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The best equipment you ever bought

post #1 of 142
Thread Starter 
So what's the best equipment you ever bought? The pieces that have been central to your system and you never want to replace? Audio or video, whatever. You choose.

For me, it still has to be my Krell KMA-160 monoblock amps and my Aerial Acoustics 10T speakers, after all these years. (I've had them for at least eight years now.)

I just got done watching "Memoirs of a Geisha" on my system a few minutes ago, and even though I've got arguably one of the best pictures on the planet, via a Marquee 9500LC with generation II Mike Parker mods, and new Panasonic CRTs in it, it's STILL the audio side of the system that has to reach out and grab me by the heart every now and then and remind me of the glory that it can deliver.

First, this movie is bad news if you have a digital projector. Go home, class dismissed. No digital can yet do justice to a movie that is so dependent on shadows and darkness to tell the tale effectively.

Solos by Yo-Yo Ma (Cello) and Itzhak Perlman (violin) and an incredible soundtrack that makes effective but subtle use of Dolby Digital surround.

I tend to get absorbed in the movie I'm watching if it's a good one. And this is a great movie. But sometimes, the audio quality drew attention to itself even beyond the power of the visuals to keep my attention. After all these years, this is a SMOOTH, detailed, articulate, natural sounding system with no trace of glare, grain, or harshness to it. The intent of the artist is clearly conveyed. When there should be tension, there's tension. When the sound should be relaxed, it's relaxed. It maintains its integrity and character at any volume level I care to go to, and beyond what I consider comfortable. (I don't play loud for the sake of playing loud. Besides, I'd really want a more powerful amp to deliver the 1KW that's what the 10Ts are really suitable for, if I were to go for LOUD.)

After eight (almost nine) years with these speakers and amplifiers, I'm still not
even remotely interested in "upgrading" if such a thing is possible. No, I'm firmly
settled on what I have now because it totally satisfies my ears in all respects.

I've received many comments on my system from guests who've seen it and heard it. All positive. But it gets more wows over the audio quality than the video quality. And the video quality is world class.

So what's your best system component(s) for the long term? What is deeply entrenched in your system and would be the "must save" components if you had the time to save ONLY those components from your system in the face of an impending natural or man-made disaster?

post #2 of 142
I felt that way about my Levinson No.32.... until I actually went and listened to a wide range of other SOTA Pre-amps, and suddenly the Levinson didn't sound so special anymore and kinda "dated".

I'm pretty much done building my system, but these days, theres nothing that I would consider as potentially irreplaceable. That said, I simply LOVE my VTL TL-7.5
post #3 of 142
Originally Posted by cmjohnson View Post

So what's your best system component(s) for the long term? What is deeply entrenched in your system and would be the "must save" components if you had the time to save ONLY those components from your system in the face of an impending natural or man-made disaster?

My ears (eyes too).
post #4 of 142
I have a hair brush that I bought when out with a buddy about 25 years ago. My wife still uses it and I haven't seen a need to upgrade it....
post #5 of 142
My bose Acoustimass is the best thing I ever bought (and then took a baseball bat to)

can't beat that thin tinny sound oooooo like nails on a chalk board (shivers)
post #6 of 142
My Fosgate FAP V1 and 3ea Audion Mono 300B Mk II (front) and 2ea Audion stereo 300B MkII for surround sounds great,not so many watt but the sound is the best I have ever had.
And on top a turntable Opus3 Continuo made of 25kg of concrete and a nuvistor riia from rauna (Bo Hansson) .(my dream option is the 40kg granite turntable )

The sound of musik and film is great from this system.

For the digital media I use a Fosgate FAP T1+ and loop it trough the FAP V1
post #7 of 142
Koestsu Rosewood Signature cartridge: the sound of big dipole ribbons from the front end.

Closely behind the Aesthetix IO signature with dual power supplies. Quite a bit of tube noise, but grandeur in all other respects.
post #8 of 142
PSB Stratus Goldi's and a Cinepro 3k6II(which was bought refurbished directly from the company and Eric A told me it was actually one of the last II models and internally updated to a 3K6III but with a 3K6II faceplate)
post #9 of 142

I have been in this Audio hobby for as long as I can remember; my father was one so... this could be a long list...

Magnepan Speakers... from the MG 3.5 to the MG 20.1 I am not looking back at speakers and while I have heard better speakers ( Dynaudio Evidence Master, Wilson X-2) , The MG 20.1 still do things that they do not and hold their own where the uber-speakers excel.

Burmester Electronics... Once I got in the Burmester camp that was it... I have not heard much better electronics , yet.. The 911 for example has been there for 15 years and still is one of the best amplifier around, the CD gear are in a league of their own..

Nordost Valhalla again I have had them for almost 4 years and cables (including more expensive or celebrated ones) have been tried in the system , I have given up , none made my system sound better. The Nordost make almost any system sound better
post #10 of 142
It seems as though not many people are putting anything on the video side. Here goes:

D-BOX Motion Simulator. Adding a new sensation to watching films is just incredible. I heard some A/V dealers (before I was in the business) try to tell me that people get tired of them, but it was always from somebody who spent all of 10 minutes with one and didn't sell them. I have had 1 for almost 4 years now and own four of them (2 in the theater and 2 in the gameroom). I want to get another one for the living room. I think my daughter likes it even more than I do, which is great. They are without a doubt an incredibly big hit with guests.

Kaleidescape. Having all my films and CDs available in any room is awesome. The interface did for my DVD collection what TiVo did to my TV.

TiVo. You can come to my house and take my TiVo units. Just make sure you bring lots of guns to help you out in the endeavor. I will NEVER go back to pre-DVR days. The only reason I got rid of one was to replace it with an upgraded model. HD-TiVo is a must.

ISCO III lens. 2.35:1 aspect ratio for films. Yeah, baby! There is no upgrade from this lens. Constant height is the way to go for cinema.

Infinity IRS V. I sold all my Infinity IRS speakers to launch my business to the next level. I still miss them, although I only have one room that is big enough for them in my new house and my theater is there. If I want to get them again, I am going to have to add onto the house. Lots of luck with that one. Selling them was like dropping off your kid at day care for the first time. Your circumstances dictate it must be done, but you still feel like a heel for doing it and wish circumstances were different.

Calibration equipment!! I don't understand how people can be really serious about A/V without any way to quantitatively measure the differences they are experiencing when they do comparisons or make adjustments. Even if you have great eyes and ears, it is comparing moving around in the dark to turning the light on.
post #11 of 142
Definitely my TACT gear. Without the room correction it provides my setups just wouldn't sound right. I use 5 Eggleston Andra IIs in my 5.1 setup and run them full range. There is simply no way I could do that without the TCS MKII. Likewise, in my 2.2. setup, I use corner load subs, which would not be possible w/o the RCS 2.2.XP.
post #12 of 142
Nordost Valhalla power cords.
post #13 of 142
My Waveform Mach 17 speakers + 5 Waveform MC surrounds.
I have been a gear-aholic on a lot of things, but not my mains speakers that continue to serve me well after 5+ years.

My EAD PM2000 amp was my first intro into "real good sound, power, & control".
I was first shocked as to the sonic improvements to my NHT VT2 speakers at the time.

For digital front-end, I "peaked" at Altis CDT-3 -> DCS Purcell -> Wadia 27ix combo.

But bar none, the best money I ever spent is for a Squeezevbox v3.
It is not sonic excellence, but sonic accessibility excellence.

- Andy
post #14 of 142

HTPC with a Radeon card and TheaterTek player, built on his kitchen table by Mark Macleod, phenomenal DVD playback quality for $1200..............ran circles around the Faroudja DVD player/scaler combo two years ago here........
post #15 of 142
I am nowhere near the point where I can say that I don't want to change anything about my system. I would say that the "best" gear I ever bought was a pair of Paradigm Reference Studio 20s. I have long since sold them and moved on to bigger and better things, but they were the speakers that truly drew me into this hobby. I was a junior in high school and had made about $800 from selling some stock. The Studio 20s replaced some cheap Infinity speakers from circuit city. They were my first taste of good sound. That was almost ten years ago and I have never looked back.
post #16 of 142

I am somewhat astounded that the "Blendzilla" is not your choice here? After all, it almost fits in our over $20,000.00 category.

And to all those people that disparage the Kaleidascape for its price, I wonder how many have had a chance to sit & test one? What an awesome piece of gear!
post #17 of 142
For me, it's definitely audio gear:

MBL 101E speakers, MBL 6010D preamp, and a pair of MBL 9008A monoblocks. This moved both my digital and analog setups worlds ahead of where they were.

Also, the Sennheiser Orpheus headphone system (HE90 headphones and HEV90 amp).
post #18 of 142
Sony G90 stack and Faroudja 5000 video processor. Have yet to see a picture as good .

post #19 of 142
What do you think of my system
Amps 2x mark levinson dual mono one for each front speaker revlon proforma f50a
Centre speaker proforma c50 rear and side speakersrevel m22
Preamp mark levinson 326s also preamp Lexicon mc12 with amps for rear and sides lexicon 312. Suwoofers 2 Rel Q100.
DVD/SACD Player Esoteric UX-1
Plasma monitor Pro fhd1
post #20 of 142
Originally Posted by damon View Post

And to all those people that disparage the Kaleidascape for its price, I wonder how many have had a chance to sit & test one? What an awesome piece of gear!

I wholeheartedly agree. I just had my first drive issue. I received a voice mail and an email during lunch that I was getting I/O errors on one of the drives (I have 17 drives in my system) and they are sending out an advance replacement drive for me today.

Could you imagine how much more enthusiastic the Wilson group would be if they received emails from Wilson every time a driver got fried just a little and that a new driver was on its way.
post #21 of 142
THey would have Tzucc on speed dial
post #22 of 142
I guess Dave Wilson would get to call him on the red phone.
post #23 of 142
Thread Starter 
"revlon proforma f50a"

Gee, I didn't know Revlon, the cosmetics company, made speakers!

Do you maybe mean Revel Performa?

post #24 of 142
Originally Posted by QQQ View Post

My ears (eyes too).

You bought your ears? Well, that explains a lot about how you look.

Don't laugh, mine was an Akai GX 630 reel to reel tape recorder. I bought it in Grade 11 for $1000.00 with money I made selling TVs that I fixed in my parents basement. That was in 1979.

I sold it once for $800 when I really was broke, but managed to buy it back for $250 a year later..

It's never needed service except when I managed to send 40 volts through the output level control (I repaired it myself).

Maybe it's not state of the art any more, but it still runs fine, the glass heads are still perfect, and I still have 400-500 reels of tape ranging from the 1950s to the 1990s, most of which I recorded myself on that machine.

I have plans to put together a 1970s stereo system for the living room c/w turntable and 1970s amplifiers, probably some Phase Linear stuff.

post #25 of 142
Thread Starter 
I love reel-to-reel tape recorders!

It's partly family nostalgia, but it's also partly because I love the "mechanicalness" of an R2R player slowly chewing its way through a 10.5" reel of Maxell UD tape at 30 IPS and delivering a distinctive presentation of familiar music.

Tape doesn't sound like vinyl. Or like CD. It has its OWN sound. And I've always loved it.

I own four R2R decks at this moment. Two run, one's a parts spare, and the fourth is being restored. (Pioneer RT-909)

post #26 of 142
Slimdevice's squeezebox (modded and unmodded versions). I have two, one modded and one unmodded. These provide me instant access to any CD, artist, song, etc., and provide random play. Moreover, I can like them and provide the same sound throughout the house. The modified version is better than my Proceed PMDT fed into either my Proceed AVP as DAC or my Ack Dack (though I currently have the modified Squeeze Box's digital output put into my Ack Dack). I can't and won't go back to CDs.

I also like my Jeff Rowland #10, though I think there are better amps for less money. Nothing is as nice looking though. I also like all my Proceed gear and am still peed that Lexicon bought them.
post #27 of 142
The original Oracle because it was a sight to behold (and much better than anything else at the time), and the Lectron tube amps because they introduce me to the "value" of euphonic (WARM) sound.

I still keep an eye open for a cheap Oracle (especially a Premiere) because I would just like to have one again (its visual appearance appeals to me greatly). As to tubes, maybe I shall revisit them a few yrs from now.
post #28 of 142
Clearly the best "equipment" I ever purchased was a new room designed by Rives. I had a very good room before they started but the differences from the lower mids all the way up were breath taking.
post #29 of 142
Originally Posted by Mr.Poindexter View Post

Could you imagine how much more enthusiastic the Wilson group would be if they received emails from Wilson every time a driver got fried just a little and that a new driver was on its way.

I am not sure I want to know... it's no small work order to replace a wilson driver. They have 'em in there pretty good.
post #30 of 142
Theta Six Shooter. Best bargain I ever made for a performance to cost ratio.
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