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post #691 of 731 Old 01-31-2014, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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A Wireworld Stratus 7 just arrived.
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post #692 of 731 Old 02-02-2014, 11:58 PM
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Wow, sounds like you have some projects going on!! Don't know what to say about the power cord dilemma, but I'd like to see that and your Stratus 7

Spinning the rear tire at 150mph while at 3/4 lean angle will put wrinkles in your seat
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post #693 of 731 Old 02-05-2014, 04:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff4RFC View Post

Wow, sounds like you have some projects going on!! Don't know what to say about the power cord dilemma, but I'd like to see that and your Stratus 7

Not much of a shot, but here's the Wireworld:




Unrelated to cable clutter, I bought some latex gloves Saturday and have ordered a couple pair of tubes. I plan to swap out the ones in the preamp line stage and try some others. That gives me a little tube library of four brands. The C2300 has a phono section too, but using the line stage only helps me fill a rack space with my old phono preamp (which isn't that bad) and saves using up good tubes faster. It would be several years before I'd need to change them, but I bought some at the dealer's (weak-willed, that) and they cost more than what I'm using, so they should go in there.
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post #694 of 731 Old 02-08-2014, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
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A bump in the road . . .

For a few months my MCD301 SACD/CD player had been having a problem with its tray. It had difficulty closing; it opened just fine. When closing the tray would hesitate or stutter as it closed. Sometimes it behaved, seemingly dependent upon whether I pressed the upper or lower part of the open/close button. But the problem became more pronounced as time went on and, in the last few days, it began to manifest when the tray opened as well.

A reply to an e-mail sent to McIntosh suggested that perhaps the glass front had shifted, and that the tray being skewed to one side or the other in its slot was indicative of this. With an appropriate screwdriver, i could take off the aluminum endcaps and adjust the glass; if that didn't work the unit would need service. The tray was indeed skewed to the left, but I don't have the appropriate screwdriver and my attempts to loosen the overly-tightened, recessed screws holding the endcaps in place resulted in some scratches inside the wells where the screws are, and maybe a bit of stripping of the screws. That was the last of that try. The nearby hardware store didn't have a screwdriver that would work either, so I decided to take the unit in for repair, which I returned home from about 25 minutes ago. The store will take a look at the 301 in case it's something they can handle, but it will likely go back to McIntosh. I should hear from the store with an estimate in a few days.

Possible culprits are the glass shifting, a defective drive belt, an off-track gear, or (the ultimate nightmare) a bad drive; that would be over $800 to replace.

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post #695 of 731 Old 02-16-2014, 03:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Last night, I had the urge to pull out an LP or two, being in the mood for some classic rock. My 301 is out for repair (no word yet) so I rely on other sources for now, though I could re-insert my Marantz DV8400 into the system temporarily.

I pulled out Led Zeppelin II and Close to the Edge and played them. I was mildly surprised to hear musical information and detail I hadn't heard before, and in the case of Close to the Edge, information I don't recall hearing from the standard CD. In both cases I heard deeper into the mix. This is all coming from a 22 year-old turntable with a relatively new cartridge (1 year, but very lightly used) going through a 20 year-old phono preamp to the 2300's line stage with JJ ECC803s gold pins. Makes me wonder if this is the cartridge, the 2300, or the combination.
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post #696 of 731 Old 02-23-2014, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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The Venom 3s power cord has been running on the Kuro for a while, and the sound seems to have opened up a bit. I like what I hear. I'll need to try it with some familiar DVDs, but there's more dimension to the sound now. The WW Stratus cord taken from the TV has had a similar effect on my tuner after I replaced the PS Audio Jewel with it. That's been listening to NPR primarily, but I heard a difference. Not huge, but noticeable.

This does nothing for my cable clutter, but it's nice to notice an improvement.
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post #697 of 731 Old 03-07-2014, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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My McIntosh MCD301 SACD/CD player went off to the store for repair back on 2/8. It's not back yet. I called the store Monday, and was told McIntosh has it. There is an authorized repair shop in Manhattan, but the store feels more comfortable sending devices with transports and such back to Mac itself.

Earlier this week, I decided to re-instal my previous CD player, the Marantz DV8400 universal player.



I played it for the first time last night; some '50s and '60s tunes. It sounded okay, perhaps a bit muffled. It hasn't been used in three years, so it may need to break in all over again. It's also a 24/96 machine, versus the 24/192 MCD301. I don't know how long I'll have it in the setup, because I don't know how long the 301 will be away. We do what we need to do.
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post #698 of 731 Old 03-07-2014, 05:25 PM
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"It hasn't been used in three years, so it may need to break in all over again"
I can't believe you actually said something like that.. Really.. Break in a digital device that you've used for many times. Huh???? Audiophilia, such a strange thing.
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post #699 of 731 Old 03-07-2014, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevon27 View Post

"It hasn't been used in three years, so it may need to break in all over again"
I can't believe you actually said something like that.. Really.. Break in a digital device that you've used for many times. Huh???? Audiophilia, such a strange thing.

Off-the-cuff speculation on my part . . . who knows what happens to the circuits when nothing passes through them for that long. Nevertheless, things did sound a bit better today, though nothing dramatic. It's a new power cord too, plus the player's never been used with the current electronics. As for the digital aspect, I'm using the 8400's analog output to a traditional preamp via RCA interconnects, same as I did for six years until the Mac replaced it.

I don't consider myself an audiophile, at least in terms of pursuit of it as a hobby; it's more an interest. That's why most of my system changes these days are small, cosmetic or practical ones. Not saying that couldn't change, but it isn't a goal at this point.
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post #700 of 731 Old 03-09-2014, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Another shot of the rack with the 8400. I have given up on dusting. It's about clutter control for now.

Also, I've moved the Duo VP to the center rack. It's there under the C2300 preamp. I've put shorter HDMI cables on the components; not sure I'll leave it there.

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post #701 of 731 Old 03-22-2014, 07:13 AM - Thread Starter
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No news on the MCD301 yet. Today is 6 weeks.

McIntosh would contact my dealer, who in turn would contact me with the findings and cost for the repair. I think I might shoot an e-mail off to Mac to try and get a rough idea. I heard they are 3–4 weeks behind on repairs, so that probably accounts for the lag. But the delay holds up other things I may want to do potentially, such as a back-up for my 501s (probably that Marantz MM7025 I noted a while back) and maybe a new phono preamp if I'm really adventurous and am willing to commit to vinyl for the long haul; I'd thought that if my turntable went down in the next 5 years I'd replace it; after that, I'd let it go and downsize accordingly (that's 4 shelves out of my rack, not to mention the LPs) as at that point I'm only 5 years from retiring and would begin making moves toward that.
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post #702 of 731 Old 03-30-2014, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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A while back, I swapped out the tubes in the C2300's line stage and went with NOS (new old stock, for the non-tube folks) Amperex tubes, made in Holland originally. They've been in the 2300 for over a month now.

I must report that the sound of my system is more open and transparent, though I lost a bit of bass, perhaps. These Amperexes are not as warm-sounding as the JJs they replaced, but things have opened up a bit. The sound is still nice and full, but a bit of thump seems missing. Still, when I watched The Avengers BD recently, the Soundgarden track over the end credits was more open and detailed (makes sense) but the bottom end had more thump. I wasn't expecting that. Maybe I just notice it because of the overall more open sound. Anyway, i think I will leave these Amperex tubes in until my MCD301 gets back so those two can get acquainted. But who knows?

It's clean-up time again. The friend from church who was here back in October (see the earlier post) wants to come over again. She's given up cheesecake for Lent, so if her statement about "key lime" is not a joke, I have until at least Easter to get the place right. And that's about how long it will take, too.
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post #703 of 731 Old 03-31-2014, 05:02 AM - Thread Starter
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My hope is to retire in ten years, and thus I've done yet more thinking.

My MCD301 has been out for repair (since Feb. 8!!!). The worst-case scenario, as I understand it, is that the drive needs replacing, which would cost over $800. After some thought, it might be a good idea to start saving money against the possibility of repair or replacement of other components, including speakers.

The Mirages had their 21st birthday recently; my turntable is approaching 22. While I'm thinking that if my turntable goes down in the next 5 years I'd replace it, after that I'm inclined to let it go and downsize. That would clear four shelves (current configuration), not to mention the space gained by getting rid of my LPs. But speakers would have to be replaced. There won't be a lot of money to work with regardless of what I can save (NY is expensive), but I'm hoping to have reasonable alternatives when the time comes. So in a way, I have decided to replace my M-3sis. Just not now.

The other factor is a probable need to relocate upon retiring, so spending a bunch of money on speakers would be unwise. At this point, I keep an eye on Def Tech, Mirage's OMD-28, Focus Signature SE, Bryston Model T, (I may have to think Middle T by the time I'd have to buy something, though), and the Axiom LFR1100. I'll surely want something with comparable specs to my M-3sis. My Mirages perform so well I can't imagine just dumping them, and listening to ELP's Tarkus last night, though with a substitute CD player, confirms that notion. However, I don't think I will try to fix them if they go down.

So, this is where I am.
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post #704 of 731 Old 04-07-2014, 04:41 AM - Thread Starter
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My current system configuration is a bit different than the one on the first page. Everything except the cable box (which I don't own) is here. Brands are in bold:

VPI HW-19 Mk. IV turntable, SDS speed controller, HW-16.5 record cleaner;
Grado Reference Sonata 1 MM phono cartridge;
SME 309 tonearm;
Van den Hul MC D-501 Hybrid tonearm cable;
Pioneer Elite DVL-91 combi-player, PRO-111FD plasma, BDP-09FD blu-ray;
Magnum Dynalab MD 90 tuner;
Oppo BDP-83 blu-ray;
Pangea HD-26L HDMI cables, 20A-15A adapter;
MIT AVT s-video cable;
DVDO iScan Duo video processor;
McIntosh MCD301 SACD/CD player, C2300 preamp, MC501 monoblock power amps;
Amperex 12AX7 tubes;
Aragon 47k phono pramp, IPS power supply;
Kimber Hero interconnects, 12TC speaker cable;
Transparent MusicLink Plus interconnect;
Mirage M-3si speakers;
Wireworld Stratus, Aurora, Electra power cords;
PS Audio Jewel AC power cords;
Shunyata Venom extension, Venom 3s power cords;
Conntek AC adaptors;
Furman Elite-15 PFi power conditioner, SPR-20i voltage regulator;
Sanus Euro furniture

The idea of a new phono preamp is kicking around in my head now, though out of curiosity not need. And I MUST replace my printer (not part of the system, but it's the avatar I'm using). I should be hearing shortly on the damages to my SACD player, still out for repair. I contacted McIntosh and was told they'd contact the store either Friday past or today. That may or may not impact what I do. I want to be more about tweaks than upgrades, as I start to think more about being a better steward of my money.
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post #705 of 731 Old 04-07-2014, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I heard from the store this afternoon. The repair for my MCD301 is $176. Mac had to replace a few parts as I understand it, but nothing major. So after I gave my OK, the store will call McIntosh back, who will ship the unit back to the store, who will then contact me.
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post #706 of 731 Old 04-10-2014, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Another update: taking advantage of a Music Direct sale, I ordered 3 pair of Audioquest King Cobra interconnects. They will combine with the two I have already and replace the Kimber Hero I use now for all my source/preamp connections. Experience with the two as my pre/power connection showed the KC to have a fuller sound, with a bit more bottom end. The cables should arrive Tues./Wed. next week.

Oh, yes, and I DID replace my printer. That arrived yesterday. A Xerox B&W, which I've yet to set up.
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post #707 of 731 Old 04-13-2014, 04:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Yesterday afternoon I went to the John Varvatos store in downtown Manhattan. I knew there was audio equipment and LPs in there. Also JV is a Mac fan.

I bought a couple of LPs, Inner Secrets by Santana and Moving Waves by Focus. The Santana is an original 1st pressing, sealed, unplayed mint copy, and sounded like it. No noise, clicks or pops. I got it beacuse I wanted the original version of One Chain (Don't Make No Prison); mine was lost in a fire a long time ago and the copy I later bought has the disco-fied version of this track; I always preferred the original. The Focus LP isn't sealed but is marked as unplayed. I don't know. It's a bit noisy in the early going on the one side I played, and even skipped once during Hocus Pocus.

But the bigger event: I was confronted with the McIntosh XR200s, my main fantasy speaker. This is the first time I've seen them in person. They weren't playing; they stood there looking good, if a bit smaller than photos and measurements suggest. They're part of Mac's Soho 1 collection, which was on display. More, Varvatos actually sells this system and the other gear in the store as well (vintage Marantz, Sansui and a few other things). My mind began to swirl, and a brief chat with the sales clerk had it swirling a bit more. Could I actually save the money to get them? If I pull out the plastic could I manage the payments without relegating myself to peanut butter sandwiches, beans and rice and cereal for the next two years? If I want to retire in 10 years and I'd be tied up for two, maybe three years does this even make sense (rhetorical question)? I don't think it does, but starting to save more does in any case. The consideration of possibilities continues.

By the way, of the components in the Soho 1 collection the clerk said the biggest seller is the MT10 turntable.
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post #708 of 731 Old 04-15-2014, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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post #709 of 731 Old 04-17-2014, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
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The store called today. The 301 is in! The bill is $200, mostly labor. I've asked the store to ship it to me and it may well arrive tomorrow via UPS.
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post #710 of 731 Old 04-20-2014, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I indeed reconfigured my system yesterday (aftermath photos attached; the job is not quite complete, plus I once again forgot to dust). Part of that reconfiguration was moving the line stage Amperex tubes into the MM phono section on the C2300, and inserting the other pair of Amperexes I have into the line stage, where they'll break in faster. The Aragon 47k has been removed from the system, and all source/preamp connections are now AQ King Cobra, except for the VPI turntable. On each outside rack, the two 5" shelves were removed in favor of one 8" shelf. On the inside rack the cable box and Duo VP swapped places.

I noted first with the VPI connected directly to the 2300, that the 2300's ground connection and the Van den Hul phono cables aren't a great match; the spades on the tonearm cable are too small to go around the 2300's hefty terminal. I stick one spade of each leg into the hole and that seems to be good enough. The screw is turned tightly.

Preliminary findings are that the 2300's MM stage is as good as the Aragon, even with its IPS power supply. I've played only one record so far, and need to play more familiar ones to test things further; I hadn't played Santana's Festival in a long time. One other thing from last night is that, though I had to turn up the volume more than with the line stage the bass was strong, as strong as the line stage's; with the MM phono it was flat (0), whereas with the line stage it's set to +3. I'll leave it set at 0 for phono and see what happens.

Also the 301 is back and reinstalled. The tray made a scraping noise opening and closing but moved smoothly. I'll have to inquire about the sound with the store or McIntosh. It sounded fine playing a Jimmy Smith CD last night.





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post #711 of 731 Old 04-24-2014, 03:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I inquired of McIntosh about this scraping noise with the 301. The initial suspicion is the unit was jostled during shipping.

Yesterday, I received a reply from John Messemer of McIntosh, who thinks the 301 was jostled during transit also. Attached to the e-mail are instructions on how to open the unit and adjust the screws on either side of the CD tray. I'm planning to attempt it this weekend.

Last edited by prepress; 06-21-2014 at 05:07 PM.
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post #712 of 731 Old 04-26-2014, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I just finished with the 301. It's back on its shelf with disc 5 of Instrumentals Complete playing. As I begin to type the theme from Bonanza is playing, about to transition into the theme from Exodus.

First, the instructions McIntosh sent seem to be for an older build of the 301, as getting the top cover off is the same as for the C2300; two screws at the front and the two on the back of the top plate come out, then one side panel is removed. The screws weren't "nailed" in place as they were on the 2300, though.

It was a simple matter to adjust the screws on either side of the CD tray, and by eye at least the tray is now dead center in the slot. I tested it before and after placing the 301 back on its shelf. It sounds about the same as it did before. The scraping noise is gone. Now that it's back in place I'll probably play another disc or two to see if anything changes, and keep an eye on it over the next few days. I just heard a bit of distortion, like static, come from the left speaker (my computer is right next to it). Not sure what that is, unless it's in the recording and I happened to be close enough to hear it.

Anyway, the tray is working properly as of right now. The theme from Love Story is playing.
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post #713 of 731 Old 05-17-2014, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I have just come back from the commencement service of the New York Theological Seminary, held at Riverside Church in Manhattan. One of my former Sunday school students invited me to come; she received her MA in Pastoral Care and Counseling, a nice achievement. There was also one other person from my church who received this degree, whom I don't know that well and didn't know was a seminary student. The ceremony began on time and ended a bit earlier than I expected, but it was still a 1:45 affair.

A major highlight was the church organ. I didn't actually see it because of where I sat, only from behind, but it looked and sounded like a monster (in a good sense). It was told me that it has four rows of foot pedals. The sound was clean, clear, warm, smooth, any audiophile jargon you want to use. Bravo to the organist (Christopher Johnson), and the church's sound system and acoustics. My mother, who played organ and sometimes piano for the senior choir at church, would have liked the music greatly. Few things stir my spirit like the sound of a major-class organ playing classic hymns. I stuck around until the postlude was finished, even though the ceremony was over.

Inspired by what I was hearing, I had a real urge to come home and play some organ music. I haven't played any in a while, and have yet to on my stereo as constituted currently. The thought occurred that if the sound isn't satisfying, it could nudge me onto the path of a speaker replacement—even though my Mirages are working and sounding fine. The lowest organ notes (20Hz, I believe) are beyond them, but again, as long as things are satisfying replacing speakers will be put off for a while longer. This is a test I plan to do, but not now; I need to go to the gym and then run a couple of errands. I hope to get to it while the glow of that organ is with me; it'll probably wear off in a couple of days.
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post #714 of 731 Old 05-25-2014, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, yesterday the Amperex tubes were removed from the C2300 preamp and I put the Mullards in both the line stage and MM inputs; I'd ordered a second pair. They have 3 hours on them (I'll stop counting once I get past 25 hours, as usual). I listened a bit to NPR, and used my usual video test discs, The Avengers BD and Yes: Live at Montreaux DVD.

Preliminary impressions out of the box: the Amperexes will not see the inside of the 2300 again, except as a last resort. Good as the Amperexes are, the Mullards, to my ears, blow them away. The Mullards have more gain, and play louder at the same volume. The sound is richer and fuller, and the low end is powerful. The Mullards are more dynamic, a bit warmer, and less "polite." They're good HT tubes, I'd say. I might even consider turning down the bass a little.

I plan to move on to see if this trend continues with LPs, LDs, and CDs next. The Mullards, like their predecessors, will get at least a month in the 2300 before any final decisions are made, but at this point I'm inclined to leave them in place.
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post #715 of 731 Old 06-21-2014, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Updated system configuration:

VPI HW-19 Mk. IV turntable, SDS speed controller, HW-16.5 record cleaner;
Grado Reference Sonata 1 MM phono cartridge;
SME 309 tonearm;
Van den Hul MC D-501 Hybrid tonearm cable;
Pioneer Elite DVL-91 combi-player, PRO-111FD plasma, BDP-09FD blu-ray;
Magnum Dynalab MD 90 tuner;
Day-Sequerra FM Urban antenna
Oppo BDP-83 blu-ray;
Pangea HD-26L HDMI cables, 20A-15A adapter;
MIT AVT s-video cable;
DVDO iScan Duo video processor;
McIntosh MCD301 SACD/CD player, C2300 preamp, MC501 monoblock power amps;
Mullard new production 12AX7 tubes (for C2300);
Kimber 12TC speaker cable;
Audioquest King Cobra interconnects (sources);
Transparent MusicLink Plus interconnect (pre/power);
Mirage M-3si speakers;
Wireworld Stratus, Aurora, Electra power cords;
PS Audio Jewel AC power cords;
Shunyata Venom extension, Venom 3s power cords;
Conntek AC adaptors;
Furman Elite-15 PFi power conditioner, SPR-20i voltage regulator;
Sanus Euro equipment racks

Waiting on a new antenna for the tuner (it's backordered). I have a longer coax cable which will give me more freedom in placing the antenna when it arrives. I'd like to try pulling in a few more stations.
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post #716 of 731 Old 06-30-2014, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I picked this up earlier in the month: The Complete Atlantic Studio Recordings of the Modern Jazz Quartet 1956–64, a 7-CD set. Since the Mullard tubes in my preamp were still breaking in, Milt Jackson's vibes sounded a bit like milk bottles at first; eventually they smoothed out and were more tuneful. Nice.

These Mullard tubes continue to be a delight with BDs and DVDs. I like them.

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post #717 of 731 Old 07-10-2014, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Heard from Audio Advisor. The antenna (Magnum dynalab SR-100) is still backordered. I'm a bit surprised. Oh well, perhaps I'll get a chance to try something with the one I have in the meantime.
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post #718 of 731 Old 08-09-2014, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Having decided to take a splurge, I've ordered a Samsung 24" TV, their UN24H4000 LED LCD. It's edge-lit, but at this size I'm not too concerned. And it has a component input, so I can pair it with my Marantz DV8400 for DVDs. This will go into the bedroom, where I'll be sitting or lying only 3 to 4 feet away from the screen, so 24" is plenty. I'm figuring that, even at such a short distance, 720p won't matter.
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post #719 of 731 Old 08-24-2014, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I have done a potentially bad thing, but have also mitigated it, I hope.

At church, I invited a friend to the NY Audio Show. This is the same woman I had over back in October (see earlier in the thread). She is a self-described "gadget girl" and seemed excited about going. I have now, assuming she is pleased by the show's website, committed to going. She said she was all in already, but I wanted her to look at the site to confirm. I told her that her job will be to act as my wife and tell me I can't have whatever I might look at a bit too hard. Fortunately, most of the brands there are unfamiliar and I may tend to not go to those rooms.

UPDATE: She's changed her mind and will take a pass. We still have plans to get together, but I must decide if I want to hit the show earlier, go another day (Sunday, probably) or take a pass as well. It could be dangerous to go, for several reasons.

I also note that Audio Classics will be there, selling Legacy and Vintage McIntosh. I hope that means nothing too recent (MR88, anyone?). This is one of the reasons it could be dangerous.

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post #720 of 731 Old 09-04-2014, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Got an e-mail from Audio Advisor. The SR-200 has shipped! Should be here Saturday.
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