- Audio Research Reference 5 SE Preamp
This preamp uses a 6550 and 6H30 for power rectification. 4 additional 6H30 tubes amplify the stereo signal at line stage level. This 6550 tube runs hot. My laser thermometer shows 230+ F on the top of the tube. I had to lower the middle shelf of my rack to give this preamp at least 7 inches of clearance. I did not want the shelf over it getting too warm. Wonderful sound. This is my first stereo system since the mid 1970s to have remote control (not counting a CD player). I no longer need to get out of my chair to turn down the volume for my wife.
- Audio Research Reference Phono 2 SE
This has the same tube set as the Ref 5SE although it does not run nearly has hot. I bought both the Ref 5 SE and this Phono 2 SE at the same time moving away from an older single box ARC preamp. It is quite a step up in clarity, imaging and a much lower noise floor. I have been very happy with the change. btw- I love peering under the clear cover to see the circuit boards. Beautiful layout of capacitors, tubes and transformers.
- Sota Nova VI w/Condor Eclipse motor and Roadrunner Speed Control
This is my new Nova VI Turntable. I got all the options. This turntable features a magnetic bearing and the Eclipse Condor motor package with the Roadrunner spead control system. The Eclipse Condor package is an A/C motor with a very precise sine wave controller- the Condor. Lift of the motor cover and the Condor controller is visible inside the plinth.
This is a rock solid performer. I find it works very well with both MM and MC cartridges. It does prefer heavier cartridge bodies. Benz, Koetsu and Soundsmith cartridges work out well giving this tonearm system a resonance at 10 Hz.
- Soundsmith Zephyr Star MIMC ES
I wore my Benz cartridge down to a stub. After much deliberation I decided to try the latest Zephyr Star by Soundsmith. It sounds great and has outstanding tracking. A couple of old records that I was resigned to accepting distortion on a few tracks sound perfect with this Zephyr. I am very pleased with this phono cartridge.
This is a CD transport with vacuum tube output. This transport upsamples CDs to 88.2 kHz PCM output through I2S, BNC, AES, RCA, OPT, or it can also output the CD code in DSD format using three BNC connectors- MCLK, DSD L, and DSD R.
This DAC complements the CD-T II transport. It features tube power rectification and tube output on the analog side. 8 tubes in total but running at fairly low wattage, as compared to the ARC ref gear. The Ayon CD-T and Stealth get slightly warm but I cannot keep my hand over the air vents above the tubes for too long.
- RS9 Music Server Music Streamer based on ROCK and running ROON
I added this music server in order to stream music and play hi res audio files. It is feeding into my DAC via a USB cable.
- Pass Labs X-260.8 monoblocks
Just upgraded to these new mono amps. I noticed a bit bigger soundstage and clearer, more detailed bass as compared to my old X-350 amp. The X-350 is a classic and hard to let go.
- Thiel Audio CS6 Loudspeakers
Big beautiful full range speakers. These speakers are fast with an outstanding mid range. I have owned these for 15 years now and still love them. Paired with the Pass Labs amplifier makes for a great combination.
For a long time I would not consider using subs. I revamped my home theater system a few years back and bought a SVS Subwoofer. I was impressed with its power and crisp bass response. So one cold winter day I dragged this behemoth into the stereo room and tried it out. Now I have 2 SVS subwoofers behind the Thiels. I think they integrate well with the Thiels filling in that bottom octave nicely.
Powers the front end
- Purist Audio Design Musaeus XLR Interconnects Luminist
With the purchase of my new preamps I needed to move from SE (RCA) connectors to XLR types. After much deliberation with myself I gave these PAD cables a try. They sound great. The soundstage has more depth. Images have tighter focus and the system sounds very musical now. I can't stop listening. No ear fatigue at all. They are keepers.
- Purist Audio Design Genesis Luminist Phono Cable
1.2 meter Tonearm Cable that lowered the noise floor on my analog side. The sound easily bests the cable that came with my tonearm. Should have upgraded years ago.
- Purist Audio Design Diamond Revision 30th Anniversary USB
1.0m USB from the RS9 Music Server to the DAC
- Purist Audio Design Musaeus Luminist Speaker Cable
I got these speaker cables to round out the stereo system with all Musaeus cabling. Very musical to my ears.
- Purist Audio Design Musaeus Power Cords
These power cords supply the Pass Labs mono amps with power.
- Purist Audio Design Vesta Power Cables
After trying the Musaeus Interconnects, I went all the way with their power cords. Well, I dropped down one level since I had so many to buy. The power cables enhanced the benefits of using their interconnects. The overall system is very quiet now. Very focused imaging and sweeter highs.
Power Cord for the Niagara
- Nordost Silver Shadow BNC
I got three of these BNC cables to run between the Ayon CD transport and DAC. It takes three BNC cables for MCLK, DSD R and DSD L output/input. I know this breaks away from a complete Purist Audio Design cable system, but I felt these would be superior for the money.
An aluminum chassis power distribution box with a 20amp IEC type connection. Using it with the subs and main amplifier.
- GIK Acoustics 244 Bass Traps and Panels
Wow! Room treatments are an effective way to upgrade a system. The biggest thing I noticed was clearer voices. More detail as well as cleaner mid bass. These traps took away the bloated mid bass. I find these treatments to be very cost effective.
- VPI Industries HW-16.5 Record Cleaning Machine
Gotta clean those records.
- Audio Additives Digital Stylus Force Guage
This gage works well. It comes with a 5 g weight for the auto calibration feature. Quick and easy to use.
- Keces P8 Low Noise Linear Power Supply
This is a 19.1 Volt power supply for my RS9 Music Server. I upgraded from the basic in line wall wart type power supply that came with the music server.
- Hifi 25 Watt Power Supply 5 Volt power supply
This power supply replaces the wall wart used to power the network switch.
Designed and built by myself.
- No Brand Audio Rack made by me
I built this rack in my shop. Took me a good week but was worth the effort. I have almost infinite adjustability, superb isolation. Best of all this rack is rock solid. I did something right for a change. I used butcher block boards, 3/4" threaded rod and brass acorn nuts. The brass polished up nicely using my car polisher. I mounted spikes on the bottom side. The entire rack is heavy and it doesn't budge.
20 amp power outlet for the Monos. I was surprised at the improvement in sound this outlet made. Not cheap but it did something.
- Artcessories Clean Box Pro
Line level buffer/converter. Has either balanced to unbalanced throughput or unbalanced to balanced. I am using this as a high impedance buffer between my preamp and subwoofers. My preamp has a 20 kOhm minimum output impedance and since my main amps and subwoofer amps are all 22 kOhm impedance, when connected in parallel they make for a combined impedance below 10 kOhms. This puts too much load on the preamp and affects the sound and life of the tubes. The Clean Box Pro has an 100 kOhm impedance which keeps the overall impedance load on the preamp above 17 kOhms.
Added these to my Thiel CS6 speakers. Sounds better with just a slight loss of detail versus my homemade spring isolation platforms. The small detail loss is ok by me because the amount of detail was almost too much or too distracting. The overall sound is better with the Gaia isolators.