PSB Stratus Gold loudspeaker 1997 System and Setup

Sidebar 1: 1997 System and Setup

The Stratus Golds ended up about 30" from my listening room's rear wall (which is faced with books and LPs) and approximately 60" from the side walls (which also have bookshelves covering some of their surfaces). The amplifiers used were all solid-state: a Pass Labs Aleph 3, a Mark Levinson No.333, and a pair of Mark Levinson No.33H monoblocks. The preamplifier was primarily the remote-controlled Mark Levinson No.38S, replaced late in the auditioning by the new Levinson '380S. A Mod Squad Phono Drive EPS was used to amplify LP signals from a Linn Sondek/Cirkus/Trampolin/Lingo/Ekos/Arkiv setup on an ArchiDee table. Digital source was a Mark Levinson No.30.5 HDCD D/A processor driven by a Mark Levinson No.31.5 transport via an Illuminati AES/EBU cable, or by a Panasonic SV-3700 DAT recorder via Madrigal AES/EBU cables and a Meridian 518 jitter-reduction unit.

Interconnects used were AudioQuest's AudioTruth Lapis X3; speaker cable was a bi-wired set of the latest AudioTruth Sterling. All source components and preamps used in my listening room were plugged into a Power Wedge 116 Mk.II, itself plugged into a dedicated AC circuit and fitted with the Power Enhancer option. The power amplifiers were plugged straight into the wall.

I also auditioned the big PSBs in Stereophile's listening room, using a Meridian 500 CD transport and dCS Elgar D/A converter connected with Ensemble 75 ohm cable, a McCormack TLC-1/EPS passive preamplifier, a Krell KSA-250 power amplifier, and MIT interconnects and cables.

Following the initial auditioning, the speakers were broken-in by being placed face to face and driven with out-of-phase, high-level pink noise for 12 hours, followed by the "Special Burn-In Noise" track on Stereophile's Test CD 3 for another 12 hours.—John Atkinson