For a while I had three different systems going, in my fairly
large dedicated main listening room. One was a Tact system (modified) with room
correction applied: Tact preamp, two Tact amps, four Lyngdorf subs and (at first)
Selah line arrays and later YG Carmels and Peak Consult Zoltan speakers.
Sounded great, especially with symphonies and big bands—very dynamic and
immersive, but could be a bit dry and clinical at times. Room correction adds a
lot and detracts a little, but I ultimately preferred a different sound.
In same room, at the same time, I also had a system that
added some tube presence and lushness: a Modwright/Sony music server and Audio
Horizons tube preamp, with Maker Audio Ref amp and the Zoltan speakers w/o the
subs. This system was more intimate, delicate and dimensional with more body—superb
with small jazz ensembles.
With the prospect of downsizing, I experimented with a
Devialet, which simplified everything—just a transport and the Dev—and it was
reasonably satisfying—that is, until one day I played my Modwright/Sony through
the Devialet and even with the extra A/D and D/A conversions, it sounded better
to me than digital into the Dev—which is when I realized I couldn’t live
without tubes somewhere in the system. But I didn’t want to give up the control
and dynamics of big solid state amps (and didn’t want the heat of large tube
amps—nothing kills signal to noise ratios more than having the air conditioner
on a lot—though I’ve considered using a tube amp in the winter).
So presently, in downsizing to a smaller room, I’ve realized
my bliss with a (mostly) single system: I found Raidho D2 speakers to be a
great somewhat near-field speaker (for some reason the Carmels didn’t work in
this room), and the best amp so far with the Raidhos has been a Hegel H30.
Still using the Modwright/Sony and a tube preamp (now a PS Audio hybrid).
Oh, and for Tidal streaming I have an Elac music server that
uses Roon, into either a modified LKS DAC or an Exogal Comet (still deciding)—even
though the manufacturer recommends a direct connection to amp, for my taste the
tube preamp is indispensible.
There’s a reasonable argument for two different topology
systems, and if space and funds aren’t a concern, it’s a nice option. Then again,
if space and funds are a concern, one can compromise (without much compromise)
with a tube source and preamp and solid state amp. Plus the funds can be used toward
purchasing higher quality components… Good luck…