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 Bill333's System

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Bill333

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:45 am

REVIEW: TRUVOICE RED DAMPER

The TruVoice Red Damper is a CD mat put out by Digital Systems & Solutions. The price is $249 each and it comes as part of a system of one red and one blue mat ($129), but they can be purchased separately. I tried only the red mat. The mat has one shiny, hard surface and one rough, fibrous surface. Don't let the word 'damper' scare you - there is nothing rubbery or soft in it. They are designed to be usable with either side down and in combinations so that you can tune in the sound you like, but I found putting the hard surface against the CD to be completely unlistenable. So this review is entirely for the mat used fibrous side down.

Let's start with the good. This thing should really be named the 'Downranger', because its main effect is to move the tonal response downwards. Again and again, when I put the mat on a CD, I hear more bass and lower midrange. And not just more bass, but better defined and articulated as well. I think there are also some minor benefits to clarity and the density and solidity of images, but the effect I mostly hear is that music becomes deeper and fuller. You might wonder if this would imbalance a well tuned system, but the effect sounds completely natural to me. What doesn't sound so natural is the treble emphasized, bass thin presentation of the Magnavox without this mat on the CD. Perhaps this device really does correct a fundamental problem with CD playback?

Now the bad: the TruVoice doesn't get along with the Magnavox MDV2100 very well. I actually bought two of the red dampers, but have been unable to use the second one because it gets shoved out of the drawer when it closes. So you're limited to one mat at a time. More of a problem is that the CD and mat combination don't always get taken up properly by the disc spinning mechanism. Sometimes the mat get separated from the CD and the mechanism refuses to start playing. Other times, it plays but takes on a wobble. Putting a top tune on the crossbar of the CD mechanism seems to make these problems much worse. Without the top tune, I think the CD and mat play correctly about 90% of the time. Of course if you get the 1 time out of 10 that the uptake doesn't go well, you can just open the drawer and try again. Also, please note that these problems are specific to the MDV2100. With another player you might have none of these issues at all.

The seller has a generous return policy, but I'm keeping mine. Despite the problems, the effects are well worthwhile.
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:09 am

REVIEW: EVS GROUND ENHANCER

The Ground Enhancer is a small 'pigtail' device sold by Electronic Visionary Systems. It is essentially a bundle of wires designed to be attached at the speaker terminals in conjunction with the neutral (not hot) speaker wire.

I'll cut to the chase: these shut down the harmonic envelope around the music. The effect mimics the clarity of a 3D system, but at the cost of the music's harmonics. Not recommended for any tunable system.
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:08 pm

REVIEW: REALITYCHECK CD DUPLICATOR

The CD duplicator is a product made by Digital Systems & Solutions. The RealityCheck is not listed as a current product on their web site, but can be obtained by contacting the proprietor, George Louis, by phone or email. The duplicator is purported to do two things: create CD-R copies of your CDs which sound better than the CDs themselves, and make polarity correct copies of CDs which have inverted polarity. The price is $350 and includes a sleeve of 50 GslAzure CDRs, a bottle of Ultrabit Platinum-Plus CD enhancer and a bottle of CleanDisc CD cleaner.

The RealityCheck is a standalone device about the size of a large shoebox with two CD drawers for the original and the CDR, and a small LCD screen to let you know what's going on. Essentially, you just put in the original CD, put in the blank CDR, and it does the rest. It's possible to set the copy speed, but the machine often overrides the settings if it detects a higher optimal speed for the CDR you're using. The GslAzure CDRs always copied at 16x. The duplicator is an Acard ARS-2051 which has been modified to invert polarity when it copies. Because of this, the first generation copy is always inverted so you will need to make a copy of the copy if the original had correct polarity. The copier can also be connected to a computer by a USB cable and used as a CD burner, but I didn't test that function.

This is an item that challenges some long held beliefs. Is it possible to make a copy that sounds better than the original?

The answer is yes, they do sound better than the originals. The difference is not night and day, but the copies consistently show a range of subtle improvements. On Cast Your Fate To The Wind by Vince Guaraldi, I hear less brightness in the piano and a little more detail and resolution in all the instruments. Overall, it's a more natural sounding presentation. Listening to the Beatles' Abbey Road, I hear better spatial resolution of the drum beats on the right side of the soundstage as they move from back to front in Come Together. In the current state of my system, I hear the cricket chirp in Sun King move from right to left on the original CD, but it becomes indistinct and 'wanders' as it goes over the left side. With the CDR copy, the path is distinct all the way over. The soundstage isn't any wider, but it's better delineated.

The other major selling point here is the RealityCheck's ability to correct inverted polarity. Until I talked to George Louis, I hadn't thought about recording polarity in years. I used to have a CD transport and DAC which would invert polarity with the press of a button on the remote. I would sometimes hit the button just to see what it would do. I could hear a difference, but I had no clear preference for one over the other and ended up just leaving it in the same position on every recording.

Two things are very different now. My current system is far more resolving than that one was, and I no longer have a way to change polarity in the playback chain. Does it matter? When I started going back and listening for absolute polarity I discovered that it matters a lot. Polarity inversion wreaks havoc with soundstage presentation. I bought Machine Head by Deep Purple because I love Smoke On The Water, but the whole album sounded terrible on my system. The soundstage was just a confused mass of noise. I had given up on it when I had my conversation about absolute polarity with George Louis. I tried reversing the speaker wires and sure enough, the album was transformed. All of a sudden instruments and people occupied distinct places on the soundstage and the whole thing made sense. When I got the RealityCheck, I made a copy of the Deep Purple album and put the copy in CD jewel box and the original in a storage folder. Now I can enjoy Smoke On The Water whenever I want. These days, whenever I hear an album with an 'all over the place' mess of a soundstage, I just make a copy of it and everything is good listening again.

It's possible to deal with inverted recordings by switching the speaker wires, but doing so unsettles the wires. In a highly tuned system, that's a serious problem. You could use a CD player or DAC with a polarity inversion control, but those are few and far between. The Magnavox definitely does not have that feature. I find the RealityCheck to be an excellent solution to this problem, plus it makes copies that sound better than the originals.

Recommended for anyone that plays CDs.
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:54 pm

An update on my search for a way to get a NOS DAC into the Magnavox DVD player. So far I've not had any luck finding someone who has experience and would be willing to do that kind of work. Lukasz Fikus at Lampizator clearly has experience doing NOS mods to CD players, but I contacted him by email and he says he only builds his own DACs now. All of the web pages I can find that talk about modifying stock CD players for NOS are doing so on players with ladder DACs like the Phillips TDA1541A, usually by bypassing the oversampling chip but keeping everything else in place.

The trouble with the Magnavox is that it uses a sigma-delta DAC, so the oversampling is actually part of the conversion process. To get a NOS DAC, you would have to completely replace the DAC section with something else. That's a pretty major engineering task. Even if I could find someone to do it, I'm not sure I would want to bankroll an effort like that. Just getting a new board to function with the existing circuitry on the MDV2100 would be difficult, and there's no guarantee that the resulting setup would sound good.

A better idea might be tuning up a CD player that already has a NOS DAC in it. There aren't many, but the Opera Consonance CD120 Linear is one. It also has a reputation for reasonable price and good sound.

The other option is to use separates, and if I'm doing that I'm probably going to use a computer as the transport. I definitely understand what Michael says about having more mass, more things to tune, and more drain on the power strip, but sometimes trade offs are worth it. Things to think about.
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:37 am


Hi Bill333

I wonder if I am misunderstanding something about the use of an outboard DAC in your system. Over in my neck of the woods every DVD player, Blu ray player which is available in the $50 to $100 price range has a coax output for the digital audio signal that can send a signal to a DAC like the Musical Fidelity V-DAC or anything using this interface and music plays.

Of course the Magnavox may be an exception or your plan is to intervene at the PCB level which is something different entirely. If not, would a cheapo lightweight DVD from Circuit City/Rat Shack not work into the Altmann DAC and sound nice if tuned?

Surely this is a better combo than using a laptop which is a vipers' nest of nasty noise and RFI from the processors and whose transport is not made for continous spinning and reading of disks.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:04 pm

"In my system, the Sony DAC sounded initially better but as the hours progressed, it sounded more off and the V-DAC pulled ahead in music realism. I have tried this three times at least and taken detailed notes. Each time the path is remarkably similar."

In the last few years I have found a couple of players that I feel gets away from the digital sound. One of them is the Samsung 241 and the other is the Maggie. For myself I have noticed that some of the others sound too mechanical as if the music was not yet set free from it's digital domain. I don't really care what the numbers say, it's a particular musical pace that I listen for and the ability to go 3D with warmth.

This has always been the challenge for digital as a language and I feel that much of this is because of physical factors and not so much the numbers. I would also have to say that out board DACs have not done it for me at all "yet". I'm sure this is because of the extra parts, cable, power and space they require.

I would love to hear the improvements but if it doesn't beat up on "what is" with the simple setups it's hard for me to get excited.

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:42 pm

Robert Harrison wrote:
Hey, guys,

Just curious, but if spring clips are a no-no, then why is Mr. Green using them on the mini-mods?

This is a great observation. I would love to someday make my own binding posts. Even with the lowest mass made posts I have used I'm not happy with the sound. If you do use spring clips, it's very important to spend time using the springs so that they loosen up. After about a hundred compressions the springs loosen to the point where they don't clamped down as hard. However when you are going through a maintenance period on your system where you aren't concerned about settling you might want to compress the springs 20 or so times to loosen them up.

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:02 am

Last night I did some experimenting with my system. I've been on a straight and narrow path for the last several months putting together my system around the Pioneer, the Magnavox and the Music Ply 60s. And it has come a long way. Both the Pioneer and the Magnavox have been stripped down to the circuit boards and are up on custom made stands similar to the ones pictured in Michael's thread. Electrical conduit, outlets and power strips have been completely eliminated; both components are wired directly to the electrical panel. I've been living with a system at a high level of performance and I've gotten used to 3D soundstaging and excellent clarity and dynamics.

So why am I experimenting? In past posts I've beat up on the Magnavox and lauded the sound of the Altmann DAC. But I felt that I had not really given the Magnavox a fair chance in my initial comparisons more than a year ago. The listening I did was with a unit that had little more done to it than taking the top of the chassis off, so I decided to take the Magnavox as far as it could go and then see how I felt about the sound. I don't want to say that the Magnavox I have cannot be tuned up to an even higher level than it is, but it's up there. Now having heard what the Magnavox can do, I felt it was time to revisit the Altmann and compare it to a properly tuned MDV-2100.

The first problem was a technical one: what am I going to use as a transport? I had been using server based and audio PC based systems in the past, but the audio PC is down and needs to have its software completely rebuilt and the server system is scattered in pieces all over my storage room. Both of them had compromised the sound to levels that Michael found unacceptable when he was here several months ago. The best comparison would be to use the Magnavox to supply SP/DIF output to the DAC, but the Magnavox digital outs will not pass a stereo signal. After Sonic's suggestion about nearly any other DVD player being able to do this, it finally occurred to me that I could just borrow the Oppo DVD player from my home theater rack. (Thanks Sonic!)

I first hooked the system up to the analog outs from the Oppo and sat down to listen. It was a train wreck: no bass, wretchedly bright, completely muddy and heavily veiled. It sounded like someone had thrown ten blankets over the speakers. To be fair, the analog outputs on that machine had never been used before, so it had not been broken in. But still - yikes. I popped the Altmann DAC in with a TosLink cable and in ten seconds it had done what the Oppo itself couldn't: it made music. The bass was back with a vengeance and the soundstage was cloudy, but recognizably 3D. I did just a little tuning: a couple pieces of Magic Wood under the TosLink cable to get it off the platform and a set of MTDs under the Oppo. I put on my ever-familiar Vince Guaraldi CD to do some listening.

As I listened to the album, I had to pause the playback several times and ask myself, 'How did I not hear this before!?'. What I was hearing was not some sound effect, but the music, the musicianship and the musical intent. When I listened to these same songs through the Magnavox, I was hearing each instrument, its placement in the soundstage, its timbre and all the notes. With the Altmann DAC I heard the way the drums supported the piano crescendos, the way the bass cello played off the symbols. Not just three people playing instruments in the same room, but three people working together making beautiful and moving music. Again and again, I heard passages in the music that were exciting and involving because of the way the music as a whole worked together. It was like I was hearing these passages for the first time. I had heard all the notes being played through the Magnavox, but I had not heard the music. I don't think I'm imagining this or inventing reasons to like a piece of equipment I've always felt favorable towards. There really is something different about the way the DAC plays music.

I don't know why the Altmann is able to do this and the Magnavox is not. The performance of my cobbled together Altmann front end is still far short of the tuned Magnavox in many ways: it does not have the clarity, the detail or the dynamics of the tuned Magnavox, and I suspect its frequency response is not as even across the full range as the Magnavox. But it delivers something critical to the experience of listening to music that the Magnavox does not do. And I don't believe that one more tweak is going to make the difference with the MDV-2100.

I'd like to close this posting with a quote from Mr. Ozzy Osbourne:

Quote :
No use sayin' sorry
It's something that I enjoy

-- from 'Flying High Again'

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:21 am

It's the day after I did my listening session with the Altmann DAC and I'm having a nagging suspicion: What if my renewed ability to hear the music on the Vince Guaraldi album was just the result of hearing it reproduced differently? A different flavor, not a sonic revelation?

So I sat down to listen again yesterday evening. My initial impression was that the sound was decent, but nothing special. So I tuned. I put the Red Top battery up on an impromptu platform, constructed a set of 22 gauge power wires to go from the battery to the Altmann, removed the lid of the Oppo's chassis, loosened the hold down screws inside the Oppo, and removed the most salient wire ties. By the end of this tuning session I felt the Oppo/Altmann combination had little or nothing to apologize for. In terms of the usual audiophile parameters I think I was hearing about 90% of what the well-tuned Magnavox was doing.

Having gotten the system to a pretty good place, I felt it was time to listen to my new Burt Bacharach CD set. I played disc 1 from the beginning and was immediately finding that dream-like state of reverie I like to go into when I am really 'inside' the music vibrations. About 10 songs in to the disc are the tracks 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance' and 'Make It Easy On Yourself' by Jerry Butler. Goosebumps! I got more goosebumps from that ten minutes with the Altmann DAC than I did from the last two months with the Magnavox.

At this point I feel very solid in stating that the Altmann really does bring something to the table that the Magnavox does not.

I got an email from Michael this morning saying:
Quote :
Try to remember how to get to that place that you are talking about and show me what it is when I get there so that I can identify the sound you are trying to get.

I'm not sure if what the Altmann does is a 'sound', but perhaps that's part of it. From what I'm hearing the Altmann differs from the Magnavox in a couple of obvious ways, and at least one that's not so obvious. First of all, the Altmann has a much lower tonality than the Magnavox. It is very bass and lower-midrange rich. The only time I heard the Magnavox go this low was when I was using CD mats on it. The other thing is that the Altmann throws denser, more solid images. It's a little easier to believe that you're hearing something real. The not so obvious difference is the musicality, but I'm not sure that's something I can point out in the sound. It's really something I surmise from my reactions while I'm listening.

Before I forget, I noticed something else that the Altmann DAC is doing for my system. Ever since we took the Pioneer completely out of its chassis a month ago, I've had an annoying transformer hum. The hum is clearly audible between music tracks and can be heard during quiet passages in the music as well. With the Altmann DAC driving the Pioneer, the hum is gone. What's next for this thing? It answers the phone and does my laundry for me while I'm at work?
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:29 am

A new chapter begins, or maybe an old chapter revisited with a different front end view. Either way I always enjoy the experience of hearing music coming to life.

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:39 pm

Hi Bill333

That was an excellent description of your experience with the Altmann, Oppo and the Magnavox. Also one that leaves Sonic relieved – given my finding that my CD playback sounded better with the Sony Blu-ray run with the V-DAC. I was feeling kind of out on a limb.

Got a couple of questions – what tuning did you apply to the Altmann? I understand this DAC is a PCB set into a wood base. I am about to start tuning my V-DAC and what you did will be a great guide for Sonic.

You also said you used a CD mat with the Magnavox. What mat did you use and why did you give it up since its effect appears beneficial from your description?

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:03 am

Hi Sonic,

I didn't do anything to the Altmann at all. Michael made for me a couple different custom boards for the DAC, but I wasn't using them. The PCB was screwed into its oem pine board in the standard fashion. The stock pine board has three little pine pegs for feet and I tried putting space cones underneath them, but this softened the sound so I took them out and ended up with the DAC just sitting directly on the equipment platform.

I'm not sure how much of this can be transferred to the V-DAC. The Altmann circuit board was designed from the ground up to be attached to a wooden board, it might be a lot more difficult to get the V-DAC set up the same way. Have you considered getting an Altmann DAC?

My review of the TruVoice Red Damper is posted on this thread a couple pages back (02/19/2012). I need to update the review since I actually did return both of them. I think there were some positive effects to the sound, but the vibrational problems were bothering me, and even worse than that I couldn't use it at all with some CDs. The shape of the CD affected how well the mat would mate to it. If the shape was good, the CD and mat would load with no problem and play smoothly. If it wasn't, the mat would get caught in the drawer when it closed or the edges of the mat could get caught inside the mechanism after the drawer was closed. I have no way to reshape CDs so there was no way to fix the problem - I just couldn't use it with certain CDs. Complete disasters were pretty rare, but more often it would vibrate wildly as the disk was spinning up and then settle into a not very smooth but still functioning mode as it played. With a playing mechanism as lightweight as the Magnavox's I was becoming concerned about what long term exposure to that kind of vibrating was going to do. Eventually it was getting so that I would stand over it like a hawk as I loaded a new CD into the drawer, with my finger poised over the eject button in case there was trouble. For all these reasons I ended up using the mat less and less, and ultimately, returning it.


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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:19 pm


Thanks Bill333 for this.

The effects of vibrations from the CD transport are not (from what I understand) long term but immediate.

They cause errors in reading the disk and the correction mechanisms work overtime but never get it totally right so what we end up with is a processed artificial sound.

For Sonic, if the CD player/transport has any vibrations beyond something I can just feel at the tips of my fingers lightly touching the transport and casing, I assume there are major errors and the system correction has cut in -- meaning the music is seriously distorted. When the error correction acts, we get a homogenised, bland, colourless sound that is really awful to hear.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:13 am


Hi Bill333

Wanted to ask you something about the Vince Guaraldi recording - on Track 1 Samba de Orpheus -- where are the three instruments in relation to each other on your system?

It is of course drums Left, piano Centre and bass Right but:

a. are the three instruments at the same plane or is the bass or drums further forward (closer to you) than the piano?

b. is the piano at the plane of the speakers or further back?

c. are the cymbals at the speaker baffle, further forward or back? What about the snare and kickdrum? Do any part of the drum image go beyond your outside left speaker edge?

d. where does the bass image? Finger noises, where are they? Does the bass go outside your RH speaker outer edge?

e. do you find the recording ambience going forward to the front wall or does it go behind your head?

Do let me know because it will guide me as I am tweaking but I'll answer all these from my system's presentation shortly.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:50 am

Hey Bill333! How's your system doing?
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Thu Aug 09, 2012 5:37 pm

Hi Sonic

I think Bill is in the Bahamas for the week on vacation, but I saw this and thought I would jump in. Last month Michael and I had a chance to visit Bill's place. Michael asked if he could tweak a little before anything got started so my brother and I could do a quick listen. My brothers face was white when he came out of the room affraid albino "that is unbelievable". He said "how is that possible", "I was in the room with the band".

It took Michael all of 5 minutes to make the room explode with sound. He said this was his taste for a quickie and you can make things sound how ever you want once you learn the tools, but I was pretty happy with his setting. HUGE sound stage! with drums that kicked you.
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:58 am

We're picking up on Bill333's system from posting on garp's thread.

starting with a garp post
________________________________

First, I want to complement Michael on your advice to Sonic when you posted:

I wouldn't say Space Cones have problems. They do produce full range. If not I wouldn't have them as you know, but this reveals some things about the system as a whole. We now know that the system shifts up and there is probably a ton of mid and lower tones wanting to be released. I think folks go for focus before going for open too much. Your metal products for the most part are focusing tools. In most cases the lower tones are more pronounced over the mids and highs and need to be focused in, in an upper tuning, again much like a guitar string. When you combine the right amount of body with the right amount of focus you have a good balance. This is why I warn people against silver solder and wire and some audiophile type parts that tend to shift up. That thicker metal on audiophile parts sends things upward more than people think. Also like I have been saying so does heavier plastics like acrylic.

This paragraph shared more about tuning as I start evolving my own system and the trade offs that I must consider. This was very timely insight as I add a vintage turntable into my system. For those who are trying to maximize their systems, you should follow Sonic’s ever evolving system as he is able to get Michael to share important information which could really save you significant money and time down the road. You just need to pay attention and you will learn much.

My journey in tuning has branched off from most here. I love the sound of single ended tube amps and colorations they often deliver. The problem with modern tubed amps is they often weigh a ton and have very large masses of metal as well lots of silver solder. There has been a lot of so called light weight tube equipment pass through my listening room, but very few pieces were easily tuned. Fortunately, I was able to find a respected equipment builder who made no nonsense tube amps and preamps that were lightweight and encased in WOOD! That’s right wood; however, the market for this product dried up because audiophiles did not know how to effectively use this lightweight sonic nirvana. I am currently listening to a wood encased tube preamp driving a 245 tubed 4 watt wood encased amp. The amp has the ability to add feedback which helps improve bass response. When I paired these pieces with the Maggie, the journey for equipment ended. Lightweight components with lightweight wooden 96 db efficient speakers with light solid core speaker cables and ICs have made me a very happy camper.

I am currently using an older MW cable ground as a platform for the Maggie and there was a very noticeable sonic difference compared to placing the Maggie atop MTDs and thin MW squares. Piano, violin, voices, woodwinds, brass, and guitar sounded more natural; there just seemed to be more harmonic density. I am looking forward to adding a Maggie platform to see where I can further improve a much improved system.

post from Bill333
_____________________________________

Journey for equipment ended!? Tell us more!

Can you give the make and model of your amp and preamp, and especially the speakers? I've been thinking that the harmonic richness of good tube equipment is something I've been missing in my systems so far. What sounds different about your system from other systems you've heard based on solid state equipment? What do you find especially appealing about the sound you're getting now?

back to garp
_______________________________________

Bill,

It’s good to see you back on the forum. My audio equipment includes Tonian speakers and cables. The Tonian speaker maker is as passionate about his products as Michael is about tuning. Tonian speakers provide a very detailed sound so component matching is essential. Tonians can sound very sterile with most digital amps and prefer tubes or older receivers like Michael’s Pioneer. These speakers prefer Tonian speaker and IC wire which is a cloth covered small, solid core copper with no tinning.

I am using the SES series of components from Music Reference. I have a C4 preamp and single ended 245.1 tube amp. These components are no longer offered and are extremely rare on the used market. I was able to purchase my amp and preamp at considerable savings from audiophiles a few years ago that did not know how to utilize/tune. Music Reference still offers a 14 pound EL84 based push pull amp which is extremely fast and neutral sounding. These amps come up on the used market at considerable savings but not everyday. Recently, I saw one sold within hours of posting. Since you have tried the Altmann digital amp, you might like some of Decware’s offerings. The Mini Torii is a very small footprint 3.5 SE integrated weighing 14 pounds. These are rare on the used market and come standard with a walnut base. I have seen cherry based MTs on the used market, but this amp is currently popular and sells quickly. The Decware house sound tends toward neutral, not lush. Other options include Bottlehead if you like diy. It has been quite awhile since I have heard Bottlehead products, and they seem to be going more exotic using expensive 300b tubes in their preamp offerings. Many have purchased their kits and housed the components in wooden bases. There are many small se amp builders that can make excellent sounding amps that do not have audiophile approved massive iron and exotic capped products. Abraxas audio comes to mind. His amps often can be found on the used market.

When I first met Michael, I was heading toward the single ended tube sound after experiencing it in several local audiophiles homes. If your listening habits allow you to live with 3 watts of amp power or less and you have 95 DB speakers you may like the sound in your tunable room. I suggest you listen to both single ended and push pull amps before you jump in as these may not suit your listening preferences. I am afflicted with tinnitus and most digital amplification including most modern dacs make me edgy to the point that I cannot listen to them for any length of time. I prefer detailed and warm sound that many tube amps provide.

mg jumps in
___________________________________

Hi garp

Bill's road has been an interesting one, and here is some input from me. Keep in mind that my observations are based on me looking in and not Bill's, so hopefully I come close.

The first system I heard of his was a Quad/Red Wine setup. It was a strange combo that was stuck in an old/new school audiophile sound. A cool sound, but very much in it's own world. The soundstage was very low and often started from the speakers. The plastic of the quads also stuck out quite a bit in the character of the sound. After this brief listen the whole system was sent to me minus the Quads. The speakers used was the classic 60's. I got the Touch system, an audio PC (Bill Design), Altmann DAC, and Amp, and of course tons of batteries.

The system to be honest was very odd to me. The Altmann http://www.mother-of-tone.com/index.htm has it's very own unique sound and unlike the Magnazox does not like going outside of that sound. Here's why this was surprising to me. The parts count is so small that you would think you could take it anywhere, but after mountains of different wood and tweaks, it would change but never landed (to me) on music. I can some up the sound in one simple phrase "battery pushed digital". If you get a mental picture in your head of this sound you would be pretty close when you heard it. We worked on Bill's NAS and Altmann and Redwine systems till they were made to sound every way they could but no cigar even though Bill said he had some magical moments mixed in there. These systems were done on both (at his place) on the Quads and Music 60's.

I need to add in here that I am a big stage warm guy and anything that shifts up is not my cup of tea. As we know I have lived with tons of equipment and have tuned tons of systems but if there is one thing that doesn't cut it it's a tilt. There were several times when tuning with Bill that asked me to listen when he was telling me it was close or even sometimes when he said he was there, but during these times 2 things always stuck in my thinking, small and tilted. I don't say this to pick on Bill but to emphasize that we all have our taste and Bill's is somewhere that is not something I, Herns, Andy or Bob were able to put our finger on. There is something that Bill is looking for that is very specific. Detailed, on the small side and leaning toward midrange clarity without the warmth (bigness) arround the instrument but yet not tilted up either.

Based on the times Bill said we are close his soundstage size is



I'll post this on his thread when and if we start to head a direction but I think this is very important from the standpoint that I usually go after a particular range of sound within a certain realm. That realm is usually very big, very life size and tons of air and body. The closest I got to my liking at Bill's was using the pioneer/maggie/60 combo.

One other thing to keep in mind when exploring Bill's setup is that the Tunable Room is not up. Someone did work on the ceiling and the room shifted. This shift causes the room to need to be taken down and reassembled. I heard this on my last couple of visits and it's clear that the tuning screws had pressure on them as well as the panels. The room itself is wonderful. I love the sound of the tonality of the wood pieces. During listening when we had an audio summit with all the guys there Hernspj tune his way and it was very nice. Herns listens Midfield, Andy and I Nearfield, Bob Nearfield with a lean toward wide stage and from the best I can tell Bill focuses on the center stage. So at this stage of the game the tunable room at his place is not put together.

So far Bill is not a fan of the Maggie sound. He can explain that to you. He does lean toward small amps as opposed to big and I don't think he has heard the Roger Modjeski sound.

now to the good stuff

I don't know the speakers or the cable your using but I do know the Roger Modjeski sound and can see why the Mag/MR combo would be special. As you have said the smaller amp and 60's won't do it as compared to the 96 db and smaller amp, and with your last post I could see why this could happen. I use the Vifa in 2 versions the stock mount and the wood mount plate. The wood mount plate is much smoother and gets along with smaller and bigger tube amps. Still it sounds like the power match between the Tonian and the MR is a good mate, and if you find a good mate with Roger's goodies you have magic. Roger is my personal favorite tube designer. In my book he has always known how to capture the essence of a note from a round perspective. I won't lie Roger's stuff is not an auto fit and you can't throw it into any system and expect magic. RAM has been underestimated because of speaker and source designers not having their act together. If there were more musically built speakers out there Roger would be the biggest name in High End Audio. I would have sold tons of them being a dealer for MR if I would have had more than the Decote' 10's to show them on, but people didn't know Decote' and the match up with other things didn't go all that well at the time. Roger's preamps are easier to mate up in systems as I used them on everything out there. I thought the preamp was called the mr3 but when looking for it online did not do so well finding it. Garp, what were the names of his older preamps? Anyway I thought they were out of this world good. The only competition at the time for me was the CAT (first generation) which I thought was Kenny's finest.

So, before I go too far down memory lane I would love to see Bill find the system right for him. I think to do this though on his thread we need to fill in the blanks to the uniqueness to "Bill's sound". Is it somewhere in the mix of what the tuning guys have done at his place and in the Tunable Room, or is it somewhere in the matching of a system similar to garp's minus the size of garp's stage. And the weird part for me would be if Bill could live with the Maggie, which I think is the cats meow, but so far has not been his cup of tea.

Bill, if this is stepping on toes in anyway please let me know. From my point of view the more we can share the more it helps the whole. The only thing I frown on is the put down of any tuning products for obvious reasons, but since tunees have been to your place and we have watched your system grow and go through stages this is something that I think makes for good learning about the listeners mind and your personal setup and sound. It also is a plus for me because I have been wanting people to see into the inner workings of garps setup and listening habits. I've always been a fan of getting to know what is in the listeners mind and believe it helps others many times over as they search for their magic which for many stays hidden for many years.

And garp, thank you for sharing your system. As I am a fan of your sound and components from what I have seen and heard I like that people can see a true live music lover (esspecially smaller clubs and mid-size venues) in action and tailoring your system to your ears. Also because if I were a client with one foot in the tune (tearing everything down to nothing stripping the room from everything but the system) and the other in High End Audio (keeping some of the component's basics intact in a lived in room) and doing a small amp high efficiency speaker combo I would be looking at your setup seriously as a reference system. As I said I know the Maggie sound and Roger's and think this could be one of these magic sound combos (along with your table and speakers) that may be one of the few that crosses over for the tunee and the audiophile both. The maggie/roger thing really gets me charged as I can hear some of the round gentle nuances in my head.

I know the world is much bigger but I have always seen two (well maybe more) basic systems. One is an audiophile system that has a soft, gentle (yet immediate), detailed, round, rich and interwoven sound, and the other that is a chameleon with as little personality as possible so that it can be tuned for any occasion (everything has a personality). When I hear components, parts and pieces being mention on the forum you guys can almost hear me wincing from here because I live in a world of energy meets materials and usually can tell if a system is heading toward lock down when I am preaching the opposite. In my mind if a system is heading toward a flavor it is also heading toward a particular style or styles of recording or music selection. Like when someone says "my system is a jazz system". the first thing I do is look at what people are listening to and see if the systems and music will get along. A jazz system will rarely play loud complex rock without someone loosing an ear or two. People don't realize that when a system is on lock down it won't play everything and so they say "that's a bad recording". Very few people have come to terms with this and honestly feel because they have paid big bucks for something it is good and the music is flawed or something like the maggie is to blame. We tend to love what we have made and own over reality. I go through this as a designer and whenever someone mentions something they are listening to I run out and buy it. People should see my list of sonic's music Laughing I have had to learn a whole new language to start buying some of these cause of how removed I have become of classical. On the other side of this Bill is listening to Donovan's greatest hits, Rocky Horror and American Graffiti sound track. The garp sound I picture as a wide swipe with a gentle top end flavor. Much like the Herns swipe both of these have flavor yet both able to reach out to the music in a way that I feel comfortable saying "if this is the way you listen this is a great choice". Herns is a very good mid-field listener, and I can also picture the maggie/roger combo being great. I also like the Drewster Sherwood/maggie/60 combo.

With Bill's setup there is yet other preferences that are going to be made and hopefully in a way that someone out there will say "that's me", "that's what I've been looking for".

and over to Bill333 bringing us up to date
_____________________________________

Hi Michael and Garp,

I'm glad you posted this because it gives me a chance to talk about what I'd really like to be hearing in a system. This is something I've spent the last several months thinking about, and think I may have come to an understanding.

The system I had going in the tunable room was excellent in many ways, but I didn't really find it very involving or satisfying. I seemed to have been more or less alone in that assessment. I vividly remember the visit with Herns, Michael, Andy and Bob over at my place. They were absolutely loving the sound, while my feeling was that I was really impressed with it. You'd think that I would have maintained this expertly tuned system in that state for as long as possible, but when they left I did what I always did: I aggressively retuned everything in an attempt to shape the sound into something that really moved me. Of course I just ended up twisting the system into a pretzel. Michael is probably laughing while he's reading this, because he knows better than anyone just how twisty my pretzel systems are. So what was I looking for with all this tuning?

I believe that what I was looking for is something that I'll call 'vibrational intensity'. This is kind of hard to talk about because it's so off the wall from what I hear other tunees and other audiophiles talking about, but my deepest desire in music reproduction is to hear every note and every instrumental image blooming with the inner beauty of that voice or instrument. I think vibrational intensity is the result of the inner beauty of the instrument combined with good dynamics, detail, and a very dense, palpable stereo image.

Listening to music is a very sensual experience for me that tends toward trance states. When I'm really able to enjoy music the way I like to, I go into a reverie where I stop following the music with my mind and go still, letting the beauty and emotion of the music surround me like being submerged in an ocean of beautiful vibration. I have had systems that allowed me to do this, but I haven't had many and none were as good at this as I would have liked. The last system I had that did it was the NAS->Logitech Duet->PaceCar->Altmann DAC->Red Wine->Quad system I had set up in my loft just before the tunable room arrived.

Michael may remember the time when I was tuning the system in the tunable room myself and I rushed out all excited and asked him to come in and listen. I was playing 'Come Together' by the Beatles and I had finally gotten the bass guitar to fill out the way I wanted it. It was dense and solid, distinct in the sound stage, and I could really hear the beauty and detail of each note. Michael sat down to listen and he couldn't hide the fact that he thought it was pretty bad. He explained all the different ways the sound was messed up and of course he was right about all of them. It was badly imbalanced, and after stepping back for a minute I heard it too. But for one shining moment, I was marveling in the beauty of that bass guitar. Even if I'd been willing to fight Michael on it, leaving it that way wasn't really an option - I've found from experience that the sound would eventually grow fatiguing and unsatisfying. The tuning only worked for that one piece of music and one instrument within it. Not a happy story, but is it possible to get the sound that I want in a way that works all the time?

I think that it is, but not with the equipment I've been using. The Pioneer SX-3400 is a nice amplifier in many ways, but there is no amount of tuning that will give it the bloom and the inner beauty of a good valve amp. The Pioneer is the one piece of equipment that's been constant in my tunable room systems for the last couple of years and I really think it may be the thing that led to my becoming disenchanted with my sound. The Pioneer has a warm tonality, and is very transparent, very dynamic, and very detailed when it's well tuned, but it does not have any inner beauty to speak of. Achieving a state of reverie was always difficult to do at best when the Pioneer was in the system. Swapping it for something else is the obvious solution, but for a long time I just didn't understand why I wasn't getting to the places I used to go.

But inner beauty isn't the only thing necessary for me to enjoy music. Having had some time to think about all this, I made a list of the qualities I need to have and not have in a system:

MUST HAVES
1. Dynamic - The dynamics of a system need to be past a certain level for the music to be enjoyable and exciting. The systems in the tunable room passed that point long ago and just kept going. When I thought the dynamics couldn't get any more powerful, we'd make a change and take it even farther. I'll take all the dynamic slam I can get, but I can enjoy music even on a more modest system if it's getting 2-6 right.
2. Clear - If the sound isn't clear enough, nothing sounds real and it registers in my mind more like noise than music. Again, it needs to be up to a level.
3. Detailed - The sound should be at least reasonably detailed. I love being able to hear all the detail I can, but this one is probably not as important as dynamics and soundstage organization.
4. Soundstage Organization - This one is really critical because nothing throws me out of the music faster than a soundstage that doesn't sound right to me. Instruments and voices need to come from particular places and not be overlapping, running into one another, or dissolving into a big sonic haze. This is where Michael and I have butted heads time and again. When he tunes the system the way he like it the sonic images are big, and to my ears, very diffuse. To me, the images sound lightweight, ethereal and not at all like real people and instruments. Does that mean I prefer a small soundstage? That's an interesting question. If Michael didn't bring the subject up, I honestly think I could play with stereo stuff for a hundred years before the idea of what size soundstage I preferred ever occurring to me. I don't think it matters to me if the soundstage is 5 feet wide or 50 feet wide as long as it is focused and coherent. The interesting question is whether it's possible to have a 50 foot wide soundstage that still has images that are dense and focused the way I like. I don't know. Michael?
5. Image density - I hesitated to put this one in here because I've never had it in a system I owned and only rarely heard it in other systems. But at the same time, it's an essential part of vibrational intensity and an essential part of any dream system for me. By image density I mean solid, palpably real images. Readers of my previous threads may remember my story about visiting a high end shop where the system threw a central image in front of the plane of the loudspeakers. It seemed so real that I walked up and tried to touch it. But what made it seem real was not that the image was several feet in front of the speakers, it was the astonishing image density. I have heard stereo images of instruments and vocalists tens of thousands of times by now, but that was the only time I ever tried to touch one.
6. Inner Beauty - I'm not sure what the right words are to describe what I'm talking about here. Tonal color? Tonal richness? Harmonic richness? Whatever we call it, I need it if I want to enjoy music on a deeper level. This is the one must have that the tunable room systems didn't do. I can still rock out to Led Zeppelin or enjoy Gershwin without this, but I don't get to reverie states without at least some of this, and the more the better.


RUINERS
1. Rushed - This is a frenetic, unsettled quality which creates a driven feeling in the music. Some people don't mind it, or even like this but I cannot listen to a rushed system for very long. I would rather hear a system sound 50% too slow than 5% too fast. Maybe that's why I like that 'battery driven digital' sound.
2. Tilted Up - Before I started working with Michael I wasn't very sensitive to this. Now I hear it immediately, even without a warmer system to compare it to. A system that isn't doing bass just isn't worth listening to.
3. Hard/Screechy/Sybillant - Any amount of these qualities will take me out of my enjoyment of music.

So after all this, the $64000 question is: are tubes going to give me what I'm looking for? I don't know yet, but I have an answer coming. I ordered a DIY kit amplifier called the Elekit TU-879S and it should be arriving this week. I am really excited about getting out the soldering iron and putting this thing together. Of course I've studied the pictures and have been busy thinking about how to liberate it from its chassis and put it on a nice tuning board. The design is a 7 watt per channel single ended pentode using the 6L6 tube on the output. It's said to do some very nice valve magic when it's paired with the right speaker.



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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:54 am

Hi Bill

to answer #4

I personally haven't heard a huge soundstage that has squeezed images. When you expand a stage all the air and movement comes with it.

You said a couple of things interesting that I also picked up on visiting you. Correct me if I'm wrong here. It seemed to me that you liked it when instruments stayed still. When they did fades or other effects like expanding it seemed to bother you. Extra effects to you in a recording seem like mush, noise, filler or even distortion if I was reading you right. Of course in our talks I many times said if it's in the recording it's in the recording. Most recordings come with effects and when tuned grow to a certain size and space. This is one of the areas where you tended to split off from the tuning gang. They and I tended to go after the action, bigness and stage extension whereas you had a picture in your mind that doesn't match with what we naturally went for. So basically when we would start to tune I think we were going toward our happy place but it was heading toward your unhappy place. I'll break a secret here. We really toned down the size of stage for you as compared to what we really go for. I didn't tune in my sound much in your room cause I kept thinking if I did you would have hated it. Remember the time you came out of the room and said you would be embarrassed to let someone hear that? Well this was just starting to get close to normal size. This is one of the reasons I wanted and was glad when the other guys came over cause I don't think you really want to hear one of my stages. Ask Andy Laughing their big Exclamation I know you think your stages are not small but trust me they were tiny as compare to what we usually do.

On the battery topic you bring up another good point. Yes, the batteries really slowed down the pace of the music. It's that feeling of almost falling one step behind the music beat instead of on top of it. This is interesting to me because I am sometimes a slow listener as far as pace and always worry that I'm dragging too much for someone else's taste. So I'm a little surprised you like it even slower than me.

It would be hard for me to talk about the system you did like cause for me this is what most ask me to get them away from. "NAS->Logitech Duet->PaceCar->Altmann DAC->Red Wine->Quad system" was not my cup of tea at all sorry to say. If I went much further than that I would be making comments about other companies that I really don't like to. I would rather brag on things I do like. I will say I worked with these components and brought what I thought was the best out of them but honestly if I was the judge the pioneer/maggie combo killed them. You might be alone on this one cause your talking the maggie vs NAS, Duet, PaceCar, Altmann DAC and power supplies. Not many who tune are going to say these can possibly compete against a stand alone unit esspecially the maggie. I apperiate Quads for being a classic and enjoy tweaking on them, the other components did not make the cut in my book. When I was listening here and then again at your place there were a couple of times I thought maybe a break through but then put on the pioneer or the maggie and the music would come back to life. I am surpprised as well about you and the pioneer because when I hooked it up for the first time at your place you came out of the room saying "now that's music". It must have been just a moment that you heard parts but after a while realized this was not you.

I want you to know and have said this many times. I'm commited to you finding your sound, but I'm not at all sure because of the way I tune or listen that my flavors are your prize. I'm also not sure if Roger's tube amps would be the ticket cause again the maggie is being used. And, if the maggie and the MR are a match that is a big departure from what you say you like.

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:43 am

Hi Michael,

Regarding me liking instruments to stay still, I've never really thought about it. I don't remember ever being bothered by effects, but perhaps you've noticed something in my listening that I'm unaware of.

Regarding the "NAS->Logitech Duet->PaceCar->Altmann DAC->Red Wine->Quad system", it wasn't perfect and I can easily imagine better systems, but it worked well enough in the ways that are important to me so that it was able to deliver some of the listening experience I'm looking for. I think that system was more of a starting point than an ending point.

Maybe my listening preferences are more of an East/West thing. I've heard that Japanese audiophiles are much more focused on tone and bringing emotion out in music than on dynamics and soundstaging. Maybe there are two (or more?) different types of brain wiring that make a person belong to one group or another. I guess I belong to the other group that's not so common around here.

I definitely remember when we first hooked up the Pioneer and I came out of the room saying "now that's music". The Pioneer has a warm tonality and it was a revelation after hearing so much tilted up equipment that couldn't be tuned in to balance. Unfortunately, it took me a couple years to understand its shortcomings, and to realize that I couldn't live with them. A wonderful amp in many ways, but just not for me.

Regarding Roger's tube amps, I emailed him to ask about the 245.1. He said he couldn't make them any more, but wasn't specific as to why. I'll email him back to ask if there's anything I could do to make it possible. He does still make the EM7 amps in addition to the RM-10 and RM-200. The Magnavox DVD player and the MR equipment are a synergistic combination, but there may be other sources that would work well too. I wouldn't want to write off the Musical Reference equipment just because I wasn't planning to use the Magnavox. Actually, if it came to it I would be willing to use the Magnavox if the combination were delivering the sound I like. The question is, 'does it?' I really need to hear the system. I wonder if Garp would be willing to let me visit?
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:15 pm

Hi Bill

Cool that you and Roger are talking. Tell him I said hi. I've always enjoyed his sound and like that he thinks independently of the High End masses. Haven't heard his new goodies, but his elderly equipment was part of my own personal audio shaping. Roger has always been on my audio hero list.

Thanks for explaining the Pioneer thing. I would hate to think that people would get the impression that it is anything less than awesome. I'd be using it now if I hadn't been blown away by the Sherwood. The Sherwood (so far) gives me more of an honest impression of the sound and I feel as close to non-colored as I have heard in a while. This helps me a ton with the things I'm doing. One thing I think you would have liked if we would have had it available to throw into your setup in the middle of the explorations is it's center-stage focus and detail. It brings a clarity to the sound that goes beyond just body. If I do have one beef with the Pioneer it is that it focuses more on the stage as it pushes out and less on the center itself. As we looked at technics to take care of this there was too more wiring to work around to make it worth while. Thus the Sherwood. The Sherwood has a solid center and moves inward as well as outward evenly. Interestingly enough this is also one of the things I liked about Roger's sound. While other tube stuff would be floaty his would be a little more stable without getting edgy. But this again was dependent on the matching of speakers and driver designs have changed dramatically.

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:21 am

I'm going to be running around this weekend listening to different systems. I'll be taking the 60's so I can hear them with a variety of SET and tube amplifiers. Michael, can you fill me in on a couple of questions?

1. What is the sensitivity of my Music Ply 60's? Do you know the impedance? Some idea of what the impedance curve looks like would be really helpful. Does it dip below 6 ohms anywhere? This is said to be an important factor in compatibility with SET amps.

2. Some of the amplifiers I'm auditioning are fairly heavy. Is a 40 lb amplifier viable as a tunable component? Would putting it on my equipment platform ruin the sound of the platform and the other components on it?

I won't know anything until I've done some listening, but some of the heavier, higher power amps might be the better match to the 60's. It would be helpful to know what can and can't be made to work with the tunable system.
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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:35 am


Hi Bill333

Sonic had experienced an SET amp with a low impedance load. The frequencies where the impedance drops below 8 ohms, 6 ohms start to bump up and more than an amplitude thing, the amp loses control. In the example of a moderately tough SET driving my 4 ohm Magneplanars, the bass was woolly and everything had this thickened feel to it. Never mind that there was musicality in voices and a sweet treble, this sound wasn't anything remotely like real musick (however it is defined).

You'll need to get an amp that will exert "grip" over the loudspeakers. The ohms don't tell us everything. It is the ohms + the phase angle that will send an amp into orbit. Sonic cannot say I understand but I have read Heyser and others to know this is important and will determine the sound of the system.

For SETs, we who follow them should think 16 ohms.

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:38 am

Hi Bill

The best way to test any amplifier speaker load combo is to do it in the actual room being used and the equipment being used. I have seen SET amps freak out over situations that was anyone's guess. I've also seen them be very stable for those who know how to control them. Most people who use them that I know of use them with speakers that the designer themselves are familar with. And even this is not full proof. I have seen SET take great sounding speakers and turn them into mush. I have also seen SET sound great on some parts of a music collection and that one wrong recording send it into space.

Taking a speaker around to listen to amps unfortunately will get you no where in a hurry. The only way to do listening test with things is to put them in your setup and let them settle into your environment. Remember that this is energy we are talking about and not instant coffee. Even when I setup shows I know (as well do the smart listeners) that the last day is the best day (ussually the 3rd or 4th day) to listen and even then the reality of the sound is veiled at best.

The Vifa tweeter (the one in your 60's) is rated at 6 ohm that usually measures around 4.7, but don't take an ohm rating at being the gospel. Loads "Do" change according to situations. The woofer being used measures around 6.3 which makes it an 8 ohm driver, but again it depends on the relationship between the amp and speaker and room. Keep in mind here that we are talking about resistance and there are a lot of factors that can effect this, including the electric flow from someones power outlets. With every amp but esspecially more sensitive ones they are effected by your electricity greatly. In a carpeted room the 60's come in at about 89 to 91db and in a wood floor room 92 to 93db efficiency but I recommend throwing that number out the window cause that really is just engineer talk. The key is this, do they work together and most importantly does it work in your setup? Also people do test in weird ways with tons of different equipment. I do testing in simple ways, sound and heat when playing music. You can hear when an amp is struggling and if you can't I would stay away from any amps that have odd load limitations. SET can be great but you have to know how to use them. When you think SET also think higher numbers with the Ohms. This isn't always the case but it's the safe approach many will tell you. However there are a lot who claim they can drive super low loads. But if your the type of guy who gets an amp and tries to build around it, you need to understand the amp and what to listen for.

Here's yet another factor. You say your taking the 60's with you? What are the 60's, a Sunday brunch meal that you heat up in the microwave? Leave the 60's at home and go listen to the amps hopefully in a settled environment. If you like them then bring them home and try them. You start hauling these 60's around like cattle and they are going to become so unsettled that it will take you months to get them to settle again. Stereos are not plug and play and this is where I think many get into trouble with their sound. Your thinking of your system in theory mode but this is only one part to the equation. The practical part is why have the speaker sitting in a car for a trip rattling and becoming detuned and then throw them on a system out of tune. If the person with the amp or you don't know better than that you show go back to some of the basics before he and you start making bad decisions.

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Bill333

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PostSubject: Re: Bill333's System   Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:32 am

Last Friday, I visited the Decware factory in Peoria, IL. The owner, Steve Deckert, is a true audiophile and is always wiling to have interested 'philes over to tour the factory and listen to his equipment. I hadn't read Michael's post above before I left, or I probably wouldn't have taken the speakers, but I did take them and had a chance to listen to them on some single ended amps. I'm glad I did, because I learned a lot.

First, the 60's are not a good speaker with single ended amps. They are an *awesome* speaker with single ended amps. Decware sells a line of speakers specifically designed for low power tube amps and the 60's were simply better on the same amps. We didn't talk about it much, but it was clear that Steve was hearing the same thing I was hearing and was very impressed. He said 'high five to Michael' on the quality of your speakers. The 60's soundstaged better, were more detailed, more natural sounding and had none of the faults of the other speakers.

Based on what I was hearing in comparing loudness to the high efficiency speakers on hand, the 60's sounded louder than a speaker measured at 96 db and not quite as loud as another speaker measured at 94 db. In room response is an odd thing. Based on what I was hearing, my best guess was that the 60's were somewhere in the neighborhood of 93-95 db.

We tried them with a 2 watt amp and it sounded good with the Girl from Ipanema, but broke up on bass-heavy material. We then put in an amp called the Mini Torii, which sounded quite good on every piece of music I threw at it. Dynamics and volume were a little subdued until I put the amp up on 1X1 cones. The thing opened up so much it sounded literally twice as loud. I ended up listening to Abbey Road all the way through. I had thought the Mini Torii was an eight watt amplifier, but it actually only makes four watts. Yes, that's right, four watts. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't heard it.

The really interesting thing about the Mini Torii was the adjustable negative feedback control. You can dial in the amount of negative feedback you want to use, or turn it off completely. Most of the time when the NFB is turned off, the amp has trouble with the speakers and the sound goes down the tubes, but that didn't happen with the 60's. They sounded great with no NFB. Steve actually theorized that this was because of the 'full range transfer' of the cabinets.

Anyhow, I am done shopping for speakers. (Or am I? See next post) Maybe you should be marketing the 60's and the Mini-Mods to the SET crowd. I don't think there are very many speaker designs out there that sound as good as the 60's did with these amps. Certainly not at the Mini-Mods price level.

Congratulations to Michael on a bravura speaker performance.
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PostSubject: Decware visit   Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:47 pm

Bill,

I am happy you made the visit to Decware as I did a few years ago. With your inspiration, I pulled out my 60s, dusted them off and mixed them with my Music Reference 4 watt amp system. I will need time to allow the 60s to settle, but I am acheiving mid 80 dbs. alittle above my normal listening level without running out of steam. The bass is excellent. As I recall the woofer on the 60s was rated at 94db, but the tweeter was not that efficient, in the high 80s, Michael? The tweeter does sound alittle recessed compared to my Tonians, but the 60s love the Tonian wire. There is just of smidge less detail but I am pleasantly surprised at this point. I will let the system settle before I make any more observations.

I have a 8 watt SEP integrated that I am now anxious to try with the 60s. This combo may be a better match for demanding music.
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