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2TwinDad2
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Destroyed by fire!

Hello,

My A/V Gear was destroyed in a house fire. I managed to get my wife and twin 6 year old sons out of harms way and then put out the blaze. I injured myself in the process from burns to both forearms and compressed lumbar spinal vertabrae.

Further, I have been disabled since 1994 due to back/spinal problems and literally am unable to sit in a sweet spot for extended listening at home. I usually move around the room quite a bit, lay down on floor, lay down on sofa, lean against walls or stand depending on my back pain.

Given the above I require loudspeakers that are known for their dispersion qualities.

The following excerpt is from Home Electronic Ideas Winter 2008 magazine article:

"SOUNDSTAGE and IMAGING are important concepts in Hi-Fi. DISPERSION refers to how well a loudspeaker can maintain a consistent sound throughout the room. Since we don't always sit in the "sweet spot" of a room, speakers with wide dispersion and a quality soundstage are ideal. Soundstage refers to how clearly and convincingly it reproduces a sense of space encoded on the recording."

Now for the good news. My wife is 100% supportive of purchasing a new HT on a $12K to $17K budget. Room size is 20"L x 14'W with 8' ceilings. Floor plan is open with triple archways delineating rooms. Reflection is minimal from window glass. Floor is 100% carpeted on top of sound deadening foam insulation. Walls are drywall. No reflective mirrors or paintings.

I wish to purchase speakers that are not overly bright or Ultra- revealing. My preference is for a more neutral relaxed system that will be utilized for extended listening sessions. Solo Piano music from the Classical, Romantic and Modern epochs are my preferred choices for music. Think Vladimir Horowitz, Annie Fischer, Earl Wild, Van Cliburn, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Claudio Arrau, as pianists and Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Debussy, Ravel, Gershwin and Franck as composers. My wife and I also enjoy Orchestral Music, Piano and Violin concertos, and works for Bassoon, Clarinet, etc.

Jazz is my next most listened to music. Think Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Monk, Tal Farlow, Herb Ellis, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald as a few of my regular spins.

My children and wife likewise enjoy my interests but also prefer silly children's songs, Folk Music, and softer classic rock (Electric Light Orchestra, The Cars, The Beatles, etc)

I went to a few dealers with my wife driving. I enjoyed listening to a pair of Audio Physic Tempo floorstanders the best so far. I did not care for the Revel models or new top of the line Theil. Likewise a pair of Totem Forrests sounded very (brittle?) - perhaps they all needed more run in time. The Magnaplanar 1.6 were sublime. However, it was the only time my wife said "No!" They were too monolithic for her tastes.

In closing, I turn to you who represent a vast pool of experience and firsthand knowledge about all things Speaker and request some time be spent at this thread to help reassemble a part of my life that was violently taken away by fire.

Thank you,

Eddie

KBK
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

OK. I've got my thinking cap on. You've clearly stated your tastes and leanings, from what you've said. Too bad, planars may have fit the bill.

Some of the new(er) Martin Logan speakers are a bit less imposing in looks compared to the Maggies, and should be looked at. The hybrid ones, that is.

http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?spkrfull&1208529460

http://www.ca.martinlogan.com/speaker_intro/source.html

Jan Vigne
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

I would consider the smallest Magnepan, the MMG which can be purchased through Magnepan for a 30 day trial. They are reasonably smaller than the 1.6 and yet have a similar sound. You can find the comparison made on the manufacturer's web site where reviews are posted. The MMG is small enough to be moved in and out of place by most anyone (if need be) and simply doesn't have the formidable facade of the larger Magnepans.

linden518
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Eddie. What a story! Thank heavens you were able to get your family out of the fire, but I'm sorry about the injuries you suffered.

As for speakers, I think Jan makes a great deal of sense. Some people actually prefer smaller MMGs so much that rather than upgrading to 1.6, they tweak the MMGs to the n-th degree. As far as the speakers are concerned, they're the best bargain anywhere, at $550, w/ 60 day money back guarantee and 1 yr window in which you can apply the MMGs toward purchase of bigger Maggies.

Since you won't break the bank on the MMGs, perhaps you can convince a dealer to let you home audition some speakers, to compare w/ MMGs, and that way, you can either return MMGs for full return or some other speakers.

I listen to a lot of the music that you listen to. Been listening a lot to the new Alkan disc by Hamelin, I have a lot of piano recordings, too, starting from Cortot, Benno Moiseiwitsch to modern pianists like Aimard, Lupu... also do a fair amount of jazz & rock records, just like you. I use Harbeth Super HL5 speakers. They are nominally called 'monitors' but they're pretty big. And the bass goes surprisingly low, and with clarity of detail. The midrange is really honest and pure, and the treble sounds fantastic, too, never shrill or artificially "hi-fi". Very musical speakers for classical music. Another plus is that they're not finicky about placement or stands. As far as I'm concerned, they can't be beat in the kind of music I listen to at the price point, ~$5-6K depending on finish. Other speakers you might want to consider - which I've tried - are Devore Super 8s or 9s. Those speakers are very musical & in my many auditions of them, they image like there's no tomorrow, fantastic when you're listening to Debussy or Messiaen. I had a chance to A-B Audio Physic with Devore speakers, and I immediately preferred the Devores, but it may be different with you.

Good luck & have fun!

RGibran
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Welcome to the forum. Great post. I can

linden518
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

I'm going to guess that you have a fair amount of mono recordings, especially those Annie Fischer records you mention. I think focusing on a dedicated 2 channel system would serve you much better for music listening than 5 speaker surround. I can't bear listening to mono recordings in surround system... but I'm sure you can switch from surround to 2-channel, & vice versa, recording to recording. Still, seems like one step too many for me. All you can do is follow what your ears tell you, I guess... audition a lot of them & keep us up to date!

2TwinDad2
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

KBK,

Thank you for the recommendations and links.

Eddie

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Jan Vigne:

I had no idea that I could but Maggies direct. I will visit their site after following up to all posts. Could they be used in a 5.1 A/V HT setup with an SVS PB ULtra 13 subwoofer or smaller sub?

Eddie

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

selfdivider,

A fire is a horrible thing to go through. First panic kicks in - then instinct - get the family safe. Luckily it was only the family room that was affected. Unluckily that is where all my old A/V gear was. Basic TV and a decent 2 channel stereo.

You have refined musical tastes! I have read many praiseworthy reviews if the Harbeth Super HL5's. What stand do you use for them? Last evening I somehow got directed to a site that reviewed the Devore Super 8s and the reviewer was quite impressed. They look like they have such small drivers though - I wonder how they would fair with large scale pieces by Smetana "Ma Vlast" or Wagner "Orchestral Works" by Szell & Cleveland Phil.?

Thanks for the wonderful reply and another vote of confidence for Maggies.

Eddie

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

rgibran,

Thank you for the welcome to the Stereophile community. I have subscribed to the print magazine for many years. I am not a VIDEO type person. The HT will be a modest 46" Pioneer or Panasonic new Plasma TV on top of a new BDI Meriden piece of furniture. That knocks $6k off the budget.

I am a musician. My children study classical piano at a NY Conservatory. My wife was a dancer. Music is a basic fundamental in my home and has greater credence than video.

The surround speaker system I am attempting to incorporate into our Family Room will be utilized for multichannel SACD enjoyment primarily and HT occasionally. The majority of the time the system will be in 2-channel stereo mode.

I need to purchase and stay under/within budget:

1. SACD/CD/CD-R Multichannel Player
2. Surround Speakers
3. SVS PB Ultra 13 Subwoofer or any musical subwoofer
4. Cables and Interconnects (Monoprice or BlueJeanCables)
5. A Multichannel A/V Receiver
6. BluRay player in June/July

I have chosen to go with a Multichannel A/V Receiver to cut costs. Originally I had my sights set on the Emotiva Audio XPA-5 Power Amp and Integra DTC 9.8 Pre/Pro. However, I would prefer to put the cash into better speakers.

If you have any other questions - Please Ask Away.

Last night I found a speaker called the AV123 Strata Mini that are planar and have an onboard subwoofer. They received positive reviews from many popular online E-zines.

A gentleman read my post at another forum and offered to sell me a 1 month old pair of Acoustic Zen Adagios in Red because his wife made him order a different color. He is asking $3K for the pair delivered.

Regards,

Eddie

linden518
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Hi, Eddie. This might sound funny but there's a punchline to it: my Harbeths are on Ikea wooden chairs right now. I ordered the 18" custom Skylans but they're not here yet, b/c Noel, who designs & custom makes these stands, is just overwhelmed w/ work. But this is another testament to the Harbeths, not being fussy, unlike those prissy prima donna speakers. They still sound fantastic on the Ikea chairs. In fact, if you go to the Harbeth site/forum, you'll read about the designer Alan Shaw raving about using Ikea Lack side tables as stands! They cost $15. Well, he doesn't rave about them anymore but only because Ikea changed the dimensions & they don't fit the Harbeths perfectly. What I like about the Harbeths - aside from their innate musicality & honesty - is precisely this easiness, the adaptability. But I'm looking forward to the Skylans, especially to tighten up the bass response even further. (BTW: I've been doing some film watching on Harbeths - especially the opera DVDs! - and they're fantastic! My parents have a fairly pricey surround system at their home, but I much prefer my 2-channel system. I don't much care for the illusion of crap flying behind my head, thank you very much. )

Devore Super 8s: that's EXACTLY what I thought of when I saw them. How are those tiny things going to manage? The recording was the live concert recording of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" conducted by Gergiev, arguably the most full-blooded, electric account on record. HUGE, massive sounds, the thudding percussion, violent trombone glissandos... just a crazy melee. But still: the most beguiling bassoon solo on record - you'll know right away if the speaker/amp/source is REAL, just by the way it makes you believe in the sound of that bassoon (or not). I am certain you know precisely what I'm talking about, as fellow classical music aficionado.

The Devore Super 8s knocked the recording out of the park. Just owned it. I love my Harbeths and there are things that they do better than the Devores, but when it comes to soundstaging & imaging, the Devores take the cake. You wrote that you want speakers that are not bright & are neutral. Given that reference, I'd give the Harbeths the edge there, although Devores are not hi-fi bright by any means. But in terms of imaging/soundstage: it's eerie how such small things accomplish that. Give them a try. But look into the Devore 9s, if at all possible: might give you a better sound in your room at the dimensions.

But still, please do try the MMGs. I'm sure they'll be plenty speedy & present a lot of air for the music you listen to. If you can, get the MMGs, as you have 2 months to home-audition them. Then try to home-audition the Harbeths and/or Devores alongside the MMGs. And go with what hits the nerve & steals your soul.

RGibran
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Your going to need timbre matched centers and surrounds. That's a nice size room but is pretty full with furniture, family and that monster SVS. Small footprint speakers that truly perform like much larger would be a big plus.

The tower on the left is featured on the cover of the current issue. This family of overachievers would be on my very very short list.

RG

2TwinDad2
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

rgibran,

I am unable to locate my current edition. If I received it 3 weeks ago it was burned up by fire.

Please be so knid as to inform me what brand I am looking at.

Further, is the SVS sub overkill for room size? Should I focus on a complete speaker system that comes with subwoofer so that everything has synergy and looks the same?

SVS gets great reviews. How does it compare to Velodyne, B&W PV1, or REL subs? I know bass is omni-directional - but what is the most musical sub I can purchase with my budget (including a sub & surround speaker system by same manufacturer)?

Thanks for posting the pic.

Eddie

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

selfdivider:

I will pespond to your post tonight at 9PM EST. I'm running late for a family get together.

Eddie

linden518
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Those speakers that rgibran recommends are PSB Synchrony speakers, a great recommendation. If you can afford that whole set, you should consider it. John Atkinson praised the towers, saying that they offer almost as much as the $20K Kef 207/2 speakers he loved, but for less than $5K. There is a guy who JUST purchased the PSB Synchrony Ones who posted in "Entry Level" section, I think, and he LOVES them. I'm very curious to hear them myself...

RGibran
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Eddie,

My apologies. I was referring to the April issue. Do pick one up at your favorite retailer. John Atkinson listens and measures this superb value class A performer as related to reproduction of music.

Here are a couple of links to HT reviews for the

2TwinDad2
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

selfdivider & rgibran:

Thanks for the answer to my pic inquiry. I printed out the links and will read later tonight. I'm trying to locate dealers in my area for the Harbreth's and PSB lines - as well as the Devore's 9 line. The MMG look to small to me and I don't think they would work out.

I am going to purchase the SVS sub - so many positive reviews.

The most important thing would be to match the mains and center. Subs and surrounds can be from a different manufacturer. Hazarding a guess on the rear surrounds.

Eddie

2TwinDad2
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Greetings,

Any other speaker suggestions that work GREAT for music primarily and HT as a runner up?

I decided not to go with Acoustic Zen Adagio set-up. floorstanders were transmission line and bookshelf/rear surrounds are ported non-TL design.

Please recommend away to your hearts content. I'm all ears.
I listen primarily to classical solo piano music, concertos and symphonic music. My wife and kids like classic rock.

Thanks!

Chizzap30
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Hey Eddie,
I'm in here too. I made some reccommendations for you on the other forum. but here they are again if you see this first.

System 1:
Sonus Faber Grand Piano Domus
Sonus Faber Concertina Domus
Sonus Faber Center Domus
REL B3
Arcam AVR-280
System 2:
Same sub and Receiver but:
Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grands
Vienna Acoustics Hayden Grands
Vienna Acoustics Maestro Grand Center Channel

2TwinDad2
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Thanks Chizzap30 for the recommendations. I appreciate it.

I'll get in touch with you next week to talk some more.

Eddie

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Greetings,

I need a speaker system (5.1) that is all floorstanders! I have twin 7 year old boys that are HYPER ACTIVE and would crash into standmounters repeatedly. Open to all suggestions.

fkrausz
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Have you considered wall-mounted speakers? (I mean on-wall, not in-wall.) That would make the center channel easier to deal with. I recall reading that Dynaudio had some small speakers that were especially tuned for wall-mounting; but in any case, surround speakers are often suitable for wall mounting.

Chizzap30
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Eddie,
Based on the previous posts about being for Music First... find a place and audition Vienna Acoustics and Sonus Faber Domus Series. Trust me, you'll be pleasantly pleased. As for amplification, Arcam, NAD. And if you have a dealer, he should of gone through Sumiko's "Masters" training. It's a set up that Sumiko (U.S. Distributor of VA and Sonus Faber) teaches their dealers for acheive the best sound in your room. It creates a great soundstage and can be used with other speakers too. We practically use it for ever speaker set up we do at the shop I work at.

2TwinDad2
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Anyone familiar with SALK loudspeakers? AV123 Strata Mini Loudspeakers? DeVore Gibbon Nine's?

What floorstanders can be placed close to wall? Obviously, they cannot have a rear port.

What floorstanders are the least fussiest in terms of positioning in a room?

What is your favorite floorstander and why?

Thank You Kindly,

Eddie

Chizzap30
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Rega and Linn Speakers can be located close to a wall.. regardless of any speaker, there is going to be a little room.. but port or not on the back.. It just all depneds on the company making the speaker. But I'd check out Rega and Linn if you constraints are to be close to the walls.

2TwinDad2
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Thanks Chizzap30 once again. I was just wondering about the close to wall speaker placement to keep my wife happy. Monitor Audio Silver Series Floorstanders are also a good close to wall design according to another source.

I thought Stereophile would be overflowing with music lovers willing to share their experience with others. I'm surprised.
i expected more input from others. I guess the articles on the demise of hi-fi have some credence after all. Is it time to buy an iPod and join the rest of the lemmings?

Thanks,

Eddie

Chizzap30
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Well, unlike the other forum we have spoken at, most people here this is no such thing as a "perfect hi-fi system". There not here to push their agenda on you. The other systems I reccomended with Sonus Faber and Vienna can still go pretty close to a wall. If the dealer is a good dealer, he can do the Sumiko Star set up for your home theater and worth within the constraints you have. My recommendation is still to go out on the weekends and audition different speakers, aplifiers, and even dvd/blu-ray players. I'm kind of partial to Pioneer Elite for the Blu-ray since I know they make great transports and have all the new decoders built in. I'm fond of Arcam for surround sound because I use an Arcam AVP700 Pre-amp/Processor and P1000 Power Amp. If you're feeling good, you should come to Ann Arbor, MI and check some stuff out.

linden518
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Hi, Eddie. From my experience of auditioning different DeVores, they were placed fairly close to the walls & they performed beautifully (the models were 8s, Super 8s, and Silverbacks). I have no reason to believe the 9s wouldn't sound great that way, either. I've read good things about AV123s, and you should audition them. Vienna Acoustics get fantastic marks everywhere, in reviews as well as from the members from this forum. As do Vandersteens, which for the money, perform remarkably. I also loved ProAcs a lot.

As for not commenting as frequently as you wish: I was setting up my system as recently as a month ago. Asked zillions of questions here. I know you get pretty much hands-on feedback at some other forums, but I appreciated the approach here better. They told me about some models to audition, and I went to audition them. I kind of like that approach better, as it allowed me much room for deciding on myself, figuring things out, researching, that sort of thing.

Besides, this thread you started has gotten to 3 pages long! I don't think I got that much feedback when I asked questions! If you feel slighted or miffed, I assure you, there's no reason to. Hope you find your speakers!

Chizzap30
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

I was just going to add... don't get too caught up in the speakers and overlook what is powering them and the source components. I do believe in the Linn idea of "source first". Pretty much their idea is that the source components are the most important part. Because you have to be abel to get as much of the information off the disk or LP as possible. You then need to preserve that signal down the line (another reason why I think cables make a difference besides experiencing differences myself) so it can finally get to the speakers to created the music.That's why with my current upgrading to my system, I first started with getting my power center. The Furman piece in my signature. I am content with my DVD/CD player as of right now but will probably be updated to a Blu-ray player and seperate CD player in the near future. Then I plan to update my speakers or Television. That's why I am always reccommending the Pioneer Elite Blu-ray player and Arcam AV Receivers too. It's quality amplification unlike a great deal of the consumer japanese brands. I can get on a long speech about that but it's really based on preformance than features. So I just wanted to give that advice too.

linden518
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Re: Destroyed by fire!


Quote:
I was just going to add... don't get too caught up in the speakers and overlook what is powering them and the source components... That's why with my current upgrading to my system, I first started with getting my power center.


Amen to that! Glad to find another person who went w/ amplification first. I was repeatedly told that wasn't the smart way to go, but it really worked for me, too, in setting my system up.

tom collins
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

me too. when i first started to seriously upgrade a few years ago, i went to the store determined to buy new speakers. i wound up with a new integrated, cd player, interconnect and speaker wire the dealer fabbed for me to work with the speakers i had. when i hooked it all up, i realized that in the 5 years i had those speakers, i never had really heard them, it was like blankets had been removed from over them. i was happy with those speakers for another year until an upgrade deal came along that i could not refuse. i think in your case, you will never really know how good the speakers could be without good electronics to drive them.

tom

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Greetings,

I formally retract my prior negative comment about not getting enough feedback for the Stereophile forum RE: Loudspeakers suggestions. It was misguided anger - I was actually mad at an old lady in my development who had backed into the front of my car 10 minutes earlier, Sorry Guys!

The Sonus Faber speakers are stunning!!! Exquisite cabinetry work.

Harvey Electronics may be going bankrupt and I know they sell Vienna and Sonus Faber speakers. Perhaps I'll step in it for once and actually get a fantastic deal.

Eddie

Chizzap30
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Well, a deal isn't always what you should be looking for. Don't get me wrong, saving some money is always a good thing. However, it should always be about if you see the value in what you're purchasing. The Sonuses are a great speaker, they use quality drivers, the cabinets are made of solid maple that is air dried for 2 years and then kiln dried so you don't have to worry about humidity or temperature affecting the sound. And then the design of the speakers too. they have a "lute" shaped cabinet which was designed to work with resonance that try to break it up. I personally think they have a great sound but it's something you really got to audition if you haven't already. "Different Strokes for Different Folks"

Chizzap30
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Eddie,
I was wondering if you have had the chance to go out and do some auditioning as of yet. If so, what have you heard? What have did you like about them? Didn't like? Hope to hear from you soon.

2TwinDad2
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

No auditioning yet. Piano recitals. A concert. Several Mixed Martial Arts Events. Hopefully I will begin auditioning next week. I am awaiting the delivery of a new piano. The Sonus Faber line is beautiful. I know the pieces I want are way outside my budget. They are very elegant. Striking - like a beautiful woman.

Eddie

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Re: Destroyed by fire!


Quote:
I know the pieces I want are way outside my budget. They are very elegant. Striking - like a beautiful woman.

Eddie

You saw the Homage series didn't you? They are gorgeous. However, don't dismiss the Domus Line. They are probably in or close to your price range are are still quite impressive. And as for sub bass systems, I'd definetly go with a REL R-Series. They have a small footprint and are one of the most musical subs out there. I hope you get to do some auditioning soon and good luck.

Tony Zubia
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Eddie, sorry for your dilemma. God bless your family. As for the speaker selection based on your listening tastes, I have this to say: I agree with Jan in saying that Magnaplanar speakers are probably what will fill fill the void for what your looking for (preferably the smaller models). I don't know whether or not your interested in a brand new pair of speakers or don't mind a well taken care of pre-owned pair, but in any case, I would also recommend a pair of DCM "Time Frame" TF600's. They're a planar type speaker with a much better bass extension than the Magnapans (this would satisfy the wife's taste as well), or, a pair of System Audio 950HH's or 1250's. I personally use a pair of System Audio 950HH speakers for my classical and Jazz applications. They pull out that really well defined (but not brittle) high freq sound that Danish speakers are known for. Good Luck

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I am waiting until after April 15th to start auditioning and see where I stand on my taxes - which are a nightmare to prepare.

I , and by that I mean we, as in my wife and I - are thinking of going retro. Turning back the clock and going Old School style. She wants our Living Room to remain a Living Room and not be transformed into a Home Theater with a giant subwoofer and surrounded by speakers.

Our thoughts took us back to our childhood, teenage years, and College years when we listened to Records. We were both somewhat nostalgic for the simpler days of Great Album Art - pulling the record out of the sleeve and letting the needle fall on the vinyl to be immersed in a more organic type of feeling and love for music.

I realize and apologize that this is a major change in direction - however, our hearts are set on setting up a better than average 2.0 stereo system for music only. We are considering a midrange turntable complete with tonearm and cartridge, a CD/SACD 2 channel player, an integrated amp with phonostage included, a quality audio rack with isolation platform for turntable, power conditioner, and 2 high quality floorstanders. No subwoofers allowed. No A/V Receivers or Pre/Pro's, etc.

Our HT will consist of the new Panasonic Z800U Plasma TV when it comes out later this month. For sound I will either try and hook it up to the integrated amp or purchase the Yamaha Soundbar - the Yamaha YSP-4000 Digital Sound Projector which has received favorable reviews and is an all in one unit. If I feel the urge for more bass I can buy a small subwoofer and hook it up to the back of the Soundbar. Rather not have to buy subwoofer though.

Remember that our preference would be to somehow hook up the TV to the Integrated Amp and just listen to movies through our main floorstanders. Nice and simple.

The 2.0 stereo idea has us really excited. We would like our kids to see how Audio was done for decades before the Digital Revolution took over. I'm pretty much stoked on the idea of going analog again after a 20 year absence.

I received 2 catalogs that cater to Analog and vinyl from music direct and Acoustic Sounds Inc. I am going to purchase Michael Fremer's DVD on the proper way to set up and care for turntables.

As usual I will need your help in this forum and other forums here at Stereophile when we finish our taxes.

My Very Best To All,

Eddie

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Re: Destroyed by fire!


Quote:
our hearts are set on setting up a better than average 2.0 stereo system for music only. We are considering a midrange turntable complete with tonearm and cartridge, a CD/SACD 2 channel player, an integrated amp with phonostage included, a quality audio rack with isolation platform for turntable, power conditioner, and 2 high quality floorstanders. No subwoofers allowed. No A/V Receivers or Pre/Pro's, etc.


That's awesome, Eddie! I'm sure you'd gathered from some of our responses before that that was the way we were steering you towards? I'm pretty young, but I'm all about 2.0. Really, for dedicated music listening, I like going 2.0 and I don't know if you read my "Harbeths & Movies" post, but I watch a lot of DVDs - both film and opera - on my Harbeths to complete satisfaction.

I guess you'll tell us your budget after your taxes are in? But as far as speakers are concerned (presuming that you're still limiting your speakers to floorstanders) I think most of the recommendations made here still stand. The steal of them all seems to be PSB Synchrony 1s, which got on Stereophile's Class A. John Atkinson gave it one of the most rave reviews, and compared it favorably to KEF 207/2s, which cost $20K, saying that the PSBs deliver almost to the KEFs' level. That's pretty high praise. I recommend Devore 9s still, but if you can push the budget, Devore Silverback References are just phenomenal. I had an opportunity to listen to the Silverbacks last month, driven by all Shindo electronics, with that ridiculously gorgeous Shindo Garrard TT? The music was really unbelievably good through those speaks: warm, liquid, sensuous, clarity w/o harshness. Very smooth. You should also try to audition speakers from ProAc Response lines. I only listened to the cheaper Studio lines, driven by Primare electronics, and even the Studio models sounded impressive. I know you're worried about kids knocking over the speakers, but I have a 3 yr old running around my place all the time w/ her friends, but I don't worry about my Harbeth Super HL5s being toppled. They're pretty heavy, and they're on their proper custom Skylan stands, which are mass-loaded. Rock solid.

As for integrated amp? Plinius, either 9200 or the older 8150. They're powerful (200wpc for 9200, 150 wpc for 8150), very musical w/o being bright. And best of all, they come with built in phono stages which are regarded as some of the best stages in the industry as far as built-in phono stages are concerned. The integrated amp I've been dying to try out is LFD Zero Integrated MKIII. The model w/ phono stage costs around $3200 I think. You have to home audition this one; I think you have a week or a month? I don't remember. From all accounts, it's supposed to be really musical. Basically benchmade by Richard Bews in England. And supposed to have a killer phono stage built in. Contact Walter Swanbon of Fidelis AV, who's one of only 2 dealers in the States for LFD. Last time I was seriously considering the LFD, the wait list was a month... might be better now, might be worse... Of course the Creek Destiny, too, which should be relatively easy to audition. The pricy option here is the Jeff Rowland Concerto, which supposedly has a fantastic phono stage, but frankly, I'd rather go Plinius or LFD if I were you. Plinius will basically drive any speakers you throw at it. LFD is rated at 60 wpc or 70; although it will drive most speakers we are talking about w/ no problem, you should keep that in mind... Since you'll be going through the integrated amp for TV viewing, too, I'd recommend staying with solid state rather than tubes.

I'm also saving to land a TT in my system. The model I'm going for is Nottingham 294 with Ace Space 294 tonearm. It's one of the rarer tables which allows 12-inch tonearms. MSRP is $3999. 12-inch arms are supposed to have 25% or so less tracking error, but a lot of people prefer 9-in arms, too. But I do a lot of classical listening, and I've been told the 12-inch approach is the way to go, & Nottingham decks are known to sound very musical and warm w/o loss of detail. Another model that I was infatuated with was Kuzma Stabi S/Stogi S 9-in arm. My buddy has this one & it's a killer deck. MSRP $2800 or something. Really slick-looking, too, with that ingenious brass tube that serves as plinth? If you get this one, you should really put it on a wall shelf, as it's non-suspended. If the tax situation looks good & you can afford to spend a bit less than $10K, the Basis 2200 would be fantastic. Cartridge wise, I recommend you go MM or high output MC first, b/c most of the built in phono stages accommodate those only. If you want to get a low-output MC cartridge, you should really consider getting a separate phono stage or step-up transformer. As for me, I'm just going to go MM first for a few years... I already have a cartridge - Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood MM cartridge (read the review on this website).

CD/SACD player-wise, I'm pretty clueless, sorry. I think some editors in this magazine use Ayre c5xe as reference. I say go with speaker/amp combo figured out, and then get the source that synergizes with your combo.

Good luck & let us know of your quest!

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

selfdivider:

You have no idea how relieved your post made us feel.

This is a short note of heartfelt thanks for your understanding what we want to accomplish.

After April 15th I will post all the loudspeakers and equipment that I am interested in to give everyone an idea of what we are trying to assemble.

Thanks for listing the Integrated Amp suggestions. THAT was really appreciated. Never heard of Plinius - but now I want to. The Creek Destiny was on my short list as was Naim Nait 5i, Cambridge audio Azur 840a, Cyrus 8vs, Vincent SV-236, Jolida JD-100 RC,Primare I30, NAD Master Series M3, Ayre AX-7e, and at the higher end financially - the now new to me Plinius 9200, and the BAT VK-300X.

That's just for Integrated amps. I'll post all the speakers and other equipment after the 15th.

Will the forum moderators allow me to cross post or do I have to be specific to each sub-forum?

The Taxman is waiting....

Eddie

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Hi, Eddie. Perhaps Stephen Mejias who moderates this forum can move this thread to "Entry Level" section, where there should be slightly more traffic, too. He usually reads these so I'm sure he might go ahead & do so, but if not, you should consider sending him a PM.

Back to integrated amps: make sure to check in advance that the amp has a phono stage built-in! The onboard phono section these days is the exception rather than the rule. For example, among the list of amps, I don't think some of the models have phono inputs? For example, Naim Nait 5i, Primare I30, & Vincent. I don't think the Ayre or NAD does either. (I can be wrong on this... if so, other members will chime in to correct me, or even better, you should inquire & find out for certain.) Even for the Creek Destiny, Cyrus & the BAT, I think you have to buy optional plug-in phono stages at extra cost, which is at least more cost-effective than stand-alone phono stages.

Stereophile has a buyer's guide which might be available still at some bookstores. You can browse through the integrated amp section; it's very well categorized & you can look to see if the amps that you're interested in have phono option or not.

I also heard Exposure integrated amps have excellent phono inputs, although I think they're optional? Same with Unison Research Unico SE. Both are Class A components on Stereophile's Recommended Components.

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Eddie,

I know you're waiting till after your taxes, but what are you considerring as a price range for the 2-channel system? As for Turntables, Linn just released the Majik LP12 a couple months ago and it's very impressive. It's the entry point to the Linn LP12 which has been made since 1972! And is still considerred a referrence TT. The beauty about the LP12 is that Linn makes upgrades for it as time goes by and find things that make it sound better. That's what I've decided to save up for after one of my coworker brought in his Fully Loaded LP12 or what Linn is now calling the "klimax LP12" and was just floored. Just let me know what's going on. And for your system, don't forget about a Good Audio rack to hold your system. It can make a difference in your sound too. That's why when I get my turntable, I plan to get Quadraspire's wall shelf for my TT. But just keep us informed and good luck

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Greetings,

I start auditioning loudspeakers and components this entire week covering three states NY/NJ/CT.

This thread has become quite large and I am thankful for all the support and responses received.

Any last minute recommendations re: Floorstanding speakers, cd/sacd players, integrated amps? I have the entire week off and a full schedule of dealer visits.

Do you have a favorite speaker or component you recommend I listen to this week?

Thanks,

Eddie

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Hi, Eddie. My friend just got Ars Aures F1 speakers (the floorstanders) and just raves about 'em. I haven't gone there to listen to them yet, but he's got discerning ears & I trust his judgment more than perhaps any other person I know when it comes to audio & music, so I feel confident saying that based on his reaction, you should at least audition them while you're out here. Your wife will probably LOVE them... very minimalistic & beautiful, exemplary Italian design. $5100 - $5600 a pair, depending on finish. It's their entry level speaker, believe it or not. Another huge plus is that they're VERY easy to drive, unlike some other floorstanders. 89db sensitivity with 8 ohms impedance. My buddy drives them with Art Audio tube electronics to complete satisfaction, so you wouldn't have to worry about power at all, whatever you decide on. (Still, you should always think amp/speaker as a single issue, I think... but I'm probably being redundant in mentioning it.) So should you want to get into the twisted world of tubes later on, you can still keep the speaks. I think there's an Ars Aures dealer based in NJ -

http://www.landesimports.com/f1_new.htm

I also liked ProAc speakers a lot, even the cheaper Studio line was excellent. I think you mentioned that you value clarity before, so maybe you should also look into Martin Logan electrostatics.

Obviously, you also have our previous speaker recommendations, Devores, Vandies, PSB, Harbeth, Sonus Faber, etc. I don't know if you're familiar w/ NYC, but you can do a pretty good walking tour & within 1 afternoon, hear a lot of speakers & gear in between your wine breaks. In Living Stereo & Sound by Singer are very close to each other, & while walking from one to another, you'll see a lot of interesting places to stop by... should be fun! When you're at SBS, request to hear Pathos Classic MKIII integrated amp... really sweet, beguiling sound, and perhaps the prettiest design ever for an integrated amp: again, Italian! At In Living Stereo, they have Leben CS600, my integrated amp, which I consider one of the best integrateds out there... at least in my experience of auditioning, I heard the best music through the Leben. Here's John Atkinson's short impression of it -

http://blog.stereophile.com/fsi2008/040708proac/

Another take -

http://blog.stereophile.com/fsi2008/040708leben/

The only thing about the Leben is that it's a push-pull tube amp, and I think for your purposes, which includes TV-viewing, etc., solid state might serve you better... also, the Leben is 28 wpc running in EL34 and 32 wpc in 6L6GC tubes. This will definitely limit your speaker choices, as you'll have to make sure the speakers are efficient enough w/ relatively level impedance. That said, the Leben is known to drive difficult speakers pretty well. My Harbeths are 86db/8 ohms (not a difficult load by any means, but not really tube-friendly sensitivity numbers), & I have no problems... I can tell you for sure that the Devores will love the Leben, and obviously, some ProAcs. Spendor Classic series or other BBC-type speakers are known to be great with the Leben. I'm going to lug the Leben to my friend's house (it's VERY heavy) and try it with his Ars Aures speakers... I suspect they might be a pretty good match...

Audio Connection in NJ should be a stop, especially as John Rutan will let you audition to your heart's content. You can listen to ProAcs, Vandies & Harbeths there, all in one stop, as well as CDPs and amps by Primare, which I like a lot. The Primare CD31 is a gem, and Primare electronics + Proac speakers was one of the best combos I'd heard while auditioning. I really wanted to pull the trigger on that combo, but at the time, I didn't know my budget was going to increase... If I had the Primare/ProAc instead of Leben/Harbeth, I wouldn't complain, either. Especially as the Primare/ProAc had a gutsier sound... had excellent pace. But given yr musical preference - classical piano recordings (like me!) - you might prefer the Leben or Pathos... Pathos is interesting, too, because it's hybrid design: it has tubes in pre, but solid state amplification. So more power: 70 wpc, I think, and combines the best of the SS & tubes.

Hudson Audio in NJ should be interesting, too. You should give a listen to FJ speakers & Bluenote (another Italian brand) speakers & CDPs.

Google the names of these dealers for their websites & make sure you make appointments. When you make an appt w/ Sound by Singer, ask for a guy named Mike, who'll really take care of you... he let me audition gear when I went there, for a very long time, not intrusive or pushy at all. Have fun!

(One caveat: the Leben & Pathos do NOT have built-in phono stages... I just remembered you wanted one built in; as I've said the Plinius integrated amps come w/ high-quality phono stages built in, as do Jeff Rowland amps. There's an interesting integrated amp called Carat A57, and I have a college buddy who lives in Japan who uses it, says it has a good built-in phono stage. From what I understand, it's very affordable, and sounds fantastic. He's had Creek Classic before & he likes the Carat better. Great design, too, looks REAL sharp. Except that I haven't seen one in the States! (I think it's a French amp?)

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

selfdivider - Thank you for the equipment recommendations - again.

Many of the brands you have mentioned I am not aware of and this is what is making my audio journey so exciting.

I fear that this post has become too long and many people with similar technical skills re: musicality will not make the effort to read through the long post and continue helping me on my quest.

I am going to contact the moderators of the sub-forums and ask if I can post specific questions related to their respective forums. Know what I mean? I'm clueless on a lot of other issues and want the best help available.

Your friend,

Eddie

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Re: Destroyed by fire!


Quote:
I am going to contact the moderators of the sub-forums and ask if I can post specific questions related to their respective forums.

Sure. No problem at all, Eddie.

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Wow! That was easy! Thanks Stephen for the courtesy.

I visited a really great Hi-Fi shop in White Plains, NY called Lyric Hi-Fi and had a meaningful discussion on cars, life, and audio. We talked for about 30 minutes before I sat down to demo some speakers and equipment. I listened to Hansen, B&W, Totem, Audio Physic and Magnaplanar loudspeakers. The B&W speakers were the 802 - really nice and buttery sounding powered by MacIntosh Amps and PreAmp and the source was a Rega 3 turntable. Very old school - very cool. The Hansen were overly bright and I suspect not yet broken in. Another B&W was the 804 or 805 diamond series. Also nice - but not as welcoming as the 802. The Audio Physic was the Tempo I had auditioned on a prior visit except this time I played hard rock and shred metal to see how they would sound. They were decent but really excelled at the classical and solo piano material from the first visit. Rammstein, Megadeth, and Metallica were a little too much for their small drivers. The totem speaker was a bookshelf Model One and sounded great with dense Orchestral music - Brahms Second Piano Concerto. The Totem to get is called the Wind and they will call me when it blows in. Get it? Hah Hah!

The biggest surprise for me was the Maggies 1.6 @ $1750 hooked up with a center channel Maggie and a B&W PV1 subwoofer. I asked Scott to turn off the subwoofer and I fell in love with the sound of the Maggies midrange. Great. Now I like BIG speakers.

My wife took off from work on Thursday and is going to check out a few dealers with me and wants to hear the Maggies. She said if we can color match a paint sample to the grill cloth fabric and paint the room so the Maggies blend in - she would have no objection. I want her to hear the 20's from Maggie since that is where they really shine. Anyone familiar with QUAD?

Sub wise I listened to the B&W PV1, a second wood finished bigger B&W and a Revel sub. I wasn't really that impressed and wanted - MORE POWER. More marching band drumbeat hitting the chest feeling. I'm happy my wife is interested in my new hobby.

I purchased 2 EVENT ASP8 Studio Precision Series Active Monitors from Sam Ash along with a new Synthesizer today. They have BALLS TO THE WALLS - in a good way. VERY muscular. Not wimpy at all. THUMP-THUMP at incredible volume levels for the Korg Radius Synth. The salesman told me to hook them up to my current LCD TV and prepare to be amazed. I'll try that out tomorrow as it is after midnight now and I'm looking forward to my bed instead.

If any of you guys live in the NY area and want to go out auditioning with me - let me know. It would be great to hang out and listen to subs and speakers. Another set of trained ears would be a gift.

Goodnight,

Eddie

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Lyric has another store on Lexington in the 80's. Let me know when you're going to audition stuff and I'll tag along if I have the time.

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Eddie... I'm going to keep telling ya.. Go REL for a sub .. if you want that sub to really do what it's supposed to.. they're the only ones who do it right. Infact, it's all they do is subs.

2TwinDad2
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Re: Destroyed by fire!

I'm looking forward to the REL sub audition as soon as I go to a dealer that has them in stock.

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Re: Destroyed by fire!

Harvey Sound has a pair of Sonus Faber Cremona M floorstanders on sale for $6K - I have about twenty minutes to buy them or miss the deal. Store closes forever tomorrow. What do you guys think? They also have Macintosh SACD/CD player and Receiver @ 60% off.

Eddie

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