Two-chassis SET stereo amplifier with separate power supply. 1.5 watts per channel using 45 output tubes and 3.5 wpc using 2A3s. I'm using old stock RCA 6A6s as a driver tube. Here is a ranked list of the output tubes I have tried so far.
1. NOS globe shape Cunningham 45s (CX-345)
2. Sophia Electric 300B 2.5v (a drop-in replacement for 2A3s)
3. NOS RCA globe shape 45s
4. National Union ST shape 45s
5. EML solid plate 45s
6. Sovtek 2A3
Phonostage: Thomas Mayer D3a Phono Preamplifier
Linestage: Thomas Mayer 10Y Line Preamplifier
Turntable: Reed Muse 3C
I've experimented with both drive systems and I'm using the friction drive rather than the belt drive.
I've replaced the stock power supply with a linear power supply.
Tone Arm/Phono Cable: Cardas 34 AWG Clear
Tonearm: Airtangent 1b
-- I've tried and owned a number of top pivoting tonearms, including those from Reed and Schröder, but I prefer the AT by a wide margin.
Cartridge: London Decca Reference
I love the immediacy and front-row presentation of this cartridge.
Many people say that you need to keep your records perfectly clean with this cart but experience tells me that it's the stylus, more than the lps, that needs to be kept clean. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser does a great job in this respect.
CD Transport: CEC TL5
DAC: Audio Note UK DAC 0.1x
Distributed subwoofer system: AudioKinesis Swarm Subwoofer System
4 walnut subs; 2 amplifiers.
I've added a high-pass filter between the preamp and my main amp. The main speakers are 3dB down at 60Hz.
Interconnects, Speaker Cables, Power cords: an assortment
Crimson R.M Music Link
Power Cords: Volex 17504
Some pro audio stuff.
I used to spend a lot of money on wire but don't anymore
Power Treatment: Akiko Audio Corelli
Grounding: Entreq Silver Tellus
With four Siltech Zero Ohm Link grounding wires. (9 AWG)
Room Treatment: Stein Music Harmonizer System
6 Harmonizers (all of them have been upgraded to the "Signature" versions).
Though I have 5 Blue Diamonds and 9 Black Stones, I'm not currently using any of them. I find that the Harmonizers, on their own, sound most natural with my speakers and room.
Room Treatment: Stein Music E-Pads
on the windows
Record and stylus treatment: Stein Music DE3 LP Conditioner
just when you thought vinyl couldn't sound any better...
Record and stylus treatment: Keith Monks, The Archivist. etc.
Liquid for RCM: AUDIO INTELLIGENT - PREMIUM ONE-STEP FORMULA #6.
Stylus cleaning: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
LP cleaning: Compressed air machine or the Nagaoka CL-1000 Rolling Record Cleaner.
Exlibris, Could you check with an electrician and ask if they could install a different type of dimmer? Maybe they know of some that will not create noise. Recording studios use dimmers so there must be type that would work for you. Regards Jet
Thanks for the information. The one passive one that I did try was probably the best sounding pc that I have tried but it didn't do much to clean up the worst of the AC noise (dimmer switch noise, for instance). Then again, the non-passive ones did nothing for this either.
I have now tried the Audience aR6-TS and the Bybee Stealth Power Purifier in my system. In both cases I much preferred my stereo plugged straight into the wall. At this point Ive pretty much given up on audiophile power conditioning.
I was in similar boat so I demoed a passive Weizhi PRS-6 and never looked back. Now I have 2, one for mono amps and the other for rest of system.
I heard good things on HB Cable Design Power Distributors too.
I installed a Cutler Hammer Isolation tranny from the dedicated line that is feeding my amp and it cleaned up the bit of 120hz hash that was just barely audible when I put my ear to the speaker. It a high quality industrial unit that is totally quiet and small.
I have now tried the Audience aR6-TS and the Bybee Stealth Power Purifier in my system. In both cases I much preferred my stereo plugged straight into the wall. At this point Ive pretty much given up on audiophile power conditioning. I still don't like the idea of living with an industrial transformer in my apartment so I think I may just live with the fact that my AC can get bad at times and that I'm likely to get a buzzing noise through my speakers if my lights with dimmer switches are turned on.
I've put the idea of an industrial isolation transformer on hold for now in favour of finding a solution that is easier to implement. As such, I will be demoing some power conditioners in my system. These include: The Bybee Stealth; a number of products from Blue Circle; and a unit from Audience. If none of these work I will revisit the idea of the industrial transformer.
Arthursmuck, I've owned a few amps but I'm certainly no expert on mainstream amps. I'll try and say something of value: I fell in love with SET amps after using them, basically for a laugh, with some very inefficient MBL 101E speakers that I used to own. I was hooked by the realism of voices and the emotional impact of these amps (Mastersound 300B monoblocks). Since then I've heard Mastersound 845 amps and the Audio Note UK Jinro which uses 211s. Both of these left me cold emotionally. Some might say that they sound more 'realistic' compared to the 'romantic' Mastersound 300B or the little Audio Note UK Conqueror (which I also like) but I just think they sound more sterile. Then along came the Thomas Mayer 45 amp. The warm romance of the typical 300B was gone but all the emotion was still there. There is a 'matter of fact' realism with this amp that never strays toward being sterile or analytical. Having said that, if you pop in some Sovtek 2A3s then it does get sterile and analytical. With 45s in this amp there is a lot of tonal shading and the amp offers so many important musical cues that you often think you know what a musician is feeling or intending. Of less importance is the fact that this amp does very well across the frequency spectrum (assuming you have efficient speakers)
The isolation transformer was just for my system rather than the whole condo. In the end I changed my plan and ordered this 1.8kVA isolation transformer. It will go on the line just before my system rather than at the point where the AC enters my unit. I'll post about its effectiveness.
Interesting. Will that handle your entire condo, or dedicated to your system's circuit(s)? If your Condo, there may be a concern that other "dirty" appliances that generate their own noise might have an impact. I'm not sure about this, but it popped into my head.
Exlibris Thank you for your clarity and honesty. My dealer has also recommended a humidifier. You're right, it's worth the gamble with the power cords. Not really a gamble for what they cost. I'm getting mono blocks, and initially have little extra for high end power cords. I'm using a PS Audio Regenerator and it made a big difference. However, I'm now considering a Silver Circle Audio conditioner down the road.
I'll preface this by saying that I live in an apartment and I do have a problem with noise from other units/the grid coming into my system on the ground line. I'm researching solutions as we speak.
The Entreq boxes do not help with this problem but they do seem to solve grounding issues (issues I wasn't even aware of) within individual components. They bring a real sense or ease and naturalness to the presentation and make it so much more emotionally and sonically satisfying.
As for the power cords, they really do seem counter-intuitive. They should sound bad but I like them. For $10 they are worth the gamble. I used to have $1,500 cords and I like these much more. They simply sound "right." And, the expensive cords weren't any quieter nor did they help with the problems in my preface.
Its dry up here in the winter and I always run a humidifier. It may be my imagination but everything sounds better when the air is humidified. I read that it is easier for speakers to move 'wet' air as opposed to dry air and maybe that has something to do with it. It is also better for playing LPs. I'm not sure what effect the Entreq would have on dryness and static problems.
Malcolmmonfort, I wasn't trying to correct any problems with the Stein Speaker Match Signature. These were simply lent to me by a friend to try out. They certainly added a palpable realism to my particular system. True story: when I first put them in my girlfriend started laughing and said she had to leave the room. I asked why and, still laughing, she said she was creeped out that there seemed to be real, life-sized people in the room singing to her.
A brilliantly planned and executed system. Simple and stunning. Well done. I am having built a SET amp and realize the importance of low noise. I am intrigued by the Entreq boxes that you've added, but they were unknown to me until I read your posts. At the same time, you've gone with simple power cords and you're really liking the sound. Do you feel that the grounding boxes are eliminating noise, allowing you to use such cords? If so, that would be an eye opener for many of us? I live in Colorado, so dry, and was wondering if the boxes might also solve static problems?
Mribob, I went to a dealer's last weekend to demo a pair of Elac super tweeters. I noticed the place was filled with all these boxes from Sweden and I asked my dealer what these were. I had never heard of Entreq or 'grounding boxes' but he offered to give me a demo so I said sure. As you say, they remove grunge, and provide quieter backgrounds and deeper sound stages. What sold me personally on this product, however, was the fact that so much more emotion and inner detail comes through. Everything becomes more relaxed and more 'musical.' You get a better sense of the flow of the music and it is much easier to sense the intention and emotion of the performers. I feel it is worthwhile but it certainly isn't cheap. My girlfriend was skeptical when I brought it home but she couldn't believe the difference it made to the ease and flow of music through my system.