Pre amp & amps to complement Wilson Sasha, Mezzo & Duette, stereo & Home Theater - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 41 Old 11-03-2013, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

   I am putting together a high end audio and home theater. I love the Wilson Sasha, Mezzo (center), duette's for sides (may or may not use duette's in the rear). What are your suggestions for a Pre amp and amps to complement this system. Thank you in advance for your help.

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post #2 of 41 Old 11-03-2013, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grhoffman View Post

Hi,
I am putting together a high end audio and home theater. I love the Wilson Sasha, Mezzo (center), duette's for sides (may or may not use duette's in the rear). What are your suggestions for a Pre amp and amps to complement this system. Thank you in advance for your help.

Wilson are very revealing speakers, similar to my Thiel: 3D soundstage, excellent image focus and transparency, but VERY extended top end. IMHO, you have to be very careful about component matching or the resulting sound could be relentless and unpleasant.
How was the Sophia demo'ed to you when you decided it was the one to build your system around? With tube or solid state pre/power amps? Are you a seasoned veteran or are you new to this hobby?

1. If you are new to this hobby, I would suggest to listen with your own ears at local dealers and audio shows to decide. There is no replacement for actual listening because it is strictly a matter of personal preference - opinions here are only a start.
2. If you are a nutty seasoned veteran like some of us here tongue.gif, then IMHO Wilson sounds best with a tube component in there to control that relentless high. Best place is the preamp - stick a tube preamp there and combine this with a solid state amp: you get the relaxing top end, deep soundstage, and presence of tube component and dynamics of solid state. Of the tube preamps on market, for Wilson speakers I would prefer some thing with a softer top end like CJ or VTL, as opposed to the more extended AR.

For hometheater processor, you would like something that has a smooth top end and "full-bodied" sound, and here the Theta CB HD would fit the bill beautifully because that is its signature sound. You could run Theta straight to the power amp, or stick a tube preamp in between Theta and power amp. The latter is what I do with my system and I think it does have outstanding music and hometheater sound, with jaw dropping dynamics and holographic soundstage. I believe you too will be smiling from ears to ears :-).
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Regards, Can
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post #3 of 41 Old 11-03-2013, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Can, thanks much for the input. I have heard the Wilson Sophia on McIntosh MC 601's and the Sasha's on ARC. I will do some research on the information you have provided. Best Regards, Greg   p.s. My thoughts are to put a couple of 13" JL Fathoms in the room also.

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post #4 of 41 Old 11-04-2013, 12:11 PM
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I've heard Alexandrias on AR pre and LAMM amps- excellent tone on that. Hard for me to attribute whether it was the pre or the amps though, or both.

I'll concur with a tube pre and solid state amps, though my taste would be to lean to more class A electronics for amplification : the Wilsons are efficient enough.

Make sure the room is neutral, Wilsons need optimal placement. Contact Vicoustic for reasonable acoustic treatments (cost).

www.vicoustic.com

Dan
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post #5 of 41 Old 11-04-2013, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Dan! A local dealer has a new AR product coming in soon. I was looking at the Lamms last night. Can's comment on the Theta brought a new name that I was not familiar with and look promising. Does anyone have any experience or insight into Theta products?

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post #6 of 41 Old 11-05-2013, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grhoffman View Post

Can, thanks much for the input. I have heard the Wilson Sophia on McIntosh MC 601's and the Sasha's on ARC. I will do some research on the information you have provided. Best Regards, Greg   p.s. My thoughts are to put a couple of 13" JL Fathoms in the room also.

You are welcome. My synopsis came from many years/trials of multiple amps/preamps combination. The tube preamp is to give space/in-the-room-presence and tame the high frequency for music, the solid state amp is necessary in particular because this is also a hometheater system (no matter how powerful the tube amp, you just cannot reproduce the low end sock of ss amp for hometheater application, unless it's a bi-amp setup, etc.).

With revealing speakers like Wilson, and if getting the music is your number one concern, the idea is to set up the 2 channel to be perfect first. Again, I would emphasize that the decision to go with tube or solid state preamp would be your most critical decision here as it affect the sound significantly, and that there is no replacement for listening with actual components unless you want to go through what I went through (5+ $$$ preamps, multiple $$$ amps tub and solid state), which in itself is not bad, in fact fun and educational and part of what makes this a hobby.

Theta is as hard-core "audiophile" as it gets and has been around many years (pioneer of DAC with Theta Pro 20 years ago); take a look and ask around, but I am confident you will NOT go wrong with this choice for your Wilson. If your stereo shop has not heard of Theta, fire him. :-) The Casablanca has many years of outstanding reputation and is about to get a significant update to CB IV that will make it, we hope, sound even better, if that's possible :-). The icing on the cake is Dirac room correction, which would make this an even more appealing and complete all-in-one solution for audiophile hometheater setup.

At any rate, I mentioned Theta for hometheater setup, not necessarily as an all-out preamp. I would suggest the following 2 courses of actions, based on my own experience with a somewhat similar speaker, Thiel, and on many years of listening to Wilson at shows with both solid state and tube components (my brother in law has Watts Pupply paired with CJ top tube preamp and poweramp):
1. If all-out SOTA MUSIC IS PRIORITY, get the preamp you want, such as AR, then add the hometheater processor ahead of the preamp. The hometheater processor goes to one input of the preamp, and when you watch video, you just set the preamp to unity gain. (This is how my system is set up btw.)
2. If HOMETHEATER IS PRIORITY, then the Theta Casablanca alone as preamp is more than you ever need. Movie sound appears to be extremely well recorded these days, with very little stridency and great spacing (I keep thinking the audiophiles in the industry have all migrated to the movie sound room) and the Casablanca would be a no compromise solution for your great speakers IMHO.
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Regards, Can
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post #7 of 41 Old 11-10-2013, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Can,

  Thanks again. Great input. I will do some additional research and look forward to hearing the Theta soon. My Wilson dealer also carries Theta. Best, Greg

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post #8 of 41 Old 11-10-2013, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Can,

   I just read your Theta post and reviewed your equipment. Stunning and Beautiful. Congratulations! I have a couple more off topic questions. If I want to spend $15 - 20K on a projector and screen (motorized from the ceiling), what would your recommendations be. Secondly, I have a lot of CD's (1,500). I want to be able to store and use these at will, in the highest quality. I am probably going to use something like RTI on an IPad as a control device for the home theater room. I learned about iTunes lossless too late and would have to rerip all of my cd's anyway. Would be nice to have ready access to Blu Ray and DVD also. Looked at Kaleidescape today and not sure if that kind of money would be better spent somewhere else. Thanks again for all of your help. Best, Greg

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post #9 of 41 Old 11-10-2013, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Can,

    Just looking at the Theta website again. What Theta amps do you think I should use to run Wilson Sasha fronts, Mezzo center channel and duette sides and possibly rears? I would rather have to much power than not enough. Thanks much! Best, Greg    ps - A local dealer thought the Nad M50 and M52 might work in this application for CD storage.

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post #10 of 41 Old 11-11-2013, 03:13 AM
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I have an M50, it's very good indeed. Better than the linn klimax renew and Akurate ds. But don't bother with the m52. It's a waste of money. Just get yourself a normal nas drive. I use readynas duo with 2 x 3tb drives and rip CDs using a laptop with dbpoweramp or JRiver
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post #11 of 41 Old 11-11-2013, 07:59 AM
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Greg, filmscreen: Stewart ST 130, projector: JVC DILA 4000 http://procision.jvc.com/product.jsp?pathId=140&productId=PRD4207000
I assume this is for a typical home setup, with screen 8-10 feet wide? I am not an expert, and above projector is not all-out $30k projector "best," but outstanding nevertheless. I have a similar combination and feel no need to upgrade or change. There are many knowledgeable people on this board and at AVS; you might want to call and ask them regarding my suggestion.

Projector: With 4000 standard looming, best to pick one with native 4000 input. And the field is changing so quickly that cautious me wouldn't go for broke; I mean pick a top unit with latest technology, for example e-shift 3 vs. 2, but know that better things are always coming.
Film screen: Stewart to best of my knowledge is gold standard. Another safe, can't-be-wrong choice. I have Stewart Greyhawk but JVC itself and reviewers seem to use ST 130 and that would be my choice now. Buy Stewwart so you don't have any lingering doubt. The quality is top-notch, that there is no doubt.

I am just as over the top with photography (Canon 1D, Contax & Canon prime lens, RAW format, OCD pixel peeper :-), etc.) and could judge contrast/colors well enough. Black level is key for me and that's part of the reasons I picked LCOS based JVC. You will be very happy with above combination, I am sure.

No recommendation for cd storage because I am pretty "basic" there and many people here know much more about the "best" choice for ripping and storing a big collection. I listen primarily with my turntable; cd's are played with traditional cd transport or ripped with apple lossless to my multiple Ipods. Then I use a Wadia 171i connected to a tube Sonic Frontiers DAC for playback of the Ipods. I have a hard time telling difference between Lossless Ipod with Wadia 171i vs. High-end CD transport and so am content with this setup for CD playback, for my smaller collection of 400-500 CD's.
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post #12 of 41 Old 11-11-2013, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Can, Great input! Thank you.

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post #13 of 41 Old 11-11-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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djnickuk,

   Thank you for your very valued advise. Best, Greg

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post #14 of 41 Old 11-13-2013, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grhoffman View Post

Hi Can,
    Just looking at the Theta website again. What Theta amps do you think I should use to run Wilson Sasha fronts, Mezzo center channel and duette sides and possibly rears? I would rather have to much power than not enough. Thanks much! Best, Greg    ps - A local dealer thought the Nad M50 and M52 might work in this application for CD storage.

David Reich, the talented engineer for those excellent Classe amps ("DR" in the naming of Classe amps in the past, such as Classe DR-6 preamp & Classe DR 10 amp, to acknowledge his contribution), is now the brain behind Theta amps, so yes of course, these amps would be great candidates for your Sophia. Willson speakers in general are not hard to drive (high sensitivity relatively), but the impedance does drop sometimes (for Sophia I believe below 4 ohm at upper bass region, 100 hz), so it's a good idea IMHO to get big amps that could supply the current.

Because the front 3 speakers dominate the sound of any audio-hometheater system, I would suggest at least Enterprise for the front 3 speakers, and if you need to cut cost, Dreadnaught for the surrounds.
Within any line of power amps, based on my experience with Classe and Krell amps (KSA 150, 250, MDA 300, FPB 300, FPB 600 over the years, yeah no kidding), as you pay more, you tend to get not just deeper bass but more importantly a bigger soundstage and more layered separation of instruments and voice within this soundstage. This applies to even a mono channel such as center. In other words, just like video display and engine displacement, when it comes to hometheater amps, bigger is better :-).

But.. the bottom line is IMHO you *have to listen in person* to make sure the components go well together. Your dealer seems to have top notch stuffs, so I would suggest the following demos to start:
1. Theta Gen VIII DAC --> Audio Research pre amp --> Theta Enterprise vs. another amp ---> Wilson
2. Casablanca III HD --> Theta Gen VIII --> Theta Enterprise --> Wilson
This would tell you immediately whether you have tube-ears or not :-). In case you haven't done this yet, make a demo cd with a collection of music you are well familiar with and use this cd every time. If the AR draws you into the music, there's the start of the system. Don't worry about movie audition at first as IMHO if you get the front 2 channels right, the rest will follow.
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post #15 of 41 Old 11-13-2013, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again Can. Tremendous advice. I'm in total agreement with your amp power synopsis. I will have a couple of 13" JL Audio Fathoms in the room also to pick up some of the bass slack. Can you give me an idea of how much of a discount I might expect on some of this high end equipment? Best Regards, Greg

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post #16 of 41 Old 11-13-2013, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Can,

   I was just looking at the Theta Gen VIII DAC and must admit I don't fully understand the two configurations you suggested and why? Once again I am fairly new to ultra high fidelity. i.e. In a home theater application I follow the Casablance III HD - Theta - Wilson. I understand the personal preference of maybe adding a tube pre amp into the mix for ultimate stereo listening.  I guess I could even add a tube preamp into this type of system in the future even if I chose not to add one now. Can I add a tube preamp in the chain of components off of the Casablanca just for the left and right channels? Thanks again for all of your valued advise - You're the Best!

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post #17 of 41 Old 11-14-2013, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grhoffman View Post

..I will have a couple of 13" JL Audio Fathoms in the room also to pick up some of the bass slack. Can you give me an idea of how much of a discount I might expect on some of this high end equipment? Best Regards, Greg

Greg, I assume the JL Subwoofer is primarily for movies, not music? Once you have the Sophia, I think you might find out that using subwoofer for music may cause more harm than good. In my system, it frequently enlarges soundstage but takes away the very transparency and reach-out-and-touch intimacy that I spent so much time and effort to achieve. For music, I very often either has subwoofer off, and if on, it's the lowest setting with lowest xover frequency. Even at the low level, it causes some harm to my ears.

Almost the only "good" way to go deeper and louder in the bass is to get bigger Wilson with larger woofer drivers already integrated (vs. adding ext. subwoofer), but really I think Sophia is no slouch in the low end, given you have the right amp/preamp combination.
Actually now that I think about it, in all my years of listening to different Wilson's at shows and showrooms, I can't recall even once seeing a subwoofer setup. BTW, I still have great memory of having Watts Puppy demo'ed by Wilson himself at LA audio show in early 90's, with Jadis tube gears. So much fun and what amazing sound.

How big is your room? This might influence the size of the subwoofer you are going to add, for music or for film.
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Regards, Can
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post #18 of 41 Old 11-19-2013, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Can,

   I got your private message and want to thank you for your response. December 5th I am going up to B & W's facility near Boston to hear the 800, 802's and Classe product line in a controlled Audio/Home Theater environment. Best, Greg

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post #19 of 41 Old 11-20-2013, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grhoffman View Post

Hi Can,
I got your private message and want to thank you for your response. December 5th I am going up to B & W's facility near Boston to hear the 800, 802's and Classe product line in a controlled Audio/Home Theater environment. Best, Greg

Great. I would make sure to audition with 2 channel music that you are familiar with, not just movies. Movies (to the engineers' credit) often sound spectacular because of sound effects and the store will want to impress you with these demos, problem is there would then be way too many variables and distractions (picture, subwoofer, surround speakers) to make a good evaluation of what you are after, good sound for your music collection and for movies. Ask the store to be ready to give you a 2 channel stereo demo with all subwoofers and processing off, and I am sure you know already but bring a couple selections of both quiet and "power" music. For example I have used the same 2 hundreds of times: Cat Stevens' Morning Has Broken (for the voice and instruments at intro) and Janet Ian's Breaking Silence (for the kick drums).

Classe and B&W are both outstanding components, Classe SSP 800 was in fact what I would have bought if I hadn't decided on Theta, and this should be a great demo. Did something I say scare you away from Wilson :-)?

Before you go to the B&W demo, might be a good idea to repeat a Wilson demo with the same material: 2 channel music that you are familiar with. This is the best way to refresh memory and compare the sound, and to get to the core of the matter: sound that draws you into the music. Hope this helps.
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post #20 of 41 Old 11-20-2013, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Grhoffman View Post

Hi Can,
   I was just looking at the Theta Gen VIII DAC and must admit I don't fully understand the two configurations you suggested and why? Once again I am fairly new to ultra high fidelity. i.e. In a home theater application I follow the Casablance III HD - Theta - Wilson. I understand the personal preference of maybe adding a tube pre amp into the mix for ultimate stereo listening.  I guess I could even add a tube preamp into this type of system in the future even if I chose not to add one now. Can I add a tube preamp in the chain of components off of the Casablanca just for the left and right channels? Thanks again for all of your valued advise - You're the Best!

The one and only reason that I mentioned tube preamp at all is that as soon as I heard "Wilson," I immediately associated you with being a nutty audiophile, like me :-). Sorry for the confusion.

A simple Theta CBIII HD preamp --> Amplifiers --> Speakers combination is more likely all that are necessary for 99.9% of "normal" people. Then if you want true SOTA 2 channel sound, add the Gen VIII DAC; this is in fact the system of a number of Theta owners, including the Big Bruzonsky, keeper of the (Theta) flame.
And yes you are correct, if you happen to have "tube" ears, then it's a very simple matter to buy later and insert into the chain to take care of main and left and right channels - this is how my system is set up.

Also, if you are going to demo other speakers besides Wilson and don't mind driving a little, I would suggest contacting Craig/VGI and see if you could get a demo of an all Theta system with Aerial Acoustics speakers. The sound from all accounts is fantastic and would probably meet all of your expectations.

Curiously enough, first time that I heard Wilson was also first time that I heard Aerial Acoustics, I think the 10T. Both outstanding speakers and I would be happy with either.
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post #21 of 41 Old 11-20-2013, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again Can,

   No, you did not scare me away from Wilson. Two competiting local dealers. One with Wilson & Theta and the other with B & W and Classe'. I thought I should take the time and hear them both. Yes, I agree with the thesis of turning everything off and listening to 2 channel audio. I have been getting a number of new cd's recently and appreciate your two suggestions. While we are on the subject can you suggest a number of other cd's that you enjoy listening to? Maybe you listen to things that I am unfamiliar with. I am always interested in increasing my selection. Thanks much. I will let you know how I make out at the B & W Factory installation. Best, Greg

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post #22 of 41 Old 11-20-2013, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Can,

   I am not familiar with Aerial Acoustic speakers but will do some research this evening. Who is the Big Bruzonsky? And where and how can I get in touch with Craig/VGI? Thanks again. Greg

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post #23 of 41 Old 11-21-2013, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Grhoffman View Post

Thanks again Can,
No, you did not scare me away from Wilson. Two competiting local dealers. One with Wilson & Theta and the other with B & W and Classe'. I thought I should take the time and hear them both. Yes, I agree with the thesis of turning everything off and listening to 2 channel audio. I have been getting a number of new cd's recently and appreciate your two suggestions. While we are on the subject can you suggest a number of other cd's that you enjoy listening to? Maybe you listen to things that I am unfamiliar with. I am always interested in increasing my selection. Thanks much. I will let you know how I make out at the B & W Factory installation. Best, Greg

I do have a bunch of audiophile discs that were used by reviewers, companies (Apogee and Wilson, etc.) at one time or another to demo at show. But the key is, it has to be music that YOU like otherwise it's meaningless and you are going to hate me after listening to the audiophile sh*t I recommend for 30 times straight tongue.gif.

Please narrow it down: classical power music, classical chamber, jazz, blues, rock - which era? Basically I am stuck with older cd's so if you want more modern stuffs I won't be able to help.

To start, based on top notch audio quality and music that I like. You don't need many, just 2 or 3 that you are intimately familiar with
:
Rock: the gold standard that I have used over and over is this: Janis Ian Breaking Silence (modern recording but with vintage mics, tube gears, to best of my knowledge) http://store.acousticsounds.com/d/10705/Janis_Ian-Breaking_Silence-Gold_CD
Blues (modern recording): Almost anything by Audioquest is good. Doug MacLeod, Bruce Katz band. Tremendous dynamics, clarity, soundstage, voice; kick drums that will jolt you our of your chair. http://store.acousticsounds.com/index.cfm?get=results&labelid=38&categoryID=4
I have 2 LP's that unfortunately don't seem available on cd/sacd: Doug MacLeod Come to Find and Bruce Katz Crescent Crawl. Both among the very best of my audiophile discs, for both music and audio quality.
Chamber Classic: Boccherini Quintets 4, 5, 6 Harmonia Mundi (Apogee's Jason Bloom's favorite IIRC), Tony Faulkner engineer, tube gears, another one that I have used over and over: http://www.amazon.com/Boccherini-Quintets-String-Quartet-Guitar/dp/B0000007CN/ref=pd_sim_sbs_m_2
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Regards, Can
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post #24 of 41 Old 11-21-2013, 03:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Can,

   As always, great response. Thank you so much. I love classic rock. I have been buying a lot cd's recently similar to music I already have as they have been digitally remastered. I listen to jazz occasionaly. I enjoy Diana Krall, Madeleine Peyroux, Sam McClain. I don't listen to much country but enjoy it when I do as I have never heard the songs before. So I probably have a thousand rock cd's and am always interested in listening to something that is different. Great suggestions with Janis Ian and the Blues. I will pick up the chamber music also, but probably not going to get too extensive in that area. Best, Greg

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post #25 of 41 Old 11-23-2013, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Grhoffman View Post

I have heard the Wilson Sophia on McIntosh MC 601's and the Sasha's on ARC.
That combination is going to be tough to beat for two channel. I own Theta gear but the Audio Research preamp is better for two channel music. I currently own Mcintosh MC501s amps and plan to upgrade to the 601s. I don't think I will ever switch from Mcintosh amps. The sound is great, specs are as well, and resale value is second to none.

As for Theta, it is a extremely good and a better value. The Gen VIII is a combination two channel preamplifier and high-end dac. It can be slaved to the Casablanca surround processor for volume control so that it becomes in effect an extension of the Casablanca. Think, Transformers. The Casablanca can add two super weapon robot arms, better two channels of audio, to it's arsenal so to speak. No other company can integrate high-end two channel separates into home theater quite the way Theta does it. Typically one would have a high-end two channel preamp and stand alone CD player and use the analog bypass when you want to route the prepro through your analog preamp for movies. The way Theta does it, the Casablanca can output digitally into the Gen VIII for both movies and music. That way you get the same level of two channel sound as you would get with a separate high-end analog preamp and stand alone dac or CD player and you are able to take advantage of the superior sound quality for movies as well. That's the course I have taken.

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post #26 of 41 Old 11-23-2013, 08:50 PM
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^^^ Agreed. What I was trying to convey was that one could start with a 2 channel system, make sure that it sounds right, and then add Theta processor for movie and the result would be an all-out no-excuse smile.gif music/home theater system.

The front 2 channels dominate both music and movies, make sure you get it right, then IMHO rest (other channels of movies) will follow.

Regards, Can
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post #27 of 41 Old 11-23-2013, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grhoffman View Post

Hi Can,
   As always, great response. Thank you so much. I love classic rock. I have been buying a lot cd's recently similar to music I already have as they have been digitally remastered. I listen to jazz occasionaly. I enjoy Diana Krall, Madeleine Peyroux, Sam McClain. I don't listen to much country but enjoy it when I do as I have never heard the songs before. So I probably have a thousand rock cd's and am always interested in listening to something that is different. Great suggestions with Janis Ian and the Blues. I will pick up the chamber music also, but probably not going to get too extensive in that area. Best, Greg

McClain on Audioquest right? Any and all Audioquest Blues LP's will be at the very top of my list of audiophile discs with great music and out of this world sound. Yes I also have McCain Give It Up To Love and Keep On Movin'. Terry Evans' Putin' It Down also DOES ROCK tongue.gif. Note that I do not have the CD, only LP's, and the sound as mentioned has unbelievable clarity and dynamics, clearly the very best of all my audiophile LP's.

You don't really need many discs, just a couple that you know by heart so you could compare the systems. I've always used Janis Ian's Breaking Silence to test low frequency/drum reproduction and female voice, and Cat Stevens' Morning Has Broken because the quiet passage allows me to concentrate on voice. (Human voice, versus for example guitar, is easier to memorize and compare for me.) Many people at audio shows including seasoned pro's have asked me for the name of that Janis Ian's discs.

Just a couple more that have passed the test of time:
Aaron Neville's Warm Your Heart: http://store.acousticsounds.com/d/8924/Aaron_Neville-Warm_Your_Heart-XRCD_CD. Not quite audiophile level of transparency as Breaking Silence, but tremendous music and sound nevertheless. Christopher Hansen High End shop in Los Angeles used this one to lure me to buy my Thiel CS5i many years ago.
Los Lobos's Kido and Lavender Moon: http://store.acousticsounds.com/d/90180/Los_Lobos-Kiko-Hybrid_Stereo_SACD. One notch below sound wise but still excellent, equally great music wise. CD sounds good but SACD, and LP (!), is coming so you may want to wait for that.

Anyway, you are doing the right thing; listening to multiple systems. If you are serious about any system, make sure you come back for second and third listening; just like testing a car, the second test I believe you'll learn a lot more.

Regards, Can
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post #28 of 41 Old 11-28-2013, 07:57 AM
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Hi Can,
   I am not familiar with Aerial Acoustic speakers but will do some research this evening... And where and how can I get in touch with Craig/VGI? Thanks again. Greg

Aerial Acoustics is an outstanding high-end speaker company that's been around 20+ years (safe). At same price point, I would rank it an even consideration with Wilson and an extremely worthy competitor, with a different sound signature. In particular the top model 20T uses ribbon tweeter, which likely would mean smooth and fantastic high end reproduction, clarity, and transparency. All expensive and most-difficult difficult traits to achieve in a high-end system. I have not heard it but would absolutely love to; hopefully they will be here at next year's Southern Cal High End Show in Newport Beach. Craig/VGI carries both Aerial and Theta and could be reached at www.theatermax.com.

If you are going to listen to speakers other than Wilson, I would think that an audition of the Aerial (with or without Theta gear) is a must. I think you will find the contrast between Wilson and Aerial fascinating.

Regards, Can
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post #29 of 41 Old 11-28-2013, 02:40 PM
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If you have not committed to speakers yet, and you want phenomenal value for money, the original Revel Ultimas are hard to beat. I owned the Studios and they are dollar for dollar the best speaker I ever owned. The certainly beat the watt/puppy 5 in a side by side comparison.

You would need 2 x studio for mains, 2 x gems for surround and 1 x voice for center. Very hard to find matching set because they are no longer in production. However, there is a set of these 5 speakers listed on audiogon right now. If you can pick this set up for $9K, you have absolutely phenomenal set of speakers and you can apply the savings towards other electronics.

https://app.audiogon.com/listings/full-range-revel-ultima-theatre-package-5-matched-speakers-2013-11-12-speakers-84745
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post #30 of 41 Old 12-01-2013, 07:42 AM
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I agree on the older Revel line.. The new line is also very good. I don't think there is anything wrong with the speaker selection. Wilsons are great speakers but not much of a bargain. Aerial is a much better bargain but they sound quite differently than Wilson. The TS is not likely to beat the value of the speakers on Audiogon if he is willing to purchase used. I would not buy any speaker I could not hear however. The various brands can have "house" sounds that are quite different. The decision can be endless. Sometimes you just have to stick with something that you hear and really like I do like Wilson speakers.. With that said, the Aerial 20T is an excellent speaker and the TS should hear them if he can.

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