Description

This represents an evolution of my system that approaches what I would consider an “end-game” level. The primary reason for this are the KEF Blade Two’s, which replaced my vintage Thiel 3.5 CS speakers.  The Blades have been nothing short of a revelation…they are every bit the sonic, technical and design marvels all the reviews say they are.  I have never heard a speaker that can seemingly do it all like the Blades can…they are incredibly revealing and accurate, while never becoming analytical.  The Blades are able to convey the music with a cohesiveness and wholeness that always sounds “right” and complete.  I find myself getting lost in the simple joy of listening to the music…of having fun!  

As far as the rest of the system, my Audio Research stack is perfect for my needs.  I always preferred solid-state amplification, but loved the idea of having tube-warmth to “take the edge off”…especially with files/material that isn’t recorded perfectly.  Going the vintage route with Audio Research allowed me to do this while keeping absolute system synergy, which I consider to be very important.  Additionally, my Audio Research front-end has been absolutely bullet-proof and I feel confident in knowing that service can easily be performed should the need arise.  

Lastly, I was able to get quite the score with my Ortofon Century Turntable.  Built to commemorate Ortofon’s 100th anniversary, I was able to buy it in new, old-stock condition.  Sold in limited numbers, it comes with a limited-edition Century version of their iconic Concorde cartridge.  My other primary source is listening to my CD collection which has been ripped to a Bluesound Vault 2, as well as using it to stream Tidal.

I don’t have the room set-up the way I’d like; because of COVID, I had to setup a second home office in the other half of my listening area.  But, for the most part, I am ecstatic at what I have and don’t see any real need to upgrade further…it’s a perfect blend of old and new that, to me, sounds absolutely wonderful!

Happy Listening!
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Components Toggle details

    • KEF Blade 2
    KEF Blade Two speakers with (4) 6.5” force-cancelling bass drivers and Uni-Q concentric tweeter/mid-range array
    • Audio Research D240 MKII
    Running two of these solid-state amps in bridged-mono configuration:  480 watts per channel @ 8 ohms
    • Audio Research LS7
    Tube line amplifier with (4) Russian type-6922 tubes
    • Audio Research PH3
    Tube phono preamplifier with (3) Russian type-6922 tubes
    • Ortofon Century Turntable
    100th Anniversary Limited Edition turntable from Ortofon featuring special Century Edition Concorde MM cartridge.  Turntable is belt-driven with integrated electronic speed controller.
    • Bluesound Vault 2
    Ripper/storage/streamer device with built-in MQA capable DAC.  Using BlueOS and Tidal clients on both Windows PC and Android platforms.
    • Denon DVD-2900
    Universal disc player; used for Redbook CD, DVD-Audio and SACD disc playback.
    • Tripp Lite LCR-2400
    AC voltage regulator with Isobar AC spike and noise filters
    • AudioQuest Golden Gate
    RCA interconnects for all source components to line-stage
    • MIT Cables Terminator 2
    RCA interconnects from line-stage to each amplifier
    • MIT Cables AVt-3
    Speaker cables, 8 foot, banana plugs from amplifiers with spade terminations to speakers
    • Vibrapod Models 3, 4 and 5
    Vibration isolators for all components
    • VTI Manufacturing BL503
    Equipment rack

Comments 9

128x128
Owner
@captelee, @spiritofradio, @dorkyguyrandy, @kensw

Thanks everyone for your kind comments...they are very much appreciated!  I could not have completed this without the shared knowledge, help and experiences I've gotten from Audiogon and elsewhere.  

With regards to the painting, it is an original work by New Orleans artist Troy Guilbeaux that I bought April 11th 2011.  The really cool thing about it is that it was painted on what they call "Katrina Board", which is wood material they used to board-up condemned houses after Hurricane Katrina.  Troy salvaged pieces of this Katrina Board and did several pieces, many jazz themed, on one side and kept the original spray painted markings ("Do Not Enter", "House Condemned", "House Cleared" , etc.) left untouched on the reverse side.  

Again, thanks everyone for looking!

Arvin

arvincastro

222222&text=ke
Love the artwork too! Is it an original or print?

kensw

222222&text=do
Very nice classy system. I’m kind of doing the same thing with audio classics. Vandersteen 2ce’s, Audio Research SP9 preamp and a D115 power amp. 
Nice to hear that you like the racks. I’m ordering one from them next week. Enjoy listening. Thanks for sharing. 

dorkyguyrandy

128x128
This is great.  Very much admire and agree with your approach to hi-fi.  We don’t have to spend a fortune to get great sound and it’s just so much fun.

spiritofradio

Center
Beautiful space and I like the artwork.
Well thought out selection of components and well done! I bet it sounds great.

Ag insider logo xs@2xcaptelee

128x128
Owner
@skypunk 

Yes, VTI audio racks are quite sturdy. The rack I’m using is rated for 350 pounds/shelf...more than adequate for just about any component, save the most overbuilt (and expensive) monoblock amps. 

Timbernation racks are wonderful, but were just out of my price range. 

Good luck!

Arvin

arvincastro

128x128
I like the VTI rack. is it sturdy?

I am thinking about a Timbernation Rack!

skypunk

128x128
Owner
@benfica1 

Thanks!  The bench I'm using for my albums comes from Ikea...the Kallax bookshelf line.  Many different configurations, perfect size to hold albums and very reasonably priced versus purpose-made record storage. Good luck!

arvincastro

222222&text=be
Nice system! Can I ask where you purchased the shelf with the albums?

benfica1

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