Monitor Audio Studio 15 loudspeaker Reference system
I used four amplifiers with these speakers: the $995 Acurus DA1, Audio Research's Classic 60 stereo amp and Classic 120 monoblocks, and a pair of Mark Levinson No.20.6 monoblocks. Preamp was either the Melos headphone amp or the McCormack Line Drive Deluxe, each coupled with the McCormack Phono Drive. Front-end components consisted of a fully loaded Linn Lingo LP player, a ReVox PR99 open-reel recorder, VTL Reference and PS Audio UltraLink DACs driven by Meridian 602 and Wadia WT-3200 CD transports (connected with Mod Squad Wonderlink or AudioQuest Digital/Video Pro coaxial cables), and an Aiwa HD-S1 DAT recorder. Speaker cables were MIT Terminator (single-wired) or a bi-wired set of AudioQuest Clear (bass) and Sterling (treble); interconnects were MIT MH-330 or AudioQuest Lapis Hyperlitz.
My dedicated listening room is about 19' by 16.5', with a 9.5' ceiling. Speakers are set out along one of the longer walls, which is faced with book and record shelves. The sidewalls have more bookshelves placed at the positions where the sound would reflect back to the single listening seat—solitary people, we audiophiles—which is around 7' back from the speakers. Tube Traps in the corners, strategically placed 2' squares of Sonex foam on the walls and ceiling, and RPG Abffusors behind the listening seat render the overall sound extremely articulate, if a little dry for some tastes (not mine). The speakers reviewed ended up about 2' from the LPs lining the rear wall and 5.5' from the side walls.—John Atkinson