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post #91 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 03:34 AM
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The problem with threads like this is what is Jeff after? The most natural and transparent system or just a system that "sounds cool"? To answer the most transparent system is harder than saying what system sound cool. For example, you can build a system the cost extremly much, with tubes, and strange sounding speakers that have a "cool sound". But are that system better than a dirty cheap system that also color the sound? No, just different tastes.
But looking for the most transparent system will be harder, and easier.

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post #92 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrantzM View Post

I understand this is a difficult proposition: for example what should be the ceiling for the components? For the system in its entirety? Let us use an arbitrary number: What about $750K for the whole system, Room not included?


750K!
Seriously, why would it cost anywhere near those sums to get high fidelity?
The smaller system that I wrote about is just over 40K and the bigger around 48K, and then I could probably change some things (like a cheaper class D stage for the bass) to even lower the price and still get as good reproduction.
Or maybe I'm just a cheap b*stard

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post #93 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by FrantzM View Post

Lowering the ceiling would also be quite helpful... How good a system can one have with 100K? 75K, 50K? As an aside $75K is the threshold for greatness IMHO.

If sky is not the limit then in the 100K[ish] range I would like a review for the following:

Speakers
-> Revel Ultima 2 Salon



Subs
-> JL Audio Gotham



Amplifiers
-> Mark Levinson 436 or;
-> Krell Evolution 600 or;
-> Ayre MX-R or;
-> Pass Labs X600.5


Digital Front End
-> Meridian G68 Surround Controller



CD Player
-> Esoteric X-01D2



Room Correction
-> Dolby Lake



Cables
-> Blue Jeans Cable


This system will be mighty close to audio nirvana at a reasonable price considering the gear on show.
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post #94 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 04:28 AM
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Saying that ....
I hope Jeff can get his hands on a Rockport Technologies Arrakis and/or Wilson Audio Alexandria X-2 Series 2 and accompanying products that complement these fantastic speakers. That would be one hell of a review.
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post #95 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 04:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I guess it's time that I clarify a few things. I actually had a debate with a reader the other day about this very issue. He was of the opinion that the more expensive components naturally sounded better and therefore I was missing the boat since some of what comprises my system is not the most costly.

Here's my example: I recently wrote about the new Weiss Minerva DAC. It costs $4500 retail. In my system it provided the best digital sound I've ever heard. It will play back the Reference Recordings HRx master files at their native 24-bit/176.4kHz resolution via a FireWire connection with my MacBook. To hear this level of clarity is breathtaking - 16/44.1 simply does not compare. So my contention right now is that the Minerva is the high-water mark "despite" its price.

So what this means is that I'm after the best sound regardless of price. But here is what is important: that works both ways. Regardless of how much or how little the component cost. That might mean I have a $200k product right next to a $2000 product. Someone will scoff at that I'm sure, but if we put our preconceptions aside and truly look for the best products for this system, and are intellectually honest, that very well may be the way it turns out.

I'm sure those that only see value in the lower-cost products will have a problem with this. I'm also sure those that always equate price with performance will have an issue with it too. So be it.

So to sum up, I'm looking for a system that raises the bar on performance regardless of price -- low OR high -- and in that spirit I'm listening to your suggestions.

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post #96 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 05:17 AM
 
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You know, it really is a shame that this thread went the direction that it did. The guy who hijacked the thread says "hey, what do you expect?" and perhaps he is right. Unfortunately, the worst should be expected from a bunch of guys on the internet. What a great opportunity we had to discuss all of the great audio products out there and the opportunity we had to help assemble all of the gear into the same system. I do not remember having a chance like this to be involved in such an interesting way. Jeff, you should ask the moderators to close the thread. I wish you well in your pursuit of TWBAS and thanks for trying to involve us. Perhaps real audiophiles with only the best intentions can still email you their suggestions. I may never have the bankroll required to build a dream system so I will eagerly await your article.
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post #97 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 05:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Fritz View Post


So what this means is that I'm after the best sound regardless of price. But here is what is important: that works both ways. Regardless of how much or how little the component cost. That might mean I have a $200k product right next to a $2000 product. Someone will scoff at that I'm sure, but if we put our preconceptions aside and truly look for the best products for this system, and are intellectually honest, that very well may be the way it turns out.

I understand your point of view. I had an Arcam AV9 as my proc for a full 7.1 Genelec 324 active 3 way system with dual HTS6 subs. Despite the AV9s relative low cost it sounded as good as all comers, and i tested most of the best, but was superior to EVERYTHING in terms of noise at high gain.

A couple of people have mentioned the Gotham. I fully endorse this. Ive just installed one in each of 2 rooms. The linearity, cleanliness and power are fantastic. It is extremely heavy for its size which is great and it also looks good. Its the only one I've tested that is the sonic equal of the HTS6. The Genelec is not really suitable for display unless your into the whole "somebody parked a nuclear submarine in my lounge" look.

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post #98 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Fritz View Post

Here's my example: I recently wrote about the new Weiss Minerva DAC. It costs $4500 retail. In my system it provided the best digital sound I've ever heard. It will play back the Reference Recordings HRx master files at their native 24-bit/176.4kHz resolution via a FireWire connection with my MacBook. To hear this level of clarity is breathtaking - 16/44.1 simply does not compare. So my contention right now is that the Minerva is the high-water mark "despite" its price.

Is your contention that the Minerva is the high water mark predicated in part upon your enthusiasm with playback via the MacBook and if so, is it still warranted if one chooses to not go that route in their own system?

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post #99 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
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The key to exploring the Minerva's true capabilities is getting the 24/176.4 data to it. The MacBook can do it. PCs can do it. No disc player can do it -- The DVD data disc that RR sells cannot be played on a machine, it must be saved as a file and streamed from there.

Other DACs can do this rez too, such as the Berkeley Alpha DAC, though that unit does not have FireWire or USB and is therefore not easily capable of coexisting with a MacBook unless some type of converter is used.

I understand there are other options coming online such as the unit from Sonic Solutions. I think for the best digital sound the ability to handle 24/192 in its native form must be considered as a high priority.

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post #100 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 06:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldmachine View Post

I understand your point of view. I had an Arcam AV9 as my proc for a full 7.1 Genelec 324 active 3 way system with dual HTS6 subs. Despite the AV9s relative low cost it sounded as good as all comers, and i tested most of the best, but was superior to EVERYTHING in terms of noise at high gain.

A couple of people have mentioned the Gotham. I fully endorse this. Ive just installed one in each of 2 rooms. The linearity, cleanliness and power are fantastic. It is extremely heavy for its size which is great and it also looks good. Its the only one I've tested that is the sonic equal of the HTS6. The Genelec is not really suitable for display unless your into the whole "somebody parked a nuclear submarine in my lounge" look.

I too love my pair of Gotham subs.

For those interested Jeff wrote a great review and how to properly set up these subs in Ultra Audio a few months back.
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post #101 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by oneobgyn View Post

For those interested Jeff wrote a great review and how to properly set up these subs in Ultra Audio a few months back.

Looks like I was preaching to the converted.

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post #102 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
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One other logistical detail that I've been considering: The speakers, whatever they are, will have it be brought in first. As everyone here knows, optimizing a speaker system in a room is a challenge: will the room's acoustics need adjusting, speaker placement in the room, any active EQing or processing questions. Once the speaker/room interface is optimized then I will plan to build around that in short order. It would be great (photo ops and whatnot) to have all of the manufacturers here at the same time, at least with the electronics part of the equation, but it remains to be seen whether that is in the best interest of best performance.

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post #103 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 07:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Fritz View Post

One other logistical detail that I've been considering: The speakers, whatever they are, will have it be brought in first. As everyone here knows, optimizing a speaker system in a room is a challenge: will the room's acoustics need adjusting, speaker placement in the room, any active EQing or processing questions. Once the speaker/room interface is optimized then I will plan to build around that in short order. It would be great (photo ops and whatnot) to have all of the manufacturers here at the same time, at least with the electronics part of the equation, but it remains to be seen whether that is in the best interest of best performance.

Jeff, what (or who) becomes the final decision maker in the gear to be used?
Is it
1. you
2. majority of poled opinions
3. manufacturers desire to provide said equipment
4. cost
4. all of the above
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post #104 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 07:24 AM
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Jeff, I would like to see you use/review the new Tesla line of cables from Synergistic Research. I am sure they would be interested in participating.
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post #105 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Fritz View Post

The key to exploring the Minerva's true capabilities is getting the 24/176.4 data to it. The MacBook can do it. PCs can do it.
..
I think for the best digital sound the ability to handle 24/192 in its native form must be considered as a high priority.

I've run the Weiss Minerva as a soundcard (effectively a Weiss Vesta). It's very nice as a digital transport in companion with a PC or a MAC. I only listened to redbook CD extractions as I didn't have alot of high-rez material that I appreciated.

I still consider the Meridian 808i.2 a better transport for redbook material although I agree that the Minerva is good and it does give you the oppurtunity to go up to 24/192. I hope that we will see more interesting high-rez releases as time moves on.
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post #106 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 07:31 AM
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I've been following this high end thread for a long time and am curious why almost no one ever mentions the big Avalon speakers (like the Sentinel). I've never heard it but have heard some of the smaller brethren and they do some things better than any speaker I have ever heard (like imaging). Maybe Jeff could look at this as an alternative.
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post #107 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Fritz View Post

I guess it's time that I clarify a few things. I actually had a debate with a reader the other day about this very issue. He was of the opinion that the more expensive components naturally sounded better and therefore I was missing the boat since some of what comprises my system is not the most costly.

Here's my example: I recently wrote about the new Weiss Minerva DAC. It costs $4500 retail. In my system it provided the best digital sound I've ever heard. It will play back the Reference Recordings HRx master files at their native 24-bit/176.4kHz resolution via a FireWire connection with my MacBook. To hear this level of clarity is breathtaking - 16/44.1 simply does not compare. So my contention right now is that the Minerva is the high-water mark "despite" its price.

So what this means is that I'm after the best sound regardless of price. But here is what is important: that works both ways. Regardless of how much or how little the component cost. That might mean I have a $200k product right next to a $2000 product. Someone will scoff at that I'm sure, but if we put our preconceptions aside and truly look for the best products for this system, and are intellectually honest, that very well may be the way it turns out.

I'm sure those that only see value in the lower-cost products will have a problem with this. I'm also sure those that always equate price with performance will have an issue with it too. So be it.

So to sum up, I'm looking for a system that raises the bar on performance regardless of price -- low OR high -- and in that spirit I'm listening to your suggestions.

That puts you and I more in synch than not. I don't expect the best to be cheap or the most expensive. I also don't think any one company has all the answers, though clearly some try harder than others. The biggest problem we have is that we tweak and tweak old technology rather than moving forward. Most people here would never use a MacBook as a music server. But if you can get better sound, why the heck not?

We're at a point where electronics are close to perfect and speakers are anything but. Yet people will buy a $20K stereo amp before they'll by a digital crossover/impulse correction device and a 6-channel amp for the same or less money. Most of the expense in analog speakers is because we try to minimize the problems with them in the lowest tech, most expensive way possible, trying to come up with a better make up for the pig. It makes for good product brochures, but doesn't get us any closer to perfection. DEQX is the beginning of the future of speaker design. Unfortunately, the future seems stalled by pre-conceptions from self-described audiophiles who prefer to look back rather than forward and refuse to believe that a speaker is a transducer, not a violin.

In any case, don't take the bait on trying to close the thread, there will always be contention over 'the world's best', but it's better to just move past it and keep on taking ideas. I'm just glad you seem open to ideas that are forward looking too.

John
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post #108 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneobgyn View Post

Jeff, what (or who) becomes the final decision maker in the gear to be used?
Is it
1. you
2. majority of poled opinions
3. manufacturers desire to provide said equipment
4. cost
4. all of the above

This is a great question. Ultimately I have to make the decision, however, the factors are to a large degree what you propose. I will take into account, in a very serious way, the poled opinions here. That will weigh heavily. Of course the manufacturers have to be willing to become involved, although that's usually not an issue with most -- it's good PR. Cost is really no consideration because I'm under no illusions that I will be able to afford all or even part of the system (but who know's what it will cost?). And of course it will have to beat what I have here now -- no small feat.

Really, and being 100% upfront here, the thing has to make sense in my mind in terms of performance potential. I've been doing this a long time, as have most of you. I have my likes and dislikes. But I also try very hard to have an open mind -- that's why in the past year you've seen subs, room corection, computer-based audio, etc. in my system. So in the end I'm going for performance first, with the practical considerations minimized as much as possible.

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post #109 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 08:34 AM
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ADAM speakers aren't the German brand I was thinking of but that's another interesting approach.

John
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post #110 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 09:15 AM
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I haven't heard these, and possibly no one else on AVS has either, but I have been intrigued ever since seeing a couple of writeups:

During a recent trip to an audiophile club meeting in the Pacific Northwest, AVRev.com’s resident speaker setup guru Bob Hodas did a demo with Meyers X10 system that left many (if not all) of the audiophiles drooling and proclaiming it to produce the best sound they have every heard. Source: http://www.modernhometheater.com/how...rs/main3.shtml

And:

I have auditioned many state-of-the-art monitoring systems, of all kinds, in some of the best acoustic spaces in the world, so I believe I have a reasonable grasp of what is currently available and considered to be 'the best'. I first auditioned the X10s in a less-than-ideal listening room at the Meyer Sound offices in Berkeley, California, but even there, their phenomenal transparency and accuracy was evident. Subsequent auditioning of a 5.1 installation of X10s in a properly designed control room reinforced these first impressions.

Distortion is simply not an issue with these loudspeakers, at any practical listening level — it is as if the control-room window has been removed and you are listening to the acoustic sound in the studio itself. The X10's astonishing clarity also reveals flaws in recording equipment, techniques and signal processing astonishingly well. By way of a test, I listened to some material processed through a well-known predictive data compression system. This kind of system damages unpredictable parts of signals — mainly transients — and whilst these artefacts usually go unnoticed or are hard to detect on most monitoring systems, they were certainly clearly audible on the X10s.

Stereo imaging and depth is pinpoint sharp, precise and stable over a remarkably wide listening area, and the character of the sound remains absolutely consistent where ever you are in the room. Whether this results from the almost perfect impulse response, the very low distortion, the well controlled off-axis dispersion, or a combination of these I could not tell you. All I know is that it works, and works extremely well. Instruments with naturally wide dynamic ranges and percussive transients are reproduced with breathtaking clarity and naturalness — no other monitoring system I know of reproduces brass instruments with as much fidelity.

The X10 is a most impressive monitor which, through the introduction of significant new technology, redefines the art and science of loudspeaker design. Meyer Sound have repositioned the goal posts for the high end market.
full review: http://www.meyersound.com/news/press/sos_x10_800.htm

Since they are really designed for soffit mounting, I don't know if they would work in the room you're planning.
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post #111 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 09:32 AM
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We're at a point where electronics are close to perfect .

John, keep up, this was proven by Edison in 1916.
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Well one system that I have just heard of qualifies for WBAS....

Rumour has it that some mad bugger in Canada has Purchased 7 Focal Grande Utopia EM's for a 7.1 setup....$180,000 per pair...OUCH!
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post #113 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Fritz View Post

The key to exploring the Minerva's true capabilities is getting the 24/176.4 data to it. The MacBook can do it. PCs can do it. No disc player can do it -- The DVD data disc that RR sells cannot be played on a machine, it must be saved as a file and streamed from there.

Other DACs can do this rez too, such as the Berkeley Alpha DAC

I was listening to some Nat Adderley HRx content just the other day fed from a PC to that Berkeley Alpha DAC. Absolutely beautiful.
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post #114 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Fritz View Post

Here's my example: I recently wrote about the new Weiss Minerva DAC. It costs $4500 retail. In my system it provided the best digital sound I've ever heard. It will play back the Reference Recordings HRx master files at their native 24-bit/176.4kHz resolution via a FireWire connection with my MacBook. To hear this level of clarity is breathtaking - 16/44.1 simply does not compare. So my contention right now is that the Minerva is the high-water mark "despite" its price.


Did you have the same recordings in 16/44.1 to compare? I would guess they would sound the same.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Fritz View Post

So to sum up, I'm looking for a system that raises the bar on performance regardless of price -- low OR high -- and in that spirit I'm listening to your suggestions.


This is my kind of thinking, I totally agree with you. Hope to see more cool suggestions.

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post #115 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAMPADDY View Post

Well one system that I have just heard of qualifies for WBAS....

Rumour has it that some mad bugger in Canada has Purchased 7 Focal Grande Utopia EM's for a 7.1 setup....$180,000 per pair...OUCH!

Wow. Wonder if it's the same mad bugger who had
the 3 Grande Utopia BE in front with 4 Nova Utopias in the back. Monstrous Whise Profunder sub too.

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post #116 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 04:27 PM
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Jeff,

I understand you know Ron Lapporte. You might want to get a hold of him regarding your front-end. I think that there are a few things he could do for you.

FYI - Andy (Rockport) is using a digital front-end for this year's CES that I think you might be interested in learning a bit more about.

Happy Hunting!

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post #117 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 07:32 PM
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What motivates people to post criptic messages like this? If you can't talk about something in public, then why not just send PM instead!?


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Originally Posted by PeterS View Post

Jeff,

I understand you know Ron Lapporte. You might want to get a hold of him regarding your front-end. I think that there are a few things he could do for you.

FYI - Andy (Rockport) is using a digital front-end for this year's CES that I think you might be interested in learning a bit more about.

Happy Hunting!

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post #118 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bogg View Post

Wow. Wonder if it's the same mad bugger who had
the 3 Grande Utopia BE in front with 4 Nova Utopias in the back. Monstrous Whise Profunder sub too.

There was supposedly a guy here in Santa Fe that did 5 Grande Utopias about 10 years ago, but I've never seen it. There is something that I have never liked about very large speakers though. Much prefer an exotic mini-monitor with a sub to a large tower. Maybe it's because the first really exotic speaker I ever heard was the Infinity Modulus.

John
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post #119 of 1215 Old 10-21-2008, 09:36 PM
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[quote=Alimentall;14914628] There is something that I have never liked about very large speakers though. Much prefer an exotic mini-monitor with a sub to a large tower. Maybe it's because the first really exotic speaker I ever heard was the Infinity Modulus.[/QUOTE

I have yet to hear a mini monitor integrated with a sub that sounds as correct (that would be accurate) as a well done totally integrated large speaker. I also have NEVER heard ANY small to medium sized speaker throw a correctly scaled soundstage like well done large speakers (e.g. the largest new Wilsons, the older large Dunlavys, the large Maggies, the large Dynaudio ....). While small speakers certainly have their place (some do incredible imaging), they, in my opinion, fall far short in some critical areas of two channel audio reproduction.
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post #120 of 1215 Old 10-22-2008, 02:32 AM
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OK, I'll propose my sytem as the world's best plus some alternatives

Speakers: Gryphon Poseideon or Karma Grand Exquisite

Power Amps Solid: Boulder 2050 monoblocks

Power Amps Tube: Kondo Gakuon II

Pre-Solid: Boulder 2010 or LYRA Connoisseur 4-2L SE

Pre-Tube: Kondo M-1000 MK II

DAC: Boulder 2020

CD transport: Metronome Kalista Reference

Cables: Stealth cables

Power Conditioner: Audio Magic Oracle
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