Description

Here's my system... I put it up primarily so that people can see what my recommendations/opinions are based (biased) upon.  I think I'm done with major changes at this point and am just playing with small stuff to bring the most out of my components.

A LITTLE HISTORY:  I bought my first stereo equipment from Wal-Mart when I was 13 and have been into music and music reproduction ever since.  Got some big MTX speakers for my 16th birthday, and got into hi-fi when I was in graduate school at Ohio State University (thanks Progressive Audio).  Lived in shared houses for many years and have been a bad neighbor on many weekend nights... I'm sorry folks, thanks for your tolerance. 

PAST SYSTEMS:  Built around 2005 when I first joined the site, my first real system was a pair of Thiel 1.6s driven by a Classe CAP-151 and an Exemplar modified Denon 2910.  The Classe won out over a Bel Canto eVo2i I also auditioned.  Five years later I upgraded to Thiel 2.4s, driven by a Pass Labs INT-30A and PS Audio Perfectwave DAC.  The INT-30A won out over a Pass Labs X250.5 and a McIntosh MC402.

After blowing yet another set of Thiel drivers and seeing the company be on the ropes after Jim's death, I did a lot of reading to figure out what to do next. Based on the recommendations of member Charles1dad, I ended up moving to the high efficiency Coincident Super Eclipse IIIs (92db sensitivity, 14ohm impedance).  One draw of these speakers was that they would allow me to try different amplifier topologies.  After purchase, I put my Pass Labs INT-30A up against a First Watt SIT-2 and a pair of 8W Coincident Frankenstein 300b monoblocks.  Loved, loved, the all Coincident combination and the experience piqued my interest in trying the company's top of the line speakers, the Pure Reference Extremes. Although they've been a frustrating challenge and have taken almost two years to coax into a truly successful state, they are the cornerstone of my current system.

CURRENT SYSTEM:  

SPEAKERS:  The 94db, 8 ohm Coincident PREs have only a single capacitor and single inductor in their crossover.  The mid-range driver goes straight to the amplifier.  The capacitor provides high pass filtering for the accuton ceramic tweeter.  It responds very strongly to capacitor changes and (as promised by others) I've found the Duelund tinned copper CAST to be the best.  Despite being advertised as having Mundorfs, my PREs came with the run of the mill Solens pictured above.  I replaced those with ClarityCaps bypassed by Duelund .01uF sliver foils, replaced those with Jupiter Copper Foils, and then replaced those with the Duelunds.  The ClarityCaps were "ruler flat", the stock Solens were a bit noisy, but with some nice color/richness, and the Jupiters combined the best attributes of the two.  The Duelunds are better in every way.  Natural, rich in color, and somehow also the most accurate/detailed of the bunch.  Highly recommended.  I found I didn't like the sound of adding bypass capacitors to the speaker crossover, as it seemed to produce some smearing or phasiness that made me uncomfortable.  

These speakers are (as someone stated in my system comments) brutally revealing.  You can hear every single change in the system, for better or worse... and it took almost two years of consistent effort to get them to sound like the reference speakers they were meant to be.  I blame some of this on designer Isreal Blume and his suggestion that they can be run off of 8 watts.  They cannot.  It took adding 500W/channel dedicated subwoofer amplifiers for the bass to truly come alive.

I use Tempo Electric's solid core .9999 pure silver wire in an oversized teflon jacket to run the Coincident head units, and Duelund tinned copper in oiled cotton cables for the bass units.  I found the Duelunds to be way better than the anti-cables I had from my previous system, and the Tempo Electrics were another step up.  Better imaging, naturalness, and tonality.  They're also a relative bargain.  Highly recommended.

AMPLIFICATION:  Despite the advertised specs, the Coincident PREs are less efficient than the Super Eclipses IIIs and I was forced to search out new amplifiers to replace my beloved Coincident Frankenstein 300bs (run with Mullard CV378 rectifiers and EML XLS 300bs). The Franks simply couldn't drive the PREs in the low frequencies and would start to distort on loud music.

I tried a Lyngdorf 3400, Atma-Sphere M60s, and a Pass Labs XA25, but in each case settled on the Franks despite their poor bass performance.  Eventually I decided to build a DIY First Watt F4.  It only provides current gain and my plan was to use it as a booster amp to power the PREs' bass units while being driven directly by the speaker outputs of the Franks.  Unfortunately, bi-amping killed the speakers' coherency.  That was also true when I tried pairing the Franks & Lyngdorf using the latter's active crossover.

To my surprise, when I tried the F4 as the sole amplifier of the PREs it beat out the Franks.  It retained a great deal of the sweetness of the Franks, improved the bass, improved clarity, and reduced distortion.  Soundstaging is also amazing.  Perhaps there's been a small reduction in tonal color.  After having it in the system for a month, I put the Franks back in and it was clear that there was no going back.  The F4 is based on a simple, no feedback Class A circuit and the PREs really sing with them.  These speakers really do seem to prefer simplicity.  

Out of curiosity, and a desire to extract still more bass impact from the speakers, I also built a "poor man's SIT3", the SissySIT designed by diyaudio's Zen Mod and based on the First Watt SIT3 circuit.  Although it did improve bass response and provided amazing imaging, it proved too incisive for the accuton tweeters.  I regularly found myself hearing too much bite/brightness and eventually moved back to the F4s, which are just silky smooth with these speakers.  

Upon reading the recommendations of Duke from AudioKinesis, one day I impulse purchased a pair of Dayton Audio's SA1000 subwoofer amplifiers to see if I could use them to further improve the bass response of the Coincidents without losing too much coherency.  In short, adding these amplifiers was a revelation.  Suddenly I had the full bass foundation that had been missing from my music.  These amplifiers provide 500 watts of Class AB power.  Supposedly they are designed from a Bob Carver circuit.  

I run a signal into the LFE input to bypass all their crossover settings and only use gain (and potentially phase) controls to match the output to my F4s.  Removing the subwoofer load from the F4s and adding the bass foundation to the music has had a huge impact on imaging.  The sound is also cleaner and somehow sweeter.  I'm glad Parts Express has a 45-day demo period, probably wouldn't have experienced what the Coincidents could do if not.

The F4s use custom 12ga Furutech FP-S032N based power cords from member Grannyring's Acoustic BBQ line.  Right now the Daytons are stock, but I will eventually add better power cords and open them up to replace some components with better parts.

PREAMPLIFIER:  Adding the Don Sachs 6SN7-based preamp has greatly improved the sound of my system and I simply can not go back to using my DAC direct.  This was true both with my PS Audio Perfectwave DAC that has a less than ideal volume control (i.e., it throws away bits below a certain level) and with the PS Audio Directstream DAC's improved volume control (full resolution at all levels).  This pre seems to just make the music better in every way.  It is not at all syrupy or tubey, just passes on the sound of the source and makes it better.  

Having gotten into modding my gear, I also like that the preamplifier is based on a kit (the VTA SP-14) that I can read about so I can learn the circuit.  That fact and the unit's two separate outputs encouraged me to try different capacitors.  Don recommends Miflex copper foils, but I found them a bit two-dimensional and veiled in my system.  I installed Mundorf Supremes and found that the system was capable of a lot more front to back layering than revealed by the Miflexs.  I then put in Mundorf Supreme Silver/Gold/Oils.  They added in a nice touch of richness over the plain Supremes while retaining all the wonderful soundstage depth.  I also tried TFTF V-Caps from VH Audio, but they resulted in a huge tonal shift that I didn't like at all... it was like putting a fluorescent blue filter on the music.  Eventually replaced the Mundorf Supreme SGO with the tinned copper CAST Duelunds.  Although I've lost the last touch of depth offered by the Mundorfs, the Duelunds are quieter, more natural, and have a bit better tonality.   

I run the preamp with a pair of Sylvania JAN VT231s (copper rods) as the main tubes and RCA grey glass VT231s as the buffer tubes.  Compared to the stock CV181zs, these tubes reduce the pre's punch/impact a bit, but greatly increases smoothness, imaging, and front-to-back layering.  I use the standard 6X5GT rectifier Don provides.

The preamplifier connects to my F4s via Ocellia Silver Reference RCA interconnects and is powered by a DIY DH Labs Red Wave AC cord with Furutech copper screw on connectors. I tried building my own DIY interconnects using the Duelund 16ga wires and KLEI absolute harmony plugs, but the Ocellia cables were significantly better.  

DAC:  After using PS Audio Perfectwave DAC MKII for many years (and preferring it to the Directstream DAC, to which I "upgraded" twice), I have finally moved on an Audio Mirror's Tubadour III SE.  This DAC is based on Analog Device's AD1865N-K R2R chip, has an output stage that can utilize 5977, 6N1P, 6DJ8, ECC88, 6922 and 6H23P tubes, and has an I2S input to maximize signal fidelity.  The SE model has isoacoustics anti-vibration feet, Deulund tinned-copper CAST capacitors, silver RCA outputs,  Z-Foil "naked"  Vishay resistors, and a Furutech IEC connector.

The AM produces just beautiful, grain free music that flows with an amazing, natural tone.  The imaging/soundstaging capacities of this DAC are just spectacular and it outperforms my prior PS Audio Perfectwave and Directstream DACs in every regard.  I have listened extensively to the Lampizator Amber 3, Matrix X-Sabre Pro, iFi iDSD Pro, and Shiit Bifrost 2 in my system and feel that the AM is the best of the bunch. 

Its AC is provided by a DIY DH Labs Power Plus AC cord with Chinese copy Furutech Rhodium screw on connectors.  It connects to my preamplifier using VH Audio's DIY "Fine Silver" RCA Interconnect (see component details for a full description).  A great upgrade over my previous MIT XLR cables (a lost model number from many years ago).

SOURCE:  I feed my DAC with the Magna Mano ULTRA network streamer.  This streamer is based on a highly modified raspberry pi that runs the Logitech Media Server software.  It has an overbuilt linear power supply, low noise parts, and is a very low jitter solution.  

According to Mano:  "Two CRYSTEK femto clocks are applied for extremely detailed signal handling exact timing and low jitter thanks to these extreme accurate clocks powered by low noise (nV) discrete regulators. The device is powered by a discrete Class A power supply with more than 20.000uF power capacity, a high quality R-Core transformer and digital audio circuits are powered by ultra-low dsicrete noise regulator."

I bought it over the more standard streamer alternatives because it has an I2S output that allows me to feed the DAC through the best signal path possible.  All my music is played through this source.  I serve it lossless Tidal files via UPNP using the BubbleUPNP software on an Android tablet.

ROOM:  Some compromises have been made in order to blend the stereo with a video system and drop it into the primary living space.  I'd love a dedicated room, but would also suffer greatly removing the system from living room where it is the daily driver for music, a show or two, and some PS4 play.  The room is 19' across, 16' deep, with 23' peaked ceilings.  It opens up to the rest of the house in two places.  Half of the "back wall" is open to the dining room, which drops back another 9'.  The 23' vaulted ceiling also opens up to a second story master bedroom/loft space.  This all makes it so that the stereo is basically in charge of pressurizing the entire house except for a spare bedroom and small basement.  Fortunately I am able to set it up in such a way that the speakers are not parallel or perpendicular to any walls.  It's on the room diagonal, a placement forced by the location of the front door and attached dining room.  

This has a couple benefits, one being that the equipment cabinet and TV can be pushed further back away from the speakers.  The second is that the traditional side wall first reflection points aren't a problem.  Aside from a rug over the hardwood floor, there are no room treatments... don't really know where to put them.

POWER, CABLES, ETC:  As much as I'm loath to admit it, I have found that all of these tiny variables matter.  This wasn't really true (or the impact was too small to care) with my other systems, but the Coincident PREs reveal the impact of every small change.  This has made it clear that cables, power cords, and fuses can have a very substantial impact.  I find it incredibly frustrating that I don't understand how or why the fuses or power cords could possibly matter, but in this system they do.  Again, curious to try more than my current DIY solutions, but also scared to go down the path...

Based on recommendations from Ralph Karsten @ Atma-Sphere, I purchased an Elgar 6006B to condition the power to my system.  I run everything except my amplifiers off of its perfect sine wave.  Given its age, it is recommended to replace all capacitors in the unit, which is on my to do list.  Unfortunately I can't get myself to listen to the stereo without it in the chain, so I haven't gotten around to "fixing" my unit yet.  The PREs' accuton tweeters can get aggressive and removing distortion from the incoming power is essential to keeping them warm and inviting.  Note that this unit must be installed in a separate room, as its (industrial) fan and transformer are both too loud for a listening room.  Also, it's heavy AF.  I purchased the Elgar because despite the dedicated lines, I still got some electrical feedback from electronics in other lines (e.g., a slight pop noise when an LED bulb was turned on).  The Elgar has completely eliminated that issue.

The stereo is on its own dedicated circuit with two 10ga romex lines both run off the same leg of the incoming power.  The Elgar runs one line, and my amps reside on the other.  

~~~~~

Happy to field comments.  Hopefully some folks find the information useful.  Thanks to all the people who have written about their experiences and thereby helped me build the system... almost all of it was purchased blind without prior exposure, so finding some trustworthy voices out there in the digital forest has been incredibly useful. Thanks folks.
Read more...

Room Details

Dimensions: 16’ × 19’  Medium
Ceiling: 23’


Components Toggle details

    • Coincident Speaker Technology Pure Reference Extreme with Modified Duelund Crossovers
    Very revealing.  94db efficient, with a flat 8 ohm impedance.  Accuton ceramic drivers on the head units.  12" aluminum bass drivers on the subs.  

    A single inductor provides low-pass for the subwoofers and a single 4.7uF capacitor provides high pass for the tweeters.  The midrange is connected directly to the amp.

    I have upgraded the capacitor to a Duelund Tinned-Copper CAST and it was a wonderful change.  More clarity, better imaging, and more natural tonality over the stock Solen capacitors.
    • First Watt F4 Monoblocks (DIY)
    A DIY build with help from the diyaudio.com/passlabs community.
    • Don Sachs Audio DS-2 6SN7 Preamplifier
    Don's modification of the SP-14 6SN7 circuit.
    • Dayton Audio SA1000 Monoblock Subwoofer Amplifers
    I run my Coincident subwoofer units with a pair of these Dayton Audio's subwoofer amplifiers.  I bypass all of the amp's crossover circuitry and only utilize the gain setting (phase is also adjustable) to match output levels to my main amplifiers.  500 watts of  Class AB into 8 ohms.
    • Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE
    A non-oversampling dac based on Analog Device's AD1865N-K R2R chip.  An output stage that can utilize 5977, 6N1P, 6DJ8, ECC88, 6922 and 6H23P tubes.  
    • Magna Mano ULTRA Network Streamer
    A highly modified raspberry pi based network streamer running logitech media server software.  Low noise, low jitter, with a linear power supply.  Lossless Tidal files are streamed via UPNP and fed to my DAC over an I2S connection.
    • Duelund Coherent Audio Tinned Copper Speaker Wire
    16ga to the PRE head units, 12ga to the PRE subwoofers.
    • Ocellia Silver Reference RCA interconnects
    2m connections to the monoblocks.
    • VH Audio DIY 28ga Fine Silver RCA Interconnect (w KLEI Absolute Harmony)
    Interconnects for the DAC -> Preamp connection.  Built using VH Audio's "UniCrystal OCC .99999 Solid Core Silver Wire w/ Cotton insulation" wrapped around a teflon tube core in a double-helix design and terminated with KLEI Absolute Harmony RCA connectors.  See: https://www.venhaus1.com/diysilverinterconnects.html
    • Duelund Coherent Audio 4.7uF Tinned Copper CAST Capacitors
    The only component in the Coincident PRE high pass crossover...
    • Elgar 6006B Power Conditioner
    Industrial power conditioner... a great improvement to the digital system, but must be installed in a separate room.
    • Tempo Electric 16ga .9999 Solid Core Silver Speaker Wires
    .9999 pure silver solid core speaker cables in an oversized teflon jacket.  Beautiful imaging and natural tonality.  Everything just sounds more real and natural. These cables deserve more attention. 

Comments 33

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Owner
Recently finished a dac shootout... had the Lampizator Amber 3, Audio Mirror Tubadour 3 SE, ifi iDSD pro, and Shiit Bifrost 2 on hand.  

In my system, the Audio Mirror was the winner.  To my ears, it was the most real sounding of the bunch.  It has beautiful "meat on the bones" and was the most holographic.  The Amber sounded good, but in a very different way.  For me, it was brighter and more lively.  The soundstage was huge, but had less depth and liquidity than the AM.  I also liked the iFi iDSD pro (used in tube+ mode with the bitperfect filter).  It had great tonality, but was significantly flatter and less 3-dimensional than the AM.  I think more people should give it a shot.  The Shiit was good. Very even-handed and competent, but more "digital sounding" to my ears.  My friend was listening blind and liked it the second best of the group (behind the AM).  

Despite its king-of-the-hill status in specs (see Audio Science Review), I did not enjoy the Matrix x-Sabre Pro.  It was very quiet and clean, with a nice mellow sound, but also a bit "grey" and sterile.  I also did not like the PS Audio Directream, which just sounded wrong in my system.  It felt disjointed.  I don't know what the situation is, but for some reason it doesn't work with my ears.  Unlike others, I actually preferred the PerfectWave over it (twice - as I tried upgrading two times over a 4 year span).  

All in all, it was great to finally listen to a wide range of sources, and I could enjoy most of the ones in the stable.  The experience also brought me closer to my AM T3-SE. A beautiful, highly recommended dac.

cal3713

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Owner
@ivan_nosnibor Thanks Ivan.  Still very much a work in progress, but the Coincident PRE's always provide honest feedback, which definitely rewards experimentation.  And I like learning about the role of all the small stuff, like coupling & crossover cap effects.  It's been nice learning that nothing about the gear is sacred... just people putting together materials and liking or disliking something about the sound.

cal3713

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Owner
@gibsonian I really like the DS. It's great and improved every part of my system. Haven't tried all that many pre's though. It's better than source direct and outperformed a hornshoppe "the truth" in my system. I'll never go back to source direct. Would love to try some more competitors though...

cal3713

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Systems like this one push the boundaries of solving the kinds of problems that manufacturers consistently may not deem important enough to solve on our behalf. I don't think we need to spend 'buckets of cash', just be willing maybe to do what it takes to solve the big and little problems wherever they come up. My kind of system! And thanks for all the pics and descriptions, that really helps!

ivan_nosnibor

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Hey Cal - DS 6SN7 pre keeps coming into my view for some reason, and I'm intrigued.   Can you comment on this piece and what your thoughts were after adding to your quite well thought out system?

gibsonian

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Owner
Thanks CY, much appreciated.  My experience in building this system has certainly taught me that every component impression is *completely* system dependent, and I think the PSA DSD is a great example of this. Based on the reviews I simply can't contest that it must sound spectacular in some systems.  For whatever reason it never did that in mine.  I wish I knew what the key variable is.  Perhaps it's just different brains/ears that are sensitive to different aspects of signal processing.  Who knows... 

In any case, I just got on the system page today to update it, and as you'll see, I finally moved on from the PWD.  

I'm now using an Audio Mirror Tubadour III SE that I absolutely love.  Given that I've moved on to solid state amplification, I think having some tube sweetness in both my source and preamp really brings the system together.  

Also, this dac is just fabulous with a wonderful tone and amazing imaging.  And I like that it's based on an old chip so I don't have to obsess over every new product.  I'd still love to hear some of the modern DACs from Mytek and Bricasti to see what they sound like, but am incredibly happy with the Audio Mirror.

cal3713

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Cal, your system is both a labor of love and a work of art.  Thanks for sharing its history and evolution.  You're in a valuable position to evaluate the Thiel approach of low efficiency and high power with the Coincident approach of vice-versa.  And congrats on what has to be an incredible listening experience in your room.

I love that you stuck with the PWDII, as that's a testimony to its very-real qualities.  When I upgraded my PWDII to DSD-spec, though, there was no looking back.  Getting firmware updates to the DSD is a real thrill, and the recent Snowmass update is pretty stunning to these ears.  But chapeau to you for doing the careful comparison and sticking to your guns.

Thanks again for sharing so much detail on such a well-put-together system.

cymbop

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Owner
UPDATE:  Replaced my MIT XLR interconnects for the DAC -> Preamp connection with VH Audio's DIY silver interconnect. Built using VH Audio's "UniCrystal OCC .99999 Solid Core Silver Wire w/ Cotton insulation" wrapped around a teflon tube core in a double-helix design and terminated with KLEI Absolute Harmony RCA connectors.  See: https://www.venhaus1.com/diysilverinterconnects.html

A wonderful upgrade over the old cables.  Just more real sounding... and it lets me bypass a transformer in the preamp. 

cal3713

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Owner
@r_f_sayles Indeed.  Brutally revealing is certainly a proper descriptor.  They let you know about every mm of the chain.  I'd love to hear more about what you've built around yours if you've got the time to post details (here or on your own page).  

And certainly the Duelund caps are a great step in the direction you want to go, really highly recommended.  Do be careful attempting to remove the midrange.  When I bought my pair they were damaged in shipping and I had to replace a midrange driver.  I simply could not get the thing to budge and just ended up cutting out the ceramic layer so I could get my hands directly on the metal supports to pull it out.  It was still incredibly difficult.  

The tweeters are much easier to move around, but unfortunately that opening won't be big enough to get many high end capacitors inside the cabinet.  I think the Duelund's will fit in the bottom of the cabinet because they're flat (Jupiters and other large cylinder styled caps will not) but I have not tried because I had so much trouble removing the one midrange.  

On the plus side, getting the cap into a quieter external environment is supposed to be a plus...

Anyway, please do post more details about your PRE journey if you've got the time.  

cal3713

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Owner
@billheiser Those are the Coincident Super Eclipse IIIs.

cal3713

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Nice to hear you have tamed the CPREt's Cal. They can be brutal revealers! I know because I live with a pair. Great kit you have there. 

I would love to hear more about your journey with evolving the crossovers. Not much of a DIY guy myself, but a lot of positive buzz is in the air about the virtues of the Duelund caps and wire and your system posting has lit a bit of a flame under me in regards to sweetening the Israel's attempt at a reference.

Anyway, happy listening and congrat's on the progress toward musical bliss!

r_f_sayles

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What are the speakers shown in the view from over the railing?

billheiser

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Owner
And sorry, power cords are 12ga Furutech FP-S032N based power cords from member Grannyring's Acoustic BBQ line. They've got Chinese copies of the furutech carbon/rhodium connectors. He sells for cost plus a small labor fee (and commented below if you want to contact him for a cord).  Makes highly regarded Duelund-based interconnects too...

cal3713

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Owner
@scott_wolff Thanks, wish I'd tried them, but I didn't do anything besides the duelund vs stock comparison.  I've actually pm'd a couple other owners of the PRE's, and it's a pretty strong consensus that the Frank's don't provide enough power. Both of the other two had purchased and sold Frankenstein's as well. Both recommended amps with at least 30 watts...

cal3713

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Owner
@4581 You're not into cheap knockoff rugs??

cal3713

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Cal –

 

Many compliments on the system, especially the speaker crossover. With the bass-shy-ness with the Frankenstein’s – ever consider VH Audio’s Teflon’s? These were introduced into one of many mods for my stereo Frankenamp’s coupling caps. The result was a tremendous (in a good way) bass improvement in clarity and pitch with equally beneficial ‘cleaning up’ of the remaining audioband. Coincidently, my speaker designer also used an all Dueland crossover complement (VSF Stacked Copper caps, CAST Inductors & sandbar resistors). Love ‘em.

Btw, what kind/brand of power cord is that pictured in the system?

Sincerely,

Scott

scott_wolff

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Cal,
Your system/components look great and probably sound great, but I'm wondering about that rug?

4581

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Owner
@islandmandan The m2 will actually have 15 db more gain than the F4. The transformer in the m2 provides more gain, but increases noise and distortion.

cal3713

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Cal, as I recall, the M2 just didn't have enough gain. I was using a Sonic Euphoria passive pre at the time. I sold the SE and built the Transcendent Sounds Grounded Grid (with certain parts and tube upgrades, and Bent Audio remote volume control).

It sounds like the F4 might be a better match.

Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

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Owner
@islandmandan Looks like I'm on the right track, just read this from zen mod at diyaudio in discussion the m2 (he designs his own pass inspired amps and gets rare parts directly from Nelson):. "if you have F4 handy - just insert appropriate xformer"

cal3713

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Owner
And here's the link: https://diyaudiostore.com/

cal3713

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Owner
@islandmandan Honestly, if my speakers were run properly with a 300b I'd still be using the Frankenstein's. Unfortunately they suffered at the frequency extremes (lack of bass and distortion up top) due to the mismatch. The F4s fixed those issues and the system improved as a result. 

Not sure you'd find much difference in result of F4 vs M2. I haven't read a ton about the M2, but it appears to be similar to the F4 (i.e., uses the same mosfets, but only 2 instead of 6 per channel). That must mean it has a lower current capacity despite identical power ratings? It also provides 15 db gain with a transformer on the input, vs the lack of a gain stage for the F4. Should mean that the F4 is more transparent, but also a more specialized amp. Unfortunately I'm not a circuit expert, but that all suggests to me that unless either current or transparency were your problems with the M2, then you'd probably still prefer your 300b. 

Of course if you'd just like an additional amp around for flavor (and comparison), then $800 gets you a great one. 

cal3713

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Thanks Cal, for the info. I had looked at First Watt & DIY Audio and I couldn't find where to order them. I'll know more when I check out your links. Thanks for that. At one time, I bought an M2, and decided not to keep it after listening to my SET 300B, especially now that it's had some new caps and had the voltages optimized for the EML XLS SET 300B tubes. I wonder how much difference there is between the M2 and F4? Maybe I'll find out.

Thanks,
Dan

Ag insider logo xs@2xislandmandan

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Owner
@grannyring Thanks for all your input!  You saved me so much money and improved my sound by pushing that beautiful Duelund wire.  And I love the Duelund tinned copper cast capacitors.  I didn't get to hear them fully when I was using them as coupling caps in my Frankensteins... they sounded nice, but also sucked out some of my bass, which made me a little gun shy about buying more.  

As you noted, I did try the Duelund bypass caps on the output capacitors of my preamp, but actually couldn't hear any impact and sold them to Dave @ ZenWave Audio.  Tried them on two sets of caps and wasn't able to hear any difference at all.  Very different from when I added them over the Solen coupling caps in the Franks.  They went in and never came out until I had to sell. Had to pull them and the upgraded tube set to make the price low enough for someone to bite...

Thanks again for all your help.  Also, your power cables are great.  I hope people are keeping you busy purchasing your wonderful creations...

cal3713

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Great system and pics.  Love those Duelund caps on the tweeters as well as the Jupiters! Also noticed the wonderful tinned copper CAST bypass caps in your preamp in key locations.  Great! 

That Duelund wire is so darn musical. Well done.....

grannyring

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