Before selling the Capitole, you may want to replace the coupling caps in it to teflon V-Caps:
Those are arguably the best caps money can buy. They are 40$ each (you need two of them).
They should bring your Capitole to another level. I have just ordered set for myself.
Then (after the caps), you might consider a different shelf (support) for the AA. Say, a Neuance or similar.
After that, you might also play around with diy I/C -- lowly magnet wire, for example (20-22gauge) and dispense with the IC plugs.
In other words, there's quite a lot to keep you happily occupied while you HOLD ON to yr AA.
I am no expert by any stretch of the imagination -- but, quite frankly, it would take an exhorbitant (IMO) investment to readily surpass the performance level of yr player AND you may find that the rest of the system needs "upgrading" too. Can of worms if ever...
I don't own one of these babies but if I did, I would be putting my hobby money into music.
I agree with all of the above. It is hard for me to believe that this is the weak link in your system. That is one hellava cdp you have there. In fact, (I own the Prima)if I had a different wife I'd go for the Capitole in a flash. I would think about: new ICs, power conditioning for your front end, Sistrum SP 1 to couple your cdp, etc. etc. There are oodles of tweaks that you can do to improve the sound. Why don't you (if you dare, lol) tell us what the rest of your listening rig is about. warren :-)
i owned and really enjoyed a AA Capitole, SE. Obviously you COULD upgrade the unit to SE status, which upgrades the caps and puts in a cryo'd tube. I would not be able to speak for what it would add, since I only ever had the SE version. I also know of someone (user FrankPiet) who had the volume attenuator modded to great effect.
I also agree that power cables and isolation are CRITICAL on any digital front end: I used the HRS iso platform and electraglide epiphany to great effect....
Ultimately, I ended up getting the Reimyo CDP and have not looked back. It's silly expensive and does not have a volume control, so would not meet your criteria. There's always the Meitner separates that do have a built in preamp stage....
OTOH, your stock player is mighty fine - so what specifically do you want to improve on?
Dous yours have the analog passthu? Your AAQ is future proof as you can upgrade the circuit board and then you can even run a tuner through it and forget about the pre altogether. The repair guy in Texas at Digital Systems can do this. Probably the other upgrades, too.
I own a AA MKII and frankly you won't find anything better sounding for the same money. I agree with the upgrades or even changing the caps yourself. You might want to get yourself a Black Diamond Source Shelf to sit your player on. I found that this dramatically changes what you'll hear. I went to MIT V3.1 I/C's from Cardas Golden Reference. This too had a noticeable impact on what the end result was. You have a lot of options to get better sound............period!
Denf, sounds like you're unhappy with something in your system seeing that you're itching to spend some big $$ to improve your sound. Why not let us know what your rig consists of. There's enough audiophools here to get you crazy. I'll take book that your Capitole will not be the first to go...
Hey guys! Thanks for all the responses. First, I made a bit of an error in my post - but first let me explain how, so you 'all don't think I'm a COMPLETE idiot (just a partial one maybe...)
My Capitole is a MKI, not the MKII. Where I got confused was there was an original , 1st version, that came out some years back (4-5?), that was just called "the Capitole", (if memory serves, it did not have any oversampling). Then the next iteration (the one I own) the "24/192" came out, so you can perhaps see what my thinking was when I initially thought mine was a "MKII"... (I have been out of the digital loop, so to speak, ever since I aquired my Capitole).
Now that I've actually looked at some ads for it, I see not one, not two, but what looks like three (?!) different versions, with some "SE"'s thrown in to further confuse me! Anyway, don't misunderstand, I am NOT displeased with my Capitole's sound -- far from it, it's just that I'm a bit concerned about keeping anything with moving parts (and frequent use!) much past 3-4 yrs.
So i guess my bigger question now (with the help from all of your great feedback), is; Do I go with a Cap. MKII, or is their something else out there, in the same $$ ballpark to also consider? - OR - do some of the mods as suggested & keep it for a while longer? Is the MKII a significant upgrade over my version?
My system BTW: in a bit of a "stasis" situation currently, as I am also shopping for new speakers, but the rest is a Pass 250.5 amp, PS Audio P300, dedicated room (w/dedicated AC) Analysis Plus Solo Crystal and Acoustic Zen wiring. Have been a pretty big M.L. speaker fan for years, so am looking in that general direction, but am also considering the Gallo Ref. 3's.
Thanks again everybody for your tolerence, patience and advice!
"bit of an error?" Just a little. My immediate repsonse is to go for the MKII, of course. But--Looking for new speakers? Am I missing something? What do you have now? Don't be afraid to tell us. Even if they are AR 4xs. ML fan?
The only competition is the EMM. From the above responses, AA has the best, die-hard fans. A few of them moved on to this machine and they love it. I have not heard it, but it's very existance is a bit...awkward.
I am not sure i really want to try it, as I do love My AA Capitole Mark II so much.......
Warrenh "ML" - Martin-Logan.. ;>)
Yep, have to agree with you, why tempt fate? I'll probably go with what I know is great and slide up to the MKII.
BTW -- Whitwind, do you know what value the caps are for the MKI by chance? (I know it's probably on the originals, but my Capitole is "tucked" in my rack pretty snug).
I always thought that ML was the manufacturer? What is the particular model of your ML? I'm confused. You're talking in vagaries....
Warrenh - did you read my post? I don't currently have a set of speakers. Last set was Prodigies BTW, if it matters.
That is the answer to the question I just asked you, that you did not address in your orignial thread: "last set was Prodigies"
I owned the AA Capitole II, and many many other much more expensive machines. I use the APL 3910 for me, in my system, it is the BEST. BTW, It costs less than the Capitole, heh heh heh
Contact Ken at Globe Audio re upgrade paths. BTW, the SE upgrade for the Mk II includes internal implementation of Symposium vibration attenuation as well as better caps and cryo'd tubes. Downside is that break-in requires a few hundred hours.
I had a MKI before aquiring a MKII. There is a sound difference between the two. I was told the AA distributor that the SE version is just as big a diffenece over the MKII that the MKII is over the MKI. I haven't heard it but if the facts are true then there's the answer...........
Try Metronome stuff. Much better than AA in my system...
Mattheus, did you mean to suggest using Metronome as one's transport? I notice that you're using an AA DAC in your system. Just curious.
I use Metronome T1A transport and Metronome C1A DAC ( I have to change the pictures of my system... ) which replaced the AA Prima mkII dac. The C1A is much more analog and smooth sounding without loss of detail. The soundstage is bigger and resolution is higher. I never expected that the AA would be outperformed that way...I am using a fiber optic digital cable (Krell at the moment, but ordered Aural Symphonics Optimism v2 ) which can't be beaten in terms of detail and musicality (in my system).
Mattheus, I'd certainly like to hear that combo, particularly with the Kharmas. My only previous experience with Metronome are earlier, one-box iterations. I auditioned several one-box cdps and one trans/dac in my system before settling on the Capitole. BAT, Parsifals, Nirvana and the AA combine well, so I can only imagine what your combo might bring to the equation. BTW, still running Nirvana?
Yes, still using the Nirvana SL speakercable. I love it. However, I replaced the Nirvana SX interlink with Siltech Forbes Lake since the combination of both Nirvana on interlink and speaker side was to 'bloomy', whereas overall Siltech was too 'tiny'.
I compared Nirvana SL with other brands (Nordost, Siltech, Purist Audio), but Nirvana sounds more musical in my system.
So my next step would be the upgrade to SX speakercable. Did you already hear this SX speakercable?
The integrated Metronome cdplayers seem to be a bit more 'harsh', that's what I heared from a guy who had the Metronome CD3. But this could be system-dependent.
Renaat, it's always interesting to see how components affect other systems. I used to run Siltech (Gen 3 80 xlrs) IMS but they were too bright. I also auditioned Valhallas, which were too forward. Nirvana found a solid middle ground which conveyed outstanding low frequency and midrange information. My system has benefited from running the S-X xlr/SL combination. I haven't had the opportunity to audition the Forbes Lake but a friend of mine is a Siltech dealer so I suspect I'll give them a shot. Yes, I've heard the S-X speaker cables and - not only because of cost savings - I'll probably go in that direction. They are a very good step up and a couple thousand $ less than the other usual candidates. I'm always amazed at how few people are familiar with Steve Creamer's cables. Once you know his background it's obvious why he manufactures such a great product for such a reasonable price.
Save your money. Get a new pair of the deHavilland GM-70's amplifiers. No CD upgrade can equal that.