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post #1 of 175 Old 02-27-2017, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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favorite system ever heard

2 speakers only

mine used to be some martin logan electrostats from the 90's with bryston gear

now its the focal sopra 3 with simaudio moon gear

I have not listened to everything, but curious to what your fav is that you heard

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post #2 of 175 Old 02-27-2017, 01:17 PM
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Oh man, I used to live up in Waltham MA, and the store Goodwin's High End has some ridiculous setups. I've heard a few different rooms there, but I think my favorite had Focal Grande Utopias, Boulder amplification, and some high-end turntable I wasn't familiar with. Astounding. If I closed my eyes, I couldn't tell the difference between a vocal test track and live speaking. The soundstage was so well-defined I could pick out the placement of drums/cymbals within the drumset, let alone distinct instruments.
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post #3 of 175 Old 02-27-2017, 02:42 PM
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Tough one since one's tastes can change over time and with experience. When I used to visit a pal's house who got into high end audio, he had Quad ESL 63's with tube amps and it was a revelation for me. I found that system so involving I could listen forever. Then I bought the same set up, loved it for quite a while, but then found aspects I wanted improved and moved on. In this way it can be a bit hard to judge a favorite speaker system - one may have an incredibly impressive experience with a set of speakers, but owning them over a longer term may temper the enthusiasm. (Or not).

I'd say the greatest combination I ever heard of "wow" in audio terms and "aaah" in musical terms were the MBL 101D and E speakers, when well set up.
But I could never afford those. I do really like the smaller MBL monitors I own, though.

I've heard tons of crazy expensive audio systems, but they aren't necessarily more musically moving than what I can find at a a more affordable (to me) price point. So I end up owning speakers that become my favorite. Currently I'm using Thiel 3.7 speakers and I can't say I've heard another system (aside from maybe the MBLs) that move me more. No speaker system is perfect though, so I can always think of another system that has aspects I like better.
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post #4 of 175 Old 02-27-2017, 02:47 PM
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Heard some great Wilson's (Alexa?) powered by D'Agostino electronics at a local hifi shop. It was superb.
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post #5 of 175 Old 02-27-2017, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daermonn View Post
Oh man, I used to live up in Waltham MA, and the store Goodwin's High End has some ridiculous setups. I've heard a few different rooms there, but I think my favorite had Focal Grande Utopias, Boulder amplification, and some high-end turntable I wasn't familiar with. Astounding. If I closed my eyes, I couldn't tell the difference between a vocal test track and live speaking. The soundstage was so well-defined I could pick out the placement of drums/cymbals within the drumset, let alone distinct instruments.
I visited that store long time ago;
I frequented a similar place located on the East Side of Providence, RI, Ocean State Audio (closed quite a while ago, i.e, when the HT phenomena started to roll)

He carried some really high end analog, and early digital equip. He would put some amazing setups together on a daily basis; some of the stuff was Krell, Mark Levinson, Audio Research, Creek, Theta, Conrad Johnson, Rega, Thorens, Rotel, Pro Ac (amazing speakers!!!), Apogee, Splendor, Vandersteen, Wilson, Martin Logan electrostats, etc

It was a great place to hang out and talk shop with other like minded hobbyists...In fact, I bought my first really high end equip (for me, lol) from him, i.e., Rotel TT, Conrad Johnson Sonagraphe pre-amp, BK ST 202 2ch amp, and Apogee Centaur Minor ribbon speakers, Phase Technology 10 sub....still have it all and listen to it on a weekly basis when not doing my HT.

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post #6 of 175 Old 02-27-2017, 04:22 PM
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My current system makes me completely happy and is my favorite. I guess I should never say never, but don't have the desire to change a thing for the foreseeable future!
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post #7 of 175 Old 02-27-2017, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torii View Post
I have not listened to everything, but curious to what your fav is that you heard
I've listened to lots of "high end" systems over the years and they've mainly left me unimpressed, especially when you take into account the expense.

Best 3;
1: Mine (nearly all DIY).
2: My friend Terry's 5 way active PHL and DEQX system, and
3: William Cowans.
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post #8 of 175 Old 02-27-2017, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torii View Post
2 speakers only

mine used to be some martin logan electrostats from the 90's with bryston gear

now its the focal sopra 3 with simaudio moon gear

I have not listened to everything, but curious to what your fav is that you heard
I went to Axpona last year and thought the Sopra 2's were the best I ever heard. I can only imagine how good the Sopra 3's must sound.

Until I went into the Harmon room hoping the hear some Revels. But got sidetracked by the JBL Everest DD67000's that were being driven by a pair of Levinson mono blocks. I stayed well over an hour listening to all types of genres. The presence this system had was amazing - it sounded well, real. And isn't that the goal of true Hi Fi? Yes, best system I ever heard.

Marantz PM15S2 LE, Oppo BDP-103, Simaudio Moon 100D DAC
VPI Traveler V2 with an Ortofon Rondo Blue and Simaudio Moon 110LP, Technics SL-1400 with an Audio Technica AT-14sa and Pro-ject Phono Box S
Dynaudio Focus 260's, Rel T-1 and a Panasonic TC-P54S1.
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post #9 of 175 Old 02-27-2017, 06:39 PM
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Not sure it counts - I guess it does since it's really '2-way' was the Infinity Reference IRS V driven with McIntosh amps at Bjorn's in San Antonio.
He played The Dark Side of the Moon and it was surreal!
WAY beyond my budget but I'll never forget it!
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post #10 of 175 Old 02-27-2017, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jmacari View Post
I visited that store long time ago;
I frequented a similar place located on the East Side of Providence, RI, Ocean State Audio (closed quite a while ago, i.e, when the HT phenomena started to roll)

He carried some really high end analog, and early digital equip. He would put some amazing setups together on a daily basis; some of the stuff was Krell, Mark Levinson, Audio Research, Creek, Theta, Conrad Johnson, Rega, Thorens, Rotel, Pro Ac (amazing speakers!!!), Apogee, Splendor, Vandersteen, Wilson, Martin Logan electrostats, etc

It was a great place to hang out and talk shop with other like minded hobbyists...In fact, I bought my first really high end equip (for me, lol) from him, i.e., Rotel TT, Conrad Johnson Sonagraphe pre-amp, BK ST 202 2ch amp, and Apogee Centaur Minor ribbon speakers, Phase Technology 10 sub....still have it all and listen to it on a weekly basis when not doing my HT.
Wow, what a small world. Bruce from Ocean State Audio also turned me to the crazy world of audio when I was going to school in Providence. I went all in with Krell KSA 200S, Krell Studio, ML #38S , M1si... and embarrassed to say "fancy speaker cables."
I know that's not high-end high-end, but high enough for me.

It sounded great... but after a while, I realized that the best time I had listening to music had nothing to do with the equipment. It was the company, a moment in time... I still have some of those audio pieces to remind me that the best that you can obtain, is not always the best that you can get.
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post #11 of 175 Old 02-27-2017, 07:18 PM
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Infinity Servo Static 1A, I think with a BGW amp.

Edited amp.

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post #12 of 175 Old 02-28-2017, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by thai pham View Post
Wow, what a small world. Bruce from Ocean State Audio also turned me to the crazy world of audio when I was going to school in Providence. I went all in with Krell KSA 200S, Krell Studio, ML #38S , M1si... and embarrassed to say "fancy speaker cables."
I know that's not high-end high-end, but high enough for me.

It sounded great... but after a while, I realized that the best time I had listening to music had nothing to do with the equipment. It was the company, a moment in time... I still have some of those audio pieces to remind me that the best that you can obtain, is not always the best that you can get.
It definitely is a small world!!!!
Yes, Bruce was a great guy...often wonder what he is up to;

It sounds like you bought some great equipment from him.

Yes, back then, speaker cables and interconnects were all considered "voodoo"....some speaker cables were so thick, you could use them for tractor pull contests.

I still use some of those "fancy" speaker cables I purchased from him.....

Anthem MRX-500,Outlaw 7500 5ch amp
Oppo BDP-103, Sony XBR-65X930D, Rotel RP-855, Phillips BDP-7501
Paradigm Studio 100 Fronts,Paradigm Studio ADP-590 Surrounds
Paradigm Studio cc-590 Center, Martin Logan Dynamo subwoofer, DefTech Supercube 4000
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post #13 of 175 Old 02-28-2017, 07:17 AM
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Tough question. I heard lots of potential last year at Axpona, but nothing really blew me away. The MBL room had so much potential, but imaging was a mess. The smaller MBLs in the Jolida room were quite good. In the ML room, I think Rosemont 3, the ML 15As were far too close to the front wall so that was a disappointment, but I think the potential was there. Harmon room was a mess, which wasn't a surprise with the JBL Everests, which I probably disliked more than anything else I heard that was expensive. The Magicos were pretty good. Probably overall, the smaller MBLs in the Jolida room.

Unquestionably the best most real/live sounding room was:



As far as the systems I've had that I can remember, I've never stopped looking for better. I don't recall ever being completely settled or happy. That being said, it would probably be the Soundlab A1s driven by the ARC Classic 150s, SP-15, Well Tempered Reference with the Van den hul Grasshopper (replaced by the Lyra Clavis when my housekeeper did in the grasshopper with the feather duster) that I had probably 22 -25 years ago. The hobby has been just as much frustration as nirvana.

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post #14 of 175 Old 02-28-2017, 09:18 AM
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It was back in 1990

Heard a pair of Infinity IRS Beta speakers, basically a bunch of ribbons for the main speaker and four 12" woofers in their own cabinets next to them. Amplifier was the big black kind with power output meters. The system also used two subwoofers for the really deep classical stuff if desired. Throw in EQ to taste and the room was treated acoustically.

Really liked the clean, accurate sound and it was not lacking in anything. I cringe to think of the fun he had later on fixing ribbons, foam surrounds and swapping caps in the massive crossover boards.

Heard a pair of Klipschorns once, those puppies sure had a unique sound and had output to spare! Very simple system with an integrated amp, some EQ and a CD player--but the Betas still get my vote for over the top.
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post #15 of 175 Old 02-28-2017, 04:54 PM
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AXPONA 2016.... The MBL X-treme room. My insurance guy and I were walking down the hallway in the basement and heard the very end of the Thriller Vincent Price monologue. We finally found the room it was coming from about 25 mins later after hearing some people talking about the "big MBL's". We went into the room and asked to play Thriller again. He queued it up next (on 1/2in tape) and all the seats were filled plus about 10 people standing on the perimeter. I had been at the show for about 3 hrs and noticed people would constantly shuffle in and out of the demo rooms, you know come in sit down, a minute or so later get up and move on to something else. From the moment those footsteps started until the song ended NOBODY MOVED! Nothing has made such a lasting impression on me in the world of hi-fi... not even close!
I sat in that room for close to an hour. They played a track that was solo piano and had i been unable to see would have bet the world there was a Steinway in the room. Just pure magic!
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post #16 of 175 Old 02-28-2017, 08:13 PM
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AXPONA 2016.... The MBL X-treme room. My insurance guy and I were walking down the hallway in the basement and heard the very end of the Thriller Vincent Price monologue. We finally found the room it was coming from about 25 mins later after hearing some people talking about the "big MBL's". We went into the room and asked to play Thriller again. He queued it up next (on 1/2in tape) and all the seats were filled plus about 10 people standing on the perimeter. I had been at the show for about 3 hrs and noticed people would constantly shuffle in and out of the demo rooms, you know come in sit down, a minute or so later get up and move on to something else. From the moment those footsteps started until the song ended NOBODY MOVED! Nothing has made such a lasting impression on me in the world of hi-fi... not even close!
I sat in that room for close to an hour. They played a track that was solo piano and had i been unable to see would have bet the world there was a Steinway in the room. Just pure magic!

Funny. I was in that room four times including in the evening. It was always packed.


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post #17 of 175 Old 02-28-2017, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by 18Hurts View Post
It was back in 1990

Heard a pair of Infinity IRS Beta speakers, basically a bunch of ribbons for the main speaker and four 12" woofers in their own cabinets next to them. Amplifier was the big black kind with power output meters. The system also used two subwoofers for the really deep classical stuff if desired. Throw in EQ to taste and the room was treated acoustically.

Really liked the clean, accurate sound and it was not lacking in anything. I cringe to think of the fun he had later on fixing ribbons, foam surrounds and swapping caps in the massive crossover boards.

Heard a pair of Klipschorns once, those puppies sure had a unique sound and had output to spare! Very simple system with an integrated amp, some EQ and a CD player--but the Betas still get my vote for over the top.

You ever hear these?

http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/thread....271842/page-3

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post #18 of 175 Old 03-01-2017, 06:19 AM
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Yeah those are the ones! Not sure what was "funny" though since i said the room was packed as well. Hope they will be at AXPONA this year... fingers crossed!
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post #19 of 175 Old 03-01-2017, 06:53 AM
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Never did, Scott

Infinity had their time in the sun from 1968 with the invention of the subwoofer and servo control to ribbon technology in the 70's until a recession took them out in 1983. Harmon ran with their designs in the 80's and I was able to hear the Betas and a buddy had a pair of Kappa 9 monsters. Seems that Harmon used them up and threw them away.

I did like their quirky speakers though, they really, really TRIED to push technology forward. When I see RAAL ribbons and AMTs--it reminds me of Infinity when they were not Harmon...what could of been. Hopefully Samsung will either revive Infinity or kill it off--kind of sad to see a company that was once a leader in driving tech forward is now a Chinese speaker with shiny vinyl wrap. B&W, KEF, Tannoy, EV, Polk Audio, Klipsch and Dynaudio all got bought out--so it happens to the best of them.

But the world moves on, the rise and fall of empires it seems. Still, a big thumbs up to Infinity Reference Systems for inventing subwoofer technology and Gene Cerwinski for making the 18" driver to set the stage for what we have now.

The Betas did have an effect on me--purchased my first subwoofer a few months later and the rest...is history!
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post #20 of 175 Old 03-01-2017, 10:32 PM
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Yeah those are the ones! Not sure what was "funny" though since i said the room was packed as well. Hope they will be at AXPONA this year... fingers crossed!

"Funny' because I said I was in there four times and always packed and you said it was packed when you were there so it sounds like they were packed every minute the show was going on. Two times I was one of the folks on the floor up in front of the chairs.

I just hope they can get them straightened out this year so imaging isn't such a hot mess as it has been in the past. I've heard these many times at many shows and never heard these sound 'right'. There were major bass issues as well. IMO, the smaller ones in the Jolida room down the hall were much better. The big ones did give you big sound, big dynamics and real life scale, but that's about it in my book.

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post #21 of 175 Old 03-01-2017, 10:40 PM
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Never did, Scott

Infinity had their time in the sun from 1968 with the invention of the subwoofer and servo control to ribbon technology in the 70's until a recession took them out in 1983. Harmon ran with their designs in the 80's and I was able to hear the Betas and a buddy had a pair of Kappa 9 monsters. Seems that Harmon used them up and threw them away.

I did like their quirky speakers though, they really, really TRIED to push technology forward. When I see RAAL ribbons and AMTs--it reminds me of Infinity when they were not Harmon...what could of been. Hopefully Samsung will either revive Infinity or kill it off--kind of sad to see a company that was once a leader in driving tech forward is now a Chinese speaker with shiny vinyl wrap. B&W, KEF, Tannoy, EV, Polk Audio, Klipsch and Dynaudio all got bought out--so it happens to the best of them.

But the world moves on, the rise and fall of empires it seems. Still, a big thumbs up to Infinity Reference Systems for inventing subwoofer technology and Gene Cerwinski for making the 18" driver to set the stage for what we have now.

The Betas did have an effect on me--purchased my first subwoofer a few months later and the rest...is history!

All true. Even mighty ARC got bought once Bill Johnson passed. The founders retire or start kicking buckets and things change. At least ARC didn't go to Harmon (who ruins everything they touch).
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post #22 of 175 Old 03-02-2017, 06:11 AM
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At least ARC didn't go to Harmon (who ruins everything they touch).
Harmon is gone but I wonder how Samsung will deal with Infinity and Harmon Kardon. Those brands used to be top dogs but declined over the years, maybe Samsung will use Infinity for more high end and experimental gear, leave JBL for more traditional speakers and play with AVRs under Harmon Kardon. Sammy is not the type of company to have five brands do the same thing (speakers) so I'm just curious who gets the ax.

In reality, be it Infinity, JBL, Revel etc...it is all the same company and just a marketing game. The game is different now as Polk Audio/Def Tech bought out D+M to counter Samsung/Harmon and Onkyo/Pioneer. We shall see!
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post #23 of 175 Old 03-02-2017, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by 18Hurts View Post
Harmon is gone but I wonder how Samsung will deal with Infinity and Harmon Kardon. Those brands used to be top dogs but declined over the years, maybe Samsung will use Infinity for more high end and experimental gear, leave JBL for more traditional speakers and play with AVRs under Harmon Kardon. Sammy is not the type of company to have five brands do the same thing (speakers) so I'm just curious who gets the ax.

In reality, be it Infinity, JBL, Revel etc...it is all the same company and just a marketing game. The game is different now as Polk Audio/Def Tech bought out D+M to counter Samsung/Harmon and Onkyo/Pioneer. We shall see!

"Harmon is gone but I wonder how Samsung "

I forgot about that. I guess that shows my dislike for Karmon Hardon. So yeah, they're like the old GM with too many brands that they made all alike that were not all alike at one time. It's really really too bad regarding what they did to Infinity over time.

"Polk Audio/Def Tech bought out D+M"

That's OK. They all deserve each other too.

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post #24 of 175 Old 03-02-2017, 07:49 AM
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Recently demoed a pair of the MartinLogan Motion 60XT speakers with a McIntosh amp and wow. I was always a little skeptical of spending that much money on an amp, but even my dad who's way more frugal than me was blown away. The highs were so crystal clear and the low end that it brought out in the music wasn't even present on the cheaper amps we demoed. Amazing system and definitely made me a believer in McIntosh. Now if only I could afford that system

AVR - Yamaha RX-V679 || Fronts - Bowers & Wilkins 684 S2 || Center - Bowers & Wilkins HTM62 S2 || Surrounds - Bowers & Wilkins 686 S2 || Subwoofer - SVS SB-2000 || TV - Vizio M50-C1
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post #25 of 175 Old 03-02-2017, 08:44 AM
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Recently demoed a pair of the MartinLogan Motion 60XT speakers with a McIntosh amp and wow. I was always a little skeptical of spending that much money on an amp
Now do a level matched blind test between that and something far less expensive and see if you still feel the same way about amp 'sonic qualities'.
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post #26 of 175 Old 03-02-2017, 01:53 PM
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A Conrad Johnson set-up featuring the Premier 350 power amp.
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post #27 of 175 Old 03-03-2017, 07:02 AM
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Amps are entertaining,

I do have a buddy that owns an old Crown D150 (or 300) and loves the "sound" of my Crown XTi for the garage system. It horrifies him when I use a chip amp when doing woodworking to prevent the fan from sucking in sawdust--heresy! One day I saw him pull up while I was finishing a project with the chip amp playing but--time for some fun. I turned on the Crown and he roamed in and gave the entire audiophile dictionary of fluff "teaching" me about how well the Crown "grips" the drivers, higher highs, tigher bass, "warmer" sound and all that jazz. Class D has a "cold, metallic" sound and so on and so forth. My system sounded amazing now that the Crown was in control so I told him I had to make a wood cut or two and had to shut off the Crown. I shut it down but the music kept playing as I reached for the circular saw. Confused at first then he lowered his eyes and looked around and found the chip amp was on... a few expletives followed.

You could say he learned a bit about expectation bias that evening and he is really happy that I banished the chip amp for the Berry A500. Class D chip amps are still the devil but at least an old school Class AB do not demand a witch trial. I can tell the difference between the chip amp and the Crown comparing them side-by-side but not the Berry A500 and the Crown XTi 1002. The XTi uses a Class AB output stage coupled with a switching power supply Harmon calls "Class i"

My audiophile buddy felt better after I sent him a link for blind ABX amp testing with the Berry VS a Classe' amplifier. Yes, amplifier technology and quality has improved since the '70's so enjoy the advancing technology.

http://matrixhifi.com/ENG_contenedor_ppec.htm
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post #28 of 175 Old 03-04-2017, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by daermonn View Post
Oh man, I used to live up in Waltham MA, and the store Goodwin's High End has some ridiculous setups. I've heard a few different rooms there, but I think my favorite had Focal Grande Utopias, Boulder amplification, and some high-end turntable I wasn't familiar with. Astounding. If I closed my eyes, I couldn't tell the difference between a vocal test track and live speaking. The soundstage was so well-defined I could pick out the placement of drums/cymbals within the drumset, let alone distinct instruments.
" ...Astounding. If I closed my eyes, I couldn't tell the difference between a vocal test track and live speaking."

What it's all about. The system/equipment choice (the system demo) was excellent, as was your memorable experience. That is what great sound is all about. When experienced, it is not easily forgotten.

pj
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post #29 of 175 Old 03-04-2017, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
I've listened to lots of "high end" systems over the years and they've mainly left me unimpressed, especially when you take into account the expense.

Best 3;
1: Mine (nearly all DIY).
2: My friend Terry's 5 way active PHL and DEQX system, and
3: William Cowans.
Wow. DIY. You really must get out more. Far more.

pj
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post #30 of 175 Old 03-04-2017, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Paraneer View Post
I went to Axpona last year and thought the Sopra 2's were the best I ever heard. I can only imagine how good the Sopra 3's must sound.

Until I went into the Harmon room hoping the hear some Revels. But got sidetracked by the JBL Everest DD67000's that were being driven by a pair of Levinson mono blocks. I stayed well over an hour listening to all types of genres. The presence this system had was amazing - it sounded well, real. And isn't that the goal of true Hi Fi? Yes, best system I ever heard.
I went to Axpona last year and thought the Sopra 2's were the best I ever heard. (KEF Reference much, much better) I can only imagine how good the Sopra 3's must sound.(Not always the case. Although how much worse could they possibly be ?! )

Until I went into the Harmon room hoping the hear some Revels. But got sidetracked by the JBL Everest DD67000's that were being driven by a pair of Levinson mono blocks. I stayed well over an hour listening to all types of genres. The presence this system had was amazing - it sounded well, real. And isn't that the goal of true Hi Fi? Yes, best system I ever heard.
(Now you're talking --and experiencing. )

pj
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