if you can find an "authentic" matched pair, I would definitely advise that you consider adding them to your system
I went with Vlad's new LL1 Reference preamp, a dual mono 4 box preamp each channel with a separate power supply. Vlad designed it to go with the ML3. There is some hope and speculation that Vlad might release his much anticipated Reference Phonostage that will complete the system at this year's CES. If he does I will be one step closer to getting back into vinyl.
Other planned upgrades for the year are a custom designed head amp for my Studer A810 as well as compiling a computer based music server
I haven't heard the Thor at all. I was aware of the Thor when I auditioned the Gotham. I was stunned as to how the Gotham was so much better than my Wilson XS. Further a pair of Gotham subs cost less than the Thor before amplification is considered. For me the rest was history. I'm certain the Thor kicks butt however you need a great amp to drive it. The Gotham comes with a 3800 watt ClassD amp with internal programming for room optimization.
Not a problem and never was. I often ask Marty how you are doing and of course I have forgiven and forgotten. Life is too short to hold grudges. I will be at Marty's next weekend. I look forward to you and I refreshing our friendship
I hope all is well with you since I saw you last. The changes I made were far from tweaks but nonetheless brought me one step closer to audio nirvana. IMO there is something magic about the sound Lamm gear produces on these Wilson speakers that is like none that I have ever heard. The new Lamm ML3 Signature mono amps together with the Lamm LL1 Signature dual mono preamp are keepers in the system.
Decided on the 8 ohm tap for the amps. I used the same tap for the ML 2.1. It just gave the overall more appealing sound and took away what I previously felt to be somewhat bright. As I recall, I went through this same issue with the ML 2.1's and got the same advice from Wilson then as now (to use the 8 ohm tap)
Gregadd...I am sure that the Ref5 will be a noble replacement for the Ref3. Had I kept the ML 2.1 there is no doubt in my mind that this is what I would have bought. The LL1 Signature takes some getting used to, a dual mono 4 box system with no remote control. Having said that it was the preamp designed by Vladimir to work the magic of the ML 3 and it really is a remarkable piece of equipment. It is an inverting preamp so that speaker cable polarity needs to be reversed as does the polarity on the dual Gotham subs. As for the lack of a remote, I moved the preamp and the Playback Designs to a different rack along the left side of my room for easier access.
Thanks Tomas and Jason. I have close to 100 hours now on the tubes which are opening up nicely. The interesting thing about the preamp is that it is an inverting preamp and as a result the speaker cable wire polarity must be reversed (IOW black to red and red to black). This also requires that the polarity on the Gotham subs be reversed as well. Presently I have been using the 4 ohm tap for the speaker wires but am now going to use the 8 ohm tap for comparisons. I used the 8 ohm tap on the ML 2.1's as I found the sound produced was IMO better. The interesting fact is that Lamm recommends using the 4 ohm tap whereas Wilson recommends using the 8 ohm tap. Now that the tubes are opening up I also wanted to roll the 12AX7's with the NOS circa 1962 Telefunken's that I have. I also bought a pair of copper plate GM-70 output tubes from Lamm. He normally stocks carbon plate GM-70's but found 6 pair of the carbon plate tubes which he says produces a somewhat sweeter sound. Once these 6 pair are gone, there are no more of them.
The Lamm LL1 easily drives an 8 meter interconnerct cable. In fact I moved the LL1 and the Playback Designs Player to the left side of my room and I am using a 9 meter pair of interconnects to the ML3 with no problem whatsoever
Indeed I have heard about the Ref5. Seems only a higher price, larger chassis and a bigger power supply.
The new LL1 has a loop through which can be used as a theater through pass. The sound is beyond anything the Ref3 could ever deliver. My only problem presently is to figure out way(s) to tame the ambient light from the output tubes of the ML3 onto the HT screen above it
Well there are far more tubes with the ML 3/LL1 combo rather than with the ML 2.1/Ref 3 combo, so indeed there is more heat dissipated, however I do have a separate dedicated air conditioner for that room alone.
System edited: System Edit. To reflect changes in equipment. Just as Michael Corleone in God Father lll stated, "just when I was out, they pull me back in" [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcEAzvwKRn0[/url] All too often that line has gone through my head when I consider some of my audio and video purchases over the years. So many times I have gone on record as saying "I have reached audio nirvana" or "my home theater is complete" and "I will need no further upgrades or purchases as a result thereof." I have said here many times that I felt the ML 2.1 amp was the best sounding amp that I have ever heard, until early last year Vladimir Lamm loaned me his newest ML3 Signature to audition in my system. It became for me the amp by which all others will be judged. It was just that good. It ranked high on my radar screen. Then out of the blue Vladimir Lamm brings to market his latest Line Level Preamp a dual mono preamp with each channel having its own separate power supply, the LL1 Signature. According to Vladimir this was a preamp designed to work the magic of the ML3 Signature, a 32 wpc SET monoblock amp also with each channel having its own power supply. I never thought that I would have a parting of the ways with my much lauded Audio Research Ref 3 preamp but having heard the ML 3 played through my Ref 3 and knowing how good the sound was, and now, with the thought that there was a preamp designed specifically for the ML3, set my journey in a new direction. Suffice it to say I took delivery of both components several days ago and they are now set up, wired and going through the proverbial burn in. There are approximately 25 hours so far on the tubes and the system i starting to open up. It is truly a "wow" experience. Imaging, sound stage and dynamics is truly amazing and better than I even expected. With change there have been some snags. First this is a dual mono preamp with no remote so it does involve getting up and setting each volume control with the music. I am finding however that I have found one comfortable listening level that is perfect for most music Second the addition of 8 new "boxes" and getting rid of three boxes made for a major readjustment in the room. The ML 3 amps still occupy center stage under the screen whereas the LL1 preamp and my Playback Designs have been moved to the left side of my room onto another AV stand. This allows for easier access to both the preamp and the Playback Designs. The biggest negative is the amount of ambient light put out by the huge MP-70 output tube on each ML3. Easily as much as a 60 watt bulb and these are sitting under my theater screen. This precludes watching movies until a fix is found to control this light. Certainly I could leave the ML 3 amps off while watching movies or perhaps finding a pair of SS amps to use for home theater for left and right channel output. Stay tuned Updated photos will follow.
1. I do not find the Studer noisy 2. I am a charter member of The Tape Project and there are some reliable sellers of recorded tape. I have found some excellent tapes in this fashion 3. Can't answer with any assuredness re the life span of a tape but there ways of preserving longevity starting with how they are stored and at what temperature etc. I also treat all of my tapes with Last Tape Preservative which need only be done once. It is also a good idea to make sure the tapes are stored flatwound. 4. As best I know mine are the original heads as my machine had very little hours on it. Heads last longer if they are kept clean and demagnetized several times per year.
All I can say with this format is that if you are a serious audiophile and haven't heard it you really owe it to your self to see what all the fuss is about
I kept my Studer A810 stock although I have debated modding it to accept the Bottlehead Repro amp. Doing this however limits me to the machine having only playback capability and not record capability. The gentleman who refurbished my unit said something very interesting to me when I discussed that idea with him. He smiled and said, "if Willy Studer felt that a separate repro amp was the way to go , he would have done it himself." Suffice it to say I am quite happy with the sound it creates in my system. As for inputs to the preamp it uses any input ( I input mine via the phono input). I am not certain what you mean by analog inputs in the preamp.
Interesting question. As great as the Playback Designs is, IMO the R2R is better. Now having said that, several days ago when Jacob Heilbrunn from TAS stopped by for a listen, his parting comments to me were that the Playback Designs in his impression was just about as good as R2R. He is also an owner of the Playback Designs as well as a Continuum TT
BTW, regarding the price of admission being too steep, I bet that I bought my Studer A810 for less than what you paid for your new vinyl rig
Earlier this week, my good friend Mike Grellman arranged for an afternoon listening session at his house, then mine and finally off to hear those amazing $400,000 horns at the factory of Alon Wolf from Magico. Mike brought with Jacob Heilbrunn a reviewer from The Absolute Sound. I am including a link to Jacob's Blog regarding his impressions of all three systems
I am familiar with their site and have been on it several times. Indeed MikeL talked highly about their 3000 phonostage and seeing his comparison between his Dart and the Allnic I also wonder if Mike is remembering how good tubes really sound. IOW I would love to A/B the Ref3 vs the Allnic top of their line linestage in my system....tubes vs tubes, then I can tell you with certainty what the fuss is all about.
Absolutely no desires to add vinyl. The addition of R2R was so dramatic in my system that it has resulted in an extra dimension. By all accounts, as well as reading a recent review by Mike LaVigne regarding vinyl vs R2R shootout at his home recently has confirmed the superiority of R2R.
Not sure who you are talking about unless perhaps Mike L whoI saw recently auditioned the Allnic phonostage. As for preamps it will take a lot for me to part with the Ref3. It is just a perfect match in my system. Perhaps next year when the Ref3 Mkll is released.
I will them that amp up as I am not familiar with it. I love the synergy of my Lamm in my system and "IF" I were to ever replace it, the only amp I have heard better (and probably the best amp I have ever heard) is Lamm's new ML3 Reference.
I can understand your fear of flying. John madden lives only a few miles from me and FWIW Capt Sully Sullenberger lives down the street.
The Ref3 is for me a very special piece of equipment and for now reigns supreme in my room. Prior to it I owned its predecessor the Ref2 Mk ll and also found it very good but the Ref3 has IMO corrected all of the shortcomings of the Ref2. I know there are many excellent preamps in the market today but there is something about the synergy between my Ref3 and the Lamm ML 2.1 amps that creates such an amazing and realistic soundstage that you can literally walk around the instruments and singers. FWIW I did an a/b between the Ref3 and the Lamm L2. I very much wanted to use the Lamm because I have always felt that a preamp and amp from the same manufacturer work best with one another. Alas such was not the case. The Lamm preamp was somewhat on the dark side for me and didn't light up my senses like the Ref3. I know others have experimented with tube rolling on the Ref3. I haven't as I find that I remain immensely happy with the ARC stock tubes. In fact I recently decided to retube the Ref3 and it was a whole new listening experience after adequate burn-in.For those wanting to get into tubes but prefer a SS amp I have always said that a tube preamp gets them part of the way as all inputs now see a tube before going to the amp.
I have no personal knowledge of anyone using the JM Lab Grande Utopia Be with Lamm ML 2.1's. I would suggest that you call Vladimir Lamm and ask him and/or the folks at JM Labs
I have no published data re the question that you ask however again you should consider either calling Vladimir and/or the people at Wilson Audio. I can tell you that I have used four different amps (over several years) on these speakers (Krell 750 MCX, ARC Ref 600 Mk lll and now the Lamm ML 2.1--for a few months I had on loan from Vladimir his new ML3 Reference) and I can say that there is a certain magic that the Lamm amps make with these X-2 Alexandria speakers that is just not equalled by the other amps.
Thanks for the comments. I am always wearing a smile when I play any of those Tape Project Tapes. Today my Studer goes all the way up to Petaluma to be modded by Krieg who came highly recommended by Paul and Dan at the TP. My Repro Amp is under construction by Dan and I should have it by mid January so stay tuned. Dan told me that they will be introducing Series 2 tapes for the coming year at CES.
Again even more reason to find another dealer. If those speakers were imaging too high with similar problems in the soundstage, IMHO the upper modules were not set up correctly. If properly set up the MAXX lll is a wonderful speaker.
I have not heard the Arrakis but will in March as Jeff Fritz from Ultra Audio is again doing The World's Best Audio System with the Arrakis being his speaker of choice. Jeff has invited many of us to visit and hear the system before it is disassembled
you need to find yourself another dealer as he doesn't have a clue what he is talking about. People are fooled by 18 watts. Bear in mind that it is SET and not Push-Pull. I have had the volume at almost near ear bleeding SPL so trust me when I say they work. Bear in mind as well that Dave Wilson uses this amp in his sound room. If you have doubts I would suggest that you call Vladimir and ask him your concerns. Usually when you call either he or his wife Elina will answer and he will always have time to answer questions. Not sure where you live but if you are in my neck of the woods I would be happy to have you over for an audition
I don't need subs for 2 channel music and the ML 2.1's are just fine in controlling the woofers. My room is also used for HT and that is where the Gothams are primarily used. As I have stated previously the subs are always on and I am asked constantly by listeners whether they are for music listening as they are so invisible. In fact I hosted Alon Wolf from Magico at my house last month as he wanted to measure my room with the subs on. He too could not tell whether the subs were on. On rare occasion when the music being played has some bass slam this is when the Gothams work their magic. For a dedicated listening room the ML 2.1's work just fine and if you want to go one step beyond, Vladimir's new ML3 Reference at 32 wpc offers even better bass but at a cost of $139K
My crossover (actually cross out as my X-2's play full range and subs bring up the bottom)will not necessarily work for you based on different room size and room treatment, different subs etc.. It took me 4 months to get my subs dialed in but once done they are completely invisible in the room. Yes I use them for 2 channel listening but again they are invisible.
Coming from you I appreciate your comments. IMHO however all systems need to be compared to yours because simply put there isn't a more accurate system on the planet than yours. I will never forget my weekend in Dallas with you. Many will take exception to my comment but until they hear your system they just cannot fathom how excellent it is. As for my HT, I also apppreciate your thoughts
Paul Stubblebine took me into their listening room which had a huge pair of Alon Wolf's Magico speakers ( a prototype which he never made again).He used a large floor standing Studer with 1" heads and took out his "running master" tape of The Arnold Overture (recorded at 15 ips)and played it for me, him and Doc. There were none of Dan's Bottleneck mods on this player but in my 38 years involved in this hobby I have just never heard anything as good as this ...NEVER. It was tantamount to being at the symphony and hearing it live. The amps were a 4 way system into the speakers using Doc's Bottleneck gear as was the preamp
All I can say about R2R is that this is the real deal. When Dan played the Arnold Overture from the one inch master at 15 ips this was tanatmount to hearing it live at the symphony. I did not hear a machine using Dan's mods. If it is better still than what I heard then I say is "count me in"
Koegz FWIW I had opportunity to tour the production studio of The Tape Project today in San Francisco. I met all of the owners and had a great talk about tape. At the end they played a 1" 15 ips master of Arnold/London Philharmonic Orchestra: Arnold Overtures. I can only say that it was an almost out of body experience. I have heard great vinyl but nothing as good as this. It was like being at the symphony. Some say this is better even than HiRez digital. Stay tuned
I agree with everything you say about vinyl and BTW you have a great setup. For me however the enjoyment that I achieved from R2R and the knowledge that some very fine material will be made available by the Tape Project has once again put my return to vinyl on hold for now.
This isn't rocket science and no super skils or dexterity are required. You just need to know how to push on, off, play/record and stop and you have it mastered. I just say don't turn a deaf ear to reel to reel until at least you have had a listen.
I did a lot of research in this Mike and learned much by reading other A'goners posts about their reel to reel experience. The two things which stood out were The Tape Project and Mike Lavigne's comments about reel to reel. Mike commented that when listening to a 1/4 inch half track tape recorded at 7.5 ips he felt it was as good as listening to vinyl on his Sirius lll but, better yet, when listening to a 1/4 inch half track tape recorded at 15 ips the experience exceeded that from his Sirius lll. I thought those to be very profound statements inasmuch as I had been looking at turntables for months. Then a review of the Tape Project http://www.tapeproject.com was an eye opener for me. Here you can buy (albeit limited numbers of releases for now) tapes of some of the best albums taken from a master recorded at 15 ips. There is a promise of more tapes to come. So I started looking into tape decks and found one right here in California that had been completely refurbished and the price was right. For a small amount of money I could buy into a format that allegedly can reproduce sound better than perhaps the world's best turntable. The gamble was whether there will be software available to have made the investment worthwhile. I had a long talk last week with dan (Doc) from The Tape Project and he assures me that more releases will be forthcoming. Dan also extended an invite to me to tour their San Francisco production studio this week, something I am very much looking forward to. Lastly when I picked up my Studer A810 I was given a tape of Dark Side of The Moon recorded at 7.5 ips. Suffice it to say it sounded beyond superb in my room and if tapes at 15 ips sound even better then I say "give me more".
The smile on my face is indicative of how correct you are. I am looking forward to my tour of the Tape Project's production facility in San Francisco this week. Dan (Doc) promises to show me a $10K system which he claims sounds as good or better than any high end system. I am probably going to take Doc's recommendation and go with his mods which he claims will better the sound even more.
They sound better than what they look and much to my amazment better even than the X-2 series l.
I put up the picture of the speaker to try and show the color as it is most unusual. From the distance the speaker appears black but up close they almost look a brownish red and then with the light on them, they appear to be egg plant in color with a purple hue.
Bear in mind that every speaker rolling out of the Wilson factory has at least 12 hours of serious time on all drivers before they are shipped.
Yes I listen to a lot of music but when I am not listening I am running almost continuously a "burn-in" disc made by Jim Auld at Purist Audio Design. He calls it a "System Enhancer" and is good to run when any new piece of equipment or cable is added to a system and then to run once a month otherwise. I would wholeheartedly endorse your getting one and let it run as it will very effectively loosen up those drivers on your speakers.
As for the R2R, this is just an amazing new step for me and I would encourage others to consider it.
System edited: After so many years of being out of analog and having explored all aspects of vinyl I decided to go in a somewhat different direction, specifically reel to reel tape. There seems to be a growing buzz on reel to reel from many audiogoners as well as The Tape Project. The Studer R2R's have been out of production for well over 20 years but there are many qualified people who do refurbishing of these units. The big gamble is whether there will be a resurgence in the availability of R2R tapes. Certainly those available at 15 ips through the Tape Connection by all accounts seem to be getting much attention. I found this unit on eBay being restored right here in California. The price was right and I jumped in. I was given a tape of Dark Side of the Moon recoreded at 7.5 ips in half track and all I can say was "wow, I want more". I have subscribed to The Tape Connection and I am told that there will be a company based in Europe which will be making available tapes of such high quality as those offered by The Tape Connection. Stay Tuned
December will work for me. Send me an e-mail with your availability and I will make it work.
Good to see that you are working on your room acoustics. Clearly that is the single most important part of any room. I did mine in stages starting at the front, then the rear and finally down the sides of the room. No right or wrong way as long as the room is tamed. I went with ASC and have no regrets. Many use Rives with equally satifying results.
As for the Playback Designs one box player, I will let you be the judge when you come by for a listen.
As for the X-2 Series ll speakers I can only say that audio nirvana has been achieved.
We literally dropped the X-2 series ll speakers into the exact footprint previously occupied by the original X-2's. Each spike occupies the same carpet hole. The upper module settings are identical to that of the original X-2's and the chair occupying the sweet spot remains in the same position. Having said this for whatever reason we seem to be listening at somewhat lower levels on the Ref 3 gain control even though the speakers remain at 95 Db efficiency. I am at a loss of words as to an explanation as to how to account for this. I did speak to Wilson Audio folks yesterday and they could not explain it either. Now for the sound. I am saving all of the usual flowery adjectives by having people audition the speakers for themselves. I guaranty it will be a toe tapping experience so let me know when you want to come by for a listen.
next time you're in the SF Bay Area you must come by for a listen. So far I would say that the overall effect for me with these speakers was to a similar effect when I had my original X-2's and used the Lamm ML 3 Reference. So far I would say that the ML 2'.1's on this speaker perform better than on the original X-2's. For most of my demo cuts I know where my listening level on the Ref3 is (usually between 50-63 on the gain). With the new speakers the gain had to be turned way down (even at 18 wpc). Comfortable listening on these go to disks is now between 29-45 on the Ref3 gain. The efficiency of the speakers hasn't changed (still 95 Db). What I have noticed is that the resistance of the now provided resistors is lower. Previously the mid bass damping resistor for tube amps was 27.6 whereas now it is 23.4. The resistor for SS amps for midbass damping is now 27.6 down from 32.1
Well, everyone's first visual impression of these speakers was their most unusual but very appealing color. They are finished in Black Almondine, which is a very difficult color to describe. Smetimes they look black whereas othertimes they have a brownish mauve tint. Depending on time of day and the way the light strikes them causes a change in color. The best way to describe the color is that of eggplant.
We listened for a few hours last night and with little burn in other than 12 hours at Wilson Audio, they sounded very remarkable with a much better and detailed soundstage. I won't spew the typical cliches of "out of the box they smoked everything". I will say however,it was for all present an incredible experience. More to follow
We spent all last night taking down and crating up the old X-2's. This morning the new ones come out of the crates and get set up. I will use the same footprint as the old speakers. Presently there are 16 huge wooden crates in my garage for both sets of speakers with a total weight of these crates of 4400 lbs Stay tuned
I am just leaving now for the airport to pick up the installers. Once up, I will be running my Purist Audio Design System Enhancer continuously through the system for the next several days as I am hosting a meeting of our audio club on Saturday. Even so I would expect there to be a whole lot more of burntime required before they open up.
Speakers actually arrive in 3 days and my installers in 5 days. They will take down and crate the old X-2 series l and uncrate and install the new X-2 Series ll. We will be having an audio club meeting here next weekend so I will be running non stop my Purist Audio Design Sytem Enhancer to get some burn in time before the event. The WATCH center speaker is the same color and is the updated version of the WATCH center. As for getting anything done I am on the way to the airport with my wife to visit our daughter for Parents' weekend at CU Boulder
System edited: System edit for change in gear. Playback Designs player added several months ago and continues to astound me that it is capable of getting even closer to the music than my previous Meitner stack which I previously felt that nothing could beat. New speakers arrive this week (finally) and further edits to my system will follow including a much updated description of the system as well as updated photos which I will put up
Thanks for the kudos. I have been to Albert's hous when I visited a close friend of mine in Dallas last year. He has a wonderful set up.
As for the sofa's position and the chair up front in the listening position, this merely reflects that although the room is used for both audioas well as home theater, the video end of things takes a "back seat" to my two channel listening
Thanks for the comments. Stay tuned for a report in the next few weeks. Can't wait to hear your impressions as well on the ML3 Our BAAS had a listening session with Matt ~2 years ago. Very fine gear indeed.
Unoear We all make decisions based on our own prerquisites as well listening experience. There are others who rather make decisions based on the experiences of others and who have never heard a component prior to their purchases. In some circles we would call them audiophiliacs rather than audiophiles... BTW, the Gotham subs stay. As I said earlier the M3 is a marvelous amp however in my system having heard both (which you haven't), it and the ML 2.1, with and without the Gotham subs, my decision stayed where it was and went with the X-2 series ll.
The wait seems much longer as the deal has been a long time in the making. It was a tough decision as I contemplated the Lamm ML3 Reference as well as a turntable. Certainly I had my mentors in each camp whispering in my ear as to what I should do. There were merits to each. When all was said and done however the deal on the speakers was one on which I could not pass. Hence my decision. In the future I will certainly rethink the other two but for now my Lamm ML2.1 does everything to rock my sonic boat and the change to the Playback Designs player was so dramatic that once again I am very happy with the digital side of my room. Re the ML 3 those of us who auditioned it were quite smitten but certainly not a 5 fold order of magnitude in price over the ML 2.1. As well the amount of light given off by the tubes on this amp was so bright that sitting under my screen would have had a negative impact on the viewing of movies. Unfortunately mine is not a dedicated audio setup but is also shared with my home theater. Finally when we did an A/B with the ML 2.1 with the pair of JL Audio Gotham subs vs the ML 3 alone amazingly it was no contest ...everyone in our audio club preferred the former. Then when we added the pair of Gotham subs to the ML 3 it was way too overwhelming a sound. So all in all the ML 2.1 with the pair of Gotham subs seemed to be the overall choice of all listeners.
I have had the unit for a month now and feel it to be well broken in. My impression is that it is as good or better than the Meitner stack that I had in every way. As well it is a one box unit with some eye appeal. There is finally a remote that is user friendly. I love the back light for ease of use. Those of us who have owned both will notice immediately how quickly the Esoteric drive loads as well as how quietly it performs. It seemed with the Meitner there was always a long wait for it to read the data. Overall I would never have thought that I would have sold my Meitner stack but when Andreas brought the PDS over to my house and we A/B'd the two units there was just no question on the winner. Overall a very enthousiastic thumbs up. Jonathan and Andreas have hit a home run IMO.
Indeed I did say that. A simple solution came along. My dealer has a pair of upgraded X-2's along with a WATCH center both in Black Almondine which I am going to buy. He is taking in trade my X-2's and WATCH center which are both in Aspen Silver. Hence no down time for me whatsoever.
I have gone back and forth so many times on the issue of TT that I am getting nystagmus. I have finally decided against the turntable as I am going in a different direction only because it is my anticipation in the next year or so that we will all be doing Hi Rez downloads to a hard drive. I have decided that I am going to upgrade my speakers to X-2 Series ll. Stay tuned
You have made that argument to me before. I just won't get a second set of speakers to bridge the time gap. I know the upgrade to Series ll is that good. It is also the inconvenience of going to storage and getting all of the crates back to my house, then up to the second floor and then hiring some movers to get the gear downstairs to the truck. I have a very large circular staircase which is not fun for movers.
Only other option would be to sell mine and buy a new pair of X-2 Series ll
As for Playback Designs all I can say is that I am stunned that it is indeed so much better than the Meitner. I never thought this could be possible. The genius of Andreas starting with a blank piece of paper and working from the ground up made IMO a so much better unit with a much more reliable Esoteric drive
It is unfortunate that the X-2 series ll upgrade is not field upgradeable because of circumstances such as yours. I also am not eager to send them back and have my system down for so long. If you wait a few years almost certainly by then there will be a Series lll and then what to do?
Great improvement between the Ref2 Mkll and the Ref 3. I too had the former and thought it to be wonderful until I heard the latter which IMO is in a league of its own.BTW many have been doing tube rolling with the Ref 3 which I feel to be unnecessary. By 100 hours of use you will find it to open up. Don't you love that time meter on it?
Picked the player up today at Andreas house. Professionally packaged and eye candy to open. He had been burning it in for the past 48 hours and then tested it to be sure all was well. It was. I brought it home and installed it in my system in less than 5 minutes. Great remote with back light. Very user friendly. I have been burning in today with my Purist Audio Design System Enhancer and finally tonight spent a few hours listening. The esoteric drive betters that on the Meitner. It seems quicker to open and load and does it smoothly with no unusual sounds. In a million years I never would have thought that something could better my beloved Meitner stack but indeed this unit does. Andreas is a genius and all too modest to boot. He was given a blank piece of paper and designed this unit from the ground up. My hat's off to him. Some have asked for the ability to do DVD-A etc but IMO this is wonderful as is and is not meant to be a universal player like some other boxes. Initial impression is a larger soundstage with width and depth. Bass is better and noise floor seems to be almost non existant. Compared to more expensive units I can only say that my buddy Jonathan has hit a home run with this one. Anyone thinking of buying a new player, this one is worthy of an audition. More to follow.
I will be running it balanced to the Ref3 (same as the Meitner). Yes it does SACD. My initial observation when Andreas brought the unit over to my house to a/b vs the Meitner was that it was very subdued and I was somewhat concerned. When I mentioned that to Andreas he said that the output on the new unit is set 6Db lower than the Meitner. When I adjusted my Ref3 up the 6Db to compensate then the magic happened. Stay tuned for some further updates
Now we're talking. The sound "IS" amazing. I must admit that when Andreas brought it over to m house I was very skeptical as to how it could better the Meitner. Honestly it took only brief listening to convince me and my friend with direct A/B testing vs the Meitner. I sold my Meitner stack the next day and bought it.
Initial listening observations are better soundstage, more open, quieter, lower noise floor and much better bass. Now I must add that this does NOT make the Meitner a bad piece of gear but rather the Playback Designs is more up to date and has the ability to accept literally every type of input with the ability to upgrade.
Bear in mind that Andreas started with a blank piece of paper and was designed from the ground up. It really is a special unit and worth having a listen to. I was a doubter because I have loved my Meitner stack over the past several years, having started with the very first modded Philips SACD 1000 with the DAC6e and going through all of the iterations ending up with the CDSD SE and DAC6e SE. I have said that this gear was as close to analog as the real thing. Suffice it to say I was stunned. In fact the day Andreas brought the unit over, one of my close audiophile friends came by also for a listen. He is all analog with a Sirius 3 TT driving his system. He said as well that the new unit bettered the Meitner by a long shot. I never thought I would say this but change is just that and Andreas is a veritable genius when it comes to digital algorithms
Congrats on the purchase of a wonderful rack. You will enjoy it.
I have indeed made changes to my system so since you asked I will tell. After all these years of loving my EMM Labs CDSD SE and DAC6e SE I have sold these (yes believe it as I never thought that I would) and ordered the new Playback Designs all in one box from Jonathan Tinn and Andreas Koch. I am fortunate inasmuch as Andreas is almost a neighbor of mine living but a few miles away. Two weeks ago Andreas brought their new player over to my house where we could A/B it directly against the Meitner stack. We did some critical listening and I was shocked to find that the Playback Designs bettered the Meitner in every way including looks, and finally a user friendly remote. I sold my Meitner the next day and bought the new one box and take delivery next week.
As for amplification, the new Lamm ML3 is IMO the finest amp I have ever heard but remains something mere mortals can only dream about. As a result I continue to own and love my Lamm ML 2.1. On the drawing table is thoughts of updating my X-2's to the new Series ll version although I am not keen on having to send them back to the factory for upgrade. So that leaves analogue and I am very close to making a decision. The sale of the Meitner stack frees up space on my racks to allow for a TT and phonostage. Space is a factor in my setup because my gear lies below my screen and any changes could potentially interfere with watching movies due to shadowing. I returned yesterday from a 4 day stay in Boulder where my wife and I took our youngest daughter to Freshman Orientation at the University of Boulder. I had the chance to skip away for a few hours and to finally meet Mike and Neli the owners of Audio Federation http://www.audiofederation.com who run their business out of their most beautiful home high up in the mountains overlooking Boulder below. For me it was a remarkable afternoon as there was some of the finest high end gear that I have ever seen including the Marten Coltrane Supreme speakers at $295K played with Lamm ML 2.1 amps. On that system was the Brinkman Balance turntable with a Lyra Titan cartridge. The music was wonderful and the TT especially caught my ear. They were using the Lamm L2 Deluxe phonostage as well as the Lamm Reference preamp. I was smitten. My visit there was all too brief but but I do plan on returning when we take our daughter back in August for the fall semester. Mike and Neli had an amazing passion for this hobby and I must say that in all my years in this hobby I have never met a female audiophile with such intensity as Neli. She and Mike are the real deal. As well having visited many high end audio stores across the country I can honestly say that I have never been in one with such a vast array of diverse high end gear. They have systems set up in every room with a multitude of other gear in the corners or on the floors waiting to be called into action. They had so much Nordost Odin Supreme in their setups that in itself could buy an entire high end system. The long and the short of it was my involvement with the Brinkman Balance turntable so all I can say is stay tuned. BTW speaking of racks, Mike and Neli had amazing setups on both Rix Racks but the one that caught my eye were those made by HRS. They were the best I have ever seen and were absolute eye candy. For anyone who ever visits Boulder and has a passion for audio I would highly recommend a visit to the mountain top home of Mike and Neli where they run Audio Federation. Two nicer people would be hard to find and top that off by listening to some of the finest pieces of high end gear is like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Today a friend of mine is flying in from Dallas to hear them and tommorow they are saddly being boxed up and sent to Arizona where they will be reviewed for a forthcoming article.
I also understand that Hardesty will be reviewing the X-2 Series ll quite possibly with the ML3
I have been into this hobby since 1970 and have either owned or heard some of the very best equipment BUT I must say in all candor that the ML3 is hands down the very best amp I have ever heard in all that time. Music has never sounded so real and soundstaging so perfect. Vladimir has hit a home run with this one. If anyone is given the opportunity to hear this amp I would say jump at the chance. it will give you goose bumps
Several years ago when the X-2 was released and I owned X-1's, I was fortunate to be invited to Provo and to hear the X-1 vs X-2 demo in Dave Wilson's living room. The demo convinced me in less than 5 minutes just how much better the X-2 was. I was told by a reviewer from Soundstage that I shouldn't go hear that demo for fear I would realize how broken my X-1's sound. Suffice it to say, he was correct and I bought the X-2's. I am now hearing the same analogy about the Series ll upgrade. Having never heard the upgrade I am very happy with what I have and as stated even if I wanted to do the upgrade the speakers must go back to WA.
A similar analogy has been my love of the Lamm ML 2.1 with these speakers until I was privileged to have on loan from Vladimir his newly released ML 3 Reference which as I have said before is the finest amp I have ever heard and IMO is the amp against which all others will be judged.
You are probably correct but right now I am actually trying to figure a way to buy Vladimir Lamm's new ML3 Reference which I am fortunate enough to have on loan from him. IMO and for my ears I have never in over 35 years in this hobby heard a better amp. This for me would be a revolutionary change to my system but a almost 6X the cost of doing the X-2 upgrade
Actually I believe that I can inasmuch as the ML 2.1's IMO is the best amp that I have ever owned. It is just that the ML 3 is the best amp that I have ever heard. Finally I have my youngest daughter who will be a freshman this year at University of Boulder. Need I say more.
would that would be so and as my mother used to say, "from your mouth to God's ears" but I retired from Ob/Gyn one year ago and as a result there have been many life style alterations. I did however open a Medspa in my home town 2 years ago and that is starting to take off so one never says never BUT for now those amps are on loan. Had I never heard them I would still go to bed with a smile on my face with the ML 2.1's
For anyone who fancies himself an audiophile 5 minutes of listening yo the ML3 will shatter anything that you have heretofore felt to be audio bliss. It will make you want to win the lottery in order to be able to own this amp. I have listened to most of the best amps over my 35+ years in this hobby and IMO there is just nothing that even comes close. We have been lucky to have this amp on loan from Vladimir. It will be tough to send it back.
I spent the past several days tweaking the phase and level and crossover of the Gotham subs per the review in Ultra Audio by Jeff Fritz. Anyone with these subs should read this article which is excellent. I must say that my crossover frequency has changed as well as the level settings. Here is the link. It is a "must read"
sounding so good does not necessarily mean they are phase aligned.
I have found phase to be hugely important when integrating subwoofers. Here is the method that has worked well for me: You'll need some form of measurement device, I use True RTA on my laptop, but a simple SPL meter will suffice. First, you'll measure only one speaker at a time, level matched with the sub. Reverse the speaker cable leads so that the speaker is 180 degrees out of phase. Whatever your crossover frequency is, say 50Hz, run a tone at that frequency through the speaker/sub. Adjust the phase on the sub until you measure the greatest suckout -- it will be dramatic (and the reason you don't measure the greatest summing point). Correct the speaker cables and you're set -- speakers and sub will be in phase. Use as steep a slope as possible so that you do not create phase issues on either side of the crossover frequency, which you won't be able to adjust for
I know that you are enjoying the Fathom. I sold my Wilson XS having heard a pair of Gotham subs at a friends home in Dallas. I was smitten. I am in awe as to how good a sub these Gothams are. Thanks for the kudos and happy listening.
Having returned the ML3 this past week to my audiophile buddy, I am now back listening with my ML 2.1's. If one were to never hear the ML3 I could go to sleep every night with a smile on my face knowing that the ML 2.1's are the best around. Given the opportunity however to have had the ML3 in my system for several weeks all I can say is that it is an audiophile experience like none other that I have ever heard. IMO there is no amp in the marketplace today that reproduces sound in such a way as these. Now if I could only find a way to own them.
As Michael Corleone said in Godfather lll..."just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in." So was that experience yesterday when several members of our audio club decided that it was time to integrate analog into my system. Tzucc was kind enough to not only bring his turntable and phonostage but so also some magnificent vinyl that brought goosebumps to those 4 of us present.As I have said here I have been fortunate to have on loan probably the finest amps I have ever heard (Lamm ML 3 Reference). These amps raise to unimaginable heights ones listening experience. Yesterday an almost out of body experience occured with the 4 of us present with the help of the Lamm ML3 and an all vinyl listening session. I have never denied how good vinyl was but have resisted the temptation to get back in because I have felt that my digital gear was "darn close" to vinyl. Suffice it to say such is not the case
Here is a blog once again put up by fellow member Tzucc
Track #3 has Jacinta singing Danny Boy. Turn out the lights and this is one of the best rendidtions that you will ever hear. The miking used to record it is as good as it gets. It is as if she is 3 feet away from you
Indeed Winston is the owner of First Impression Music and Lasting Impression Music. I have heard that he recently moved to Australia so I am uncertain if he remains the owner. Nonetheless his library of remastered material IMO remains some of the absolute best. Check out the K2HD disks on his website
You know that Hotel California serves as one of my "go-to" disks for many reasons including those drums at the beginning of the song. Since I installed a pair of Gotham subs in my room and sold the Wilson XS it has taken much effort to dial in the room where the bass is not overwhelming but remains omnidirectional. Let me know when you are ready for your next audition.
Thanks for your kind comments. The nice thing for me is that this hobby has kindled great friendships over the years. I always love to welcome new people to my home who share the passion. If you are ever in the SF Bay Area, look me up and I will also provide the refreshments
The Grand Prix Audio Monaco is the Rolls Royce of audio stands.
As for me and my room well it goes without saying that we are watching a whole lot more video but 2 channel audio is still my first love. Although I am wired and set up for MC listening it is just nothing that I enjoy as a well set up 2 channel system.
The days of devoted CD players IMO are numbered.I suppose hard core audiophiles like you and I will aways have one kind or another in our listening room. I agree completely about memory players on our hard drives. I disagree however about your feeling that these are still in their early days.
Call Leonard at ARC at give him the input impedance of both your components and he will do the math for you and tell you if it puts a strain on the Ref3. If so try the Tube Buffer and its separate power supply
Here is how I solved the connection problem for the pair of Gotham subs used in both HT and 2 channel listening
First for HT...I tell my Lexicon MC12 HD Balanced that I am not running any sub or LFE output. As a result I am carrying all LFE and sub signal out of my Lexicon via the Left and Right Main channel output. The L and R main outs go into the PROCESS input (aka theater throughpass) of my ARC Ref 3.I am already running balance cables from the main output of my Ref 3 into my Lamm ML 2.1's and then to my Wilson X-2's which I run full range. This is commonly known as "full plus sub"
For LFE (from the Lexicon) and subwoofer signal from my Ref3 I now run a pair of Single Ended cable into the Musical Fidelity Tube Buffer and its own power supply and then another pair of single ended cable out of the Tube Buffer into each Gotham (run in stereo rather than daisy chain). The reason I could not run another pair of balanced cables (ideal situation) from the 2nd main out of the Ref 3 is because the Tube Buffer only has SE in and outputs. The reason I had to use the Tube Buffer is because I am running 2 loads in parallel out of the Ref3. The Input impedance of my Lamm ML 2.1's is 41 Kohms whereas the input impedance of the Gotham subs is 10 Kohms. As a result there was risk to my Ref 3...hence the Tube Buffer which has in input impedance of 470 Kohms. This allows the Gothams therefore to be driven with ease. I have absolutely no hum or other issues using SE cables and the Gothams have been crossed over appropriately using 4th Order Crossover thus rolling off very quickly. They have been phased appropriately and integrate terrifically with both HT and audio only.
Perhaps you should consider the Tube Buffer which is modestly priced. If so I would recommend it be purchase with its own power supply (also modestly priced) as this helps with the overall bass responce via the Gothams. The downside is the Tube Buffer is out of production but if you are interested e-mail me and I will tell you where you can buy from a dealer who has several new and in the box
I didn't make it to CES this year but many of my friends did. I heard mixed reviews about Vladimir's room if for no other reason than the typical room size, setup and crowds entering and leaving. I heard that he was hoping to show them with X-2's rather than MAXX ll's. We were very fortunate that he sent these amps to us on loan. I was praying that I wouldn't like the ML3 Reference and that it wouldn't be much better than my ML 2.1's. saddly this wasn't the case. Having heard the ML3 it is just my feeling that this is the amp against which all others will be judged.
The great thing about ASC is that they will provide to you at "no cost" CAD drawings of how they would accoustically modify your room to achieve the best results. All you need to do is to provide photos of your room showing in detail all measurements and where the equipment, speakers and listening position is. You are under no obligation but certainly can buy from them (at full MSRP). I used a dealer and bought mine at back of retail. If interested let me know and I can provide that name to you by way of e-mail
My son is a film major and took those photos with professional lighting, ladder, tripod etc. They show the arched ceiling which rises from 9 feet at the window to 12 feet at the inside wall. The room is 17.5 feet wide and 31 feet long and as you can see is well trapped with various size tube traps in a plan provided by Acoustic Science Corp.
I did try the Watchdog vs the Gotham subs. My son has been running almost identical gear to my own exceept he has MAXX ll's and the Watchdog rather than X-2's and an XS sub. I also heard a pair of these Gotham subs in a well set up audio room in the home of an audiophile buddy in Dallas. I was shocked as to how seamlessly they could be integrated into an audio room. My challenge was to integrate them into both audio and home theater. I accomplished this with the help of some fairly sophisticated equipment brought by the installers to calibrate my room. They figured out the phase issue and placememnt of the subs as well as where to cross them over or should I say above which they are crossed out inasmuch as I am running the X-2's full range and I use the Gothams to bring up the bottom end. Because I am running two loads in parallel out of my ARC Ref3 I could only accomplish this with the help of the now out of production Tube Buffer and its Power Supply from Musical Fidelity. Although these subs are so much smaller than the XS which had two 18" drivers they are built rock solid with two 13" drivers. Each has a 3800 watt Class D amplifier and they really move air. The other option I considered was the new Thor's Hammer sub by Dave Wilson but at $18K each and the fact that they are passive subs, a pair plus amplification could cost ~ $50K. I wasn't prepared to spend that amount of money for subs.
System edited: System Edit: Out with the old and in with the new. Some updated photos showing the room with lights on and off. Could not get better pictures with absolute darkness so shadows will be seen. The Gotham subs have now been integrated perfectly with both the audio as well as the video side of the room. I cannot believe that for half the size and wight of my prior Wilson XS these subs can literally shake my house
If memory serves me correctly I sent you a copy of that demo disk that I use which had that Pretenders cut on it. If not let me know and I will make it available to you.
You are correct....I did say that listening to so many systems and variables, for me the only constant is the music. That is why I always take with me my demo disks which highlight all different forms of music. This is the way IMO to compare systems
Thank you for your kind compliments. I looked at virtually every prepro in the market having sold my Krell HTS 7.1. With my new Sony BDP S-2000ES which uses HDMI 1.3, I can pass a 1080p24 signal into my new Lexicon MC12HD Balanced which also uses HDMI 1.3. As a reult my Sim2 C3X will play Blu-Ray movies at 1080p24. The Lexicon was the only one to use HDMI 1.3 and 1080p24. As for the Lamm ML 3 Reference, it is the best amp my ears have ever heard in my 35 years of audiophilia
System edited: System Edit: Video system installation finally completed and all I can say is that this new Sim2 C3X 1080 PJ at 28 lbs throws an 11 foot picture with such startling brightness and clarity that I have been unable to leave the room. It has rekindled my love for video
As I have said many times here I have done no tube rolling with my Ref 3 as I am very happy with the sound. Perhaps when it is time to retube I will consider your advice. I will look forward to your updates as the tubes are burned in
For those who have heard the ML3 it is an experience that is difficult to put into words. I am glad that you heard them (presumably at this year's CES). I couldn't make it this year but am a frequent attendee. The rooms however IMO rarely convey the full benefits of any piece of gear and the foot traffic in and out of rooms is very distracting. I have been privileged to have on loan a pair of these ML 3 reference amps from Vladimir. Simply put, "hearing is believing" as nothing short of listening can put into words the enormity of this amp.
Our meeting unfortunately came and went 2 days ago with several of our members present for this rare treat. First off there are (believe it) two BAAS, the original one and the one formed by myself and other members from AVS Forum who got together one Saturday afternoon at my house several years ago for a listening session. We had so much fun that we decided we should get together on a regular basis to do it again. The name we chose unbeknownst to us already was taken, so over on AVS some members term our club BADAS. At any rate the listening session was nothing short of jaw dropping for everyone present. Vladimir has hit a home run with his ML 3 Reference. Music has just never sounded so real. We listened both with and without the Gotham subs turned on. The general conscensus was that there is no need for the use of the Gothams in my two channel listening as the ML was simply that good. Granted the subs are far from broken in and their final position has not been established yet in the room. Also I remain uncertain as to their proper phase adjustment. One of our members brought an RTA in order to take measurements but we never got around to it because we were all so engulfed in the music. The amps handled every genre of music presented and even at extraordinarily high volumes without once even clipping. I have all too often asserted here that IMO the ML 2.1 is the finest amp I have ever owned. It remains such (inasmuch as I don't own the ML 3). Having heard Vladimir's ML3 I can only add that the bar has been raised more than just a notch. This now is the amp against which all others will be compared. One can only dream about owning the ML 3. It is simply "that good".
Interesting observation about the ML 2.1's but the Gothams add just that little bit of extra to finish the puzzle. Presently I have on loan from Vladimir his new ML 3 Reference and having played that alone in my system I can say that there is absolutely no need to use the Gothams as the ML 3 provides more than adequate bass response. If you are interested I am planning a listening session of our Bay Area Audio Society so that members can have a chance to hear these amps as wellas the Gotham subs. Let me know if you want to attend.
Both JL Audio Gotham subs showed up this weekend and I managed (with the help of my son) to get them uncrated and set up. I must say that the way they come packaged is extraordinary. After the box is removed there are instructions how to uncrate them, move them and set them up. They come in a neat cloth bag which, once removed, there are two pair of white gloves to be used in the move and to prevent any fingerprinting of the piano black gloss finish. They also include silicone bricks to be placed under ther speaker feet to allow for easy moving on carpet. I did have to use the Musical Fidelity Tube Buffer as I have previously posted to minimize strain on my ARC Ref 3 which was now passing 2 loads in parallel. This little tweak with its accompanying power supply works fine. As for the subs, they are amazing and compete admirably with my previous Wilson XS. The sub allows for microphone Automatic Room Optimization at the listening position as well as phase alignment and polarity. Because I use my Wilson X-2's full range and the Gothams to bring up the bottom I have been experimenting with appropriate crossover. Presently I am finding that they perform best when crossed over between 30-40 Hz using 4th order crossover. This minimizes adding extra and unnecessary midrange volume. So far the subs are breaking in and are virtually inviible in the system. Should the subs be able to be localized in the room then there is too much midrange and they are crossed over too high. My Wilson X-2's go down to 19.5 Hz but driven with the Lamm ML 2.1's there is a lacking of that visceral bass impact. Together now the Gothams with the X-2's seem to be producing magic. Pictures will be posted after my HT is installed Jan 22-26th
As you may remeber I have a very tall ceiling and so at the advice of ASC I did stack each trap for maximum sound damping. As you found out room treatment is IMO probably the single most improvement anyone can do to improve their sound system. Congratulations
Having heard a pair of the JL Audio Gotham subs at a friend's home in Dallas in his audio setup and hearing their versatility I returned to California and offered my XS and Krell 750 MCX for sale here on Audiogon. As I have said here many times the XS is an amazing sub. I was however redoing the video side of my room and wanted a pair of subs to negate room nodes. The XS is out of production and even if I found one I worried that all the extra weight in my room at that front end would be precarious (my room is on the second floor), as well as needing extra room along the front for a larger screen. Also the Gotham is simply the best sub that I have ever heard. BTW, my Gothams arrive this week. Stay tuned.
If you are using your pre/pro for music (I don't) then the Lexicon would not be my first choice but probably the new Halcro SS200 but I wouldn't be ordering the first off the assembly line. The Halcro is very musical. If you have time I would wait to see what Theta does as IMO Theta is THE most musical and with new owwnership I am certain exciting changes will be available late 2008
You have a very serious system yourself and I can see why you are interested in the ML3.
Having heard the ML3 and with my previous notion that the ML 2.1 was the best amp on the planet I can say to you in all candor that the ML 2.1 sounds one dimensional when compared to the ML 3.
The ML 3 IMO will be the amplifier by which all others will be judged. There is no doubt in my mind. I have never had a listening experience so realistic as I did with the ML3
Vladimir and Elina will be showing this amp at CES in the Venetian and I would encourage all audiophiles who are going to CES to stop by and have a listen. I am told that he will be playing them through the same speakers as mine (X-2 Alexandria). The experience I will guaranty to be nothing short of jaw dropping.
I believe that you asked and answered your question as to why I went with the MC12 HD
"The analog bypass modes on the MC-12 are a true boon for a surround sound audiophile, something that is sorely lacking on the 861 unfortunately. That and the 861 speaker tuning/leveling and bass management is so proprietary, you can't test it with any external test signal videos to examine if it is working correctly. Very annoying to say the least, though it sounds phenomenal, if you can stop stressing out about it. "
To be honest the Meridian 861 wasn't even on my short list. Downside to the Lexicon is that it isn't great when it comes to music but for me I will only be using it in my HT side of things
As for the XS (or any sub for that matter) if the crossover is set properly one should not be able to "hear" where it is. If you can close your eyes and point to where the sub is when you listen then it is crossed over too high and some mid range is present in the sub (these frequencies allow you to discern position. The XS crosses over at 35 Hz so position IMO is not important--for me it was aesthetics as well as what was recommended by ASC. That sub is a monster, standing 84 inches tall and weighing 750 lbs. I had mine positioned inside the left front corner beside an Acoustic Science Super trap 20. As you know my room is heavily trapped with a total of 38 ASC tube traps of all sizes and ASC sound panels on the front wall. The design and placement of these tube traps and panels was provided by Acoustic Sciences Corporation in Oregon.
I would recommend that you have some form of room modifications otherwise you will almost certainly develop room nodes with a single sub. ASC provides free CAD diagrams for anyone's room. All one needs to do is to provide photos of the room with dimensions, equipment placement and sitting position. They will then provide renderings to scale as to what they recommend for best sound results. Because I have 38 traps in my room I did the room in stages, treating the corners and the front wall first and then the sides of the room.
There really is no manual for the XS.
I used my XS for 2 channel listening, multichannel listening as well as home theater. I ran my speakers full range and then used the XS to bring up the bottom as recommended by Jeff Fritz. My X-2's go pretty low with their 15" woofers. I did however have the same speakers for all setups so I am not so sure how you would do what you want. For me it was very easy and involved no cable changes when listening to either HT or to stereo. Per instructions given to me by Trent at Wilson Audio I always had the trim switch set at 1 o'clock (this is the volume control switch and not the crossover). The crossover is fixed internally in the box at 35 Hz. I sold my XS and bought a pair of the new JL Audio Gotham subs which I heard in a friends system in Dallas. I had never heard any sub as good as this each with a 3800 watt amplifier and the ability to equalize your room with time delay and phase delay. Don't get me wrong though as the XS is everything that its name bestows. I am redoing the HT side of my room and due to screen size needed more room along the front wall and hence had to sell my XS. JM Audio also makes a very good sub called the Beryllium Utopia which also is active like the Gotham and not passive like the XS. Happy listening.
Actually many of of my audiophile friends have used the MF tube buffer with absolutely no sacrifice of bass slam. The input impedance is 470Kohm so as they say it is virtually invisible in the system. I do agree about a SS linestage but that "might" happen later only if necessary. As well the amps on the Gotham subs are 3800 watt so I am not worried.
Finally the ML 3 possesses great bass slam and should there ever be a way own a pair I would only use the Gothams in my home theater side. Also I will use my X-2's full range and only use the Gothams to bring up the bottom...this is what I did when I owned the XS
"Congrats on the new gear, OB! Looks like Santa got you lots of toys this year...
Joey...I made some good deals in the sale of my Linn Unidisk 1.1, Krell HTS 7.1, Krell 750 MCX and the Wilson XS. As well there is something to be said for good customer loyalty. I have dealt with my dealer for many years and through multiple room changes such that I am able to get some good customer discount. I also purchased the Sim H2 C3X 1080 PJ before the price went up by $2000 due to the devalued US dollar in relation to the Euro. BTW, Sim has also just announced that there will be another price increase on this PJ on Jan 2nd so those who are interested should be ordering theirs now. Those interested in a deal can e-mail but need to do it ASAP due to the pending price increase.
To say that the Gothams in comparison to the XS are revolutionary and not merely evolutionary is an understatement. Hearing the pair in my friend's room was shocking. I have never been so involved in a two channel room as his (and I like to think that mine is pretty darn good). When I returned home to California I played all of the same music in my room that he had played for me and even though it was pretty darn good it lacked that very deep tight bass which I heard at his place. Knowing that I was redoing my home theater gave me pause to consider selling my Wilson XS and Krell 750 mcx and purchase a pair of the Gothams. I was initially going to use them in only the home theater but having heard my friend play them in 2 channel audio I was smitten and have figured out a very easy way to do it without crapping out my Ref 3 or without having to swap cables when going from home theater to two channel audio and vice versa. Finally to see the Gotham sub is to also appreciate the artmanship in the cabinetry. The polished black finish is virtually identical to the Wilson piano black paint....and then to drive those two drivers per sub with a 3800 watt amp is simply amazing. Then they come with a microphone to help you make room adjustments as well as time and phase control. Suffice it to say I no longer own the XS (which BTW was magnificent and served its purpose). It took three burly safe movers and a hydraulic lift to negotiate the XS down my circular staircase from the second to the first floor. It cost me more to do that one hour move than it did to transport the XS from the west to the east coast where it now resides. Ordinary movers or piano movers would not even attempt it so I got a safe moving company to do it.
Well several years ao when I posted photos and description of my room, it had been my desire to redo the much antiquated video side of my room. I however became distracted and redid the audio side in its entirety. For me audio has always been my true love. Finally however I have taken the plunge and my video components have all been sold in the expectation of my much awaited and on order new gear. My Runco IDTV 800 CRT is gone along with its line doubler for the much lauded Sim H2 C3x 1080. Also gone is my drop down 4 X 3 screen in favor of a wall mount Stewart Firehawk CineV 130 inch 2.35 screen which will mask to 16 X 9 as well. As a result I have also on order an Isco 3 anamorphic lens with a Cineslide for 2.35 viewing. I have sold my Linn Unidisk 1.1 as well as my Krell HTS 7.1 and have purchased the new Sony Blu-Ray Player BDP-S2000ES along with the balanced version of the Lexicon MC-12 HD. I went with the latter as it seems that it is presently the only processor on the market that does 1080p 24 which the new projector does as well. I have also sold my behemoth Wilson XS sub and crossover along with the Krell 750 MCX monoamp which I used to drive this sub. I never thought that I would sell this sub but recently I had occasion to visit the home of an audiophile friend of mine in Dallas who had a pair of the much recently reviewed JL Audio Gotham subs. Simply put I had never heard such bass response as I did with these Gothams. So much so that I sold my XS and Krell to make room for the pair of Gothams that I also purchased. Each of these subs have their own 3800 watt amplifier. It is my intent to use the stereo subs not only in my home theater but also to supplement the bass in my audio side of things. Using a tube preamp and tube amps (Lamm ML 2.1 SET's at 18 wpc)I did sacrifice much bass slam that I had previously with my prior solid state amps and then my Audio Research Reference 600 Mk lll's. The Lamm amps however IMHO are the best amps I have ever owned. Bringing the Gotham subs back into the picture will get me back to where I want to be. I will be running both loads in parallel off my Ref 3. This however will put a great strain on the Ref 3 brcause the input impedance on my Lamm amps is 41 KOhms and the input impedance for the Gotham subs is only 10 KOhms. This will result in loss of dynamics and top end if I did nothing. The solution to the problem is the addition of a Tube Buffer X-10v3 and its separate power supply X-PSUv3 made by Musical Fidelity. The tube buffer has an input impedance of 470KOhms and will be used between the Audio Research Ref 3 and the Gotham subs. This addition will negate any loss of dynamics and high end from the Ref3 into the Lamm ML 2.1's. I also sold my Tara Labs cable previously used between the Krell 750 MCX and the Wilson XS. In its place will be Transparent Audio Reference single ended cable (can't use XLR because there are only single ended inputs into the Tube Buffer) between the Ref 3 he Tube Buffer and the Gotham subs. Much of the equipment has been delivered and installation will take place by mid January. Updated photos will follow very soon. My only reservation was to go with not only a wall mount screen but also a curved wall mount screen. I have been worried that this could interfere with proper two channel listening. I have been reassured however that this should not be the case. If however this is evident I will be installing motorized retractable curtains for the front of the screen when not in use. Stay tuned
First off I hope you took my advice and stopped plugging your amps into your line conditioner but rather directly into a dedicated AC wall plug.
As for line conditioners I have used many over the years. Prior to my present Line Conditioner from Jim Weil at Soundapplication I was using Tara Labs AD/10B and found it to be only so-so. Jim Weil's products came highly recommended and reviewed. He is local here in the SF Bay Area. I caled him and he came out to my house with several of his units to demo and to a/b one against the other.Suffice it to say the comparison waqs more than subtle. We played The Eagles Hotel California from Hell Freezes Over Album. With my Tara Labs AD/10B you could barely hear the shakers in the background. With Jim's Line Conditioner not only could you hear them but they made a significant impression in the sound stage. I was amazed. I bought his TOL unit. Recently Jim called me to tell me that he has since modified and improved that unit and told me he was sending me his new unit at no charge other than to send the old one back. Service such as this in this industry is a rarity these days. Jim is typically at CES and I would recommend that you stop into his room. I would bet he will give you a no obligation loaner to try. If so I would say to jump at the chance as you will thank me. He does the build of the units while his wife does the design. She is an electrical engineer having been the first female EE to graduate from the Naval School in Annapolis
In all honesty I would go on record by saying that cable elevators in all probability make absolutely no difference in the sound heard. For me they have merely become a way by which I can neatly get my cables off the floor. For anyone to tell you otherwise would make you a strong candidate for a bridge that I have listed for sale
There are a lot of truly great speakers in the market now some more than the X-2 and many far less. For me the Wilson sound is what rocks my sonic boat and over the years I have owned the entire line starting with WP 5.1's, WP 6's, MAXX series l, X-1 Series lll and now the X-2 with the Series ll upgrade on order. It is a wonderful hobby and over the past 35 years of my involvement my mantra has always been "let your ears and your wallets guide you"
I spoke to Trent at Wilson Audio 2 days ago on pricing and availability of the X-2 Series ll upgrade and they are still working out all of the kinks. He promised to let me know as soon as they have all answers as I have committed to the upgrade. It is a newer and better tweeter as well as an all newmidrange driver and crossovers. I am excited as one of the shortcomings of the Wilson speakers has been the inverted titanium tweeter with an apparent lack of extension.
I have owned countless preamps most recently the ARC Ref3 which IMO is the finest preamp that has been in my system. You are correct about the ML 2.1's. Even though they have balanced inputs, they are "pseudobalanced". Vladimir just doesn't believe in balanced inputs. I have absolutely no valve noise in my system using either the 8 ohm or the 4 ohm tap when played through my X-2's. Interesting the only noise that I do notice is from the Ref3 when the LCD intensity on the dial is full up. IOW I find better listening enjoyment when I turn off the LCD on the dial.
As for the MAXX ll and the ML 2.1 it works brilliantly. I have no experience however with the Sonus Faber Stradivari. My best advice is to call Lamm Industries and speak to Vladimir personally. He is always there except Friday evening and all day Saturday. His wife Elina typically will answer and she will then have him pick up the phone. He will give you an honest answer. Those speakers of yours BTW are wonderful
I spoke to Vladimir several weeks ago and indeed the ML 3's will be at CES played through Wilson X-2's
I had also offered Vladimir a trip to the west coast with his ML 3's to play in my room to my local audio club. He is genuinely interested. My only concern is that I might not let those amps away from my own X-2's
As for the ML 2.1's in a large room I can assure you that for my X-2's they ARE more than enough. I can raise the SPL to near ear bleeding levels without the amps clipping. There is plenty of head room at 18 wpc.
As for the X-2, IMO it is the finest speaker that I have ever owned.
FWIW, Dave Wilson just released the X-2 Series ll at CEDIA at a whopping MSRP of $148,000. The series l (version I have are fully upgradeable and my order has been placed for this upgrade which comes available in November
This has been a 35 year labor of love and has brought me to audio nirvana. As for the video end of things, I had set out 4 years ago to redo that part of my room only to get way off course by completely redoing the audio end. Finally this year I will be revamping my much antiquated video system with eyes on the new Sony VPL-VW200 projector with an anamorphic lens.
As best I know it is just Phil back out on tour. He did play most of the Genesis oldies at Shoreline.
As for demo disks, I know that you liked the last two that I sent you. I have compiled 6-7 others that I know you will find interesting as they include all genres. Send me your address again by way of e-mail and I will get them out to you
I haven't heard it but Genesis and especially Phill Collins is one of my all time favorite groups. I had the pleasure of hearing Phil at Shoreline during his last tour through the Bay Area several years ago. I sat first row and shook hands with him. What a performance. I understand that the group has gotten together again and will be doing a world tour. If so I can only hope they will return to the Bay area
The Lamm ML 2.1 has brought my system to where I was always headed. I am not saying that it is the best amp available but for my ears and my system it has brought me to audio nirvana. I don't expect that I will ever buy another amp (having said that Vladimir will be debuting his much awaited ML 3 at this year's CES and he will be using X-2's for his speaker set up....stay tuned
yours is a question that I get asked frequently as well as by myself.
I used to be heavy into analog but not at all now over the past 10 years. I have set this to be my next venture in this hobby with a return to analog and I certainly agree with your observations. Presently I am all digital and for the past several years have only the Meitner CDSD SE and DAC 6e SE which IMO is as close to analog as the real thing. I recently retired from my practice of Ob/Gyn after 34 years and have opened a Medspa in my home town. Until the latter becomes profitable any further additions to my system will have to be placed on the back burner.I only have the one system that is shown here on Audiogon.I do agree with your comments regarding analog.
Certainly not a dealer's shop but merely my room and over 35 years of passion in this hobby. Remember that it is a journey and not a destination. I must say however that for me the journey is over. I have reached audio nirvana.
I suppose that if ever there is a time to make a career change it would seem most logical to do it at the start of your training rather than after many years of practice only to find that you hate it. All the best to you
Every year when I go to CES one of my favorite speakers to listen to are the Acapella speakers that you have. It is a wonderful hobby so sit back and enjoy the music. What is your specialty and where are you in practice?
Born and raised in Toronto actually. Practised medicine there until 1978 when, the whole socialized medicine thing (and winter) got to me. I moved to Southern California (Laguna) and lived there until 1994 when I then relocated to the SF Bay Area. I retired in February from Ob/Gyn after 35 years of private practice. I presently own a Medspa in my hometown of Danville and am trying to start enjoying life without my beeper and answering service.
"More importantly that is my first compliment to Wilson Audio"
I remember that exact same moment for me back in 1993 when I first heard the WP 5.1's at a friends house. He was using all tubes and I was smitten with the Wilson sound. Arguably there might be better speakers at all price points but not for my ears. Since then I have pretty much owned the entire Wilson line with the X-2's now occupying center stage in my room. I won't ever own another speaker ( or amp for that matter)
Indeed the ML 2.1 IMO is a very special amp. I agree about the smoothness and naturalness of the sound. If however one still wants that in your face bass slam, be advised that the bass on this amp is far more tamed. In my system, should I want that effect of gut wrenching bass, I have the ability to listen to my system with the Wilson XS driven by a Krell 750 Mcx. In all honesty I haven't done this in over a year because i juust really enjoy the ML 2.1's for my 2 channel listening. Occasionally members of our audio club will request a listen with the XS on and they really enjoy it. For me I now use my XS only with my HT. The WP 8's are rated at 92 Db and my X-2's are rated at 95 Db so overall the ML 2.1's really light up my speakers, even at 18 wpc.
First off I must tell you that you have a terrific system, I owned WP 5.1's. In fact those speakers were my introduction to Wilson Audio having subsequently owned WP 6's, Maxx l's, X-1 series lll Grand Slamm's and now the X-2 Alexandria. I also have their XS sub as well as WATCH center, surround and rear for my HT. Initially I was driving the WP 5.1's with Krell 750 MCX and I then became smitten with tubes when I had the MAXX l's. The ARC Ref 600 Mk lll was a terrific amp but with a total of 62 tubes for both amps as well as 8 more tubes for the ARC preamp it was extremely hot, so much so that I installed a 3rd central AC in my house, this one dedicated to just that room. It made a huge difference. The Ref 600 was a wonderful amp with great soundstage as well as great bass slam for tubes.The Lamm ML 2.1 OTOH is an 18 wpc SET that just brings one so much closer to the music. IMO it is a far better amp than the Ref 600 and even their new 610T which I almost bought. The midrange on the ML 2.1 is second to none. I doubt if I will ever buy another amp. The low end lacks the bas slam that the big Ref 600's had however the bass is so much more refined that I don't feel I miss that visceral smack that I previously enjoyed. Having said all of this however I am uncertain if the WP 5.1's efficiency rating is great enough for maximum enjoyment. The Alexandria is rated at 95 Db. The new MAXX ll is 92-93 Db and works just fine. Some people have even used the ML 2.1 on Sophias which, if I remember correctly are rated at 88-89 Db. Vladimir Lamm says that the ML 2.1's need at least 92db in the speakers for best results. I would suggest that you do two things...call Vladimir and ask him as well as the people at Wilson Audio. They will both give you honest opinions. I must say however that your choice of gear for 2 channel listening must give you great pleasure as you have some pretty fine components.
Retirement is wonderful and if my medspa becomes profitable I expect there will be a turntable in my room. For now I am quite happy with my system.
I know that you and I have not entirely seen eye to eye on "means to an end" but I do wish you all the luck with your system which seems to be always under construction. As long as for each of us that toe tapping experience is always evoked when we sit down to listen, that is all that is important.
"I can only imagine how good your system must sound. My one question regarding home theater. Do you feel that your Krell HTS 7.1 is on par with the sound quality of the rest of your components? I had one a few years back and thought it was good, until I brought in some others."
I agree with you completely. I have spent the better part of the past 3 years completely revamping my audio side of my room. I am still an audiophile but do love HT. I recently retired from OBG after 35 years of private practice and have opened a wonderful medspa in my hometown. Once that business is self sufficient and generating income my video end will undergo a much needed upgrade. Until then I am watching the PJ's not only get better and smaller but also less expensive. I expect the video upgrade to be done by year end.
As for the audio side I have made my last change. I love what I have and cannot imagine changing anything. The X-2's are here to stay and I made Dave Wilson promise me when I heard them at his house that he won't ever tell me when the X-3's are going to be released. IOW all of us have to (at some point) stop chasing rainbows and the upgrade urge and start enjoying what they have. All too often I have seen this happen (myself included) where we are constantly changing our systems and stating that we are getting ever closer to the music as more layers of the onion are peeled back. I think this is a self destructive behavior and takes this from being a hoby that we enjoy to an obsession that we do whatever is necessary to get our next "fix"
I am a firm believer in isolation devices but not to the extent of breaking the bank to accomplish such end. I have used Aurios Pro Max for years and swear by them. They are not cheap but when compared to other methods of isolation, I would say that they perform admirably. I have them under my amps as well as ALL of my front end gear. My biggest impression of what they give to the system is a wider and deeper soundstage as well as improvement in bass. There was time that I also had them under my Wilson X-1 series lll speakers but when I switched to the X-2's I saw no improvement and use them only under the abovementioned gear.
As to your question regarding component movement it is just not an issue to preclude considering the use of these devices
The Polaris has been talked about and rumored to be happening for at least two years. By all accounts however it is more than just a figment of Dave's imagination. Hopefully it will reach the market soon
As for being retired, certainly this is the case as for OBG but I am enjoying the new business (MedSpa) that I opened right here in downtown Danville
My intent is to visit DFW in the next few months and hear some really great systems there such as Marty's, yours, Albert Porter's, Gallant Diva's to name but a few. I can't wait. The great thing about now being retired gives me the chance to do the things that I really enjoy. Stay tuned.
As far as getting tired of the Meitner setup, simply put...this will just never happen. I have said many times that as great as analog is, it is the Meitner gear which has kept me dragging my heals with respect to buying a turntable.
This is what life is all about...specifically making enough time for the things that we all really love and enjoy.
To me I have reached audio nirvana. This may sound somewhat selfish and self centered but honestly ALL of us in this hobby at some point must say "enough is enough" and enjoy where we are. At some point changing systems is tantamount to only changing the flavor of what we hear and nothing more, The flavor of a sound is ever changing and for me "the buck stops here". I love what I have and will never change other than to add vinyl to the mix. That will only come if and when economics allows such. Happy listening. Statman...you must hear Jordan's system. it is terrific and then when you are in this neck of the woods I would love to host a listening session for you.
Gary I just got back from a weekend conference on Aesthetics in Orange County. Of note was that many of the attendees were Internists, ENT's, Ophthalmologists and Obg's. Everyone it seems are just anxious to get away from the mainstream where we are burdoned by third party payors and HMO's etc who don't give a damn about doctors let alone the patients they cover. Merely it is all about their CEO's taking annual salaries in the order of $15-$25 million/year while we the caregivers fight for every damn $10 co-pay. I loved what I did for the best 35 years of my life and decided that it was not only time to retire but also to invest my time in other interests. Our medspa is turning out to be something wonderful. It is a great way to achieve wonderful results and to derive alternative income. The best thing about it is that there are no nights or weekend on call and I can set my own hours. I am also spending more time listening to music which I really love as well as plan on the much needed upgrade to the video side of my room. Like you I don't know what being in my prime is. As far as I am concerned I will always be there because as long as we all enjoy life we will always feel that we are in our prime
Indeed Feb 14th was my last day. It was a very strange feeling walking out of the office and driving home. I must say that the strangeness however was very short lived and replaced by feelings of jubilation. I am devoting my full time energies now to the Medspa which I opened in Danville in August 2006. If that becomes successful there is definitely a turntable planned as an addition to my room. Presently however I am really enjoying life. I have been sleeping in and going to the club each day for some much needed exercise. Tomorrow I am leaving for Orange County for a long weekend with my wife. Stay tuned
As for those Watt Puppies they will show up at some point for you....
"No bare stage for you Doc. You are just stepping out of the formal performance, stopping for a minute through the proscenium and taking your just applause. Now go forth and claim your rightful place in the vast stage outside, where the 10,000 little actors you brought onto the world are now playing their own parts in their own small and grand productions. Your own role may have changed a little. . . yet it is no less important. You brought 10,000 babies into our world. . . now you are bringing and sharing your love for sound and your love for music to them and many more.
This is awesome . . . We All Salute You Doc!"
thank you for the wise and sage comments. I made a copy of your post to show my wife.
I agree with your comments. When I lived in Southern California I was on the Clinical Faculty of UC Irvine and was involved in Resident training. Not only was it fun and rewarding it also served to keep me sharp and as up to date on all the current literature.Perhaps retirement is only a figment of my imagination.
As always it was a treat to have hosted you and your brother. I am happy that you enjoyed those demo disks that I played and I will burn some copies and send them to you.
My specialty as you point out has been very demanding over all of these years. Today I did my last delivery. It was very interesting and somewhat nostalgic because the patient was a daughter of a patient of mine who I have cared for over many years. It made me feel like a grandfather...which I am 4 times over.
Tomorrow afternoon the cutains come down on my career and the stage will be bare. The memories however will never fade.
It's funny how I'm going in while you're going out... though I hope to have a system that can be compared to yours one day. A great collection of music machines you have there! As always, love your system, Doc!"
Joey...if you are embarking on either medical school or Residency, my advice is simple...consider the profession much the same as this hobby of audio in which we all indulge...the path should always be considered a journey and not a destination. Enjoy it and all of my best wishes. It has provided for me countless experiences as well as establishing many friendships..always follow the oath..."Do no harm"
Gregadd...a very close friend of mine is the Professor of Perinatal Medicine at Stanford and has previously asked mre if I were intrerested in doing some clinical teaching there. I am seriously considering it. Kaiser Walnut Creek is also an option as well as UC San Francisco for devoting some time to the Residents and Fellows in training. I have been giving it some serious thought. First and foremost however is to get my Medspa which I opened in Danville off the ground. It has been a pleasant aside for me to do something different and we are very close to becoming profitable.
As an aside i was watching "Click" last night at home with my wife. I found the ending to be so indicative of most of us. For me it is almost as if I am wanting my remote control to stop the "auto fast forward" as I have seen all too often so many of my friends and colleagues working their entire lives chasing rainbows and never knowing when it is time to say "enough is enough". For me after almost 35 years of practising this specialty I have finally been able to feel content with my decision. I am looking forward now to enjoying so many things that I heretofore could not...most specifically having time to spend with my family and friends.
I am hoping that you can get to hear Jordan's system as well as mine in the very near future
"You are very welcome, doc. Please let me know (cc to Albert) when you plan to come here."
Ish...as you know, one of my close friends lives in Dallas. He too is an audiophile to the Nth degree. I am hoping to get out there this summer to spend some time hearing his system as well as yours and Albert Porter's. Sounds like a fun time
Just got back from San Francisco where my wife and I saw Jersey Boys. Absolutely a four star performance. For those of us who grew up with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, this is a must see. Was able to Tivo the Super Bowl game which I thought was lack luster. The commercials weren't so good either.
Thanks Gallant Diva and Albert Porter. It is my hope to make it to Dallas this year and be beating on your doors to hear your systems.
I must admit that I am getting the itch for analog
Analog was my very first system. I can even remember some of the first albums I had and loved Belafonte at Carnegie Hall The Weavers at Carnegie Hall The Limelighters Pat Boone (OK go ahead and laugh) Johnny Mathis Porgy and Bess Carousel Ella Fitzgerald etc etc to name but a few
Over the years I collected several 1000 albums and then suddenly there was CD. I was amazed that something as this could reproduce music. It was identical to my first impressions odf the Sony Betamax when it debuted in the early 1970's. My first player was a Kyocera which loaded upright from the front. I was smitten but stupidly I sold all of my albums.
I will never deny what you all are saying with authority because it IS true. Until such a time however, I am truly loving my digital gear which together with the ARC Ref 3 through the X-2's produces some of the best music that I have ever enjoyed. Once the video side is back to standard I am hoping to take a dive back in. In fact when Mike Lavigne was at my house for a weekend last year he brought me a Reference album which to this day remains unopened. My promise is that this will be the first album played when the analog is up and running.
" It really fullfills the neurotic hobbyist side of me"
Dgad...this pretty much says it all when it comes to all of us.
Unfortunately my love for video is as long as my love for audio. I started with the very first Sony Betamax and a Kloss Novabeam projection TV in 1974 and have gone through countless systems since then.
Once I am fully retired in the next few weeks I will devote my energies to the video upgrade and if there is money left over then analog will become a priority...I will however never part with my Meitner gear
I cannot disagree with your comments. My biggest sorrow in this hobby was that years ago I got out of analog and sold not only all of my gear but also 1000's of vinyl recordings.
I do love the sound of analog and i am debating seriously about getting back in again. However, my video side is woefully out of date and i want to redo it this year. I am retiring officially on Feb 14th after 35 years (and some 10,000 deliveries) of doing Ob/Gyn. I am looking forward to some serious R&R and devoting more time to this hobby. As far as speakers, front end gear etc,etc, I am truly done. I have no desires to switch or trade anything. For me the quest is over. It is a toe tapping, grin on my face experience whenever I have the time to listen. Vinyl is intriguing nonetheless.
Let's get together soon and be sure to bring as many of your demo disks as you want. I always find listening sessions with fellow audiophiles to be fun and rewarding
As far as my bass traps in the corners of the room they do reach almost to the ceiling (especially at the front of the room).
The design for the sound traps in my room was done by http://www.acousticsciences.com. They will provide a CAD rendering at no charge once you provide them with room dimensions as well as speaker and sitting location as well as where the gear is stacked. I followed their instructions and did the room in stages starting initially with the front and back bass traps and sound planks on the front wall. I then did the sides of the room in stages. The end result IMO proved more than satisfactory.
I have a very close friend who was the owner of a very high end audio store in San Francisco who had a vey elaborate system. In his business he sold and set up some amazing systems which obviously all sounded different. As a result when he came to my house for a listen whenever I changed or added a new piece of gear he always brought with his compilation of demo disks. His comments to me was that the music is "the only constant and non variable". In other words, he knew how this music sounded at his house as well as others. Many of the tracks elucidated clearly the human voice or piano or bass or other essentials to delineate a system etc. He would move quickly from track to track and listen to only very short portions of each to comment on each particular aspect of a system. In fact he made me copies of his demo disks some of which I played for you when you were at my house.
Although I have not personally heard your speakers, I have friends who have heard them and speak accolades about them. I have said many times that this hobby is not a destination but merely a journey. The enjoyment of it all by whatever means is what gives each of us satisfaction and brings smiles to our faces.Happy listening.
"Oneobgyn, can you give us further information on acoustics? You have a completely dedicated room for audio, which most of us can't have, but maybe you could help us tame some of our nasties? For instance, I have one speaker near a corner and one near an opening. Any advice would be appreciated."
Actually I don't . You have been to my house and heard my system and even though 2 channel stereo is still my first love my room also has an integrated HT. Having said that I must say that room acoustics is paramount in superlative sound. Many here have gone the way of Rives audio which indeed is wondeful. Rather I chose to use a different approach and went with the people at http://www.acousticsciences.com. They did a complete CAD rendering of my room based on photos and measurements that I supplied. From this I used their tube traps and sound planks as they recommended and I have been totally satisfied with the outcome. You were the judge. What were your impressions?
It was a rare treat for me this evening to host Ken Stevens, the owner of Convergent Audio Technology. He was anxious to hear my X-2's and it gave opportunity as well to have him audition the Lamm ML 2.1's, which at 18 wpc are vastly different than his JL-3's. All in all he had a good time and seemed to enjoy my setup.
Rare treat for me this upcoming week-end to be able to host Ken Stevens (from C.A.T.) at my house. My neighbor owns a very serious (Sirius lll TT with CAT JL3). Ken is in for the Rolling Stones Concert in Oakland and will be staying with my buddy over the weekend. They will be coming by for an audition of my X-2/Lamm ML 2.1 set-up. Needless to say a very different sound than his JL 3's.
I have been very fortunate over the years to have established great relations with my dealers. There is truly such a thing as customer loyalty. As a result I have been able to make some good deals due to all of the equipment I have bought from them previously.
As for ARC amp vs Lamm, I did use previously the Arc Ref 2 Mk ll preamp with the ARC Ref 3 Mk lll amp (600 wpc). These were wonderful amps but paled in comparison to the 18 wpc Lamm ML 2.1 SET.
At your convenience I would be pleased to provide you with an audition.
I use aALL Valhalla in my system and wouldn't trade it for any other cable or PC, but that is just my impression and $0.02. Shunyata is wonderful as well. I just prefer Valhalla.
As for using a power conditioner for my amps, I would NEVER use one. I have two dedicated 30 amp lines for my amps, each on 6 guage single stranded Romex wire, grounded at the street. IMO an amp should never be plugged into a power conditioner.
I do however use a Line Stage made by Jim Weil of Sound Application which I think is the best in the market. This is used for my front end equipment. The Line Stage is then plugged into its own 20 amp dedicated line at the wall. I have a total of 10 dedicated lines in my room. It was worth the investment.
As we discussed when you were at my house several weeks ago the difference between SACD and Redbook XRCD I will always prefer the XRCD version of an album. Case in point was the Import (Japanese) XRCD version of Hell Freezes over. It is an absolutely terrific recording. I will even go so far as saying that the XRCD Import version of Dark Side of the Moon is also superior to the SACD version.
As to turning the volume up to listen to the Louis and Ella album, I am not so sure that you will hear a difference. It was played at low volume at my house
Actually I'm not....just a guy who has been into this hobby for the past 35 years. I always enjoy meeting fellow audiophiles and talk about music and each other's system. I must admit that where I am now has finally brought me to audio nirvana. I have no desires to change anything in my system. IMO the Meitner gear is just as good as it gets. The only glimmer deep in my brain is consideration of a return to analog and a TT. So far however I am enjoying what I have.
Just bring the CD's you know well on your system. Anything else I am sure that I have.
I have heard Ori's cables. He brought them to my house. They are very good for the money. I prefer mine better. As for Alex' modded Denon, I will leave that for another day and just have you listen to my system. I am not a big fan of pulling cables as I find that it takes 50-100 hours to restore the dielectric and I am very anal about my system.
Contact me by e-mail. You have my e-mail address from prior correspondance
"I do run the ARC balanced into my amplifiers however I've only used single ended interconnects between the ARC and DCC2. My question is have you experimented with balanced verses unbalanced connections to your EMM dac? Did you find a significant improvement? I will be borrowing some balanced cables for my evaluation but would appreciate your thoughts."
I run all balanced cables throughout my system which I prefer. Having said this however, Vladimir Lamm uses only "pseudobalanced" inputs to the ML 2.1 as he does not believe in balanced inputs. Although the amp also has a SE input I use the balanced input because I have only balanced cables (Valhalla) throughout my system and when I switched to the ML 2.1 from the ARC Ref 600 Mk lll I didn't want to switch cables (convenience only).
"I think the preamp section of the upgraded DCC2 is MUCH improved. So much so that I actually prefer it over the Audio Research ref 3"
Very, very interesting. At one time I considered switching from the DAC6e to the DCC2 because I still really only listen to 2 channel. Even though I can listen to MC in my system I am still very much a 2 channel purist. The only reason I didn't is because i would merely have used the Unity Gain through pass out of the DCC2 into my ARC Ref 3 which I felt to be superior to the preamp portion of the DCC2 (Switchman). I am uncertain if Meitner did any modifications to the preamp portion of the DCC2 and what you might be hearing is the sonic benefit of the Signature upgrade.
"Do you find that the speakers are so revealing at times, that equipment that sounds good in some systems might sound very poor in your system. I am realizing that the speakers show it all for all your equipment and you can't have a weak link"
A truer statement could not be made. Case in point....there is a local Wilson dealer in my area who has an audio room with Wilson X-2's and components other than what I use. Many members of my audio club have heard his room and were aghast at the appalling sound. Difficult to comprehend but very true as I heard it myself.The X-2's are the most revealing speaker I have ever heard. They have gotten me to audio nirvana. I have finally reached a point in this almost 35 years of involvement in this hobby where I no longer feel the urge to change anything in my system. This hobby involves a journey for all of us and where the destination brings us is for each of us a personal crusade.
One of the fun things about belonging to an audo club is learning about new albums such as yhose which you suggested for me to hear. I have ordered these from Amazon based on your recommendations. Stay tuned for impressions. They arrive next week
I continue to be in awe of Vladimir Lamm's ML 2.1 18 wpc SET mono amp. It has been in my system now for exactly one year. I have owned just about every high end solid state amp and many high end tube amps. This amp however has brought me and my system to where I want to be. IMO it just can't get any better. certainly not at least for my ears. Until at least yesterday. According to Vladimir's instructions that come with the amp, he emphasizes that the 6N6P tube on each amp "should" be changed annually to maintain the best possible audio quality. Having enjoyed the sound I was getting for the past year, I wondered how this could be possible. I ordered the two tubes and received them yesterday. Also after discussion with Vladimir and his wife Elina I decided to change the two large 6C-33C tubes (V1 and V2) on my amps. These also arrived yesterday. I decided to change out the 6C33C tubes as I was noticing that some of the silver on the inside top of the tubes was wearing thin--a sign that perhaps I was not receiving the best sound possible. After a 50 minute warm up I sat down for a four hour listening session and simply put I was just stunned that I was listening to the same amps. What I heard was nothing short of spectacular. It brought goose bumps to my skin. All of us I am sure have our "go-to" tracks and albums that we always seem to use. For me I heard things that I hadn't heard before. The sound stage was deeper, wider and far more transparent than what I could remember.Strings,horns, vocals, orchestral etc just seemed to be indescribeable. The lesson that I learned was once again the magic of tubes, especially this amp made by Vladimir. I was also listening now to my system with the new Signature Edition upgrade to my EMM Labs DAC6e. It was truly a toe tapping evening. This is not something that one can experience with a SS amp. Switching out the tubes was like listening to a whole different experience. For these aging ears, there is just no way that I will ever return to a solid state amplifier. It just doesn't get any better. I say this with great reservation as Vladimir tells me that finally his long awaited ML 3 will be unveiled at this year's CES. It will be out of the range of most (certainly me) audiophile however as it will bring an MSRP sales tag of $130K !!! Vladimir has been working for years to bring this amp to fruition. I am told it will be a 30 wpc SET with each side having a separate box for its own power supply. Happy listening.
It was a fun afternoon for me as well. It is always a treat to entertain a fellow audiophile. There was no doubt in my mind that you would realize how great sounding the EMM Labs gear really is. As for making those X-2's totally invisible that is a work of magic. They are truly very special speakers.
Let's do it again soon.
BTW, I was impressed as to how critical a listener your wife is.
I have not heard those cables in my system and unfortunately have no expert comment as a result.
Suffice it to say however that there is enormous mystique when it comes to cables. Over the past 35 years I have used most high end cables many to my liking. Over the past 4 years however I have settled on precisely where I want to be and see no reason to ever change. Valhalla, although not cheap by most standards can be certainly eclipsed price-wise by many other cables. For my ears and my pocket book I just have not heard a better cable than Valhalla. For me the search has ended when it comes to cable. Part of my audio nirvana is a result of Valhalla in my system. I just wouldn't have it any other way. YMMV.
BTW, there are many audio objectivists who will debate ad nauseum that there has never been a successful double blind test where an individual can differentiate his own cable from the ilk of Radio Shack zip cable etc. But that is a different story
I am still very much a two chanel purist however I still have the ability to play multichannel audio in my room.
Even if I play only two channnel and even though I truly am enamoured with EMM Labs gear IMO the ARC Ref 3 preamp is hands down the best and most musical preamp that I have ever owned. For me therefore the DAC6e Signature Edition and the ARC Ref 3 preamp for my ears is the best of all worlds.
I am uncertain as to why you feel that EMM and Wilson are an odd match to your ears. FWIW, Dave Wilson uses EMM Labs in his own house. I have been there and heard it when he launched the X-2's. The bass slam is very good bearing in mind that my amps are 18wpc SET Lamm ML 2.1's. IOW, the bass is very precise but does not have the slam one would get with solid state amps.
As for vinyl, so far the answer is "no". It has been many years since I have had a TT. I have considered getting back in but in all honesty the Meitner stack is as close to vinyl as the real thing.
I can answer your question about the ARC Ref 3 very simply. It is without question the best preamp that I have ever owned. As good as its predecessor (the ARC Ref 2 MK ll) was, the Ref 3 is in a league of its own. You could do far worse with other choices.
As to how the Ref 3 and the EMM Labs sound together...also one word. Stupendous!!
If you have a chance, you should try to audition these components. They will take your system to a higher level.
Vmk As Guido says the display on the ARC Ref3is noisy. I always play my system with the display off. Notwithstanding this shortcoming however is the absolute magic of this preamp. I am in awe every time I listen
As for the Signature Edition upgrade to the Meitner DAC6e and DCC2 it is absolutely wonderful. SACD and Redbook both show improvement in overall listening pleasure BUT IMO the magic is in the reproduction of Redbook. It is quite remarkable. Without interjecting any of the standard hyperbole which pervades these forums, my recommendation is to audition it. I guaranty you will be amazed.
I have finally had opportunity tonight to do some extended and serious listening...only me with my "go-to" disks.
Last week when I put up this thread I initially felt the changes to be subtle. Not so now, This upgrade is a serious contender.
Much cleaner, more precise imaging,larger soundstage and lower noise floor. This is the goods.
EMM Labs has taken some bad postings here and in othe forums about everything except the kitchen sink. Make no mistake about it. This company is for real and delivers the goods. They (IMO) remain on the cutting edge of the digital domain. Although not analog, this is as close to the real thing and continues to keep me from taking the plunge back into vinyl. Although I might at some future date, the added enjoyment I am getting from the Signature Edition upgrade continues to bring smiles to my face.
For anyone here in the SF Bay Area who either has a DAC6e or a DCC2 and is considering the upgrade it would be my pleasure to provide a private audition.
I have either auditioned and/or ownerd all that you have mentioned and then some.
For me the buck stops here. There are certainly far more expensive cables available but IMO for my ears I have just not heard anything better than Valhalla. I might do many things to upgrade my system but when it comes to cables I have reached "Valhalla". I won't ever change
There seems to be so much back and forth diatribe here recently regarding the EMM Labs Signature Edition upgrade. It has been evident to me that much of the talk was "psychobabble" most of which has been started by people who like to fuel speculation and drive the rumor mill. It seems to me that most of these people serve no other purpose than to create uncertainty about an otherwise excellent and first class company that caters to we the audiophile community.
My good friend Mike Lavigne posted a very articulate review of the upgrade but unfortunately it became vapor and disappeared.
I would like to preface my comments with some disclaimers.
1. I have no vested interest in EMM Labs except to say that I have used their gear in my system since the first modded Sony SACD 1000.
2. No one has asked me to write my impressions of the new SE upgrade.
3. I am first and foremost an audiophile and have been involved in this hobby for well over 33 years.
4. I would like to consider myself and my system sufficiently at a level that I can comment in a reasonable and meaningful fashion about the DAC6e upgrade.
5. Even though I have the DAC6e and have the ability to listen to multichannel I am still very much a two channel purist.
6. My comments are related only to the DAC6e SE and not to the DCC2 SE
7. I have owned pretty much all high end equipment over the years. I can be considered biased to the extent that for my ears the music reproduced by the EMM Labs CDSD and DAC6e truly rocks my sonic boat, so much so that after all of these years I feel that with my system where it is now I have reached where I want to be....audio nirvana
8. Having said all of this I hope this thread will be posted by the moderators to give my overview of the new Signature Edition upgrade.
I received my SE upgrade yesterday from EMM Labs where the turn around time was fast ( less than one week and with a new shipping box to boot)
Judging from my "Return Authorization Number (U-0001) I would have to infer that my unit was the first in line for the upgrade and therefore any other speculation by naysayers is IMO only gossip at best.
I will not interject my remarks with such "flowery" comments or adjectives such as the proverbial "the veil has been lifted" or the "layers of the onion are peeled" etc, etc.
Suffice it to say I will make the following observations of my past 24 hours of listening. Initially I felt that the changes were subtle in some respects but more than dramatic in others.
All of us no doubt have what we call our "go to" disks and reference recordings that we use over and over in our system and in others. These represent our frame of reference to highlight something(s) which will bring out the best or show the inadequacies of a system.
I would like to consider that I have a SOTA system with speakers than truly illustrate my above point. My initial thoughts after listening were the following
1. A more than dramatic expansion of the soundstage. With my Wilson X-2's I always felt that the soundstage reproduced in my room was superb...until last night. Much to my amazement the soundstage now transgresses the boundaries of my speakers and literally flows from wall to wall. There is also an added depth to the soundstage.
2. An absolute precise and crystal clear clarity to vocals. I thought that I had that lifelike presence before but something yesterday just absolutely locked in the imaging in a manner that I have not previously heard.
3. I agree with prior posts that the sound floor has been dropped and that there is now a much cleaner sound. Mike Lavigne implied this when he stated that the Signature Edition takes us further down the sonic road.
4. There is indeed a better articulation at the "high" end. So far I have not listened enough to comment about increased bass that others have heard.
5. I will add further comments after more extensive listening.
6. Finally, I am not looking for validation from others who read this thread about why I did the upgrade and what I heard. After all, it is my wallet and my ears. The EMM Labs gear reproduces the audio flavor that light up my ears. I like what I have heard so far and have absolutely no regrets in my decision to do the upgrade.
Most important for everyone to know however is this....Everyone asks "should they do the upgrade?" My mantra in this hobby has always been to "do what is best for my ears and my wallet". Those who already own Meitner gear IMO already have SOTA equipment. If you never hear and/or never upgrade to the Signature Edition and keep the status quo, you will still be blessed with countless hours of listening bliss with SOTA equipment. If however you do hear the SE and feel the urge to do the upgrade, the change in your system will be one that you will never regret.
Honestly, I am completely uncertain if you are asking a question or making a statement of some sort.
I can only agree that Alex' modded pieces are indeed very good--just a different flavor , if you will. You like his and I happen to like Meitner.
Presently my DAC6e is on its way back from Calgary where it has undergone the Signature Edition upgrade. I will be happy to report my findings on the upgrade once it is back in my system.
As for analog, I don't disagree with your comment and assertion. Notwithstanding that however, it is the Meitner gear which IMO is as close to analog as the real thing that I have not found a need to jump back into the analog arena....although I must confess that I am exploring this option. I am hearing fantastic reviews of Alvin Lloyd's new Grand Prix Monaco turntable which at the price everyone is calling it a Tier one component.
You live very close to me and I would be happy to give you an audition at your convenience.
"Is there anyone who understands 100% how this tweak does work?"
That for me is the $64 question.
My audiophile buddies like to call me the "ultimate tweak" as I am always looking for that certain tweak that can exact the last fraction of a percent improvement in my system. At some point it can become the Law of Diminishing Returns. Having said that however this Marigo 3D Signature Mat truly has me baffled because there is no doubt IMO that it has provided increased depth and width to my already pretty darn good soundstage.
There is just no logical reason for this to occur. I have asked myself whether this be psychoacoustics at play but I am always able to pick out the difference in a blinded test. Any other comments are certainly welcome.
"The difference without and with the mat, is like watching the concert on TV and actually being there"
I agree. I just wish that I understood what the heck it is all about. All of my scientist friends and members of my audio club tell me that it is a bunch of horse manure and a case of the Emperor's new clothes"
Has any one else here had any observations (pro or con) about the Marigo 3D Signature Mat?
I have been using the Marigo 3D Signature Mat now for the past 6 weeks and I am still trying to figure out why and how it works. There is no doubt in my mind that the effect is not only real but also a dramatic improvement in the sound.
I am told by members of my audiophile club (the objectivists of course) that this is nothing more than bogus and it is merely psychoacoustics. Suffice it to say, for my ears the over-all effect in the change of the sound stage is what I find so amazing. I have had long talks with Ron Hedrich at Marigo Labs about it. I would suggest for the readers here to keep an open mind and listen for yourself. I love tweaks and this for me is truly an exceptional one.
We are having a meeting of our audiophile club next week. One of the things we will be doing is an a/b test of the mat for everyone to come to their own conclusions.
Friends in my audio club call me the Ultimate Tweak. It has been many years since I have had an analog system not because I don't want one but only because I remain content with the superb performance of my digital front end. Recently I got involved in tube rolling and seem to have squeezed out even better performance with my Lamm ML 2.1's. I found the NOS Telefunken's made an immense improvement. Having said this however I recently was exposed to Marigo Labs Signature 3-D Mat and cannot understand how something like this can change the sound in the manner in which it does. I initially thought that I would buy one at the behest of a very close audiophile friend. From his description of this tweak I shrugged my shoulders and thought that this was another case of "the Emperor's New Clothes". With some degree of skepticism I loaded it onto the top of one of my reference CD's and I couldn't believe what I was hearing...a much wider and deeper soundstage as well as better defined bass with more articulate mid and upper range. I have been listening now for the past 2 weeks wondering what the heck this mat does. The owner of Marigo Labs, Ron Hedrick also assures me that I will notice similar improvements in the video side of my system when played with a DVD.
I own no stake in the company but this tweak is worth checking out. Sells for $199.
I would be interested in opinions of others who have tried it. Unless you have you cannot say "snake oil"
"Were they too expensive due to length? I also wanted to mention that analog can be a good source of music also, with the price of albums being so cheap."
I completely agree about your statement regarding analog as a good source of music.
As for Ori's cables...quite the contrary as I felt that he had them underpriced for what the market will bear.
However, having said all of that I remain immensely content with my Nordost Valhalla and see absolutely no reason as to why I would want to change
Ori contended that the Valhalla was anything but lifelike and his threw a more real image. I considered what he said and recently reset the upper 3 modules on my X-2's to reflect a listening height of 36". Previously they were set to a listening height of 38". I felt this was too high and the readjustment on the upper modules has made a world of difference.
Thanks for the clarification. Here is a tidbit that I have found just the other day when I was doing an A/B test using a NOS (circa 1957)12AX7 Mullard long rib plate square getter halo in the left ML 2.1 and a NOS (circa 1964) 12AX7 Telefunken rib plate tube in the right ML 2.1. I was playing an SACD with Ella Fitzgerald and Lois Armstrong which was originally in mono. I set the Ref 3 to "mono" mode and played the album. As I did I shifted the balance on the Ref 3 to extreme left and then extreme right in order to best evaluate each tube. As the preamp reached the very last balance (ie extreme left or extreme right) on each side there was a drop off in sound volume but only at that very last step of balance. The drop off was perhaps 6 Db. This is the only time that I have ever noticed this on the ARC/Lamm. My obvious guess is that it is a function of the preamp because otherwise I have never experienced volume too low or too loud at high or low volumes
I can tell you in all honesty that I have played the volume of the ARC/Lamm at levels high enough to make your ears bleed. I have only twice heard the amps clip. It is a very soft clip and unless you listen carefully you probably won't even notice the clipping. Bear in mind the other factor you must consider is the efficiency of your speakers. Mine are rated at 95 Db so it is very easy to drive. You should have no problem with your M 1.2's and the Ref 3.
Fiirst off I must say that I use the DAC6e and not the DCC2 but I have heard on countless times the Meitner SWM3 which I must say is a fantastic preamp. I have also heard the DCC2 which also has a 2 channel Switchman. If I were to ever switch preamps this is probably the way I would go. For me, my ears and in my system the ARC Ref3 is truly the best preamp that I have ever heard. It is the sonic flavor that rocks my boat. It gives a soundstage so real that it just brings smiles to my face.
The Meitner preamp however should never be shortchanged as it is excellent. For my ears I prefer tubes and not sure if I would ever go back to solid state
As I said...you just need to run signal through it. I would merely play your CD through the Ref 3 and that is all. The volume is not important. FWIW, I have the volume at 14 when I use the Purist Audio System Enhancer disk. Of course I am talking about all of the hours in the day when you are not actively listening when, of course the volume is at your choosing.
Again play a CD through the Ref 3. Leave your amps off (unless you are listening) and the rest will take care of itself. If your amps are not on you of course will not need to mute the Ref 3.
"Both are very interesting people, and I think they both definitely listen to something specific in audio. It's just that what they look for is different from each other."
I have also said many times here as well as on other forums that what each of us enjoy in audio is a "flavor". If we all enjoyed the same flavor there would be but a handful of equipment that we would buy but alas this is not the case. Of course Alex and Ori feel their equipment to be better than mine (perhaps so) BUT they are voicing their equipment with a sonic signature that they feel to be correct or at the very least what they feel is most pleasing to their ears.
I have also said that in this hobby, "one man's passion is another man's poison"
For my money and ears and toe tapping experience I will stay with my Meitner stack which has an MSRP for both pieces less than Alex' redone UX-1 (NWO-1). This for me is indeed audio nirvana
Guido--I can only envision your glee when you hook up your Ref 3 in your system. Bear in mind that out of the box it will sound wonderful initially but then will (as does all ARC gear) sound somewhat muddied until fully burned in (yes I do believe that a burn in is necessary with this piece of equipment)
Alex has been in touch with me to A/B his NWO-1 vs my Meitner gear. He boldly stated however that he already knows the answer as he did the same demo this past week at an audiophiles home in Oakland who I surmise owns Meitner gear. I have said many times that any piece of gear does not make up a system but rather the synergy of a system is greater than the sum of its parts. I would concede that Alex is indeed a genius at what he does. His reputation and followers certainly speaks volumes. Having said that I have no desires at the present time or even in the foreseeable future to be swapping out my Meitner for anything else. In my system it has been the glue that has brought the entire system to my feeling of what "audio nirvana" is all about.
All too often we are caught up in the magic of our own system when suddenly we hear something totally different, whether it be a component, a cable, speakers or a different room. Our ears stand up and take notice. Then I always ask myself, (especially if it is something I am considering buying), did I hear something better or did I merely hear something different. At some point all of us need to just put our feet up and sit back and enjoy the music with the system that we have. Otherwise we will all be chasing rainbows---dare say I am just as guilty as the next guy, BUT I feel that where I am now is for me at least audio nirvana. I am still mesmerized as to how the sound changed for the better with some vintage NOS 12AX7 Telefunken ECC83's with rib plates in my Lamm ML 2.1's
I have owned countless amps over the years be it solid state amp, push-pull tube amp and most recently the Lamm ML 2.1 18 wpc SET. I know there remain an infinite number in the market but, for me I really feel that I have found the ultimate amplifier for my system. Each time I listen, these ML 2.1's bring a smile to my face. I know that they will do the same for you and I believe that your Avantgarde duos should respond just fine to this amp.
As for the Audio Research Ref 3 I just wouldn't have any other preamp in "my" system. There is something about the sonic signature of this Audio Research preamp that lights up my auditory nerves. Prior to the Ref 3 I owned the Audio Research Ref 2 Mk ll preamp which I also felt was excellent. Comparing these two however it is just no contest as the Ref 3 is in a league of its own. I did have occasion several months ago to hear the Lamm L2 preamp in my system. A fellow Audiogoner brought his over to my house to compare his L2 to my Ref 3. I must admit that I was hoping to name the L2 as the clear winner assuming there would be some synergy between the L2 and my ML 2.1's. While I felt the L2 to be an excellent preamp it just seemed all to cold for me and my ears when used in my system. It lacked the warmth of the Ref 3. It just did nothing for me. The other shortcoming of the L2 was the lack of a remote control and the dual mono which for me was a pain in the butt to have to get up each track in order to adjust the volume. Perhaps I am just getting too old but I do feel the use of a remote control from the sitting position just makes listening easy and that for me is what it is all about.
I understand that later this year Vladimir will be releasing his much awaited new SET mono amp which I think will be dubbed the "ML 3" at 30 wpc and selling at the MSRP of $125K USD !!! I have also heard rumor that Vladimir is aware of some of the shortcomings of his L2 preamp and is working on an L3. Stay tuned.
When Ori brought his X-1 and X-2 cables for audition 2 weeks ago I found the former to be borderline at best in my system. However when we switched to his X-2 interconnects I was blown away as to how good they really sounded compared to my Valhalla. Now, if you ask me am I prepared to sell my Valhalla for his X-2 cables I would merely say several more listening sessions are in order before I pass judgement.
We will also be auditioning his 3 wpc as well as his 40 wpc amps that he has made. he swears to me that the 3 wpc amp will drive my X-2 Alexandrias with ease.
Using the new 12AX7 tubes was for me as if I bought a whole new sound system. I agree that the Telefunken rib plate tubes are indeed magic. When used with the Lamm ML 2.1 I am simply amazed how what I considered previously to be great sound has become in fact so much better still.
Any ideas where I might find a pair of Telefunken 803S ? Have you ever used those?
Well here I am after all of these years with an all tube system and have been completely satisfied with the sound I have been getting from the tubes supplied by the manufacturer. The great thing about Audiogon and other sites of this nature is to befriend similar audiophiles who have dared me to take my system to the next level and do some tube rolling. Specifically I have been urged to try different 12AX7 tubes in my Lamm Ml 2.1's. After much research it seems that the Holy Grail of 12AX7 tubes has been the Telefunken 803S. Try as I could these seem to be totally unavailable. After further research I was able to find 2 pairs of NOS tubes. First I found a NOS pair of Telefunken rib plate tubes circa 1965 as well as an NOS pair of Mullard long rib plate with square getter halo circa 1955. I paid dearly for both pair of tubes and wondered before they arrived what all of the fuss was about until I installed the tubes in my Lamm ML 2.1's. All I can say is where have I been and how could I have been missing all of this fun. I am simply amazed as to how each pair of tubes creates a different sound with my system.
So my question to the readers here...how and where can I find a pair of Telefunken 803S 12AX7 tubes? If not to be found the two pair that I have found are simply amazing.
"Oneobgyn, for taking time out to investigate the Oritek interconnects."
Turns out that Ori lives in the San Jose area. He contacted me by e-mail and I was very anxious to hear these cables based on your recommendations. Ori was kind enough to bring by both X-1 and X-2 cables. We listened for several hours. I wasn't terribly enamoured by the X-1. I thought for the money it performed very well. Not enough for me to vacate ownership of my Valhalla cables. However when he played the X-2's I was simply stunned by the accuracy and sound of these cables. IMO and as I told Ori, these are too good to be true and if anything are priced way below what the market will bear.
I am having Ori make me two sets of X-2's--one from my DAC to my ARC Ref3 and a second pair from my Ref 3 to my amps. The first will be with XLR terminations and the second with SE RCA terminations. Even though the Lamm ML 2.1 has XLR input, it is a pseudo XLR and as a result I decided to go with SE as this is what Vladimir believes in.
Ori returns next week for a second listen. He is also bringing with him prototypes of two amps that he is building, one of which is a mere 3 waatts per channel. He swears that they will drive my X-2 speakers with plenty of headroom. Stay tuned for full report.
BTW, Ori tells me that you also live in the SF Bay area. Let me know if you are also interested in a listening session.
"Absolutely one of the best setup Ive seen. Can you elaborate more on the LAMM/X2 sound? I am considering a lower Tube amp (Nagra) myself and am concern of the lack of power."
Thank you for your kind comments.
Switching from the Audio Research Reference 600 Mk lll amps at 600 wpc to the Lamm ML 2.1 SET's at 18 wpc was a nail biter for me because I worried as to how the Lamm amp would drive my large X-2 Alexandria speakers. I did a lot of research, talking to many members of my audio club as well as to my friends at Wilson Audio and to Marc Mickelson at http://www.soundstage.com who wrote a review of the Lamm Ml 2.1's driving the MAXX ll's. The Maxx ll's are rated at 92 Db and they run just fine with these amps. The X-2 is rated at 95 Db and therefore much more efficient. I also spoke to Vladimir Lamm who reassured me that the amp would perform well with my speaker. I bought it and the rest is history. Suffice it to say it has brought me to where I want to be. I see no reason at the present time to switch amps. It will play at ear bleeding levels with plenty of head room. The mid range and highs are simply superb.I intend to do some resarch on my own now with tube rolling to see what else can be exacted from the system
Looking at your gear I see that you are running Sophias. I have talked to Marc Mickelson about this and although the amp will drive your speaker rated at 89Db, it may not provide exactly what you want and you might be disappointed. Best advice would be to audition the amp with your speaker to see if you are happy.
Greg--it would be my pleasure to meet you and sit you in the sweet spot
I have owned only Wilson for the past 10 years
Started with WP 5.1's, WP 6's, MAXX l's, X-1 Series 3 and now X-2's I also have the XS as well as the WATCH center, surround and rear. Needless to say I love what he makes. he has enriched my audio pleasures in a way no other manufacturer has.
"It's fun to pick on Wilson Audio. When we spend this much we don't usually want neutral sound. We want something that knocks our socks off."
It is fun to pick on Wilson but for me it is like water running off a duck's back. Over the past 10 years I have owned just about every speaker Dave has made except for the WAMM. For me the culmination of my 33 years in this hobby is to own the X-2 which for "my" ears is the finest speaker I have ever heard. As I have said previously, this speaker has brought me to audio nirvana. It is now finally time for me to kick back, put my feet up and to enjoy the music.
"We usually want analog."
Greg I really agree and have agonized about getting back into vinyl. It has been many years BUT I must say that I am just so happy with the Meitner gear that every time I listen to it, and even though I know it isn't analog, the sound to me (at least) is just so good that it is as close to vinyl as the real thing.
"We want somethig that knocks our socks off"
My mantra in this hobby has always been "it is all about "my" ears and "my" wallet. Trust me when I tell you that IMO it "will" knock your socks off.
Any time you are in the SF Bay area I would be only to happy to entertain you. Now just take a deep breath and put the Dave Wilson bashing aside
"Thanks again for being so generous and letting me fiddle with cables in this highly-polished system. It was a very enjoyable listening session, definitely because of the system itself but no less thanks to the host!!!"
The pleasure was all mine. I not only enjoyed meeting you but also to have learned from your many suggestions regarding my system. More than anything else however I was intrigued with the opportunity to audition your own cables in my system against my much beloved Valhalla. Simply put, I was stunned as to how good they were. I could not believe that your X-2 cable single ended performed as good as it did. Your perceptions of how it sounded in my system as well as it against my Valhalla were identical to mine. I have been involved in this hobby for over 30 years and am never so set in my ways that I am resistant to change. As a result I cannot wait to get the two pair of X-2 interconnects that I ordered from you into my system as well as to also hear your speaker cables. I am still amazed at how a cable such as yours equals or betters my Valhalla at 1/4 to 1/5 of the MSRP.
I would say to all of those contenders who stand at the top of the heap such as Valhalla, Opus, Kubala-Sosna etc to stand up and take notice because there is a new kid on the block who has all of you in his sights.
To any who read this post and who are serious audiophiles, take it from me and give Ori a call and audition this X-2 cable because if he has any brains or savvy when it comes to marketing he is going to recognize very quickly that these cables are way underpriced when it comes to what the market will bear.
Today I had the pleasure of meeting Ori Mizrahi-Shalom the owner and genius behind Oritek. He lives an hour south of me in San Jose. He was interested in hearing his X-1 and X-2 cables in my system and to compare them to my beloved Nordost Valhalla which I have always felt were the perfect cable for my ears and my system.
Suffice it to say I was somewhat skeptical when Ori made the suggestion as first and foremeost I am not big on pulling cables as I feel it takes many days subsequently to restore the dielectric in one's system.
However I was up to the challenge. We listened initially with my system and all Valhalla and then switched to his entry level cable, the X-1. I found it to be very musical but very subdued and leaving me somewhat lacking. Then Ori switched to his X-2 and instantly the system lit up. These cables truly shine with detail and dynamics. ori is truly onto something in the production of this cable. He described to me how the cable is made and essentially that it takes one whole day to make a one meter pair of X-2. My only comment to him was that for a cable as good as this he is pricing them far below what I feel the market would dictate.
This is a new and upstart company around now for only one year but already Ori has wonderful plans to grow this company into something great. I wish him only success and good luck. I have been involved in this hobby for 33 years and have owned just about every high end cable made. To have heard this X-2 cable which will have an introductory price for a one meter pair of 1/5 that of a one meter pair of Valhalla gives me pause to reflect.
Not that I am planning to sell my Valhalla cables but I would suggest to any out there who read this and is looking for the stereo bargain of the century to be in touch with Ori and to audition his X-2. IMO it is truly one of the best I have heard. One could do a whole lot worse and at this price it should be listened to.
"do you still use the Tara Labs the One PCs on your front end ? Your system description says so.
For many years I used all Tara cables throughout my system including their top of the line The Omega speaker cables, The Zero interconnect and The One AC Power cords. I felt that I had the ultimate system until a close friend of mine loaned me some Valhalla interconnect and speaker cables. From that time it was simply no contest and I switched to Valhalla. I kept many Tara The One AC power cords until Nordost released their Valhalla AC Power cords which do not come cheap but having switched I can say that they lit up my system--very revealing, very transparent. It seems that nothing is missing from the music. I have since sold all but one of my Tara The One power cords. Presently I use one with a 20 amp termination that connects from my Sound Application line stage to a dedicated 20 amp AC wall socket.
BTW all of the circuits in my room are dedicated lines--12 in all. My amps are each plugged into its own 30 amp circuit using single stranded 6 gauge Romex wire grounded at the street.
"Also on the Sound Application linestage did you try any other power conditioners before?
Over the years I have had many different ones in my system, the most recent being the Tara Labs AD/10B which I felt to be excellent until I met Jim Weil, the owner of Soundapplication, who at the time had his business not too far from where I live. After several phone conversations with Jim who promised me a personal demo in my system, I decided it was worth the opportunity. Jim brought over his linestage and we did several hours of A/B comparison between my Taralabs and his product. The result was more than compelling. The clincher that we kept coming back to was "Hotel California" from The Eagles "Hell Freezes Over" album. The "shakers" heard in the background of the song were barely audible using the Tara Labs product whereas they were dramatically presnt using Jim's product. Needless to say, I bought it and have never been happier. I know that there are many others in the market but for me and my ears, I doubt that I will ever part with this one as it is truly as good as the reviews.
The other caveat is that every piece is hand made by Jim personally and designed by his wife who is an electrical engineer and graduate of the Naval Academy. He personally burns each piece in for at least 60 hours before it leaves his shop. Need I say more?
"Have you tried the SRA stands designed for Meitner gear below yours at home? If so, then your views."
I have not tried the SRA stands in my system. I am sure that they are fine however I must state in all candor that my Zoethecus stands together with the Aurios Pro MIB are in a league of their own. I have Aurios under both my DAC6e as well as CDSD and absolutely find nothing lacking. To any that are interested I would offer up the Aurios as an absolutely superlative method of sound decoupling.
At some point one must kick back and enjoy the music and that is where I am at. The Wilson X-2 Alexandria IMO is in a different league than any other speaker in the market at the present time
No I have not tried the Oritek X-2 interconnects but I have tried pretty much every high end cable in my system before I found the glue that melds my system----specifically Nordost Valhalla. In my room, with my gear and for my ears simply put there is just no better cable than Nordost Valhalla. If there is a better cable, quite honestly I am just not interested. At some point we all have to kick back and listen to the music and enjoy what we have. For me I have reached audio Nirvana with what I have now.
I am interested in you however, because a search of EVERY thread to which you have posted always involves your interjection of Oritek X-2 interconnects and Nuforce amps. What is this all about? Are you a dealer or owner of these companies?
Thank you for your kind comments. It was indeed a fun afternoon and a pleasure to host you finally. The last time you were at my house was at a time when I was between amps, having just sold my ARC Ref 600 Mk lll's. I was awaiting delivery of the new Lamm ML 2.1's. Boy was I scared to see how they would perform with the X-2's. I just couldn't imagine how an amp at 18 wpc could run those huge 15" drivers on the X-2's and sound remotely musical. I had e-mails from other owners of X-2's suggesting I would regret it as there would never be enough power. I had always liked Vladimir's demo room at CES every year and felt that there could be some synergy between speakers and amps. The people at Wilson Audio told me that they had no doubts that the amp would perform most adequately and several of them in fact had just ordered the amp for their personal use.
Many doubters told me that the bass slam that I had before would be non existant and that the speakers would sound anemic with these amps.
Nonetheless I had always wanted an SET amp and after much research the following statement taken off line defines clearly the beauty of an SET and that to me at least represented audio nirvana. Here is the quote....
"The zero-feedback single-ended triode amplifier has gained a following from music lovers who feel that high-quality sound reproduction at natural levels is more important than reproduction at loud levels. To these listeners, midrange quality is more important than room-shaking bass."
Having listened to these amp in my system now for almost 6 months I can whole heartedly endorse the above statement. IMO the Lamm ML 2.1 is simply the most musical amp that I have ever heard. It never ceases to bring a smile to my face after a listening session or to watch the look on the faces of friends and fellow audiophiles who have taken the opportunity to have a listen as well. People look sheepish as they ask me "is that truly 18 watts?" In all of the past 6 months I have only made these amps clip once. I continue to listen at very high levels and find there to be plenty of head room when listening. There is plenty of bass to keep all listeners so far engaged in the music with a toe tapping experience.
I had vacillated about the Lamm L2 preamp feeling that there would be a synergy with it and the amps in my system but after an audition at my house several months ago I felt that my ARC Ref 3 bested it in every way and I stayed with the Ref 3 for which I have absolutely no regrets. I just find that it imparts an amazing warmth and soundstage to my system that I would find difficult if not impossible with which to part.
Welcome to our BAAS and I look forward to future meetings with you. I am hoping that your club (the Bay Area Audiophile Society) can have a joint meeting with my club (the Bay Area Audio Society)sometime soon.
It was my pleasure to not only have met you but to have welcomed you as a member of our Bay Area Audio Society (BAAS). You were able to hear a totally digital system at my house in the afternoon and then back to grellberg's house in the evening to hear a truly magnificent analog system.Opening our home to fellow audiophiles is what we truly enjoy most. For all of us in the BAAS we welcome you as a member and look ahead to future events. The enjoyment of music is what it is all about.
Hello Ny Indeed the Lamm ML 2.1's at 18 wpc drive the X-2's with ease and plenty of head room even with those huge 15" drivers.
Previously I was using the behemoth Audio Research Ref 600 Mk lll's at 600 wpc--a totally different beast. The Lamm (for me) is the most musical amp my ears have ever heard with a mid-range and upper end that absolutely stirs my juices.
Where in the Bay Area are you? Perhaps we could connect for a listenig session.
I only use my HTS 7.1 for home theater or multichannel music otherwise I use the Audio Research Reference 3 for two channel listening.
I used to use the XS sub for 2 channel listening but I don't any more as the dynamic range on the X-2 is 20Hz to 20Khz. The XS plays for 16-35 Hz. The XS has two 18 inch drivers and is a wonderful subwoofer. The X-2 has 15 inch drivers that provide excellent bass even when using the Lamm ML 2.1's for power. If there ever is an issue with the bass it is very easy to play the XS. For home theater and low frequency effects the XS just cannot be beat.
As for the Krell Master Reference subwooferI honestly did not consider it.
1. Efficiency of the WP 7's at 93 Db which therefore should allow the ML 2.1's to drive these speakers
2. Incomplete break-in
3. The Lamm ML 2.1
The speakers are capable of producing some serious bass however you just will not get that "bass slam" to which you were perhaps accustomed with a solid state amp. It will however be a well defined bass
You got it correct. The different sets of binding posts are in fact used for your speakers' impedance.
You are also correct with respect to the wiring of your speakers. Wilson speakers are not meant to be biamped or biwired.
As for the Lamm amps that we discussed please make sure to audiotion before you buy as I am not so certain the ML 2.1's will drive your speakers efficiently BUT as I also stated the M 1.2 Reference Hybrid will with ease.
Over the past 30 some odd years that I have been involved in this hobby my greatest pleasure has been sharing it with other people. This has allowed me to meet some very amazing individuals over the years, such as yourself. I have learned that one must not get lost in his system as a symbol but rather use that system to enrich oneself with the love of music. There is no right or wrong in this hobby, but rather all very different. I have said many times that this hobby is not a destination but rather a journey. We must all never forget this. To witness some active threads here on Audiogon where grown men argue, bicker and call each other names suggesting that they are the only correct ones and the others are not, merely looking for acceptance of their own gear is silly, childish and most unprofessional. We are all here on this Forum for no other reason than our love of music.
I am looking forward to the day when I will be in Dallas and be entertained by you and your fabulous sound system.
If you speak to Vladimir Lamm and/or read his webpage http://www.lammindustries.com he will tell you that his M1.2 Reference will drive any speaker made. In that regard he is correct. My friend uses these amps on Dali speakers and loves the way they perform. The ML 2.1 are SET mono amps rated at 18wpc and might have difficulty with the either the Sophia or the WP7.
The Sophia is rated at 89 Db into 4 Ohm and the WP7 is rated at 93 Db into 4 Ohm. My point is simple. I believe that the ML 2.1 is the most musical amp that I have ever heard. They drive the Maxx ll well and the X-2 with ease.You can read Marc Mickelson's review of the ML 2.1 with Maxx ll here
As you can see my room is integrated for not only two channel audio but so also multichannel audio as well as home theater.
I have been playing less multichannel audio recently because I am still a two channel purist and love the sound that my gear produces.
As a result I have been using the WATCH center, surrounds and rear primarily for home theater and it functions extremely well.
To answer your question however, when I do use the WATCH system driven by the Krell TAS, I have had no problem with music enjoyment. Ideally five X-2's all driven by Lamm ML 2.1's would have been the best case scenario but that is sheer fascination. I must tell you however that there is a gentleman here in silicon valley that does have a MC room with five X-2's with each channel using two bridged Halcro DM68's
System edited: System Edit On reviewing my system here I found that I have not included my EMM Labs CDSD. This unit, together with the EMM Labs DAC6e is the integral part of my front end components producing music as close to vinyl as the real thing.
It is very easy to do the whole thing yourself, so unless your friend is doing it for free, I would take some time and do it yourself.
My system presently is treated with the Extreme SST everywhere except on the pins to my tubes,
Like you I am at a loss as to why heard no discernible change when I switched to the Extreme SST. Over on AVSForum this stuff created many hot and heavy threads with proponents and opponents. I sent a bottle to one of our so called objectivists (they call me the subjectivist) who did double blind testing and concluded that there was NO difference in sound quality when using the SST than with not. Could this be a case of "the Emperor's new clothes"?
Lloyd sent a bottle of the Extreme SST at no charge because he felt I would be stoked as to how much better it is than the regular SST--heck MSRP on an ounce of this goo is $150 whereas only $75 for the standard SST.
I carefully cleaned every connect to get the old off and put the new on--took quite a while. Long and the short of it ---I was unable to truly notice an appreciable difference. Still a very transparent sound and for reasons I cannot describe and the volume seemed to be so much louder with SST applied.
Lloyd told me that I should apply it the pins of all of my tubes. At that time I had ARC Reference 600 Mk lll each with 31 tubes and the ARC ref preamp. With all of the pins, I was not brave enough to go that step. Now that I have Lamm Ml 2.1's and love the sound with far fewer tubes I chose also not to apply the SST to the pins
I was reading about your system. It is just fine and you have every reason to be very proud.
I was interested that you have use Lloyd Walker's SST in your sysytem. I have as well including Lloyd's newest Extreme SST. I found it made a terrific improvement in my system. What I found to be most noticeable was that the volume seemd to be much louder after treatment as compared to before treatment. As well I found the soundstage after treament to be mch more transparent. I have talked to Lloyd many times about the SST. I find it to be a very worthwhile tweak
Always believe in yourself and good things will happen
I have been involved in this hobby since 1970. I have owned countless systems and have steadily but slowly moved up the ladder. A good piece of advice I can give you is to remain loyal to one dealer and this will pay dividends. Not always however will your dealer be able to supply you with what you want and in this case he can often get a dealer concession to make it happen for you. Case in point is that loyalty has its rewards with discounts. Nonetheless nothing comes free. Always keep your gear in great shape and sell it on a relible site such as Audiogon. People will get to know you and will realize that you are a good seller. Slowly but surely you will find ways to move up. It isn't easy but it sure is fun. Bear in mind that many of the systems on this "all out assault" are done by dealers who certainly have the where- with-all that you and I don't.
Like you I am a very big Wilson fan. I have owned many speakers over the years but in the past 12 years I have owned WP 5.1's, WP 6's, Maxx l's, X-1 Series lll Grand Slamm and finally the X-2. I have many friends who own the Sophia and for the money they are truly wonderful speakers. You could do a whole lot worse and should you buy them I am sure that they will be a part of your system for many years. As you can see from the photos my room also integrates home theater for which I use the Wilson XS and the Wilson WATCH center,surround and rear speakers. I am told that Wilson will be releasing shortly a new center channel that mates well with the X-2, X-1 and Maxx. I look forward to that one. Deep down however I am still a 2 channel purist and can attest that the soundstage thrown by these speakers in my room is second to none. Over the past 5 years I have gotten seriously back into tubes rather than solid state. I was using the Krell 750 Mcx to drive my X-1's. I traded these for the behemoth Audio Research Reference 3 Mk lll mono amps at 600 wpc for my X-2's and they were spectacular. I sold these in order to switch to the new Audio Research Reference 610T but that deal went south unfortunately and I explored options. Having talked to many people around the country about amplifier choices I boldly went from 600 wpc to the Lamm SET ML 2.1 at 18 wpc. I worried whether they could drive the huge 15" woofers on the X-2. Talking to the people at Wilson Audio as well as Marc Mickelson the editor of http://www.soundstage.com there seemed little doubt that these amps would perorm not only well but also in an exemplary fashion. Did they ever!! I have never experienced such a lifelike midrange ever regardless of the amps that I had in my system.
As for my digital gear, I have espoused the virtues of the EMMLabs gear for years on these open forums. I am fortunate to know Ed Meitner and to also live only blocks from his partner Andreas Koch. I am also close with their NSM Philip O'Hanlon. As a result I have become attached to their gear. IMO it is about as close to vinyl as the real thing. Years ago I had an extensive analog collection with a turntable of modest sorts. When the digital age hit I got on the band wagon. With the Meitner gear in my room I find very little lacking (although many of my close friends who own Sirius 3 TT's such as Mike Lavigne would beg to differ--and perhaps rightfully so). I have thought long and hard about getting back in and have a short list of TT's that I would consider. For now however I feel that I have reached audio nirvana with where I am. In spite of this, we all know that this hobby is a journey and not a destination. There are many changes along the way. The Meitner gear keeps my toes tapping and a smile on my face. Isn't this after all what it is all about?
I have now had the updated Ref 3 in my room for over a month so it is well broken in.
I have found "the" significant improvement to be in the bass which seems much more defined using the 6550C output tube.
The upper end seems slightly sweeter --not a major improvement.
All-in-all, I love this preamp. It blends so well with the Lamm ML 2.1's. Much to my amazement the ARC Ref3 sounds better in my system than even the Lamm L2 preamp. I would have expected the L2 to add a cetain synergy to the ML 2.1's but honestly it sounded only ordinary. The soundstage with the Ref 3 is just so much better than the L2 or any other preamp for that matter.
First---the 6H30 and the 6550C fit the same pin socket
Second--the only cost was for the tube ($59).Rather than my sending my unit back to Audio Research and pay shiping both ways, I availed myself upon an authorized Audio Research service man here in the SF Bay Area (ARC has them all around the country)to do the update. ARC shipped the tube and the 4 bypass caps to him. I took my unit to his shop, waited all of 40 minutes for him to do it and that was it. Shipping from ARC to his shop was also charged to me. for a grand total of $85 all inclusive. BTW, if you are savvy, one can do the bypass caps themselves. It is a simple soldering issue. ARC however prefers either to do it themself or to have an authorized service man do it. It is not a big deal. It is interesting to me that your observation on the bass with the 6H30 tube and the 6550C tube was exactly what I noticed. It seemed a major improvement in the bass and to smooth out the upper end.
Remember as well that all "NIB" units coming off the line have this update.
To sum up in a nut shell and to avoid flowery and prosaic paragraghs, what I have noticed with the upgrade on the Ref 3 is a better, tighter and more articulate bass and a smoother more enjoyable high frequency. It is however the change in the bottom end that was the most apparent (switching to the 6550C output tube). Adding the four bypass caps produced a more subtle change in the upper range.
As much as I liked the ARC Ref 2 Mk ll which I previously owned the newer ARC Ref 3 eclipses it by a huge margin. I knew that you would likeit as well. Remember that these changes are merely rolling line changes and if ordered now, will come with the upgrades.
Thank you for your kind comments. I enjoyed meeting you this past weekend and more than anything else being able to A/B my ARC Ref 3 preamp vs your Lamm L2 preamp. It was quite a revelation for me (as for you as well). I think both of us predicted beforehand that the L2 would hands down be the winner especially with my using Lamm amps. In spite of this and after a reasonable warm up for the L2, both of us concluded that the ARC Ref 3 provided an overall better sound. This does not mean that the L2 is an inferior preamp but rather it didn't provide the magic that the Ref 3 did. We were both left scratching our heads. I do understand that Vladimir is working on an L3. We will have to wait and see how the comparison goes then.
Recently Audio Reseach began a rolling "line change" on their Ref 3 preamp. Specifically they began adding 4 bypass caps as well as switching out the 6L6GC output tube for the 6550C. The predicted overall effect would be to tighten up the bass (6550C effewct) as well as open up the high end (by pass caps effect).
I received mine back several days ago and it is now going through the proverbial "burn in." My initial impression however is a better defined bass. I have yet to make up my mind on the high end but I still don't have enough burn in time yet.
When it comes to the Lamm ML 2.1 and bass I am learning that it is the quality and not the quantity of the bass. When I spoke to the people at Wilson Audio re the Lamm ML 2.1 vs the ARC 610T, I was told that both are excellent amps BUT if I wanted bass slam, I should consider staying with the 610T however if I wanted an amp that is musical in every respect, I should consider the Lamm. I talked to Marc Mickelson, the editor at Soundstage.com and he reiterated exactly the same feelings. The rest is history. I have been into this hobby since 1972 and in that time have owned many different and very expensive amps. Having installed the Lamm into my system has opened a dimension of musicality that I never before would have imagined existed. I have had 5 different members of my Bay Area Audio Society at my house as well as other listeners and everyone has collectively been astonished as to how good these amps really are.
Here is a link on avsforum.com that a member posted after being to my house for a private audition
I am surprised because Wilson speakers are not meant to be biamped. As best I know the only way would be to feed signal to the upper modules but after the bypass. The downside is that with a full load the drivers could be fried.
Now, however with an 18 wpc SET such as the Lamm ML 2.1 I suppose this could be done however it is not anything that I would do. Simply put, the ML 2.1 amps on the X-2 performs magic. It is beyond belief as real as anything that I have ever before heard and I have owned many amps over the past 33 years.
My listening room is
18'w x 31'l x 9'h (but it is a cathedral ceiling and slopes to 12 feet high at the inside of the room.
As for music tastes, everything except rap and country western
As for SS, these amps will always sound good with Wilson speakers. I did use Krell 750 Mcx when I had my X-1's. These were 750 wpc. Then when I switched to X-2's I sold the Krell and bought ARC 600 Mk lll's. These were absolutely terrific if you didn't mind the heat generated. These are 600 wpc and although tubes still possessed reasonably good bass slam.
I was to have bought the newer ARC 610T but for reasons that aren't worth mentioning the deal went south. I then decided to look at my options and after considering many different tube amps ( I won't go back to SS) I decided that I was going to do an about face and went with the Lamm ML 2.1 SETat 18 wpc. I agonized at how they would sound but I spoke to the people at Wilson who BTW just bought a pair for themselves, spoke to Marc Mickelson the Editor of Soundstage who uses them with his Maxx ll and to Vladimir Lamm as well as members of our BAAS. Everyone had no doubt that not only would they perform but that they would perform well. I bought them on a blind leap of faith and the rest is history. Never have I appreciated music as I do now. As Mike Lavigne stated in an earlier thread, it is like a honeymoon. The midrange to these amps is about as real as the real thing. In spite of 15" woofers and only 18wpc, I can drive these amps to volumes which for me is unpleasant and still not make the amps clip. There is still bass but now I would say that the bass is qualitative and not quantitative. To my ears there is just nothing lacking with these amps.
Let me say first that we all have different tastes just as we all hear differently. To that extent therefore I must confess that the sonic signature of the ARC Ref 3 is one that just lights up my ears but to a greater extent than even its predecessor the Ref 2 Mk ll.
Having said that I recall at CES 2004 hearing the large Von Schweikert VR 11's bring driven by VAC amps and preamp. I thought the room IMO was the best in show. I went back several times over the week for repeat listening. One might argue however, and rightly so, that much,if not all of the great sound was directly related to the VR 11's.
I really enjoyed the PHI. Aesthetically it is also very appealing.
Now as far as the cost to bring the Ref 3 to current standard I was told some minor hourly charge as well as the charge for the new 6550C. Having said this, I am hoping that they will send me the "bypass caps" as it is a 5 minute soldering job which is quite simple. They told me that the socket for the existing output tube works for the 6550C. I will verify that again on Monday.
The new Ref3 is indeed broken in. My initial impression is that it is difficult (at least for my ears)to perfect the ARC Ref 2 Mk ll preamp but indeed they have. To my ears there is something about the sonic signature of the Audio Research preamp that none other has. It gives me everything that I would expect from the music and more.
Of note is an already rolling line change upgrade on the Ref 3 wherein they are using "by-pass caps" as well as a 6550C output tube which supposedly makes it faster as well as tightening up the bass. Mine is going back for the upgrade this week. ARC promises a 3-5 day turn around. Stay tuned. Other preamps on "my" short list are the Lamm L2 and the VTL 7.5. I love the L2 but my reservations are the following 1. No remote 2. Dual mono volume controls 3. Only SE inputs. (I prefer XLR)
It would be my pleasure to provide you with an audition if you are in the Bay area. Where do you live?
As for your choice of Wilson Maxx ll's,these are an absolute gem of a speaker and for the money, IMO, there are simply none better. The Maxx ll's have much of the X-2 technology at 1/3 the cost.
If you are able to come out here I will also take you to the home of one of our audio club members who has an absolutly wonderful room with Maxx ll's--perhaps the best demo of Maxx ll's that I have ever heard.
Now as far as your choice of Sophia's in the rear and WATCH center, my advice would be to do all Sophia's (ie for center and surround channels)for a better synergy in your system. Finally, bear in mind that Wilson Audio will be releasing a soon to be announced larger center channel speaker for people who have the Maxx ll's, X-1's or X-2's. When this might happen is speculation but it is going to happen and may be worth considering as a better center channel option.
As I have previously posted, I am simply in awe as to how amps of only 18 wpc have the ability to drive the 15 inch woofers on my X-2's. But drive them they do in a manner that is refined and articulate. Having just come from the Audio Research Reference 600 Mk lll behemoths at 600 wpc, there is certainly a difference in "bass slam" from one to the other. Yesterday I entertained a member of my audio club for some serious listening. We listened at levels that could make your ears bleed and there continued to be plenty of head room with these amps. We were never able to make the amps clip. So, to answer your question do I feel the need for more power than 18 watts. At this point I can say unequivocally "No".
To address your issue of the ML 2.1 driving the Wilson Maxx ll's, here is a link below to a review by Marc Mickelson of soundstage.com addressing this very issue.
Indeed the speakers have been moved ever so slightly since you were at my house. They image much better. The last adjustment was made when Marty was at my house several months ago.
Recently a member of our audio club did measurements on my room and found that the speakers were flat at all frequencies except for a small 60 Hz hump of 5 Db. It really isn't bothersome. We tried everything to eliminate it with no success . All of the tube traps were rotated in different directions to no avail. Finally we wondered if it was the room.
Finally to address the issue of the Lamm ML 2.1 SET monos. Simply put I am in awe that an amp of 18 WPC can drive the behemoth X-2 Alexandria. However not only do they drive the Alexandria BUT I am able to play at volume levels much higher than I am used to listening....so much so, in fact that I have yet to clip the amps. I still have plenty of head room to spare.
As for musicality, I just have never heard such a well defined mid range and treble. They have gotten me so much more involved with the music as the speakers become absolutely invisible. Many people argue that it is the speaker that is the most important piece of any system but having listened to these amps and owning many high end solid state and tube amps I can say that hearing the ML 2.1 makes me change my thinking. I would tend to argue for the amp as the most important aspect of a system.
System edited: System Edit Over the past 6 months I redid all of my furniture and finally found a chair that was comfortable enough for hours of blissful listening. I found a similar sofa and loveseat which I use as a second row for home theater viewing. Gone are my 1 1/2" maple butcher block as stands for my components. These have been replaced by Zoethecus amp and component stands. I also replaced the Audio Research Ref 2 MK ll preamp with its successor, the Reference 3. Finally I made a very bold move and sold my Audio research reference 600 Mk lll monoamps at 600 wpc and replaced them with Vladimir Lamm's most amazing ML 2.1 SET mono amps at 18 wpc. Not only can they drive the X-2 Alexandria with ease but I am able to play at high levels that even my ears cannot tolerate and still have much head room to spare. I have yet to clip these amps. The mid bass on these amps are beyond description. I have never heard anything so real as this. These amps draw you into the music in a manner that I have never before experienced. The Lamm ML 2.1's could very well be my last amp purchase. It is like being on a honeymoon. I am so tempted to audition the Lamm L2 reference preamp as I am told that there is amazing synergy between this preamp and the amps. My only reservations are... that there is no remote control... and there are only single ended (not balanced)inputs...and it is dual mono with right and left volume controls. Nonetheless I intend on giving it an audition as I believe that amps and preamps made by the same manufacturer do excel slightly more so than with different manufacturers.
I have indeed compared the DCS stack to the Meitner stack on many occasions and in fact as recently as yesterday at our Bay Area Audio Society meeting which was attended not only by 15 audiophile and videophiles but was also visited by my good friend Philip O'Hanlon the NSM of Meitner. We had a "shootoff" among the Meitner stack, the DCS stack and the Theta Gen Vlll. Many of our members picked the DCS and many the Meitner, and some also for the Theta. One of our member attendees called it a "flavor" preference involving 3 very great manufacturers. As always for"my ears" the Meitner won hands down. One of the tracks we played was a Diana Krall piece which involved some finger snapping, some bass, some drums and a lot of vocals. Some present felt the DCS to be the most natural and presented the best attack of the bass and the drums whereas for me the exact track conveyed the exact same feeling but rather for the Meitner. Bear in mind that the three Meitner components (CDSD,DAC6e and Switchman 3) sell for less than 1/2 of the DCS stack plus you get a multichannel DAC whereas with the DCS all you get is stereo with upsampling all the way to DSD. The Meitner upsamples always to DSD which some people thought to be a problem but again not for me. One of our members also commented about a very serious demo recently back East involving some very expensive components. One member thought it to be dull and anemic whereas someone else at the same demo thought it to be magnificent. The bottom line is that we all hear differently and "one man's passion is another man's poison". In summary for "me" and "my ears" I will take the Meitner always over the DCS but that is just my $0.02
Since my last post to this thread my gear has changed dramatically. Gone are my beloved 1 1/2" maple butcher block to support my front end gear. In its place are 5 Zoethecus stands in natural Maple.
Gone is the modded Meitner SACD 1000 and in its place Ed Meitner's new CDSD which is simply amazing when played with the DAC6e.
Gone is my Audio Research Ref 2 Mk ll preamp which I felt was the best preamp that I have ever owned, In its place is the new Audio Research Ref 3 which IMO makes the Ref 2 seem broken.
Finally I thought I could never part with my Audio Research Reference 600 Mk lll mono amps but indeed I did 6 weeks ago as I anxiously await delivery with their replacement Audio Research Reference 610T monos. These are slated for an end of May delivery.
Once the new amps have been delivered I will upload some new photos of the room.
There are certainly some magnificent systems here on Audiogon with speakers and front end gear and amps of all shapes and sizes but for my ears, I have reached audio nirvana with the Wilson X-2's, Meitner CDSD and DAC6e with the ARC pre and monos. The sound stage is so good that even though I have the ability for multichannel in my room I just don't see the need at the present time.
First of all here is a link to some helpful info on the new Ref3 Preamp
I never thought I would ever sell the Ref 2 Mk ll preamp as I felt it was just that good. As for the Ref 3 it is visually much different. Some have said those big dials are because Bill Johnston from ARc is getting older and doesn't see as well :)
Sonically however it outperforms the Ref 2 in every way and brings a different magic to my system.
It is still breaking in and I have less than 100 hours of use. The nice thing about it is that it also has a "time meter" which like my ARC Ref 600 Mk lll gives an indication of tube life.
I used my Ref 2 Mk ll with Krell 750 Mcx monos before I sold them for the Ref 600's. The Ref 2 performed admirably with those big Krells and would do the same in your system.
As for the Ref 600 Mk lll, I feel that it is the best amp I have ever used and although it doesn't have the bass slam that the Krell 750 Mcx's had, it comes darn close and gives everything else much better. Be prepared for tremendous heat output as the Ref 600's have 62 tubes and the Ref 3 an additional 6. I added a dedicated 3rd central AC to my house this one specifically for my room. It made listening bearable in the summer
System edited: Having been happy with my system I never thought that I would change anything let alone my much beloved Audio Research Reference 2 Mark ll preamp as I found it difficult to believe that there could be anything better. Well I sold the Ref 2 and just installed the new Audio Research Reference 3 preamp. The sound stage of this new preamp is so transparent and three dimensional that it tends to make the ref 2 Mk ll sound broken. The new face plate also brings this preamp into line with more recent newly released ARC products. Here is a link with a brief description http://www.arcdb.ws/REF3/REF3.html
That is the $64,000 question that I have been mulling over.
My friend Jeff Fritz who is an Editor for www.soundstage.com recently did a review on the ARC MP1 and he absolutely raved about how good it is and he has also had opportunity to have the Meitner Switchman3 in his home. They are both excellent and,yes the SWM3 does have more Balanced Inputs. My only reservation about the SWM3 is the wired remote. I have heard however from Philip O'Hanlon, who is Meitner's NSM that they will be showing a wireless version at their booth at CES 2005. The SWM3 can be said to be a true gain straight wire preamp.
The nice thing about the Meitner DAC6e is that there are both balanced and single ended outputs which makes wiring easy.
I am still basically a 2 channel purist and hence I run a pair of XLR Valhallas out of the DAC6e into the ARC Ref2 Mk ll and then another pair of balanced Valhallas from the Ref 2 Mk ll into the Ref 600 Mk lll's.
For Multichannel listening I run 3 pair of single ended Supra cables to my Krell HTS 7.1 and then I use Tara Cables from the HTS 7.1 to the Krell TAS MC amp BUT I run a balanced pair of Supra cables from Main Left and Right out of the HTS 7.1 into the PROC (Bypass) mode of the Ref 2 Mk ll. This way I use the preamp portion of the Krell HTS 7.1 for multichannel listening. My intent is to buy Ed Meitner's Switchman 3 as it is a far superior preamp than the Krell. Some say it is as good or better than the ARC Ref 2 Mk ll but I must say that I love the sound of the Audio Research preamp and would use the Meitner SWM3 for only multichannel listening.
Re The Wilson GSB Crossover. It has one L + R input, a High Pass L + R output,and 2 LF L + R outputs (for 2 subs)
The crossover is fixed at 35 Hz. Dave Wilson has another GSB crossover that he uses for the WAMM wherein the crossover is also fixed but at 50 Hz.
I definitely recommend the use of an external phono stage. The Ref 2 Mk ll has only an input for phono and is not meant to be used alone with a turntable. My personal preference for a phonostage is the Lamm Reference
As for the XS, well the name decries its abilities--truly a behemoth and the best sub that I have ever owned. As for an external crossover I use the one from Wilson audio which crosses over at 35 Hz--in essence therefore the XS is used only from 16-35 Hz---truly subsonic.
I run my X2's full range out of the Ref 2 Mk ll into the ARC Ref 600 Mk lll's. I also take a L/R main channel out of the Ref 2 Mk ll into the Wilson crossover which then sends a line out to the Krell 750 Mcx and then to the XS. In other words I use the XS to bring up the bottom end.
When I use the XS for LFE, I take the signal from the Krell HTS 7.1 into the Krell 750 Mcx and then to the XS. This is the only time that I have to change cables---ie when I use the XS for 2 channel listening or when I use the XS for LFE--it takes me all of 5 seconds to do the cable switch.
As for using the XS for music, it is either off or turned way down with the trim switch on the crossover set at 1:00 position. The bass on the X-2 is terrific with a 15" driver
System edited: Well after many months of waiting I finally received my new Meitner CDSD which replaces the Meitner modded Philips SACD 1000. This box is truly built solid and is a worthy replacement for its predecessor. My overall first impression is that this unit sounds very similar in SACD format to the Philips unit BUT when playing Redbook it is far superior to the Philips unit. The nice thing about this unit will be ease of upgrade by virtue of the RS-232 connection in the back of the unit. For those who have never heard Ed Meitner's gear, I would suggest a serious audition. When paired with either the Meitner DAC6e or the DCC 2, music reproduction is as good as it gets. In my opinion, it is a close to vinyl as the real thing.
Over the past two weeks myself and friends have been listening to the X-2's with the new sitting position as well as the new toe in for the speakers. We all came to the same conclusion. We all decided that the sitting position should be moved back approximately one foot. This sitting position with the new toe in provided the deepest and widest sound stage of all.
BTW, after several months of waiting, my new Meitner CDSD Transport arrives this week. I will be listing my Meitner SACD 1000 on Audiogon. For those who have been following my posts and/or similar threads over at AVS Forum you know that I am a strong proponent for Meitner components. IMO it brings the listener as close to vinyl as the real thing.
I have been trying to encourage Mike to post photos of his system. I think he will in the future. Stay tuned.
Thank you for your kind words but more than that I really appreciated your having taken time from your busy schedule and visited me for an audition of my room.
For me there is no other enjoyment than spending time with a fellow enthousiast and enjoying the music. You have a great knowledge of this hobby.
More than anything else however I want to thank you for the suggestion of repositioning my sitting position. I did this last week, and, with the help of a friend, toed in the speakers to adjust for the closer sitting position. This was no many feat for 2 people with speakers that each weigh 750 lbs. Nonetheless when we were finished the overall improvement was truly magnificent and worth the effort.
I hope to be in the Dallas area next year and look forward to an audition of your system in your new home.
It was an absolute pleasure to have chatted with you today. You are a wealth of information. You enlightened me on each and every topic we discussed. Thank you so much. I hope that we will talk again when you return from Europe.
Albert--I would love to chat with you about Lloyd's Proscenium. I have been seriously considering getting back into vinyl and his TT tops my short list.I have had many conversations with Lloyd who sure makes a case for his TT. He also feels that his SS phono stage is the only one to get. I see you use Aesthetix which I think is great as well as the Lamm Reference. A friend of mine who lives close by has the Aesthetix phono and line stage with dual power supplies like you as well as the VTL 750 (as you). His TT is the Sirius lll and the sound is phenomenal. His speakers are both Alon Exotica Grand Reference as well as Rockport Hyperions.
Gosh--with all of the great invites I will have to seriously consider this. My first stop however will be towards the end of October to visit Mike Lavigne and hear his new room. Promises to be spectacular.
Albert--yours is also a legend.
The Proscenium is on my short list of TT's.
I believe this is what you use. I had an invite from Lloyd Walker to visit Philadelphia and to hear his room.
Man....if only I didn't have to work for a living as I would be visiting the greatest listening rooms in the country.
I am not sure where you live GD, but I have always had an open door to anyone who wants to come and listen and watch. I have met the most wonderful people over the years who share the passion of this hobby. These are friendships that have lasted for years. If interested I will be sponsoring another meeting of the Bay Area Audio Society in Novemeber to coincide with HE2004 in San Francisco. There will be many members here as well as from all over the country and even Haiti for the event. You would be most welcome as well GD.
I have been back and forth on this one all year since CES2004. It is tough to get away from CRT. I really liked the Marantz triple chip but I think the one to have right now is the Qualia and that is where I am leaning. I will have another look at this year's CES2005 before deciding.
The pleasure was all mine. The past weekend was absolutely wonderful. It is always good to obtain opinions of other audiophiles re our systems.
There is no right way to achieve audio nirvana. I feel that I have gotten there one way and Mike--you have gotten there another.
I welcome your comments and critiques. My room, unlike yours is not only for 2 channel audio listening but so also a home theater. As a result compromises were necessary in speaker placement but, for me, the results have been rewarding.
Room treatments for me were by ASC and for you Rives. I look forward to the completion of your room so that I can take a trip to Seattle and hear what you have worked so hard to achieve.
My door is always open to fellow enthousiasts. My greatest friendships have come from sharing the experience with other audiophiles
I just hosted an all weekend event this weekend and had the distinct pleasure of having Mike Lavigne travel down from Seattle to spend 2 days with me. Mike is probably one of THE most knowledgeable audiophiles that I have ever met. It was wonderful to finally meet him as I have corresponded with him over these past 6 months. I look forward to travelling to Seattle next month to hear his system in his new room. Isn't this what this hobby is all about?
Jeff... I also live in the SF Bay area (Danville). There are only 2 dealers in the Bay area that I know of who has them on display, one is Music Lovers in Berkeley who shows them with Halcro and there is another (name escapes me) over on the peninsula. I would be more than happy to give you and your wife a demo if you would like. These speakers are magic. I have owned Wilson WP 5.1's, 6's, MAXX's and X-1 series lll's and the X-2's simply put are the best speaker I have ever heard. The Maxx Series ll's have much of the X-2 technology and for now actually outperform the X-1 series lll....BUT Dave Wilson is releasing a Series 5 later this year also with much of the X-2 technology. (No series 4 because 4 is an unlucky number in Asia). Let me know if you and your wife are interested. This weekend I am hosting a Bay Area Audio Society meeting at my house. Festivities start at 1:00 today if you want to come by.
Thank you Jeff. This for me has been a 30 year journey in the search for audio nirvana. With the acquisition of the Wilson X-2 speakers I feel that I have just about reached my destination. Along the way I have made so many friends and acquaintances who have helped me make the best deals. It hasn't been easy. I have given up much along the way but the pleasure I derive when I sit down and listen to the music is worth it. Next up will be the arrival of the Meitner CDSD and likely the Meitner Switchman 3 preamp. Ultimately it is my goal to add vinyl which I haven't been involved in for at least 15 years. It is just that the Meitner gear brings me as close to vinyl as the real thing
Actually if I had it to do again I wouldn't....Far too demanding and not enough of a life. It takes away too many of life's simple pleasures. My times for listening and viewing have declined considerably. I have said before that I am merely a "working stiff" who just happens to dump all of my disposable income into this hobby that I love. As well over the years of buying gear I have developed great relationships with dealers who give me great deals.
Thanks for your comments. I have been considering vinyl and at the top of my short list is Lloyd Walker's Proscenium Gold. Although Andy Payor isn't making the Sirius lll any longer I am aware of several for sale. The other TT I have been considering is the SME. I must say that I do miss vinyl and listening to a friend's setup who has the Sirius lll it is pretty awesome. Nonetheless for the present Ed Meitner's SACD (CDSD on order) and DAC6e come awfully darn close to vinyl. One of my friends who does have a Sirius lll told me after listening to the Meitner gear "there is no reason to buy a TT".
Gary--thank you for your kind comments. Having spent the past 2 years redoing my audio end of the room and with the only final additions being the arrival of the Meitner CDSD (to replace the existing modded Meitner Philips SACD 1000) and with a yearning to get back into vinyl, I will devote my thoughts now to the video side of the room. My existing Runco although adequate is sorely outdated by today's standards. After CES last year if you would have asked me what my PJ would be, I would have answered the Marantz triple chip but lately I feel my vote is now leaning towards the Sony Qualia. I will reserve final decision until CES 2005. Yes, presently audio exceeds the video. Having had the X-2's now for the past 4 months I just continue to marvel at their clarity and accuracy. They produce music as close to the real thing--more than any other speaker I have heard or owned.
Interesting what you say because over the past 2 weeks I have been talking to Lloyd Walker and his Proscenium tops my short list of TT's. The only other I have considered is the SME 30/2A.
Would that it be so re your comment that "I have the resources to attept it". It has taken me over 30 years to get to this point and I agree with you that the addition of an analog system won't come cheap. I would like to thing about retiring some time soon and making this addition could certainly hold up or even arrest those plans.
I do agree with your comments about vinyl however. Those who know me on AVSForum are aware of my posts regarding my interest in getting back into vinyl. My point was that the Meitner gear comes that close to the real thing but certainly stops just short.
The best TT I have ever heard was the Sirius lll. Truly remarkable but at the stratosphere to buy.
BTW, speaking of Lloyd Walker---he sent me some of his SST for all of my connections and AC Power cables. I took the time several days ago to apply it. I was shocked as to the sonic improvement it made in my system. This is one tweak that I would recommend everyone consider
System edited: On order and soon to be delivered is Ed Meitner's new CDSD which I will swap into my system for the Meitner modded Philips SACD 1000. The Meitner DAC6e with the SACD player has brought my system to a dimension that I just didn't know existed. It continues to have me in awe. I have been toying with the idea of getting back into vinyl but every time I have some one over for an audition such as Barr, the comments are always, "You just don't need vinyl...this is as good as it gets." Stay tuned
System edited: 07-06-04: Oneobgyn Although not a tweak or an upgrade to my system, the following was absolutely essential. Living in California, need I say that the summer months become extremely hot. My ARC Ref 600 mono amps have a total of 62 tubes and the ARC Ref 2 Mk ll has 8. Suffice it to say that 70 tubes running for hours at a time can make my room seem like Dante's Inferno. This is with 2 central air conditioning units in my house. In spite of this I could never cool my room to comfortable temperatures. As a result I added a third central air conditioner, this one dedicated solely for this room and finally I can sit down and listen and truly be comfortable and relax and enjoy the music. On deck is a switch (upgrade) of my Meitner SACD 1000 for the new Meitner EMM Labs CDSD with the Meitner EMM Labs Switchman 3 right behind. Stay tuned......... Oneobgyn
Although not a tweak or an upgrade to my system, the following was absolutely essential. Living in California, need I say that the summer months become extremely hot. My ARC Ref 600 mono amps have a total of 62 tubes and the ARC Ref 2 Mk ll has 8. Suffice it to say that 70 tubes running for hours at a time can make my room seem like Dante's Inferno. This is with 2 central air conditioning units in my house. In spite of this I could never cool my room to comfortable temperatures. As a result I added a third central air conditioner, this one dedicated solely for this room and finally I can sit down and listen and truly be comfortable and relax and enjoy the music.
On deck is a switch (upgrade) of my Meitner SACD 1000 for the new Meitner EMM Labs CDSD with the Meitner EMM Labs Switchman 3 right behind. Stay tuned.........
Albert--yours is pretty dynamite also. I must tell you that for the last 6 months I have had this burning desire to get back into vinyl but in all honesty, the Meitner SACD/DAC6e is so good that I have been dragging my feet. I recently had a neighbor over who has a Rockport Sirius lll and Alon Exotica Grand Reference speakers and his comments to me was that I wasn't missing anything with the Meitner gear. The X-2's with the ARC Reference 600 Mark lll's do establish remarkable head room.
Here is a link to see some more photos of my room.
From what I understand,it is a simple story of supply and demand. There can be a wait of 6-12 months from time of order to receiving the unit. Further Sony has the price locked in as there is very little margin to the dealer. As a result most everyone is paying almost full retail. Finally, I am hearing that Sony will be opening small boutique shops specifically for the Qualia where they will sell direct to the public, essentially by-passing the dealer and hence controlling the price
If you are looking for a SOTA all-in-one box that performs flawlessly out of the box for everything the Linn is just that. However when it comes to playing Redbook CD and SACD,IMO the Meitner beats any piece of equipment that I have ever owned. Simply put, it is just that good. I had desires once again to get back into vinyl but listening to the Meitner,I have been dragging my feet on this issue.
Tireguy--I have tried just about every front end component. Never have I heard anything so accurate as the Meitner SACD/DAC6e. It is as close to vinyl as anything that I have ever heard. The synergy of this system is as good as it gets.I am still a 2 channel guy even though I can play 6 channel multichannel SACD. My next goal is to finally redo the video end of this room which although good is still antequated by today's standards. My original thought was to do the Marantz 3 chip DLP however I am now leaning in the direction of the Sony Qualia
System edited: After integrating the X-2 Alexandria speakers into my system over the past 4 weeks,I feel that I have truly reached audio nirvana. There is IMO simply no other speaker that I have ever heard with a sound stage as real or accuracy as the Wilson X-2's. Previously I had the X-1 Grand Slamm Series lll's and was eternally happy. I guess that this is what this hobby is all about--never to stay static but always changing in order to seek out something better. This speaker is as good as it gets. The realism with the Meitner SACD/DAC6e and the Audio Research Reference 600 Mk lll monblocks and Reference 2 Mk ll preamp has brought me to where I have strived to be in the last 30 years. I made Dave Wilson make me one promise however- that he never tell me if and when X-3's are released.
My son has a digital camera and will hopefully take some updated photos of the room. Although a dedicated room for video, the accent is still on the audio side. I have owned just about every Wilson speaker made (except for the WAMM) going back 10 years-from the WP 5.1,WP 6, MAXX, X-1, XS, WATCH center and WATCH surround. Each time I bought them in the usual Wilson Diamond gloss black.This time the people at Wilson suggested a lighter color to accentuate the style of the X-2. Initially I ordered in Grigio Titanio with Le Mans blue grill covers until CES 2004 when I was at Dave Wilson's suite in the Mirage and happened to see the new Series ll MAXX's in Aspen Silver with Parchment Gray grill covers. I liked that combination so much that I changed my order to the same color. I also bought a new WATCH center in the same color. My XS remains black as do my WATCH surrounds.
System edited: Well. I feel now I have truly reached audio nirvana. After 6 months of patiently waiting, my Wilson X-2 Alexandria speakers finally arrived. Unpacking and set up went smoothly. In fact, these speakers installed much easier than my previous X-1 Series lll Grand Slamm's. As great as the X-1's were the new X-2's are simply in a league of their own. I have never heard a sound stage so big or so real. Out of the crates, these speakers performed effortlessly. After 30 years of enjoying this hobby, this speaker has put me where I never felt existed. My only plea to Dave Wilson--if he releases at some point X-3's, promise me he won't tell me. This speaker is IMO as good as it gets.
System edited: Being a long time vinyl enthousiast but away from it for many years I have found the closest thing to vinyl as I have ever heard--specifically the EMM Labs Meitner SACD/CD Transport paired with the Meitner DAC6. For me it makes my yearning to return to vinyl merely a fantasy soon to be forgotten. Together with the new Supra EFF-ISL interconnects, the sound is truly magnificent.
System edited: The addition of the Meitner DAC 6 produced a quantum leap in sound stage. I am waiting patiently for the Meitner SACD/CD transport. In the meanwhile I am using my Krell Kps25sc for a transport and connect to the DAC 6 with a Nordost Valhalla AES/EBU digital cable.
System edited: I recently switched out my Tara Labs AD10B Power Screen for the Line Stage form Sound Application. This has been without question the single best modification that I have made to my system. There has been a stunning change in the sound stage with an extra depth, warmth and richness which I never believed could occur. I would recommend this piece to anyone without reservation.
System edited: Made a dramatic change in my system by switching from Krell FPB 750 Mcx's to Audio Research Reference 600 Mark lll monos. These in conjunction with the Audio Research Reference 2 mark ll preamp has changed the sound of my room completely, so much so that I will never return to solid state again. These tubes are just too good