Updated early 2020: Merry Christmas to me! I acquired a demo set of KEF Ref 1 in gloss black. They sound just amazing! Removing the bass from the UniQ makes a tremendous difference. These are significantly better than the LS50s in every way imaginable. I basically don't need the sub any more.
Updated mid to late 2019: The small room experiment was a fail. Even with a full set of GIK room treatments, I couldn't get it where I wanted. So, back up to the end of the bonus room above the garage it goes. You can see some of the room treatments in the new shot. You can also see that I lowered the rack by doubling it up so that it would reduce some reflections from the speakers. Acoustic curtains with another GIK panel hung behind it covers a window and cleans up the imaging. I also doubled up the sheetrock on one of the walls to control sound transmission to a bedroom, and built a DIY sound deadening barrier for the doorway (there is no door to this room). Sounds great, but now I have to share the space with my kids playing video games in the other end of the room!
This is my modest 2-channel only system - aka my relaxation station where I unwind from time to time. It is finally not confined to a corner of an upstair room and gets a new home in our home office space! This is, like everyone else's system, a work in progress, and probably always will be. It's my first 2-channel set up that has not also had to serve home theater duty. I've tried to hit balance points of budget to performance, fully recognizing that better sound can be had. I'm not quite at the point of diminishing returns yet, but aim to find that swing point someday. Many of these pieces have been bought here on Audiogon.
I'm quite enchanted by the imaging and detail from the KEFs, and they pair reasonably well with the Class D amp in the Peachtree. I prefer the tube buffer off on the Peachtree, as it tends toward cleaner sound that way - the exception is on lower quality recordings, where engaging the tube helps smooth things over. The Gumby warms the sound just a bit compared with the Sabre DAC chips in the Peachtree or the Oppo and removes just a bit of glare from the KEFs. In this setup, there are several recordings where the space just expands and the speakers truly disappear.
For later night listening, the Jot + HE 560s is great. Perhaps a bit is missing on the imaging from the Hifiman, but their spaciousness, neutral tonality, and tremendous bass extension make for some very fun (and long) sessions after the family retires for the evening. The difference between balanced output and single ended output from the Gumby (at least into my Jot and headphones) is not at all subtle and is very much preferred. So, too, is the balanced out on the headamp - there is much more power and "weight" behind the sound.
Wishlist and planned upgrades:
I bought the ACA amp kit to explore pure Class A sound. Unfortunately, the current-hungry KEFs just don't work well with them. BUT, what does come out of the speakers with them is truly natural imaging (maybe not as deep, but certainly wider than the soundstage through the Peachtree), and the speakers melt away into nothingness more often with these amps. I will eventually buy a much more powerful Class A (or at least high bias AB) to push the KEFs properly. Probably something in the Pass XA series or a Parasound JC1 or JC5 or similar would suit.
Mentioned above is that the Gumby sounds better with balanced outs - but my integrated amp does not accept these. To go along with a future amp upgrade, I will explore a preamp with balanced ins as well.