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 Ask for Bob Williams. he will give you all of the theory behind this tweak.You can reach him at 1-877-944-5505
    • Acoustic Sciences Corporation Tube Traps
    The single best tweak to my room was to have ASC design room modifications (tube traps)according to the size of my room with the type of gear used. I have a total of 38 tube traps in the room in all sizes, varying from Super trap 20's, Super trap 16's and trap 13's, 11's and 9's. I did this in stages according to the plans provided by ASC and once finished I had a true 2C3D room. The walls are virtually invisible.
    • Acoustic Sciences Corporation Sound Planks
    Also part of the design rendered for my room by ASC. These sit at the front wall and have vastly improved the sound in the room.
    • Billy Bags AV Pro
    This is used for my home theater equiment
    • Billy Bags CD/DVD Stand
    Designrd specifically for my room I am able to store over 1000 CD's and/or DVD's
    • Zoethecus component stands Z.2/R (2 in all)
    Great looking, good support and excellent isolation
    • Zoethecus amp stands (3 in all) Z.block/1d
    Great looking with super isolation
    • Musical Fidelity Tube Output Buffer X-10v3
    high input impedance allowing me to drive my new JL Gotham subs without compromising my Audio Research Reference 3 preamp
    • Musical Fidelity Tube Output Buffer Power Supply
    Optional separate power supply for tube buffer which helps bass response from Gotham Subs
    • Transparent Reference (RSE) Interconnect
    20 foot pair from Tube Buffer Output to Gotham subs and one meter pair from ARC Ref3 to Tube Output Buffer
    • See Other Web site For More Details And Pictures

Comments 1014

For your system I would use Oracle V1.2 cabling. Joe Abrams offers new product for about 50% off retail, which is a real bonus as well. I got my V1.2 IC for half the $6495 msrp. Joe worked in the industry for many years including MIT (hence his ability to provide MIT at a discount). The Oracle AC 2 power cords are in another realm as well...a fun experiment for the future perhaps:O)


Thanks Dave

Which MIT speaker cable and interconnect would you recommend?


MIT makes a better cable. I owned Transparent for many years and found them to be not very ... uhm, transparent. Nordost cables are challenged design wise, emphasis is on specifications and not musicality (alot of colorations in a system may counter balance what they offer however). MIT reference and above designs offer clarity, dimensionality and above all else, musicality. An A/B in your system with a properly chosen MIT product vs competitors cable will most assuredly enlighten and most likely thrill you:O) Joe Abrams at Equus Audio is a veteran of the high end industry and offers MIT products for less than most other outlets and will consult with you for FREE about fine tuning your system.



That is more than a minor step to take. It isn't ever going to happen. It seems that more and more used Odin is showing up for resale here on Audiogon and are rarely selling.

FWIW I would need an 8 meter pair of balanced interconnects from my preamp to my amp and a 3 meter pair of speaker cables. I could buy a new house for the money that cable would cost.


Ok doc...There is still one "minor" step for you to take...

Odin :-)


I have two pair of Transparent (not Opus) in my system the longest to my Gotham subs. Overall I still prefer Valhalla. Wilson also uses Transparent cables from the crossovers to the upper modules


Have you ever tried Transparent cables in your system? If not it may be worthwhile to check them out. Wilson Audio uses Transparent OPUS level cables when voicing their loudspeakers.


Thanks for sharing, I also found the 8 ohm taps to work best for me.

Ag insider logo xs@2xunoear

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.

The Ref5 apparently begins shipping in early July


Doc IMO you have the best digital system on paper at least.
Far be it from me to start another digital vs vinyl debate.
A certain dealer says that not only is vinyl better(he declined to name his digital source) but digital can't portray a realistic image. He should hear my Accuphase. I can hang a 3D image in space that is haunting. I have yet to put together the system I'm shouting for.
It's gonna take a lot to coax me back to the kind of vinyl system I would need to compete with digital. I don't even have a preamp.
P.S. I hope the LAMM preamp rocks your boat. ARC ref 5. I hear dealers are accepting orders.


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.


Hello Oneobgyn
Congratulations, great to hear you have the new reference Lamm pre/power combination. I am sure this must be a whole new listening experience for you on every music track played through your audio system now.
Updated Pictures soon?
Cheers Jason.


Dear Oneobgyn,

Spectacular system! Indeed I understand that you now have access to Audio Nirvana in your home.

I was fortune to audition Alexandria (with Krell and not state of the art tubes, sorry to say) in Sweden last year and it was my best audio experience ever. The only set up coming close was the TAD:s with Mark Levinson new reference mono amplifiers.

Best Regards,


Stockholm, Sweden


BTW, I anticipate the Ref 5 to be a very fine upgrade however the LL 1 was designed to work specifically best with the ML 3 and so far it has exceeded my expectations.


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


Congratulations - I was very impressed with the Lamm LL1. The topology is much like the cj Art, a preamplifier I still regret having sold, but using a tube power supply.
Do you know if the the Lamm LL1 can drive long (8m) interconnect cables?
As far as I know the Ref5 will have a different topology from the Ref3.


Hi Vito

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


Talk about knocking your socks off!!! Best of
luck with new additions. No doubt sounds amazing!
Does the new Lamm preamp have a HT bypass? If not
how are you connecting the HT processor? Have you
heard any information on ARC Ref 5 preamp? I understand
its in the works. Enjoy.
All ther best.


My solid state amps can get quite warm in my small room. But the air was just beefed up plus I have a ceiling fan so I think that is going to help. To bad I all the way on the other side of the country. To hear your system now must be quite the experience. Again, congrats and I hope they give you many sleepless nights of listening pleasure :).


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.


Regarding your June 6th update.
WOW WOW and holy Freakin wow. I am glad that your were able to work them into your system. I know that you were floored by the amps when you heard them. The fact that you were able to get that preamp as well is twice as nice. I know you have a nice size room but do you notice any increase in heat output? Again, that is simply fantastic OB.


Thanks Brian. I look forward to our getting together soon.


Congrats. I heard you were underway. I look forward to watching your progress...and hearing your progress this fall.


New CJ GAT is on sale now...I always said 6H30 tubes sound horrid and CJ obviously agrees as there are two 6922's in the new one:O)


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