The system components have remained largely unchanged, but for the additions of a large Minus K platform for the turntable, a pair of 15" subwoofers to augment the lowest octaves and the installation of a robust electrical sub-system--powered through a Controlled Power 10kVa isolation transformer. The main change is the room--we relocated from New York to Austin, TX in 2017 and I now have a longer, narrower room that occupies most of the 2nd floor of the house.
Gents: Nice to see both of you virtually. All ok here in Austin for the moment- though it's not good for economy, I like how quiet everything is, and since I've become a hermit, my life style hasn't changed much.
Mike- our talk on isolation systems was very helpful and I thank you again for that.
Syn- too bad Munich was a bust. Maybe next year. On the cartridges, the stone Koetsus seem to give an added dimension to the sound that complements the strengths (and weaknesses) of this system, particularly in the fuller tonality of the bass. Though I've heard complaints that the Jade makes everything sound "the same" it really likes working on the Airline arm. I bought a Tiger Eye as well-- more hi frequency info than the Jade with a similar holographic character in the mids and rich tonality in the bass. The Airtight Supreme was rebuilt by Peter, who kept the original cantilever but put a new stylus in the tip and realigned the thing. Haven't played it since I got it back some time ago. FWIW, the Jade sounded fine right out of the box. The Tiger Eye was a little harsh at first and took time to settle in.
My best to both of you-- btw, you probably know each other, yes?
Aball-- good to see you here too! Sorry, I'm not terribly responsive. I still remember our discussion about those vehicles from Sant'Agata Bolognese and have fond memories of driving the B roads of Sicily.
Thank you both, Dan and NoRo, for the invites. I have slowed down on travel as well, but I've got you if I am ever up your way. I was in NY metro for 36 years. Texas is a whole different critter. There are some serious audiophiles here, several of whom post on the 'Gon. Not nearly as many dealers as NY metro and environs. But, I'm not really a hang out in a hi-fi store kinda guy any more either. Maybe it's a sign of aging or just that I'm not in gear acquisition mode. The records are huge fun, though. Research, history, the performances, the masterings, have been twirling my propeller for a while. Thanks again for writing!
Hey, guys (noromance and dan): I rarely see my system 'up' in the queue of recent postings since I don't add much to it myself. I was talking with a manufacturer a few months ago-when I first started to dip my toes into digital-- and after explaining my system, he said "well, you sure have a lot of expensive stuff." Yeah. Whether that means good is another story. This system is sweet, and revealing, but I've heard systems that would put it to shame in the bass and gut impact department and were not more costly. It's very, very good on some stuff though-- I'm a midrange guy, having grown up with the old Quad ESL. The rest is gravy. Both of you are welcome to visit if you are ever near Austin -- I live very close to downtown.
System photos and description finally updated to reflect a new room and the installation of a few new ancillaries (Controlled Power Isolation Transformer, Minus K anti-vibration platform for TT, additional subwoofers). We relocated from NY to Austin, TX earlier this year (2017). The system sounds great in the new room--I had originally planned to build a separate building in our new location, but for now, I'm pretty satisfied with the set up on the top floor of the house- a restored period Victorian located just across the river from downtown Austin. We are a few blocks from South Congress- the "strip"- which was the heart of the revitalization effort in Austin some years ago, and the home of "Keep Austin Weird."
My focus remains on older records. A second system, based on a pair of the original Quad ESLs, with matching Quad II amps, has been fully restored and set up in our front parlor. Though the systems are dramatically different in size, cost and overall presentation, both are highly engaging.
Gents, including ladies and those of gender neutral persuasion:
My apologies- I haven't looked at this system page in quite a long time. We have moved, from NY metro to Austin, the system hasn't changed substantially in its main elements but the set up is different, as is the room (obviously). I have added a few things, including a big Minus K platform for the turntable and also set up a second system composed of vintage equipment that had been languishing for years, including a pair of Quad ESLs that I bought in 1973, an old pair of Quad II amps, my original SP-10 turntable, all freshly restored.
I should, when I have time, update this page, along with photos, accordingly. @2ndliner - you are most welcome to chat by phone- i have not heard the latest generation of Avantgardes but glad to tell you of my experience. You can reach out to me by searching on the web for a page with my name William Hart and see references to my CV as a copyright lawyer in NYC. (Now retired). There is both an email and a phone contact.
@tzh21y - the RCM is a Monks, fairly current production called an Omni.
Thank you all for the kudos. If any of you are in the Austin area, you are welcome to visit.
Syn- am aware of it, but have not seen it in the flesh- doesn't really appeal to me at this point since I am usually running the Monks and the KL in parallel during intensive cleaning sessions, which means that I am there, able to change out records in the KL. (PS: in my most recent website article about washing in the KL and drying via the Monks, I credit you for the concept). best, bill
Hey George, I think we talked at one point about your horns- you were/are friendly with a member of WBF who lives in Mexico if memory serves. Happy to hook up. Will reach out to both of you via PM once I'm back in Austin after New Year's.
Hey, Audio Builder- Yes, right now, I'm back and forth between Austin and NY. I'm teaching part-time at UT and doing some other stuff there, but haven't relocated fully to Austin, which I still plan to do. I'm looking forward to avoiding winter in the NE. Are you local to Austin? (Sorry if you told me you were and I forgot). best, bill
Thanks for the nice words, DDrive. The prayer table is, I think, made from some sort of mahogany, though I can't be sure. It is old-ish, but not museum level stuff. Buddhas- well, our place in NY is near a village that is buddha-central. Rolfing, primal scream therapy, mediums who will contact past pets from the other side, etc. So, finding a nice Buddha was really just a stroll down the street- this one is pretty delicate- painted and gold leaf plaster of paris/paper mache over some wooden form.
My wife and I have, over the years, acquired some fun stuff- stainless steel morphine cabinet from the Brooklyn Naval Yard infirmary; a few good rugs, the odd piece of furniture, sculpture or painting. I remember hauling a period Art Deco glass and metal table back from France on the plane. We are now in a post-acquisition phase, and will keep the 'good stuff' but so much to get rid of before we finally relocate (which is taking forever). I love old scientific instruments and early photography, but there's a limit to how much one can accumulate. Where are you located?
I've been spending far more time focusing on records than on gear (though I have refreshed the cartridge very recently and gotten a few more RCMs to play with). Here's a shot of a bunch of Vertigo Swirls, almost all UK firsts, with a few placeholders from other countries. The Patto 'Hold your Fire' and May Blitz albums are just phenomenal.
Hi, Hal. The room is a decent size, but not huge (i don't have the exact measurements to hand, but could supply if needed). The listening area is at a remove from where the front end gear is, so that gives me some advantage, in that the listening space is relatively uncluttered, and there is very little electro-mechanical interaction between the output of the speakers and the front end- turntable and electronics. I sit at the apex of an elongated triangle- perhaps 13 plus feet from the speakers- which are not as far apart, left to right, as that. Behind me are moveable absorption panels and bass traps and the room has some odd ceiling angles due to what you'd call large 'dormers' to the left and right of the listening area (though each are full size, almost room size unto themselves). While it was not a purpose built room, it works pretty well. (The biggest limitation is the 'barrier wall' outside of the left channel speaker- that's actually the wall of my system 'workroom' where i keep RCMs, tools, and more records). I expect I'll have a more sizeable, purpose-built space to work with once we relocate.
Hey, Jwm! Dunno. Once I move to Austin, my hope is to do a separate building which will function as listening space/office. I have all kinds of plans in the back of my mind for how to configure it, but until I buy property there, they are just that- plans, idle noodling. Would much love to hear a big WE system- vintage or the re-creations; ditto on big Tannoys. I'd also consider some of those custom horns that use TAD drivers. I'll need to look up Cogent- I'm sure I've seen their stuff on the web, but haven't heard it. Those Silbatone guys are very cool, too. Right now, I've been buying old pressings like mad. Having huge fun listening to all kinds of music, including old Black Sabbath on Vertigo UK, was absolutely blown away by the original 'Straight' label pressing of Alice Cooper's 'Love it to Death.' While I'm old enough to have heard all this stuff as a teen when it came out, I didn't take it seriously until now and have been digging into old progessive rock, pink label islands of Crimson, early Tull, Traffic, really digging the band Free- Tons of Sobs is an amazing electric-blues rock album. The only 'change' I made to the system recently was to add an Audio Desk record cleaner- makes life way easier. And i've been spending time going through my record collection, which is pretty sizeable- since i now have the time, after decades of buying, to start listening in earnest to what I have, apart from the 'usual suspects.' (I set aside one shelf for 'audiophile' records that i haven't listened to in years, and likely won't for a while- much more interested in 'real' music on original labels/early pressings). Best, bill
Coming from a guy who has some pretty unobtanium jazz records. Culling will mean unloading lot's of duplicates of lesser rock and classical- some of it unloved. Chances are, it will all get packed and moved because I don't know that I'll have the time, space or energy to go thru the process beforehand. But, Doc, I have you in mind. Do you have Billie Holiday at Monterrey? The one with the airplanes taking off in the background?
It has been a long while since I updated my system profile, largely because I haven't really changed anything. The Elation cable is terrific between the Allnic phono stage and the Veloce line stage. I've refreshed all the sorbothane pads on the Grand Prix, and did install some Stillpoints SS under the phono stage power supply after experimentation with different NOS rectifier tubes for that unit. The only addition, aside from more vinyl, is the Audio Desk RCM, which has been a wonderful addition. So far, no issues with that unit- it does a fabulous job cleaning, I can hear sonic improvements over my old vacuum method with Walker 4 step fluids, and the convenience factor isn't just laziness- it allows me to spend more time listening to music, sorting through a rather large vinyl collection which is desperately in need of thorough organization and enjoying the system rather than dreading the labor of record cleaning. I did reinstall the turntable from scratch with some initial help from my dealer- I'm now getting pretty good at it. Next step will probably be some sort of active isolation, but I'm going to hold off until I get set up in Austin. That's going to be a whole other thing, starting from scratch with a new listening room. Punchline: I'm having more fun listening, and spending less time fiddling. And have been amazed by the sonic quality of old pop, rock and jazz pressings. I suspect that, between the piles accumulated in Texas and the records I've bought in NY, i've probably added about 600 albums to my collection so far this year. Eventually, I'm going to have to start culling.
The Veloce and Allnic combo has really taken the system up several notches, and the bass is far deeper, with much better articulation. I haven't lost the midrange 'voice' that the Lamm L2 did so wonderfully, but the system now has greater range and surprise: the bass is actually integrating better. A guest listener, hearing the system for the first time yesterday, had no issues with any apparent discontinuity. I haven't compared the new run of Elation to my the Emotion interconnect between the phono and line stages but am now able to operate that stretch in balanced configuration. All in all, these changes have made a good system really shine- it still has the 'tone' and timbre, but greater bandwidth and better dynamics. Instrument separation is greater, without any 'hyper-analytic' quality- instruments and voices just emerge clearly, well and solidly placed, and you can follow them in a very natural, non-fatiguing way. So much about the Avantgarde depends on associated components. I knew that from the get go, but that truth just keeps getting reinforced with other changes in the system. I have also been playing with record weights- changing the heavy screw down clamp that came with the Kuzma XL with the newish Stillpoints LP Isolator. At first, everything seemed a little 'lighter' and thrust in the upper bass wasn't as pronounced. I made slight changes to the crossover and gain settings on the woofers, and wasn't afraid to give the system a little more gain. The Stillpoint record weight seems remarkably 'pacific'- it doesn't create any 'hump.' I made this change and did these experiments before I changed line stages, and have since fiddled with crossover and gain settings a little more, due to the change wrought by the line stage switch-out. This system has never sounded better.
Veloce (Gen 2) battery driven line stage now in the system, in place of the Lamm L2. It is loaded with the DR version of the 6H30 supertube and sounds different, richer and more fluid, than the first generation version of this unit which I briefly auditioned in my system as well. I will update the system component listing and add a photo when I have chance. The 'innards' of the Veloce are quite beautiful as well.
Yep, Charles, and an interesting aesthetic as well. I read the review already. Despite all the high priced audio jewelry, and the issues about value in the high end there is a wealth of fascinating gear in the marketplace these days. Just think about how many turntables and tonearms there are now, compared to say, even 5 years ago. For me, the preamp has always been the heart of the system and the place that you 'interface' with it. I know, for folks committed to serious digital, that doesn't hold water, and may get in the way. But, the Allnic was a quantum leap on the phono stage, and I want to be just as deliberate in the other steps. Of course, I could just go find some old WE amps and ancient horns, and stick the Lamm ML2s on the Crosby Quads and get some bliss. But, I never had a full on double quad 57 system set up, and I want to do that too. So, lot's of variables in play, and at least two or three systems could come out of this adventure as I earn my spurs in Texas. I had an invite to Germany for later in October which was simply too much for me right now, given everything else. (It was about cars, not hi-fi). But, I'd love to make the rounds over there on the audio front. There is also so much wonderful stuff we don't see stateside very much (just look at the stuff that gets shown in Munich every year). I guess, when it comes down to it, I'd love to curate a museum of this stuff. That would be bliss. (of course, it would be a working museum). BTW, are there any? I know there is one in Berlin that is devoted to ancient radio/transmitter stuff, but for things audio? Brooks Berdan had what amounted to a turntable museum, i think and with his passing, I don't know what happened to that. ...
Hi, Mark: Still a work in progress. I am considering a custom build, among other things. The L2 has a wonderful midrange voice, just a little dark, and it is not the last word in extension at the frequency extremes. It is a very musical line stage, though. And, I'm not buying something else just for change sake. This may take some time, since I am essentially starting the relocation process by the end of the year, and the system won't be reassembled in Austin until we buy a place there and I get a room built. I would like to migrate to a larger full horn system, including horn loaded woofers- possibly antiquarian style stuff. In addition, I have a considerable pile of vintage Quad stuff, and would love to get it fully restored, along with the Decca ribbons I used back in the 80's, and set up a proper stacked array of Quad 57's. So far, I really like what the Allnic phono stage is doing, and I'd be hard-pressed to give up the Lamm ML2, which I love, at least on the horns I have now. And, I keep buying more vinyl. So, I'm going to need a good sized space to do this right! I'll keep you posted on any additional changes I make in the meantime, before the system gets broken down for the move. Best, Bill
Goldenera: Thank you for your kind words. There are many different approaches, and I was along time electrostat listener before I started with horns. The horns have a sense of aliveness that is very much like real music; of course, the other side of that liveliness can be a tendancy toward brightness or glare if the whole rig is not absolutely right. I've never been happy with the bass (this is my mantra), and I'm looking forward to trying the system in a new dedicated room which gives me enough space for bass. I think the real place for improvement in the system is the room and AC power at this point. Where are you located?
The Kuzma is very 'absent' in the sense that you don't hear the turntable- bass is incredible and once it is set-up, it doesn't require any tweaking. The Airline arm is wonderful- I had an ET 2 at one point, but just gave up on air-bearing arms until this one. (I do not like the pump supplied with the Airline, and I gather that it may be under-sized for what it has to do- it has to kick on more often than a bigger pump would, and that means it is working harder, it has a nasty electrical snap that I could only eliminate by plugging the pump into a 240 volt step down, etc. Kuzma offers a much bigger pump/compressor/surge tank as an aftermarket option, and I may go for that if I don't change arms and get out of the pump thing altogether). Immediately before this, I had the Kuzma Reference, which is a suspension table that is easy to set up and isolates great, with a Triplanar VII, also a very well made, good sounding arm. Far less work to isolate than the big Kuzma. And before that, in my Quad 63 system, with all ARC tube electronics, I used a heavily tweaked Well-Tempered, the original table. It was able to deliver a high level of everything at a relatively modest price, particularly given the time period, when the turntable market was in the doldrums, and there were fewer options than there are today.
Nope, not feeling guilty about liking equipment, but I also have fallen into the trap oh so many times over the years of listening to the system rather than the music. And, I guess part of my joy the other day was that it was all so 'of a piece' that i didn't bother with the analytical part of my brain. I know reviewers often say this- I forgot to take notes because i was suddenly so captivated- but honestly, that rarely happens to me. And, I agree with you, a great hi-fi is not necessarily great musically. I had planned to spend all afternoon listening, but we suddenly got unpredicted thunder storms, so power got pulled and i spent the last two hours culling through records and pulling some stuff I want to listen to. My records are not at all organized, so if I pick stuff on the fly during a listening session, I often find myself hunting, and not finding what i want. when I move, one of the things on my list is putting some order to that chaos.
Thanks Charlesdad, i have seen some of your postings since i got back on the Gon in the last few months and you seem committed. I will confess that I am a gearhead, i think most of us are- yes, in service of music, but also because we like electro-mechanical things, futzing with them, etc. I now have more time in my life to do that, but, as I mentioned, we plan on moving soon, so I will be starting with a new room.
well, the Lamm L2 line stage is back and I rarely wax enthusiastic about my own system, but there is magic going on here- the combination of the Allnic H3000>Lamm L2>Lamm ML2 amps is really alive; those passages that sometimes sound a little shouty on horns are just natural dynamics that don't sound constrained (the system is playing louder on these passages, and i normally don't listen a high volumes anymore); rather than looking for richness or detail to overcome a slight electronic haze, i'm hearing lot's of little things that sound real, so it isn't 'detail' -its just more resolving, retrieving and delivering the tone, the space and the individual voices of instruments much more distinctly;the conventional wisdom about the Duos' shortcoming -that of bass discontinuity from the horns- is far less conspicuous, because I'm hearing tonality in the bass where it was far more one-notish before,( except for special recordings where the bass was a closely miked acoustic instrument) . In short, this fking thing is making music, and i'm pulling out records that i love for music- none of them 'audiophile' recordings as such. All this stuff really is worth the trouble! Call it synergy, call it a good match of very good, but not necessarly the most expensive, latest and greatest, but it is so very, very good. Nice that this stuff makes ya happy once in a while, eh? :)
Alright, i will look for you there, slipnot, and thanks for the input. That's one of the valuable things about these Internet communities- and i've met a number of good people in the process. Best, bill
Thanks, Slip. I am close. Hopefully, i get my linestage back this week, and we'll be rockin! Even in less than ideal circumstances, i am hearing those 'cues.' Some of them are shocking, actually and unexpected, on records i know well. And, I have been glued into my chair far longer than usual, i just keep saying, ok, one more album. The other nite, that went 'til well past 2am and I'm no longer a late nite critter. thanks for the response. see you here, or on one of the other groups? I've been hanging recently on What's Best, and there are alot of folks there that are familiar, including Carl, who wrote those wonderful reviews of the Allnic gear that got me intrigued in the first place. (though i had heard of Allnic, I hadn't paid it much attention until I decided to make a change in the phono stage and started to look into the LCR designs). Best,
Slip, sorry, I wanted to add a question, since you look like you are pretty stacked up with Allnic gear- Greg suggested that there would be an 'aha' moment when the H3000 really kicked into high gear- what was your experience in terms of burn-in? (yes, i'm impatient, but still reveling in what i hear as it goes)
Slip, got one a those too, along with a Tung-Sol, which sounded quite good. I'm probably gonna try a few. I just got the fat base Mullard in, but I'm waiting for the Lamm to come back before I can really make any discerning judgements....
As the Allnic continues to burn in, i have had moments of giddy disbelief in hearing things from records i never knew were there- not 'hyper-detail' but an immediacy with a very clear but wide focus that is at times astounding. My experience is, as mentioned, compromised until my Lamm line stage returns to the system but I am astounded. I must note that the character of the unit does keep changing as the break-in process continues. I don't know if I have yet reached that 'dramatic' moment that Greg mentioned - I probably have 75-80 hours on the unit so far, maybe a little more, about 1/2 of it playing records, the other 1/2 using one of those KAB reverse RIAA 'conditioners' that allows me to use a CD to input to the phono stage. I have already toyed a little with the rectifier tube, and am looking forward to trying a first series fat base Mullard that I bought for the unit.
Strange. I have dedicated lines, but am not using any kind of AC filter on any of the equipment. The hum is not very noticeable, but maybe i will stick a filter on the woofers and see if that makes a difference. Ordinarily, i find that line conditioners change the sound, and I have been able to eliminate them. Thanks for checking yours, ABall. Enjoy. I'm also pleased to learn that my Lamm L2 is now on the bench over at Lamm, so they will sort out the power supply noise problem, and I'm told, new switches are available for the unit, which 'sound' better. Although I run the unit on the 'direct' setting, I asked Lamm to upgrade the switches anyway, so the unit will be current. More later, I can't wait to get the Lamm L2 back in the system so i can really hear the Allnic phono stage, the substitute Joule, while very romantic, does not have the resolution of the Lamm line stage in the midrange.
Aball- good for you. I really haven't listened to the latest version of the Uno. I gather it benefits from whatever driver upgrades were made in the Omega upgrade kit? The Nano has the tweeter integrated into the woofer box, right? I don't really have any 'noise' issues once I sort inter-equipment grounding, but that took a while. Jason (BMWMCab, above), was complaining about the mechanical transformer buzz he hears from his woofers' amps : i hear it if i get close enough to the woofer cabinet, but it doesn't really exist from the listening area in my case. My current issue with noise had to do with a problem in my line stage, but that is finally back at Lamm to get sorted. I will have to look at what amps you are using- I've had very good results with the ML2, which is perfect for the Duo. Map- good to see you, man.
Jason, my wife and I have long wanted to visit Vancouver, so I will let you know if we take a holiday there. I'd love to hear your system, and yes, i will look up the Tact equipment, i do remember some reviews in one of the mainstream magazines a while ago, but i need to revisit. Thank you. Best, Bill Hart
Syntax- it's not for an upgrade, a few weeks ago, I started up the system to warm it up for some visitors (one is a well known musician who has great ears, but uses the equivalent of a boom box at his house, and although he had heard the system before, he was bringing over another guest to listen). Anyway, once everything in the system came on, after the start-up relays kicked in, I heard a 60hz hum. Oh, nO! I had worked long and hard to eliminate grounding problems in the system among the various components and didn't relish having to go back through everything again to sort it out. Also, there was no reason for this hum, since i hadn't changed anything, except to retube the amps and phono stage. I also checked the usual culprits outside of the system circuit- there is a low voltage lighting system in our kitchen that I can hear, even though the hi-fi is on dedicated lines and if some appliances, like a room humidifier are plugged into the house wiring, i can hear that too. But, none of this was the problem. I eventually isolated it to the Lamm line stage, whose power supply was also making a mechanical buzzing noise, in addition to contributing 60 hz hum over the audio system. I bypassed the Lamm line stage, first by running my Steelhead 'straight in' and the hum disappeared. I also bought a temporary line stage to act as a substitute while I awaited repair of the Lamm- also no hum. When i spoke to Vlad, right before he left for Munich a couple weeks ago, he confirmed that i should hear no buzz from fhe power supply. So, something has gone wrong with the Lamm line stage that needs to be fixed. Unfortunately, since Lamm is essentially a 'one man orchestra' it has to await his return. I will personally drive over to his house/shop with the units, since i live in NY and can avoid shipping. I hope to get the unit fixed next week, and will then sell the temporary line stage I bought as a substitute, and can start to get the full measure of the Allnic phono stage, which continues to break in.
Jason, thanks on both fronts. We are planning to relocate to Austin, so i will be dealing with HVAC, room, electrical, etc. on a fresh slate. I did think about installing a mini-spllit for the music room, but never got around to it, and was a little concerned that the fan noise of the indoor unit would be intrusive. Good to know, at least as far as a heat pump goes, it is not, but i thought those got less effecient at exchange at some point than a conventional air conditioner. Where (city and state) are you located? Closer to Tx than NYC? Maybe we can make it happen. And 6 speed makes all the difference, i never cottoned to those paddles, even in the F cars, which i gather today, are virtually impossible to buy new with a stick.
BMW- first, i have to apologize, you are not merely a BMW Cab, but an "M' series. (I had one of those, circa 2004?, and found it to be fun to drive, great fit and finish but I could NOT stand the paddle shifter. Drove me mad- blip, kechunk, blip, kerchunk, etc. My grandma shifted a manual better even after heavy drinking (just kidding folks, I discourage that). The only reservation I'd have is running the mids through any sort of processing. I was actually poking around for a horn bass speaker, perhaps ready-made. The way the Duo is set up, cable to mids, no crossover whatsover, jumper to tweets, and there's a xover in there. Maybe run off a line output to a separate horn woofer, which has a variable low pass (god, I haven't thought about passive v. active crossovers in years, and have a few of the former sitting in my basement. And then I'd have to figure out the amp thing.) I kinda like the concept, as lo-fi as it sounds,of feeding the woofer amp at speaker level inputs, like I do on the Duo woofer, to get the sonic character of the main amp, but... I'm just thinking aloud here. If you were close, I'd invite myself over. Maybe shoot me a few pics? You could post 'em, or email them to me- use my media company address [email protected]
Gregadd- Yeah, so i gathered. I did buy that KAB RIAA 'conditioner' to move things along, but I don't really like letting anything tubular run without me paying close watch. I've got maybe 30 hours on the H3000 in actual listening and another 15-20 using the KAB burn-in box. I gather you are talking about 750 or more hours, so I'm gonna be up late... BTW, I know your handle from here, i guess, maybe one of the other chat sites. Since we can't do PM anymore here, Would you mind shooting me a message at the above email, just to make the connection a little clearer? I'm near Nyack, about 25 or so miles north of NYC and have been in and out of the hobby, as a hobby, for more than 40 years. I just semi-retired, so I'm back in with both feet (and ears). Thanks, both.
BMWCab-Yes, there is a slight buzz to the sub transformers if you get close to the speaker but it is a mechanical buzz, it doesn't convey to the signal delivered by the woofers. I've thought over the years about all kinds of ways to 'fix' the woofer issue with the Duo, including mounting the horns on a more rigid stand (as someone else did~ in fact i thought i saw that pair, or one like it for sale here recently) and positioning the woofers to improve their coupling in the room; trying a horn type woofer, or ultimately (and though more expensive, maybe cheaper in the long run), trying a different speaker. I've really come to appreciate what horns are about, but I haven't really explored a lot of the current systems that are available. I'm also not necessarily interested in throwing 100k into a speaker system at this point in my life. I've become fascinated with the whole DIY thing, I don't know if you have looked at what some of those guys are doing, conical horns, old RCA and JBL, Western Electric (the latter two ain't cheap either, given the demand for vintage horns in the East), but it keeps me occupied. I recently retired from the full-time practice of law and plan to relocate to Austin in the near future (as soon as we sell our house in NY), so I'm probably not going to make a dramatic change right now. I'd love to have a separate building for the hi-fi, and do a room, including a work area, from the ground up- AC power, acoustic design, and space for a wall of all the vinyl. What's your take on the woofs- reversing phase and subtle adjustments to the Xover do make a big difference once the speakers are correctly positioned, but I've never been 100% in love with the integration. (Jim Smith, please don't yell at me!). Regards, Bill Hart
Thanks, Greg. I am burning it in as we speak, my regular line stage is down and i am using a temporary substitute which is a little too lush for my taste, so i will not get the full measure of the Allnic until the Lamm line stage is repaired and back in the system. I did manage to get a nice selection of rectifier tubes for the Allnic, and once i am back up and running full force, plan to do some tube rolling of rectifiers. First on my list is a 'fat base' mullard gz 34 first series, but i have a nice selection of others as well. I also wouldn't mind trying Allnic's DHT line stage at some point, but....
Hey, Fernando. Make sure you have fresh tubes in those Lamms. I had Vladamir 'freshen' my amps after I bought them. He went over them thoroughly, replaced a few odds and ends, retubed them, and turned them around in 2 days for less than the cost of transporting them to his door. I don't know the 1.1. After living with the Lamm amps in my system, I still marvel at their 'completeness.' Best,
Been a while since I've visited. Hey, Sam. Nothing wrong with the Airline. Why do you ask? I have had a love affair with Ferraris since I was a kid. I have owned a number of them, but none of the early ones, which are now-despite the economy- priced in the stratosphere. I sort of lost interest in modern production cars altogether. Currently pulling together an obscure pre-war British car (yeah, I know) for use in vintage events. (I like easy rallies, rather than hanging at a concours, or driving the track). My wife and I did the Targa Florio in Sicily a few years ago and had a ball. Systemwise, I could not be happier. I don't get as much time to listen as I'd like (afraid that's true for alot of us), but when I do, I revel in it. Biggest looming upgrade- I need to install an independent A/C system for the music room that I can operate during the winter. The heat of the amplifiers and associated equipment drives me to distraction even when the central heat in the room is shut off. Anybody do such a system? I was thinking of one of those small "splits" and having the HVAC guy install the main unit in the basement, but I have to do some research. Here in NY, we can get some cold moments in the winter, precluding my use of conventional air conditioning systems when the outside temp is too low, but that doesn't help me cool off the room. (I suppose the simple answer is to open a window, but I don't like playing music the neighbors could hear, and an open window is likely to admit much dust, etc. from the outside). Thoughts and experiences, anybody? Best, to all....
Mucho Gracias, Triode. I continue to marvel at the overall transparency of the Duo when combined with the lifelike naturalness of the Lamm amps. I also like Porsche- had a 996 GT2 for a while and currently have a 993 hibernating in the garage. Best to you, and thanks for the comments.
BGordon- i first ran the system without a separate linestage, and fed the phono signal into the Steelhead, using its variable outputs directly into the amp. It had great impact, and the bass was phenomenal (at least using the Lyra cartridge), but the overall sound lacked body and heft (again, at least with the Lyra). The Lamm line stage gave the system what it was missing- strange that adding an extra stage seemed to improve things. When I asked Ms. Manley about the concept, she voted for 'less is more,' and frankly, I haven't experimented since changing the cartridge to the Airtight, which is far less 'magnificent' in the frequency extremes than the Lyra, but more honest sounding. I don't know if I could go to no front end whatsoever, since I eschew CDs (or, put more positively, favor vinyl only). But, experimentation is part of the hobby and when winter comes, I'm sure I'll be at it again. I did dump my power conditioners, though, and have had great results straight into the wall, using the Kubala Sonsa power cables.
Sorry, been absent from the board for a while. AS70- I have a Lyra Titan i but think that the Airtight sounds more of a piece; the Lyra is spotlit in places, the bass is amazing, and the highs are dazzling, but i'm not sure that it creates as lifelike a presentation as the Airtight. Perhaps it is a synergy (or lack thereof) with the arm, because the Lyra was absolutely extraordinary in the more conventional Triplanar VII. Jason, thanks for the kudos. I have honestly never been happier with a system, and I have been mucking around in this hobby since the late 60's-very early 70's. (I have owned some of the equipment I still have and use that long too, eg. old Quads, old ARC tube amplification, etc.). Best,
I have not attended a hi-fi trade show for years- did the CES back in the mid-70's when it was still in Chicago at McCormick Place, and did a few of those Stereophile shows in the early days, but the Rocky Mountain show, from everything I've heard, is really worthwhile. Maybe I'll see you there. On the Kubala cables, reach out to Joe Kubala- maybe he'll send you some to try- just have your checkbook ready. (Though they are expensive compared to non-tweak cables, they are not outrageously priced, given some of the nutty numbers we are used to seeing today).
Greetings, Fernando. I did have Cardas Golden Reference installed for almost a year before I switched to the Kubala. In fairness, a couple things changed; first, I went from short interconnect/long speaker cable to a long interconnect/short speaker cable arrangement. I'm not sure how much the changed configuration, alone, contributed, and I know there are different schools of thought on that. And, probably even more profoundly, I changed amps, from the Audiopax 88 to the Lamm ML 2. Altogether, those changes were profound, but I'm not telling you much about the cable, alone. One thing I can tell you is that we also changed out, one at a time, all my power cords, starting with a Shunyata Anaconda at the front end, powering a Hydra, to a Kubala Emotion PC straight into the wall (no Hydra). That change alone was worth the price of admission. But, of course, since Joe Kubala was there, and happened to have a few more cords in his bag, we continued, downstream, to replace each PC, including on the phonostage, linestage, power amps and woofer amps for the Duos. Each change was noticeable and improved the overall sound of the system (although the changes to the woofer PCs, while noticeable, were probably the least significant, overall).
I am reluctant to ascribe precise changes to the interconnect and speaker cable per se, given the change in amplifier at the same time. Overall, taking into account all the changes, way deeper bass, more relaxed sound, overall, and that ability to 'hear into' the performance without any suggestion of hyper-detail or exaggeration. Some of this, particularly the 'relaxed' aspect of the sound, I ascribe to the Lamms. Hope that answers your question fairly.
You know, dusty, most people in the West think Buddhas are simply 'plug and play,' you know, pull the thing out of the box and instantly, achieve mystical results. First, of course, is the composition of the Buddha- aged woods are preferable. Then, there is the stand. You are really depriving yourself of the kind of results you can obtain with a Buddha simply by plopping it directly on the floor. I prefer a wooden stand to metal ones, but tastes vary. If you notice, I also have a variety of sorbothane pucks acting as an physical interface between the bottom of the Buddha and the top of the wooden stand. Made a huge difference in overall balance of the Buddha. I know some folks regard such tweaks as sheer 'cult' mysticism, but having heard the Buddha with and without sorbothane feet, I can attest to the difference. As you may have gathered I still have various Peter Belt tweaks I bought from a dealer in England, back in the 80's.....
Cyto/CMO: Thanks, both for your kind words of encouragement. As to the power cords, I have for a long time fallen into the middle of two camps- I am not an "all wire is the same" skeptic, nor a flavor of the month tweaker. Long ago, I spent a weekend changing out interconnect and speaker cable on a system using Quad 57's- granted the speakers didn't produce deep bass, but what was there, in every part of the musical spectrum, was revealed in a natural perspective, and in nearfield listening, the differences in wires was not subtle. But, I ascribed much of this to synergies/filtering effects and, for lack of a better description, matching 'colorations' of the various components, including the wires. On the Shunyata vs. KS power cord change, in fairness to Shunyata, I was not running their top of the line pcs everywhere, although I was using a run of Anaconda from the wall to the Hydra that powered the front end components. The changes to the KS cords were made incrementally, starting with the elimination of the Hydra and the installation of the KS pc on the Lamm preamp. Change was not subtle- everything sounded more open, clearer, more natural and louder without being louder. Next, switched the pcs on the Lamm amps- even more dramatic differences, of the same type. I have no idea what the science or theory is but what I am hearing is not imagined. I also heard the pcs on my powered woofers that are part of the AvG Duos and, while the difference was not as dramatic, it was still there. So, I ordered a set for the woofers, too. As to enhancing speed on the Lambo, it is a joke. The car is virtually unuseable in normal circumstances, and is so big and fat that it would never make a track day. But, there is something about the torque of a big, NA 12cyl. motor when it is being pushed hard that makes you understand why the early big Ferraris must have been so remarkable in the 50s. The Lambo is a true exotic, at a price far less than the Enzo, or Zonda or K-Egg. I typically rotate thru these cars in a year or so, but I am now going into my 3d year of ownership on this car. I would probably be willing to replace it with a Carrera GT, but that's about it, short of spending ridiculous sums of money on a vintage Ferrari from the late 50's, early 60's. BTW, I bought a 993 air-cooled Porsche a few months ago and find that car so engaging to drive- at a cost little more than a Japanese motor appliance. REgards, Bill Hart
System edited: Changed out Audiopax 88's for Lamm ML2s- Cardas Golden Reference wire replaced with Kubala-Sonsa Emotion throughout. (The K-S power cord is amazing). Took all Shunyata Hydras out of the system.
OK, next upgrade in process- report to follow- Audiopax 88's- out, Lamm ML2s-in; Cardas Reference- goodby- Kubala-Sosna Emotions, hello. Also changing from short interconnect/long speaker cable to long interconnect/short speaker cable. K-S jumpers on Avantgardes as well.
OH, and I finally got that pile of records (approx. 4,000 albums) that comprised the late Chuck Lamonica's collection. Many, many good things, particularly in the jazz and classical genres. I think it is going to be a fun weekend. I'll report later on what I think of the differences in amps and wires.
Hey, Aball. The Lambos have been sorely underrated- granted, the SV variant of the Miura has always been highly regarded, but now the earlier iterations are starting to fetch real money. I have had my eye out for a very early Countach as well, periscope-style LP400- the later cars, with the flares, and wing, detract from the purity of line. The drive train on these cars is amazing- they pull like crazy. So what, if the company started as a maker of tractors. :) The 6.0 is an interesting mix of newer technology on an old-school set-up- drives like a modern car, with oodles of power, but still a handful, and while it feels smaller at speed, it is a wide, low, heavy beast. Despite the gold chain, hairy chest image of these cars, they deliver an extremely high level of exoticness for the buck. The newer Ferraris leave me cold- granted the Enzo is quite exotic, but 4-5 times the money, and ugly, to boot.
Hey, Chris. Thanks. The Lamm is a very good component, and a welcome addition. You were one factor in nudging me to try a linestage. At the time 6moons did their initial review of the Steelhead, Jeff Day, the reviewer, claimed that he couldn't make the Steelhead work with the Duos, just too noisy and claimed that adding a line stage made a big improvement. Turned out, he had a grounding problem. See his revised review. I wrote to that pub to state that I had no problem using the combo, and I know E. Manley wrote to the same effect- and helped them solve the grounding issue. I then wrote to her, and asked her what she thought about the Steelhead 'straight-up' and her response, to paraphrase, was essentially that she was following a 'less is more' path- why add noise, fake 'warmth' (my words, not hers),etc. Well, I thought the Steelhead straight on might have had clearer, more dynamic bass- the Lamm is notorious for being very reticent- it's there, but not pronounced. However, with the addition of the big Kuzma table, I get pretty unbelievable down deep bass- my complaints about integration seem to have been based in part upon the original set up with the Well-Tempered table that I carried over from my old early 90's system. And, the Lamm seems to add body and grainless dimension to the soundstage. Of course, I have made so many changes to the system in the last couple months that it is not fair to single out one component, but the Lamm is a keeper. I'd love to hear his 'small' tube amp on the Duos.
When I got started in earnest in this hobby, say in about 1971-72, the younger hobbyists regarded horn-type speakers as outmoded hold-overs- A-7s were still used for sound support at concerts, but not considered quality stuff for hi-fi and the Klipsch was regarded as an historic anomaly- sort of like seeing an interesting car from the 40s or 50s go by on the highway- cool, but not sure you'd want to drive one regularly. My first real encounter with the big K horn was a little later- in about 1979- an older neighbor had a pair of corner horns being driven by mono Marantz tube amps, Marantz 7c preamp, think he had a Thorens table (that was pretty decent then). Big, wide sound, did some bass, but a different kind of listening- the fact that they were like 35 feet apart, in the long corners of his room, didn't make for a soundstage since the rest of the room was too shallow by comparison, and you didn't really get much of a stereo effect. At that time I was fully committed to my old Quad ESLs, so something should have told me that old tech might still be good tech. While I was aware of the experience in the Far East, it was largely anecdotal, I couldn't do anything other than look at the pictures in the Asian hi-fi mags, and there wasn't a very strong movement, even in NYC at that time- other than the Futterman thing- which tied to electrostats- to use arcane tube amps and something other than conventional monkey coffins.
Thanks, Thomas. I have admired the simple beauty of your set-up, despite the complex of costly components. Two questions: given the host of tonearms you have, are you running several different tables? And, out of curiosity, what do you use your Quad IIs with (I have a pair that I occassionally hook up just to revel in how sweet they are, but they are not in regular use at my house).
Nrostov- you are even more cynical than me. When I got my first 'platinum record'- not for anything I really did but because I had worked long and hard for a client on other matters in the recording industry, I knew I had the perfect place for it- for a while, it was over the toilet in the laundry room, and now hangs in the garage, next to the air compressor and the tool box. Kuzibri- I have admired your system on this board. I am looking forward to doing some serious listening this weekend.
The Air Line pump was plugged into an outlet on the house's regular electrical system and when it surged, it also not only caused the room lights to dim, but sent a nasty electrical 'zip' through the system that could be heard when the gain was up and no music playing. Today, my electrician, who had the foresight to run an extra cable to the room when he installed the dedicated lines for the hi-fi, set up a new outlet, just for the compressor, running on a dedicated line to a different subpanel of the house system, ie it is not on the subpanel for the hi-fi. (See other thread for lengthy discussion about how the dedicated outlets would be set up for the hi-fi). I am hopeful that this will eliminate the surge/electrical noise triggered by the compressor.
I don't let the devil in my house. No digital in this system. One source. TT. Vinyl. Call me a luddite. The amount of work and expense necessary to get digital into the ballpark can, to me, be better spent making the analog stuff even more musical. I confess I haven't listened to the latest crop, ie the one box dcs, lector, etc. But, when people tell me that their Zanden at 40k sounds almost as good as vinyl, I say WTF? Now, I grant you the shiny disc is more convenient (I don't have a TT in my car), but when I listen to the 'big' system, I don't mind a little inconvenience. In fact, the whole thing is an inconvenience, which is part of its joy. :) Regards....
Thanks, Clfcarney. Let me see how things shake out with the new TT and arm. I have heard good things about the Tom Evans equipment- also told that the Lamm tube monoblocks sound superb on the Duos. (Is that what you tossed in favor of the TEAD?)
I mounted the speakers on the apex footers supplied by Grand Prix- using the silicon nitride bearings- I have run new dedicated power to the system, and just added the Lamm line stage- while I was first using the Steelhead straight up, through the mc inputs and very little added gain, I am now experimenting with the MM input and cranking up the gain stage on the steelhead, into the Lamm. I suspect that the new table is going to make a huge difference in bass authority. I will post some pics of the revised setup in a day or two.
Nrostov- I'll be able to give you a better assessment of the Hydras once I complete the electrical system makeover that is now started in my room. (See other thread on what not to do).
I bought the combo of Hydra 4 and 2 simply because I needed the flexibility of some distance between the sets of outlets, since the Hydra 2 is currently being used with my Avantgarde Duo woofers, some small distance away from the rest of the system.
To be honest, my preference would be no power 'cleaner' at all. What I am hoping to accomplish is as good a source of AC power for the system, without add ons or band-aids, first. Then, I will experiment with the use of the Hydras. And, yes, the room serves double-duty as both the HT room, and the hi-fi inner sanctum. Truth be told, it would be my preference to have a separate room for each- there is now far too much equipment in one room. But, for now, I sort of 'flip' the seating around, depending on whether we watch a movie, or I am listening to the audio only system. (I then have to put the various baffles into place to minimize the 'glare' of the film screen as my 'back' listening wall. I use the REalTraps on stands for that purpose. Otherwise, the bass traps, positioned in the corners of the room, remain in the same position for both HT and hi-fi.). The car is a totally unnecessary extravagance, which is why I enjoy it. Thanks.
System in new state of flux: Stabi XL delivered today- many boxes; Air Line arm and compressor arrived as well. Finite Elemente heavy duty stand, now en route from Germany, should arrive early this week. New separate electrical system being installed this week, along with set-up to isolate arm compressor in an adjacent closet/room. System should be back up and running in about 7 days in the latest front end configuration: XL/Air Line/Titan(i)-Steelhead/Lamm Ref. Line Stage. Also added: an additional Grand Prix rack with Carbon shelf to house the Lamm and its power supply. New pics to follow once room is reconfigured and equipment re-installed.
6.0 Diablo in Rosso Vik. I bought it from MCI in Missouri a little over a year ago- if you know anything about Lambos, this is one of the more desirable modern ones- it is the last of the Diablos, with many improvements, mechanical and aesthetic- and signals the end of the pre-Audi era at the factory (built under Audi's ownership based on an older design). There are not alot of them, and after having a bunch of cars from that 'other' Italian marque(that begins with an "F" and yes has a relationship to FIAT), I decided to give the L-car a go. Big, heavy, very exotic muscle car, Italian style. The musical aspect is in the roar of the engine at speed.
Herman, due to the weird configuration of the room, and the fact that the video system had been installed a couple years before, the best placement for the audio-only system turned out to be the 'back wall' of the video 'room.' Thus, when listening to audio, the seats are positioned back against the screen or 'front' wall- when I watch a movie, I pull the seats to their original 'video' position, almost between the Avantgarde Duos. (There is additional seating, if necessary, that gets pulled from a side 'lounge' area of the room). That is why in the 'audio only' configuration, the projector is facing 'backwards.' (I use a series of RealTraps to mask the effects of the Stewart projection screen which is the 'back wall' of the audio listening setup). The racks contain the hardware for the video system- HD Leeza and SDI DVD player, a pair of small video monitors, a video switcher, on the one rack, and, on the other, a series of amplifers for front, surround, center and woofers, along with the Meridian processor. The racks are made by Mid-Atlantic, are fan-cooled, and powered by a 240v step down transformer. The a/v system and the audio-only system are totally separate.
Well, a few upgrades in the past couple days. First, a Grand Prix stand, with the carbon shelf and the Apex footers, for the amps. It was like pulling the car out of the mud and driving on fresh tarmac. Looks good too. Then the TT/arm/cartridge arrived. A bit of confrontation with the dealer- whom I didn't nickel and dime, but did insist pull everything together quickly. After two weeks, he finally got the Triplanar (I had to call to follow up several times since I guess he was busy)- I understand that Triplanar shipments are not always predictable- but then, the dealer needed another week plus, because he was 'busy.' So, I insisted that he deliver everything today- in boxes, unassembled. Hadn't really done turntable/tonearm/cartridge mounting since the dark days of the seventies and early eighties- and I had originally planned on having my brilliant friend, MT, do the honors. But, I couldn't resist and a few hours later- music! I was actually suprised at how easy the Triplanar was to set up. The Kuzma Reference table was ordered with a pre-fitted board, and everything went together like clockwork. The Titan(i) sounded a tad bright once I got things rolling (that's an understatement- it was nasty sounding) but by 3-4 hours of steady play, it started to mellow a bit. The lower registers are really impressive with the Kuzma Reference/Triplanar/Titan combo. I'm hoping the top end of the cartridge becomes a little less 'hi-fi' and the mids open up. I'm still futzing around trying to get to the bottom of my noise problem, but the music was so glorious despite the break-in issues with the cartridge, that I got to enjoy the system at a level closer to my expectations.
How does one edit the original spread to show the changes and additions in equipment and add new photos?
Thanks, Chris. It is, like most systems, a work in progress. I have added the RealTraps, Hydras with Shunyata cords- also using them on the Duos- and am closing in on a turntable. I won't change the stands and hardware configuration until I settle on the TT, since that, in turn, will dictate the type of isolation I'll need- from there, I'll consider the best arrangement of boxes and then, and only then, will I start to worry the aesthetics of the front listening wall. (Which, as you can see, is the 'back' wall for the home theatre set-up). Frankly, I have far too much equipment in that one room- I've thought about setting up the Duos in our living room but we have a large grand piano there, and the resonances of the piano will only add another unnecessary dimension to tuning the system. I'll keep ya posted...