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Thread: The audio journey

  1. #1

    The audio journey

    Amir, Steve, thank you!

    Having been alerted to your site recently by a friend I've spent the last few weeks trawling through. It's been an illuminating journey and thoroughly enjoyable. Amoungst other things I find it remarkable that there is an open to all resource where one can read the design thoughts of the likes of Jonathan Carr and the many other audio industry luminaries who contribute.

    Myself, I largely aspire to the products that are talked about here though over the years I have had the opportunity to sit in front many that might be descibed as amoungst the best.

    Happy to share my journey thus far fwiw...

    I love music and am open to listening to any genre, some I like, some I don't however I respect everyone's taste. For me there's value in every form of music that makes a connection with an individual. What I look for in reproducing music at home is a seemless sound, on a most basic level I can deal with a lack of transparency but struggle to listen to a system that overly emphasises part of the frequency spectrum, particularly if the emphasis has lean/hard/bright characteristics. For me that destroys the verisimilitude and I begin to analyze the system rather than listen to the music.

    My system consists of an EMM CDSA, Aesthetix Calypso, Kharma MP150 and Kharma 2.3ce.

    After much trial and error I have come to the conclusion that everything matters - that old adage 'synergy' is a fickle but vital ingredient. For me it starts with the room - speaker - amp combination. My room is a family room so treatment isn't an option but its not bad and while it could certainly be improved upon it doesn't seem to have obvious problems. Recent work on speaker placement has brought significant benefits and I don't doubt that if it were practical there would be more gains to be had. I chose the MP150's as they were built for the speaker and while thats not always a guaruntee for success in this case I think Kharma did a great job. While maybe not the last word in bass drive and grip they control the drivers and seem to reflect the information placed before them relatively unmolested. They've certainly reflected the character of a number of different pre's I have had in my system.

    The final peices in the jigsaw have been a couple of products that I would put forward as contenders amoungst the pool of whats best in audio.

    I've found that support is a fickle thing, it seems to be important with most, though not all audio equipment and it's a case of trial and error. Price is of no significance, what works with one piece can be poor with another. I have settled on some products by a German company called Alto Extremo. I have had most of the absorbers in my system and have settled on a combination of their Lyd 2 under the cdp and Lyd 1 under the pre. They don't offer any great benefit that I have noted when used under my amps. A diy collection of rubber, granite and perspex tube does seem to me to lift the performance over that of placed directly on their shelf. I've also heard the Alto's in other highend systems, when they make a difference it's generally in cleaning up the lower frequencies, bass notes in particular become better resolved. I think they're a product worthy of audition in any system.

    The other product that I've found to be outstanding in both my system and others have been Teo liquid metal cables. I was a bit of a cable sceptic before I had the opportunity to try them. They blew me away and while they are expensive after exploring other options after hearing them the first time I knew I had to have them. When they became available ex-dem from our local distributor I bought interconnects. As a result of the purchase I have been fortunate to try some of the other products they import, more on which I can comment on elsewhere. I have tried the speaker cable however it's impractical to use in my set up with two runs required for the 16ft distance from my amps to the speakers and they're well beyond what I would feel comfortable spending on speaker cable in any case.

    I'm fortunate to have a couple of friendly local dealers with whom I have been able to share experience as well as transact. One of whom runs a Soulution/Verity combination as a reference. Exposure to this system in the context of a dealer where products are moved in and out regularly has been an interesting experience. It has sounded from relatively poor to absolutely exceptional dependent on how it's been implemented. The first time I heard it briefly was eye opening, I didn't have long that day so determined to hear it again. The second time was a more extended visit and wasn't altogether successful. I was expecting based on that previous experience to go and listen to music but ended up listening to a system. We played around with the setup and eventually got it sounding good, more transparent than mine for sure but somehow not as musically engaging, a slightly hard edge to the sound that detracted from the message. Based on my experience with the Teo cable I felt that it might release some of the potential so I borrowed a pair of speaker cables, a digital cable and took my interconnects around. When I arrived the system was being run with Current Cable, a new design that uses some interesting precious metal brazing techniques. It had been recommended after one of his distributors had come across it at a one of the US shows. Perhaps the Current Cable loom might be forgiven for being new and needing burn in, whatever it was the system of Reimyo Transport or computer via usb, AMR dac, Soulution pre/pwr and Verity Parsifal sounded veiled and grainy, the worst I'd heard from this setup in this room and knowhere near what I listen to at home. Well, that was the first surprise. We proceeded to insert the Teo one at a time. Firstly the digital from transport to dac, the dealer felt it made an impact though it didn't seem to do a great deal for me. Next an interconnect and we were in business, the kick drum started to sound like a kick drum rather than a fuzzy damp squib. From there the system came to life and by the end of the process sounded as good as I've heard anywhere. I was surprised by the speaker cable. In my system it delivers greater tonal density, instruments take on a more physical nature. In the Soulution system they also delivered space. One of the tracks used began with the band chatting before they set too. With the s/c in the setup there was an uncanny sense that you were sitting next to and overhearing a conversation taking place next to you. To me it seemed to be as a result of being able to define the individuals in the space they were presented better than I'd ever experienced before (as well as nailing the usual suspects of tonality etc).

    That experience left me and the dealer reeling, I don't think either of us expected to hear that sort of transformation. It'd suggest to me that the more transparent the system the better the Teo can potentially deliver. What they have over other highend cables I've heard is a sense of tonal richness and note decay that is superlative and not at the expense of any sort of non-linearity or lack of transparency. Why this should be is beyond me, in theory there are better conductors available, so go figure...

    What it also rammed home was a system is a system and there is little point in making definitive statements about individual products within a system outside of the context of a setup one knows intimately.

    While I'm very happy where I'm at for the moment I'll continue to explore. This weekend I'm off to hear a Wadia/Einstein/Karan/Magico Q5 system along with a Robert Koda K-10 pre to try and I'll take my Teo's for good measure. Should be fun.

    The journey continues... Dan
    Last edited by defride; 04-09-2013 at 04:37 AM.

  2. #2
    Site Founder And Administrator Steve Williams's Avatar
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    It's not the destination but rather the journey.

    Thanks for sharing and welcome to WBF
    Steve Williams
    aka oneobgyn
    There's ALWAYS another Steve Williams BUT there's only "oneobgyn"
    Industry Affiliation........Lamm Dealer
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  3. #3
    Industry Expert/Member Sponsor Peter Breuninger's Avatar
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    I agree with Steve... it is indeed the journey. This is the best forum on the net, welcome as well. BTW, the Sonja's are just about positioned and ready for play!
    Founder: AVShowrooms featuring video reports of audio shows, company tours and reviews. Resume' includes; the absolute sound, Stereophile, Listener Magazine, founder Philadelphia Audio Society. Top articles: Lamm ML3- TAS, YG Anat III Signatures- TAS, Ayon- TAS, Coincident Speaker Technology- TAS, Single Ended Survey- TAS, Fisher 500c- Stereophile, Bozak CGs- Stereophile, Box Sets- Listener, Dynaco ST70-Listener. Best catch phase: Bugatti of Audio.
    http://www.avshowrooms.com

  4. #4
    Member Sponsor microstrip's Avatar
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    Welcome to our long and fun journey. I must say I really agree with your system approach as referred in the ante-penultimate paragraph.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Williams View Post
    It's not the destination but rather the journey.

    Thanks for sharing and welcome to WBF
    I'd always felt there was a final destination, some place I'd be happy with. I reached that place and far exceeded my expectation when starting out, which is not to say my system is sota by any means, simply that I like it. I guess that means the destination wasn't the end of the journey at all, I guess you're right, it's a big old world out there with plenty of places to explore, opportunity will rear it's head without a doubt.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Breuninger View Post
    I agree with Steve... it is indeed the journey. This is the best forum on the net, welcome as well. BTW, the Sonja's are just about positioned and ready for play!
    Wow Sonja's, they seem to be stirring the pot significantly. Here in the UK YG are very rare and I've not so much as seen a pair. Best of luck intergrating them into your system.

    Quote Originally Posted by microstrip View Post
    Welcome to our long and fun journey. I must say I really agree with your system approach as referred in the ante-penultimate paragraph.
    Thanks for the welcome, yes, it constantly surprises, the catagorical terms sometimes used to describe product met with only the briefest acquaintence. (not to say my hands are entirely clean in this respect lol)

  6. #6
    Site Founder And Administrator amirm's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard Dan. I must say, reading members philosophy and how they got to this point in their audio journey is one of my highlights of the forum! So thanks for sharing that with us.
    Amir
    Founder, Madrona Digital Audio, Video, Home Automation
    Contributing Editor, Widescreen Review Magazine

  7. #7
    Member Sponsor Uk Paul's Avatar
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    Hey, Welcome Dan! Good to see your intro, must catch up again soon..
    Z:Axis Audio ~ UK Distributor for Concert Fidelity Inc..

    MBL 1621a Transport / Concert Fidelity DAC 040BD /Concert Fidelity 080LSX2 Pre amplifier/ ZL120V2SE/ZL200 Power Amplifiers / Martin Logan Spire - Very extensively modified. PS Audio P10 supplies the power, all cabling is by Z-Axis Audio, Reference mains leads x 7, 'Infinity' interconnects, 'Livewire' speaker cables. All placed on the Mirage equipment support.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Uk Paul View Post
    Hey, Welcome Dan! Good to see your intro, must catch up again soon..
    Cheers Paul, hope your CF gear is going well.

    The Eidolon's we talked about got sorted, when the bass drivers were replaced the right channel was hooked up out of phase. I didn't hear them for long after they were sorted but they appeared far more coherent even driven by an under powered amp.

    I got to hear the big Magico Q5 system I'd mentioned. Not the sort of presentation I go in for. There was potential but the speaker and room intergration wasn't successful IMHO. Each to there own, mine's a different perspective, the owner was happy.

    'Push the Sky Away' is playing right now, thanks for the tip.

    Look forward to catching up sometime.

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