Where do I go from here, keep it clean

I have made a number of changes in the last year or so, and I am very happy with my system. If I was informed that I would never be able to change anything in the system, I would not lose much sleep over it. So far, I have not received this message, although I think my wife is getting close to issuing it.

Anyway I am curious what other think would be a good upgrade of what I own now.

The entire system is run off of two dedicated circuits and employs PS Audio outlets, whatever they're called. I know Porter Ports are better but I've had these longer than I've known Albert. Actually I moved them out of my old house.

My cables are all Purist. One pair of ICs are Museaus, the rest are Venustus. The speaker cables are single terminated but bi-wire runs (or two sets of cable) in a single jacket. Don't ask!

My TT is a Sota Star w/ Rega RB 900 and Benz Glider cartridge. The CDP is a Sony SCD 777es. Pre-amp is a new/upgraded to the latest release 7 LX 357, the phono is an upgraded Pass Labs Ono, that is now close to the Xono but still a single chassis. My amp is the Krell FPB 700cx, and the speakers are Kharma Ceramique 1.0.

The room has been moderately treated with a number of things to prevent unwanted reflections, but could still be better.

If a fuller look at the system would be helpful use this link. http://cgim.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/vs_user.pl?vstrt&1026696824&viewmine&publ

My own inclination would be to upgrade the front end. IMO the Sony is the weakest link, but it is a lower priority than the TT/arm/cartridge. I appreciate any good advice.
Nrchy, here's the best advice I can think of: Be appreciative of the great system you have and announce to your wife that you are going to enjoy it, as is, for awhile BEFORE an edict from her. She'll most likely be pleased and, hopefully, enjoy the system with you.
Well buddy, I can see yer problem already. What you need to do is swap out the speakers and amp with something a little crustier, say, a Denon POA-2800 with static problems and maybe a good set of Realistic Optimus speakers. Now the problem is where the hell are you gonna find that?

Well guess what? Yer in luck! Now, seeing as how i like ya, NRCHY ol boy, i will actually be willing to make the trade. In fact, i will even let you cover the cost of shipping! All you gotta do is send em over and ill send the the Denon and realistics.

Just go ahead and send me an email and we will get it all worked out.

-Slappy the generous-
Well, you have a pretty great system as is!

I'd agree front end is the place to update. What about the Glider? It's a good cartridge for the $$'s, but stepping up in the Benz line or going for something different will be worthwhile. Also, I'm assumming you are using the stock cable with your RB900? That's another target. Does the rb900 have the better counterweight? If not, buy a better one. When I had a rb600-this was a huge improvement.

Sorry, the PS Audio plugs need to be switched. It's almost free, you can sell them quick here (I did for $30 each)and go for the Porter Ports or similar. It's a great step up-IMO. I can't comment on your power cords, but experimentation with maybe Purist Venestus there might be a help-just have to try one.

Then the CD source is next...to many choices to list here.

Just some thoughts that build on what you have. Anything else will require a major outlay. Good luck!
Hey Nrch- Sweet system. I just took a peek at your system post. Always liked the Klyne and Sota offerings from yesteryear and felt they are timeless performers. I bet those Kharma's are outstanding. I think I agree with Jfrech in that the CD would be next and phono cart and tonearm upgrades would be worthwhile. I indeed recommend either the Porter ports of my favorite FIM 880 outlets. You also seem to have put treatments on the wood panel walls which is a good idea..Perhaps some more strategic use of sound absorber/diffusers would be good...just a thought. Overall, a very nice set up. Dont know about your PC's, but the better ones from the likes of Elrod or Electraglide make a substantial improvement.
Your system is definately one to be proud of and happy with for some time. Congrats! :) Ken
What's weird is that I clicked on Nrchy's "System" and automatically gained access to his system builder. Lucky for him I am using a computer I am sure Audiogon knows is mine. My find has been the Music Metre Silver ICs are overall better, less colored than Purist's, which would be a cheap upgrade, but nothing says lovin' like a very high-end TT. (I really have no advice).
Nrchy, that looks like a gorgeous system!

>"The room has been moderately treated with a number of things to prevent unwanted reflections, but could still be better."<

I have a bunch of MiniTrap bass absorbers by RealTraps, http://www.realtraps.com/ , and plan to order more in the next week. If you would like to audition some of them in your room some time, drop me an email.
send the Sony for some mods I would try the absolute truth tube modification by Dan Wright
Looks like an excellent system, Nrchy.

I think that the best way of answering the question is to find out what areas of improvement, if any, you are looking for. Asking us is fine, but without a compass to lead us, you could get a lot of information that does not take you in a direction you are looking to move towards.

Just guessing, I would presume you like a dynamic, fast, clean, and detailed sound. Is this at all correct? Like many audiophiles who have built their systems in the correct way, you have arrived at a destination that looks pretty clear on paper. It's generally the best way, as I always believe that knowing what a person wants, then building towards that is the only way to go.

The questions you should ask yourself are:
1) Does my system synergy provide me the sound I am looking for?
2) Is this the direction, in terms of sound, that I truly desire

I believe that once you have the answers to these questions, you can then go about taking your system however further you are looking to go from here.
Nrchy, haven't heard the system since all the changes you went through but if it got better than it was all I can say is WOW!. Looking forward to hearing it. A good friend of mine who will remain nameless told me after I did some changes to listen to it before I did anything else. Might be an idea. If you want to change something I go along with Mejames. Get the ModWright done on the Sony. That way you can tell me what you think since that's the direction I'm thinking about going for my Sony. If I can convince you to do the upgrade then I get to hear it before I try it. I like that idea. Be up to GB in a little while.
A very nice system, one that you must enjoy a lot! While I think the TT/cartridge could well be upgraded, the older SOTAs had a liveliness to them that the more expensive TTs lose a little of, so I'd resist that change except perhaps to go further up in the Benz line of cartridges and upgrade the Rega wiring, as Jfrech suggests. I also agree with Mejames, a mod for your Sony would be a fairly cost-effective upgrade--my Sony was upgraded by both Jerry Ozment (unfortunately, not available anymore) and Richard Kern, I can attest that a properly modified Sony SCD777ES is a top rung digital player in both CD and SACD modes. The Modwright mod that is suggested above would be an excellent choice, as you'll need to upgrade the analog stage of the Sony to hear what it is truly capable of doing, and a little tube magic in your system might prove interesting. But in the meantime, just sit back and enjoy your system!
The weakest part of your system is the Benz Glider Cartridge. Benz has really terrific trade-in trade-up offers which would make getting a Ruby III the way to go. The Glider is nice, but with you Pass Phono Pre, you are not even coming close to what it and your TT are capable of doing.
First, let me qualify my upcoming statements by saying that I’ve ruined more people conceptions of what constitutes a good system than I care to remember. Meanwhile I make progress with my own system unabated.

Here is what I would do:
Allocate a budget for your improvements, since what I’m about to propose has potentially high cost exposure, so it needs to be managed. OK, $2500? That should work.

Next, draw a plan of your room on the computer (you can download free software to do this), and produce a library file of all the items in your room, like racks, storage, chairs, wine cabinets and storage units for any inflatable adult toys etc.
Now, try to find a position for your speakers on a long wall. If it means asymmetric placement, well fine, you can work around this. Visit the Audio Physic website and read up on their approach for positioning speakers. It will have the speakers on a long wall, spread well apart, with your chair hard up against the back wall.
Plan on getting anything out of the room that doesn’t have to be in there, even if it means moving some stuff into the smaller rooms off your basement. All of that superfluous stuff harbors and creates static and other nasties that effect the sound.

Now position all of your racks/storage etc on the computer to provide least interference with the new speaker/seating arrangement. Once you have modeled it on the PC, move everything around so that you have the long wall placement.

Buy one of those Tact units and do the room frequency response measurements yourself. It will be more accurate than what you will get from Rives, since their results are going to be calculated, whereas the Tact results are measured. You can buy the Tact for $1500 and sell it two months later for $1300, so it’s only going to cost you $200. You can then do before and after measurements as you move things around.

Buy some room treatments. There’s a website that sells a ‘kit’ which includes corner treatments and wall treatments. Add some bass busters and whatever else is needed. Experiment with absorption versus diffusion treatments to the rear of the speakers.

Get that support post out of the middle of the room, that should be relatively easy to do and it needs to happen anyway, since it restricts your seating options even with your present setup. Also, lets re-do your lighting arrangement and get rid of all those fluorescent lights, they play havoc with the AC. We can install some nice track-mounted spots and create more room ambience.

Then, order up 100 yards of cryo’d power cables, heat-shrink, flexi-sleeve and the high quality Wattgate 20amp cryo’d connector for your Krell. If your new amp has a built in cord, you can install a good quality Wattgate cryo’d Male receptacle. Buy a 4 way cryo’d strip, one of the $300 units from Chris V’s site, without a cord.
With all the parts together, make two runs of the CVH design cable, both go from separate breakers in your fuse board, one straight into the Krell and the other to the 4 way strip, for your other equipment. You will be amazed at the difference. I just finished my Bustanut project and right out of the box the difference was huge.

I think you will be absolutely delighted (old bean) at the changes, when you have all of the treatments in place, and a room that provides total flexibility of placement.

If you are skeptical, then bring your speakers over to my place and we can experiment with long wall versus short wall placement in my basement. Using the FPB200 we should be able to create a sound that you are familiar with. The room has similar proportions to yours, and if necessary we could rig something up makeshift to close off the Kitchen area at the back of my basement. Doing so would probably have it within a few square feet of the layout of your room. Then we can experiment one versus the other and you will see what I’m spouting about. We could even do it with my box speakers, if you didn’t want to move the Kharma’s.

If you start changing components in your system, like the cartridge or whatever, the differences are going to be subtle, at least in the context of what is ultimately achievable.
Making changes to your room is going to be a revelation. You’ll end up with a soundstage that is huge, both wide and deep. You’ll be 10 steps closer to ‘real’ ‘live’ performers in your room. Everything that you have now will still be there, and then some.

Booze, says I. Some wine, perhaps a port or two, some Scotch, maybe a six of Bud tallboys.... Just think how much liquid joy you could purchase for the price of a CD player worthy of sitting on a rack with the rest of that gear. Hey, whaddaya mean I don't get a vote...?
"Keep It Clean"???!!!

Nrchy, that statement just about excludes Marco, Slappy, Ellery and myself from posting here, heheh.

The link isn't working for me, so I can't make a smart ass remark.

Nice system!
I couldn't access your system through the link so I don't know what you are using for component isolation. I would strongly urge you to consider Machina Dynamica platforms under your components before any other upgrade. They have made a huge difference for me. A tweek that you would more than likely appreciate is putting Marigo VTS bands on your dynamic driver basket arms. They add a significant amount of realism to the mix.
I appreciate the effort seen in many of these responses. A couple of good questions were asked, which should be answered. I am happy with the direction that I seem to be going. The summary of the sound sound that was mentioned earlier was accurate.

I was not aware of the Benz upgrade program. From what was said, it seems as if I should seriously consider that option. One problem I have is that lack of retail outlets through which to do anything like that though. Only one peice of my system was bought locally due to the inavailability of anything of quality in my litle town (sounds like a song).

The idea of upgrading the Sony is one which I have considered. Maybe I should do it more. I have been thinking about selling the Sony and buying a Krell SACD Standard. I wonder which would sound better. The Krell would cost me over $1000 more than I could get for the Sony.

The Sota TT was upgraded at Sota about three years ago so it is in real good shape, but I know the Cosmos is an altogether better TT. The arm could be improved with the counterweight and better cable. Since I use the TT as my primary music source this would be the first place for me to focus.

The room could use some help as could nearly everyone's except Slipknot, whose room I envy. Carl, I would like to have the post removed, but I'm still not sure about the short wall setup.

WOuld I notice a difference between my PS Audio ports and those that Albert is selling?

Maybe some better PCs would be in order, but so far I have been hesitant to do that since I have been so pleased with the DIY PCs that I made. Anybody want to buy one or five?
keep it clean?...is your wife gonna be reading these posts? I better take a shower first...but then again...I have always admired your system from a distance, yet know when I'm out of my league...for now at least.
Nrchy: on the Benz upgrade program, call one of the mail order houses and get some initial prices. Music Direct is one to try. (1.800.449.8333) Several others out there as well.

re: the porterports vs PS audio. In my system, it was dramatic. You'll be very surprised, try one for $36. You'll notice it. I was just as skeptical. You'll buy more.

Good luck!
Screw the stereo; more chrome on the hog!
Marty (as always)
Hey Nrchy,
Thanks for the "room envy" comment. I'm tellin' ya dude, Richard at Rives Audio can do the same for you for a lot less than you would think. There ain't a room been made yet the sorcerers at Rives can't tame.

Tell you what: When the Packers play in Philadelphia this season, you come to town for the game, I'll make you an outrageous dinner, give you a tour of the room and we'll listen to some tunes...
Just make sure you go to Joe's(Slipknot1) house, and stay away from The Linc if you intend to bring a Packers jersey. You probably know the well deserved reputation we have here in Philly.

Not that I condone it, because I do NOT, but you will be called "Fudge Packer", have many people yell at you, have beer poured on you, have your women harassed, and you may very well even be assaulted.
December 5th huh? I better come over before the game, you might not be as hospitable after the game: ).

I should look into airfare. Some tickets are pretty cheap right now. Trelja, you make the trip sound real attractive. Maybe I'll just watch it at home.

The main reason I have not contacted Richard is that I'm considering an addition to the house (about 24x26) that would be a family room on the first floor, and a master bedroom suite on the second floor. I have thought about moving the system up there, but that would possibly create disharmony with my beloved wife, since I like to play with the volume from time to time.