Description

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.
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    • Wilson Audio X-2 Alexandria Series ll
    I am in awe of this speaker both from the way it sounds as well as the way it looks. After 3 months of anxiously awaiting, the speaker finally arrived. Color is Black Almondine with Parchment Gray grill covers. The speakers weigh in at a cool 720 lbs each and stand 2 inches taller than the X-1's I had. Simply put, I have never heard a speaker as real as this. The soundstage is huge, more open than even the X-2 series l. The ease of setup as well was amazing. It took us only 2 hours to get the speakers operational. The wonderful thing about the X-2 is that the upper modules can now be meticulously set to image at ear level. The X-1's were always imaging just a bit high. These speakers are truly Dave Wilson at the pinnacle of his game. Just when I thought my X-2 series l's put me at audio nirvana, along comes the X-2 Series ll. The best way to compare this speaker to anything else is with a big smile rather than with hyperbole. IMO this speaker has brought me to Audio Nirvana.
    • Lamm Industries ML 3 Signature
    The ML3 is a single-ended (SE) tube amplifier utilizing a very powerful direct-heated triode GM-70 (125W plate dissipation) and a separate power supply. Combining the most sophisticated technologies and electronic design with graceful looks reminiscent of the classic era of tubes, the ML3 is our top-of-the-line, no-compromise product. It is a 32-watt amplifier that operates in pure class A and utilizes no overall feedback. The topology is absolutely unique and incorporates one of the most advanced power supplies ever featured in an audio device. These factors, along with the designer’s unique vision and understanding of the underlying principles of audio electronics, make the ML3 an amplifier without peer. With the ML3 as the centerpiece of a high-end system, the recorded event is recreated in one’s listening room with astonishing verisimilitude. The listener is able to experience an ephemeral yet tangible connection to the essence of the music. These are not empty claims. Those who have listened to the ML3 firsthand have unanimously acknowledged this phenomenon and have reported it to be utterly unique in their collective experience. IMO this amp rises above all others and is the the new king of the hill. Audio Nirvana has arrived
    • Lamm Industries LL1 Signature Dual Mono Line Level
    The monaural line level preamplifier model LL1 Signature is the ultimate statement of perfection in High-End audio. Just like ML3 Signature is the best creation of its designer's professional career among the LAMM amplifiers, so is the LL1 Signature among the line level LAMM preamplifiers. The LL1 Signature has been designed to complement the ML3 Signature amplifier, and this combination in a system represents a "match made in heaven". However, the LL1 Signature will perform magic with any other appropriate power amplifier. The LL1 Signature features a topology that brings out the most natural sound performance in the audio path. In principle, it is a single-stage unit that basically represents the shortest possible signal path. The preamplifier contains four very linear low impedance triodes paralleled into a single inverting gain stage. The LL1 Signature employs a pure single-ended class A operation, with no overall feedback applied. Also featured are specially selected high-transconductance dual triodes 6N30P-DR/ 6Н30П-ДР (original) in the signal path and TKD stepped potentiometers for volume control - the best available on today's market. The preamplifier's audibly neutral power supply features a full-wave vacuum rectifier. This rectifier, together with a choke-containing filter, allows to practically get rid of the hum and buzz and, in the end, to ensure the verity of dynamic range without coloration. Two solid-state analog voltage regulators supply dc voltage to the tube filaments (heaters). Other features include 3 inputs, one tape/HT processor loop, attenuator (-12 dB) switch, output 1/output 2 switches, protection circuitry designed to enable manual muting of the output signal, and built-in remote on/off for LAMM power amplifiers. The main distinction of the LL1 Signature from any other comparable type of preamplifiers is its practically inaudible sonic signature. When connected to an appropriate type of power amplifiers, especially LAMM power amplifiers, it assures the extraordinary transparency of perceived sound and recreation of a three-dimensional soundstage in the home, recording studio, etc., without boundaries and limitations. Each preamplifier is handcrafted of the finest materials and top quality parts like military-grade DALE metal-film resistors, PRC wire-wound resistors, BOURNS multi-turn potentiometers, CORNELL DUBILIER and UNITED CHEMI-CON electrolytic capacitors, ELECTROCUBE, ELCON and ROEDERSTEIN film capacitors; HAMMOND chokes, gold-plated NEUTRIC connectors, and military-grade low-noise long-life vacuum tubes. A custom-designed massive damping panel installed in the preamplifier unit significantly reduces all types of mechanical vibrations which, in turn, leads to a more extended, coherent and natural bass reproduction. The LL1 Signature features a custom-designed super-low noise power transformer. The LL1 Signature works on all world AC line voltages (100/120/220/230/240V).
    • JL Audio Gotham/g213
    Gotham® Your first look will tell you that you are looking at something special… your first listen will confirm it beyond a shadow of a doubt. The beauty of the Gotham® extends well beyond its exotic design and exceptional craftsmanship, aiming right at the emotional core of musical and cinematic enjoyment. This is a subwoofer system with limits well beyond the needs of the typical home theater application, delivering a weight and integrity of reproduction that can only come from a system that is always in control. Its allure lies as much in its ability to convey subtleties as in its prodigious output capabilities. It is simply devastating. A luxurious, handcrafted gloss-black finish is complemented by machined aluminum and stainless steel accents for a look and feel that fits perfectly with the finest home furnishings. More importantly, the beautiful cabinet houses a pair of JL Audio’s highest-technology subwoofer drivers. When demanded by program material, the Gotham’s amplifier can deliver voltage equivalent to 3,800 watts of RMS power to take full advantage of the twin drivers’ four inches of peak-to-peak excursion capability. This ensures that the Gotham™ can breeze through material that makes other subwoofers go into clipping, limiting or distress. Listening to a Gotham® reveals an entirely new dimension of subwoofer performance... a dimension so satisfying that listening to lesser subwoofers will forever become an act of compromise. Available Models: g213 (click for specs and feature list) Model: g213-GLOSS SKU: 96237 Cabinet Finish: High-Gloss Black
    • Playback Designs System MS5
    I just never thought that I would sell my Meitner gear because for years IMO it was the leader of the pack. Not so fast any more as along came the PDS MS-5 which creates music as close to vinyl as the real thing
    • Studer Reel To Reel A-810
    A fully refurbished state of the art Studio reel to reel
    • Krell Theater Amplifier Standard
    This is used to drive my center channel, surround channels and rear channel. I use it only for home theater however when Krell releases their SACD standard in May, I will delve into multichannel audio. I continue to use a Krell FPB-750 mcX for my Wilson XS subwoofer. I use 6.1 and not 7.1 in my room
    • Wilson Audio WATCH Center Channel
    I have used many center channel speakers but have found this one to outperform anything that I have previously owned. I use it with its accompanying speaker stand centered right under my screen. Recently upgraded this center channel to Black Almondine to match my new X-2 series ll speakers
    • Wilson Audio WATCH Surround (left and right)
    A perfect compliment for my Wilson X-1/XS speakers.
    • Nordost Valhalla
    I use this in my front end. An unbelievably transparent interconnect. I was using Tara Labs The Zero which was magnificent but I feel the Valhalla is a notch above even though The Zero was priced at $12,500 for a 2 meter pair of balanced cables
    • Wilson Audio WATCH rear
    I decided on only 6.1 rather than 7.1 and am very impressed with this speaker in my home theater
    • Sim2 Triple Chip DLP Projector C3X 1080
    For those following the buzz on the internet this is the latest triple chip DLP from Sim that has a picture unequaled for projectors of this price and size
    • Isco 2.35 Anamorphic Lens Model lll
    Anamorphic 2.35 lens for Sim 2 projector
    • Stewart Filmscreen Firehawk G3 CineV 130
    A CIH screen with native 2.35 aspect ratio and 120 inch width. Masks to 16 x 9 as well
    • Sony BDP-S2000ES
    Sony's flagship Blu-ray Disc™ player, with astounding audio enhancements and vibration-reduction that deliver phenomenal results in a rock-solid design
    • Lexicon MC12B-HD v 1.2
    Most impressive about the MC-12 HD is its extensive custom processing capabilities. Four 32-bit floating-point DSP engines provide vast resources for such proprietary features as Logic 7, Auto Azimuth correction, five-speaker enhancement, bass enhancement, and dialog enhancement. Lexicon?s bass management system, digital crossovers and tone controls are also powered by these DSP engines. This processing is performed at sample rates up to 96kHz with 24-bit resolution to retain top performance from all input sources. A fifth DSP engine is dedicated to decoding Dolby Digital and DTS sources. Inside and out, the MC-12 HD is designed to accommodate potential hardware and software advancements with internal expansion, a removable rear panel access plate, and two RS-232 connectors.
    • Nordost Valhalla AES/EBU
    A digital cable with XLR (balanced)terminations. Used to connect the Krell kps25sc to the EMM Labs DAC 6
    • Nordost Valhalla
    Simply the best and most transparent cable I have ever used. I sold my Tara Labs The Omega for these cables. As great as the Omega was, I find there is no comparison with the Valhalla
    • Nordost Valhalla
    20 amp IEC power cables (one pair) used for my Audio Research Refernce 600 Mark lll mono amps. This resulted in immediate improvement in bass as well as producing a somewhat more dynamic sound.
    • Tara Labs RSC Gen 2
    Used in my home theater
    • Tara Labs RSC Air One
    5 pair of balanced cables used in my home theater
    • Tara Labs The One
    I have 2 of these in my front end. They made a big difference
    • Absolute Power Line Purifier
    Used in my home theater side. A very solid work horse
    • Aurios Pro MIb
    Decouplers. An absolute must in any system. I use these under my Krell kps25sc and Audio Research Reference ll Mark ll. I have also found dramatic improvement in my bass when used under my Wilson X-1 Grand Slamm speakers. These are sold exclusively at 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
    • See Other Web site For More Details And Pictures
    [URL]http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?10535-Doctor-s-Orders-Part-Two-The-New-Listening-Room-Of-Steve-Williams&p=191656&viewfull=1#post191656[/URL]

Comments 1014

222222&text=ll
Hi Assen,

Pretty incredible systems!!! Enjoy!!! Have you heard the CJ GAT? I have spoken with people in Asia/States who preferred it to the Wavac PRT-1, Zanden 3000, Shindo (Petrus?). They had also favorably compared it with FM Acoustics 268.

They had not compared with Lamm or Kondo, so as you can see, i am trying to get different feedback from someone who may have compared GAT.

I am considering it...currently using Zanden digital into older CJ/Gryphon Antileon into X1/Grand Slamms. Any advice is appreciated!

lloydelee21

222222&text=as
Hi Jason,

My second system (in my second home) actually is Lamm ML 2.1. with EMM Labs, ARC Ref 5 and Wilson Maxx II all wired with Valhala so I am very satisfied with the ML 2.1 as well. I have not had the chance of listening to the top model of Kondo power amps and have no opinion but the preamp does miracles as does the ML3 that is why I was curious to know if you have an opinion. It is also amazing at such high gain for the phono input the noise level is equal to the CD input dead silent. But it is not the most important feature of course. As I already mentioned my second phono stage is Zanden 1200 mkII (according to many amongst the best species) and the Kondo is still one step ahead in the phono section.

assenismyname

222222&text=ja
Hi Assen
I have not compared the Kondo preamplifiers with the Lamm preamplifiers either sorry.
I have compared the Kondo Gaku On to the Lamm ML2.1 and I preferred the Lamm ML2.1 in my system.

The Lamm ML2.1 was also a lot quieter noise floor from the speakers with no music playing.
Preamplifiers comparisons might be a different matter though, you would have to compare them both in your own system to see which one has better system synergy.

jasonparmenter

222222&text=as
Hi Steve,
Fair enough. What is the year of production of your GM70s. I have discovered these days after some trials that tubes made in 79 sound much better than 83, which Vladimir supplied me last time. Any thoughts on that?
rgds, Assen

assenismyname

222222&text=on
Owner
Hi Assen

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

oneobgyn

222222&text=as
Steve and Jason,

While communicating I got a pair of copper plate NOS GM70s and the special 12ax7 ECC803s Telefunkens also NOS. My first impressions are that the sound has moved from a warmer to more analitical with better transients, which is to tell me that the upper mids are somewhat more present and distinct. I don't know how is with you and whether you have any experience with the M1000 II Kondo preamp (I have compared it to the Ann Edition of the ARC ref and it is light years ahead) but it has plenty of everything like sitting among the musicians without loosing the finess and detail. Under these circumstances I think the copper plate GM70 cannot just dry out the sound. In other words the changed sound picture works (as a first impression) better for me. I haven't still invited others to blind test the change. On a different note, have you compared the Kondo and the LAMM preamps - curious to hear your opinion. I have recently compared the ML 3 with WAVAC SH 833 and no questions asked the ML 3 outperformed the WAVAC. Any views on this. Rgds, Assen

assenismyname

222222&text=on
Owner
Jason

I agree completely about the glow of the copper plate GM-70. The warm copper glow is almost mesmerizing but like you I preferred the stock carbon plate GM-70's

oneobgyn

222222&text=on
Owner
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

oneobgyn

222222&text=ja
Hi Assenismyname
Sorry for jumping in on your thread to Steve.
I have tried the copper plate GM-70 in my own SET GM-70 mono blocks (35 watts output power).
Firstly the copper plate GM-70 look stunning and have a wonderful warm copper glow to them when powered up.
The Copper plate GM-70 valves from my experience work better at a lower voltage than the standard GM-70 valves, there fore producing lower output power.
I thought the mid range was sweeter with the Copper Plate GM-70 but the bass dynamics was not as powerful when set up in my amplifiers, all round I preferred the Standard GM-70 valve.
The sonic comparison between the two valves could change if the amplifier was designed around the Copper Plate GM-70 specifically, producing 18-20 watts output power.

I have not tried the copper plate in the Lamm ML3 amplifiers though.
Thanks Jason.

jasonparmenter

222222&text=as
Hi Oneobgyn,

As I can see we both enjoy systems which are to a great extent similar. My system is Alexandria speakers, Lamm ML3, Kondo M1000 Mark II pre with phonostage and Step up transformer, the three pieces DCS Scarlatti CD, Kuzma Stabi XL turntable with Kuzma Airline tonearm and Kondo cartridge and a second Kuzma 4point arm with Koetsu Jade Platinum cartridge that is connected through a Zanden 1200 mk III phonostage. As an exotic touch I have a TEAC X2000R R2R. Interconnects and speaker cables are Nordost Odin while the power cables are Valhala. The AC current goes through a special UPS and a galvanic isolated transformer. My stands are Pagode by Finite Elemente. Having described the system, I would be glad to hear your opinion if you have tried the copper plate GM70s and also whether you have any experience with Telefunkens ECC803s 12ax7. Have you had any failures of any of the 6N30P and if so whether one need to change the whole quad or just the failed tube (in other words are the tubes of the extra quad supplied by Vladimir with the same characteristics making them interchangable). Any other thoughts for possible upgrades ideas or problems will be welcomed. rgds, Assenismyname

assenismyname

222222&text=ja
Hi Steve
We have the Lamm ML2.1 set up here with the Avantgarde Duo Omega speakers & the EMM Labs 2 box front end, this system sounds incredible with 107 DB /1 watt efficiency horns and the 18 watt SET Lamm ML 2.1.

I would say that this system really shows what the Lamm ML 2.1 are capable of especially when you match the output of these amplifiers to the efficiency advantage that the Avantgarde Horn speakers have over the Wilson loudspeakers.

My Parmenter Fat Boys need more power than the Avantgarde speakers being only 98 DB /1 Watt Efficient, I use my Parmenter GM -70 amplifiers on these speakers as they offer 35 Watts of Single Ended Triode power.

My amplifier use all triode valve driver and input valve stage with a Black plate NOS 2A3 as my driver tube transformer coupled to the GM-70, the driver and input stage are valve rectified.

I think it comes down to matching system synergy to get the best sound quality, you have to try all options then pick your personal favorite sound.

Thanks Jason.

jasonparmenter

222222&text=on
Owner
Jason

at the very least you should consider the new ML 2.2

oneobgyn

222222&text=ja
Hi Kana813
Thanks, I am sure Doc (Steve) knows that I am the New Zealand & Australian Lamm distributor, he was just giving me stir up to move up to the ML3 from my ML2.1.
Haha, I would if I could afford them !!

Cheers Jason.

jasonparmenter

222222&text=ja
Hi Steve
Thanks for your reply, I am sure the Lamm ML3 is a big improvement over the Lamm ML2.1, there is a big jump in cost as well that I can not afford at the moment or any time soon.

You are very lucky to have a pair of the Lamm ML3, I am sure your system is sounding incredible with them installed, I will have to settle for listening to my own Parmenter GM-70 SET mono blocks for now.

Cheers Jason.

jasonparmenter

222222&text=ka
Sorry,I wanted to post:

"I'll bet the Doc can get you a great deal on the ML3s."

I could never "be" the Doc, there's only one Oneobgyn.

kana813

222222&text=ka
Jason, I'll be the Doc can get you a great deal on the ML3s.

From Lamm's Website:

Sound Intentions
Danville, CA
by appointment only
925.890.6089 (tel.)
925.820.0660 (fax)
[email protected]

kana813

222222&text=on
Owner
BTW, Jason

you should consider trading up from the Lamm ML 2.1 to the ML3

That change will bring your system to a new reference level :)

oneobgyn

222222&text=on
Owner
I have heard it in a friend's system and i agree that it is remarkable. Nonetheless I remain quite content with my Playback Designs

oneobgyn

222222&text=ja
Hi Steve
I have the EMM Labs XDS1 CD/SACD player in my audio system now and would like to highly recommend this player to you.
I have been using the EMM Labs CDSA that is a wonderful CD player in its own right but the XDS1 takes digital playback to a new reference level for me.
Very highly recommended.
Cheers Jason.

jasonparmenter

222222&text=ka
Great system Doc.

What sounds better, the tape or the CD/SACD player?

Aloha,

Dan

kana813

222222&text=gr
Your hospitality is gracious. Hope to get that way soon.

gregadd

222222&text=ar
Ditto on Albert's post. DFW has some nice systems and some terrific people to visit and have a listen!

arthursmuck

Center
Gregadd, hope you make it to Texas. Several of us here would love to have you visit.

Ag insider logo xs@2xalbertporter

222222&text=gr
I finally visited Doc in June. In addition to being a great host his system is everything it appears to be. Where next? Seattle or Texas?

gregadd

222222&text=ar
Hi Steve, fantastic system and beautiful room! After your posting on another site that shall remain nameless here :) I finally got a Blisslight hooked up in my room....and I also finally met Marty and made it by his place for a listen as well as had him over to mine. Thanks for the suggestions and happy listening in your incredible space!

arthursmuck

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