power conditioning (Dedicated AC lines)
Acoustical Treatment of the room
Acoustical Treatment of the room
First off, you have what appears to be a pretty nice system. (If you haven't installed dedicated circuits, start there. Once you have a good system, invest in that. I just did and it made a big improvement.)
However, my question is: What don't you like about your system?
If one particular piece seems like a weak link, there is your answer.
If it were me, and I liked my system and was just looking around for something to spend my money on (and aren't we all, since this is our hobby!?), I would suggest giving analog a shot. (Again, assuming you have already addressed the power conditioning issue.)
For a few grand, you can get a pretty decent used analog setup and try it out. Who knows you might like it?!
If not, sell it. (If you guy used, you can get away without losing too much, if anything.)
Good Luck in your search!
IMHO, Your source and speakers are great. The amp is acceptable. The Showcase Pre/Pro, ehh, didnt do wonders for me in 2 channel. So that is where I would start.
All the above are correct as well. AC conditioning, room treatments, or maybe a try a few different cables... To see what you like and tweak things a bit. Though Kurt has it right. Knowing what specifically you dont like will solicit the most informed responses.
Thank you for your reponses. It is hard for me to discribe in words. My system sounds "light" (not bright) and hi-fi like. I am looking for more "oomph" (sorry I cannot come up with any other word). Also, when listening to say 1812 overture, it sounds little congested and the separation between the instruments are not very distinct. I want the sounds to move me. Not just hear all the details. Hope this is clear.
Given your response as to what you are hearing, I advise the following:
One, get the dedicated circuits. This WILL help with the bass. It did with my stereo. Plus it provides a blacker background, which allows the music to come through cleaner. (I have the Revel Studios, which are pretty similar to your Wilson Sophias, so I think it will do the same thing for you.) You might also try to adjust the room accoustics. (Sometimes this is not possible, as there is the W.A.F. to consider, as in my case!)
After having done that, listen to stereo again, and see if this works. If not, I would consider replacing either the source (your Wadia) or your pre/pro. (Note: I am not a huge Krell fan, but if you like the sound of their amps, stick with it. me, I am a Levinson fan, so what do I know, huh?!)
If it were me, I would replace the pre/pro, but that would mess up your HT setup, wouldn't it?! I would consider a dedicated two channel preamp, possibly a tube one, as they can inject some life back into the music.
Or..... You can try an analog setup and see if that is what you are missing. (Yeah, I'm harping on that again. If you haven't tried analog (seriously tried it), and you are serious about having the music sound special, give it a shot. It really turned me back on to listening to music again.)
Anyway, my two cents worth. Good Luck in your quest!
PS If you want to try a different source, I recommend the Resolution Audio Opus 21. It is the best, most analog sounding CD player I have heard, that is reasonably priced. (Reasonably priced for us Audiophiles anyway.)
I have to agree with the majority above - Dedicated circuits and power conditioning, as well as room acoustics. Addressing each link of the audio chain will maximize the potential of your components. If you do this and are then still not satisfied, then work on the components and/or synergy of your system.
Just my opinion, but that is what I would (and did) do. :o)
I agree with several other posters above regarding the dedicated circuits/lines and line-conditioning.
However, I would specifically suggest Foundation Research LC-1 and LC-2 line-conditioners. These are both passive (no current draw onto themselves) and dedicated to one per component (what else would you use with dedicated lines?) and bi-directional filtering (mandatory for those with a digital source).
In addition, I would suggest some serious experimenting with vibration control ie de-coupling v. coupling racking systems, speaker platforms, etc..
Without properly addressing the these absolutely foundational issues, I believe it is simply impossible to realize the full potential of any system.
Not to be repetitious but I would also go with dedicated lines first, you're happy with your Red Dawns?--stay with them, if not you can certainly do better, then, power conditioning. I'm a big Audio Magic fan, but you can do Shunyata, Sound Application, and others, as well. I treat my electric as another component. Those three steps will give you electric nirvana. Your system will thank you for it. peace, warren
I agree with the posts above, dedicated circuits and power conditioning, including room acoustics. I would add high quality AC outlets such as the cryo'd Porterports sold here on Audiogon (one of my favorites).
Secondly, if you changed your interconnects you most probably will hear a big difference in what you stated you wish to improve. I have been most impressed by the interconnects and speaker cables made by Ridge Street Audio. They work very well in my tube and SS systems.
Allen, as a general rule electricians are not electrical engineers and therefore, no not what they speak when it comes to benefits of electrical tweaks.
Everybody has dirty AC and therefore everybody can benefit from properly treated AC, every digital source injects noise back into the wall for other components to pick up, and most any amp requiring a decent amount of current draw will benefit from a dedicated ciruit/line even at lower listening volume levels.
The only advice I would suggest following from your electrician is when it comes to safety as some to many do know about that.
Allen, your stereo system isn't even close to it's potential, unless you have dedicated power. The system runs out of steam trying to draw all that power through a small 12 gauge wire--(your in-wall wire). You need at least one dedicated line with bigger gauge wire. 10 gauge for short runs--- Click on my system to see what I did with dedicated A/C . Also, check out www.equitech.com. I got some ideas from them as well.The whole thing should cost you less than $600. It's the most cost effective upgrade that you can do. It's a BIG, noticeable difference!
I just ran dedicated circuits today along with Albert Porter's ports and am so happy. I was replacing 60 year old stuff so I expect an improvement but still find the amount of improvement completely amazing. The heightened palpable quality, real presence and low level detail. I find the midrange fuller and the bass tighter all with a sense of the music being more simple and clean.
I will find out in a few weeks how they really sound after everything has settled down but if they get even better it will be the cheapest tweek ever...
How do you compare the cub as a center channel against others that you can try at home? I have a pair of watt/puppy 6 and aerial cc5 as a center but I want to exchange the aerial for one cub trying to match as close as possible the "wilson sound"; my surrounds are Aerial also(Im VERY happy with them)but they are not so critical in HT sound. Thanks