The System is built around the philosophy that everything matters. Everything either contributes or detracts, and no one single component is any more or less important than any other. Even details as small as where a component goes or how the wire is routed make a difference you can hear. Everything matters.
The System is also built around the philosophy that the ideal component does nothing. The perfect component does not sound a certain way. It does not impart, it does not detract. It is not there at all.
This is why The System looks the way it does. It is extremely difficult to make a rack as good as no rack, ie the floor. A rack puts everything up high closer to ear level and reflects sound more because its all in one block. So The System is mostly on the floor, and with components at differing height and spacing the components diffuse more than reflect. This also provides for shorter and more direct cabling with greater isolation between signal and power cables.
The Solution Turntable rack is the result of extensive testing and comparing and shows the extent one must go to be better than the floor. Its as low as it can be for comfort, and as close to center as it can be for the screen. It could not be much closer anyway, and by happy coincidence happens to be in a bit of a bass null zone- not that acoustic energy is likely to have much effect on 700+ pounds of solid granite and concrete!
The System is dual use. The frame around the screen is a custom Miller creation, identical in dimensions to and covered with the exact same incredibly light absorbing black velvet fabric as the Stewart Filmscreen frame. At 92x52 it provides nearly the same apparent viewing size as seated a little further back than the middle of a typical movie theater.
The single biggest factor in video quality is contrast, and ambient light is the single biggest challenge with projectors. The upper walls and ceiling are a neutral gray for accurate colors, while a darker fabric and carpet combine with window shutters to control ambient light. Most of the light then comes from the screen itself. Direct side by side comparisons show the Grayhawk screen performs much better than a white screen in ambient light.
Stewart Marcantoni taught me it all begins at the wall. The System begins with 4 ga wire at the panel. This 4 ga brings 240v power to a step-down transformer located just beneath the system. Now at 120v, it is only about 5 ft from the Medusa power center. The step-down transformer and Medusa are both grounded to the same ground rod the same 5 feet from the system. Power wire is all cryogenically treated.
Pure silver wire Swiss transformer, 240v to 120v. Plates, bolts, and all terminals treated with Total Contact. Mounted on BDR Cones in a 2" thick MDF cabinet with one Perfect Path Solutions Omega E-mat. Dedicated copper ground.
Miller Medusa Power Center
The Medusa power center is built on a custom Black Diamond Racing Black Beauty Shelf. Incoming power from 4 ga copper is hard-wired direct to a Jungson transformer with filter caps. Point to point Audio Consulting pure silver wire connects the Jungson to Oyaide and Synergistic Research Blue outlets strategically located on the four faces allowing short direct power to components from the centrally located Medusa.
Two Synergistic Research Michael Spallone modified MPCs are also hard wired in silver.
Two Synergistic Research Michael Spallone modified Tesla MPCs hardwired in silver to an additional Audio Consulting silver isolation transformer.
3/4" MDF mitered pyramid cabinet. MPC transformers and all connections treated with Total Contact.
Dedicated copper ground.
Miller Carbon Turntable
Based on the Teres Audio turntable bearing, platter, and Verus Rim Drive Motor, the Carbon features a Black Diamond Racing carbon fiber plinth, arm base, and feet. The brass bearing screws directly into a large 4" diameter by 1.25" thick threaded BDR carbon fiber nut for extreme rigidity and vibration control. The Teres bearing is modified with a silicon carbide bearing and tungsten carbide thrust plate. The Verus motor is modified with a BDR Source Shelf base, Cones, and mini-Pits.
Miller carbon fiber record clamp together with the carbon fiber washer clamps records so secure and flat that when released it takes a second for the record to pop loose, as if held down by vacuum.
One Synergistic ECT and One Perfect Path Solutions E-Card on the motor. 2 ECT and 2 Orange fuses in the motor controller. The motor controller umbilical is modified with Active Shielding added using another Spallone modified MPC. The Verus motor controller is on BDR Cones and Round Things, with a BDR Shelf on top. Internal connections, caps, transformers and other parts treated with Total Contact.
Origin Live Conqueror Tone Arm
2007 Conqueror. Leads modified with Active Shielding using Michael Spallone modified Synergistic Research MPC with upgraded caps and diodes hard wired. One Synergistic Research PHT on the arm, 2 ECT on the arm base.
Koetsu Black Goldline
0.4 mV output MC cartridge with body lightly painted with Total Contact, and with one SR Green Dream and one Black Beauty PHT. Pins and leads treated with Total Contact.
Herron Audio VTPH-2A Phono Stage
2018 Herron VTPH-2A phono stage with Synergistic Research Orange Fuse, 3 ECT, 2 Perfect Path Solutions Stop-Its, and all tube pins, transformers, and other items treated with Total Contact.
Miller Solution Turntable Rack
The Solution to turntable vibration control is a modular component rack. Top and bottom shelves are solid reinforced 4" thick concrete with a 2" deep sand bed cast into them. The middle component rack is 2" thick concrete. Legs of polished ABS are filled with concrete, with threaded inserts cast into them. Bottom footers incorporate BDR Cones and are height adjustable for leveling. Assembled on site due to its over 700 lbs total weight The Solution is bolted together for extreme rigidity. The granite machinists plate rests on a 2" deep sand bed.
Synergistic Research Atmosphere X Euphoria (Level3) Interconnect
2m Euphoria, grounded to dedicated Earth ground with all connections treated with Total Contact and supported with ceramic insulators.
Melody I880 Tube Integrated Amp
Melody I880 with 4 JJ KT-88, 4 Sovtek 6SN7, and one D100 rectifier tube. Modified with one pair of input RCA converted to pre-out. The factory feet are removed. Three BDR Those Things on the inside of the bottom cover are screwed together through the bottom plate with three Round Things, with the cover sandwiched between them, and with a Cone screwed into the bottom of each. The Cones are supported on Round Things on top of a Shelf, Cones, 150 lb granite plate, and Cones.
All tube pins and connections treated with Total Contact. SR Orange Fuse and 3 ECT. One pair Stop Its.
Synergistic Research Element Copper Tungsten Silver Speaker Cable
8 ft Element CTS with spades and Michael Spallone modified Tesla MPCs hard wired into the Medusa power conditioner with in-line Audio Consulting pure silver isolation transformer. All connections and transformer surfaces treated with Total Contact. Supported with Cable Elevators and ceramic insulators.
Talon Loudspeakers Khorus X
Talon Khorus with X crossover upgrade treated with Total Contact and Perfect Path E-cards. Synergistic Research Speaker Kit HFT treatment. On BDR Cones and Round Things.
Talon Loudspeakers Roc Subwoofer
Self powered dual 12" drivers in an isobaric design cabinet. On BDR Cones with Total Contact on all connections.
Dayton Audio SA-1000
2 Dayton subwoofer amps. Each one drives two 10" subs, wired in series for 16 ohms. Transformers, caps, resistors and all connections treated with Total Contact. Perfect Path Stop-Its on unused RCAs. Amps stack on each other with BDR Cones.
Miller Morel Subwoofers
A Distributed Bass Array comprised of 2 Morel 10" drivers in sealed cabinets and 2 in ported cabinets. All covered in stained Rosewood veneer.
Black Diamond Racing Shelf for the Source, Shelf, Cones, Those Things, Round Things
Every single component in The System is on BDR Cones- including even parts like the Audio Consulting transformers, Talon Khorus crossover networks, and the Medusa Power Center. Most components, such as the speakers, amp, phono stage, and turntable, are also on Round Things.
The Miller Carbon is on a Source Shelf with Cones and Round Things on both sides.
The phono stage and amp are on a Shelf with Round Things and Cones on both sides.
The Verus motor controller is on Cones and Pits. The Verus motor itself is mounted in a Source Shelf, its factory rubber feet replaced with Cones and Pits.
All the subs, subwoofer amps, and the CD player are on Cones.
Synergistic Research HFT, ECT, PHT, and Orange Fuses
Level 2 HFT Room Treatment. Several ECT on Melody, Herron, Verus motor, and motor controller, and Conqueror arm. Two Green Dream and one Black Beauty PHT on the arm and cartridge. Orange Fuses in Melody, Herron, and Verus motor controller.
Perfect Path Solutions Omega E Mat
Several, located on the main electrical panel, Audio Consulting step down transformer, Talon Khorus speakers, and Medusa Power Center.
Perfect Path Solutions E-Cards
Located on the Medusa, SR Atmosphere interconnect, Verus motor, Herron phono stage, Talon crossovers, breaker panel, and Dayton amps.
Cable Elevators Ceramic Insulators
Cable Elevators together with ceramic insulators on stands support all wire above the floor and maintain spacing minimizing field interference.
Synergistic Research Power cords
Resolution Reference .5 and Master Coupler power cords to the Herron and Oppo.
Shunyata Research Cobra
Power cord to the Melody integrated.
Electraglide Fat Boys
2 Fat Boy 2 foot power cords to the Daytons.
OPPO Modded DVD Player
Extensively modified player on BDR Cones, with BDR Shelf and dive weights on top.
Sony VPL HW40ES Projector
Ceiling mounted. With 10m cryo'd Cobalt HDMI.
Stewart Filmscreen Grayhawk Screen
Viewable 92x50 screen mounted in custom black velvet screen frame.
Miller Window Shutters
Half inch MDF window shutters for shutting out sound and light.
Miller Solid Core Door
With weather stripping for sound control.
Miller Corner Tunes
Owens Corning acoustic panels covered in Art Deco designer fabric for acoustic control in corners where walls meet ceiling and ceiling and walls come together.
Radio Shack Bulk Tape Eraser
Powerful handheld demagnetizer for demagnetizing records and cables, and charging Omega E Mats.
Macintosh MacBook Pro
When used for movies, sits on top of the Oppo, with one ECT and one E-Card. Video out to projector via HDMI adaptor. Audio out to the integrated via mic to RCA adaptor.
Townshend Audio Podiums and Pods
Townshend Podiums are used under the Tekton Moab speakers.
Pods are used under the turntable, amp, and phono stage.
I mainly just read AG forums and seldom post but wanted to ask you a question. Recently purchased a set of the Townshend podiums after purchasing a Symposium Segue ISO for my turntable. Difference was dramatic and that’s what led me to the Townshend discussions. The podiums were the best upgrade in my 50 years of audio.
My question however, is regarding an Origin Live product. Today I picked up an Origin Live Gravity One weight for my SL1210gae to use with stock mat. Considering buying their record mat as well (to use top of stock mat), but it appears that the Origin Live mat is about 1/2 larger in diameter. Thought you might have some experience with these and whether it would be a good fit.
Bought direct from John Hannant at Townshend Audio, he's been a big help, and strikes me as a fellow serious audiophile always looking for the best tweaks and stuff. You can call Townshend, it is a small family run shop where anyone can help you, I just usually wind up talking with John.
I saw your Strain Guage post this morning. As you appear to be an enthusiast
And as I own 2 units I thought you may be interested in a modification that I have done to one of mine. I had Rens Heijnis in the Netherlands redo the whole output stage of the SG200. He is a specialist in microphone stages for the recording industry. The Unit is now on Batteries with 3 choices in the gain
A while back, he also custom built a phono stage for me and this gave me the idea to try this with the SG. The results are remarkable. I also have the DS Master and the SG surpasses it in resolution. I appreciate many of the great tips you give the community and as I am very heavily into vinyl and have 6 TTs running with 24 arms ( of my own making15/16 inch) I thought you may be interested.
Earlier pics are Synergistic Element CTS with Active Shielding. Currently Townshend F1. Both benefit from Mats, Elevators and vibration control, about the same. My experience all cables exhibit smearing when run close to other stuff, be it floor or components or other cables, and regardless of what type cable (power, IC, speaker) or model or who makes it. I have done some pretty compelling demonstrations of this, read on down through the comments to see what people have said about that. Over the years I have done this with lots of different things and the difference is greater now that my system is more transparent and resolving but everyone always heard it even way back when.
What do those mats do? (I guess I can research it.)
Are those Synergistic Cables? If so, I am curious as to what level. I bought all Foundation and found them to be exceedingly sensitive to near field contact. When the cables came in close contact with each other, the sound-stage become smeared.
Just curious - and maybe I missed it - but what do you use to judge whether a change improved the listening experience? For example, do you put a monotone from a audio signal source into the system and check its measured output on a oscilloscope? Or is it (at the other end of the spectrum) by what sounds better to your ear? Or some combination?
I’m not intending to debate the merits of your approach, just curious what approach you use.
Your English is exemplary. Impressive is precisely the word. Only one of the 15 drivers is really a tweeter. The other 14 are crossed over lower and cover the midrange down to about 270Hz. All together they have the same effective area and cover the same range as one 9" midrange driver would do.
The idea is that the effective moving mass is much less, a tiny fraction of what that one 9" driver would be. This allows for a much faster transient response than any 9" driver. Also the 14 drivers are operating in the flattest part of their response curve.
This also means the entire range from 270Hz up is being handled by the same driver. All together these factors- transient speed, flat response, and the exact same driver characteristics- combine to account for the Moabs superb midrange and treble.
The "shielding" is actually tubes made by cutting up old Perfect Path Solutions eMat. Not sure if this material works by blocking RF or by shear wave effects or whatever, but it does lower the noise floor revealing incredible detail. There is more inside the speakers. The crossovers are mounted on it.
Glad you like the Neurological Evidence article. For many years people have known experienced listeners continue to show a high degree of listening ability even long after losing a lot of their ability to hear the highest frequencies. The way I read this work is it shows those tests are flawed because they measure only full sine waves, which is only a small part of what we hear.