Introducing My System

Thundersnow

VIP/Donor
Nov 2, 2021
175
513
240
47
Hi everyone. Long time reader, first time poster.

This system is the latest iteration in the ever-changing pursuit of emotional evolvement in music and tonal correctness and dynamics of live instrument sound. Enjoy the video.

3B7D3D6D-F08F-41C3-B3BB-30D1B188E6D7.jpeg
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Interesting presentation of your system. May I ask what record you were playing?
Hi everyone. Long time reader, first time poster.

This system is the latest iteration in the ever-changing pursuit of emotional evolvement in music and tonal correctness and dynamics of live instrument sound. Enjoy the video.

 
While we're on the subject so to speak, I'd like to also present a system which is predominantly DIY and pays homage to some "gems of old". Since I come from a DIY/active systems/psychoacoustics and music background I always felt the need to build systems and not just own them. What you'll see in the below video is a completely redone Yamaha NS-1000M speaker. Each speaker is some 15-20 pounds heavier from the stock version -- done in chrome and piano black finish with some 7-8mm of MDF and reworked internal bracing and damping. Internal crossovers have been removed and each driver is directly connected to three pairs of speaker terminals. An outboard crossover made with the finest parts one could buy has been crafted for it with a completely linear response and, of course, without the attenuators, loosely based on the original Yamaha crossover design. Same thing has been done with the Apogee Stage speakers. Each is completely redone with an outboard crossover. Each is done with frames of solid American oak and they now way about 150 pounds each! Of course the ribbons have been refurbished as well and internal wiring replaced.

The rest of the system consists of a chip-less DAC design based on an XMOS USB to I2S design and a very intricate tube-based output stage. Files sent to Innuos via Roon are upsampled to DSD 512 and played like that in the DAC. The tube line stage preamp uses Telefunken 802s tubes and is a DIY design as well, and amps are VFET based DIY design. Cables are again a DIY project made from a very pure copper wire sourced from Germany. Enjoy!

 
While we're on the subject so to speak, I'd like to also present a system which is predominantly DIY and pays homage to some "gems of old". Since I come from a DIY/active systems/psychoacoustics and music background I always felt the need to build systems and not just own them. What you'll see in the below video is a completely redone Yamaha NS-1000M speaker. Each speaker is some 15-20 pounds heavier from the stock version -- done in chrome and piano black finish with some 7-8mm of MDF and reworked internal bracing and damping. Internal crossovers have been removed and each driver is directly connected to three pairs of speaker terminals. An outboard crossover made with the finest parts one could buy has been crafted for it with a completely linear response and, of course, without the attenuators, loosely based on the original Yamaha crossover design. Same thing has been done with the Apogee Stage speakers. Each is completely redone with an outboard crossover. Each is done with frames of solid American oak and they now way about 150 pounds each! Of course the ribbons have been refurbished as well and internal wiring replaced.

The rest of the system consists of a chip-less DAC design based on an XMOS USB to I2S design and a very intricate tube-based output stage. Files sent to Innuos via Roon are upsampled to DSD 512 and played like that in the DAC. The tube line stage preamp uses Telefunken 802s tubes and is a DIY design as well, and amps are VFET based DIY design. Cables are again a DIY project made from a very pure copper wire sourced from Germany. Enjoy!

Welcome Thundersnow (great name btw). Thanks for sharing. It’s really good to see you enjoying your exploration. I’d agree that freeing the crossovers from the box and upgrading caps, resistors and inductors and also using better hookup cable can be a great investment. We can always overcook or get the ingredients out of whack especially in terms of balance and coherence and the hard (but rewarding) part is getting the summative outcome to a place of rightness. I enjoy that part of the process as well. Thanks for the glimpse into your systems, that’s sounding really engaging Thundersnow…
 
Last edited:
Thank you very much, guys.
 
Is that a Nat Magnetostat pre I see lurking? As a l/t Nat Utopia user, I've always hankered after it.
 
Is that a Nat Magnetostat pre I see lurking? As a l/t Nat Utopia user, I've always hankered after it.
It is indeed. It's replaced the Momentum Preamplifier. With NAT, besides the sound stage and the obvious benefits of tubes vs. solid state, I got another level of emotion and physical presence with the music that I haven't heard with other tube preamps. It retained the uncolored nature of the sound while adding to the musicality, which is I suppose all that I could ask for. NAT Magnetostat SE matches very well with the M400 monos, and what was surprising to me was the level of impact it's had on the Esoteric digital setup. It was like listening to a different digital front-end and in a very good (organic) way -- which is something I was missing to an extent with Esoteric and D'Agostino Momentum pre working in tandem.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NL. and Golum
Welcome - nice systems.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Thundersnow
It is indeed. It's replaced the Momentum Preamplifier. With NAT, besides the sound stage and the obvious benefits of tubes vs. solid state, I got another level of emotion and physical presence with the music that I haven't heard with other tube preamps. It retained the uncolored nature of the sound while adding to the musicality, which is I suppose all that I could ask for. NAT Magnetostat SE matches very well with the M400 monos, and what was surprising to me was the level of impact it's had on the Esoteric digital setup. It was like listening to a different digital front-end and in a very good (organic) way -- which is something I was missing to an extent with Esoteric and D'Agostino Momentum pre working in tandem.
Interesting stuff. I'm one of the few other Nat users on this forum, and other than some persistent tubes issues w my Utopia pre, the sound of my amplification (Utopia plus 70W SE2SE 211 monos) is musical and compelling.
A much underappreciated brand.
Magnetostat SE into Magmas New monos would certainly float my boat.
 
Interesting stuff. I'm one of the few other Nat users on this forum, and other than some persistent tubes issues w my Utopia pre, the sound of my amplification (Utopia plus 70W SE2SE 211 monos) is musical and compelling.
A much underappreciated brand.
Magnetostat SE into Magmas New monos would certainly float my boat.
I hear ya. Since I can bi-amp the Coltranes, the plan in some semi-near future is to work with NAT on getting Magmas to match the output gain of the M400s and then run Magmas on the mids and highs while having M400s do the bass work. In either case I definitely plan to audition the new Magmas in my system in some foreseeable future. I’ll post my impressions when I do it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: christoph
Great stuff, but beware...the Magmas are absolutely crazy things Lol. Not for the faint hearted.
 
Great stuff, but beware...the Magmas are absolutely crazy things Lol. Not for the faint hearted.
I’ll have the AC at the ready…. regardless of the season :)
 
Do they have good A/C in Hades?
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Thundersnow
Urose welcome to the WBF! Glad to have you here :cool:
 
Hi all, so a bit of an update on my end with regards to the system. Behold the NAT Magma M!



I've only been with this amp for a day. Coming off of years of listening to Dan D'Agostino first the stereo amp and now the M400 monos, I was fully aware of what I'd hear on my Coltrane 3 SE with a single-end class A amp, but what I definitely did not expect is the level of control that Magma M (set in high power mode) has over my speakers.
The bass is more tuneful (if that's a thing) while retaining the speed and slam similar to what I hear with my M400s.

As far as the tone, the solid state M400s just don't sound as much as music as Magma M does. The Magma M sound brings you closer to the performance, adds a lot more body to the instruments and voices and (not surprisingly) reveals far more intimate details in the recordings. Two things struck me here, the almost eerily realistic reproduction of Tony Bennett's voice on Bennett & Brubeck: The White House Sessions, and the sound of string instruments on the Vivaldi in Venice recording, where violins and cellos retain the creamy mids you'd expect to hear in the body of these instruments and the pleasant highs which solid state just doesn't reproduce in the right way (especially when listening to these instruments live and then comparing to hi-fi).

After a three hour listening session yesterday, I was lost in the music in the way I haven't been in over a decade.

What also helps (looking at the system as a whole) is the addition of WE 300B tubes (new ones), to my Lampi Golden Gate 3 DAC. To my ears, these 300B tubes have a special tone, easily recognizable and highly tuned to my hi-fi sensibilities.
 
Last edited:
Welcome to all tubes system gringo :p :cool:
And these NAT block monsters look amazing!

Big congrats!

PS - you forgot to mention important spice in the GG3 - WE274 rectifier;)
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing