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Wednesday, 22 April 2020


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Or number 13 is the main woofer....

Music Room... 1- Holy Sh*t!!!

That get up has to do more than just play music...

I have the identical setup at my computer desk minus the current conditioner and the bow-wow. What are you using as your audio source these days? Streaming? CD? Which DAC are you using? I'm using the AudioEngine D1. I finally made peace with streaming when: 1. Amazon Prime music added HD option, 2. I added Idagio which offers lossless streaming for classical music, and 3. I had hearing tests that show my hearing craters at around 4,000 hertz (though it is partially corrected by my nifty Costco hearing aids). Those years playing in rock bands with Marshall stacks as well as sitting 10th row center at Who concerts, both without hearing protection, kind of took care of that! :-(

At the other end of the hifi scale from those gigantic speakers but something which more people should consider seriously is a Minidsp.

For the princely sum of £95 it provides a remarkable number of flexible, programmable features. I have mine set up to do both digital room correction (using free filters generated by Room Equalization Wizard) plus digital parametric tonal adjustments. I've programmed mine to emulate the famous Quad 34 "Tilt" control. The HD version that I am tempted to buy for my main living room system goes a step further by being able to remember four different banks of settings switchable by remote control (which is also a volume control), effectively providing a digital pre-amp function. If you wish the HD can be upgraded to Dirac Live commercial room correction.

I'm planning to utilise the MiniDsp in a different role at some point, as a digital active crossover filter when I convert an old pair of speakers to active amplification/crossover. The beauty of it is you don't have to build loads of complicated analogue circuitry to experiment, it just requires simple graphical programming from a laptop.

These devices (and any competitors, I believe there are a few) are a lot more fun and a lot more useful than the traditional audiophile nonsense like special crystals and the like.

DSP for proper hifi deserves to be better known and understood.

Might be good to isolate those speakers off the wood surfaces. A few rubber pucks does nicely. Takes mud and any smearing away. Also, tilting the small speakers toward your ears can help very often. Just my 3 cents.

Yep, Paul's a relly nice guy; I watch his YouTube videos from time to time.

I've tried his AC regenerators, but honestly, I didn't find they brought any sonic advantage to my system. I prefer the power distributors and power cables from Shunyata Research by a significant margin. FWIW, my Denali 6000/S V2 power distributor provides >68 dB of noise reduction (oh, and BTW, a dedicated line does not mean that the line is noise-free. AC wiring is a superb antenna for RF, especially AM and FM radio).

Here's a couple pics of my current system:

I've been using a digital streaming front end using Roon quite a bit for the last 3 years or so and it's getting really good.

Digital sources: Schiit Gungnir Gen 5 USB Multibit DAC.
SOtM SMS-200 UltraNeo network bridge, Mac Mini Roon Core Server (40 feet away in the bedroom), Sonore OpticalModule fiber media convertor, Uptone Audio EtherREGEN Ethernet switch, Uptone Audio LPS-1.2 power supplies for FMC and Ethernet switch. Shunyata Sigma Ethernet cables. Streaming to network bridge from Roon Core Server via optical fiber.

Analog source: Michell Gyro SE turntable, SME V tonearm, Koetsu Urushi Vermilion cartridge, Bob’s Devices Cinemag step-up transformer
Phonostage: E.A.R. 324

Preamplifier: My own preamp is a Conrad-Johnson CT-5, but this First Sound Paramount MKIII-SI Super Special Edition dual-mono preamp w/ dual external power supplies is on loan from a buddy. I have to say this preamp is pretty amazing (it should be for $27,500).

Power Amplifier: Conrad-Johnson LP70S, 70 Wpc

Loudspeakers: Harbeth 40th Anniversary 30.2, REL R-305 sub

Cables: Shunyata Research Sigma NR power cord (Denali & power amp), Alpha NR v2 (preamp and DAC), V14D Digital power cord (digital components), Venom NR-V10 (phonostage), Shunyata Delta and Venom interconnects, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet & Alpha USB digital cables, Shunyata Delta speaker cables.

A/C Power: Shunyata Research Denali 6000/S V2 and SR-Z1 wall outlet.

Oh, BTW, I just joined The Absolute Sound as a Contributing Writer a few months ago.


Oh, hi-fi setups! This is FUN!

Here's mine:

It's a Sony TA-F35, made in 1980. Left channel is noticeably weaker. Probably needs recapping. It powers two 80W Sony three-way speakers I salvaged from some completely different setup. Diaphragm of the right speaker's mid frequency driver is damaged, but I patched it up with a piece of scotch tape, so it's fine.

I use it to play David Bowie, Jean Michel Jarre, Duran Duran, ZZ Top and of course Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" very loudly, on the cheap Sony PS-LX1 turntable you see above, which was also made sometime in the eighties. I'm sure my neighbours love me for it.

I bought all of these for about $100, including the tuner and records.

Oh, and the amp was featured in Beastie Boys' "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)" which makes me like it even more.

Wow, that is one cool stereo. When I compare my stereo to Paul’s I feel like a simple country boy…which is true I guess. I really do appreciate things that are as streamlined and uncomplicated as possible. I can’t imagine ever owning a system like that but it sure is a thing of beauty. Paul and I are on the same page when it comes to music and chairs though. I love Pink Floyd and I have two of those “leather” Poang chairs in my living room. The Poang chair has been in production for over 40 years and I just love mine. They are super comfy and inexpensive. I noticed Paul modified his chairs by raising them in the back. I didn’t expect to get a chair hack from a stereo video…nice!

“Got time to breathe, got time for music.” ~ Briscoe Darling

I got the Audio Engine A5+ speakers on your recommendation. I am very happy with them even though I did not buy the subwoofer.

I too have at my work station a pair of Audio Engine A5+'s with the dedicated woofer. I think the $350 is well worth the price of admission. I use an Asus Essence STX sound card in my home built hot rod PC. I see an easy tweak in your your set up you might give a try. Put some books or blocks under your speakers so they are off the table top. Try raising them so the tweeter is at ear level when your sitting at your desk and toed in. Then you got near field. Might tighten the sound up and help the imaging. If it works, you could build or find something nicer.

I have Audioengine HD3 speakers with the A8 subwoofer. I took your advice and pointed the sub toward the wall, because it gives me immediate access to the gain knob. It is a wonderful near-field system. I use a Schiit Fulla 2 between the HD3 and my iMac. The Fulla is able to drive my various headphones just fine - even my Beyerdynamic DT990 250 ohm version, albeit at the 3:00 position. Life is too short for mediocre audio!

[Amen, brother. --Mike]

Can't stand Dark Side Of The Moon so I guess I will never be an audiophile.

I like the idea that people are spending thousands and thousands of pounds on hifi components with power supply designs so poor that they need to have specially-conditioned mains. I suppose this is because the rules of the game prevent any design or technology invented since 1950 being used. Except that you are allowed to use it in the special mains-conditioning thing you glue onto the front of it to make it all work, of course.

Bill Poole wrote that "Off-topic posts related to audio always welcome."

And I agree, though would add that off-topic posts related to *music* are even better!

Fuji GFX 100: $10000.
But it's a fraction the cost of the competition, so it's the new normal.

How can one listen to music when listening to the equipment?
I stopped buying Hi-Fi mags when they started debating speaker cables.
Sure, there are differences between systems that can be heard, but is it better? No, it's just different.

In this video tour of the PS Audio factory, at t-mark 4:35, Paul does a quick walk through of his photography studio that includes a digital medium format technical camera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRs6OBAv5kQ

That was an expensive post. Just ordered the Audioengine A5+ Wireless Bluetooth Speaker System from a local shop that have them in stock (I'm in Norway). If I'm going to be stuck here in my home office doing social distancing I might as well have some good speakers. :-)

[Let me know how you like them. --Mike]

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