replace a full Cello System?

an open question, and your comments are highly regarded...
I have a family friend with a Cello system (Palette, Performance II Amps, PS, Stradivari Speakers, strings). Its a monster system and she likes it. However, she has moved and believes the system is too big for her now. Given the current quality of her gear, can anyone suggest a 2009 approach to the following listener needs...(I know its subjective and apples/oranges, but please humor me)

- full sound, high definition
- power not as important (small apartment)
- speakers can't be huge
- she likes the palette, is there another pre that has parametric eq out there?
- CDs will be primary source, need input for one or two more sources in the future
- need to be able to pay for the new equipment with the sale of the old (preferably with money to spare)

I'm afraid I've been out of the game so long I'm not sure of a starting point. Any suggestions toward a solution would be helpful. thanks.
What an awesome system! She might want to consider a full Goldmund system using the Epilogue 1 level speaker system. Goldmund designs and markets a whole system similar to the way Cello used to. The sound is of a similar quality. Anyhow, I look forward to finding some used Cello gear for sale on Audiogon. The Palette and Performance II amps should sell quickly.
She isn't going to be able to buy a new Goldmund system with the proeeds from the Cello system.
I would suggest for her to experience a well set up pair of Vandersteen Quatros......
They are the smallest full range design I know of with real world performance.
This speakers is known for its superb performance size factor.
The Quatros offer a unique Non Digital room compensation feature allowing maximum performance in small or large environments and flexable placement even 4 inchs out on close to wall placement.
Vandersteen Audio also offers peace of mind having been in Biz for over 30 years
Cheers Johnnyr
the only good advice from a music and financial bent...keep it, and have a little less space.
Dear Amphibian, other than Jaybo's advise above, I can suggest she change ONLY the speakers. For a smaller sized model.
Depending on how small the new space is (how small is it, btw??), these speakers could be a respectably "wide range" / fullish sound floor-standers or smaller, stand-mounted, with the addition of two subwoofer modules.

Considering the ground rules you gave, it does NOT make financial or sonic sense to get rid of the present system; a commensurate replacement today (the "2009 system") would be extremely costly (Goldmund, FM acoustics, Soulution, come to mind). Her equipment, spekaers apart, does not take up too much space, no less than most contemporary stuff (fm acoustics being a notable exception).
I'd go active ATC SCM 20 and a 0.1/12 sub in an appartment. The Cellos were used in mastering - they have a 3 inch dome midrange - the ATC's 3" dome is probably the highest regarded dome midrange out there and has the same studio pedigree (used by Telarc). Keep the palette - if she likes it then nothing else wil lcome close.
to everyone, thank you for all this advice. The issue is her apartment space is small and she may be feeling the whole thing is a little overkill for her needs now. I agree the Palette should stay, she likes it and know how to use it. The Performance II and Strat Masters are really hulking. It's a lot of power for her. She sets the palette at about .5 gain most of the time. I was just thinking she might be better with a some sensitive speakers and a nice two channel amp. Nothing crazy, but good sounding. This would free up some money for her, give her back her space and still service her desire to listen to classical and jazz.

For the record I definitely hear those who say "so what, its a full Cello system just keep it"

For those that would buy it, what sort of return should she expect?
I tend to agree with those who say that you just replace the speakers and, probably, the amps, but keep the current front end. There's nothing out there that can really match what the Palette does. For speakers, perhaps some Dali or Totem speakers will be of interest to her--she should definitely give them an audition. Don't really know the amps that sound best with them, but when she auditions the speakers try out some different amps as well and go with the one that sounds best with them. My recollection on Cello equipment is a little hazy, they don't have any unusual interconnect conections coming from the Palette, do they?
The connection between the Palette and the amps is balance Fisher connectors (she has interconnects). The Palette also has an input for Fisher which is notable. I have read the Fishers can be terminated with XLR on the other side (the pin out is the same). I was thinking Totem would be nice, but not sure of the amp either. Her needs are a fraction of the equipment's ability, and always thought the two should be matched.
Her needs are a fraction of the equipment's ability, and always thought the two should be matched

Then sell it all - what a waste of good equipment - sell it to someone who can appreciate it for what it is and get something aesthetic looking that matches the apartment decor. Sonus Faber comes to mind - beautiful cabinetry. Sounds like this stuff came from a divorce or husband passed away perhaps - nobody who carefully selected that kind of gear/system would think to sell it all and then ask someone else what they think they should buy in order to have money left over...that is no audiophile kind of talk.
For classical music I would suggest a Tannoy TD8 or 10 speakers. Modern sleek design, very nice sound, and easy to drive. Much more dynamic and lively sound than the similar sonus faber Cremona.
New or used? If Agon bluebook is correct, it should yield above $30K. She can definitely put together a good apt system for that kind of $. I'm thinking a good integrated like an ARS or VAC or Jadis if tubes are OK, ASR or Goldmund for SS. Does the budget need to cover a CDP?
I agree with Shadorne - there is something about this situation that doesn't add up. Anyone who had personally selected this gear for their own musical pleasure would not be asking a family friend for replacement suggestions. They'd be out selecting the new round of gear themselves.

Besides having possibly acquired it through divorce or death of a husband, another possibility is she was someone with a lot of money and it was selected for her by a high-end store (in much the same way some wealthy people are told which artwork to buy to impress others.)

If she is driven by sound quality, she'll need to hear the replacements herself. People trigger off different aspects of sound (just look at the debates that take place here among the enthusiasts) and the qualities that send the family friend to nirvana may do nothing for her. If she is driven by decor, she'll need to see the stuff in person. If she is driven by status, the question then centers around whom she is trying to impress.

Until the mix of those influences is clear, any suggestions are simply shots in the dark.
If she want's a small system :

YBA Passion CDP 200
YBA Passion AMP 300
JM Lab Electra 1007 Be

Medium System:
Spectral DMC 15SS
Spectral DMA 100S
Spectral/MIT cables
Marten FORM Floor speakers
add Marten SUB along the way


Sh already has one
congrats to all who guessed the situation. this was a thread really meant to find a suitable solution for a particular type of application. it's appreciated all the ideas of where to look. The smaller Tannoys might suit the situation. Of course the end user will have to audition the speakers before they are bought.
congrats to all who guessed the situation.

Is she planning to re-marry?

The situation reminds me of Combine Harvester

...not that I am suggesting that one should marry someone simply for their woofers, tweeters and bass response.
She should audition the new Carver sat/sub speaker system. The room size and acoustics will significantly compromise the sound she is acustomed to. THe benefit of a Pallete might be neglegible, or more necessary. Hard to say.

She will need A PS Audio Premier Power Plant, an upgraded wall duplex- PS, Wattgate... personally I would go with a PS Audio GCC 250 or 500 integrated amp, upscale power crds like Tek Line Reference, speaker cables- Clear Day Cables- solid core siver double shotgun, and Clear Day interconnects. This will cost much less than what she sells the Cello parts off for, and she will likely not sacrafice too much sonically.
Your requirement is really quite unusual. Most serious audiophiles can only dream of acquiring a full-blown Cello system! After living with my own Cello system for an extended period, I can tell you from experience that your friend will likely regret any “downward” move she makes. Having said that, I have a suggestion that may solve her space and money requirements, and still preserve most of the sound quality she is accustomed to.

Your friend should keep the Audio Palette & Cello Strings. She can sell off the Performance Amps and replace them with a Cello Duet 350 (certainly not as powerful, but maybe even a bit better sounding). The Strad. Masters can be sold and replaced with a pair of Cello Legends. The Legends are substantially smaller than the Masters, and can even be placed on a large sturdy bookshelf if necessary. The Legends were magnificent speakers, and have a very similar sound to the Masters.

Feel free to contact me if you wish. I am the west coast rep. for Viola Audio Laboratories, and may be able to assist you in swapping out the equipment.
Ken G.
I have a couple of friends that had Cello electronics (Performance II + Encore and Duett 350 + Encore) and they moved to Viola Labs (Spirito + Bravo).

I think it´s the correct step if you have money, like Cello neutrality and control and are searching for more else like liquidity and refinement with that both aspects. Both Tom Colangelo and Paul Jayson are/were involved in this absolutely amazing world class components.

I seriously recommend your friend to listen Viola Labs.
Again, thanks to everyone for recommendations. The system is now for sale here on Audiogon.

Feel free to contact me with questions or for a link to the image gallery.
I saw the owner kept the Palette. Is it the less expensive Palette Pre or more exotic Audio Palette? If it is the latter, I suppose she has an Audio Suite. Better keep this combination as the preamp/equalizer and replace other components. Suite/Palette are the SUPREMNA!
i am a cello user.. recently consider to try out some viola too.