Sunny Mornings

I love my job, I love my office, I love a whole lot of other things. But, when the sun is shining through my living room windows the way it was this morning, it is very hard to leave home.


Here you can see some compact discs, some records, some books, some pictures, and some other stuff. The system:

DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 3 loudspeakers on Target stands (Because my first love remains my true love.)
Rega P3-24 turntable with RB301 tonearm, Elys phono cartridge, and outboard power supply
Exposure 2010S CD player
Exposure 2010S integrated amplifier with plug-in phono card
Polycrystal equipment rack
Furutech Evolution cables and e-TP609 power distributor

You can see a bigger image in the Gallery.

No cassette deck, yet. But soon. No tube amp, yet. But soon. And there are a couple of other things missing, too.

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The Audio Dufus's picture

My sentiments on many occasions exactly. Don't let them hear that at work---wait this is your work. I agree with what you said about taking a step backwards in order to move forward. I have an elaborate "hifi" with only highly regarded equipment that your mag has considered 2 die 4. But...I also have a 1964 Mcintosh MC240 that I can't seem to part with. I frequently place it into the rig as the amp and it never fails to impress. Have you ever spent a night listening and thanked your amp for its beautiful performance. I have. Is the 240 perfect? No, but there is something magical that can't be found in current tube or solid state designs. The transients aren't as fast, I use an 18 inch Velodyne below 38hz which lightens the load. But the rest of the illusion is uncannily...REAL. There are no circuit boards, it's all direct wire. We spend so much time considering interconnects, AC cords, and line treatment; but overlook the miniscule conduit these ICs pose in the chain. Look back, move forward.

Sherd's picture

Why do you need a tube amp?

Paul S.'s picture

This is a beautiful setup, Stephen! So neat and tidy. I like small speakers too[with no sub-woofer, of course!]. You won't regret adding a tube amp. I just switched back to tubes last month. I picked up my Dyanco ST70 tube amp from my parent's house when I made the 400 mile drive to visit them at Christmas. It has been stored in a closet there for a while. When I got back home and hooked it up my jaw dropped. I had forgotten how wonderfully musical tubes sound!

Jeff in Oregon's picture

Hi Stephen;Looks like a fun place. Early morning is one of my favorite times to listen also. You might think about room treatments before more gear. What's his name at ASC says he would rather listen to a mid-fi system in a high end room, than a high end system in a mid-fi room. You might want to experiment with it before you get a wife that says NO. Just a thought.

Michael's picture

Sounds nice and you have nice taste but who cares about the rack. It's furniture. I know we whack-jobs afflicted with audiophilia pretend the rack affects sound but really. Be serious. Tubed amps are fun. It's easy to spend a lot and get something great. It's also fun to find some obscure brand and get a terrific performance.

carlos's picture

Despite I prefer the night, the time you love for listen to the music is your sacred time, and nobody should be allow to interrupt. Or maybe just some special.Try to conserve those moment just for your pleasure.

Jon Banz's picture

Hi Stephen,Looking great! Your blog has been of significant interest to me since we are about the same age and listen to similar music (Thanks for Syclops by the way). Since you're thinking of fire bottles I thought I'd share my two cents. I've had two "holy shit" moments during my 10 years in the hobby. One was the Almarro A318B and the other was the Rega P3. I think the Almarro will see me through until I see a Shindo Appetite on Audiogon (yeah, right).Any plans to start reviewing?

rudy yniguez's picture


Stephen Mejias's picture

Thanks for the comments, everyone.Sherd: I need a tube amp for the tubes, of course. I dunno. I like the way tubes look, the way they sound, the way they warm a room.Jeff: I believe that room treatments make a difference -- sometimes even a positive difference -- but I still sort of hate them. I would like to put more art on my walls, though.Michael: The rack was a gift from Jonathan Scull, and it allowed me to clean up my space and give pride of placement to my record player.Carlos: I love listening at night, too.Jon: Thanks for reading the blog. I see we have similar taste in music and gear. I'll check out that Almarro. But, no, no plans to start reviewing. I like what I do now. Maybe reviewing will come later in life.

Winston Cho's picture

I've heard of comfort food and I guess this is how I would describe "comfort listening room". The pad looks cozy - I bet it's just as enjoyable at night with the lights turned down/off and nothing but the music playing and some indicator lights from the equipment. That's one of the things I miss from my college days, a true listening room. I have some nice grown-up equipment now but there is no such thing as a true dedicated listening space when you have a two year old running around punching the titanium drivers and folding creases into the Valhallas. Now my ultra quiet sedan is the closest thing I have to a listening room.

JSBach's picture

Oh Stephen, Stephen you naughty boy! You've still got those raised reflective surfaces between you and the speakers. Sacrilege!

Nick's picture

DO NOT REVIEW!!! Keep the blog as it is, it is the only reason I keep coming to Stereophile. I agree about tubes, have removed the Linn chip from my head, sold my LP12 going for a Thorens td2030 with SMEIV arm and selling my Linn electronics for glorious tubes. Jazz, Opera and the Clash will never sound the same again. Sunny here today and wish I was at home listening rather than being in the office.

Steelhead's picture

Grasshopper,Tubes and vinyl. You have been blessed by the wisdom of elders and your own growing self-awareness. You are definitely on the path to bliss and revelation.Forge ahead the path is sweet and beckoning.

sa's picture

While I subscribe to Stereophile, I am bothered when a Stereophile reviewer states: "I loved the product so much that I bought the review model" and the like. Unless the reviewer paid full retail (or whatever we the consumer would have to pay for the item), or the reviewer reveals just how much he paid for it, such statements add little value added, and in fact, call the reviewer's objectivity into question - a product I wouldn't touch at a certain price might be great at the price the reviewer paid - that's obvious. I really wish the powers that be at Stereophile would make it magazine policy to require full disclosure by the reviewer of the price he paid if the review includes such a statement (or even better, even if he reviewer doesn't reveal he purchased the item considered). Am I stating the obvious?

João Feiteira's picture

I see you already got some tubes in there. I see a little Epiphone Valve Junior.What do you use those Ikea stools for? I like them so much that I want to get some even though I don't really have a use for them.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Joao: Yeah, that little Epiphone is a fine-sounding (and great-looking) amp. Awesome value. I think Epiphone's stuff, in general, offers great value. I got the little stools from Target, though I'm sure Ikea has something similar. They're just a bit too small to hold a standard-size audio component. I use them for lots of different things, but, primarily, I rest my vinyl (and my feet) on them.

buddha's picture

I'd put those Gibbons at the top of my "Speaker of the Decade" list. I loved every second listening to them and tried to etch the sound in my mind for future reverie!

What are your room dimensions, distance between speakers and distance from speakers to your orange couch? Looks like some nearfield listening taking place!

Stephen Mejias's picture

Buddha, I know what you mean about the Gibbons, and I still remember the great look in your eyes when I first told you that I had 3s in my room. Remember? meant to take those measurements this morning, but forgot. I'll take the measurements this weekend and post them here. Yeah, near-field listening is cool.

Scotch Tapes's picture

Am I going to have to go to the local Goodwill and find a crappy old boombox for you to listen to some tapes? I'll do it, Stephen... So help me god, I'll do it!Oh... and just a heads up... new tapes and LATHES!!! coming really soon. Email me your address again and I will send you a new tape I think you might like... on the house...xoAL

buddha's picture

You know, the 3's are sort of an early date in your Hi Fi love life, but you've hooked up with marriage material. It's like meeting the perfect partner when you're only 12 - it won't last, but in your room, I wonder if any other love will ever top the 3's.

I have a hunch that when you move on, you'll always be thinking back to the 3's and how great she was.

Jeff Glotzer's picture

You poor, poor New Yorker! Wow, I thought the rumors about closets being apartments were false! Zen-like in perfection? That's just a bit too much... Your Feng seems to be a bit Shui'd up. All it would take for me would to trip up a Furutech speaker cable and end up face first into my beautiful Rega turntable would be one false step.No offense, but I think one would be happy if you shifted your system to the long wall with the taller bookcases. This way you can 'interact' with the light more (to the left of you and perfect for lounging), and have more room to move around in (but at the same time have the same or larger sweet spot). This other long wall would be great for the couch, and both the stereo wall and the window wall would now have an attraction intrisically. Just a thought! Want more, just ask...

Prinadi Surihandono's picture

Hi, Stephen, nice n cozy room you have there, cool gears too..if you don't mind share about your speakers placement, what's the distance between the left n right speaker, and the distance to your listening position? they appear to be quite close, so it works better than any farther?what do u think of the exposure 2010s int. amp? I use the same amp in my system, to drive Tannoy mercury F1 custom (standmounter). I find the 2010s: neutral tonal balance, transparent, excellent rhythmic & dynamic, very involving & musical. The tannoys are also very impressive, with minimum coloration, good accuracy, detail sound without drawing attention to itself but being a window through which I can deeply listen to the music. It's a really great bargain at USD 140, & IMHO the tannoys give serious competition to other loudspeakers in USD 300 range, such as wharfedale diamond 9.1, PSB Alpha B1, Usher S520 (based on my own comparative listening). Perhaps Stereophile cares to review the tannoys F1 in near future..?

Stephen Mejias's picture

Jeff: I live in Jersey City and I love it, so please don't feel bad for me. I had a little listening party one night, during which the guests (who will remain nameless) decided to move every piece of furniture and gear in my room, in an attempt to find the best possible set-up. After hours of that, the system wound up where it was originally (and currently). You can trust that if there existed a better solution, I would take advantage of it. The way the system is set up now is not only the best way, but the only way. Baseboard heating along the left wall prevents me from placing any furniture there, and the only AC in the room comes from the back wall, beneath the windows. Keep in mind that this is also my living room, and I want it to be a comfortable place, both for me and my friends. I think I've achieved that. At least I like it.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Okay, room dimensions, etc.:The room is 13' x 10' with 8.5' H ceilings. Distance from the speakers' front baffles to the wall behind them is 70". Distance from the front baffles to the listening position is 80". Distance between the speakers, measured from tweeter to tweeter, is 5'. Exactly.I came to this placement with the help of friends, and also with the help of the Golden Ratio and Stereophile's Editor's Choice CD. (I've been meaning to write about this for awhile, and maybe I will.) Prinadi: I've become very comfortable with the speakers set so close to my listening position. Here, they offer an excellent balance of soundstage depth, focus, detail, and soul. I love the Exposure for its simplicity, as well as for all of the reasons you've noted. The Tannoys seem very interesting.

Stephen Mejias's picture

I forgot to mention: The distance from the side wall to the left channel speaker is 26", while the distance from the opposite side wall to the right channel speaker is 33". There's a kooky little off-balance characteristic, er, thing -- call it a sonic ghost, if you will -- in my room. I dunno.

buddha's picture

Listening near field can be intensely "intimate." Sometimes it feels like having a buzz, even if you don't.

Do the chicks dig the room?

Stephen Mejias's picture

Do chicks dig the room? Do chicks dig the room? DO CHICKS DIG THE ROOM? Did you just ask me if chicks dig the room?

Stephen Mejias's picture

I hope so.

tap's picture

how do you like the exposure gear compared to the Ayre stuff you used to have? Im considering DeVore speakers with my AX7e - which product from their current line would you pair with it?

Stephen Mejias's picture

tap: At the time I had it, I don't think I was ready for the subtle greatness of the Ayre gear. I love my Exposure stuff, but I've grown to love Ayre's work, too. Other than the new Orangutans, I've heard the full line of DeVore speakers matched with Ayre gear and it all sounded great to my ears. A very musical combination, respectful of the music. Which DeVores you choose depends largely on the size of your room and how much bass you want/need.

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