Finally reached the "complete" phase of this system. Due to the ultimate integration of a modern streamer from Simaudio, it has finally brought out that last hoorah from what this system has been capable of all these years (more so since widespread adoption of high-res streaming). The only thing I may add in the future is a turntable. But that may wait for an entirely different system.
What I finally remarkable is what this system can do and how it compares directly with systems 4-6 times its price. I've heard several $200k+ systems in the last few years and while yes they are incredibly refined, I must admit that my taste in music doesn't require, nor does it benefit, from that level of refinement. I prefer a sense of realism found in rawness. Heavily refined systems do not convey that kind of weight regardless of their cost. There are a few tracks I always listen to at every demo and certain elements to which I pay close attention are timber and breadth/depth, as a unified attribute, not separate. This very small, unassuming system with a total value of $19k (at MSRP of each piece), including the $900 crossover upgrade to the speakers that I did myself, is really astonishing. I really wish I could bring folks over to demo it day in and day out because it would make believers out of each and every one of you.
By far the most significant upgrades I've made this year were the Moon MiND2 and the Synergistic Research Tesla Apex speaker cables. Combined, they took my original setup to heights I didn't think were possible. I was about to trade up to some Focal Kanta No. 3 and full up Moon streamer/dac/pre and separate amplifier system. No longer even considering it. Very happy with it now and with that, I can finally call this one COMPLETE.
Now I guess I better get to work on a second system! Maybe I'll finish that one in five years instead of ten. :). Or maybe not. It's the journey that's truly exciting, is it not?
Thanks for checking it out.