Dream System. Spectral or Levinson.

I'm considering between two systems, but would love to hear your input. Debating on a Spectral/MIT/Avalon system w/Spectral Mono Block's, and all Spectral Digital. Or Mark Levinson/Revel Salon system, w/No 33's and Full Levinson Digital. Your thoughts or Suggestions.
A dream system you can hear is: Nearfield Pipedream Loudspeakers/ Lab 47 Gaincard/with several transport/dac combinations. Assuming you've heard the others, it should be worth it to fly in and hear ours. Buy this system and we'll reimburse your airfare! Go to www.audiotweakers.com for reviews.
I don't get it! The two systems you're considering are "statement" quality. Assuming you have good local dealer support, and if you don't I question why you would purchase these components, what can anyone on-line tell you about the choice. Your room, system setup and your hearing will determine what works best for you. TRUST YOUR OWN EARS!
I have to agree with onhwy61; trust your own ears. I live in central Ohio, and have had the opportunity to hear both of the systems you're considering. In my opinion the Levinson based system better meets my tastes, but the other may better meet yours. I think you could get much better sound for substantially less cash outlay, as is evidenced by a friend who has the 2c3d system and prefers the sound of my system on a regular basis. Good luck and above all, make sure you get something you'll enjoy.
I appreciate all info. I guess that's the reason for posting the ad was to gain knowledge about each system and possibly others. I'm somewhat of a novice to high end audiophile, and don't want to be sold by dealers on which system is better than others. I have demo'd each system, but would like to hear feedback on either before I invest into either system.
I appreciate all info. I guess that's the reason for posting the ad was to gain knowledge about each system and possibly others. I'm somewhat of a novice to high end audiophile, and don't want to be sold by dealers on which system is better than others. I have demo'd each system, but would like to hear feedback on either before I invest into either system.
I have been obsessed with this hobby for four years now, and my first piece of advice is: don't do it!! Don't let the dealers for this expensive equipment set the agenda!! There is plenty of extremely enjoyable sound available out there without spending $100,000+. Not to mention that the fresh air fund is probably a better use of money anyway. My second piece of advice is: tubes, dude! That ultra-detailed solid state gear only sounds ok if the sources you're using (read: recordings) are impeccable. If not, the system becomes unlistenable. Yes, I've heard Spectral on Avalon. It's pretty trick stuff, but my God, I think my ears would bleed on most source material on most days. Remember, this stuff is for you to listen to at home, for the rest of your life, not to listen to once and be impressed at a stereo salon! If you must spend that kind of money, consider a very good pair of tubed monos, like wolcotts or second-hand lamms or vtl's and a pair of sound lab milleniums (M-1s). Otherwise, cut down on the watts and get a very nice efficient speaker like the Brentworths, Silverline Sonatas, etc. There is a good site with lists of efficient speakers on www.welbornelabs.com. Not to mention some good tube amplifiers. Believe me, when it comes down to it, tubes just sound more right. Or get a pair of zen monos from decware.com, and some efficient speakers. This is a very good site written by an extremely knowledgeable fellow who's not into charging people $10,000 for a pair of amps. $1,000 will do, thanks. Oh yeah, did I mention get a turntable and some used records? I don't remember ever enjoying hi-fi as much as when I bought an NAD and spinned Led Zep on a modest system and my girlfriend and I just about cried listening to it in the dark!! there, I feel better. I wish you the best of luck!! Tom Schuman
Kudos;Tom.Just to add a bit: Imagine paying 79 grand for your speakers,if you tried to sell them here,latter the same day??lucky if you could get 40(very lucky).I have been in this hobby a long time,and have to do my upgrade a piece at a time.I sort of get restless with what I have I hear/read about something better---.I hope I'm not speaking out of jealousy,'cause Spectral 360,and Nearfield are trully Pipe Dreams for me.
If I were you I would check out the Pipe Dreams. If I was able to spend that much they would be the first on my list. Read the review in Absolute Sound.
Hi 59burst, I'm glad to see you went to hear the systems you have in mind before spending that kind of money. You didn't mention which Avalon speaker, I imagine it must be the Eidolon. If your spending all this cash make sure you get help in treating the room acoustically so you get the most out of the system. I did compare the Eidolon and the Salon in the indentical room and system. It was with all Spectral electronics and of course M.I.T. cables. Really the answer depends on your priorities in the reproduction of sound. The Eidolon is will give you a more transparent sound-stage with sharper focus of images. It will also resolve more detail giving you more insight into the recording venue. It's presentation when set up properly is quite spooky. The speakers can completly disappear and can leave images in your room in the most uncanny way. The Salon however will play louder without strain and have more authority in the bottom octave. In my room the Eidolon plays louder than I can stand and has plenty of detailed low end bass. I do think you should check out tube equipment. For me the virtues of good tube gear (texture and correct timbre of tone) out weights the virtues of solid state. My amps and pre-amp are from Balanced Audio Technology. I have the VK50se pre-amp and the VK60 mono block amps. When I can afford it I plan on buying another pair of VK60s and run four of them. My front end is the Mark Levinson 360s D.A.C. and the 37 transport. I would advise deciding on the speakers and front end first then audition different amps and pre-amps in the system in your room. This would be educational for you and you can discover and learn what your priorities are. I do however feel of the two speakers in question that the Eidolon is the more accurate and musically engaging speaker. I hope I've been of some help and please let us know how you make out. Good luck! Sincerely, Tom
It is difficult to add to this posting, as the suggestions are superb. I especially agree with the comments on avoiding giving your audio dealer full control over this 80K system. You must give your heart felt and undivided attention as to what this will do for your long term musical enjoyment. I also agree on Tom's (Tacs) suggestion about a turntable and some great used vinyl. And don't forget the suggestions about tubes! In the long term, tubes will make you forget about the ear strained spectacular provided by transistors and instead, you will find yourself lost in the emotion of the music. After all, when the new wears off all this gear, you need to be able to enjoy it every day. The only part of this posting that I do not agree with is the issue of speakers. Most of those listed, especially the Pipe Dreams, are not to my taste. However, I only heard them at CES, and not in my own system. Tacs posting (again) is correct about the Soundlab speakers, they can be run superbly on much less power that anyone thinks. I get almost live levels with a 25 watt SET Triode, and my listening room is 19 feet wide, 34 feet long and has a ceiling that vaults to 12 feet. Best luck on your quest for excellence!
All wonderful comments - I'm most impressed by their sincerity and the intelligence of this forum (I do not mean this to be condescending). Even though this can be a mightily expensive hobby, ultimately, I think most people engage in it out of sheer love for music and the nourishment it provides. To be sure, there are those who see high-end equipment as an emblem of their financial prowess or a way of expressing their macho instincts (what I term the "kick ass" mentality). Generally, the latter breed are transparently obvious and are to be avoided. Here's my two cents worth. I have been most fortunate in being able to acquire what I consider to be a stratospherically-expensive system, comprising, inter alia, JMlab Utopias, Krell monoblocks and dCS DAC and upsampler. I auditioned a number of systems, inlcuding the Spectral/Avalon combo. While very impressive, it's main weak link is the versatility/upgradability of the front-end (remembering the format turmoil at present). Since I have, at least, 3500 CD's, I wanted to ensure that I can "milk" the most out of this inoptimal source as well as ensuring that my system is reasonably "future proof". I have serious doubt about whether this is possible with the Spectral DAC,etc (even though it sounds superb). Hence my purchase of the dCS gear. Yes, I agree that vinyl surpasses everything in musicality, but am somewhat intolerant of the lengths one has to go to acquire it and maintain it. On the issue of tube vs SS, I still am dazzled by the benefits of the latter. Perhaps as I my audiophile instincts evolve, I, too will find tube equipment seductive.
59, give us more information. Why do you want a system like this? Either system will require extensive setup and room acoustical treatment. Strong dealer support is critical. If you don't have a dealer you can trust, then I caution you about getting involved at this level. While if properly implemented either system could provide exceptional sound quality, this does not automatically lead to exceptional listner enjoyment. Your expectations from a system are critical to the equation. What are they?