My monitor/subwoofer system

ack

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If you ever get a chance to try a Magico in your room, it may change your thinking... wasn't really suggesting you get big Wilsons, just showing that perceptions abound on this stuff and many have tore down these walls... Another case, Myles's system in his very small room. A multi-way will do orchestra like no monitor ever will, and it's really a matter of physics
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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If you ever get a chance to try a Magico in your room, it may change your thinking... wasn't really suggesting you get big Wilsons, just showing that perceptions abound on this stuff and many have tore down these walls... Another case, Myles's system in his very small room. A multi-way will do orchestra like no monitor ever will, and it's really a matter of physics
I have heard Magico multi-way floor standers in different settings and room sizes, and based my estimates on that.
 
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Al M.

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Updates

1. Speaker toe out, as described in my thread on the speakers:

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...a-reflector-monitors.26056/page-3#post-596536

2. DeOxit contact cleaning

Lately, also with input from feedback by others, I have become more sensitive to irritating highs. A while ago I thought that my system was again acting up a bit in that respect, and I realized that I had not performed contact cleaning in more than 9 months, which usually helps. So I set out to first treat my interconnects and corresponding outlets/inlets, with DeOxit Gold G5 only, as I always had done. Even though G5 is not advertised as a cleaner, but more as a preserver and contact enhancer, a lot of filthy grey stuff came off those connections. I only sprayed onto male connectors (wiping them off after a few minutes), and treated female ones with QTips (mostly for the outside) and by going in and out a few times with the wetted male connectors.

Even with just this interconnect treatment (took about an hour), the sound was drastically cleaned up in the highs, and harshness reduced. Subsequently, I did the speaker cable/amp connections, and finally a few days later, with DeOxit D5 first and G5 second (combo to be used in the future) the connections speaker cable/speaker. Further reduction of HF problems, and irritations gone. What I also noticed is that DeOxit treatment takes care of piccolo flutes and high clarinet notes gone wild. They sound much more "orderly" now, more like you would expect them to sound in the concert hall (even though the piccolo as an instrument has an inherent 'wild streak' anyway).

In the future I plan to follow the common recommendation to clean connections at least every 6 months. The treatment is really useful to get rid of those HF gremlins. The higher resolving the system, the more you will notice the difference.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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Al, this is a timely reminder for me to do the same. What's the timing sequence for D5 > G5? Are you cleaning everything with a male and female connection? Incl plug pins?
Anything should be avoided/not cleaned?
 

Al M.

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Al, this is a timely reminder for me to do the same. What's the timing sequence for D5 > G5? Are you cleaning everything with a male and female connection? Incl plug pins?
Anything should be avoided/not cleaned?
Marc, the timing sequence is D5, let dry for at least 2 min according to manufacturer's recommendation; I do at least 5 min (and as I said, I wipe off male connections after that time). Then G5, drying for at least 15 min., I want everything to be absolutely dry before tightening connections. Usually I start cleaning in the evening and wait until the next day to put connections together again. This also allows my DAC to somewhat warm up overnight after I have turned it off for cleaning, before I listen to music again.

I clean everything, including plug pins. I don't see what should be avoided. For future cleaning I have also bought pipe cleaners, so that I can get into the female plug; currently I only get in with the DeOxit-wetted male plug. For this you have to be judicious: I plan to spray on the pipe cleaner, and then put my finger at the spot I want the pipe cleaner to go in furthest into the plug, just a short distance, and use the finger as a stopper (wash hands afterwards). The last thing you want is damaging any electronics inside by reaching in too far. Also no spraying on female connectors of equipment, since you may end up with spray on those electronics inside (and mess outside).

Some people also use DeOxit liquid instead of spray.
 

LenWhite

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Feb 11, 2011
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As for the subwoofer setting, I really start to like the steep 24 dB/octave roll-off that you prefer. It sounds more accurate on a lot of material than the shallower 12 dB/octave roll-off. I now prefer it on the drum tracks that we listened to, and also on rock as well as jazz, and on piano. It just took some getting used to, since my REL had a clearly shallower roll-off. On orchestral music and cello the 12 dB/octave roll-off adds some extra body, but for my own listening I usually prefer on that music the 24 dB/octave setting as well.
I finally installed a JL Audio F212v2 and CR-1. I called JL Audio T/S at 954-443-1100, press 4 then 3. They were super helpful getting the sub integrated with my main speakers by setting the phase alignment correctly at the crossover point.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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Hello Al,

I am glad the DeOxit helped with irritating highs.

Do you have any theory at all to explain why cleaning the connectors reduces irritating high frequency sounds?
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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I finally installed a JL Audio F212v2 and CR-1. I called JL Audio T/S at 954-443-1100, press 4 then 3. They were super helpful getting the sub integrated with my main speakers by setting the phase alignment correctly at the crossover point.
Thanks for the tip, and congratulations! I played around with phase quite a bit, but eventually settled on phase "0 degrees" for both of my subs.
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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Hello Al,

I am glad the DeOxit helped with irritating highs.

Do you have any theory at all to explain why cleaning the connectors reduces irritating high frequency sounds?
Ron, unfortunately I don't.

I did though find a mention of high-frequency taming in a write-up from Tom Mallin at WBF, a post that originally inspired me to investigate DeOxit:

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/contact-cleaning-the-right-stuff.1652/

Quote:

Caig Deoxit GXL/GX5 Gold spray--this is what I recommend. It was formerly known as ProGold and you will still find many references to it online by this name. I will use ProGold to refer to it below. I have used this in all my audio and video systems for over 15 years.

I only recommend this particular version of this product, which is quite diluted in strength (5% by volume) in this aerosol version. I have tried, but did not like the sonics or the gummy residue of the 100% product sold in vials for brush-on application. There is also a non-high-heat-resistance version of product which is sonically fine, but not AS fine as this version.

Caig's ProGold is a mild cleaner, but is primarily a contact enhancer. With ProGold, just spray, let the excess liquid drain off and evaporate a few seconds, then mate the connections, keeping your fingers off the connecting surfaces. ProGold is safe even for tube socket temperatures and is stated to be safe for use even inside electrical boxes and outlets, and I use it for such connections.

The decreased noise level, the expansion and rock-solid stability of the soundstage, and the taming of high frequency splash and frizzies cannot be had with any other cleaning/treating product, in my experience. As I believe HP once said, you don't know what a good connection sounds like until you use ProGold. Once you hear it, there is no going back.
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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I have not posted any comments about my visits to Al's system since last January. Al lives about fifteen minutes from me, so we often go out for dinner and then listen to music. Al's system has gone through some major changes in the last year or so which he has described well in various threads. I will just say that his current system is completely different that the system I first heard when I met him for the first time. I think he has replaced every single component, the rack, room treatment, furniture, all new.

Well, I heard his system again last night. There is not much for me to add beyond what Al has already described, except that the system is completely transformed, both literally and figuratively. It retains the incredible dynamics, rhythm, scale, imaging and soundstage that it had when I first heard it, but there are major improvements in both resolution and naturalness. It is now easy to listen to and relax. There had been some artifacts, digital or otherwise, that have been tamed or completely eliminated. As Al told me, he got rid of the gremlins. The most recent change from just a week or two ago is that we experimented with a power cord that resulted in us agreeing to bypass the transformer into which the DAC and transport were plugged. Clarity and timbre improved.

Last night's visit was all about having a good time and enjoying the music. Well, some of the avant garde classical is not quite my cup of tea, but no matter. Exposure to new music is always good and I've learned that it is futile to try to dampen Al's enthusiasm. He is one satisfied audiophile. We rarely discuss sonic attributes anymore. That is a sign of real progress. Congratulations Al.
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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Yet another change in speaker positioning, resulting in significant improvements of sound:

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...a-reflector-monitors.26056/page-3#post-605214

These results indicate once more how worthwhile it is to optimize what you already have, rather than constantly looking for new gear.
I could not agree more, Al. There is nothing like improving the sound of one's system without spending any money. In fact, I've been removing things from my system and enjoying it even more. An open mind often leads to learning.
 

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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I could not agree more, Al. There is nothing like improving the sound of one's system without spending any money. In fact, I've been removing things from my system and enjoying it even more. An open mind often leads to learning.
I am curious as to what you have removed that lead to improvements.
 

PeterA

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Hello Brad. I removed all of the glass from the paintings in the room. II removed a Shumann? resonator, and am playing around with stock vs fancy power cords and some various forms of audiophile isolation vs my wooden, rigid DIY rack. Audiophile footers left a while ago.
 
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morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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Hello Brad. I removed all of the glass from the paintings in the room. II removed a Shumann? resonator, and am playing around with stock vs fancy power cords and some various forms of audiophile isolation vs my wooden, rigid DIY rack. Audiophile footers left a while ago.
Try NBS Black Label III power cords or the Omega Extreme Series from NBS...made significant differences in my system wrt dynamics, dimensionality and background.
 
Jul 2, 2015
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I've got a pair of NBS Statement balanced i/c's that i love.
They have a powerful sound, so i use them to daisy chain my subwoofers when i run them from a balanced signal, and it's noticeably a step up from when they are fed by rca and chained together with Tellerium i/c's
So another vote for NBS.

although personally I'm currently going 'all in' on Entreq, it might be interesting to compare their respective power cords.
I admit I am positively inclined towards the extra grounding facility offered by Entreq, and i may likely combine with their power distribution block Powerus, so it would take quite something to divert me from that goal
Do NBS offer an equivalent power distribution block?

The other potential contender for the crucial power amp power cord in my system would be the Nordost Odin that Carl Machisotto swears by, but probably only pre owned on account of the fearsome price, and this would be additionally challenging since the Boulder 2100 series use the high current C type power connection
 

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
3,875
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Switzerland
I've got a pair of NBS Statement balanced i/c's that i love.
They have a powerful sound, so i use them to daisy chain my subwoofers when i run them from a balanced signal, and it's noticeably a step up from when they are fed by rca and chained together with Tellerium i/c's
So another vote for NBS.

although personally I'm currently going 'all in' on Entreq, it might be interesting to compare their respective power cords.
I admit I am positively inclined towards the extra grounding facility offered by Entreq, and i may likely combine with their power distribution block Powerus, so it would take quite something to divert me from that goal
Do NBS offer an equivalent power distribution block?

The other potential contender for the crucial power amp power cord in my system would be the Nordost Odin that Carl Machisotto swears by, but probably only pre owned on account of the fearsome price, and this would be additionally challenging since the Boulder 2100 series use the high current C type power connection
NBS has power conditioners...I haven’t tried them.
 
Jul 2, 2015
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Yes sorry.
That was a bit of a dull 'contribution'. Not sure why i felt the need to post that
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
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Greater Boston
I have not posted any comments about my visits to Al's system since last January. Al lives about fifteen minutes from me, so we often go out for dinner and then listen to music. Al's system has gone through some major changes in the last year or so which he has described well in various threads. I will just say that his current system is completely different that the system I first heard when I met him for the first time. I think he has replaced every single component, the rack, room treatment, furniture, all new.

Well, I heard his system again last night. There is not much for me to add beyond what Al has already described, except that the system is completely transformed, both literally and figuratively. It retains the incredible dynamics, rhythm, scale, imaging and soundstage that it had when I first heard it, but there are major improvements in both resolution and naturalness. It is now easy to listen to and relax. There had been some artifacts, digital or otherwise, that have been tamed or completely eliminated. As Al told me, he got rid of the gremlins. The most recent change from just a week or two ago is that we experimented with a power cord that resulted in us agreeing to bypass the transformer into which the DAC and transport were plugged. Clarity and timbre improved.

Last night's visit was all about having a good time and enjoying the music. Well, some of the avant garde classical is not quite my cup of tea, but no matter. Exposure to new music is always good and I've learned that it is futile to try to dampen Al's enthusiasm. He is one satisfied audiophile. We rarely discuss sonic attributes anymore. That is a sign of real progress. Congratulations Al.
Thank you, Peter. That was quite a journey towards more naturalness. The more 'outspoken' nature of the new system, with higher resolution, that this thread started out with, required some fine-tuning on both the acoustic and electronics level. A new polypropylene carpet, generously covering the seating area, and the ceiling diffusers were important to tame reflections that, with their garbled HF energy, could have been mistaken as deriving from digital artifacts. The introduction of the much higher quality speaker stands from Sound Anchors also reduced artifacts of acoustic energy. Certainly, after all that, I also upgraded the Yggdrasil v1 to the Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC, but I am not sure how much this contributed to the reduction of gremlins on top of a generally more natural sound induced by the upgrade.

A big step forward, a "game changer" as I have repeatedly and I think, correctly, called it on this forum, was the acquisition of the Octave HP 700 preamp that is the matching companion to my Octave RE 320 power amp. Depth of tone, as well as naturalness and purity of tone greatly improved, and so did resolution in the form of much better separation of instruments. Insertion of the preamp in the system got rid of a slight metallic coloration as well.

The sound also got less distorted with this preamp, and my latest changes in speakers positioning, moving them closer together, reduced distortion further, in this case apparently distortion from side wall reflections. Greater toe out of the speakers further enhanced the naturalness of tonal balance.

Finally, the removal of both the DAC and the CD transport from the isolation transformer, and plugging them directly into the grid, also caused an unexpected transformation for the better. Strangely enough, the removal of especially the CD transport from the isolation transformer caused such a change in tonal balance towards more weight and less excessive treble energy that it forced me to adjust the speakers towards again somewhat more toe in, in order to maintain transparency of solo vocals and avoid too much darkening.

A big Thank You to you, Peter, and to all my audiophile friends, for your advice and criticism that helped propel the sound in the right direction.

With all the latest changes and sonic advances towards more naturalness coming from them, I am even less inclined towards an upgrade of the DAC in the near or medium future. The Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC performs spectacularly in the context of this system. I still cannot quite believe how good it is.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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E. England
Al, good to read about all this. I must say I'm seriously suprised that taking your dac off the isolation transformer has helped. I know people plug their power amps and subs into the grid, but keep sources isolated. What do you attribute that to?

I'm also intrigued by you ceiling treatment. This is an area hardly covered on this forum or in the literature. It's something I'm considering, but not easy to do a simple A/B on.
 

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