| Esoteric P-03 Transport pic|
Esoteric D-05 DA converter pic
Esoteric VRDS-Neo pic
Sonos ZP-80 pic
MBL 5011 Preamplifier pic
Ayre Acoustics MX-R pic
Usher BE-10 pic
Tara Labs The One Speaker cable
Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II
Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference II
Acoustic Zen MC2 XLR
Acoustic Zen Silver Byte
Acoustic Zen MC2 RCA Interconnect
Virtual Dynamics Nite 3 Power cord
Star Sound Technology SP-4 Sistrum Stand pic
Oyaide SWO-GX Ultimo pic
Oyaide R1 pic
HiFi Tuning Fuse
Beauty and the Beasts! (deceased)
UPDATE (12/23/07): added the MBL 5011 preamp. After living with my Esoteric front end for almost 3 months without a pre, I came to the realization that a pre was definitely needed. Without a pre, the sound was a bit thin and lacking bass. The 5011 addressed these issues and so much more. I did not realize how poor my soundstaging was until I introduced the 5011. This pre does in incredible job of layering the soundstage as well as separating each individual instrument.
UPDATE (12/07/07): added the Ayre MX-R amps. These were broken in by my dealer for 2 weeks before I took delivery. I rarely am taken back by gear but I was startled at how much real these amps sounded to me than my previous amps. There is more detail, more immediacy of notes, very good separation of instruments, and a very nice holographic presentation. I can go on and on but by far these amps are the most realistic sounding I have come across. They are just so enjoyable to listen to!
UPDATE (9/29/07): added Esoteric P-03 transport and D-05 DAC. The D-05 has the latest 32 bit DAC from AKM. Even only after a few hours I hear much better separation between instruments and notes, better sustain and decay, and more authoritative bass. More updates to follow.
UPDATE (8/03/07): added the Oyaide R1 outlet for my amps. Everything is a bit livelier with much better detail. I am hearing so many little nuances I have never heard before!
UPDATE (7/24/07): added the Oyaide SWO-GX Ultimo outlet to my front end. What a difference! The bass now goes lower and there is more detail across the board. I will adding another outlet for my amps next. This is by far one of the best tweaks I have ever done.
UPDATE (7/13/07): I finally got around to adding some heavy silk drapes and they made a world of difference. Everything is much smoother. I will continue to look for ways to judiciously treat my room without making it look like a recording studio.
-The sound is just incredible. Vocals are holographic and textured.
-The MBL 5011 preamp is beautiful to look at. Luckily the sound is just as good.
-The Ayre MX-R amps are just gorgeous to look at. The casework is outstanding. And as my wife said, "they are so cute"!
-The Usher BE-10 speakers are big and thick producing a powerful yet delicate sound.
-The Esoteric P-03 transport is incredibly heavy (75lb) and big but it sure sounds good.
My system has undergone A LOT of changes over the last few years. This has been mainly to me figuring out my own listening preferences and understanding what I wanted to get out of my system. After swapping out a lot of components and spending too much money, I have finally settled down a bit.
I listen to all kinds of music but tend to favor anything with female vocals, particularly acoustic folk and vocal jazz. I also favor simple orchestration and basic instrumentation with a preference for acoustic guitar and piano. The less number of instruments between me and the vocals the better. I mainly go to listen to music in small, intimate venues where I am able to sit within a few feet of the band.
Given my musical tastes, I wanted to put together a system that is able to reproduce the sound as organically as possible. I want to hear every little detail like the quiver in a singer's voice, the sound of the guitar pick striking the string, the feeling of the hammer hitting the piano string. To me, these tiny nuances help to make the music sound as real (i.e. organic) as possible. To this end, I wanted a system that was detailed, dynamic, fast, and immediate with just a hint of warmth. I did not want anything that was too syrupy sounding though. My current system gives me everything I am looking for. It is as close to hearing musicians in my room that I have ever heard with any previous iteration of my system.