|My music sound philosophy/reference is the live music/event that unfortunately I canít mimic on my system or in any other audio system that I heard. I always say that the very best we can achieve is to be nearer to the recording and even this target is a little ď elusive ď to get for say the least.|
Through my audio life I heard a lot of different audio systems: I heard it on audio shows, on dealer rooms and on home peopleís systems.
With out any doubt the best audio system performances that I already experienced were/are on home systems where I learn several subjects ( including the people music sound priorities ) and one-two of them are the in deep care in the SET UP of each link on the whole audio chain ( including room ). Some of high price systems that I heard it are not very good because its ď lesser ď care on the each link SET UP.
I want to share with all of you my latest experiences that I had 2-3 weeks ago when I visit some audio friends on USA.
I was exposed to 7 different home systems and I share with you my thoughts on only 4 of those home audio systems that I consider have nothing less but top/first rate performance and where I really enjoy the music.
First than all I want to say that all those audio friends were very gentle and with a very high sense on hospitality: thank you in deep to every one for that I really appreciate it in every way including your very value time that you take/give me.
The best subject during my visit to each one of those great people was to know/meet them: meet people with an in deep knowledge on music ( music lovers more than hardware lovers.), with in deep audio experiences, with in deep know how on their each priorities, with in deep care on whole room-system SET UP, with a great software, with an open mind to share and to accept different points of view, with in deep understanding that there are no perfect systems, with a ď humility ď attitude that it is a must to have to grow-up and with the enjoy ď feeling ď of music listening.
This was a very rare opportunity that I enjoy it and that I know I was so lucky about: Thank you again to all of you!!!!
In no order of preference here it is:
HOUSTON: Fredís place with a dedicated audio room. Acapella big Triolon speakers, Einstein front end electronics, Rockport/Titan i analog rig, Nordost, JC-1s amps, etc.
When the first music note comes from this system you know that it is something special and after a few minutes you forgot about the hardware and start to enjoy fully the software ( either analog/digital ).
The system is so easy to transmit the music ď feelings/emotions ď and let that the sound/music flow directly to your mind.
Those Triorlon are really great and my hat off to Acapella people because they blend three different speaker drivers in an almost perfect mix. I donít like ( but the immediacy ) horns ( I heard many of them ) and the Triorlonís has two of them in the midrange frequency range and I have to say that these horns are the lower horn-signature that I ever heard, the mid bass/bass are moving coil drivers and the Plasma tweeter is ( probably ) the speaker star but with out saying ď Iím here ď, like I say almost perfect driver blend.
BOISE: Steveís place with a dedicated audio room. MBL 111 speakers, custom made Berningís monoblock amplifiers, Technics SP10 MK3 with a Steve self design/build gorgeous plinth with Schroeder Reference tonearm and strain gauge cartridge/front end by Soundsmith and Lyra Olimpos.
This was my three time that I heard MBL speakers and my first time on a home system: what a difference!!!!, these system/speakers are so near the real music that, like in Fredís system, the only think that you want is to hear music and more music: LP after LP and again!!!!
Those custom made amplifiers are very good match to the MBLís and has the lower coloration of tube-signature amplifier I ever heard. I know that the MBL speakers are not easy/friendly with tube electronics and in this system everything is on target, of course that Steveís hand on this count a lot for that.
I experienced here two different quality performance sound: the Soundsmith one ( that is good ) and a MC cartridge one. I have to say that the Soundsmith rig was only 20-30 hours from new and even Steve was ď playing ď with the set-up. Anyway IMHO that day the Lyra quality performance was way better and I enjoy it for many hours. With this MC cartridge things ( great things ) come out specially the non-sense audio system: disappear!, I had only the LP music performance: great performances.
DALLAS: Louisís place with a dedicated audio room. Kharma Exquisite 1A speakers, CATís monobloks ( new ones: 30 hours on it. ), Lamm/Aesthetix front end electronics, Garrad 301/Triplanar/Xv-1and Technics SP-10MK3/SME/Air Tight both with a custom made wood plinths and the 301 with a custom made power supply.
First thing you note at Louiís place is that huge room, the biggest I ever know ( maybe 2.3 times the Steve or Fred ones that are big. ) in a home stereo system.
Here I think that the stars are those 550 pound each speakers and its room good integration ( not an easy task ). Like the other systems this one is different but really good. This is my second time hearing Kharma speakers and I have to say that are very very good performers.
The whole sound is a refined/sophisticated one where you or anyone are asking for more, not more quality but more time to heard/hear and enjoy music. I was surprised by the 301 rig quality performance ( where I know very well the XV-1 quality. ): first rate, I canít hear any coloration that I can/could say: ď thatís was the 301 ď.
As good as I heard that system Louis told me that through his Lamm amplifiers ( SE 15-18 watts ) the quality of the systemís sound is a step higher!!, unfortunately I canít hear it with these amplifiers. Anyway a pleasure to hear it on the Cats.
SAN DIEGO: Markís place with out a dedicated audio room ( the system belongs to the sitting room ). Revel speakers, Threshold amplifier, Hovland front end electronics and Raven/Triplanar/Ruby 2.
It seems the ď modest ď system on the group but a top quality performer where we know immediately the very hard work that Mark made to achieve that high quality performance. I know very well the Ruby 2 and in this system is something to hear.
Here there is no single ď star ď but a very good set up of audio items group that sounds a lot better that some very high price systems that I heard, money means nothing at all with out whole/overall knowledge.
As different as are all these audio system all them share common things: system whole synergy, when you heard it you know everything is there ( soundstage, good tonal balance, inner detail, transparent, fast response, dynamics, etc, etc, ), nothing is telling you ď Iím here ď ( very well balance ), sounds good with different kind of music and at different SPL levels, you can heard it for many hours and enjoy every minute, etc, etc.
Are these audio system ď perfect ď ?, certainly not: nothing is. Their owners ( all of them ) already know that they have ď land ď to improve and more important that this fact is that all them know where to improve.
Something to ď ask ď to these systems?, well as you know Iím for full range ( octave to octave ) audio systems and if I put really exigent then I can say that all these system ď miss ď the last bass octave/half octave. This bass octave is system/room dependent and speaker design specification dependent: non of those speakers were designed to achieve that low bass frequency range with the same high quality of the other frequency ranges.
Anyway I can say that I never feel the necessity of that bass octave during all those many hours of music pleasure hearing all those audio systems.
It is a nice thing to learn, through other home audio system listening experiences, if what we have at home is in the right ď road ď and this fact help all of us to grow up in the quest of home audio music sound reproduction heaven.
Regards and enjoy the music.