The hunt is over

I feel that way. Who else reached the endgame? Feels terrific. 


Congratulations, beautiful. … just in the nick of time it appears, looks like you running out of room.

I reach happy plateaus, I am one past my end game system.


1- I do have tubes in my headphone amp

2- I used to run a tubed system- I had a Conrad Johnson pre amp (17LS2) and amp(M60SE), and a Rogue integrated (Tempest Magnum II) and once I turned to Pass, I found that I no longer had any yearning to drive my speakers via tubes

For me with the Pass gear, no tubes and I'm off the circuit are not incompatible! 




Congratulations Zavato and excellent looking system! And glad to see you got an Aries I think you had a thread on looking for a streamer recently.

@jond Correct! I bought two streamers; the Aries G1 is in my listening room and a Bluesound Node is in my bedroom. I bought the Node first, thorough immersed myself in the streaming world in terms of what was important to me, and then grabbed the G1. 

Yep, never say never


We need evidence this is possible, lets hear from audiophiles who've gone long period of time without changing a thing. How bout thread asking this very question.

Nice Zavato and since you have both a Node and an Aries wondering if you use both LDS and Bluos apps? And if so how do they compare? I use the LDS app and love it and my friend has the Bluous app and complains about it a lot I've never used it so just curious.

Savvy Savvy- Love the esthetic your system presents.

I should be satisfied too but there is one last thing I need.


Streaming helps feel more satisfied as it is so fun to 

find new music!


Yep, done here for a good while. Akurate system (hub, Exaktbox-i) and "old" AV-5140 speakers, now aktiv via the Exaktbox-i, K-600 speaker cable, factory power cables, Roon Nucleus, lifetime Roon subscription, with Qobuz. Feel blessed every time I switch it on.

Great thread, first I have felt like adding to in months.

I’m about 50% of the way there with my system, but as you’ve got an Auralic Aries I thought I’d share something I’ve been playing with on mine. I am in no way knowledgeable about in-room frequency response etc, however my system wasn’t producing all the bass I knew it was capable of. My plan is to get room treatments in but before spending a chunk of cash on that I purchased an app called HouseCurve from the App Store (not sure if it’s on android).

This app sends out a tone signal from the system and you place the phone in the listening position. That gives you a very rough frequency response, given it isn’t professional grade mics etc, and that gives you a starter for ten on where the big dips and peaks are. I was then able to use the parametric EQ in the Aries to bump those by 1 db or less and the difference was staggering. It balanced out the sound much more and gave me that low end presence that I was looking for. 

I'm not suggesting this is a do it all process, however for those who love to tweak things, it is a super cheap way to use the tech in your streamer even more without having to be a sound engineer. I found it very fun and rewarding for a tiny outlay.

If I do ever get there which I and not saying I am or not saying I am not. I think to make such a bold statement would wake up the Gods of jinx and karma. Amps would blow capacitors. Speaker foam would rot, albums would warp. And ears would fill with wax. So be careful with you proclamation the Gods are listening to more than the music. 

Speaking of fishing, every time I see the word "bass" as it applies to audio, my head says "bass" as it applies to the fish.

Bass guitar, The double bass, bass clarinet, bass baritone

It’s all about fish in my head....then my head says: "recalculating."


It would be informative as to the "whys" of your decision.

What coincides with your audio preferences?

Some people like a lot of bass and go fishing often.

I don’t think my end game system is here but I’m really enjoying what I have. My pocket book says it should be over lol. 

My wife would kick me out of the house if my system looked like this.  I think there are ways to hide the gear in a stereo cabinet and find speakers that aren't so huge.  I like the size of the new Revel Performa speakers. They are very nimble and they sound great on all types of music.  I also want to incorporate my system in a room where we entertain rather than confine myself to a specific room in the house.  This is better than living in the dog house.  How also do you convince a wife to spend this kind of money?

I am lucky to have a huge man cave. My partner comes down here once every six months, comments disparaging about my tubed headphone system on my coffee table and some picture isn’t straight and goes back upstairs.


The investment was easy. I buy her a really expensive piece of equipment for her home theater… then she can’t complain about me buying a component for my audio system.

@jond yup, I use lightning ds and BluOS. They really aren’t all that dissimilar and I find both work well and are easy to navigate. What’s really interesting is if I add an album to my favorites on one platform it also automatically shows us as a favorite on the other platform. When I first downloaded lightning ds, it quickly saved all my favorites from BluOS. I thought I’d have to re-enter each manually but no! What a time saver, 


That's great to know and also very cool they cross pollinate like that thanks Zavato!

@sgreg1 let them take there best shot- they have in the past and I’m still standing 


...once upon a time there was a 12-step program for 'philes who wanted to 'kick it'...

Nobody got past #2.....#1 was just the 'intro sess', why, the 'emo' part....

#2 was selling Everything and living with a Philco clock radio with a 'stuck' alarm.



Congrats.  Very nice system but I have told myself this same thing many times.  

Thanks, zavato...

Let's not confuse "endgame" with an extended honeymoon.  I prefer to think of this passionate hobby as a process.  There are times, like now, that amazement and wonder fill the emotions.  Instead of going TO the music event, the event is happening here, in this space.  And, heaven knows, I can pick nits with the best of us.  TAS Editor-in-Chief Robert Harley in Issue Jan 2022 discusses: "Noise, The Final Frontier."  My guess is, he'll live to regret those words.  It IS nice to see that the hi-end is finally addressing noise generated by the electric components themselves (Harley uses Shunyata products.)  20+ ago, my audio friend Rick Taylor The Audiophile Voice | MARIGO AUDIO LAB was deeply experimenting with electrically generated noises, gear isolation & coupling approaches.  His Audiophile Voice article is dated, but no less valid.  My contention is that after your best possible system is chosen and well-positioned (laser-ruler mandatory,) the real work begins!  If at all possible, it begins at the street, the incoming electricity.  Then, getting that purity to the boxes...grounding, house dedicated wiring, outlet upgrades, plug upgrades, cables and power conditioning, when necessary.  Our friend, Art Dudley, not a tweaker, was keen on using similar surfaces for system components.  Absolute level of the boxes can also assist some gear.  A free tweak is flipping the circuit breakers, including the main(s) every so often.  Longevity = cool running...elevate and ventilate. 

As to "Final Frontier" from Harley, audio will continue to undergo many wonderful changes.  Expertly applied Digital Sound Processing is only scratching the surface of what is possible, both in design and application.  My longtime Sound Engineer Tech friend Mike in San Jose works in the 1/100dB realms of DSP, using a variety of top amplifiers with modern JBL horns and larger Maggies.  For you purists, there are very, very few recordings such as Water Lily Acoustic that benefit from being "left alone."  Self-powered loudspeaker designs are coming strong.  Flex and stretch. 

It's forever enticing and exciting!  Think positive, test negative.  More Peace, Pin

I'm certain I'm almost there. I just need one more improvement. If I upgrade my DAC to an R2R I'm certain I'll be least I'm almost certain....some what certain....kinda certain........

Any vinylista can never be done as styluses wear out and you have to decide whether or not to have it serviced or replaced. Once you start with that you start thinking about other things. Wish I could only think about the music, but it is impossible.

I guess if you owned lots of cartridges you really like which would in total wear out long after you're gone, you could be done, but then you'd have to decide which one to use least you wouldn't be buying anything.

It's an interesting question. Ends have to do with the length of the journey. I felt at a certain point I had found something special, but trying new things with help of a dealer allowed me to hone a sound that worked across a huge variety of recordings. It then helps me focus on listening to more new music, which is why I'm here. I see such a variety of equipment people own, I actually came to all the amplification, preamp, dac coming from one company. Is that unusual? It feels right that a company would voice their pieces together. Also magnepans and my room are a big part, if I moved or had a different space, or somehow a TV involved I think would start over again. 

sns :

Excepting for a new room in 2018, my system is essentially unchanged since 1985, and my system approach is unchanged since 1968.

See the about page.

@zavato Congrats on finding peace and contentment with your system. I do believe this is what we all aim to achieve. I have a friend that took an online class on happiness and this transfers to our life in all aspects. We are a rare breed of fanatics so it is difficult for sure to find this with our systems. I told a friend a year ago I was on a ’5-year plan’ and was done, only to start up again a few months later haha. I had an integrated after a few years of separates and it simply wasn’t enough power so I am back to separates and won’t ever stray again. I am at a point of happiness where I have never been. I have plans of trying different interconnects and may try another cartridge but do sincerely feel happy with my components. Now go buy some of the new MoFi UD1S releases.  I got my Carole King Tapestry in yesterday and it sounds sooooo good :)

@larry5729 I totally get your comment about where the system resides. My system is set up in my front room which fires across the living and into the dining room. It also is facing the staircase. It is pretty darn cool how the music carries throughout both downstairs and upstairs. I recently got my old speakers and components from the attic and set up a 2nd system in my upstairs spare bedroom where the speakers are facing away from the door. I can hear my downstairs system upstairs much better than this one in the bedroom that is upstairs.

@sokogear I disagree- I view stylus and cartridges as consumables that are subject to wear and tear and understand that eventually, need replacement. That said, my last cartridge, a Linn Arkiv B, was something I ran not quite 20 years. Maybe 18? Not sure, but doesn't really matter. 

@arro222 The "why's" are pretty easy- and I will start with the easiest.

1- Marantz 20 Tuner and McIntosh PS112 subwoofer: people gave those to me

2- Pass Labs electronics- After wafting through many brands, ie, Adcom, Bryston, Proceed, Conrad Johnson, Rogue, and others, I listened to Pass gear and for me it resolved every dilemma that pulled me alternately between tubes and solid state

3- McIntosh MR78- Wanted one for 30 plus years; found a clean one at a good price, and learned my mistake from passing up a Marantz 10B for $600

4- Linn LP12: sometime in the mid to late 80's, perhaps 1987 or 88, I heard an LP 12 and said- that's the table for me. Took another 10 years but I found my LP12 and while I know it isn't the very very best, the way to makes music sure works for me. 

5- Revel Studio 2- for a very long time I was a confirmed Magnepan person, I liked the dynamics of box speakers but always felt they lacked a certain quality- a congestion if you will. Then came Revel- the first box speaker to sway me away from Maggies. I've owned Revels since 2000, and these are my 2nd pair. These speakers are full range, don't suffer from dynamic compression at any sane listening level, and gets out of the way of the music. Images well too.

6- Simaudio Neo260D: I used to have a Meridian 508.24, and also a Rega Apollo. and even earlier a California Audio Labs machine. Each did things very well, but I searched for a CD player platform that reminded me tonally of my LP12, and Simaudio did it for me. BTW, the Meridian was the first CD player I owned which I actually could listen to vocals with out running for the hills.

7- Bricasti M1- the first DAC I ever heard that to me didn't merely sound great for digital, it simply sounded great. Still does- 

8- Auralic Aries G1- An impressive mix of capabilities and sound quality. It's not a sonic match for my LP12, but the only sonic match for my LP12 in the streaming world that I have found was a $20,000 Naim streamer (the top Linn did not do it for me) and that wasn't happening. For me streaming is a gateway to musical exploration. If I like the album I discover via streaming there still is a decent chance I will buy it on vinyl. On its own terms, a fine sounding machine with very impressive soundstaging. Plus lets face it- bass is a real strength of digital. 2022 digital is incredibly different than was 1985 digital.

9- Bottlehead headphone amp- I built it (along with other bottlehead gear)- sounds vey good and the cool factor for me is way high particularly as the circuit is not stock. My other bottlehead amp is extremely far from stock

10- Hifiman HE560 headphones; a concession to my continued fondness for planar magnetic transducers.

The gear all had to fit together with what I was trying to accomplish, and I am happy to say it meets my goal. 

@zavato - my point is that when the stylus wears out, it is a decision point to either retip it and perform whatever other service it may need, get a new replacement for the same cartridge (which I did last time), or opt for a different one. Yes cartridges are consumable, but they have a critical impact on the SQ, perhaps the most. They are not stylus cleaning fluid or tubes if you are a tube guy. To me, an end game means no more decisions. I think I’ve found my end game with my car (but will still need to keep a second car for my wife and inclement weather/long distances for me) and only need to decide where to take it for annual service and other longer interval services and tires. Tires are consumables, and of course impact the driving experience, but in no way like a cartridge impacts the SQ of a stereo.

@sokogear -

In that my old cartridge was a Lyra made cartridge as is my new one, I view what I did in switching cartridges as going from one set of nice Continental Tires (I like Contis) to a more modern but equally nice set of Contis. When changing cartridges I was basically happy with the tonality of my old cartridge; I just wanted something that I would be able to instantly recognize as part of the same family. 


;-) Right on. Peace, Grace and music…. excuse me while i tweak the high pass capacitors on my 1961 amp…

Best to you



@zavato - that was my point- you faced a decision so you weren’t at your endgame. Going up the line of a manufacturer’s products is part of the journey. Settling on a manufacturer of a component by no means is an endgame. It’s certainly a good milestone though.

@zavato, late one night, just before you’re about to fall asleep, an eerie feeling will envelope you, a little seed of doubt will creep into your mind and you’ll start to feel clammy and sweaty while tossing and turning agitatedly - a terrible foreboding feeling will consume you, and eventually, no matter how hard you try to resist, you will hear yourself whispering those two terrifying words…………….

WHAT IF !!!!!!!!!

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