A day with Mani and his Tune Audio Animas horns

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#1
Just returned from a really enjoyable day spent w Mani (aka WBF member Manisandher) and his well thought thru system featuring the Animas horns.

I'd been meaning to get together w Mani for a year or so, and finally today happened. Mani was a fantastic host, genuinely friendly and enthusiastic, living in a lovely house w multiple rooms to listen to music in, and happy to feed me pizza and unlimited coffee refills. A very good start to any day LOL.

My main interest for visiting Mani was to reappraise the Animas. It's no secret that my estimation of them was pretty poor. IMHO they sounded rough and terse at the UK dealer (on Modwright SS), and vague and congested on Traformatic SETs at Munich show. A big dissapointment to me both times.

But many have extolled their charms, so Mani was now my chance to hear them in an optimal system. Would I go home again scratching my head, or discover why owners love them?

Well, I've had as close to a 180 on them as I could imagine. My previous reservations on a strident treble and hazy bass pretty much gone. Indeed the sound was earthy, more mids centered, certainly no spotlit higher frequencies. Good levels of stage depth, and a nicely extended agile bass. Like Mani, I am really not too bothered by subterranean bass, so the Animas extending nicely to approx 40Hz is pretty sufficient for most listening sessions.

Like all good horns, they had great jump factor, real dynamics, but missing some of the teeth clenching feeling I get w some horns. Texture and density was fantastic, and representation of depth and air, esp around vocals, was first rate.

Critically, these attributes were replicated totally differently on each different track. Each song we played had proper tonal, timbral and ambient differentiation, but presented differently each time. As you would want.

So while a Chopin piece and a jazz piece w walking bass were replete w acoustic clues, the Rush track we played sounded as challengingly flat and compromised as it ever has done.

This is really critical I'm finding. So many spkrs seem to impose a presentation, sometimes subtle, sometimes sledgehammer. The Animas really sounded v different on every track.

I was also pretty impressed how soulful they sounded on his all-digital and SS amp setup. The Animas I heard prev on Modwright were a lesser animal.

It certainly helps here that Mani has gone the extra mile in optimising the feed to the Animas, a Phasure bespoke PC-based server and dac, and special First Watt F5 derived Class A monos, all powered by an industrial grade 15kVA isolation transformer/PS Audio P10 mains conditioner.

I've heard SS sound great on horns (Bakoon on Liszts), but it was great to know there is life outside tubes on horns.

In conclusion, the day was a total delight, the Animas have totally flipped in my estimation, they are huge fun, subtle, dynamic, differentiated, and pretty much full range for 95% of music preferences, plus hugely room friendly. I've even come around to liking their looks. And of the horns I have listened to in the last 4-5 years, they shade some marvellous others I've heard (maybe only second to Liszts on Bakoon, but these are 3-4x the price, and at 7' high, not practical in my space). I still absolutely love Blue58's sound w his AG Duos, he again has worked hard to get the most out of them, but it was special to hear bass that wasn't Class D. I can only imagine what triodes on Animas would do across the whole spectrum.

A wholly fun and informative day, meeting Mani being a big added bonus.

* we listened to music over a wide range of genres and styles, mainly 24/96*

Ottmar Liebert: One Guitar/track Not One Not Two
Peppino D'Agostino: Acoustic Guitar/track Desert Flower
Aimi Kobayashi: Chopin Piano Sonata No.2 B Flat Minor
Op.35 I. Grave: Doppio Movimento
Kari Bremmes: Mannestein/track Du Har Sett Dem
Stepkanna Trio and Vintskevich Duo: Notes From The Underground/track Give Me Five
Rimsky Korsakov: Exotic Dances From Opera/track Dance Of Tumblers
Mahavishnu Orchestra: Lost Trident Sessions/track Dreams
Yes: The Yes Album (S Wilson remaster)/track Starship Trooper
Genesis: Selling England By The Pound (N Davis remaster)/track Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
Rush: Retrospective and MFSL remasters/track Tom Sawyer
Nils Frahm: Spaces/track Says
Jacques Loussier: Satie HDCD/track Gymnopedies Gnossienes
 
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bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#2
Mani has set up an an excellent musical system in quite an average size room (only 5.1x4.3m) with large horns like Animas. It is an extremely smart system with minimum treatment yet natural, low priced pass aleph clones, and Phasure digital direct into the power amp. It is much superior to the LIszt, Wagner, Duos, and if one does not want the bass horn impact of the trios, then the trios. And that is mainly led by the Anima itself, because the speaker has such good natural timbre especially in the midrange.
 

manisandher

Active Member
Feb 7, 2011
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www.the2ndtier.com
#3
Hi Marc, thanks for your gracious comments. It was great to finally meet up with you. Pizza always tastes better in good company :).

I think your comments about the Animas are spot on. There's not really a lot more I can add, other than they're my 'end game' speakers. I'm sure there must be better speakers out there, but I find myself perfectly content with the sound I have. As I mentioned to you, I can't remember the last time I tweaked anything - months, and months ago now.

Just a few pics for anyone who's curious...

Only speakers and amps in listening room:
Full room.jpeg

Remaining system in cellar of Victorian house...

15 KVA isolation transformer with dedicated earth:
15 KVA isolation transformer with dedicated earth.jpeg

PS Audio P10 AC regenerator:
PS Audio P10 power regenerator.jpg

Phasure NOS1 (24/768) DAC:
Phasure NOS1 (24_768) DAC.jpg

Phasure Mach III audio PC:
Phasure Mach III audio PC.jpg

Would be happy to answer any questions, should anyone have any.

Thanks again Marc. (I look forward to hearing your system in the not-too-distant future.)

Mani.
 

manisandher

Active Member
Feb 7, 2011
149
107
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www.the2ndtier.com
#4
Mani has set up an an excellent musical system in quite an average size room (only 5.1x4.3m) with large horns like Animas. It is an extremely smart system with minimum treatment yet natural, low priced pass aleph clones, and Phasure digital direct into the power amp. It is much superior to the LIszt, Wagner, Duos, and if one does not want the bass horn impact of the trios, then the trios. And that is mainly led by the Anima itself, because the speaker has such good natural timbre especially in the midrange.
Thanks Ked.

Hang on... Does this mean you and Marc agree on something? ;)

Mani.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,701
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#6
Thanks Ked.

Hang on... Does this mean you and Marc agree on something? ;)

Mani.
He agrees with me on the Anima after 5 years of bickering. Next time he and I disagree we will send for you to patch us up
 
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bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,701
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#7
You should post pics of the massive LP collection on the back wall that goes unused and serves only as diffusers
 
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spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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#8
Mani, it's all in the setup it seems. Kudos to you.
 
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manisandher

Active Member
Feb 7, 2011
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#9
Mani - who makes the balanced transformer - please could you share a link?
Bill, it's not a balanced transformer, just a 'regular' isolation transformer. The reason I went this route was because I wanted an ultra-low impedance dedicated earth (I have a 3.5m 'chemical earth' cylinder in the ground outside the listening room) bonded to the neutral on the secondary. You can't do this with a balanced transformer.

I can't remember the manufacturer off hand - will look it up.

(I have a couple of 5 KVA 'Airlink' balanced transformers too, but I don't use them.)

How do you use the P10 and transformer?
When I installed the 15 KVA transformer, my feeling was that the sound flattened and became a bit homogeneous and 'grey'. I suspected this was down to the transformer's relatively high impedance. I theorized that a low-impedance regenerator like the P10 might fix this, and it did. So, the chain is:

dedicated consumer box -> 15 KVA isolation transformer (with dedicated earth) -> P10 regenerator

All AC cable is shielded Belden.

Mani.
 

manisandher

Active Member
Feb 7, 2011
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#10
You should post pics of the massive LP collection on the back wall that goes unused and serves only as diffusers
Ahem...
Listening Room Rear 2.jpg

They really work as excellent diffusers though.

Mani.
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,403
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UK
#11
Bill, it's not a balanced transformer, just a 'regular' isolation transformer. The reason I went this route was because I wanted an ultra-low impedance dedicated earth (I have a 3.5m 'chemical earth' cylinder in the ground outside the listening room) bonded to the neutral on the secondary. You can't do this with a balanced transformer.

I can't remember the manufacturer off hand - will look it up.

(I have a couple of 5 KVA 'Airlink' balanced transformers too, but I don't use them.)



When I installed the 15 KVA transformer, my feeling was that the sound flattened and became a bit homogeneous and 'grey'. I suspected this was down to the transformer's relatively high impedance. I theorized that a low-impedance regenerator like the P10 might fix this, and it did. So, the chain is:

dedicated consumer box -> 15 KVA isolation transformer (with dedicated earth) -> P10 regenerator

All AC cable is shielded Belden.

Mani.
Sounds interesting - please could you share what you used for the chemical earth / cylinder thing too.
 
Jan 29, 2012
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#12
Very nice listening room. I found that the Nelson Pass First Watt designs sounded excellent with my Avantgardes. I'm not surprised that this is a great sounding combo.
 
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manisandher

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Feb 7, 2011
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#13
Sounds interesting - please could you share what you used for the chemical earth / cylinder thing too.
Bill, happy to do this, but would prefer to continue via PM. I don't want to encourage anyone to mess around with AC mains. I used a qualified electrician for everything.

I'm sure you understand.

Mani.
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#15
Even though my three Animas experiences are 2-3 years apart, ie at dealer in 2014, Munich in 2016, and Mani today, I've got a pretty reasonable recollection of the previous two demos. And it's fascinating how today the timbral side of things came thru, because previous limitations that dominated proceedings (terse lack of transparency, and substandard timing) weren't present. Finally I could get the Animas' more authentic personality. And it is hugely pleasant and beguiling.
 
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manisandher

Active Member
Feb 7, 2011
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#16
Even though my three Animas experiences are 2-3 years apart, ie at dealer in 2014, Munich in 2016, and Mani today, I've got a pretty reasonable recollection of the previous two demos. And it's fascinating how today the timbral side of things came thru, because previous limitations that dominated proceedings (terse lack of transparency, and substandard timing) weren't present. Finally I could get the Animas more authentic personality. And it is hugely pleasant and beguiling.
Thanks again Marc.

Could I just give a quick shout out to Peter at Phasure? I use his software player (XXHighEnd; simply the best I've heard), his audio PC (Mach III; with linear PSU and Xeon CPU), his DAC (NOS1; non-oversampling and totally filterless, but capable of accepting a 24/768 input from the software player), his USB cable (Lush˄2; the best I've heard), and 8m of his interconnects (Blaxius˄2; the best I've heard). All of these, he's designed from scratch himself (including writing 60k lines of code for the software player)... and yet Phasure is just a hobby for him - he's the director of a successful ERM software company in Holland! Take any one of these out of the system and the sound suffers massively.

Mani.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,845
975
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E. England
#17
Mani, I do find the best sounds out there are best by dint of the synergy of setup.

So, drop yr Animas at my place, it might be hit and miss to replicate yr magic.

The Liszts at Purite were so appealing w Bakoon and non-digitised GP Monaco tt. Same room, Mola Mola Class D and Illusonic A-D-A conversion to tt, and the sound as flat as a pancake.

So, even though you haven't tweaked crazy levels, 15kV isolation, PS mains regen, and astute choice of cabling, has maxxed the synergy of yr Phasure/First Watts to yr Animas.

It's matters like these that always give me food for thought on those times I wish I could take a guy's system home.

In my own case, I wouldn't advise Ked take my Zu based system home. Without my attention to detail, he'd have no chance of getting it right.
 

the sound of Tao

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2014
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#18
Hi Marc, thanks for your gracious comments. It was great to finally meet up with you. Pizza always tastes better in good company :).

I think your comments about the Animas are spot on. There's not really a lot more I can add, other than they're my 'end game' speakers. I'm sure there must be better speakers out there, but I find myself perfectly content with the sound I have. As I mentioned to you, I can't remember the last time I tweaked anything - months, and months ago now.

Just a few pics for anyone who's curious...

Only speakers and amps in listening room:
View attachment 51116

Remaining system in cellar of Victorian house...

15 KVA isolation transformer with dedicated earth:
View attachment 51117

PS Audio P10 AC regenerator:
View attachment 51118

Phasure NOS1 (24/768) DAC:
View attachment 51119

Phasure Mach III audio PC:
View attachment 51120

Would be happy to answer any questions, should anyone have any.

Thanks again Marc. (I look forward to hearing your system in the not-too-distant future.)

Mani.
Love it! Great looking space Mani. The Animas are one of the few speakers I think are end-game also.

If they are right for you when you listen then they are pretty much right for life. Super addictive.
 
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the sound of Tao

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2014
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#19
I’ve helped my mate move his Animas... it’s set and forget, because you love them you don’t want to lose them but also they are a struggle to shift... you do it once and you won’t want to be doing it again :).

He had to borrow a small van. Much excitement and thankfully a good deal of wine and music after.
 
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spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,845
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E. England
#20
Better wine after than before. NO LOL.
 

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