Joseph Audio RM22si Signature loudspeaker Setup & System
My sources for evaluating the Joseph were a Dual CN5000 belt-drive turntable with an Ortofon XM5 high-output moving-coil cartridge, and a California Audio Labs CL-15 CD player (which offers more slam, resolution, transparency, sonic depth, and detail than the comparably priced Icon Mk.II that it replaced in my system), in tandem with Synergistic Research's Resolution Reference II interconnects and Designer's Reference Power Cord. These were constants throughout.
I upgraded the power supply of my entire system by replacing my geeky hardware-store extension cord and Isobar Surge Protector with a pair of JPS Labs Power AC Outlet Centers, which are essentially first-rate custom power cords terminating in a 4-outlet strip instead of a single plug. I daisy-chained a 20' and 15' pair together to make a long run from the dedicated 30 amp line in the adjacent room. This allowed me to position my power amps between the speakers on Michael Green Signature amp stands while finally clearing my towering Salamander equipment rack from the middle of the soundstage to the short wall of my 12' by 20' room...where it belongs.
The JPS Labs Power AC Outlet Centers contain no extraneous electronic doo-dads, and eliminated a heretofore unknown source of grunge, distortion, and veiling—the clarity and resolution of my entire system improved immeasurably because I could now confer the sonic benefits of clean power (extended low-end slam, clean midrange articulation, and sweet, transparent highs) to all of my components, whether they employed integral power cords or were equipped with high-end custom power cords.
With its 86dB sensitivity and 8 ohm impedance, the RM22si presented a consistently friendly load to the three different levels of tube power output I employed over several months. (I had no solid-state gear.) The Mesa Tigris is a relatively low-powered class-A push-pull integrated tube amp with adjustable stages of negative feedback and switchable modes: 20W in two-thirds triode mode, 28W in one-third triode, 35W in full pentode (more about all of this in a future review). The Tigris remained in my rack, with a Synergistic Research AC Master Coupler as its power cord. I used two long (20') runs of JPS Labs Superconductor to biwire the speakers.
My medium-power rig comprised a vintage Conrad-Johnson PV-5 preamp and the Mesa Baron tube amp, the latter generally operating in full triode (55W) or one-third pentode (85W) mode. A pair of Synergistic Research AC Master Couplers were the Baron's power cords, a 15' pair of JPS Labs Superconductor 2 interconnects linked the C-J to the Baron, and an 8' set of custom biwire Synergistic Research cables (Resolution Reference II for the treble, Signature No.2 for the bass) hooked up all of this to the Joseph Audio speakers.
Finally, the high-powered rig: I used a pair of VTL MB185 monoblock power amps (100W triode, 205W tetrode) in tandem with the C-J PV-5, using the same JPS Labs Superconductor 2 interconnects as in the medium-power system, but switching to a pair of JPS Labs Power AC cords and an 8' pair of Cardas Golden Cross speaker cables in a biwire configuration. A pair of Shakti Stones sat on the amplifier transformers to improve system focus. To fine-tune room response I placed a staggered set of EchoBusters absorptive panels behind the soundstage and at the point of first reflection, using diffusive panels to create a false wall opposite my equipment rack, and to partially cover the windows behind my listening chair.—Chip Stern