At this point,the system is about as balanced as any stereo I’ve listened to in the last 30 years.It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of both Paul Wakeen and Dave Hallquist of Stillpoint fame.Both of which I’m quite grateful to for all of their knowledge,helpfulness,and understanding.I can honestly say this set-up is the most detailed,transparent,and the most pin point imaging I can remember hearing ever.
Hey Joel,sorry it took me a few days to get back to you,I dropped and shattered my phone,so it’s up and running again.Thanks for your question on the difference between the ARC and Berning gear.Let me start out by saying,I don’t think you can go wrong with either.I had the 5SE pre and 210 monos for a couple of years before the Berning.I bought the Berning already modded out,so that’s all I can compare it to.My pre one imaged much better, soundstage was larger,had a tighter bass,and it’s tonality just sounded better.It sounded more lifelike,much closer to real instruments and voices.Now the Ref 210’s vs. the Quads,a little harder to describe.I do appreciate the ARC sound and transparency.The Bernings Have more detail,better tonal balance,spot on imaging,and don’t weigh 90 lbs.They save me about 20$ a month in cheaper power bills,and don’t have that fan noise in the background,although you get use to it after awhile.The ARC only uses balanced lines,would prefer being able to choose myself,not stiff armed one way or the other.The Berning is very easy on tubes and doesn’t heat up the room in an hour, a big room.I bought the last new in box set in the world I guess.Now you can buy reconditioned ones that have a 30 lb. brass plate affixed to the bottom and I don’t know what other upgrades the internals see,but I’m sure they sound wonderful for about 36k $ or so.I hope I was able to explain my thoughts on both sets without sounding like an idiot.Bottm line,they are all great pieces,just a different flavor. John
Hey Dave,yes I do still have my original top that came with the SA.I used it at different times for the top of the SA and as a shelf in other places at times.Now it’s on the ESS under the Berning pre.Years ago I was hoping to buy another one.I called the owner,he said the tops were made of Corian counter top material.He liked the material,and would still probably be still be using it for shelves,but Corian wanted him to take a 2 day workshop about working with the product.He refused,and they wouldn’t sell him anymore.So then,at that time he started making shelves out of mdf wood pained black.Sort of a cool little bit of trivia I always thought.I think any of us could go to say Menards ,and order a pre-cut piece,in any color they sell.I have never tried ,and they may have a limit to how small of order you can put in.I think it’s a great anti resonant material.Looks good also.Mine is an inch thick and has 3 layers,gloss black/gray/and salt and pepper.So if you have the same,treasure it,they are a collectors item at this point. John
Hey man,that sound anchor I’ve had for about 30 years.Looking back I think it was the best money spent on anything ever.After all those years of use and multiple moves,it has a few nicks and all,but basically still almost looks new.For the money it’s absolutely great!The Ess sounds better ,but for the table with that crazy piece of granite,it works perfect.I have just enough room for the phono stages,conditioner on the bottom,perfect.If you have a all in one table,the stillpoint is def.better.So like I always say,if you can squeeze iti into your budget,ya I would have to recommend one.I solved it by never putting the table on one,so you know ignorance is bliss.It was a huge difference on the pre and cd though.So someday when that ticket hits,maybe I could do another one.Have a good night-John
I see you use the same Sound Anchor Component stand as I do. How does this stand compare to your much newer Stillpoints LLC ESS rack? In the day, there was nothing better than the Sound Anchor, today i still like what it can do, but I suspect it can be bettered. ( at a price).