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completely revamped my system over the past six months or so, and I decided to
go all-digital, all tubes for the time-being, with plans to return to vinyl as
my tastes evolve. My major upgrade was going from the Sonus faber
Chameleons to the Bowers and Wilkins 804 D3, which are absolutely unbelievable
speakers. I imagine improvements beyond the 804 are incremental and less
astounding than the switch from the Chameleons.
At any rate, I'm
experimenting with tubed-based components now, and the HUGE bandwidth that the
PrimaLuna Prologue Five provides drives the 804s brilliantly with headroom to
spare; I can't turn the volume knob beyond the 9-o'clock position without
waking up the entire household. Yes...a tube amp that possesses
significant bottom end (along with the expected luscious midrange and airy
highs). I don't often need the REL S/5 sub as the B&W/PrimaLuna
pairing represents the best-sounding speaker/amplifier combination that I've
ever heard, but the REL definitely adds body to every genre of music. The 804s are connected to the amp with
AudioQuest Gibraltar speaker cables.
I also added an Oppo
UDP-205 for SACD and Blu-ray (a marvelous performer with both), but since I
wanted to try an all-tube-based system for critical music listening, I upgraded
to a PrimaLuna Prologue Three preamp and Prologue Classic CD player, both
tube-based components, and both of which are somewhat of a rarity at their
price points in that they employ tube instead of solid state rectification. Both are dual-mono designs with potted
toroidal transformers, as well, with point-to-point wiring instead of flimsy
circuit boards. I also replaced the
tubes in the Prologue Three with all-new PrimaLuna-branded 5AR4, 12AX7, and
12AU7 tubes. CDs on this system sound
like analog without all of the hassle associated with vinyl. I retained the Bluesound Node 2 streamer from
the previous system to access MQA via Tidal Masters.
I don’t foresee the
need to upgrade anything else for quite some time as I’m enjoying my own personal
audio nirvana with this system. Please
provide your feedback!