Description

Do you love music? My audio system approach is driven by my passion for music. Everything you see here is put together with a singular purpose, to connect with music that not only inspires you but stirs you emotionally. Musicality is a constant in my choice of audio gear. If a specific audio component cannot convey music with its natural emotions, then it simply fails and gotta go.

I believe in the notion that everything matters in a signal chain. So one must pay close attention to elements that are detrimental to sound reproduction in our environment. My room has dedicated AC lines and further power-conditioning is employed by way of an isolation transformer. This is the simplest and arguably the most effective way of power conditioning (without robbing the dynamics and any sort of coloration) in which incoming AC current is applied to a primary coil, with a secondary coil attached to one or more AC outlets; the turns ratio between the two coils is 1 to 1, thus ensuring that x number of volts IN will result in the same number OUT. 

Next up is cabling. Beyond the fundamental task of linking components and carrying current / signal, they greatly impact the overall sound of your audio system. So it is vitally important to select cables that allows you to appreciate and gets you as close as possible to the unprecedented sound reproduction retrieval reminiscent of a live musical event. I have tried and owned many cable brands over the years and by far, the cables from Combak (Harmonix, Japan) are absolutely one of the most natural sounding cables. I can say unequivocally that these cables deliver class-leading levels of clarity and dynamics with smooth natural realism. 

Room Acoustics are so important yet often overlooked. Treating your listening space with proper acoustics yields to better sound and enhances your enjoyment. You get to hear all the possible details and nuances embedded in our music more clearly and well defined. Thanks to GIK and Core Audio Designs diffusor-absorbers, I was able to vastly improve the sound in my listening room. 

And lastly, Isolation and Tuning. Even the slightest vibrations effect an audio signal resulting in smearing of acoustical imaging. I am currently tinkering with isolation feet’s from Harmonix, the initial impression suggests they are truly exceptional in keeping the audio signal intact. The precision and realism with these tuning discs is unmistakable. Bravo! 

I would like to give a shout-out to Colin at Gestalt Audio for his invaluable consultation. 
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Components Toggle details

    • Reference System Toggle for Details

    Associated Equipment:
    1) Loudspeakers: TANNOY CANTERBURY GR
    2) Super Tweeter: TANNOY ST-300Mg
    3) Integrated: ACCUPHASE E-650
    4) Digital to Analog Converter: Merging Technologies +player, +clock, +power
    5) Super Audio CD Player: MARANTZ SA-11S2
    6) Compact Disc Player: RAYSONIC CD-128
    7) Streamer: +player (Roon Core)
    8) Server: aurender ACS100
    9) Network Switch: Telegärtner M12 Switch Gold w/JCAT LPS
    10) Hi-Fi rack: CORE AUDIO DESIGNS isoPlat CLD v.4
    11) Subwoofers: REL Acoustics Carbon Limited 
    12) Room Treatments: GIK Acoustics / Core Audio Designs
    • Power Cables Toggle for Details

    Power cables:
    • Accuphase E-650 Integrated - HIJIRI “TAKUMI” Maestro
    • Merging Technologies +Clock - HIJIRI “TAKUMI” Maestro
    • Merging Technologies +Power - HIJIRI “TAKUMI” Maestro
    • Marantz SA-11S2 SACD Player - HIJIRI “TAKUMI” Maestro
    • Raysonic CD-128 CD Player - HIJIRI “TAKUMI” Maestro
    • REL Carbon Limited Subwoofer x 2 - Zavfino Majestic OCC

    Power Receptacle: Furutech GTX-D (Rhodium)

    Fuses: HiFi Tuning Supreme Cu

    Power Filtering: 
    • Furutech FLOW-28
    • Furutech NCF Clear Line
    • ADD-POWR Electra Clear
    • Shindo Labs Mr. T

    Passive Filtering:
    • Telegartner M12 Switch Gold
    • Audio Exklusiv Silent RCA, XLR & Banana Plugs
    • Telos Audio Design RCA Caps
    • Signal Cables Toggle for Details

    Analog Interconnects: 
    • SACD Player - 聖HIJIRI Million “KIWAMI” HGP-X Balance
    • CD Player - 聖HIJIRI Million “KIWAMI” HGP-RCA (Cinch)
    • Digital to Analog Convertor - 聖HIJIRI Million “KIWAMI” HGP-X Balance

    Digital Interconnects:
    Streamer / Server 
    • Telegärtner M12 X-coded/MFP8 IE Gold LAN
    • JCAT Signature LAN Gold M12 X 

    Speaker: 
    • 聖HIJIRI H-SLC “MILLION” - HF
    • Zavfino Nova OCC - LF
    • Kimber - REL-CU
    • Audio Envy NV-SP9 (Super Tweeter)
    • Anti-Vibration Toggle for Details

    Hi-Fi Rack: Core Audio Designs PlyKraft 3L & isoPlat CLD v.4

    Anti-vibration platforms: 
    • Auralex Acoustics SubDude
    • Core Audio Designs - Purple Heart for Apple Router and M12 Network Switch

    Isolators: 
    • Combak TU-333EX Tuning Insulator (underneath Accuphase and Merging)
    • Finite Elemente Slimline CERABASE (underneath Raysonic and Marantz)
    • HiFi Stay TriBase (underneath Aurender)
    • Herbie Audio Labs Soft Fat Dot (underneath SME 15A-V)

    Resonators:
    • Nordost QPOINT
    • Shun Mook Audio Mpingo Disc
    • Acoustic Revive RR-777
    • Accessories Toggle for Details

    Digital: 
    • Standard Sound Improvement Disc SID
    • ahp THE KLANGTUCH IV

    Cable Supports:
    • Gregitek RG1
    • JWM Acoustics Cable Cradles
    • Cardas Multi Block
    • Shunyata Research Dark Field Mini 
    • Tannoy Canterbury GR

    Since the first listen, I was bowled over by Canterbury’s detailed, warm and dynamic sound. There aren’t many speakers that are capable of connecting you to the music so intimately and emotionally like the way Canterbury’s does so effortlessly. 

    The Canterbury’s are hand built in the time-honored Tannoy fashion to ensure that attention to detail and unique styling go hand in hand in maintaining the exclusive appeal of this highly respected loudspeaker. The thick birch ply baffle and panels are extensively detailed with walnut inlays and machined gold trim. The Prestige Gold Reference takes Tannoy Canterbury’s to new level of refinement in every aspect. 

    In an ideal world a speaker designer would want to design a single transducer that addresses the entire frequency range – the ideal of the single-driver speaker. That transducer would cover the lowest bass notes as well as the finest details of the upper treble. Alas, that ideal has been very elusive, and drivers that work well for low frequencies don’t work well for the upper frequencies. Speaker designers have instead resorted to the use of multiple drivers and complex crossover schemes. Of course, this breaks up the audio signal into different segments and transmits each segment from and to different points in space, creating all sorts of acoustic problems that have to be addressed.


    Enter the dual concentric driver. The major advantage of the dual concentric design is that the low and high frequency sound radiation is generated on the same axes – both the vertical and horizontal axis and all the others in between – sending out a single integrated wavefront of multiple waves instead of waves from multiple locations. We have all heard multi-driver speakers which sound a bit disjointed, putting the violins or brass or some other part of the orchestra in a different place than their locations at the time of recording, or creating smearing because the multiple wavefronts are not reaching the listener at exactly the same time.

    With the dual concentric driver you have a single chassis that incorporates two separate drive units, integrated into one. The high frequency driver mounted in the middle of the center pole of the bass driver is an exponential horn. The newly designed 15” Gold Reference bass driver is Tannoy’s most powerful and articulate Dual to date, offering over 96dB efficiency. It has a new fiber-enriched paper pulp cone material and the cone is terminated with a twin roll surround of impregnated fabric for improved damping characteristics. The crossover to the bass driver has also been redesigned, featuring Custom ICW ClarityCap™ MR capacitors, low loss laminated core inductors and thick-film resistors, and the final assembly is deep cryogenically treated as a whole unit.

    The birch plywood cabinetry has been engineered expertly and if I may say so cleverly with a Variable Distributed Port system allowing low frequency output to be tuned to best fit their placement and room dimensions.  And then there are Tannoy’s signature high frequency power switch, which permits fine adjustments to the treble.  As mentioned before, the dual concentric 15” woofer and cabinet’s ported design….no matter what piece of music you are listening, there is no traces of “one-note” emphasis nor there any energy loss in the lower midrange/upper bass that is so typical of multi-driver floor-standers. 

    I say this, once you listen to a speaker with single driver; you would never go back to any traditional multi-driver speaker. I am now spoiled and unequivocally ‘Tannerd’ for life :-) 

    • Accuphase E-650


    My search for an SS integrated ended when I first heard E-650 in my system. The E-650 not only musically satisfying but transparent enough to let other components shine through in my system. Despite of its modest power, my Tannoy Canterbury’s have blossomed from its pure class A 30W. The bass is outstanding, with a wonderful combination of solidity in the lowermost octaves along with excellent control and definition in the mid and upper bass region. In addition to this solidity and weight, the Accuphase allows Canterbury’s 15” woofer to beautifully reproduce the texture of the bass along with its attacks and decays in a way that brings the instruments to life. I can’t stress this enough but getting the proper ‘bass’ is so important for the foundation of music.

    The E-650 delivers just the right amount of sweetness and purity in the mids and highs that very few integrated possess. There’s something about the sound of a pure Class A watts that is particularly beguiling. Class A in general, doesn’t sound like Class AB solid-state nor does it sound like tubes. The virtues of E-650 Class A operation were readily apparent on a range of instruments. The E-650’s smooth yet suave midrange and treble beautifully renders a natural and unfatiguing tonality.

    The E-650 liquidity with vocals in also unmistakable. I could easily pick out the dense texture and richness of vocal harmonies on one hand and its resolution and transparency on the other. The voices blends beautifully with arrangements without congealing; the rendering of space is exemplary not just in width and depth but more importantly in the precise placement of images within the soundstage. Notably, instruments are presented as individual objects spatially and texturally, making it easy to clearly hear individual parts within the whole. That’s one quality that a meticulously designed component does well; to hear it to this degree from an integrated amplifier is quite astonishing and rewarding. Once you hear the E-650 textural beauty, resolution and liquidity, it becomes very hard to walk away :-) 

    • Merging Technologies +Player, +Power, +clock L

    If you had a good fortune to hear the +NADAC then you already know how exemplary is DAC by itself. Once you add +Power and +Clock to the equation, you’re in a different stratosphere. For all you analog lovers, let me say this; I don’t love my analog any less than I used to, but listening to the merging trio alongside my SME 15A turntable made me realize that I can easily enjoy digital just as much, after-all merging trio revealed more music than SME did in my system. SME 15A is a fine sounding instrument but NADAC trio’s brings realism and transparency of highest order and presents an ultimate path to hear music precisely as it was recorded and mastered by the sound engineers. 

    Before I go further, it’s worth pointing out why I chose Aurender ACS100 as my ultimate choice for a music server. The Aurender is the first (to my knowledge) brand to adapt and support Merging’s RAVENNA protocol. This allows a direct connectivity path to +NADAC or +Player over RAVENNA AoIP network for a seamless integration and playback of stored files or Streaming. No more mulling over which connection sounds the best (USB, SPDIF or AES/EBU) not to mention which cable brand best suited to carry the signal between DAC and streamer in a conventional setup. 

    What sets apart Merging from any other digital solution is its RAVENNA (AES67) digital interface. What are the benefits of Ravenna ~ The first is the transmission bandwidth which allows uncompressed audio over IP Network, AES67 has a transmission bandwidth of 1 to 10Gbps, and furthermore, it has a transmission distance of up to 100 meters and it uses IEEE 1588-2008 precision time protocol, with a maximum transmission delay of only 1ns and a very fast response speed! In addition, REVANNA AES67 sends data in a packaged form and has a retransmit mechanism to avoid data loss. More importantly, Ravenna is ROON’s RAAT done correctly. 

    The specially adapted dedicated 625kHz output of +CLOCK for +PLAYER clock input is what pushes the state-of-the-art sound for digital audio playback. Aside from onboard superb technical specifications, the addition of +CLOCK stirs emotions unlike anything I’ve experienced before….the music touches your heart with the purity of the sound. The clocking of digital audio signals is crucial to achieve the highest transparency. Merging’s RAVENNA network technology makes it much easier to distribute super-accurate timing information to all connected devices. The +CLOCK is not only designed to synchronize the RAVENNA network, but also provides a direct high-performance connection to +PLAYER, which offers seamless automatic sample rate switching. 

    Lastly, +POWER which boasts some of very innovative features rarely seen in any outboard power supply. It is worth pointing out that +POWER existence focused on raising the performance of +PLAYER to unprecedented heights. To achieve this, the following things have been considered and implemented in its design, 

    The power supply is set up as a hybrid design. Which in this case means that the analogue sections are powered by a very silent toroidal transformer. The more power consuming sections such as the DSP/FPGA and the media player, get their power supplied by a switching power supply. The +13 volt DC main power switch can handle 7.5 amps of continuous power and has an optimized second order filter to attenuate high- frequency noise while maintaining optimum transient performance. The other (+16 V / -16 V / + 6 V) analogue power supply circuits can handle 1 Amp continuous current. In addition, the optimized 2nd-order filter offers better performance and protection features than most discreetly constructed designs. Finally, a mix of three types of capacitors (polymer, aluminum and polypropylene) conforming to space travel/military specification is combined to obtain the most optimal sound properties.
    • Aurender ACS100
    Incorporating a nearly identical feature set and much of the same software abilities as the ACS10, the ACS100 brings an unprecedented level of digital file creation, curation, and management. 

    The SQ from this little beast is shockingly good! This is the only player in Aurender line up that has an external power supply. Anyone reading up on these devices can easily understand why separating power supply from audio circuit greatly reduces the potential for spurious noise pollution cause by physical interaction. But more importantly, the ACS100 powered by hybrid “super capacitor” based uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for stabilizing the ACS100 under an abrupt power outage condition. The power supply delivers a clean DC power to ACS100. This arrangement dramatically lowers the noise floor resulting to an uncannily quiet background from which music emerges….Bravo
    • Marantz SA-11s2
    How does the SA-11s2 sound when playing SACDs? From the very first spin SACD’s never sounded better (compare to my Krell Cipher). SA-11s2 delivers sound that is slightly warm, dynamic and very musical. I heard more detail, better harmonic structure and timbre, far superior dynamic range and punch, extended bass, and a more complete and less digital type rendering of the music. Not to mention, top notch build quality and exquisite champagne finish. 

    What a incredible bargain..too bad they don’t make them anymore like they used to! 
    • Raysonic CD-128
    Every now and then, you come across a product that catches your attention like no other. I feel very fortunate to cross paths with Raysonic CD 128. What caught my attention with the CD128 were four items: top-loading operation; a quartet of 6922 triodes in the output stage to suggest fully balanced operation, built quality (it's built like a tank) and sticker price under $2K.  

    The CD128 sound is amazingly balanced, no treble fatigue or etchiness, bleached or flatness through this player. The CD128 does body and density in spades yet it doesn't feel thick or opaque. The CD128's warmth and color saturation go hand in hand with wallop to present crescendos, climaxes and boisterous bass lines with impact. There are no fuzziness that would give the anti-tuber a reason to complain. There is plenty of airyness, warmth and lushness (a trade mark of well executed tube circuit) one can appreciate through this player.   

    The supplied Russian 6922's tubes are used here to excellent effect but once I swapped the russian variant to NOS Telefunken's 6922's, the CD128 elevated to another level. The sound exhibited the finest of detail, nuances and spatial finesse thus elevating your musical enjoyment. There is a good reason why the CD128 remained a crown jewel of my system for so many years. Easily one of the best 'analog' sounding digital player ever produced, period! 
    • Combak Corporation HIJIRI

    Hijiri, in Japanese meaning 'maestro' or 'important leader' is the brand presented by Kiuchi-san in 2015 under the Combak Corporation, the mother company. The cables being discussed here are designed by Mr. Kazuo Kiuchi, who also owns the XRCD24 brand. These relationships are even deeper, because his components and accessories, for example power cables, interconnects and speaker cables, as well as anti- vibration elements, are used in the Japanese JVC studios, where remasters are made for this type of releases. 

     

    Power Cords:

    HIJIRI “TAKUMI” Maestro power cord is simply exquisite. The cables feature cotton braid and terminated with custom-made plugs by US company WattGate. This custom-make involves applying wooden barrels on plug's endings that acts as dampening vibrations. Just like Nagomi, you also get wooden element the middle of cable length which act as anti-resonant elements. There is a consideration time spent behind the selection of proper type of wood, size of this element and optimal placement on the cable. 

     

    How does it sound? Again, from the very first note, TAKUMI’s sound is deep, dense, with pitch black background. It presents instruments and vocals in a very natural way, without emphasizing the elements that "tune up" the sound. The liquidity is simply off the charts. The tone and three-dimensionality is spot on, there is this naturally soft attack and smoothness. You can not hear any harshness, because there is none, neither can you point out any signs of coloration, because again, there is none. From the first to the last album I listened to, I marveled its extremely well balanced sound. Moreover the cable beautifully presents the differences in tone, in instruments placement as well as dynamic range. The TAKUMI excels in vividness, fluidity, saturation and differentiation - a rare combination. 

     

    Emotions, the most important element of music and TAKUMI convey them in spades. It is a cable that will improve nothing in the system, neither will it degrade anything. It simply allows recordings to sound in an emotional, naturally soft, full-bodied way.  Bravo! 

     

    Speaker Cable:

    Hijiri H-SLC speaker cable showed up in its custom exquisite wooden box. Apparently, “Million” speaker cable took three years in development and she shares her DNA with the X-DC Studio Master Million Maestro power cable. The cable are hand made, one pair at a time, custom designed from specially prepared copper that is directional and then terminated with heavy duty solid spades made of silver plated PCOCC. Let’s delve into how H-SLC (Sophisticated Listener Choice) sounds in my system...

     

    One word comes to mind, natural while delivering delicate musical nuances that were previously imperceptible. H-SLC is a very accurate cable, she digs so deep into the sound that what we hear is no longer just about hi-fi or components associated with it but all about music and how IT changes. Therefore, both the vocals and the arrangement on your favorite recordings sound wonderfully powerful and dense. This is the same density XRCD24 discs are known for...I know we are talking about CD format with its inherit weaknesses but if you have heard the K2HD mastered CD’s, knows exactly what I am referring to....on speakers capable of producing larger soundstage (like my Tannoy Canterbury’s) the spatial prowess of K2HD mastered discs is much more discernible, yielding to a considerable more meticulous presentation and separation of instrument bodies. 

     

    There is also of course a slight warming of the upper treble, something like "gilding" that makes the cymbals sound nicer, more "friendly" than when presented "raw". There are no colorations to the whole presentation, it is not closed, because the attack and selectivity of the midrange remains strong, stronger than any of my cable brand graced my system in last 15 years. And did I mention excellent dynamics. Since the foreground is placed close to us and the way it grabs our attention, we perceive each arrangement very immersive and natural.

     

    The HIJIRI H-SLC "Million" speaker cables conveys tonal richness, depth, resolution and dynamics in spades, just what you expect from any top tier cable. For me, they simply connects me to music emotionally. This is a outstanding cable that delivers remarkably natural presentation, reminiscent of the aesthetic choices of what we get with XRCD24 (sorry I couldn’t help pointing out the reference, again).  She is a keeper :-) 

     

    Interconnects:

    HIJIRI Million “KIWAMI”  HGP-X Balanced Cable showed up in its handsome wooden box. The cable is well constructed, the exquisite cotton coating of the Million "Kiwami" cable is pleasantly soft to the touch, and its tricolor – black-yellow-red – doesn’t disappoint. It’s also worth pointing out that cable is terminated with grounding extensions which can be connected to the ground terminal or to one of those ‘audiophile’ grounding block (like Nordost QKORE6). In addition, like other cables in “Million’’ series, the wooden block with the inscription Hijiri on one side and Million on the other side acts as a filter for dampening resonance. 

     

    The Interconnect was the last piece of the puzzle in my system. After “Million” power cord and speaker cable, the XLR further extends the realism of PC and speaker cable. No added sweetness to voices, softening strokes, restrained sopranos or bass, just audio purity. Not only the sound is fuller and neutral, its also most spatial and devoid of any distortion. It is no surprise that HIJIRI cables are the only ones used in the recording and remastering of XRCD’s. 

     

    HIJIRI cables has this speed and their uncanny ability to transmit transients is pretty impressive. The cables with a “soul” that has elevated synergy between my carefully chosen components. I always believed, in a well-compiled high end system, you will always hear impact of well engineered cables like HIJIRI’s. And by going a step further and using HIJIRI’s complete loom, you’ll unleash full potential of the individual components in your system. I was able to find out about this by adding the HGP-X on my DAC which already powered by “TAKUMI” Maestro power cord. These cables have brought me closer to the state of an audio nirvana, from the very first to the last note. 

     

    Is this the end of my search for cables, I think so. 

     


    • Zavfino Nova OCC

    The Nova uses PC-OCC single crystal copper in a multi-strand litz construction with an individually insulated silver coated core yielding to high performance and exceptional value. As per manufacturer description, the cable employs generous (3x12AWG) highest purity Japanese PC-OCC single crystal copper conductors. 

    How is this cable sound….in one word, fabulous. The cable conveys plenty of warmth, naturalness and dynamically impressive. The cable has exceptional low noise floor thus revealing every nuances in your music. Well done Zavfino! 

    • Zavfino Majestic MK1
    • Telegartner M12 Switch Gold
    Why would anyone consider a uber-expensive switch like Telegärtner’s when a router or any other mass produced switch can do the simple & basic task of packet data to receive, process and forward data to a destination device. IME, a high quality switch not only handles a network signal better than routers, but also offers substantial benefits from its internal reclocking schematics and superior EMI/RFI rejection. 

    The M12 is pretty straightforward plug n play device but it does require special LAN cables terminated with M12 connectors on the switch end and RJ45 terminations on device end. For my initial test, I used a pair of Telegartner M12 X CODE/MFP8 IE GOLD LAN cables. The LAN cables are of very high quality, heavily shielded and  terminated with noise resilient M12 connector on switch end and GOLD plated RJ45 plugs for my streamer and server. 

    After a week of break-in, It’s time for an evaluation. Coming from a wonderful EE8 switch w/ENO Filter setup, I had a fair idea what to expect from a switch like M12. Few minutes into listening and I had this grin on my face. I did not have to strain to hear the upside of M12, it was like a ‘sweeper’ on a tech highway, any digital grunge present in the signal, now gone! The M12 did a remarkable job of smoothening the edges without masking any detail. The sound through M12 has this softer and delicate palpability that aforementioned switch and filter could only muster at much lower scale or degree. The music simply flows from a pristinely dark musical backdrop. The insanely low noise floor upped the ante on pretty much everything else; articulation, smoothness, vividness, resolution and clarity. 

    If you’re after extracting every last ounce of ‘untapped’ performance from your networked attached digital front end then M12 should be the next logical step despite of its low perceived value. Here is the thing, the music through M12 present itself to you like never before which makes it worth while to keep this switch front and centered of your digital signal chain. Once you hear M12 in your system, it’s very unlikely you could imagine living without it! 
    • JCAT OPTIMO 3 DUO
    Does this ultra liner power supply delivers on its promise of drastically improve every aspect of sound from Network Audio?  You betcha! 

    So what did I hear? The music has this increased sense of resolution, depth and energy. The JCAT LPS does a commendable job of cleaning and lowering digital grunge thus ‘freeing’ digital bits from the depths of distortion. The quietest passages became more quiet and loudest passages became clearer (free from any congestion). This was particularly evident on LIVE and Acoustic recordings. 

    Together with Telegärtner M12 SWITCH GOLD switch, JCAT OPTIMO 3 DUO power supply and JCAT Signature LAN Cable GOLD M12, my home network optimization is now reached its pinnacle. Mission accomplished! 
    • JCAT Signature LAN Cable GOLD M12
    Everything you read or heard about this exquisite cable is TRUE! A must buy for any highly resolved digital systems.
    • Shindo Labs Mr. T
    Shindo Laboratory's Mr. T is an isolation transformer of the noise-reducing sort, as opposed to the sort designed solely for safety; indeed, unlike transformers built primarily for galvanic isolation, the ground tab on the Mr. T's AC inlet is wired to the ground tabs of its six AC outlets. It provides the equivalent of a stable power source, for up to 6 components, by separating the equipment from the mains circuit by the use of a custom designed isolation transformer.

    Inside the Mr. T is a massive Haruna Denki transformer. The rear panel's showcase high quality Meikosha AC outlets (that offers solid grip but thankfully doesn’t not mar the finish of AC plugs blades) plus nondescript IEC socket and fuse holder; and the necessary hookup wiring. The case is beautifully finished, inside and out, in Shindo's trademark shade of green, and it's solidly built—its removable top, adequately damped with a rubber-like pad. 

    So how did Mr. T fared in my system, well Mr. T brought my system one step closer to sounding alive. The sound of my system with the Shindo Mr. T is more lifelike, and the music flows from note to note more like live music. It’s more explosive on loud passages and quieter on quiet passages. The scale of the music is also more diverse, some recordings sound bigger, others smaller. Most importantly, it does not ‘color’ the sound of my system thus allowing me to hear music as transparent as possible. 
    • GIK Acoustics Various
    242’s - 4” panels to treat reflections off my angled ceiling towards the back of the room and above the 'sweet' spot.

    242's Art Panels - Limited Edition Tape Op Series: Same functionality as GIK’s 242 acoustic panels that are known to address the early reflection points, flutter echo, or general decay in a room. GIK Acoustics partners with Tape Op to bring the amazing artwork that enhances room decor of any serious audiophiles that places equal importance to functionality as well as appearance. 

    244’s - Bass Trap panels with FlaxRange Technology on the rear wall. The wall behind listening position is responsible for large peaks and nulls, not only in the low end but in the mid and upper frequency range. Unlike corners, the back wall is a single boundary that requires different type of treatments. I went with 5.25” thick panels that helped with smooth and tight bass response across the room. In addition, the walnut wood diffusor panels from Core Audio Design were added to enhance low frequency absorption and to preserve the ambiance of the room. 

    GoBo: Free standing Acoustic Panels (gobo). Since my room only have three physical walls, I knew I had to treat the ‘open’ wall space to stop the sound bleeding. After speaking to James L. at GIK, he recommended floor standing panels that addresses the bleeding and reflections. Not only they look good but they tremendously improved the imaging, depth and detail of overall soundstage. 

    Impression Series: 4" Impression Series Bass Trap Diffuser/Absorber with Palomar Narrow pattern. Four narrow panel in 11.5”w behind and in-between the speakers. 
    • REL Acoustics Carbon Limited
    REL needs no intro…when it comes to music, there is no other sub that gels with your main speakers in producing low and mid level bass definition ....none of the ‘boomy’ or overwhelming bass that’s so hard to overcome with other subs. 

    My ultimate demo track, ‘Why So Serious’ from Dark Knight Soundtrack (Qobuz)
    • Combak Corporation TU-333EX
    Honestly, I wasn't expecting much improvements since my components rest on isolation platform. But, based on what i experienced with HIJIRI cables, I knew Mr. Kazuo Kiuchi is upto to something very special with these nifty tuning bases. The TU-333EX, created with Resonance control technology, is a tuning insulator that brings out the potential of your system to the highest performance possible. 

    I first started with these insulators underneath my Accuphase Integrated. Well, nothing could've possibly prepared me for what I heard in next 5 minutes. There is this beautiful energy to the music. There is this increased density in the music with richer expressions. My Accuphase is already very quiet but TU-333EX further enhanced the deep inky background. Music was slightly pushed back with vocals becoming more persuasive and convincing, more emotionally engaging. Instruments are now expressed with richer overtones and the soundstage was more three-dimensional with full feeling of its presence.

    Second set went underneath my merging trio stack and yielded the similar results as with Accuphase. 
    • Telegartner M12 X CODE/MFP8 IE GOLD LAN

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@pokey77 & @arafiq 
Thanks for your kind words. The transition to Merging is nothing short of a revelation to say the least. I did hear W20SE in my system and while it remains one of the best streamer I’ve heard to date, the meticulous implementation of ROON Core and gigabit RAVENNA protocol pretty much negated the ‘need’ for an external high end streamer. 

I may do a detailed write up soon :-) 

Ag insider logo xs@2xlalitk

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Your system has taken some interesting turns. I went over to Merging's website but it isn't the easiest to understand. I know you had Aurender N20 and were considering the W20SE but now have the Merging stack. It'd be great if you start a thread on Merging Technologies and explain the thought process about going that direction.

pokey77

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Your system sounds even better than it looks! The realism and a complete lack of distortion in your system is something to behold. The only negative comment I’m going to make about it that it has caused me to enjoy my own system a lot less since I heard yours.

arafiq

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Thank you!

I was afraid you would say this 😀

The EtherRegen is 100Mbps on the single port crossing the "moat", which is the bottleneck. I was so happy with it!

Thanks again!

lewinskih01

Center
Owner
@lewinskih01, appreciate your kind feedback. If EtherREGEN is not rated for 1000mbps or 1gps then it will not work with Merging’s RAVEENA. I know this cause I was using a Network Acoustic ENO Ethernet filter (rated for 100mbps) in my previous setup and it did not work with Merging. Also make sure your LAN cables supports 1GB connection speed specs. 

You won’t be disappointed with Merging sound and build quality. The  transparency & realism is off the charts and I can’t praise enough about RAVENNA. It’s the way to the future of streaming media content. 

Ag insider logo xs@2xlalitk

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What a fantastic system!
I see you use Telegartner switch with Merging stack using Ravenna. I'm considering Merging's Hapi as I do multichannel active, and read Ravenna is demanding on ethernet resources. Do you happen to know anybody who has tried Ravenna with Uptone's etheRegen? I wonder if etheRegen not being Gigabit would work with Ravenna.

Congrats on the great choices you have made!

lewinskih01

Center
Owner
@izjjzi, As far as sample rate change clicking goes, it doesn’t bother me; maybe I’ve gotten used to it :-) The other features and sound quality of +PLAYER far outweighs the soft clicking. The REL duo of Carbon Limited’s in my system are quite remarkable. In most cases, a pair of subs will always render superior imaging and pressurizes the room better than any single sub. I have no doubts that a single 212/SX is quite remarkable but I believe a pair of 212’s would be even more spectacular! 

I wish you good luck with DAC’s under consideration, those are all great choices. 

Ag insider logo xs@2xlalitk

128x128
Amazing system. Congratulations. Thank you for commenting on my system. I am only home auditioning the Merging+NADAC. I am poised to purchase the +Player. The sound is wonderful, but my one complaint is with the loud clicking between tracks of different sampling rates. I will ever only stream (currently Qobuz) and do so from playlists or from trying new things. I will rarely, if ever play an entire album. So this switching is annoying. In contrast, it's the only thing my bluesound does better - seamless transitions. I want to contrast it to the Briscati, Denafrips Terminator and possibly the MOON. Ultimately the problem I'm having besides being short on funds for a full Merging stack is the fact so many companies offer stacks to get the best SQ. I am not one who can settle on something short of the best, so I will never be happy with just the +Player and it could take a long time to add the other two pieces. Also, are you happy with your RELs? I just added the 212/SX. I am sending back the Carbon Special. It bottomed-out too easily, even once I had it dialed in for 99% of my music. It was also more boomy and less musical than the 212. The 212 is absolutely spectacular. It isn't fair that I did not get to hear a pair of Carbon Specials. Best to you!

izjjzi

Center
Owner
Thank you John for your kind words. Tannoy’s are the most beautiful sounding speakers, for my musical taste; they are perfect!

Ag insider logo xs@2xlalitk

128x128
Beautiful system congratulations!
I love the Tannoy’s I can only imagine how beautiful your system sounds very well done
All the best
John from Townshend 

Ag insider logo xs@2xtownshend-audio

Center
Owner
@tomic601, Thanks for the high praise! Believe it or not, attaining great sound quality from streaming requires just as much efforts and understanding as setting up a great Vinyl rig. Aside from buying high quality components, it is just as important to pay attention to how the data packets reaching your streamer/server. Noise elimination and re-clocking the data is the key to a sublime digital streaming experience. 

The diffusers are made by Core Audio Designs and the wood is Black Walnut! 

Ag insider logo xs@2xlalitk

Center
this is a system that deserves as my sensei would say “ much study “…. my highest compliments

tomic601

Center
Love the vibe of the room and with your attention to digital, i bet it sounds fantastic. What brand and wood are the diffusers? love the color tone.
best to you
Enjoy the music
Jim

tomic601

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