Description

This is my main system which I have put together over the past two years (with the tacit understanding of my better half). Still very much in the process of settling down but achieving a fairly high degree of satisfaction. 

The following are the latest updates to my system:-

October 2021 - Replaced Isoacoustics Gaia III isolators with Townshend Audio speaker podiums. 

September 2021 -  Moved from QED Genesis Silver Spiral speaker cables to Silversmith Audio Fidelium speaker cables; installed another layer to the Quadraspire rack.

August 2021 - Added 2 units of Isotek Aquarius EVO3 power conditioners; upgraded interconnects from QED to a Siltech Classic Legend 380i; installed Isoacoustics Gaia III isolators on my ProAc speakers.
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Room Details

Dimensions: 18’ × 16’  Medium
Ceiling: 12’


Components Toggle details

    • Proac R30S speakers
    • Silversmith Audio Fidelium speaker cable
    • Townshend Audio Seismic Isolation Podiums
    • Rel T9i Subwoofers
    • Primaluna EVO 400 Preamplifier
    • Primaluna EVO 400 Power Amplifier
    • Hegel Mohican CD player
    • Marantz Ruby KI SACD player
    • Chord Hugo TT2 DAC
    • Chord M-Scaler
    • Innuos Zenith Mk3 streamer
    • Innuos Phoenix Reclocker
    • Isotek EVO3 Aquarius
    • Entreq Tellus II ground box
    • Siltech Cables Classic Legend 380i Interconnects

Comments 24

Showing all comments by dcpillai.

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Owner
Greetings @lalitk / lalitk. This is a bit overdue, but I finally got around to testing my system with and without the Entreq Tellus II. Essentially, I find that the Tellus II serves to reduce sibilance that may be present in recordings. To confirm this, I played Eva Cassidy's "Fields of Gold" for my wife on 2 consecutive nights, with and without the Tellus II present. To put it mildly, she found the sound of the system to be "piercing" or "screechy" without the Tellus II in place. It definitely has a place in my system. Thanks for the question!

dcpillai

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Owner
Thanks @jafant!! Indeed I find that CDs / SACDs are the optimum blend of physical media and convenience for me. Happy listening to you to sir!

dcpillai

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Owner
Thanks joel_hifi for the kind words.

The Phoenix is a great addition to the Zenith Mk3. I tested the difference this evening both with and without the Phoenix, and took some notes. I found that the Zenith Mk3 sounded quite a bit better with the Phoenix than without. The sound was fuller, more wholesome, cohesive, better stitched together, the bass was deeper and the soundstage slightly wider. After listening to the Zenith plus Phoenix combination, there is no going back. However, while it sounds really good, the fact of the matter is that CD playback is still better as the sound is crisper and there is better separation between the instruments, though the bass is more pronounced with the Zenith + Phoenix. 

In relation to the cables that I use, I run a cat 6 ethernet cable from my router to a SOtM iSO-CAT6 isolator, a SOtM dCBL CAT7 from there to the ethernet port on the Zenith. I use a FTA Callisto USB cable from the Zenith to the Phoenix and then a Danacable Trustream USB from the Phoenix to my DAC. This particular selection was due to the recommendation of AudioBacon / Jay Luong (see https://audiobacon.net/2020/09/08/innuos-phoenix-usb-reclocker-review/).

Roger as to the choice of music :-) 

Happy hunting Joel! 

dcpillai

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Owner
@lalitk Thank you for saying so!

I got the Tellus II on the recommendation of a dealer that I have grown to trust. He told me that the noise floor would drop and the sound would be clearer / cleaner, but it would need 24 hours to settle in and have effect. So I added it to my system, and it has remained in my system ever since. I have never thought to disconnect it and compare my system with and without the Tellus II. 

But as you have raised the issue, and I am curious as to the answer myself, I will commence to disconnect it from my system later today, and try my system both without it and with it, and identify if in fact there is any difference and if so, what that difference is. I will update you as and when I have the results in hand. Thanks for the question!


dcpillai

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Owner
milpai in relation to my dad's system, he did offer it to me, but as I did not have a dedicated room at that point (and still do not) I had to decline, and it ended up with my cousin several hundred kilometers away. That was some 5 years back, well before I rediscovered my craving for hifi. In relation to my dad's hearing, it deteriorated due to old age and also partially due to tinnitus, which he probably developed as a consequence of playing music too loud. A warning there for us audiophiles as to one of the dangers of this hobby / passion!   

As to my opinion, thank you for the compliment. I call it as I see it, or in this case it may be more appropriate to say, as I hear it! I came to this conclusion with use, and confirmed it with my fellow audiophile 2 doors away (we "poison" each other) on both our systems. What I can tell you was that I was using a Denafrips Aries II DAC (R2R ladder DAC) with my main system (forgot to add it below), and replaced it with a Chord Qutest borrowed from my audiophile neighbor. I was quite taken aback by how the soundstage opened up and there was more separation between the instruments, so much so that I went ahead and ordered the Chord Qutest myself. I should have stopped there as the huge price delta between the Chord Qutest and the Chord Hugo TT2 and M-Scaler, is not reflected in the increase in sound stage, separation or refinement. I know that this goes against how nearly everyone raves about the Hugo TT2 and M-Scaler pairing, but unfortunately that's what I hear. The differences are there, but not to the expected magnitude. I guess this is where the oft used phrase "diminishing returns" comes in.

I have never heard the Oppo UDP-205 before, but I can certainly recommend the Hegel Mohican CD player and its on board DAC, other than for some build issues that I have been experiencing. In so far as stand alone DACs, based on my own limited experience, I would certainly recommend the Chord Qutest.

dcpillai

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Owner
Thanks for the question @milpai.  My experience with the Chord Hugo TT2 and M-Scaler has been only ok. No rave reviews from me. Based on reviews and my own experience with the Chord Qutest, I expected a substantial difference to the resolution, sound stage and detail being gleaned from the music, but it was not so. 

I have a Hegel Mohican CD player which has an onboard DAC, and it can be connected to an external DAC as well. When playing a CD, I can switch between the Hegel with its onboard DAC and the Hegel with the Hugo & M-Scaler. Music just sounds better and crisper with the Hegel and its onboard DAC. I was confused by this until I checked out John Darko's ranking of DACs, and it transpires that the DAC on the Hegel Mohican and the Chord Hugo TT 2 are ranked on the same tier. 

In essence, I am underwhelmed with my experience with the Chord Hugo TT2 and M-Scaler. 

In terms of my experience with DACs, it is limited. I have only ever tried the Qutest, Pro-ject DAC Box RS and the Schitt Modi, all in the span of the past 2 years. I am wondering whether upgrading to the Dave or to the Mola Mola Tambaqui will be better options. But something tells me that it may not be the wise thing to do when your DAC costs more than double the price of your source!  

Any input or suggestions would be most welcome. And do pardon the rather long replies. 

dcpillai

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Owner

Thank you @milpai ! I actually remember seeing your postings on this forum in relation to Proacs when I was researching my dealer's recommendations! How cool is that :-)

 

As to the question, I have always loved music and sound/hifi systems. I remember my Sony FH-7 given to me when I was a teen, and then discovering hifi in university where my setup consisted of Wharfdale Diamond speakers, a pioneer amp and a turntable (which I forget the name of). This was followed by Bose Lifestyle (I know, you don't have to say anything) and a whole house Sonos setup, which was enough for a long time.

 

And then I got my car. It is equipped with a 19 speaker Bowers and Wilkins hifi system and it transported me to another world!! That plus GoGo Penguin (you should give them a listen, especially "Bardo"). I was well and truly smitten. That was the point that I began looking at hifi systems that would enable me to enjoy the same quality of music in the house. So began my descent down the rabbit hole!!

 

There is a side story as well. My dad was an audiophile too, until he had to give it up due to failing hearing. He had a dedicated room, Dynaudio floor standers, Cary monoblocks, Burmester premap, power conditioners, etc. So I guess I have always known that I might go down this path. And it has built a certain amount of immunity to the sticker price of hifi equipment!


Thank you for the welcome and for the company in enjoying this fantastic obsession.


dcpillai

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Owner
Quadraspire. 

You can find them here: http://quadraspire.co.uk/

dcpillai

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Owner
Thank you @tablejockey!

It has been quite the journey, with some acquisitions that have worked out well, and some not so well! The move to separates was truly an eye opener for me. 

Will bear your advice in mind. I was thinking of upgrading my cables next and possibly adding a power conditioner as well.  

dcpillai

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Owner
Thank you @jond!

I began with a PL Integrated Evo 400 and moved to a PL pre and power amplifier a few months back. I do plan to add another PL power amp in time and go mono! Fingers crossed.

The smaller units that I think you are referring to are my Zen Mini Mk3 player and its equally sized LPSU, as well as my Pro-ject DAC and CD player.

dcpillai

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Owner
Thank you @mjcmt for your kind words.

You are right indeed. The PL/Mohican/ProAc is a wonderful combination! I cannot take credit for it though. Being a relative newbie, I had the good sense to rely on my dealer who recommended the PL/Mohican/ProAc combination.  FYI, when I first visited my dealer, I was dead set against tubes and had no intention of going down the path of CDs. Look at me now. LOL!   

However, in relation to the Mohican, I have had some issues with the CD transport mechanism. My dealer replaced the unit the first time around, and will be taking the player back for repairs once the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted. Notwithstanding its build issues, when it comes to playing red book CDs, the Mohican is truly outstanding.

dcpillai