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=mi
Owner
Sonicbeauty, the system is now complete, no question. The title has remained from earlier writings where I was testing equipment. If you had read that more carefully you would have realized that the point of this post is to help by listing my experience with all this equipment in a way that has no bias. I have written extensively why I went down that path and my issue with reviews and reviewers. I started with a lot, trying them out, and then honed in on what I liked more and have sold a lot of the rest.

In terms of absurd money spending, that is a matter of your economic position and opinion. Also, it is a matter of cost. I find that I have made and lost little money by reselling and the result is that it only costs the opportunity cost of the money I park in the equipment. Therefore, your point is incomplete at best and I think misunderstands how the trading of equipment works (the only exception is digital equipment which changes more frequently and therefore values drop.) In fact, in a world where inflation may be an issue over time, assets are a better hedge than cash, even luxury items.

The system is not only enjoyed by the adults in the house but also the children. It has offered an unprecedented opportunity to them to listen to music in a way that is much more engaging and interesting than without an audiophile system (you dont need a system like this for it, of course, you can achieve that with a lot less.)

Yes, there is clearly an element of fascination with equipment and there is nothing wrong with that in my opinion. These represent efforts to achieve something extraordinary and any such effort has historically needed sponsors. The fact that we can do that without losing money is actually quite unique.

As for liking equipment OVER music. ou dont know me and so your conclusions could be (and are) completely off. The fact you voice them on the basis of a partial only window into my audio and music life is indication that you are not interested in understanding but rather impressing. That is ok but lets just be clear that saying that this shows some sort of priority in life is frankly quite an offensive and unfair judgment. It is also completely unsubstantiated. In the same way that I dont derive conclusions about your person from your silly name, I would want you to offer me and the other audiophiles the courtesy of limiting your statements to the message, not the messenger.

mihalis

222222&text=hb
Congratulations for the incredible "almost" system..hehe
and thank you for sharing with us your experience. It is a really rare opportunity to have such good thoughts from a final audio user instead of getting it from Hi Fi magazines which sometimes do not tell us all the truth. I am a current owner of Gryphon´s gear - Callisto 2200 with upgrade by Gryphon and CDP01, driving Dynaudio Special Twenty Five, Rega P9, Ortofon Jubilee and Audio Research PH-5- in my opinion that´s agood system , but definetly miles away from the "almost" system you have...Reading your notes, I have noted that your preamplifiers and powers preferences are based on Gryphon and Wavac´s equipments. What about the Mikado Cd Players ? What is your opinion about ?..after reading your reviews, I think my next step is going to be the Diablo ( unfortunately, I am not able to buy the Mirage and Colossum..but I will keep dreaming :-) )

Thanks,

Hba

hba

222222&text=so
You are joking aren't you? Saying that ''you are just getting there'' with all those jewels in a secret cave is like saying that Oprah is on her way to finally getting a good-paying job, or that Jeff Beck is on his way to being a good guitar player.

My apologies, but this absurd money-spending is just one more proof that for some, this hobby has the gear-lust all over the musical enjoyement, and that the toys presented here with your photos, show one's priority in life, which is ok if the shoe fits.

I can't imagine evaluating all the time it took, the long searching, evaluating, purchasing, listening hours involved in all of this, and how many people in a household is this for?

A-1 for bragging rights, but I feel your post title ''This is not a System! But getting there'' did the job in making me voice my opinion.

Don't get me wrong, I like nice equipment as much as the next guy, but this is totally ridiculous.

Thank's for making me see the light.

sonicbeauty

Center
Hi Mihalis

regaring power conditioners what do you recommend ? [using dedicated ac line]

Xairetismata
George

kops

222222&text=ma
Hi Mihalis,

You have an incredible setup!

I am considering upgrading my Audio Research Ref3 either to a Vitus SL-101 Linestage or a DCS Stack to go direct to my power amp. Can you give me some insight on the Vitus sound and what I can expect. Have you ever used/heard the Ref3 and how would you compare the sound to the Vitus? Is there any other linestage in the same level as the Vitus you would recommened?

Thanks.

manjy

222222&text=mi
Owner
Some more impressions on Magico/Torus:
-as I mentioned earlier, I find the sound to have opened up considerably, no more of the cup in mouth effect
-I tried again the wavacs, now with the speakers apparently having gone through their first 10h. This time through the 4ohm taps. They drive them fine. I have not listened critically since I was immediately taken by the incorporation of the wavac's effortless transparency and lack of grain. Quite a system now
-I think part of my consternation was because of what I was comparing the minis to. The dynamics and scale achieved by the Poseidons and in fact the combination of the two whilst keeping excellent tone and imaging, is something that is hard to forget. So the minis do sound a bit "slow" compared to that. I think this is a matter of inferior representation of the real thing, not an argument about "fast" or "slow" speakers and equipment. Having said that, if I didnt have the Poseidons, I probably would not have noticed

mihalis

222222&text=c1
Hey, Bob!

Nice to hear from you ;-). I've exchanged posts with Kip...extremely pleasant! Where are you?

-Sam

c1ferrari

Center
Sam,
Do you know Kip Peterson who is also in San Diego with the Studer and tape project reel to reels? Bob

baranyi

222222&text=c1
Maybe it was a matter of the first 2-3 hours of play, maybe it was the nice glass of red I had.
Good one, Mihalis! I live in San Diego, California :-)
Just let me know!
You never know where travels take us.
Agreed...for my spouse and I, certainly one of life's pleasures :-)

-Sam

c1ferrari

222222&text=mi
Owner
Sam, where do you live? You never know where travels take us.

Btw, the "cup in front of mouth" effect I reported on the Magicos is completely gone. Maybe it was a matter of the first 2-3 hours of play, maybe it was the nice glass of red I had.

mihalis

222222&text=c1
Hi Mihalis,

I wished you lived closer...I'm listening to The Tape Project's, "Waltz For Debby" and running the signal straight from the Studer to the BAT monoblocks, bypassing the pre, and I'm astonished! I've heard this tape on my system a few times, but never like this! :-) This is my new reference...a Tape Project album with the signal running directly to the amps from the Studer.

Mihalis, for me, it's back to the future :-)

Vbr,
Sam

c1ferrari

222222&text=mi
Owner
MAGICO MINI II, TORUS SUB, GRYPHON DIABLO

So here is an interesting one! I am organizing a second system for another location and I am testing it at home. I purchased the magico minis ii and tried a few integrated amps. I now have the Gryphon Diablo which drives them to great effect. I dont want to repeat the endless writings on these speakers but I will just make some observations for those who might be interested:

-the magico minis are pretty good speakers. They are no where near broken in but I can certainly attest to their detail, soundstaging abilities and solidity (of the stage.) I am not yet as sure of their tonal color. They sound a bit dry to my ear, and sometimes as if the singer has a cup in front of their mouth. I did sort of experience that also at CES once. Dont take this literally, it could be very much a matter of placement in the room and also of acoustic treatments which are currently optimized for the Poseidons. I have found these to make a difference to this "cup in front of mouth" effect. Also, as they are breaking in, this is going away a little. Of course, maybe I am getting used to them. One thing I know is that this is not about the sound being devoid of coloration as the systems I have experienced have very low levels of that too
-HOWEVER, many of these positive observations apply mostly when I include the Torus sub to the mix. Without it, the sound is more flat, less depth, less stage and I would argue, the tone is not as realistic
-SO, the big thing that came out of this for me is that the addition of the sub at below 40hz is adding a very significant component to our effort to fool ourselves that we are listening to the real thing: it is not about something you can identify by trying to isolate the extra bass: I have it on very low volume. It is the stage that opens up and especially depth. The difference is not subtle at all
-that leads me to the conclusion that purchasing a great 2 way without intention of including a sub is not a good idea (especially at this price.) I would guess that a speaker with better full range abilities will beat the 2 way most of the time because any crossover/integration benefits will be trumped by the weakness of not offering to the ear the full spectrum it needs in order to believe the sound is real
-Finally, as most of us know, the magicos are hard to drive. Dont buy the posts about how they are not sensitive but they are easy. They are not. I used my beloved WAVAC 150W amps and they didnt drive them to satisfaction. The little (but 280W) integrated by Gryphon produced a better effect. I got a better low end, tighter and more dynamic. Maybe the woofer is breaking in but i doubt that would make such a big difference. I will report on this if it changes
-As for the Gryphon Diablo, it sounds great. A lot of detail. A bit dry in combination with these speakers but that is a matter of taste and the sub can help with it. But the overall performance of this integrated is outstanding especially considering price. I have not tried the big Solos and Mirage with the Magicos and I assume they will match extremely well, but I can say that the Diablo is up to par and when combined with the Torus, you get a system that is certainly high end

mihalis

222222&text=mi
Owner
C1ferrari, good question. I have considered it but the lack of software and added hardware etc has kept me from it. I am just waiting for improvements in the digital domain as I think most of the improvements will come from that area.

Enzo, I think you do need to make sure impedances work but bar that I prefer the wavac preamp. It sound is not "tubey" but it will typically open up the transparency more than the solid state preamps I ve had here.

mihalis

222222&text=en
Hi, I read your earlier posts regarding the Wavac PR-T1. I know you really like the PR-T1 and the Mirage, but if you were using your SS amps would you prefer to use the Wavac or the Mirage?

Do you find the tube Wavac to a great fit for your Gryphon amps or do you prefer to use an all Wavac and an all Gryphon setup?

Thanks,
Enzo

enzo618

222222&text=c1
Dear Mihalis,

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us :-) I'm rather curious...have you ever considered reel-to-reel analogue tape? I imagine the sound would be glorious!

Very best regards,
Sam

c1ferrari

222222&text=mi
Owner
Flg2001, please do. I had it here too but it was connected to fremont escalantes and I think I played it once. it was a futile attempt to create a living room system but the bottom line is that the esthetic horror that the escalantes are caused us to move them out!!

mihalis

Center
Michael - I will have the chance to try a Gryphon Diablo Integrated next weekend in my system, I will share my findings here. As I said I owned some Gryphon gear in the past (Anthileon and Elektra as the best I have had) so I am excited to learn how the company has evolved over this years.

Take care,

flg2001

222222&text=cl
Hello Mihalis,

Greetings from California. I have followed the evolution of your system over time and was curious whether you still use the Accuphase DG38 or DG48 in your new room. I have contemplated adding one to see whether it works with omni speakers.

Also, I find your comments regarding Soulution, Goldmund etc to be interesting. I own both current Goldmund gear as well as Boulder 2000 series gear and I would characterize their quality as on the same level in general but with each possessing different strengths and (slight) weaknesses. I have not heard Soulution gear yet but someone I trust advised me that in fact the Soulution preamp 720 was somewhat more detailed in a technical sense than the Mimesis 22S while at the same time being a touch leaner. He also opined that the 22S conveys a greater sense of musical purity. In this I would agree as the 22S does elicit a stronger emotional response from me when playing the same music as compared with my Boulder 2010.

In response to your comment on Lamm gear, I have owned the M1.1, ML1.1 and then the M1.2R in that order although the speakers changed (the M1.1 and ML1.1 on Wilson Benesch ACT and the M1.2R on MBL 101E). While I am enamored of the Lamm sound, I sense that the sound is a touch on the warm, rough side in terms of tonality and imaging. With my current speakers the M1.2R could not cut it. Ironically, I differ with you with respect to the build quality, specifically the chassis and not the inside. I feel that for the price, the chassis of Lamm gear is too industrial and pedestrian. The heatsinks ring and ping as they heat up and the unit feels tinny. The inside, of course, is excellent.

I wonder if you ever tried the DCS Elgar Plus generation stuff. If so a comparison with Scarlatti would be appreciated. I have owned the Wadia 921/931, Esoteric 3 series stack and now have the Boulder 2020, Playback Designs MPS5 and just sold the Zanden 5000S Signature (and have assorted Esoteric one box players). It is always worthwhile to compare notes with others who have experience with commensurate gear.

Best regards and happy listening. William

classicjazz

222222&text=ja
Hi Michael, thanks for your positive comments on my audio systems, I spend many hours listening to different audio components to find synergy in system set up.
I have had 3 emmLabs CDSA CD players from the first unit to the latest one, the new draw mechanism is better in the latest unit from the first model released plus the sound quality is also better with the upgrades to the software.
The emmLabs TSD1 & Dac 2 take the build quality to a new level above the CDSA and the sonics are also a step ahead, better bass dynamics imaging & blacker background.
Now with the release of the emmLabs XDS1 which I am saving for at the moment for my reference demonstrations is meant to be another big step a head of the emmLabs TSD1 and Dac 2.
The emmLabs XDS1 build quality is the best yet along with the sound quality, I am sure we will be hearing a lot about this player soon from audio reviewers & audiophiles from around the world, I have already heard from some reviewers that the emmLabs XDS1 sets new standards in CD/SACD playback.
Thanks Jason.

jasonparmenter

222222&text=mi
Owner
Thanks Jason and great system yourself. Have you had older EMM from yours and how would you compare the evolution of sound? I ve always been vexed by their lack of consistency in quality but maybe the latest products are better produced as they are learning more about consumer stuff?

mihalis

222222&text=ja
Hello Michael
I would like to say that is a incredible audio system you have put together plus great experience gained by trialling the different recommended audio components to reach your own preferred systems.
I have had experience with the WAVAC 833a Ver 1.3 and the emmLabs CDSA, both wonderful sounding audio products.
I read your report on the Lamm M1.2 amplifiers which I have used in my system for 1.5 years before changing to the Lamm ML2.1 SET amplifiers.
The Lamm M1.2 reference are excellent sounding amplifiers if you need the power, but if your speaker efficiency lets you get away with the lower power of Lamm ML2.1 sets this is a magical sounding amplifier.
Great to see a audio system like yours on Audiogon.
Thanks Jason.

jasonparmenter

222222&text=ar
Sent again, please check your mail...;)

Mike

argyro

222222&text=mi
Owner
No, I didnt.

mihalis

222222&text=ar
Hey Mihalis,

did you receive my email by any chance?

Happy Listening,

Mike

argyro

222222&text=mi
Owner
Changster you are not welcome in this forum. For everyone's benefit, this guy strung me along to buy my Gryphons, agreed repeatedly to the sale and after having me waste time and spend money to have them professionally packed and ready to go, he pulled out of the deal using all sorts of lies. I offered him the amps with a free upgrade of the carbon fibre panels, and when I got a competing bid which was slightly lower, I reduced the price on my own as a courtesy because I told him I would sell him at a price I can sell to someone else. Changster the gangster is not someone we want on audiogon and in our discussions. This happened a couple of days ago so to write here is adding insult to injury, and proves this guy is a moron!

mihalis

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