Originally Posted by gajCA
OK, found the pic of what you had before now tell us your impressions of the changes!
I'll break it down by the changes, because...from that picture, there's a lot more than I remember! haha
Old - Mirage OM-5
New - Meadowlark Nighthawks
The Nighthawks are much better speakers, and they should be...they retailed for nearly 3x as much. Much more precision and control. Not saying the Mirages were bad, they were excellent. They did many things right for their price point. The Meadowlarks lack that slam the Mirages had, but the Meadowlarks' bass is also a lot more tune-full. I picked up the Meadowlarks off of Craigslist for $200, they were in really rough shape. I put new parts in and restored the cabinets. The build quality of the Meadowlarks is something special, and they made less than 100 pairs of Nighthawks before they shuttered the business.
Old: Audio Research D-120
New: Audio Research VS-55
The VS-55 just oozes smooth sound from top to bottom. The D-120 sounded like it accentuated the midrange, and tended to sound more clinical and harsh. Not one big drastic difference in any way, but a bunch of small differences everywhere that makes music "flow" more.
Old: Mapletree Audio HD++ (I think)
New: Audio Research LS-2
Ease of use. That's the big one...the Audio Research is easy to use and is much more a pre-amp, while the Mapletree is really a headphone amp that can sub as a preamp. They actually sound VERY similar.
Old: California Audio Labs Sigma
New: Sonic Frontiers SFD1 Mk2
More of the same. The CAL was pretty heavily modified in the output stage, so it was no slouch. Overall, little more precision out of the SFD. The CAL sounded slightly uncontrolled during loud or dynamic...losing a little coherence, while the SFD stays more "locked in" so to speak. It also boots up much faster...haha.
I ditched the Comcast box and the Pioneer bluray player, and built a HTPC that does it all. I use JRiver Media Center for everything. All music, movies, shows, dvr, live tv...all done right there in one box. No more spinning discs...etc. Its wonderful. I still have my CAL Delta CD transport there, but I dont use it very much. The ease of use of the HTPC somewhat trumps that.
Acoustic Energy Aesprit. Its a nice sub, nothing spectacular. I think that is my next upgrade, I may do a build based off of some plans from Rythmik. The Meadowlarks don't really need that much help, but a little from 25hz on down wouldn't hurt. To match them, needs something very quick since they are transmission line bass. The Aesprit lacks some of that speed and integration, so its mostly just there for movies.
The circa 2006 Sharp blew some smoke a few months ago, and Vizio had these on sale, so I grabbed a 55" version. Its nothing special...its simply works.