Visit to Marc C.'s (SpiritOfMusic's) House in England

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,207
86
48
Beverly Hills, CA
#1
In a converted Wesleyan Chapel located Northeast of Central London, reside Marc -- also known as Spirit of Music -- his longtime girlfriend, Irana, three cats and a newly-built listening room. The grounds surrounding the chapel are filled with trees. The house is situated along, and Marc's carport is parallel to, a small river which leads to the ocean. I really felt like I was in the quintessential English countryside, because I was in the quintessential English countryside.


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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,207
86
48
Beverly Hills, CA
#2
Formerly, Marc lived in a loft-style apartment in London. That apartment had a tall ceiling and very reflective walls and large panes of uncovered glass.

In the apartment Marc had to locate his stereo system in a way which did not afford the speakers a symmetrical space. I found the walls and large windows of that apartment to be way too reflective, and the sound of the stereo system was challenged in that location.

About a year and a half ago Marc began to realize his lifelong dream of having a dedicated listening room by buying the chapel and renovating the kitchen, the bathrooms and an attic. The attic originally had horizontal roof support beams which made it impossible to walk from one end of the space to the other end of the space. Marc hired a structural engineering firm to figure out how to remove the space-blocking beams and how to support the roof with steel struts located only on the sides of the room.

I briefly heard Marc's system in the loft in London playing CDs and the system, in that space, sounded like a fairly conventional stereo. In contrast, in the new purpose-built room, the same system – – although now with a Stacore Basic + under the isolation transformer and a Stacore Advanced under the CD player – – now sounded amazing!

As you can see from the photos Marc's installation is very professional-looking.


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Marc's dedicated room is 18' wide, 38' deep and 10' high at the midline apex of the room. The side eaves descend 30 degrees to the right and the left to the sidewalls which are 4' high at the lowest point.

Overall the room is about 700 square feet, with a volume of about 5,000 cubic feet. There is a 10' by 10' storage alcove at the rear end of the room.

I think Marc is especially lucky to have this 10' by 10' space at the back of his listening room. He could wall it off and have a storage closet or an equipment room. This space affords Marc the design flexibility to significantly isolate his turntable from airborne vibration by locating the turntable in this room, or in a partially-enclosed "booth" in the other rear corner of the room to the left of the door.

Marc has positioned his speakers 8' apart, 4' from the sidewalls and 8' from the front wall. Marc's listening position is 15' from the speakers, which leaves 14' feet of space behind his head. I think it is very lucky and luxurious and helpful acoustically to have so much space behind the listener's head. (I think this is one of the dozens of reasons MikeL's room is so good.)
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
9,005
105
63
London
#3
Nice. room's beautiful. If I ever visit him and you don't hear from me again, please look for me in that water body
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,207
86
48
Beverly Hills, CA
#4
Marc's components list includes:

-- Eera Tentation CD player. The CD player sits on a Stacore Advanced passive air isolation platform.

-- NAT Audio Utopia 2 box pre-amplifier with outboard power supply. Marc is using Electro Harmonix tubes in the Utopia. The Utopia rests on Shun Mook Giant Diamond Resonators.

-- NAT Audio SE2SE 211 SET mono amplifiers, each mono using a pair of 1948 NOS GE tubes

-- Zu Definitions Mk. IV (Rev. B) speakers, which are full-range down to 40Hz with no crossover. The speakers use Duelund capacitors in the high-pass and low-pass filters and Lundahl transformers in the built-in subwoofer amplifiers.

-- Sablon Reserva interconnects and speaker cables and Sablon Elite power cords

-- Westwick 8kVA balanced power isolation transformer. This box sits on a Stacore Basic + passive air isolation platform.

-- isolated power line feed to the room, distributed to 6 Oyaides dedicated lines and 6 Furutech duplex outlets

-- Entreq grounding to all components

-- Symposium Isis rack and amp stands

-- Synergistic Research Black fuses throughout


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While not set-up presently Marc's vinyl replay system consists of:

-- Trans Fi Salvation rim drive turntable with magnetic isolated platter and feet, with a bespoke power supply powering the turntable's motor

-- Trans Fi Terminator T3Pro air bearing linear tracing arm with the pump isolated by a Airlink 3 kVA balanced transformer

-- Custom aluminum air mount Soundsmith Straingauge cartridge with its energizer at top factory level and bespoke power supply. The turntable will rest on a future Stacore Advanced.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,207
86
48
Beverly Hills, CA
#5
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Jarek's Stacore platforms look very well-made. The rollers on the Stacore Advanced are very smooth and have a precision feel to them.


The Zu Definitions Mk. IV (Rev. B) has a built-in, down-firing 12" subwoofer. All the desired controls are included. This is a very serious loudspeaker. Marc reports that Sean of Zu is working presently on a new, flagship dynamic driver speaker, with multiple 12" drivers per side.


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We played, among other tracks, U2 (With or Without You, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For), Elton John (Your Song, Saturday Nights Alright For Fighting), Simon & Garfunkel (Bridge Over Troubled Water) and Tears For Fears (Everybody Wants to Rule the World). I was actually enjoying CDs on Marc's system in a way I do not remember ever enjoying them before. I know this listening session was less fatiguing and irritating than when I played CDs on my last stereo system, which was fronted by MartinLogan Prodigy loudspeakers.


Marc is having a cabinet maker build custom record shelves on the sides of his room.


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cjfrbw

Active Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,158
2
38
Pleasanton, CA
#6
Nice to see the perch of one of the restless audio souls of Britain.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,207
86
48
Beverly Hills, CA
#7
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Marc has his speakers sitting on Stillpoints and then on Symposium Acoustics platforms.



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Yes, Marc Mooks.



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I do not remember hearing my favorite 1980s rock and pop songs sounding this pleasant and unfatiguing and mostly free of the signature "dryness" and "brittleness"and brightness I have always associated with Redbook CD playback.

But this feeling is maybe not that shocking. Marc's system is very consonant with what I like: NAT tube pre-amp, NAT SET tube amplifiers freed from amplifying low frequencies, self-powered woofer drivers in full-range speakers, minimal number of drivers with simple cross-over, carpeted listening space. And though I may not naturally love the Zus, they definitely are not bright-sounding or analytical-sounding speakers. So Marc's system is one in which it is plausible that I might find Redbook CDs to sound not as irritating as I usually find them to sound.

I have heard twice at T.H.E. Show Newport in Irvine, California, lower-model Zu speakers. I found those speakers, and their associated very modest systems, in demo rooms, to be confused-sounding and not very transparent. I did not care for them.

However, I found Marc's system to be transparent, and especially clear and natural-sounding on vocals. I also found Marc's system to be very dynamic with a lot of drive and power.

On WBF we have had several discussions about the merit of using high-efficiency speakers with amplifiers more powerful than strictly necessary to drive those speakers in the pursuit of realistic dynamics and high "jump factor." That is what Marc is doing by driving his 101 dB efficient Zu Definitions Mk. IV (Rev. B) speakers with 65 watt SET amplifiers. I think this may be a bit of a "secret sauce" in Marc's system, contributing to the system's excellent dynamics and explosive jump factor.

I told Mark in person that, in this new room, his system sounds fantastic. I told him he can stop worrying and fretting, and relax and listen to music and enjoy the fruits of his labor. I do not think Marc needs to reconfigure the entire system to support rebuilt Apogee Duettas.

I told Marc that I think his system, in this new room, sounds so good that it is "pencils down" meaning, in this context, "checkbook down." :)

Congratulations to Marc on a job extremely well done!



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Thanks to Marc and Irana for their wonderful hospitality, and for a very fun visit!
 

cjfrbw

Active Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,158
2
38
Pleasanton, CA
#8
Interesting. It reminds me of one of Morricab's previous attic loft spaces in which he DID have Apogees (Duettas??), although spirit's room is quite larger.

A triangular loft space is probably good for listening because the air at the peak is a good mixing chamber for ambience.
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,415
66
48
E. England
#9
Hey Ron, well you did threaten to write about yr visit.
I guess you're a man of your word.
Thanks for such positive comments, I guess it's been a two decade journey of getting
1- what I want from gear, ie tonal density, texture and effortless slam, from my NAT SETs and Zu high efficiency full range drivers synergy, to natural warmth from my Eera cdp, to full, fast and linear sound from my rim drive tt/air arm, and
2- allowing this to remain untouched by the new room, but expanded in all directions w the things I didn't have in London, ie proper bass extension and control, much more transparency, and soundstaging to a much greater level (although as Ked knows, I don't rate the whole precision placement thing never hearing it live).
And so now I get my beloved tone density, w more effortless spread and spooky quiet calm.
I'm glad Ron managed to get some of this, cheers my good friend .
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,133
53
48
#10
Hey Ron, well you did threaten to write about yr visit.
I guess you're a man of your word.
Thanks for such positive comments, I guess it's been a two decade journey of getting
1- what I want from gear, ie tonal density, texture and effortless slam, from my NAT SETs and Zu high efficiency full range drivers synergy, to natural warmth from my Eera cdp, to full, fast and linear sound from my rim drive tt/air arm, and
2- allowing this to remain untouched by the new room, but expanded in all directions w the things I didn't have in London, ie proper bass extension and control, much more transparency, and soundstaging to a much greater level (although as Ked knows, I don't rate the whole precision placement thing never hearing it live).
And so now I get my beloved tone density, w more effortless spread and spooky quiet calm.
I'm glad Ron managed to get some of this, cheers my good friend .
Marc,

you have an awesome beautiful spot there, and I'm very happy for you. and thanks to Ron for his thoughtful write-up and pictures.

the Chapel is priceless, and your room looks perfect. like Ron says, sit back and enjoy. don't stress over what it's not quite, but enjoy what it absolutely is.

you have really captured something special and ought to feel very, very, good about it.

enjoy....and congrats!!!!

Mike
 
Jan 20, 2013
346
6
18
London, UK
#12
Beautiful location
Beautiful girlfriend
Beautiful system

What a wonderful life

And I can concur with the fabulous sound Marc is achieving.
 

Lagonda

VIP/Donor
Feb 4, 2014
241
1
18
Denmark
#13
What a wonderful house, the living room looks amazing! Listening room and system must sound wonderful, now get that turntable set up. Congratulations !
 
Mar 26, 2014
311
0
16
Dublin, Ireland
#14
Great write-up Ron, and it's lovely to discover the faces and spaces behind the moniker. There are actually REAL PEOPLE in this hobby, I often forget that.

Spirit, your gaff looks amazing. I'm going to show it to my wife now and she'll be as envious as I am.
 

marslo

Member Sponsor
May 2, 2014
505
6
18
Poland
#15
This is one thing more to envy Mark apart from his fantastic system and wonderful chapel.
Citroen DS, I wish I have one:)

Thank you Ron for very interesting report.
Marc- congratulations!
 
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PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,935
34
48
North Shore of Boston
#16
Nice write up, Ron. Congratulations on the chapel, the room and your sound Marc. It is great to put a face with the moniker. Lots of personality in this report and photos. Sit back and enjoy. I will be very curious to read about your opinions of your analog sound when it gets all hooked up and playing.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#18
terrific room and residence Marc

all beautiful and tastefully done.

No need for you to feel lacking about anything
 

RogerD

Active Member
May 23, 2010
3,155
0
36
BiggestLittleCity
#19
Marc, simply lovely. To live in such a place is a life changing experience. Congratulations and enjoy the music.
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
3,939
25
48
Greater Boston
#20
Nice write up, Ron. Congratulations on the chapel, the room and your sound Marc. It is great to put a face with the moniker. Lots of personality in this report and photos. Sit back and enjoy. I will be very curious to read about your opinions of your analog sound when it gets all hooked up and playing.
+1

And according to Ron's report, you got the jump factor from Redbook CD, Marc!
 

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