Completely passive audio system...

My system is totally free from EMI/RFI, crosstalk, hum, buzz, etc. Turntable (without cartridge wires connected) -> passive phono stage -> passive preamp -> passive amplifier -> speakers.

MAN!!! This system can do NO wrong! Talk about a LOW noise floor! No distortion! This system really gets out of the way and lets the speakers do what they do best --- NOTHING.

I only use all Siltech Compass Lake wires, of course...
Nice job. So do you now invite local quartets to come over for musical entertainment?
gthrush1: i've a system much like yours. FWIW, i've found the recently remastered 24 bit cd's of "soundtracks from the golden age of silent films (1899-1924)" and the 16-disc box set "mimes on ice" to be absolutely stunning. all are available on 45 RPM single-side lp's. highly recommended! -cfb
How can you have a passive amplifier? I thought all amplifiers plugged into the wall.
Unless you've got one of those ones from the Thomas Edison days where the horn/speaker was attached directly to the needle/cartridge.
For that matter, what is a "passive phono stage"? How do you get to line level?
OK, Gthrush1, you've made me wet my Depends. Thanks for a great start to my day!!!
Egads, look at all of those interconnects! Someone get that dude a gramophone, quick!**aahhhhhhhh. audio nirvana!

I also enjoy listening to my 'wind-up music boxes!' I find the potential energy from compressed springs to be much more sonically satifying that any electric motor. About the only piece I can't find on 'wind-up music box' is the 1812 Overture. but it's all about equal, since I can get like 12 different copies of it on SACD!!! (only God knows why??!?)

Gthrush1, I have the same system but despite my best efforts I haven't been able to single out the best cables yet. Thanks for the tip. I always think it sounds best after a couple prozacs.

Get Passive!

I remain,
I upgraded from a totally passive system to one that was passive-submissive. It doesn't sound like much, but I get to beat the crap out of it whenever the mood strikes!
My system's full of passive-aggressive Alephs. I get TOO passive and leave them on, and they get REAL aggressive on the electric bill!
Brings to mind an e-mail exchange I had with a friend of mine recently in which he was making fun of me for buying a Meridian 508 (ah, the ignorance of the uninitiated). I'd sent him the picture of it from the website to egg him on (the one where it is sitting on a table amidst a zen-like arrangement of rocks and whatnot) and the following ensued (which, I humbly assert, definitively establishes THE reference-grade passive system):

ME: I think the little black pebble really says it all. The bigger rocks are totally inappropriate, and I find the bowl of segregated stones to be deeply offensive....

HIM: The big bowl of rocks wouldn't be so offensive if it were not arranged for maximum zen purity and fung-shui. The gross objectification of the larger stones (what's a phallic symbol for balls?) is, as you say, inappropriate. So, does one operate such machine on a table, surrounded by it's own little zen zone, or do you - gasp - put it on a shelf with other electronics?

ME: I had actually already picked a spot out for it on the rack, but you make a good point. I'll be sure to get some rocks to make it feel more at home. However, I have to note, setting it up like they did for the photo shoot -- not plugged into anything, let alone a power source or other electricity-producing item -- I bet it doesn't sound all that special at all.

HIM: Idiot. It gets it's energy from the spirituality surrounding the zen zone. It "plays" in ones consciousness, not one's ears. (You know, someone would probably buy such a product).

ME: Once again, you humble me. From now on, I'm swearing off electricity for my electronics. One will never hear until you are truly prepared to listen. You have opened my eyes.

HIM: Self-evident, really. Only by not hearing can we ever truly listen; this is the Buddha-nature of the audio system.

ME: When you think about it, all of these electronics and components we use to "listen" to music are just so many self-deceiving veils of destructive yearning interposed between a witless victim of lustful materiality and the essence of music. I am going to push all of my equipment out of the window, spread all the CD's out on the floor, and sit in a corner facing the wall. Better yet, I think I'll just go sit naked under a tree.

A chill breeze
Scrotal constriction
A thousand bells ring

How could I have been so blind to the truth for all these years?

Anyone interested in going in on a patent with me?
This thread gave me such new insight that I tried a quick experiment. Elsewhere there has been discussion of the sound of different forms of breakers. Eureka - what would be the sound of no breaker at all.

Feverishly I removed the ceramic breakers I had previously thought to be supreme, getting a mild jolt in the process, then rushed sizzling to the listening chair to listen to this new passive revelation. Apart from an apparent increase in background noise from the cicadas outside (no, the real thing, not Rodney), I was immediately blown away by the blackness of the background and the lack of grain.

Remarkably, trying CD after CD, (admittedly needing a spoon to open the draw now) the results were utterly consistent with everything in my vast collection. Even my wife commented favourably, and wondered whether placing the speakers further back - like in the garage - might now be possible.

I even tried removing the batteries from my remote, but I didn't notice a difference.

But here's the kicker! Late night listening is goose-bump city. Talk about black background! And for some reason I can crank the volume pot way up without complaints from members of the family or neighbours. In a word - effortless!

One strange thing about this though - ever since trying this I seem to be listening to music less and less and haven't bought a new disc for days.
Seriously though. I wonder what you would get if modern manufactures with modern design and materials produced a gramophone or victrola. Low mass materials (or high mass, I dunno) and fancy acoustics could get you more volume, a fancy stylus more clarity. Whether you want an electric motor is up to you, but I'm sure something interesting could be done with the actual transduction, still all mechinical. It would be a hell of a way to get people into the booth at a show anyway.