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@kota1 , Thanx for the compliment. As a child I was always wanted to know how mechanical devices worked. To the chagrin of my parents, I took just about anything apart, and I do mean anything. I got really pissed when I did not have the right tool to do the job and had to get creative. Eventually, this talent became useful as if something broke I would fix it. Thus I became a tool collector.
My first record player was a Zenith portable my father got me when I was 4 years old for my birthday. I was sleeping and he put it on the foot of my bed, woke me up and asked if I could guess what it was. I could not. All the record players I had seen where huge things. When he told me I was up and at it. Best present I ever got. Problem was he would not let me touch it. I had to get him or my mother to get it going which of course pissed me of. Eventually, I dragged my mother into my bedroom and showed her step by step how to place records on the spindle and get things going. She finally talked my father into giving me full operating privileges.
My first stereo was another Zenith portable from there it was an evolutionary process culminating in what you see. At thirteen I constructed my first "audiophile" system from Dynakits. My first turntable was a used Thorens TD 124 with an ADC Pritchard tonearm. The woodworking skills started from here. I needed a cabinet to put all the equipment in so I had my mother rent a router and jigsaw and built one out of plywood and Formica. It was pretty ugly but served it's purpose.
My woodworking skills were fine tuned by Jules the Italian marine carpenter. My father was into boats, cabin cruisers. I hated boats. They were a prison to me. While he was polishing chrome I tagged onto Jules and became his apprentice. He was incredible. In a boat there is not a straight line. I learned how to make such things as curved cabinets that fit exactly, boat railings out of mahogany that ended in a beautiful scroll at the stern, swooping around the boat to a point at the bow, and how to name the boat in gold leaf. All he had for tools was a big band saw on wheels and a box full of hand tools. With that he could make anything and I do mean anything out of wood. He was the best wood worker I have ever known. If it was not for him I would not have gotten very far.
I was always going to have a shop in my house. It was just as important as a kitchen and audio room. I have three phase power, a separate dust proofed room for dust collection and pipes running throughout the shop. I have the finest band saw you can buy, a Northfield, what a beautiful machine. You can see it in some of the photos.
On to the media room. Those recliners are from Stressless a Norwegian company renown for quality. They are custom made in the finest natural leather. I am now 68, so it has taken 64 years to get where I am and I am not finished. I have Atma-Sphere MA 2's coming. The TacT is going to be replaced by a DEQX Pre 8 as soon as it is released and I am working on a new set of subwoofers as I am not totally happy with the last set I built. I hope to upgrade my phono stage to a Channel D Seta L20. I have to figure out a way to get it by my wife. That is as far as I can see into the future. As Robert Duvall said, "You always have to be looking forward," forward to something. This is the secret of being happy when you are old. When you can't look forward you are done.
@donavabdear , What a beautiful thing. Player pianos have been around forever, but that one gets the cake.
Pianos are like HiFi systems. They will sound different in different rooms. Every one sounds different and their sound is very complex plus they are big. All this makes them hard to record. In studio recordings they use at least two mics and they split them between the channels. What you wind up with is the low keys in one channel and the high keys in the other, as if the piano is as big as the entire band. I HATE that. It totally kills the realism. In the Oscar Peterson box set, Exclusively For My Friends, is an Album called My favorite Instrument, MPS 15 181 ST. It is a collection of solo pieces. From another room it sounds as of the piano is in the room. From the listening position it sounds like the piano is right in front of you. You get the same effect with Maurizio Pollini's Chopin series DGG 2530 550, 659, and 291. The interesting thing is that they are very different sounding pianos/recordings but they produce the same effect except at the listening position Maurizio's piano sounds like it is up on a stage at a distance while Oscar's piano is right in front of you in the room. There are others but these are the ones that really stick in my mind.
@mijostyn - seems like you are into woodworking as much as hifi. The only similarity between my system and yours is the Ekornes chair I have. I had one since 2005 that was just replaced with an identical one last year. Hard to believe there have been no changes is all that time. I still have the old one that I'll give to my son when he can move for less than the value of the chair. Only reason I replaced it was because I cleaned it too aggressively and wore out a small patch of leather near where my head sat and I didn't like the fabric I had custom made to fit over the top part.
I didn't realize you were that into digital. What % of the time do you estimate you listen to vinyl vs. digital, and do you still like vinyl better (assuming you have a decent pressing of the title)?
Lastly, I only disagree with one of your statements....perfection is defined as 100%. You can't move the dial. If you want to say perfection is greater that that, it is still a fixed number, like a weighted GPA taking AP classes into account. It's like that skit saying to turn the amp up to 11, and why does it only go up to 10. However you slice it, perfection is perfection, max is max.
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