After adding the Pathos Classic One mkIII to my system last week I felt compelled to start fresh rather than continuing from my previous system.  The transformation was so dramatic that it was more than just an upgrade.

My system started with an Integra 50.1 receiver that I still use for home theater.  About five years ago I picked up a Yaqin MC-30L Class A push-pull tube amplifier that I consider to be a high value product and an awesome amplifier.  Keeping a long story short, I got the audio bug again and picked up a Cambridge Audio 840A that was the "other choice" when I first chose the Integra 50.1 receiver.  It didn't take me long to realize that it wasn't want I wanted so I traded it in on the Pathos and the rest is history.

I still use a custom amplifier switch that a EE friend of mine built for me to switch the speakers between the Integra 50.1 receiver and the Pathos Classic One mkIII.  It's not the ideal setup for my stereo system, but it's the best compromise that I have found.  The custom switch uses 10-gage BJC wiring for everything.

The improvement in sound from my Integra 50.1 receiver to the Yaqin MC-30L integrated was significant, but the improvement going to the Pathos Classic One mkIII was even more so.  I really don't see myself ever needing a speaker or amplifier upgrade.  The financial investment that would be required to improve on either is beyond what I would be willing to spend.

As part of a home remodel project I needed to have a new outlet installed for an over-range microwave that was on the opposite side of the wall from my audio system, so I took the opportunity to have a dedicated circuit added along with a PS Audio outlet.  I honestly didn't expect to hear a difference, but figured this was the best opportunity that I'd ever have to take the step.  Admittedly, it was a significant improvement.  I have my APC H15 power conditioner plugged into the PS Audio Classic wall outlet and my DAC, SACD player, and Pathos amplifier plugged into it.

Components Toggle details

    • Focal Chorus 836v
    Type: 3-way bass reflex floorstanding loudspeaker
        3x 6.5" shielded Polyglass Woofer
        6.5" shielded Polyglass midrange
        1" TNV inverted dome tweeter
    Frequency response (±3dB): 40Hz-28kHz
    Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 92dB
    Nominal impedance: 8 ohms

    • Blue Jeans Cable 10-gauge BJC Ten White Speaker Cable
    10-gauge cable with ultrasonically-welded locking banana plugs.
    • Pathos Acoustics Classic One mkIII
    From Pathos Acoustics:

    Integrated amplifier in Class A/AB, hybrid circuit with input tube stage
    2 x 70W @ 8 Ohm, 2 x 130W @ 4 Ohm, 270W in bridged mode (mono)

    Classic One represents a new standard in its price category: it success fully blends in a single chassis a preamplifier and power amplifier, completely separated from each other and provided with their own individual power supplies.
    The pre-stage - or, better, the preamplifier - is purely tube, balanced, pure Class A, extremely low noise, with high intrinsic linearity and without any feedback. It provides an exquisitely tube sound in terms of transparency, air, harmonics and refinement… in one word, musicality.
    The power stage is a solid state power amplifier, high bias current, Class A/AB in order to adequately drive every load. It provides the sound with speed and dynamics, without influencing the tube nature of the sound. The volume control is motorised and remote controlled, the remote itself is in solid wood. Power supplies are over-dimensioned and stabilized. Selected components, pure silver Pathos signal cable wiring, gold plated terminals, high quality materials and refinement at its highest standard are additional benefits provided with the Classic One.
    • Blue Jeans Cable LC-1
    From Blue Jeans Cable:

    The most important attributes of a line-level unbalanced audio cable are (1) shielding, and (2) capacitance. Heavy shielding protects audio signals from interference from outside sources. LC-1 Audio Cable uses a heavy double-braid shield, with one bare copper braid laid directly over another for extreme high coverage and high conductivity to ground. By shrinking the center conductor to 25 AWG and foaming the polyethylene dielectric, we were able to get capacitance down to an extremely low 12.2 pF/ft. Capacitance can be important, particularly in long cable runs, because it contributes to rolloff of higher frequencies. The softer dielectric material and smaller center conductor, meanwhile, make the cable highly flexible and easy to route.
    • Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2 DAC
    From Maverick Audio:

    The Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2 DAC is designed to be a pure dedicated high-end digital to analog converter. The “pure” means not a single unnecessary feature added to the processing circuit. This “minimalist” approach ensures absolute signal purity without any distractions or interference, making the TubeMagic D2 sound very natural without coloration.

    Four digital sources (two coaxial, one optical and one USB) means that computers, laptops, network music devices, media players, game consoles, CD/DVD players and more can be connected concurrently using S/PDIF (Coaxial) , Toslink (Optical)  or USB inputs.
    Two analog audio outputs (one normal analog output and one tube pre-amp output) allow you to connect the TubeMagic D2 to any type of stereo music setup.
    • Pioneer Elite PD-D6-J
    SACD player
    • Nordost Sort Kone AC
    From Nordost:

    The Sort Kone is a directly coupled and mechanically tuned resonance control device, using a sophisticated new approach to the problem of supporting sensitive electronics. 

    Whereas most equipment supports are referred to as Isolation Devices, this actually completely misunderstands the nature of the problem. The most harmful mechanical energy doesn’t enter the equipment from outside; it’s generated internally by the audio circuits and their power supplies. Transformers, power supply capacitors, even the active devices themselves, all vibrate as they operate – and those vibrations occur right where the fragile signal is, creating timing errors that smear and distort the music. The Sort Kone is designed specifically to deal with this threat to audio fidelity.

    Sort Kones provide a “blacker” background to your music. With it comes greater focus, instrumental color, depth, transparency and dynamic range. Your system will sound more natural and more lifelike, your music more lively and engaging, the musicians like better musicians – simply because you’ll finally be able to hear the notes they’re playing, the way they play them and precisely when. So, release the hidden performance that’s lurking in your equipment.

    • Three-part construction employs superior materials in a mechanically tuned configuration.
    • Bypasses soft feet fitted to equipment to provide a direct mechanical ground path for internal energy.
    • Can be used in triplets, quartets or even larger numbers.
    • Height: 56mm
    • Four levels of price and performance, depending on materials employed:

    AC – aluminum post and base in combination with an upgraded ceramic coupling ball.

    • Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Wood Blocks
    From Music Direct:

    Meant to be used in sets of three, the Ayre Myrtle Blocks go between the chassis of the component and the supporting shelf. These replacement feet should be slightly taller than most stock feet. You'll be captivated with the improved musicality these wood blocks provide! 
    • PS Audio Power Port
    From PS Audio:

    The Power Port Classic is our AV Grade high-end AC receptacle that is the starting point for any properly built system. By installing the Power Port AC receptacle in your room you gain an immediate improvement in performance over a standard wall receptacle.

    The Power Port is a custom built, AV Grade isolated ground receptacle that will ensure a life-long level of excellence. The Power Port exceeds hospital grade standards for grip strength, contact resistance and current delivery. Easy to install in your wall, this is one component you need in your listening room as it will help make an immediate improvement.

    15 coats of polished nickel over high-purity copper, with the “grip of Mickey Mantle” and polished nickel plated hardware, this is a must have in your system.

    • APC H-15
    From APC:

    APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V
    Audio-video power protection from blackouts, voltage sags & swells, electrical noise interference and damaging power transients
    Includes: 6ft Gold Plated Coaxial Cable, Rack Mounting Brackets, RJ11 Cable, User Manual

Comments 6

I think it's time to post an update to my system:

Pioneer Elite PD-D6-J SACD player

Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2 DAC with Sparkos Laps Dual Discrete Op Amps and a 1950s Western Electric 396A tube and a W Audio power cord in combination with a Bluesound Node connected with a Blue Jeans Cable silver-plated digital audio cable.

Pathos Classic One MkIII with 1960s Mullard ECC88/6DJ8 tubes and a W Audio power cord connected with Blue Jeans Cable LC-1 stereo audio cables.

Focal Chorus 836v connected with Blue Jeans Ten White speaker cable with welded banana plugs

APC H15 Power Conditioner

The Mullard tubes in the Pathos and W Audio power cables have taken my system to a new level.


I recently replaced the tubes in my Pathos Classic One MkIII amplifier with some vintage Mullards and the improvement was far more significant that I could have hoped for.  It took my system to the next level without doubt.  I would describe the change in sound as being far more detailed while also more smooth which seem to be mutually exclusive terms.  The highs are less prominent than before, but certainly not anything objectionable.

I also upgraded the three op amps in my Maverick Tube Magic D2 DAC with discrete op amps from Sparkos Labs and that also made a significant improvements.  I would describe the change in sound as the bass being more tight and having more visceral punch.  I have a vintage Western Electric 396A tube in the mail for the tube buffer output that should be an improvement over the current tube, but only time will tell.


The Pathos is still my preferred amplifier and the Krell has been relegated to functioning as a power amplifier in my home theater setup.

I managed to prove that I'm a failure as an audiophile last Friday evening when I discovered that the two tubes in my Pathos are not even the same brand.  One is a JJ and the other is Made in Russia.  I've owned it long enough that I should have noticed it much sooner.  I guess I've just never really looked at it with that in mind.  Clearly, the I've been pleased with the sound of the amplifier, but I immediately felt compelled to get some matching tubes.  I found someone that's a member of a Pathos group on FB that's sending me a pair of Mullard tubes that I hope might be an upgrade to my ears over the current tubes.  I should have them next week.  At least the discovery was a good excuse to roll some tubes...


Today I purchased a Krell S-300i integrated amplifier.  There's no guarantee that it'll be better than the Pathos Classic One MkIII, but Krell amplifiers have always drawn me in every time that I've heard a system with one.  At this point I don't see myself giving up the Pathos, so given my limited space things could get interesting.


Nice. Love my Pathos Classic One MkIII.


Updated to add a dedicated circuit and PS Audio Classic wall outlet.  It was an unexpected big improvement.


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