My room is dedicated, 15 ft wide, 21 feet long and 9 foot ceiling. Walls built custom with ASC tube traps wall damping system and double sheetrocked with 2x6 studs on 8 inch centers. Surrounding damping in room with ASC tube traps, base traps and wall traps. The room is exceedingly quiet with minimal audible reflections. The system has great synergy between components and by my ear offers the best qualities of 'tube like' sound with the best qualities of solid state.
Newest Rockport/Andy Payer design. Exceptional build quality, custom drivers, new tweeter wave guide. Fantastic bass - tuneful, textured and detailed, yet fast and extended. Palpable midrange with great image density and texture. Smooth extended and extremely 'open' highs with great decay and ambience/space retrieval. Sound staging with 3D images even in the back portion of soundstage. Great macro and micro dynamics. Overall, realism of soundstage is so believable its spooky. Cant find a fault with them with the exception that one must be extremely patient with set up - it pays off big time though!
Cardas Golden Reference
Interconnects XLR and RCA
Cardas Golden Reference
Billy Bags Turntable Stand
VPI Aries 3 and SDS on stand
VPI Industries HW 16.5
ASC Tube traps, bass traps, wall traps
ASC tube traps, wall traps and bass traps
ASC Wall Damping System
Walls built with ASC tube trap wall damping system (see system description for details).
TW Acustic Raven AC - 1
TW Acustic Raven AC-1. Great turntable. Build is fantastic. Images rock solid, great harmonics and decay. Very musical. Black backgrounds.
TW Acustic Raven 10.5
TW 10.5 tonearm. Great build, Nimble and tracks great. Joy to use. Gets every bit of data from the grooves.
Silent Running Audio Ohio XL Isobase
Custom built Ohio XL Isobase for the TW-Acustic Raven AC. Great product and great isolation, No noise floor what so ever!
TW Acustic Black Knight Feet
Tope of the line TW Acustic Black Knight Feet for turntable.
HRS Analog Disk Center Weight
Great and effective center weight from HRS.
Gingko Acrylic Turntable Cover
Effective turntable cover from Gingko
REL Acoustics Gibraltor G1
Seamless integration with the Avalons to get the last few 20-25 Hz bottom end in my room.
CD/SACD/DAC. Great for streaming with Apple TV or other device.
Audio Research Reference Phono 2 SE
Fantastic tube phono stage. Super quiet with all the benefits of tubes. All the reviews are right - super refined and detailed with incredible flexibility.
Audio Research Reference 250 Monoblocks
Super quiet, fast and detailed. Great bass control far surpassing most tube amps that I have experienced. Best of solid state and best of tubes in these amps!
Audio Research REF 5 se
REF 5se preamp. Great dynamics, bloom, ambience and texture. Phenomenal detail. A powerhouse preamp with finesse.
Auralex Q Diffusers
Added diffusers to room to balance absorption and diffusion.
TW Acustic TW Turntable mat
New TW turntable mat - custom for TW tables
Dynavector XV-1T. Big step up from XV-1s.
Avalon Acoustics Eidolon Diamond
Incredible sound and synergy with Rowland and Cardas, great with almost all types of music, fantastic holography, soundstaging, air around images and very musical
Silver Circle Audio TCHAIK 6 and Vesuvius IIE Power Cord
Fantastic non-current limiting power conditioner
Billy Bags Design Three Level Rack and Amp Stands
TW Acustic Black Knight Platter / Bearing upgrade for Raven AC
Great upgrade, more air, transparency and even lower noise floor than what I already had which is amazing.
TW Acustic Three Motor Pod upgrade
Similar to the Black Knight motor - speed stability is now spot on at 33.3 or 45.0 RPM without variation. Better pitch, PRAT and deeper and tighter bass. Great upgrade.
Barrysandy, sorry I have been offline for quite a while. Congrats on your new TW table - you will love it. I considered HRS, but it was just so expensive. Jeff Catalano from Highwater Sound uses TW with SRA with great results. So I went with SRA and have not regretted it. My dustcover was made custom by Gingko Audio. Very reasonable prices and quick turnaround time. Give them a try!
Very nice system Phil. Big fan of ARC! I'm about to join you in adding a TW Acustic Raven TT (Anniversary w/ BK feet and 3 motor pod) and wondered who did your dustcover for the TT. Also, did you look at other iso bases than SRA (might consider HRS) and what was deciding factor? Thanks.
To be completely honest, when I built the room 16 years ago, ASC was really about the only game in town. My local dealer had them and gave me a great deal at the time. I have been very happy with them. Sorry, but I don't have any experience with other traps, etc.
Looking at your system and room again....love the way it looks and the gear you've assembled; you must be extremely happy with the overall sound and total listening experience. You are very fortunate to be able to build out and tune this room to your liking! Did you try other bass traps and wall tuning items before deciding on ASC? What led you to your final choice of the ASC? Thanks in advance for your help!
Congratulations on your new Rockport Cygnus speakers. Its the only Rockport I haven't heard yet, but you've done a wonderful job of describing the sound. I am certain that the Cygnus continues the tradition of great sound from Rockport and Andy Payor.
After two weeks with the Rockport Cygnus loudspeakers in my room, I feel prepared to give an initial review on the newest Andy Payor creation. As a background, my room is 15.5 feet wide x 21 feet long x 9 feet high. My analog front end is a TW Acustics AC-1 table with TW 10.5 tonearm and Dynavector XV-1t cart. My electronics include a ARC Ref 2se Phono pre, ARC Ref 5se preamp, and ARC Ref 250 monoblocks. All are connected with Cardas Golden Reference cables. A Cardas power strip is connected to a 20 amp dedicated circuit and my Ref 250s are plugged directly into the wall outlets which are dedicated 20 amp circuits.
The Rockport Cygnus weigh 285 lbs each. Although they are over 50 inches tall and have a depth of 27 inches, the footprint and visual appearance of these loudspeakers is not at all that large. The fit and finish of the Cygnus are similar to other Andy Payor creations incredibly inert, incredibly engineered and built with a perfect black lacquer finish. The feet are two four inch discs with a one inch diameter bolt screw attached that screws into the speaker around 2 inches. This makes for a very stable base and coupling with the floor. Furniture sliders have been used to move the speakers into various positions while searching for a final home. This allows the speakers to be moved easily despite their weight and size.
Set up: The Cygnus are moderately difficult to set up in my room. One can quickly determine side wall distance and toe-in degree, but placement from the front wall behind the speakers is tricky to dial in the perfect bass response. To close to the back wall and the bass is -0.5dB at 20-25 Hz but the soundstage somewhat collapses in its air around images and texture of images. Too far out into the room and the lower bass unsurprisingly gets a tad anemic but mid bass impact improves and the soundstage is saturated with detail, air and texture of images. I am still searching for just the right placement and I am close. Right now I have the Cygnus toe-in at around five feet or so intersecting behind the listening position, the side wall distance is around 40 inches, and the back wall distance right now is around 93 inches from the front of the woofer. Somewhere between 81 93 inches is the perfect position and my goal for the upcoming week. At least in my room, moving the Cygnus ¼ - ½ inch increments in sidewall or frontwall distance makes easily noticeable audible changes.
Sound: The first thing I noticed when initial listening began was just how open the speaker sounds and how life-sized the images were. The Cygnus is an effortless speaker at low or louder listening levels, the soundstage is always very open, with air around dense images. The images are very life-like this speaker truly brings the performers into the room with you. Realism is very remarkable and suspends belief. Now a breakdown of some sonic categories:
Background very black backgrounds and images pop and emerge effortlessly.
Ambient Retrieval air around images has its own acoustic space and things are very coherent. A sense of space in recordings is natural and very real at times. Imaging The Cygnus are imaging champs, images are very dense and discretely surrounded by their own natural space. What I found very noticeable was that even images in the far back of the soundstage had their own space as well and were three-dimensional. This quality makes sonic realism even more appreciated.
Tonal Character I have heard some say Rockports sounded bright at times. I have not had this, even in the early break in period. The treble is smooth and effortless and gives the Cygnus a very rich sound without sacrificing detail. The midrange is special and this new driver from Andys design is likely where much of the Cygnus magic lies. The combination of the tweeter and midrange give the Cygnus the open effortless sound while giving a degree of soundstage illumination that allows the listener to not have to strain to hear subtle imaging cues all the while having no brightness or edge at all. Male and female vocals bring the performer into your room. Dense with great body. Horns are particularly natural and smooth with great dynamics and detail and absolutely no edge.
Dynamics Macro and micro dynamics are all here and more. Dynamic passages occur naturally within the soundstage, not call extra attention itself but always having a purpose. Microdynamics are the best I have ever heard with a loudspeaker, including horn loaded ones.
Bass bass is tight and tuneful. Extension is excellent. In my room, I can easily get the bass to 20-25 cycles. The only drawback being the difficulty in finding a final best placement which is likely due more to my room than the loudspeaker.
Soundstage As mentioned above, the Cygnus has life sized images within their own space. The soundstage is vast and open. Depth is incredible and images seem to appear from well behind the front wall. Layering of the soundstage is natural and realistic. Soundstage width is well beyond my sidewalls. Images are dense and easily discernable 3- 4 feet beyond each speaker laterally.
Transparency The Cygnus, despite their size, disappear. One of the best disappearing acts a loudspeaker has done in my room.
Overall the Rockport Cygnus is a real winner. I am elated to own a pair. I cannot at this time even find something to criticize as I can find no real fault with any aspect of the Cygnus performance. As I finalize placement and get over 100 hours on the speakers, I will update everyone on any changes I have noticed.
The Cygnus sounded spectacular right out of the crates. I know I have some break-in time and experimentation with placement, but the sound I am getting right now has surprised me.
I would say I have around 6-8 hours on them now and probably have them 75% dialed in.
The first things I noticed when playing them were 'naturalness', 'spooky realism' and life-size images. They play open and effortlessly. I have noticed with the increased sensitivity of 90dB on these loudspeakers that my volume on my ARC preamp is now turned up to between 22-30 when before to get the same levels of sound I would have to have it placed between 33-38.
In the next week I will finish the dial-in and give everyone a more detailed report. But needless to say, I am ecstatic with their performance right now.
09-25-15: Philb7777 The Rockport Cygnus have arrived. Unfortunately still in crates. The freight company would only deliver them downstairs and the ground level of my house. My listening room is upstairs so I have an antique furniture company coming out Wednesday Sept 30 to uncrate and move up the stairs into my listening room.
I will keep everyone posted when up and running.
Congrats on the Cygnus. Look forward to your impressions.
The Rockport Cygnus have arrived. Unfortunately still in crates. The freight company would only deliver them downstairs and the ground level of my house. My listening room is upstairs so I have an antique furniture company coming out Wednesday Sept 30 to uncrate and move up the stairs into my listening room.
The Cygnus have been slightly delayed to do a backlog at the cabinet manufacturer. Andy has told my local dealer that he expects the Cygnus to be ready no later than late August. So I'm hoping to have my pair in 4-6 weeks.
I will definitely keep you posted when they arrive and have plenty of pics of them and set up.
Thanks for the congrats. I'm looking forward to their arrival - they should go into production in late Spring. Estimated arrival is late May/early June. I'll keep you posted on their arrival and how that match up with my ARC gear.
Thank you Pradeep. I actually auditioned the Aviors twice in a one month period. They were outstanding. I actually purchased a pair of Aviors in late Dec. Then when I heard about the Cygnus, I actually spoke with Andy Payor (who spent a great deal of time with me on the phone and is a down to earth, wealth of info), and I decided to take the plunge and preorder the Cygnus and use my Avior payment as a downpayment for thr Cygnus.
My reasoning for the Cygnus is that even though both the Avior and Cygnus would work in my existing room, I'm a new empty-nester and if we contemplate moving, my new home will have a larger dedicated room.
The estimated arrival time for the Cygnus is sometime in late May - June. I'll definitely keep you posted on when they arrive and how they sound.
And by the way - I have a new found respect for the Lyra Atlas! In my friends system he found out he had two faulty output tubes in his EAR amp. Once changed, the whole system transformed. The Atlas now does everything I expected it to do. It must have been weird timing on his tubes going bad at a similar time he recieved the Atlas. Well the Atlas is awesome!!!!!!
Phil Heartiest congratulations on the Cygnus. I am sure it's a spectacular choice and will bring many years of musical bliss. Did you get a chance to listen to a demo pair ? All the best and do post your impressions. Cheers Pradeep
By the way Saint, I heard the Sashas at RMAF too with big monster VTL monoblocks. So dynamic and so realistic the Sashas were, especially for their cabinet size! A great loudspeaker. Wilson is a great company too, that you know will be around forever. The Wilson 'house sound' is just not quite to my personal liking. But that's just my ears though as it is a fabulous speaker.
I just got back from RMAF and had a chance to listen to several loudspeakers. The ones that came out impressive in my mind were the following:
Lansche 5.1 - not sure if if was the upstream electronics (Ypsilon) or the large room but these were incredible. So much air, delicacy, dynamics, bass, resoloution. It was all there in spades. The only draw back was the plasma tweeter is usually replaced at around 5000 hours and I bet its not inexpensive!
Raidho D1's and X1's minimonitors - these were imaging and bass champions. I could not believe the bass response out of these small monitors. I knew a sub was hidden somewhere but it wasn't. Ironically, I have read the bass in the D2's and D3's can be difficult and anemic. I would defnitely want to actually hear the D2 and D3 models though.
Vandersteen M7's - incredible soundstaging and detail. Bass was a bit bloated, but probably the room and lack of dial in time for the bass/amp inside the speaker. I have read where these can be absolute bears to set up properly though.
Avalon Compas Diamonds - definitely would like to hear these but Avalons are so rare in the US market now you can really only hear them in the northeast.
Rockport Avior - I am actually going to the new Rockport dealer in Plano, Tx (a 3 hour drive) this coming Wednesday to audition.
I am perfectly happy with my Avalon Eidolon Diamonds. I have had them for 10 years and they are always up to the challenge when I purchase new equipment upstream. The speaker keeps getting better and better when its fed higher quality equipment, even after almost 10 years! But after 10 years, I am getting the curious itch we all get sometimes wondering if there is now something 'better' by our own ears that is in the similar price point. My search may lead me right back to the Avalon Eidolon Diamonds and wouldn't be surprised if it did.
Thanks Tom. The Eidolon Diamonds are hard to beat. After having them for 10 years I am just curious what else is out there. Currently I have heard nothing that competes with the Eidolons at their price point. I have heard some things that are intriguing, but are at or well north of $50K.
I want to hear some Rockport Aviors. I hope to travel to Omaha for a listen in the next couple of months. I also want to hear some Avalon Time and Compas Diamonds. With so few Avalon dealers left in the US and Avalon not going to any US shows, it makes it extremely difficult to get opportunities to hear them. But I am definitely interested in hearing new products from Avalon.
Again, if I can find something I consider substantially better than the Avalon Diamonds at a similar price point to them, I may make the switch. However, I'm not sure what I'm looking for exists!
I hope you continue enjoying your Eidolon Diamonds. And you are definitely correct - over the last 10 years, the Eidolons just seem to continue to be up to the task as I change and improve upstream front ends and electronics.
Beautiful, beautiful system Phil!!! Another 10yr Eidolon Diamond user here. I don't think I'll ever find another speaker that pulls it all together as a "whole" like the Eidolon Diamond. It always allows me to forget about the equipment and get lost in the music. I too also find that other changes up the chain are easily reflected.
Someone I know who's system I heard 4-5 times moved from the Diamond to the Isis, and IMO in his extremely well built room, which was professionally acoustically designed and measured, the Diamond got out of the way and left more music intact than the Isis.
Since you enjoy Avalon so much have you considered the Time or the Compas?