Originally Posted by miller8b
TJ, I'm not trying to hijack this thread but since you have a picture showing your electronics I have a question. It looks like you have odyssey stratos mono amps as well as maybe the perseus preamp from Rogue Audio. Is this correct?
Did you add those at the same time and if not what do you feel made the biggest difference in your sound, the monoblock amps (solid state?), the preamp or the speakers and if you say the speakers what was the next biggest addition?
At this point I think this thread is dead, so I wouldn't worry about hijacking anything.
You are correct, the preamp is a Rogue Audio Perseus. I formerly had a Parasound 2100 preamp paired with a Parasound 2250 2-channel amp. I was battling what I thought was some sort of distortion or glare in the upper midrange. So I identified a couple of tube preamps to try (a Perseus and a VTL 2.5), and a good deal on a Perseus showed up. It was like it was meant to be. I have not wanted to move on from the Perseus and I like the way the HT-bypass works.
The Perseus added a little dimension to the sound. Not just deeper sound stage per say, but more of a clearer image of layers. However, I still had an upper midrange sound I wasn't fond of even with the preamp change. So I identified a couple of amps to pair with the Perseus (Odyssey Stratos and a McCormack 225). I ran across a great deal on the Odyssey Stratos Extreme SE mono's, and grabbed them up.
This was a big change over the Parasound 2250 amp. The sound was immediately smooth yet seemed more detailed. I noticed a fuller sounding midrange, more midbass punch, and nicely detailed treble. I hate bright, but don't like warm. This mix of gear seems to have taken away any brightness while leaving what I call "obvious" detail. It's detail that you don't have to listen for, it's just there and easy to hear.
This mixed with the right cables has me thinking I can't do much better in my budget range. I know my source is weak, but the sound is really great. I can play anything and find it very enjoyable. I've never had that before.
I personally think you have to have the best speakers you can get to lay the best foundation for a sound system. I'm not sure I could tell you what component would be next most critical, maybe preamp? But it all starts with a decent sourse. I think you need to understand the sound you are looking for, and move towards that goal as best you can. It's the synergy of all the components working together that achieves that special sound. If you change any of the components I have, you take something away from the overall sound.
One thing I can state is that my Salk's have never disappointed me. They seem to have handled every component upgrade I've made by showing me a clear picture of what that component has to offer. I used to find faults with every other speaker I've owned. I just don't seem to do that with the Salk's even after more than 2 years.
I don't know if I've helped you or not. I don't even know if that all makes sense. Ask away if you have any other questions.