Focus Audio Signature Model 88 loudspeaker System Context
The Focus 88s were positioned some 2' from the rear wall of my room (which is faced with books and LPs) and approximately 5' from the side walls (which also have bookshelves covering some of their surfaces). This placed the midrange units well out in the room. The woofers were on the outside edges, the tweeters on the inside. The amplifiers used were either a Pass Labs Aleph 3 or a Mark Levinson No.332. The preamplifier was the remote-controlled Mark Levinson No.38S, with a Mod Squad Phono Drive EPS used to amplify LP signals from a Linn Sondek/Cirkus/Trampolin/Lingo/Ekos/Arkiv setup on an ArchiDee table. Digital sources were either a Mark Levinson No.30.5 HDCD D/A processor or a dCS Elgar D/A processor, both driven by a Mark Levinson No.31 transport via Madrigal and Illuminati AES/EBU cables and a Meridian 518 jitter-reduction unit.
Master tapes of Stereophile's new Rhapsody recording, and of Stereophile's Steven Stoner playing his new Remo drumkit in the same church, both sampled at both 44.1kHz and 96kHz, were played back on a Nagra-D digital tape recorder. For the editing of Rhapsody, the TosLink optical output of a Sonic Solutions digital audio workstation fed a Sonic Frontiers UltraJitterbug.
Interconnects used were AudioQuest's AudioTruth Lapis X3; speaker cable was a bi-wired set of AudioTruth Sterling. All source components and preamps used in my listening room were plugged-in to a Power Wedge 116 Mk.II, itself plugged-in to a dedicated AC circuit and fitted with the Power Enhancer option.
The speakers were broken-in before audition by being placed face to face and driven with out-of-phase, high-level pink noise for 12 hours, followed by the Burn-in Noise track on Stereophile's Test CD 3 for another 12 hours.—John Atkinson