Description

This is a collection of equipment (note how I dont call it a system!), the purpose of which was for me to sample as much as possible prior to settling down to equipment I can use in a final room I am building with Rives. Needless to say, I ended up getting deeper and deeper in this, learning that reviews are typically falwed because (i) reviewers have specific motives, (ii) they dont generally have very good systems, and (iii) no system is perfect and therefore personal preferences matter a lot.

The room is by no means great but it is custom designed and measured. It works quite well, even though these speakers need more room to breathe.

Happy to answer questions about my experience with all this equipment, all of which is quite excellent in its own way. I have some on order which I will add when the time comes.

Other equipment I have owned include:

-Tenor 300hp

-MBL 9011 monos

-MBL 6010D preamp

-VTL 7.5 mk i and ii

-Audio Research Ref 3 preamp

-BAT 75se

-Other

UPDATE: Moved to new room, much more spacious and finally allowing me to sit within the prescribed distance for driver integration. Also, I cleaned up somewhat the amp list: I now use the Wavac 833 mkii (4 box) and for solid state the Class A Gryphon Colosseum Solos. Added to the preamps is the Soulution. All cables are Jorma Prime including an 8m length xlr. Power cords being changed all to Valhalla. Here you also see an attempt to test the continuum turntable through a wavac phono. The sound of the system has ameliorated appreciably and it is now starting to be a system after all. Very happy with it.
Read more...

Components Toggle details

    • Accuphase DP800
    SACD Transport
    • Accuphase DC801
    Precision DAC
    • Wavac PRT1
    Linestage preamp
    • Krell Two
    4 box preamplifier
    • Vitus Audio SL101
    SS Preamplifier
    • Gryphon Mirage
    Preamplifier
    • Lyra Connoisseur 4.2L
    Preamplifier
    • DartZeel Preamplifier
    Solid State
    • EMM Labs CDSA
    SACD Player
    • Accuphase DG38
    Digital Equalizer
    • Kaleidescape Hard Disk Server
    CD/DVD Player
    • Vitus Audio SM 101
    Class A Amplifier
    • Goldmund Telos 2500
    Mono Amplifiers
    • Krell One
    Class A Amplifiers
    • FM Acoustics Resolution 411
    Stereo Amplifier
    • WAVAC HE 833 v 1.3
    150W SET Amplifiers
    • DartZeel Model B
    Stereo Amplifier
    • Nordost Valhalla
    XLRs and Speaker Cables
    • Jorma Prime
    XLRs and Speaker Cables
    • Isoclean Various
    Conditioners and Tranformers
    • Finite Elemente Master Reference
    Racks
    • Gryphon Poseidon
    4 Tower Speakers
    • Escalante Freemont
    Speakers
    • Velodyne DD 18
    Self Powered Sub
    • Gryphon Mirage
    • Gryphon Colosseum Solo
    • DCS Scarlatti Clock, Upsampler, DAC
    • My Sonic Lab Ultra Eminent BC
    with Lyra, MSL, Kondo stepups
    • Goldmund PH3 Phono
    • Jorma Prime
    XLR, Power, RCAs
    • Nordost Odin
    RCA
    • Apple MacBook Pro 15
    Hi Res audio
    • Burmester Audio 948
    Power Conditioner Also Isoclean, PS Audio, Purepower and Isotek

Comments 321

222222&text=am
Dear Mihalis
Thanks for sharing your ideas
Did you listened to CH Precision pre/power amplifiers?
If yes then Could you please compare Vitus vs CH amplifier?

Thanks 
Amir

amir57bs

222222&text=fl
Hi Mihalis,

Do you have any experience of the sonic differences between the Wavac HE833 V.1.3 and the HE833 V.2?

What have you found to be the best pre amp(s) with your HE833 V.1.3 and now mkII?

Few have as much experience of these variants seemingly and I appreciate any feedback.

flame

222222&text=ko
MIhalis Hi,

Do you still own the Goldmund Monoblocks and the FM Acoustics 411?

kot

Center
Notice you own the gryphon colosseum mono’s. Wondering your view on them? I am considering a purchase of a pair. Up side , down side of them? Thanks

whatthe

222222&text=mi
Owner
Oh they have to be deaf to not hear the difference. It is substantial. Dynamics improve somewhat but what is the main difference is a completely different level of resolution, imaging, depth, noise floor and overall believability of the sound you hear. It isnt subtle and doesnt require critical listening to be heard. I would say the equivalent of the v1.3 is the preamp PRT1 but with the mkii you can try the PRT1 but play around with others like Ypsilon to take advantage of the capability of the amp. Power supplies tend to be very important in such designs and that is the main difference between these two models.
Having said that, I think the 1.3 is the best value for money wavac offers. you get 150W of SET power and a good taste for what the bigger models can do.

mihalis

222222&text=de
Great thx for that info.

What is your take on the differences sonically speaking between the v 1.3 you had and now the MKII four box version, some say sonically really not much and there sure is a substantial list difference.

Did you have a preferred pre-amp paired up with these.

dev

222222&text=de
Thx for the response - in relation to the Wavac, you originally had the v 1.3 and now have the MKII correct?, what's your over all take on the differences sonic wise.

The 1.3 was without the separate large black power supplies correct. I have some info saying there really isn't that much difference and to go for the non MKII.

Which pre-amp have you found that pairs up nicely with them.

When you refer to Vitus convert kindly provide some further details of differences. Do these run warmer than the Wavac's.

dev

222222&text=mi
Owner
Hi,
You may get this answer twice Dev.
I had the Kagura at home. I prefer the wavac. It has more control across the full range and therefore controls most speakers better. The Kagura may have the last word on resolution and it did sound good. It didnt sound great but I blame this to the fact that they only left them for one day so by the time we got them right was late...
Overall though the wavacs are more impressive looking, more impressive sounding and offer more versatility with speakers. They produce more heat due to the big 833 tube but frankly a fully biased class a transistor amp will produce more. I think that wavac preamp isnt of the level of the amp but that is another story...
I may sell the wavac by the way and not buy the kagura. I have become a vitus convert :)

mihalis

222222&text=pr
Hey Dev.
Sounds like a great system and good priorities. I also prefer higher sensitivity speakers although I havent gotten as high as you.
I had the Kaguras at home recently. Bottom line is that they need tweaking and time to get to perform but my reaction was that I prefer the wavacs. They are more dynamic. The Kaguras maybe had slightly more resolution and equal liquidity but what I love about the big wavacs is that they do offer the many benefits of SETs but also are very powerful and dynamic by comparison. This doesnt make the Kaguras bad, they sounded great in Munich above a certain frequency (I am guessing 300hz) but below that they are challenged and therefore the wavac offers a better high end package.
This is MIchael by the way, for some reason my Mihalis account isnt recognised or locked by Audiogon.

premierhifi

222222&text=de
Hi Mihalis, I see you have the gorgeous Wavac's - reading your list of owned product I have also owned numerous of the same.

Best I clarify a little - I have always wanted to put together a system using high efficient speakers hence what I currently own.

They are Horning 98 db efficient speakers and play 20 to 20 with no crossover on 7 of the octaves so I'm looking for amplification to marry up with them on my short list the Wavac's are along with Kondo Japan Ongahu + M77 combo or if I'm really insane go with a pair of the Gaguras mono's.

So back to why I posted, how would you describe these Wavac's in comparison to others, have you any prior models and if so what differences did you hear, do these throw much heat off. I was told they don't, for example my Vac 450 Statements do but my Vac pre-amp you wouldn't even know it was on. I listen to music for lengthy periods and also use for background music when entertaining and just enjoying.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, F.Y.I. I'm 98% vinyl and the other redbook for entertaining.

dev

222222&text=mi
Owner
Hey Christo
Had some fun at Munich with friends. The journey continues!
To answer your questions:
(1) Great. Vitus keeps refining his equipment, offers these changes to his customers, and is moving incrementally towards what I think is the right direction. Its the best equipment I know and its main focus is to increase transparency to tube levels. The latest changes to the Master series (modular) are a great step towards that direction. So color me impressed and a fan
(2) the supremes I are just terrific. Broken in, the ceramic sound signature that I have always been concerned on other speakers is gone. Transparency is terrific, low end close to best, and imaging, dynamics etc top notch. Easy to drive too. I did hear the new low end woofers they put on the supreme II and the new coltrane. They are more crisp and dynamic than anything I have heard. Question is whether they are a bit on the dry side and I cant tell until I have heard them properly broken in. The potential is there
(3) plenty. Great gear. Better than almost all tubes in my opinion. Very detailed sound, very liquid. Imaging however is not top notch and to me that is fundamental. I hope they figure that out. The analogy I would make is that Vitus sounds more like an orchestra playing in a great hall whereas ypsilon is the sound you get from a small jazz band 3 meters away from it. I am exaggerating a bit obviously but you get the picture
(4) I am no longer owner of any Gryphon gear. The Mirage was an excellent preamp and I personally also liked its design looks. It should work well with your amps

Very impressed by Goebel speakers in Munich. Something quite different and possibly amazing!

Take care.
M.

mihalis

222222&text=bl
kalispera mihali,
it's been a very long time since we heard your news.
Personally, i miss the chronicles of your journey on music-sound reproduction.

ON the subject:
1) how's the progression of the vitus set-up?
2) The martens?
3) Had any experience with the ypsilon gear?
4) Lastly, i am considering a gryphon mirage. Do u have any other suggestions?(have SIMAUDIO w7m monoblocks, b&w 801d,valhalla cabling). and also any experience with odin speaker cables?

thanx in advance, and best wishes to u and your family

christos

bluekris

222222&text=au
Michael has the biggest & most beautiful audio room which I have the pleasure of listening & his HT equipment is more expensive than most people top end 2 channel syst

audioblazer

222222&text=mi
Owner
Hi Czarivey.

I very much wish that you were correct because instead of spending hours connecting cables and aligning cartridges, I would rather listen to the music. Unfortunately, however, the exact reverse is true.

Irrespective of budget, what we all look for is a commensurate performance for our investment. If you have been involved in any construction, especially in countries with lack of expertise, you will know that it is a very cumbersome, difficult and often frustrating process. In fact my experience has been that as my budget has increased through the years, it has become harder and harder to get increases in performance since there is a well known law of diminishing returns which in high end is very prevalent. Not to mention that the more we allocate to spending in audio, the more we lose patience with the imperfections of equipment, "experts", etc. Finally, the more resolving a system, the greater the differences you can hear in all upstream equipment (the theory that the most high end stuff sounds the same is very incorrect.) So you end up having to make very careful choices to achieve the results you aim for.

I therefore do wish that my experience matched your comment. Unfortunately, connecting my cj mv55 to $500 b&w speakers and a sony sacd via stock copper cables was a much easier process.

mihalis

222222&text=cz
with 6...7 figure amount to invest building sound and video system is no effort at all IMHO.

czarivey

222222&text=mi
Owner
System edited: Just adding one pic of the new room as requested. There is about 1.5m behind the screen and red wall around it. Screen and wall are acoustically transparent and the equipment is both behind that and also in an isolated mechanical room which is in the spot where the picture was taken from. Continuum etc in the back of the room behind the picture taking location.

mihalis

222222&text=mi
Owner
Hi Chris. I ll post a couple of pictures. We are now in the new room with a fair amount of changes. The equipment is still continuum but now all amplification is from vitus master reference phono, pre and amps. I traded in my beloved gryphon poseidons for the much better marten Coltrane supremes (the version I with the four towers since we have a dedicated room and the vitus Amos produce two signals per side.) and on the digital side I use MSB diamond driven by the aurender w20 server. The room sounds wonderful and it is combined with a separate surround system which is built around Macintosh xrt28s and four raised JL 212 subs.

mihalis

222222&text=ka
Hi MIxali,

hope everything is ok, since its a been quite a while since you last posted.
What are the news regarding the system?

filika,

chris

kaizerkris

Center
Michael
Many thanks. Appreciate all your help. Do let me know if your travels bring you to my part of the world. I get to Singapore pretty often
Cheers
Pradeep

sunnyboy1956

222222&text=mi
Owner
Pradeep, I have heard that they are slow to find. No issue w getting them but it may take some time. I had found a dealer here in Asia who had them for non audio purposes but we matched them carefully. They are not complicated tubes and generally perform fairly uniformly. I think there is one other brand now using them so I wouldnt worry too much about access to them, at least not as far as I know.

mihalis

222222&text=mi
Owner
Hi Bigpond, I do think the Continuum is the best out there. There are also some upgrades one can do with non continuum people. Having said that, I have no idea what support the company can really offer. Can they even produce any at this point and at what pricepoint. IT makes the existing ones all the more rare and unique. Yes, all the issues were resolved.

mihalis

Center
Michael
Many thanks for your response. I have a major concern regarding availability of the 833a tubes. Unable to find many online sources for this tube. Presumably , Wavac carries adequate stock of the 833a ?Was this an issue for you etc ?
Regards
Pradeep

sunnyboy1956

222222&text=bi
Hi Mihalis, Fantastic System!
Are you still happy with the Continuum Turntable? Did they resolve the early problems you had?
Kind Regards Bigpond

bigpond

222222&text=mi
Owner
Audioblazer, I used to play the poseidons in a considerably smaller room and in less distance than the recommended 5 meters from the listening position. Yes I was not taking advantage of everything they are capable of but they were still great performers. In this new room obviously it is at a completely different level. The transparency, width etc are just out of this world. The size is actually and unfortunately necessary to deal with frequencies below 30-40hz.

Sunnyboy,I had the 1.3 and they are great "value for money" as you get a great SET with 150W. The model I have now is at another price point and it sounds different. The resulution goes up. The transparency also. Importantly it is more quiet. The big wavacs I believe are in the very short list of best amps in the world.

Now I am using Vitus Masterpiece amps and preamps and phono. First time without a single tube in the chain. I am sure I ll get over it soon....

mihalis

Center
Michael
Congrats on an amazing audio journey and off course a phenomenal system that I am sure sounds better than it looks.
Further to my PM, what amps were you using before the Wavac HE 833 Mk 1.3 and what improvements,attributes did you find that stood out etc ?
I have a HE 833 Mk 1.3 on my radar, probably used.
Cheers
Pradeep

sunnyboy1956

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