It was time to document my current system.  I'll just start from the speakers and work towards the source.

Focal 836V speakers

Blue Jeans Cable 10 AWG speaker cables with welded banana connectors

Pathos Classic One MKiii with 1960s Mullard Tubes and Waudio 10 AWG power cable.

Audioquest Sydney interconnects

Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2 DAC (with 1950s Western Electric 396A tube and Sparkos Labs 
Dual Discrete Op Amps) and Pangea AC-14XL power cable

Audio Quest Cinnamon Digital Coax

Bluesound Node

APC H15 Power Conditioner and Waudio 10 AWG power cable.

The Mullard tubes really brought the Pathos to life.  I noticed a big difference with the Waudio power cord on my Pathos which led me to try the others which have not necessarily yielded audible improvements.  I also upgraded from BJC interconnects to Audioquest and settled on Sydney.  I also upgraded my digital coax from BJC to Audioquest Cinnamon and didn't hear any audible difference.  

Overall, I couldn't be more pleased with the sound of my system.  Since I upgraded the cables everything is sounding like I'm hearing it for the first time.

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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • AudioQuest Sydney
    RCA interconnects from the Bridges & Falls Series
    • AudioQuest Cinnamon
    Cinnamon Digital Coax
    • Pangea Audio AC-14XL
    Power Cable
    • Waudio Power Cable
    10 AWG Power Cable

Comments 8


I do appreciate the suggestions.  Do you have any specific suggestions as I am curious.  I've considered putting something under my amplifier and DAC since they both have tubes.

The logistics of my home and family essentially exclude any ability to pull my speakers out from the wall.  It's a compromise that I live with.  If I get serious, I will remove the grill covers and temporarily relocate some of the stuff that sits in the room between me and the speakers.  Because we have a loveseat opposite the speakers, my listening position is even a little to the left.  This is partly why I don't need to chase every tweak to the Nth degree, my setup is less that ideal.


It looks like you are well on your journey. I am a lover of tubes as well. Can I suggest two things That could bump your sonics significantly? I would put some springs under the speakers and the tube amplifier as well. I assume when you listen to your hifi  you pull the speakers forward Ahead of the cabinetry. The springs have the general effect of producing more clarity, a wider and deeper sound stage while impacting dynamics as well. A very pleasant, low cost tweak


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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