What’s next up on the docket for you?

What has been either your fav or your most interesting system or…
Which audio outfit was your best… or which one would you like most to have on hand soon?

Maybe you’ve thought of building a server based system. Perhaps putting together a Flea watt rig has your attention now. Could it be tubes front to back that you’re eyeing as the next project you’ll get into? Is the new digital amp arena piqued your curiosity? Finally decided to get into an all analog rig now? Thought of going to planar, maybe bi or di-pole speakers next instead of cones? Monitor & subs perhaps? Could it be that owning Active speakers has finally given you sufficient enough intrigue? Want to own membership in the lot’s o’ watts club next? Bent on going retro and now Vintage pieces allure you most? Finally decided to fill out your HT system with dedicated separates? Found a contractor to build your ultimate listening room now? Finally going to add those acoustical treatments you’ve been putting off doing for so long?

I’m curious to get some inkling of which scenario you have found thus far your best built system overall, your most interesting learning experience, and/or your next totally different direction, if so, you’ll soon be striving to put together, or would if you could?

S.E.T. has had my attention for some time now and of the various types of rigs I’vd be most interested in putting together it would be one of those. Albeit, on a small scale. Stereo amp & monitors. Something absolutely fat & wet sounding.

Acoustical room treatments too are in the works for me now. Mainly bass traps first. Diffusers will be next. All DIY too.

How about you? What’s your next audio interest or build looking like more and more, one you’d wish to pursue if at all possible?
thinking of trying SACD...
I've been considering seeking professional help with my crazed addiction! If I keep it up, a smaller listening room will be in order. That sounds much better than saying that i'll have to scale back on the house!
I've been having to spend a lot of time with my back with my foot in the air lately - I'm recovering from a foot surgery so I have 6-8 weeks of this (I'm about 2/3 there at this point). I took the opportunity to get back into headphones since it's easy to have a little bedside system that is fed by a server. I started out with a Consonance Cyber 20 tube amp and could not believe the level of performance for the relatively small investment. It's prompted me, sick audiophile that I am, to look into upgrading. I'm learning that "diminishing returns" in the headphone world, don't sting nearly as much as those in the conventional audiophile world. I can tell you that I still prefer my big rig overall for the visceral impact it offers, but I've developed a whole new appreciation for headphones and have been enjoying the heck out of my little bedside rig. Oh, and no acoustical treatments are necessary!
i will be receiving the oppo 83 se for review. curious about sacd playback.
I been thinking of pulling of a nice size heist to finance my next upgrade, anyone wanna team up for it ??? I'm thinkin' 6-8 months for planning at least.


Maybe. But exactly where are we supposed to get a helocopter, tractor trailer, and Leer jet from?


I've given that aside a lot of thought throughout all of last year. I noticed Gary Dodd has a new headphone amp he wants to produce, or is producing now.

thumbing thru many of the latest reviews on HPs, I saw Shure has come out with one high value moderately priced unit that has some very good press. About $350 new.

I keep thinking about it but also keep reminding myself I've no need at all for private listening either! No wife. No kids. No pets. No shoes, No service.
thumbing thru many of the latest reviews on HPs, I saw Shure has come out with one high value moderately priced unit that has some very good press. About $350 new.

You mean IEM's? I wasn't aware Shure made any (full size, over the ear) headphones. Perhaps you mean the SE530, which is a very respected IEM? I prefer full size cans, but do have a pair of UE TF.10's which are the UE version of a 3-driver IEM that are damn good in a pinch. You want to kick some serious IEM butt and actually compete with full-size cans (according to many reports I've read - I do not own a pair) - the almost universal answer is the UE-11 ($1150 + ear molds - I think the waiting period is about a month).

I envy the freedom you have on one hand (man I'd love to be able to listen whenever I like), but I'll take the wife and dog any day. If I were solo, I'd save my money as I don't find headphones as a substitute for the big rig. But given the occasional limitation it can be very engaging!

The Shure (?) headphones I refer to were accounted for in Playback Magazine which I believe is some amalgamation of TAS, and some other online audio & video apraisers.

I'm certain however they were not in the ear models though. Those sorts simply do not appeal to me at all.

If I can locate the email I'll send it along.
The Shure (?) headphones I refer to were accounted for in Playback Magazine

Found it, thanks. I hadn't heard of them - just introduced; Shure SRH840. Good review too.

Good. For anyone else:


I thought so as well.

I feel as long as I stay out of the 'big HP room' SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES PLUS A MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AFTERMARKET TUBE HP AMP SHOULD YIELD SATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE AND VERY GOOD TO GREAT VALUE, and keep things under the $1K mark. Allowing then for some later playing around and possible upgrades down the road.

I would like to find an HP amp with twin vol - gain controls that is above the middle of the overall HP amp pack too... and 2 source inputs, suitable of course for their imp load.
If you look over on headfi you will see those cans have met with a response that places it in distinctly lesser offerings. There are a few threads on the SQ there, fwiw. I've learned to take all such input with more than a grain of salt, but certainly have found one can get a pretty accurate overall impression as feedback builds up. The Consonance amp I just sold (Cyber 20) is a damn good little amp for the money. I'm not sure I know what you mean by an "aftermarket tube hp amp". There are some nice tube hp amps coming out of Taiwan (DarkVoice), no experience there but plenty of 'followers'. I can tell you first and that Woo Audio stuff (made in Brooklyn) is top notch. One thing about the good HP amps, they seem to hold their value on the used market and are actually in demand. Check out the internals on this Woo...like I said, very nice stuff. I'm using a maxxed out Woo WA6SE and it pairs wonderfully with AT W5000 cans. The dual-volume request you had is going to be a difficult one to find. I haven't even seen HP amps with a balance knob on them. In fact, the trend is to include an optional filter switch that allows sending some of the right signal left and left to right to blend the channels to some extent. This is to try to compensate for the psycho-acoustic effects that happen when a very exagerated spacial recordings have when listened to on HP...something like the first cut on Sgt. Pepper, or much of Pink Floyd...those kind of spacial exagerations don't play well with your brain on headphones, and it sounds better to blend the two channels to some extent in those cases. Not all HP amps have that option. Meier-audio would be one that does. A mono option would be a nice feature too. Not many amps with that. I personally HATE dual-volume controls on preamps, and I have no doubt I'd hate'em on a head amp. They require too much attention to fiddle with every time you want to make a volume change. Two source inputs are fairly common. There are also some good headphone amps that double as conventional preamps (see Woo 2 and HeadAmp's GS-1 and GS-X, among others). Also, of course, some full on amps with great headphone stages (Woo 5, Portal Panache, Cary various, etc.).

Here's some info from the Meier Audio site on crossfeed filters. I can't provide a direct link and it was a bit difficult to ferret out, so forgive the bandwidth and skip this part if HP listening isn't of interest:

In normal daily life people use various mechanisms to locate sources of sound.

Firstly, the sound of a source to the right side of the listener (e.g. the right loudspeaker) not only reaches the right ear but, attenuated and delayed, is also heard by the left ear. The level of attenuation and the delay time of this crossfeed signal provide important directional information.

Secondly, the soundwaves are partly absorbed and partly reflected by the tissues of the head. Reflections at the oracles (pinnae) interfere with the soundwaves that directly enter the ear-channel and amplify or attenuate specific frequency components. Since these reflections depend on the direction of the soundwave the "color" of the sound changes with the direction of the source.
Thirdly, reflections of the soundwaves from the walls, ceiling and floor of our listening room produce reverberation that conveys an extra feeling of space.

The information obtained by these mechanisms is further refined by movements of the head. Changes in sound levels, delay times and sound color refine the sense of direction. For a demonstration, blindfold a friend and ask him to locate a ticking clock that you have hidden in the room. He will start turning his head although he can't see anything. With his head in a fixed position an exact localization is much more difficult.

Listening by headphones
All the mechanisms of directional listening are missing when we use headphones. The sound at the right ear will no longer reach the left ear and pinnae-reflections no longer interfere with the original soundwave. Moreover, the headphones are directly attached to our head, and so head movements no longer add information. Reverberation is also not present.

As a result, the sound heard by headphones seems to stick to the inside of our head and to our ears and an unnatural soundfield is created. The brain misses logical clues for direction and this subconsciously results in mental stress. Some people cannot tolerate this stress and are unable to use headphones.

The natural crossfeed filter

In principle, digital soundprocessors can simulate all the mechanisms for directional listening but the results are, thus far, not very satisfactory. In particular, pinnae-reflections are very complex and listener-specific and impossible to simulate accurately.

Fortunately, the mean directional information is provided by the time delay and level of attenuation of the sounds that reaches the opposite ear. The CORDA headphone amplifiers can electronically simulate this process and, with appropriate attenuation and delay, add some of the right audiosignal to the left channel and vice -versa. This considerably reduces the adverse symptoms of headphone listening.

A unique feature of the crossfeed circuitry of the CORDA headphone amplifiers is that it "recognizes" the virtual positions of the instruments and singers in a recording. The sound of an instrument in the middle of the soundstage will be equally present in both audio-channels and isn't given any crossfeed. A crossfeed signal is only generated for instruments that are not placed at the center. The more off-center the instrument is placed, the stronger the crossfeed and the longer its delay. This feature is called "natural crossfeed".


Well. Thanks much.

My 'aftermarket' note was an anomoly. Beats me why I put that in there.

The thought on twin gain controls is due to the loss of sensitivity in my left ear by about 4db or so... and why I listen in the nearfield... with the volume moderately up.

it's enough of a concern currently... that's for sure. It's also deforming my sound stage as the right side is well forward of the left side forming more a parrallelogram instead of a rectangle or sphere.... until the volume is up of course.

HPs, speakers,amps. Oh my! What to do? For a bit now it's full speed ahaead on putting together an actual home server, and acoustic room treatments... oh, and redoing my conduit that decided after a year to reside on the floor instead of the ceiling where it belongs. I think it will wind up on the wall this time just below the molding and get another paint job. Again. This time with anchors though.

the server project I feel will have far reaching benefits. Data, film, audio, and organizational help.
The thought on twin gain controls is due to the loss of sensitivity in my left ear by about 4db or so... and why I listen in the nearfield... with the volume moderately up.

Ah, that makes sense now. I'm not aware of any HP amps that have that. I would choose a Balance knob over two volume controls simply for convenience of volume adjustment (supposedly set the balance knob once). The reason those things are not included on headphone amps, of course, is because you are not having to deal with room-generated imbalance since the speakers are right on/in your ears.

The server project sounds like fun too. I use Squeezeserver and have three separate listening areas now. I'm very happy with it except for their crappy, slow interface. I've gotten used to it, but it could be a whole lot better. The actual gear that forms the system is pretty darn good for the money. With tweaks/mods, it is excellent. I have no experience with the other options (Sonos, Olive, etc.) to compare though. I do love having access to a central library of all my music though, and occasionally enjoy internet radio and Pandora as well. Have fun with that!


My early exp with BAT preamps showed me a preamp with two gain controls, R & L, and volume. having since read of others so appointed, I just figured someone somewhere would have such a gizmo. Oil well. It's a lark for me anyhow.

Centralizing all the data no matter which PC machine is being used is utterly fantastic for me.

I'm prone to be on the PC in the BR early and late, and some other one during the day & early evening... so I amass tid bits of stuff across them all.

Currently only the audio is the aim, and that by remote desktop from the laptop PC. After applying some automotive wire flexible conduit to my coax SPDIF RCA cable going into the BC DAC3, things are improving. I didn't feel that they would but one never knows 'till they try.

yes, it's fun... frustrating too. I'm sure worth the doing though.
I've been thinking monitors for a while now but when I look out there the choices are mind boggling. Don't really know where to start.


The field will narrow abruptly once you consider the needs of the speakers and the abilities of your power amp (s), along with the size of the room and your preffs for esthetics and of course there may be that budget aspect too.

The notion which always preempted my getting monitors was or is, they take up the same footprint as floorstanders. Monitors however do have usually a more open display of the sonic depiction... That and I like a very good bass influence when I listen to music.

As time has passed however I've found bass under 30hz isn't all that necessary for the majority of musical reproduction. So I'm more inclined now to really consider some more upscale monitors for my next speaker upgrade too.

JM Reynaud, Joseph Audio, and Daedalus all have very interesting units out now.All of which indicate amp friendly usage and not prerequisite of enormous power amps to drive them quite satisfactory.
I've recently begun a new journey with high sensitivity speakers and low(er) power amps. The change has resulted in giving up some low frequency bass...the kind that rattles windows and jiggles innards...but so far I find that the new speakers create an image that better fits the room. They "disappear" nicely, and their recommended placement creates an expansive, room filling image rather than a small, pin point image (although the illusion of the performers is very real). Low volume listening is also pretty nice.

I found myself bobbing my head quite a bit over the last several days. This happened less frequently before the change.

Still a long way to go dialing in placement, stands, amplification and cabling, but thus far it's very enjoyable, and there's nothing that *has* to change.

Regarding Daedalus speakers, the specs indicate they can be driven with lowish power amps, but a discussion I had with Lou Hinkley revealed that he believes more power is better with his speakers...at least as it applied to my room and preferences.
Regarding Daedalus speakers, the specs indicate they can be driven with lowish power amps, but a discussion I had with Lou Hinkley revealed that he believes more power is better with his speakers...at least as it applied to my room and preferences.

Having heard Lou's speakers with both low powered SET amps as well as high-current, high-output solid state amps (Modwright), I can tell you my impression: they sound superb both ways, but definitely seem to have more drive and impact with the latter, while possibly creating a more holographic illusion with the former (I did NOT hear them one after the other, but at entirely different times and in entirely different spaces). One further observation - using the SET amps I did not get the feeling, as I often do with SET systems, that bass was severely handicapped. I sure wouldn't have kicked the SET combo out of bed though, but I believe that was with a pair of very expensive SET amps if I'm not mistaken. In neither case were those systems easy to get up and walk away from - both were highly engaging. His speakers are on my own short list of something to try at home. Unfortunately, I don't know if the space I have would gel with them though (I listen about 8 feet from my speakers), and I'm very happy with my Coincident speakers. The Coincidents are also highly sensitive (97db at nearly flat 10 ohms), and also, at least in the case of the Super Eclipse III's, very good with high-current, high-power SS. A recent review in TAS of his more current, larger speakers with radically different tweeters, stated the reviewer did not think they were as well suited for SS amps as were his earlier models (with silk dome tweets). Lou's speakers definitely swing both ways effortlessly.
Marco, you're a careful listener, so I absolutely believe what you say about Daedalus speakers and SET amps.

I mentioned to Lou that I often played metal and progressive rock at fairly loud volume levels, and perhaps this is why he recommended more rather than less power. This is why I was careful to qualify my earlier comment to apply to my room and preferences.
I mentioned to Lou that I often played metal and progressive rock at fairly loud volume levels, and perhaps this is why he recommended more rather than less power. This is why I was careful to qualify my earlier comment to apply to my room and preferences.

Although I have enjoyed rock on my SET systems in the past (don't listen to much of it though), if given the choice I'd always pick a well assembled system with more headroom, and more ability to separate dense, layered music. Just my opinion...I always seem to get jumped on by at least one SET enthusiast who claims their rig can do that kind of music justice. I have yet to hear that done as well as the alternative, but to each their own.

I don't know that I'd describe myself as a "careful listener", Grant. I think I go more from the gut and from the heart. What sounds real and what pulls me in and keeps me there. I feel like a fumble around all the technical descriptions and whys and wherefores. I don't have any real strong expertise in the technical aspects of why any of this stuff works the way it does. There are so many here who do and I completely respect that and value their contributions. My friend, Peter, is able to really pick things apart and analyze them in very scientific, and analytic observations. My observations may often reflect similar preferences (sometimes not though), but are more simplistic and from the gut more than anything else. I try to find words to describe it, but ultimately it simply comes down to which sounds more like real music and engages me to those emotions and responses that come with listening to live music. In doing comparisons of components, when there are significant and even subtle differences, I seem to have pretty consistent preferences. Anyway, thank you for the kind words, Grant.
Marco, I heard both Daedalus models at RMAF in October 2009. Each was powered by a Modwright amp (the flagship amp the Ulysses, and the smaller 150wpc amp on the DA-RMa). They sounded quite good, but I'd have been really interested to hear what an excellent push-pull tube amp or OTL (not certain they qualify for OTL...) would have done on them.
Purchased new Stewart power screen for Cristmas.
It will be either new projector or front speakers next.
OR, I also get prices for Professonal help as Zenieth is thinking! M....... talk or listen, this is going to be a hard decision.
Grant - Yes, I would think OTL would be the best of both worlds, but I've never heard them paired with Daedelus. Certainly Ralph's amps, for instance, occur to me as more versatile and sound great with all kinds of music...much more so than the various SET options I've heard.
Marco, I suspect the minimum Atma-Sphere amp to pair with the Daedalus speakers would be the MA-1, since it better handles lower driver impedances.


I'm sure a better screen would be a large step up, or at very least a very good one.

I have a mind which wanders a lot on which item stepped up would be the best thing. I also recall having such notions prior to getting what I have now.

I have regrettably a glass ceiling which permits little further indulgences audio or video wise, so I’ve begun amassing libraries for each. I’ve found several notable discs thus far on both sides of the coin, and believe that will continue. Consequently I’ve been listening and viewing more… but mostly on the smaller HD screen instead. It’s just simpler and easier a thing to do.

So which speakers did you settle on? What color/finish?

Given my predicament/ability, the shorter version of the Ulysses would be tops for me were I to go with Lou’s products. His comments too were in part that the Dodd amps I have would be a great fit for either set. He also mentioned at least one other makers tube amps which were not a viable or at least not good fit given his exp in pairing with them at shows.
Blindjim, I purchased Audio Note AN-E/SPe HE in Wenge piano lacquer. They're presently driven by George Wright Singature AU-15 2A3 push pull monoblocks (15 wpc).

When I heard the Daedalus loudspeakers, I preferred the smaller speakers as well.



15wpc! that's a good bit for a 2a3 mono amp isn't it? Hope it all brings you the reproduction you seek.
Thom who owns Galibier tunrtables and sells Atmasphere bought the show pair from RMAF this year and has run them with the 60's. the system impedance is not an issue because it is so flat.

the Ulysses and smaller DA-RMa are very similar in sound. the considerable difference between the two at RMAF this year was quite a statement about how much room is part of the sound. the large room sucks bass and so the speaker sounded a bit thin and sterile, while the smaller room has too much bass loading and the smaller speaker sounded a bit bloated. very different! but if you heard them side by side you'd be surprised at how similar they sound.

thanks Lou... Very good point (s).
Having heard the DA-RMa's and Ulysses' speakers, I concur that they both have the wonderful Daedalus 'house sound'. (Disclosure: I own a pair of Ulysses.)

One of the things I love about Daedalus speakers is how they provide a transparent window on the character of the upstream equipment. I've tried a number of different amps with the Ulysses from SET (Art Audio Jota) to 350 W Levinson Monoblocs and the Ulysses sound good with all of them. So an individual's choice of amplification really boils down to taste and application. I wouldn't use SET amps if I listened to The Who at concert levels in a 30x25'x20'room.

I've heard from numerous folks who auditioned the Ulysses and Atmasphere at Thom's place after RMAF and everyone reports that they are a wonderful pairing.
Well Blindjim,
The screen is installed and I also replaced my front speakers with Sarastro II's. I will wait awhile for the new projector.
Concerning your response to my monitor post. When I think about a good monitor and decent stands I start thinking a small floor stander might be the way to go. Certainly not much difference from a space perspective and better chance for good bass.


Very nice! Congrats!! I'm sure both will increase the entertainment quotient immensely.


I'm the same way. The same amount of footprint usually, is taken up... and yes, usually FS will gain you lower response and impact. There's also no concerns with mating stands to speakers, damping them, etc.

The single caveat to all that is the properties of monitors of equal price/performance to FS. MS seem to me to be easier to get out of the way, image better, and there's something to be said for their esthetic.

Consequently, I remain torn in the seat of my pants as I continue to stay firmly attached to the top of that fence. I am however leaning towards stepping into more upscale speakers next, and I feel I'll gain more performance from 100Hz on up going with MS. the trick then of course is dialing in sub (s) for them.

Good luck with which ever.....