I didn't build it but I realy heard:
Nottinham Analogue Spacedeck/arm/VanDenHul Black Beauty,
Manley Stingray phono preamp
SENNHEIZER ORPHEUS ear-speaker system.
Not only my ears but my stomach also was hungry to listen to this setup more and more. You do not even feel that you're wearing headphones and the soundstage seems to be not next to your ears as it usually happens with the headphones but arround you on the most pleasant distance. No need to look for a sweet spot and you do not feel that the music is coming from two channels it's simply EVERYWHERE!!!
All it takes is to spend arround 12k for Orpheus and you will have the sound that no 100K speaker/100k amp combo can reproduce.
After listening to this setup I have no desire to look for any speakers at any price. Forgive me for being selfish to like individual listening rather than with some friends but do you critically listen with your friends or your guests? All I now think about is to leave my amp/speakers with no upgrades for guests/friends/2ch Video and add-on ORPHEUS for real critical listening.
Sonic Frontiers Line 1
Anthem Amp 2 (Telefunken Tubes)
Cinepro Power Pro 20
TransParent Power Cords
TransParent ML+ ICs
Cal Audio Gamma DAC
Paradigm Studio 100s
Analysis+ Oval 9 speaker wire
Needs a better DAC/Cd player and am struggling to pay off Tyler Acoustic 7U speakers; then I'll be done!!!!....yeah right, how many times have you said that??
It's an interesting question, when I was young into this hobby I had a little Denon integrated amp that I replaced with a Heath amp and pre that I got a great deal on as a friend had company ties. The Heath setup clearly was cleaner than the Denon, but I enjoyed the Denon much more, musically.
I am enjoying my current system a lot! Ironically it is based on an integrated amp again.
Yamaha T2 (tuner)
Cardas Golden Reference and Microtwin IC's
LAT SS-1000 D Bi-wire
Sony CDP-XA7ES (compact disc player)
Conrad-Johnson PV10 (tube preamp)
Clayton Audio S40 (class A stereo 45 wpc power amplifier)
Kimber 8AG (bi-wired speaker cables)
Stealth PGS (gold interconnects w/Neutrik Pro-Fi RCAs)
Chang Lightspeed CLS 3200 MkII (A/C line conditioner)
Audience powerChord (x 3)
Merlin TSM-SE (minimonitors in Ruby Heart paint finish)
This system wasn't the deepest in the bass (but very good though!), nor was it the loudest playing system (though good enough for a 13x10 room), but it surrounded me with so much clarity, tonal balance, and utter 3-dimensional sound that if I turned out the lights, it was so real that it was like the performers were right there playing for me.
Brian..."Cleaner" does not mean more musical. Many times it is worse (sterile).
I have copies of interviews with the guys at Conrad Johnson and Blue Circle. In both cases they were asked why this or that component does not lab test with noise and/or distortion as low as many other designs. In both cases, the answer was that they could have very easily reduced the distortion, but at the cost of reducing the musicality as well.
Many audiophiles are looking for something other than "accurate" reproduction. Have you ever been to a live concert that you could describe as being "transparent" or with a dead quiet background? It was probably still a lot more musical than recorded music.
There was a good post a while back where someone asked...."Do you listen to sound or music?"
Quad ESL 988 Loudspeakers
Quad 99 Preamp
Quad 909 Amp
Rega Planet 2000 CD Player.
Audioprism Foundation II
Final Labs Daruma II under the CD and Vibrapods under the rest.
Imperial Sonics Wire all around, inc power cords.
The Quads are the clearest and most musical speakers I have ever owned.
Nothing comes close to them for clarity,soundstage,and depth.
So real it is scary!
The Rega Planet is a great match because of its new chip and musical properties.
The Imperial Wire is a great match for all components and affordable.
This system for me is by far the best I have heard for "music" and not for analytics.
Sure, the CD could be better, but why? And for how much more?
Matched electronics and matched wire really make a difference.
Everyone that has heard it is amazed.
Not cheap, but worth every penny.
Sugarbie, that is exactly what I was posting. The Denon was more musical to me, yet the Heath was cleaner. Looking back, I would chose the Denon over the Heath if I were to do it over; heck looking back I would do a lot different.
Around 15 years ago I put together a system culled from
leftovers from other systems. Not terribly accurate or
extended at either frequency extreme but musical in the way
that would have you tapping your toes in the room next door.
Quad II amps and original preamp
Linn LP12, RB300 arm and some kinda Denon cartridge
Harbeth HL Mk3 Monitors
Yesterday I was doing some work around the house so I put a simply vinyl Elvis album on my TT. The listening room is in the basement and I was upstairs. It sounded like Elvis was trapped in my basement. It was kinda eerie having a dead person down there.
The system made the music come alive. I'm using a Sota Star Sapphire with a Rega RB 900 arm and a Benz Glider cartridge. This is run through a Krell KRC 2 and an Aragon 8008st amp. The speakers are Sony SS M7es. I'm using Purist and Cardas interconnect, Monster M2.4 speaker cable and homemade powercords.
None of this is ulimately special but it let Elvis out of the grooves and into the room
My Linn Aktiv system is by far the most musical system I have ever had. Especially so when I consider the enjoyment when listening to lesser recordings. Let's face it, stellar recordings play back well on all systems.
The Down From The Mountain tour landed in my home town (Nampa, Idaho) last week. For those not in the know about this tour it is all the folks from the music side of the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou". Before and after this event I listened to the soundtrack on cd. The concert was like listening in my music room.
When I was 14, I had a Sansui 5000A receiver, a Dual turntable with a Shure cartridge, a pair of Sansui speakers with wood and cloth grills, all strung together with zip cord. I listened to it for years on end and was in hog heaven.
Now I have Bryston 7B-ST's, a Rogue 99, Revel F50's, Meridian 508-24, and very pricey wires. I had a Well-Tempered table and Goldring cartridge but sold it and am now shopping for a new vinyl rig. Oh yeah, and a power pillow and aftermarket power cords. And I's still chasing the ghost of my teenage rig in terms of sheer pleasure. Of course, back then I had no job, no wife and kids, and I was liking the wacky tabacky too.
Musicality is, like so many things, all wrapped up in context.
An unexamined life may not be worth living, but an examined one is not all it's cracked up to be, either.
We are really talking about a kind of "loss of innocence" on a level that really has very little to do with the music; but more with personal development and growth(?), and the ensueing need for bigger and better gratification, better toys.
There is no question that the pursuit of the best sound in the home can be be a distraction from the enjoyment of music with respect for it's innocence. Like all art there has to be an element of abandon and openmindedness to fully appreciate an artist's statement. The instant that we, consciously or not, start to think: "a little glary", "lumpy bass", "right channel not loud enough", we lose a little bit of that innocence in listening.
Our big music toys are a pretty cool thing, and they sure as hell can be a lot of fun in their own right, but in a way we should be trying to simplify, not overcomplicate the process of listening to music.
PS Audio P10 Power Plant, PS Audio DirectStream DAC, Autonomic MMS-5A Server, McIntosh MC452 Power Amp, McIntosh C50 Pre Amp, Focal Sopra No2 Speakers, JL Audio F113 Sub Woofers (2), Wireworld Cables.
AR -XA tt with Grado F+
AR 3a speakers
HK Citation amp and pre
My current that starts w/ Thiel CS 2.4 SE loudspeakers.
More to come...
Maybe not the most slap-you-upside-the-head impressive rig I’ve
ever owned, and definitely not the most expensive, but certainly the most musically coherent and engaging:
Jena Labs conditioning and cabling
Jena Labs speakers
This setup is highly transparent and checks most of the
audiophile boxes, but not to the point where it calls attention to itself. On most days, I think more about how great the music CONTENT is rather than on how great the SOUND is. That is what I struggled for many years
to find, even with a lot of ultra-expensive gear. It’s not a rig that, as Parliament so colorfully sang, will tear the
roof off the sucka, but it WILL get me grooving and smiling, and that’s all I
want at this stage of my life. Then again, maybe that's what the phrase "tear the roof" is getting at: moving like a super-freak and grinning like a fool to your favorite jams!