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A dedicated 20 amp outlet and an inexpensive set of Room Tunes are good cost effective improvements. The HT-2000, will benefit your entire system on a dedicated line. The Rogue 66 should be a bit more musical and open than the CJ, but I think with a limited budget, you might try to upgrade your digital playback first, perhaps with an Audio Refinement or Sony 5 or 7 series CD player. Switching to monoblocks should be saved for later. I also think you can do better on the interconnects at a modest cost, maybe Tara RSC. The Forum is a great place to search for information like this and the guys here are very knowledgeable and helpful.
Dude! Slow Down!
You say you just got a system together and now you want to upgrade. This is a slippery slope you are heading toward!
First, let's talk about why you want to upgrade. What is it about your current setup that leaves you unsatisfied?
If you simply want to play with lots of equipment and have the funds that's cool. If you are looking to reach a specifc goal then the folks who want to help will need to know what you're shooting for.
So - How's about giving some more info for folks to work with?
dedicated line is a good idea. for amp conditioning, i'd suggest the vans evers unlimited - it won't degrade the amps' sonics; may even improve them a hair. re: getting odyssey monos, i'd suggest getting another stereo amp & running in a wertical bi-amp mode. doubles your power, ya still have a different amp for each speaker, & ya got a separate channel for each driver. kinda like 4 monos on the cheap... ;~)
Cinepro Line Balancers work very well in two systems of mine, but I'd still follow Blueswan's advice to put in a dedicated AC line and work on the room. If you know nothing you should read F. Alton Everest's "Master Handbook of Acoustics" (4th edition only) or his "Sound Studio Construction on a Budget", especially if you have any DIY capability, a home workshop in particular. The room is a huge factor in the final sonic product, and, especially if you can substitut DIY for commercial products, a lot less expensive to raise to world class status than the other components of your system. Why not see how good your present electronics and speakers can sound?
More info: I actually had a system for over a year, but it wasn't even mid-fi. I recently upgraded to the SL-3's, Stratus, and the PV-7 as well as the better cables. I do think that I'll be staying with tube preamps. Each change I made, resulted in a significant improvement. Although the overall sound seems quite good, I am sure that there is much more detail to be found. I would also like to incorporate my (currently not being used) non-powered subwoofer. I had it used previously with an active crossover, but it really did not integrate well. Is there a way to add a low pass filter to my second set of preamp outputs to extend the bass extension with the use of a addition bridged amp? I am not even familiar with what Cinepro 20 or 30 is. Is this a power conditioner? Also, is there an advantage of running second Stratus in a vertical bi-amp mode instead of mono's? There would be no cost advantage over going the mono route over vertical bi-amp mode. Any suggestions on where I can purchase Room Tunes? Also any suggestions on replacing the GCD-750 with a seperate transport and DAC? "Sound Studio Construction on a Budget" seems like a great way for me to understand the room environment issues I need to deal with.OK, I'll stop now! This discovery of how enjoyable superb sound can be is becoming a quest for me as I presume it has been for many of you. Next upgrade will certainly be the dedicated lines and a power conditioner. I do plan to proceed cautiosly. Thank you again for your advice.
I bought my Room Tunes years ago from www.audioadvisor.com but I think they sell other types now. Definitely proceed cautiously when treating a room or you may deaden it to the point of lifelessness... a dry and technical sound, not musical at all. You can probably find good discussions on bi-amping versus dual-mono by searchning the Forum, but the best systems I have heard were all dual-mono. If your budget is limited, consider a high quality stand alone CD player instead of separates. Good Luck
blueswan & pmwoodward - vertical bi-amping *is* dual mono - one amp for each channel. ewe give up a tad power compared to bridging the amps, but bridging causes the amp to see a speaker af half its ohm-rating, ie: it's like a 4-ohm speaker is really putting a 2-ohm load on the amp. also, wertically bi-amping is better than two mono-amps, because ewe can only bi-wire, not bi-amp w/monoblocs.
regarding upgrading yer cd-player, i'd upgrade the preamp 1st - my experience has been that a killer toobed preamp makes differences between $500 cd players & $3k cd players disappear.
ymmv, doug s.
I'm with Aragain. What's the problem? You don't say that you're unhappy with the sound and you just got the system. Get to know it a little better before you worry about upgrades. You might try some acoustical treatments first. Or play with speaker positioning. Your stuff is very good, live with it for awhile and learn its sonic signature, both piece by piece and as a whole. Enjoy it, I'm betting it's a very enjoyable system!
Agree totally, play acoustic treatment first. Until you realize how your existing system sounds, then decide to stay or upgrade. Med-Fi in a good room sounds better than Hi-Fi in a bad room. People spending hunreds on a power cable but zero on their walls are not very wise. Treatment is a must for high revealing system, like yours.
Electrostats have to be pampered to sound there best; they are a demanding speaker to get sounding right. 1.) they tend to be far more sensitive to speaker placement than many other more "conventional" electrodynamic transducer designs simlply because they are dipolar in nature. Play with speaker placement, read the owner's manual on positioning, etc. 2.) I'm not a big fan of AC conditioning in most systems; However, since electrostats plug into the wall they can make AC "grunge" audible through there panels. So a power conditioner may help. 3.) I'm not sure on your amp (whether its tube or SS), but Solid-state is generally a little better suited for driving speakers that present very low resistance at certain frequencies like the electrostats. 4.) There was a thread in the past 72 hours entitled something like "speaker cables and ESL" which it cites an article and which I posted another excerpt showing how cables can make an improvement with designs like the Quad ESL. And Lastly, like others said, experiment with the rooms acoustics. You may not have to buy acoustic treatment, depending on your furniture and the room and how you arrange things, you can still get good results. A large bookcase with books of different sizes will diffuse sound, a tapestry on the wall will help absorb it, etc. Good Luck!
The fact that you are looking to improve your system tells me that you are not happy with the sound that you are getting. While there is a lot of merit to the suggestion that you live with the present system for a while, my initial impression is that your system is not a well balanced one, according to the system building philosophy that I, and I stress "I", think should be followed.
The more revealing that the speakers are, the more clearly they will tell you about the weaknesses, and merits, of your electronics. Put simply, and IMHO, your electronics are not good enough for your chosen speakers. Electrostats(ML)are very revealing, and while I am not familiar with your amp, my fairly extensive experience with different brands of ESL's has taught me that THEY LIKE TUBE AMPLIFIERS. Others might disagree. The CJ pre, even the PV5, is really too colored and far, far, better is available for not a lot of money.
As far as subs go, DON'T GO THERE! Not until you have a better handle on the core of your system. Been there, done that with ESL's; a major can of worms. With the right electronics, I can't imagine really needing one.
I'd like to respectfully suggest that you are trying to do too much too quickly, best of luck and keep us posted.
while I find my current system very enjoyable to listen to, I know that I will enjoy it much more if it sounded better. I know of no one else with a system nearly as good as mine, so I am at a loss for what can be obtained. My only experience with tube amps was a AR that I borrowed for a few days back when I had Snell A2's. I was very unimpressed. while they show no advantages, there was a definate lack of bass extension compared to the SS amp I was using at the time (Eagle 2). Bass extension is a definately an area that I would improve. I am certainly willing to try one again with the ML's. It seems like beyond the obvious need for room treatments and dedicated lines, that most are recommending a preamp upgrade.
Make no assumptions as to what a tube amp might sound like driving ML's, based on your experience with Snells; apples and oranges, impedance load wise. In my experience, using electrostats, tube amps always seemed much more natural in the area of dynamics and alivenes,and much more dimensional sounding as well. Solid state amps tended to sound much drier and thin as opposed to full bodied, like the real thing. I'll never forget, quite a few years ago, the first time I tried an all tube amp to drive my Stax F-81's, granted, a more difficult speaker to drive than your ML's. I had been very disappointed with the sound that I was getting driving the Stax's with a Moscode 600, 300(!)watts, solid state output stage. A friend brought over a lowly, stock Dynaco ST70(!!!???); those 35 tube watts made the Stax's sound like I had never heard them before: sweet, pure, dimensional, engaging, if not very loud. I currently drive a different pair of Stax's with a pair of Manley Reference 200 triode monos, and the combination is woderfull. Obviously, there are great solid state as well as tube amps out there, and some might prefer solid state; I'm simply trying to encourage you to not rule out tubes, as you might find the "magic" with that combination. Yes, the Eagle was known for it's great bass response, but a good, modern tube amp should give you satisfactory bass response. I stand by my comments concerning subs and your pre. Best of luck
crossing over subs to the m-l sl-3 is a whole lot different than crossing over to cls's or some other full-range esl. the sub is being crossed over to a dynamic driver w/the sl-3's: m-l awreddy botched the integration of the e-stat w/the dynamic driver themselves! ;~)
the trick to crossing subs to e-stats (or any speakers, imho), is to use a *pair* of passive subs, a hi-quality *flexible* active x-over, w/steep-enuff slopes, crossed-over as low as possible.
ymmv, doug s.