My Little Barn

spiritofmusic

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Loving the Nagra...ooh, I kinda wish I was into tape.

What are those panels on the flr?
 
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dcc

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Loving the Nagra...ooh, I kinda wish I was into tape.

What are those panels on the flr?

These are real Japanese tatami mats. The tiny den used to be my daughter’s room. She still comes back once in a while for a weekend. As she is fond of Japan, she does not mind sleeping on a futon mattress lying on tatami mats.
 

the sound of Tao

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I had to find a new destination for my old and faithful SME V. I therefore decided to build a small full analogue system in a tiny den upstairs. My work schedule does not give me a lot of time for listening to music during the week. Firing up the main system requires several hours of warm up and leaving the big Krells or the Tenor Audio on is not an option. The main system works mainly during the weekend. I therefore wanted having a system that could reach its optimal performance in a matter of minutes. Single ended triode was definitely the path to follow.

I wanted to fundamentally depart from the sound from the main system. I was therefore looking for relatively high efficiency loudspeakers that would be suitable for a near field listening experience in a tiny listening room. I chose the Cube Audio Bliss C. It has a single full range driver that provides an astonishing single point source sound. I hooked to each loudspeaker an Entreq Olympus Ten grounding box.



The integrated amplifier is a Line Magnetic LM-805IA. I swapped all the stock tubes against high quality ones: a NOS RCA Western Electric 6SL7GT/VT 229 from the US Signal Corps, a pair of Psvane CV181/6SN7, a pair of 300B RK Anniversary Edition from KR Audio and a pair of Psvane 805A Acme.



The turntable is a heavily upgraded Thorens TD 124/II with mods from Schopper, HAT, Audio Silente, Retrotone and Woodsong. I has a separate power supply. I mounted a Lyra Skala cartridge which works very well with the SME V. As the listening room has a suspended floor, I opted for a wall mount console. The phono stage is the tiny Octave EQ2. This is a fantastic little Swiss Army knife that works perfectly with the Lyra Skala.





The second source had to be a compact tape deck. The obvious choice was a Nagra IVS with its QGB extension module. I found one in pristine condition. It had been been fully checked and calibrated by Giorgio Foschi and my local tech had also had a look at it.



The acoustic treatment is limited to three thick tatami mats on the floor and three Crystal diffusers from SMT.



Just pure pleasure and fun.
That’s really magic. Very slick, looks fabulous, congratulations. I have toyed with the idea of going with the Nenuphars instead of the Harbeth 40.2s. How is it all sounding? Musically is it doing it all for you?
 

dcc

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That’s really magic. Very slick, looks fabulous, congratulations. I have toyed with the idea of going with the Nenuphars instead of the Harbeth 40.2s. How is it all sounding? Musically is it doing it all for you?

It is a totally different experience than with the main system: near field listening position, single point sources and singled ended triodes. It is highly satisfying as this system delivers a beautiful and very precise soundstage. The Cube Audio Bliss loudspeakers are specifically designed for small rooms. I did test them in the little barn before bringing them upstairs. Though they sounded great in the main room, they are sounding much better in the tiny den. This system allows me to listen to more music which was my ultimate goal.
 
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the sound of Tao

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It is a totally different experience than with the main system: near field listening position, single point sources and singled ended triode. It is highly satisfying as this system delivers a beautiful and very precise soundstage. The Cube Audio Bliss loudspeakers are specifically designed for small rooms. I did test them in the little barn before bringing them upstairs. Though they sounded great in the main room, they are sounding much better in the tiny den. This system allows me to listen to more music which was my ultimate goal.
That’s great. The more music thing is the ideal. It just looks like a great space and a lovely system to relax and listen a lot to.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Your "bedroom" system is a long way from a Bose, lol.
 

flyer

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I had to find a new destination for my old and faithful SME V. I therefore decided to build a small full analogue system in a tiny den upstairs. My work schedule does not give me a lot of time for listening to music during the week. Firing up the main system requires several hours of warm up and leaving the big Krells or the Tenor Audio on is not an option. The main system works mainly during the weekend. I therefore wanted having a system that could reach its optimal performance in a matter of minutes. Single ended triode was definitely the path to follow.

I wanted to fundamentally depart from the sound from the main system. I was therefore looking for relatively high efficiency loudspeakers that would be suitable for a near field listening experience in a tiny listening room. I chose the Cube Audio Bliss C. It has a single full range driver that provides an astonishing single point source sound. I hooked to each loudspeaker an Entreq Olympus Ten grounding box.



The integrated amplifier is a Line Magnetic LM-805IA. I swapped all the stock tubes against high quality ones: a NOS RCA Western Electric 6SL7GT/VT 229 from the US Signal Corps, a pair of Psvane CV181/6SN7, a pair of 300B RK Anniversary Edition from KR Audio and a pair of Psvane 805A Acme.



The turntable is a heavily upgraded Thorens TD 124/II with mods from Schopper, HAT, Audio Silente, Retrotone and Woodsong. I has a separate power supply. I mounted a Lyra Skala cartridge which works very well with the SME V. As the listening room has a suspended floor, I opted for a wall mount console. The phono stage is the tiny Octave EQ2. This is a fantastic little Swiss Army knife that works perfectly with the Lyra Skala.





The second source had to be a compact tape deck. The obvious choice was a Nagra IVS with its QGB extension module. I found one in pristine condition. It had been been fully checked and calibrated by Giorgio Foschi and my local tech had also had a look at it.



The acoustic treatment is limited to three thick tatami mats on the floor and three Crystal diffusers from SMT.



Just pure pleasure and fun.

Congrats Denis!
I see you have my all-favourite album waiting for my next visit :)
 

Tim Link

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Lovely system and room, and lovely country for cycling! I'm an avid cyclist too.
 

dcc

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Congrats Denis!
I see you have my all-favourite album waiting for my next visit :)

Many thanks Michel. You will be surprised with the evolution of the secondary system since your last visit. I indeed played your favourite record yesterday evening and it was a real treat.
 

wil

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Nice looking space! I'm curious how you measured your ambient db level to get 36db? Was it type A or C?
 

dcc

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I got a visit from Anamighty Sound and both systems have now their respective SUT.

The Consolidated Audio Monster can in the large system.

8FE2BF02-7AD9-4E26-86F9-EBC1F236E2B3.jpeg 2EBD704D-BB5C-4F89-827F-4147DE7DAC58.jpeg

And a little one developed by Anamighty Sound in the secondary system: the Sculpture A Mini Nono Step up:

CACE3982-703A-410B-ACF0-12E5FE0BB716.jpeg 0ABD9DD8-C462-485B-B49C-428D7FC4B0C1.jpeg

Connecting phono cables are from Anamighty Sound ‘s own brand as well.

I will draft a more detailed report in the coming days
 

dcc

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Some recent updates from the little barn.


The Studer tape deck got all the transport command cards upgraded whereby all metal film resistors got replaced, a more silent capstan motor has been installed and I added a quartz control.










The state of the art Thrax Libra preamp has replaced the Krell Evo 202.




Four pairs of Interconnect cables from Elispandora are replacing my full set of Argento flow cables that have moved to the secondary system.






I am investigating options regarding my ultimate music server for playing and streaming high resolution. I have not made my mind yet. In the meantime, I have added a Weiss DAC 501 to the modified Aurender server as using the TAD CD/SACD player as a DAC required an USB interface that did not give me full satisfaction.






The secondary system has evolved as well. More about this in the coming weeks.
 

dcc

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It has been a while since I gave an update on the little barn. I will only cover the main system though there have been some changes in the secondary system, and I even built a small office system.

I previously mentioned that I was looking at improving the playing and streaming of high-resolution files. I still have a TAD D600 for playing CDs and SACDs, but I wanted to replace the Weiss 501 DAC and the ageing Aurender server. The Weiss was purchased for my secondary system but stayed in the main system until finding my « ultimate digital rig ».

I wanted something relatively compact and remain within a « reasonable budget ». Breaking the bank was not an option unless telling my two kids that I would stop supporting them in their final years of graduate school.

I considered two options: one comprising a more recent Aurender server combined to a better DAC, and one built around a Roon Core. As the Weiss 501 DAC and my office system’s Naim Uniti Atom are both Roon ready, this is an option I wanted to explore.

After many auditions at B&M stores and at friends’ places, I retained two solutions for a thorough home audition:

1 - The Aurender N20 server with the most recent version of the Thrax Maximinus DAC. According to the local Thrax and MSB distributor, the Maximinus is a serious contender against the MSB Reference DAC. As I have a Thrax Libra preamp, he recommended the Thrax Maximinus over the MSB Reference DAC for better synergies.

2 - The Merging Technologies combo comprising the NADAC+Player, the separate power supply, and the clock. The NADAC+Player is a DAC which integrates a Roon player.

I carefully selected high quality cables (PC, interconnect, digital and ethernet) to ensure a fair confrontation.

Both solutions were much better than my current one.

When using my old Aurender server, the Thrax Maximinus DAC was intrinsically better than the Weiss DAC. With the Aurender N20, listening to high resolution files stored on an internal SSD was a major step up compared to the modified X100L with its big external LPS.





I thought I had reached the pinnacle, but the Merging Technologies combo was even better by a wide margin. I know that the wording « natural sound » raises eyebrows with some members but this is exactly what I am feeling when listening to the Merging Technologies setup. The clock plays an important role. Replacing the standard BNC cable by a SOtM clock cable brought some improvement. The same happened by adding a full specced SOtM switch with its external power supply and clock synchronization.





I also discovered Roon which I find much better than the Aurender Conductor app.

The high-resolution files are stored on a SSD directly connected to the NADAC+Player whereas the CD rips are stored on the SSD of a Nami Uniti Core server located in my study. The Weiss DAC has moved to the secondary system. I have now a seamless Roon ecosystem in the house.

As the Merging Combo moved in the Stacore custom rack, the TAD player is on a Daiza platform sitting on small custom rack that hosts the power supply for the preamp. A pair of 4 meters long Argento Flow XLR interconnect cables as well as a 4 meters long Signal Project Ultraviolet AES EBU cable are connecting the TAD to the preamp and the NADAC respectively.









There are some other changes that took place (room treatment and analog front end) but that will be for another instalment.
 

Ron Resnick

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Thank you for reporting on these developments, and for the photos. Congratulations on the sonic improvements!
 

dcc

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In a separate post, I covered the upgrade of the Transfiguration Proteus cartridge into a Transfiguration Proteus D with a diamond cantilever.

]https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/retipping-services-and-installing-a-diamond-cantilever.35482/#post-823651



Revisiting the interconnect cables of the phono setup has brought a substantial improvement.

As the Thrax Libra preamp is a full balanced design, I replaced the RCA Elpispandora Red Miracle interconnect cables by Elpispandora Daphne Light XLR cables (the same as for the Merging Technologies setup).



The phono cables between the Allnic phono stage and the Consolidated Audio SUT have been replaced by the brand new top of the range Sculpture A from Ana Mighty Sound. These cables are inspired by the phono cables used in the top of the range Phasemation EA-2000 phono stage which I had the chance to listen in my system.





I never liked the Brinkmann record clamp which I find cumbersome to manipulate. Brinkmann and AMG have identical screw down record clamp systems. The record clamp of the AMG Viella Forte is larger with better bearings and a shape that eases the screw down process.



And finally, some additional acoustic treatment in the Little Barn.

For several years, I have been very pleased with the rather stealthy acoustic treatment provided by several large acrylic SMT panels.



However, there was a specific frequency range between 160 and 400 Hz that could not be sufficiently tamed.

The distributor of Art Novion acoustic treatment solutions spent an entire afternoon taking measurements of my listening room. He proposed installing 6 absorbing panels on the ceiling above the listening position and 4 tuneable absorbing panels behind the listening position. The tuneable absorbing panels can be set up to work within specific frequency ranges (in my case between 125 and 800 Hz).

Preliminary tests with the tuneable absorbing panels were quite convincing when I played some cello music. The Cello is the instrument closer to the human voice and covers a range between 65 and 660 Hz.

I installed the panels myself which was a nice DIY challenge.

With their hand made bricks, the walls do not offer a flat surface. Fixing wooden studs on the walls allowed adjusting the placement of the panels on a flat plane.





Gluing the other 6 absorbing panels on the cathedral ceiling at about 15 foot high in the air was quite an experience. Luckily, the old beams that a crossing the room just below the ceiling helped securing the ladder and also gave me some additional safety while manoeuvring in the air.



Visually, the treatment is not too intrusive. Sonically, the improvement is worth every penny and the effort I put in installing the panels myself.



My only regret: I should have implemented this many years ago.
 
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christoph

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Dec 11, 2015
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In a separate post, I covered the upgrade of the Transfiguration Proteus cartridge into a Transfiguration Proteus D with a diamond cantilever.

[link]https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...-diamond-cantilever.35482/#post-823651[/link]



Revisiting the interconnect cables of the phono setup has brought a substantial improvement.

As the Thrax Libra preamp is a full balanced design, I replaced the RCA Elpispandora Red Miracle interconnect cables by Elpispandora Daphne Light XLR cables (the same as for the Merging Technologies setup).



The phono cables between the Allnic phono stage and the Consolidated Audio SUT have been replaced by the brand new top of the range Sculpture A from Ana Mighty Sound. These cables are inspired by the phono cables used in the top of the range Phasemation EA-2000 phono stage which I had the chance to listen in my system.





I never liked the Brinkmann record clamp which I find cumbersome to manipulate. Brinkmann and AMG have identical screw down record clamp systems. The record clamp of the AMG Viella Forte is larger with better bearings and a shape that eases the screw down process.



And finally, some additional acoustic treatment in the Little Barn.

For several years, I have been very pleased with the rather stealthy acoustic treatment provided by several large acrylic SMT panels.



However, there was a specific frequency range between 160 and 400 Hz that could not be sufficiently tamed.

The distributor of Art Novion acoustic treatment solutions spent an entire afternoon taking measurements of my listening room. He proposed installing 6 absorbing panels on the ceiling above the listening position as well installing 4 tuneable absorbing panels behind the listening position. The tuneable absorbing panels can be set up to work within specific frequency ranges (in my case between 125 and 800 Hz).

Preliminary tests with the tuneable absorbing panels were quite convincing when I played some cello music. The Cello is the instrument closer to the human voice and covers a range between 65 and 660 Hz.

I installed the panels myself which was a nice DIY challenge.

With their hand made bricks, the walls do not offer a flat surface. Fixing wooden studs on the walls allowed adjusting the placement of the panels on a flat plane.





Gluing the other 6 absorbing panels on the cathedral ceiling at about 15 foot high in the air was quite an experience. Luckily, the old beams that a crossing the room just below the ceiling helped securing the ladder and also gave me some additional safety while manoeuvring in the air.



Visually, the treatment is not too intrusive. Sonically, the improvement is worth every penny and the effort I put in installing the panels myself.



My only regret: I should have implemented this many years ago.
Congrats on the improved sound
It looks great and very nicely done all by yourself
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 24, 2015
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Big congratulations on fixing that frequency response anomaly! It is very impressive you were able to do all of that ceiling work yourself!
 
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