How do I go backwards?

I need the help of those people who have cut back on their systems. Due to the deep financial problems my health has created I need to sell off my system, either fully or partially. My system is a Sony SCD-1 (modified) front end, an Aesthetix Calypso pre-amp, two Plinius SA-102 amps bi-amped vertically, Dunlavy IVa speakers and all Nordost Valhalla cabling. My initial feeling is that the front end and speakers have the least value, in that Dunlavy is out of business and the Sony is modified. The cabling is by far the most out of line cost wise for the system I have so I’m looking at them first. So my first question is for people who have tried or sold their Valhalla cables for something substantially cheaper without loosing the detail, speed and transparency. Please speak from experience and what you felt was lost by going “backwards.” Secondly I’m going to need to sell one of the Plinius amps, and possibly both and replace with ????
My biggest concern is my system is so good and soooo musical I’m afraid stepping backward will result in a system that will no longer be enjoyable, and thus my love for recorded music will be lost. I hate to think of no music, but I know if my system looses too much, I’ll simply quit listening. I hope to avoid that.
Please share your experiences and your opinions on how to cut back.
Thank you
I have not done this myself, nor do I know anyone who has.

However, logically, you are in a position of strength.

You have components that are well above entry level, which means that most people will be upgrading to your level. Therefore, these same people may have components that you wish to downgrade to.
I would place ads for the components that you wish to downgrade from, and state that trades as partial payment are not only welcomed, but highly encouraged.

Since you like the sounds of certain components, I suggest, that you stay with the same manufacturer, but just a lessor model.
(i.e. stay with Nordost cables, but just a cheaper versions, such as the SPM Reference or Quattro fil.)

Remember two things:
One, it is the music that matters. Keep listening, no matter what!
Two, you were at such a high level, that coming down even by half (dollarwise), will only mean a small loss of audiophile quality, due to the geometric relationship between cost of components and the sound quality.

My two cents worth anyway.

I wish you luck, both in regards to your system downgrade, as well as to your health. May you get better soon!
just do it! really,just do it its that simple,the way we all covet our rigs & cringe at the thought replacing 10k worth of interconnects with off the shelf stuff from radio shack or replacing a highly modded cdp with an ecnomy cdp from best buy is silly,ITS ALL JUST STUFF!,do what you need to do to fix your finances then worry about the loss of your rig later.

ok dig this,im not tryin to be a smart ass or make light of your situation but i just went thru a major downsize myself & what i thought was going to be a big let down was in the end the best medicine.

i was in the middle of yet another riduclously big $$$$ upgrade when i fell 32 feet & shatterered my hip,so after selling off about 60% of my rig i was layin here with a smashed hip,over half of my rig allready sold & there was no way in hell i could lift 100 plus pound amps plus the morphine had me in lala land so i was bummed.

my current rig is just a small fraction of what it used to be & not even close to what i had planned for it & i truly couldnt be any happier,believe me there is life after nordost & you might just be amazed at how good a scaled down version of your rig can sound.

gone are most of the amps,high end cdp's,eq's,speakers,dac,high end interconnects,power cords & cabling,even the rack is gone & i couldnt be any happier!

keep your speakers & buy a decent high power amp,midfi preamp,ecno cd player,lamp cord speaker wires,rat shack cabling & put the cash from selling the rest of your gear to work where its needed the most,in your pocket.

give yourself a few weeks listening to your scaled back rig & i'll bet your nowhere as bummed out as you think your going to be.

good luck.

Downsizing seems to be a hot topic these days. You may end up pleasantly surprised.
Your health and financial well being are the most important things to consider in this equation. Therefore, I would sell the whole packaage and go 180 degrees in the other direction. Wait a few months until the sonic memory of your current system has faded and then get a jolida 302b tube amp (or equivalent), a jolida JD 100 CDP, a pair of Solioquy 6.2's, and stick the rest of the cash in your pocket. You can get the these pieces used for less than $2500 and have a very musical system. Plus it would be so different from your current system it would be harder to draw comparisons to your current system.

Just my .02
Write down your options on a smaller system that will take you to the musical place you want to be. It may be hit or miss with some pieces but take a stab at setting an overall goal - maybe even going someplaces you have never been before. These could include SET, planar, horns, single drivers, ribbons, passive preamp, integrated amp etc. Do your research.

Sell your current system piece by piece as time permits trying to extract the maximum dollar value and start acquiring pieces of your 'new' system as you do. Hopefully, price differences and deal shopping will allow you to put cash in your pocket as you do and not be without music.

Hopefully, the change in the sound dynamics and focus by going with a totally different system synergy will minimize the impact of downsizing.

So sorry to hear of your situation, and I can relate having been forced for various reasons over the years to give up various things.

I understand why Bigjoe says, it is just "stuff" , but whenever I have put time and effort into assembling a system, maintaining or modifying a car, motorbike etc. for me it is much more emotional than just "stuff" it is a product of passion and effort and something that gathers experience and memories.

Here is potentially good news, however, and further evidence of the insanity of our hobby.

In one fairly recent move, I just didnt have enough room for my Tympanis, and my Levinson amp had to be sent back for service.

In the meantime, and to watch videos, etc, I dragged out a dusty old Naim Nait amp from the closet and bought a pair of Epos monitors deeply discounted at Audio Advisor.

Well guess what?

I think I listened more! It was great -- very forgiving and easy to listen to and when I was not so obsessed with tweakng out that last degree of high end performance, I just listened to the music.

Maybe there was something lucky about that combination but it makes me wonder if actually, in the end, mid fi is more fun.

Best of luck and get well soon.
I haven't had to do it, but I like Cruz123's suggestion - sell it all for the most you can get for it, read some books or watch some movies for a few months, and then re-enter the hobby. When things aren't going well, change some things - do things you wouldn't have considered if things were basically going well. It'll be interesting, at least, and hopefully rewarding.

I hope whatever you do, it works for you. If I had to scale back, a Linn Classik with a pair of Dynaudio Contour 1.1's would carry me quite a long way, but giving up something you love is always hard.
I agree with KThomas. The Linn Classik is a great all-in-one system (I have the Kan 4's for speakers). Also, IMO, lose (sell) the 'Northeast' cables.....
Let's help with this one guys. J.D. is seriously ill and isn't going to get better any time soon unless he lives to make the heart transplant list. One must be very near death to get a shot at a transplant and there are too few donors.

From one that has been the recipient of many gifts from this community I can only tell you from my heart how much impact it has had on my life. From my standpoint this is a rare opportunity for me to give a little back. J.D. is one of the best people that has joined this community.

I offer:

Audible Illusions Modulus II preamp
Two eight foot pairs of Speltz anti-cables

J.D., I love you buddy. You've got a heart, though diseased, that is made of gold. Being able to do this is putting a huge smile on my face.
JD- I think that you should seriously consider a quality integrated (save cabling $), and an older but high quality digital front end. Very steep discount on older digital products. Another possibility would be a CDP w/a volume control and a power amp. Used Res Audio 55 (I think it has volume), maybe a single Threshold Class A amp, used pair of monitors. Another possibility would be to try out an SET integrated and a pair of reasonably priced single driver horns. Sell those Valahallas for AU-24. If you had an integrated or a CDP w/volume, you could get by with one pair of ICs and speaker cables (well under $1K, if lengths are moderate)
Wow Lugnut, great move. Sorta brings tears to my eyes.

Lugnut - YOU are a Class Act.
Oh my am I glad I clicked on this thread. JD, I wish you had at least gotten with me as we are closeby. I already had half a system for you in my mind by the time I got to Lugnut's response. And from what he can ship to you and what I can give to you, you should have pretty good music in short time with your CD player and speakers.

You know I'm a bloom and dimensionality fan here, not quite the high-resolution guy here as you, but I have an amp and several pairs of XLR cables for you if they bring on a musical enjoyment back at your home. The amp is my long time favorite backup: the Counterpoint NPS400 which might not have the Plinius detail, but brings on an outstanding level of musicality. And I can bring over a stack of XLR cables, NBS Statement, Signature, Harmonic Tech One, SilverAudio Apassionata, and some power cords too.

So between Lugnut and I, we have your electronics and cables covered. I can even bring these over one night this week to let you hear them and even help you set some things up. Just let me know when you have a free evening.

You guys are like the audio EMT's. Unbelievable!

JD, sounds like you will soon have full system relief. If not, please post again afterwards and let us know what you still need.
All the best,
More on the subject of downsizing from Srajan Ebaen


Jd, sorry to read about your misfortune. It sounds as if you have some true friends here at Agon. The generosity displayed has to lift your spirits. It touched me, and I don't know these people personally.
Although my previous system didn't approach yours, I did downsize when I moved my gear into a small dedicated listening room. I have been extremely satisfied with the results. In fact, as I slowly gave up chasing the next upgrade, I have been enjoying more music more often. Good luck to you.
I know what it is like to be somewhat in your position, I have had some extremely nice folks here help me with equipment due to my disability, I just wish I had something to give back, although my rig is not hi-fi, it is neither low-fow.....its is MI-FI lol.
I wish you all the best in your health...that is far more important than anything else but I truely hope you still are able to enjoy audio. God bless you through your trials.

You know, a funny thing happened in the time that I sold my Merlin VSM-MM speakers and received my VSM-MX speakers (about a one month time span). In that time, I had a pair of Paradigm Titan v3 bookshelf speakers in one of the basement systems that I took out and placed in my main system. Just threw them on some wicker chairs and pointed them in my general direction. Really. You know what? I still really enjoyed the music even though the Merlins are about 40 times more expensive! What a strange hobby.
My specific recommendation - one step at a time. Sell off the expensive cabling and purchase some great "home made" VH Audio Pulsar interconnects (or Element Cable twisted 89259/89248 design, based upon Jon Risch's recipe). There are also several DIY-based designs for speaker cables that one can purchase already made as well.

Best of luck upon your journey.

Sell your SCD-1, Nordost cabling, Aesthetix preamp and one Plinius amp. Keep your Dunlavy's and one Plinius. Buy a fairly inexpensive used SACD/CD player (assuming you have SACDs of course) with built-in volume control, wire up with Canare products, and you will be set to go.
Why not sell it all. Then you can start with a modest system and upgrade as funds become available. That way you'll be starting over rather than making an existing system worse.

In other words a fresh start with quality budget components and upgrades to look forward to. Rather than the negative of having what you had minus some part of it.

It's all about the attitude.

I’m overwhelmed by the loving people here and your generosity. As I read through the above posts plus the many emails I discovered two things. First I’m not alone and it may not be as painful as I’ve built it up to be. The biggest thing I found is I didn’t actually understand what I am doing, and how much I have wrapped up in my system. I was at my shrinkchologist today and discussed money and my stereo. I found that within my mind, this is the final piece of my life to give up. Let me explain, not for your sympathy, but because I need to share.
When I had my heart attack eight years ago and lost all ability to enjoy the physical life I had created, I found my stereo was still an escape for me. I had always used “extreme” or very “on the edge” sports were my greatest escape from the real world. Skiing, competitive sailing, white water kayaking, climbing, etc. allowed me to think of only the event, the rest of my thoughts were quite. Music is the ONLY place I have found where this experience still happens, so the importance I’ve placed on my system may be well over what is logical. As I built the system, and shared my experiences here, I never considered the fact that I would face today.
What I mean is I was never given any chance of living over five years. My wife and I based all our decisions on this prognosis, and in that I was still earning some income up to two years ago, we never expected to be broke. Either I would die and my family would have my life insurance, or I would get a transplant and I could work again. I never considered this, I would stay alive, but be too sick to earn money, and not sick enough to get a new heart. Well here I sit; the last piece of my life must be sold. At least that’s how my mind sees it. We have sold everything of worth and borrowed up to the value of our house. Our expenses continued to grow with the added debt, but it was ok, I was going to be dead long before we had to face the consequences of our earlier decisions.
Now the only way to keep our youngest in his last two years of high school is to sell my baby. We again were forced to make a decision to move or stay these final two years. Given that our youngest is severely disabled with cerebral palsy, we felt the emotional impact on him would be too deep.
After posting this thread, I finally understood what I was doing. I became very sad when it hit me. Then as I read the responses above I figured it out; how lucky I am to have the friends I have here. The support is incredible. The empathy and caring is humbling and quite frankly overwhelming. The thoughts shared from sell everything, to a piece at a time are thoughtful and demonstrate a great empathetic understanding of what I feel. Add to that the incredibly selfless offers made to me, and I am indeed in awe.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you. The offers and advice have encouraged me that this new chapter may not be my goal, but it can indeed be enjoyable.
As much as I hate being in this position, I see hope. As recently as three weeks ago I was trying to figure out how to upgrade my pre-amp to the next level. My system has been basically the same for three years, and the recent change of pre-amp and subsequent testing of the Callisto showed me a nirvana I could live in for the remainder of my life. Then a few (new) issues arose in our life, (unexpected co-pay on my last hospital stay) have forced a change in life.
DAMN, I really feel screwed. Again I can not express properly how your concern and support is excepted and needed.
As I discussed with my shrink, this is really the last piece of a life long past. I can not thank you all enough for all the love and support as I advance.
As to how I’ll proceed, I’m not fully clear. I think a piece at a time combined with the generous offers will help me get to where I’m going. I also must say, there is a sense of relief knowing we can financially exist for another year.
Thank you again. I am truly blessed!
Jade (J.D.)
With the help of Jafox, phase one is nearly complete. We tried his amp, then went back to one of the two Plinius I was using. We tried some different combinations of cabling John brought over, finally settling on one Plinius amp and his NBS cabling. The success of the NBS was no surprise to me, in that my system used all NBS Statement cabling before the Valhalla. John and I were surprised to find his amp was not producing the dynamics and imaging of the Plinius. It did however produce some serious magic on the string section on The Philadelphia Orchestra, Nature’s Realm SACD. Track one, Liszt: Les Preludes, Symphonic No. 3. Every passage with the string sections came alive with a definition not heard before on my system. This left both of us scratching our heads and John on a mission to find a better tube combination. I suspect his amp will return some day for a second trial.
So phase one pulls out one Plinius amp, one set of Valhalla speaker cable (I hooked both sets of wire in the crossover onto one binding post. This allows me to not have to degrade the sound with jumpers), four sets of Valhalla interconnects, a Great Northern Audio PASI (passive audio signal isolator) two power cords (again thanks to John) one Aurios Pro, a set of Walker High Definition Links and one set of Titanium Orchard Bay cones. The result was surprisingly good considering I removed around $15,000 (used price) worth of equipment. Some loss of dynamics and a bit of the inner detail, but I think the system remains extremely revealing and very musical.
Phase two begins next week when I try out Lugnut’s pre-amp and speaker cable. I have Wellfed coming next weekend to let me demo some equipment he thinks might work for me. I look forward to seeing Wellfed, it’s been a while. I expect phase two will also look into power issues. I plan to remove the Hydra power conditioner and try some other power cords. I have not tried removing the Hydra since adding my dedicated circuits and outlets, so I may be pleasantly surprised.
I believe this will be the end of my changes for the summer. It should provide enough funds to cover most of my latest hospital bills and allow me some time to experiment with further alterations to my system. It’s very interesting to know how each of these components added another layer of detail, and yet pulling them out was not too bad. I’m not sure I’d be quite so pleased without Johns cables, but still I am amazed.
I again appreciate the caring and help, especially from John and Pat. You two are wonderful friends!
Jade I am really happy to hear that you also have found some very kind friends here, I have aswell and god bless you and all that helped each of us out..and I hope everything you are dealing with can be overcome.
Sincerly Chad M Smith
Progress indeed. I was so happy to work with JD to try a number of options that would result in minimal impact on the incredible musicality of his system.

I think the NBS Statement gave up just a wee bit of top-end extension compared to the Nordost Valhalla, but with the NBS came a little more presence and body. The result was indeed very nice.

The issue of the Counterpoint amp was another story. As JD pointed out, it did a wonderful rendition of massed strings but otherwise, the Plinius had much more low-end extension, far greater presence of brass instruments, clearly a more dynamic presentation, and more detail on the top. It was not even close!

I must confess that I got careless with this amp as a month or so ago, I noticed a 6DJ8 tube was going bad. I was loaning this out and so I just threw in 2 older Sovtek tubes that I had removed years ago from an ARC LS5 line stage. I had finally gotten around to replacing the older Sovtek tubes in that. Afterall, it's just a power amp....who needs premium tubes here? And the 6CA4 tubes in this amp are old old old and so who knows what's left on them. I understand the 6V4 to be a much better performing tube in this amp than the 6CA4. So I should have known better than to bring over an amp with old junkie tubes and expect much in JD's highly resolving system.

I have already purchased new 6V4 tubes and when those come in, I will try a number of much nicer 6DJ8 tubes I have in my coveted "premium" tube box. And then yes, I will return to JD's home and see if we can bring on some more magic, and maybe, just maybe, allow him to sell the other Plinuis and still be a happy camper.

The night the music died.

Phase one somehow has grown out of control and spilled into phase two. I have now sold one Plinius amp, one set of Valhalla speaker cables, all four sets of Valhalla interconnects (replaced by John’s NBS Statement interconnects), The Great Northern PASI (Passive Audio Signal Isolator) and the original Hydra power conditioner with specially made Anaconda power cord.

As I stated earlier the second amp and speaker cable was acceptable as was the Valhalla being replaced between the pre amp and amp. When I added a second set of NBS Statement cables between the PASI and pre amp it was still very pleasing albeit beginning to lose some inner detail. The next night came the PASI and final Valhalla interconnects. The PASI sold within an hour of being listed. This added some edginess and a bit of artificial glare to the sound. Still acceptable but some of the naturalness was gone. Piano was now beginning to sound digital once again, but I could live with it.

Last night the system fell apart as one too many steps were taken. I removed the Hydra and Anaconda power cord feeding the Hydra. The only component plugged into the Hydra was the Sony SCD-1, and I was not sure how much (if anything) it was doing any more. You see I had installed dedicated circuits and new outlets to my system, so I thought maybe the change would be subtle. Well subtle it was not. Suddenly the entire soundstage became flat and un-involving. No more is there space and dimension to the notes; it’s all like looking at a poster of the mountains vs. seeing the mountains in person. All the subtlety, inner detail and naturalness have left. The tonal quality is no longer neutral; it’s now edgy and biting. Bass became large and uncontrolled. This is of course in comparison, it’s still far better than a lot of systems I’ve heard. That being said, I have killed my systems magic. It’s gone! Each change was distinct and yet acceptable until this point. I do not give full credit to the Hydra and its very costly power cord, I think it’s the sum of the total that has effected the sound. It’s just once this last piece was removed, so was the life of the music. I was starting to sense the loss with the PASI, but the two together, well I just went too far.

I can not ethically and will not renege on the sale of my Hydra/Anaconda, but I will offer to take it back if he does not like it. As for how I now proceed, I simply do not know. I wonder if the new super clock would help if I modified my SCD-1 further. Audiomod also has some other modifications, including a re-built power supply that might do the trick. That would cost as much as I made on the Hydra/Anaconda, (not to mention the cost of shipping again) but it might be the answer. Or would I still feel unattached? What if I traded in my Calypso and upgraded to an older Callisto? That was surely magical when John and I tested it in my full system, so many changes ago. I do not believe simply finding a new power conditioning system is the answer, in that I was loosing the joy even before that change.

I do not know what to do now. I have reached the point where others posting above saw me going, where the whole system is lost and it might be best to just start over. I’m not (I hope) going to need to do that. I do however need to do something, for in the state it is now, I simply do not enjoy the music for last night the music died!


P.S. Thanks for dropping off the other cables John. You truly are a good friend.
J.D. if you're interested, I'd be willing to loan you my Hydra 2 and Electraglide Epiphany cord. I know it's not your original Hydra and Anaconda, but it might be similar. You'll never know until you try. If the SCD-1 was the only thing plugged into the Hydra, then the Hydra 2 might be a cost effective alternative.
Tvad, I would love to try it. that way it could help determain solutions for my system.
JD, I sent you an email.
JD, JD, JD, ......, JD, You just had to play some more and now look at what you did! 8-)

I think if any of us went back to a system we had 3 or 4 upgrades ago, we too would be experiencing much the same as you. For me, such changes would be easier to accept if I did one at a time. It sounds like you did one or two things too many before you gave yourself a chance to regroup. Hopefully we can turn that around and get you back to where you were over the weekend.

Before you do anything wild with the Sony, I'd like to bring over a DAC or two and see if anything changes. Also, if you have any prized pairs of 6DJ8's, put them aside and I can try them in the Counterpoint amp this coming week when the 6V4 tubes arrive.

And who knows, a Callisto might just bring on what you need. Other power conditioning, cables, CDP changes, etc., might all be unnecessary. So I'll bring that over one night too.

JD, you can live with much less and still be happy and enjoy life and music. My system- old fisher xp7c speakers-toshiba3850 cd player and a sonic impact-t- amps with about 50 cds. I can't downgrade further than that.I have a great wife and kids. This is worth much more than the most espensive system. I really hope you get better.Keep focusing on the positive of your life, there's always something positive to hang-on to. If you want to write -you're welcom. gilles.
John, as an Engineer I expect people like me drive you crazy. Unfortunately I tend to react and think so time down the road. Call it the right brain, creative half of me. I appreciate your patience and understanding as you work with my half baked ideas. I am very lucky to have a friend like you who can help level me out. I look forward to another system session. Besides, it’s a lot more fun discovering this stuff with a friend rather than being frustrated on my own. Apologize to your wife as I continue to steal you away from home. At some point she’s going to wonder who Jadem6 is. Are you having affair with a woman named Jade, or what the H#*% is going on? I promise I’ll try not to wear lipstick next time we meet.
Please no pictures of the lipstick!
Oh gosh, pictures or not, no lipstick please! And even though it is hotter and more humid lately, cool it on the perfume too.
Really sorry to hear of your situation. I'm not sure I can suggest much, but I did want to offer my condolences.

For the cabling if you can make (or have a friend make) the DIY interconnects on Chris Venhaus' web site I would guess it will cost under $100 total, and might even beat the nordost stuff.

For speaker cables I don't have a good suggestion .. sorry. I'm just using home-brew PTFE insulated copper 14 guage twisted and it sounds pretty decent to me.

On the amp side if you ever see a used Densen DM10 then I think it's a real sleeper and hugely undervalued on the used market, and it can deliver a lot of current.
I don't know how much you can get around or how many pre-1983 lps(not cds) you have, but might I suggest that a belt-driven turntable with those lps might satisfy that musical craving(or emotional release) that only music can provide?
I thought it would be good to let those who care know what has happened over the past weeks. I have been able to sell off four sets of Nordost Valhalla interconnects, one pair of Valhalla speaker cable, three sets of NBS power cords, Great Northern Sounds PASI, two sets of Aurios Pro bearings, Black Diamond shelf and five sets of cones, one pair of Walker High definition links, and some tubes and other stuff. I am hoping to finalize a sale on the Plinius SA-102 amp soon.

In the last discussion, I had shared the consequences of removing the original Shunyata Research Hydra power conditioner and its Anaconda vX. It turned out that after discussing the result of removing these two items the buyer allowed me to back out. I can not explain well enough how well the Hydra works with my Sony SCD-1 and how much I lost without it.

So today I have the Sony SCD-1 with mods, Aesthetix Calypso pre-amp, one Plinius SA-102 amp and Dunlavy IVa speakers. I still am using Nordost Valhalla speaker cables, an Elrod EPS-2 power cord on the pre-amp and NBS Statement power cord on the amp. I ended up trading one pair of the Valhalla interconnects for an Electraglide Em power cord on the SCD-1. Thanks to Jafox I have interconnects (NBS Statement, older model) which pair up with my system very well. (I used NBS Statement before the Valhalla) Beyond that, thanks to Lugnut I have a phone stage and I can play around with my 30 years old Empire turntable. The net result is I paid off my latest hospital bill and a portion of my massive debt I carry. YEA!!!

The best part is the musicality remains. (With the Hydra back) Yes some of the dynamics, some slam, some of the highly detailed soundstage suffered, a small amount of inner detail is missing…. But the NBS did add some body to the sound. In the final wash it’s still very wonderful, and the cost vs. benefit is strongly revealed. I still love my system, so for today phase one is complete and I got some $16,000 out of my system. I do have one more move, but it’s a surprise that I will reveal in a later review!

Best of all, I have discovered the greatest thing I could hope to find. Friends, love, compassion and empathy that is running ramped in the Audiogon community. To all who have been in contact with me either as a friend or a buyer (and most both) THANK-YOU! It is the Audiogon community that has turned what was a very sad process into one of the best months I’ve had in years. SOOOOO many great friends! Thank you all for your sincere empathy and shared love. This site does have the greatest people in the world.

I now have a very wonderful friend in Japan, another in New Zealand and quite a few in the US/Canada. Thank you Audiogoners, I have incredible faith in our society. I am in complete awe of how great people are, and yet one guy ripped me off for $1000. I am sad for his soul, he clearly is lost. He is one sad man contrasting an entire world who is lost, what a great world we have. The difference between Audiogon and the Terrorists who are so angry in the world is staggering. I pray the great people here can continue to share the love and compassion I have seen, and maybe some how the angry few can have a taste of what we have.


JD, we get what we give, and you've given much to the Audiogon community. Thanks.

I hope that you take my response about pre-1983 albums seriously, as pre-digital will change brain waves(which is why we listen to music).
Mmakshak, I try to take all peoples views equally, so of course I found your input a valuable view. The AI pre-amp I received from Lugnut is now connected to my 1972 Empire belt drive turntable, and i have enjoyed a number of my old lp's and some of my uncle’s perfect condition 50's jazz. The resolution with these two components is not at all to the standard I expect, yet it too is wonderful music, and as you point out it is enjoyable.

As for the rest of the story, I stumbled upon some Kubala-Sosna Emotion interconnects and have been using one pair between the SCD-1 and Calypso and a second between the Calypso and Plinius. I found them used, and even at retail they cost less than I received for my Valhalla cables that I sold. I am having a home demo next Sunday and Monday with the speaker cables. I am so excited! My impressions are below;

The first night, with then cables I was up until 4:00 AM; I never stay up past 11:00. I needed to try out all of my difference reference disks, (see Calypso review) but rather than simply listening to the cut I use for reference, I listened to the entire disk. Lucinda Williams Essence twice! (My play list is detailed at the end of this email)

To my ear the very first impression was a subtle lessening of pace and possibly dynamics, but as I got familiar with what I was hearing I discovered this not to be true.The second impression was (large Cheshire cat grim) absolute bliss. With my Valhalla cables transparency was defined as thin, with the Emotion transparency is a lack of substance between musicians. It’s been said a million ways, but it needs saying again. There is more pure black space between notes, between instruments. Transparency is clarity and quite with the Emotion cables. As a result of this element of audiophelia the soundstage depth is greater than I have ever heard it. This includes a review period with the Cary 300B SET mono blocks. The singer was further into the room than I have experienced, including when my friend brought over his Aesthetix Callisto pre amp to compare against my Calypso. The drummer was out in my front yard, and there was easily one or two musicians standing at depths between these two extremes. Soundstage width was not affected in any perceivable way.

The next issue I listen for is tonality. I have worked very hard to product very natural tonality in my system without effecting the definition enjoyed with a solid state amp. The only area of complaint I have had with my system using the Valhalla cables is the extreme high end is thin and very close to edgy or bright. The K-S cables balanced the tonality perfectly. The bass remained extremely tight and focused with full extension. Never did it bloat or fatten in the way many cables do. It was the high end where I became mesmerized! Not a single flaw. Piano and violin are so tough! The highest notes can easily become fatiguing, bright or edgy, and I have always tried hard to balance this issue with footers and isolation. The Emotion cables made this a non issue. Full and open with crystal clear, transparent musicality through the very highest C on the piano. Every high note retained color and hue while never appearing artificially painted. Never once did I cringe or pull back from even the brightest spots. WONDERFUL!!!!

Another area I have spent a great deal of time learning, tweaking and experimenting is in transient attack. I insist that the leading edge of a note, whether it from a drum, piano, bass or horn, must be defined with a clear instant front edge. Generally cables that provide the attributes in the high frequencies that these cables do, end up soft, with a lack of front end definition to the note. These are perfectly balanced; the attack remains strong and sudden, while providing full body and beautiful tonality.

Yet another of my issues is naturalness. The music must sound as if I am there in the room it was recorded in. Often this requires subtle cues within the recorded medium. Those clues, possibly referred to as inner detail were so strong. By far the inner detailed information is coming through clearer and stronger that ANY cable I have tried (and I have tried at least 90% of them) I have listened to Lucinda and Patricia Barber so many times my family is ready to puke. I have never heard the air being pulled into their lungs through their throats like it appears with these cables. So many examples could be stated as to the inner detail revealed, but you have no doubt heard it all before.

There were a couple of real surprises for me. Three-dimensionality was beyond reproach. Only a SET 300B amp could be better, yet I could never receive all the other attributes required from my system. It’s been said before, perhaps too often, but I could see a defined vocalist all the way to the back of the head. Of course this is not possible, but there is a magic within the music through your cables. In my opinion this is now the standard to measure all other cables.

In the end, all the above statements are simply audiophile comments listening to equipment. For me I quit listening to equipment three years ago when my system found synergy. I listen to music, not equipment. Above all attributes, my system must be musical. I own a lot of disks because I love music, not because I love sound. These cables are so perfectly balanced that it was hard for me to listen as an audiophile. My mind simply wondered away from the cable and into the performance.

So I have re-invested some of my money I pulled out from my selling of equipment. The net result is I still paid the hospital, and have a small cushion to live on as I await the Social Security Disability back pay (soon!) The real surprise; I pulled out 1/3 of the value in my system, and right this minute I enjoy it at least 1/3 more. I have been listening every night for hours now, and that is quite a bit more than before the changes. I do miss the second amp and the final 3% of slam, but I can live with that! I guess that is testament to the fact that the best sound does not always cost more. I will keep you all informed on the speaker cable trial.

Thank you again for the great support and caring. None of my Audiogon friends will ever fully understand how much your love means, unless you too find yourself in my shoes. I would never wish my health on any of you, so learn through my how important we all are to each other!

Jade, as a disabled man I too have had many wonderful surprises from friends here on Audiogon. Alot of the guys here are truely amazing people with caring and understanding built firmly into their character.
Glad to see how much you are enjoying your passion, just please try to get better....god bless Chad
Sorry to here of your bad health, I hope it is not long term.

I myself may well be selling up for a short time, and wonder what if any I should sell - I am setting up a business.

Personally do no not sell the SCD/1 it is now irreplaceable. The rest can all be sold, but you must ask the question how much you would lose on the items first and how much you will save. It may mean downsizing is a waste of money.

If you are to get good money with a small loss, do take a chance on some electrostatics by King Audio from China, and some chinese valve amps - good value and high performance all at a low price.

Good luck

As a followup to this thread, I have been to JD's home a few times since the start of this thread. With a lot of effort, he has as good a system if not more musically enjoyable than before even with so many things he has sold off. The cable changes he has done alone easily make up for what was "lost" before. This man is more obsessed with the details of configuring an audio system than anyone I have ever known; I am a sad case in comparison. When you know what you're doing, success can indeed be had for less. So as a supporter here, I must say, right on!
Well, another chapter from the author of "Winters Lessons"... I just now caught on to this thread.
JD, your latest post is a joy -- it's full of enthusiasm and positive energy...

May God bless you with an endless supply of such energy! And may the Gods also bless the members who responded (Lugnut, Jafox) in kind and with action -- where I'm limited to just words.

I've little to contribute anymore, you're an old fox at squeezing performance out of any component; the only thing that you *might* further consider woudl be a transformer vol control. Yr Sony should be able to drive a 10 kOhm tranny well which in turn should have no problem driving yr amp (i.e. you shoudn't be losing dynamics) -- and allow you extra funds if need be.

Best wishes from 10k miles away!
Thank you Chad and Lohan. John, you have become a good local friend thanks to this wonderful web site, and we have many, many hours to learn together! Greg, you are an old time friend who I wish I could meet personally. This is the only problem with the internet, the people I have met, I wish I could spend time with and hear your voices.

As an update to my downsizing, I still am pining for the second amp, but life is life, and I simply had no choice other than to get rid of it. The exciting news is I was extremely fortunate to have run across the Kubala-Sosna Emotion cables. I first was introduced to these cables here at A'gon, and ended up talking with Joe Kubala because at the time he had no dealership locally. To make a very long story short, I ended up having Joe Kubala spend an afternoon at my house. One cable at a time we switched from NBS interconnects to Emotion. Then Valhalla speaker cables to Emotion and finally my power cords. I was using Electraglide Epiphany, Elrod EPS-2 and NBS. When Joe put in the last Emotion cable. It was the third jaw drop of the afternoon, each cable added body and tonal hue, yet was more extended and open. The background was darker with each step, and as a complete "system" the Emotion cable was better than my system has ever sounded.

The result was me buying interconnects and two power cords used. I'm now awaiting speaker cable and a final power cord!

The best part is I am able to switch speaker cable (used Valhalla and new Emotion) as a wash, but in my system this is an upgrade. The same can be said for my power cords, a virtual wash.

So with these changes I may indeed be happier with my system now ($12,000 less) than before! I'll keep you informed once the cords are here and I'm able to (re-tweak) my system to the new parameters.

As for advise on how to downgrade? Keep your options open, but be careful because too much loss will destroy the magic, but change can be made.

The true reward however is right here, Audiogon has brought me two local "new" friends Jafox and Artg, and I love them both and am blessed to have found their friendship. I also have deepened my love for many of my long time Audiogon friends. It is you guys that make life a joy to continue with. I have grown to see the joy remaining in my life and focus less on the loss. It is you people who have given me this vision, and it is Lugnut who has lead the march.

I love all you guys, Thanks.

Hello Jadem

I read one of your first update posts about your health just now, and apologise for not taking it into consideration with my earlier posting.
I understand you saw your shrinkologist about your having to give up your 'extreme' interests that fully concentrate your mind.
Without wishing to sound either like a hippy/preacher etc, I hope you have some element of spirituality in your life over and above what is material and mundane. As you have undoubtedly noted many people have paid interest in your unfortunate loss of health and therefore your system, but in that process of renunciation you have discovered friends, and also the fun to be had by a less esoteric set up
I must say the most musical fun I used to have was from a cheapo £1.00 music box with radio and record player that i built up my collection on - sound quality crap, material good - never had to worry about sound quality - in fact getting any sound was an end in itself.

Take care of yourself from me in the UK

Hi Lohan,

I wish to thank you for your empathy. I would like to partially address your question of spirituality. Yes I have an incredible relationship with God, and for the past eight years I’m sure He (She) has been caring me as I walk this path in life.

I belong to no religion, or organization, I feel this helps me to not be judgmental of peoples beliefs. The way I see it, everyone is right, one God…. My faith has developed through twenty five years of following the twelve step program of AA. It has been enhanced and verified through a near death experience and eight years of life when I was only given a 10% chance of leaving the hospital. I have learned a great deal about life, my family, friends and God. I have not worked for over three years now, so I find myself with a lot of time for reflection.

I am very lucky to have been able to live these last eight years because it has allowed me to be a big part of my kids, wife and friends life. We also have a disabled son who requires assistance in everything. He has shown me how to accept and how to see the joy in every moment of life. I have told him he is God’s special messenger and that God created him for others to see the truth about their own lives.

I have spiritual faith, my faith is simple. Love. In the end, love is what is important and what my soul needs from other souls. If I can remember to love, I can do no greater thing. That’s my belief, and I’m sure it sounds a bit over the top, but really, what else is there?

I’m sorry if this short tack off the course of this thread, but I feel obliged to let people know what I have learned.

My posts to this, responses I have seen have made me, and I hope others, to put things into perspective. It may be a cliche, but one which your thread has had me as well as I think others, question the full relevance of their hi-fi in the context of life and other things.

To this end you have only started a good thread, and I don't think you are not of 'the path' so to speak.