Since I had my first portable AM radio, I've been in love with music. My parents had a Magnavox console, on which they spun albums by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and especially, Tony Bennett. I am grateful I was joyfully exposed to wonderful music very young. I am devoid of musical talent, but I seem to be wired to listen to it.

I added a new piece of equipment during the pandemic - a artist's sketchbook. I log in each album I play, and write something either long or short about each experience. I am not a good writer, nor will these ever be read by any other person, but I find it focuses me, and makes me a less passive listener. 

I listen for maybe a couple of hours a day, over two or three sessions. I find that any longer than that, I start to lose focus, and it is no longer worthwhile. Because of how I am wired, I can't do anythings else while listening - not because I am a purist, but because I have ADHD, and more than one thing tends to make everything less enjoyable.

I really like the equipment - it is fun to read about and think about, for sure. But as I age, I find that I am more music focused in this pursuit. Oddly enough, I think it was the equipment that got me there. 


Room Details

Dimensions: 16’ × 14’  Medium
Ceiling: 8’

Components Toggle details

    • Thorens 124
    This was refurbished by STS Classic Turntables. After owning a Linn LP12 for over 30 years (upgrading along the way), I thought I'd try out a more contemporary turntable. Instead, I went backwards - but I went forwards, too.
    • Pete Riggle Woody 12.5" SPU Tonearm
    Since I was going backwards on my turntable, I wanted an arm that would handle SPU cartridges. These are hand-built by a lovely man in Washington State. Every parameter can be adjusted, many on the fly. When I wanted to be able to put the back of the arm down a little lower, so he built me a two level arm board to accomplish that task. I think the arm sounds beautiful, warm and graceful, compared to my good arms from Rega, Linn and Funk Firm.
    • Ortofon SPU #1S, SPU Classic G E mk.ll, SPU Synergy G
    These are the SPU's in my stable. I would live with the the Synergy G if I had to choose just one, but I enjoy them all for the different way they present the music. I've fantasized about having a house where I could have a different speaker style in each room - horns in one, dynamic drivers in another, panel speakers in a third. in reality, I can't afford the space or the money to realize this. But I can change out the other playback transducer, and appreciate the more subtle changes in that way.
    • Various Manufacturers Phono Cartridges
    I also keep a small collection of more affordable cartridges all mounted up and ready to install. A Linn K-18ll, a Denon D103r, and a Shure V-15 Type IV MR are among the cartridges that I occasionally listen to for maybe a week at a time, and then go back to the SPU Synergy G.
    • Jelco 350s
    My turntable has two tonearms mounted, and most of the time I use the Jelco for an Ortofon 2M Mono cartridge. I have many 1950's mono jazz albums, and to me, they always sound better using a mono cartridge than even a much more expensive stereo cartridge. I love how bold and present a mono record can feel.
    • Zesto Audio Andros ll phono stage
    This phono stage has built in SUT's (made by Jensen), and I like how a low-output MC sounds with a SUT. Despite being all tube, it has a certain incision that I like to balance out its slight warmth. I rolled in some Mullard's, and that gave me even more of what I like.
    • Small Green Computer sonicTransporter i5 CDR
    This music server replaced my Mac Mini as part of my streaming set up. It is quieter and faster at its job. And the ripping function is fast and easy. I have about 1,000 CDs and I have probably ripped a little less than half of them to this server.
    • Sonore Optical Rendu
    This music player has galvanic isolation, using optical cabling to keep the noise down.
    • Ayre QB-9 Twenty
    I had the QB-9 DSD for a few years before I got it updated to the Twenty. They pretty much replace the whole thing, and it does sound like a very advanced version of the QB-9, which I liked.
    • Oppo 105
    I can play pretty much any disc on this universal player. But I rarely use it, as I like the Ayre DAC playing the ripped CDs more than I like the CDs played straight from this player. Nonetheless, this versatile player can do many things, all of them at least fairly well.
    • Scott Stereomaster 350-D
    This was a heavily modified tuner sold by Mapleshade. Now that Pierre is gone, I'm not sure they offer these anymore. This is one of my favorite components! I live in the Boston area, and we are blessed with many good stations that play a variety of wonderful music, curated by somebody other than me. This is by far the best sounding tuner I have owned, and I have owned many.
    • Revox A77
    I dipped my toes into tape, purchasing this machine from a certified Revox technician. I now own about 30 or so 7.5 ips 4-track tapes, and really enjoy the way that many of them sound on this machine. This is a "high speed" model, playing 15 and 7.5 ips in both 2 and 4 track. I haven't lucked into any high quality 2-track 15 ips tapes yet, but I still dream...
    • PS Audio BHK Signature Preamplifier
    This is a hybrid - tube input, solid state output. It has 5 inputs, either balanced or unbalanced. It is simple, versatile and really good sounding.
    • DSpeaker Anti-Mode X4
    My speakers require some kind of DSP to work properly. They sell them with the DSP-Mini, but this is a quieter, better sounding DSP unit (at many times the price, so of course). I use correction up to 250 hz, which smooths out the bass in my troublesome room. It also has a handy "tilt" control, like the old Quad amps, where you can make quick tone adjustments on less than perfect recordings. It contains a very good headphone amp, and some "headspace" programs that make my Audeze LCD-2 phones (pre-Fazor) sound great.
    • Zesto Audio Bia 120
    For awhile, I used the PS Audio BHK 250 power amp with my speakers. It helped them produce a lot of high quality bass - the amp really gripped the four 15" woofers. But I didn't love the mid-range or treble quality. So, I moved to this all-tube Zesto 60 watt per channel amp. It does not (cannot) give as much high quality bass, but I have never loved recorded music more. The quality of the mid-range and treble is what I have been longing for for many years. It was a worthy trade.
    • Mapleshade Double Helix speaker Cables
    I found these affordable, and good sounding cables, and enjoy them. I've never tried out the really high end cabling, but these sure bettered my Linn and Naim cables.
    • Mapleshade Clearview Interconnects
    I use these on my three most favored sources - the record playing system, the DAC, and the tuner. Again, I know there are more expensive and likely better sounding interconnects, but I think these work well.
    • Emerald Physics 2.8
    I have tried many kinds of speakers, from boxes to panels, and I found that these open-backed dynamic driver speakers have my favorite combination of attributes. More open than my previous box speakers, more power and kick than my Magnepan 3.6's. I've had them for about 5 years now, and I still enjoy them very much. I have a hankering for horns, but I don't think I have the right room for them. So, I'll stay put for a while.

Comments 28

What a beautiful system and a great room! So much vinyl - I have about 30 records in mine  - long way to go!


Sometimes, when I try to "control" the tweeter by using DSP in too strong a fashion, the tweeter will "bite" me - hit a note that almost hurts. When I keep my DSP correction to just below 250 hz, the tweeter sounds better.  I haven't had luck with metal tweeters, but I suspect that it is likely just preference rather than a matter of absolute quality. I sold a pair of my deceased friend's 2.8's to a nice, smart man. He also didn't love the tweeter. We keep in touch, and he says he greatly ameliorated the tweeter issues by improving the caps in the crossovers. He says they made a world of difference. He and I are going to change over mine, so I can see the difference (I'll keep the old ones in case I liked those better). 

I also had the same tweeter with the older red "internal" cable, and now I have the WireWorld cable upgrade. I think that helped a bit, too. 


Hey, Dtorc, just (on a whim) looked you up and saw that you responded. Sorry, don't know how to send a message on here any other way.
You're welcome. It was a bit of a process.
I don't use DSP, or any other tuning software kind of thing.....I just wing it. Tune it by ear.

YMMV, but I get a good vibe.
Emerald Physics 2.8's.....let's talk for a minute.....I'm not super happy with the high end.....I'd love to replace the tweeters with Beryllium's. The polyester tweeter isn't my cup of tea. Other than that, these things are absolute beasts. That 12" midrange just nails it.


I am pleased that you can make the speakers work well for you without DSP. I think they can sound thin without it, but between your use of tone controls, and the subwoofer, you have made it work very well for you. My problem might be that I do use DSP, which brings the low bass down into the upper 20's. When I tried to use a sub to free up my tube amp from needing to deal with the almost 2 ohm impedance, I couldn't make them blend very effectively. But I still get a sound I haven't gotten before - in a good way. I agree with your sentiment - open baffles are great!

Thanks for replying...


Hi Dtorc, saw your email.
I simply use the speakers with the stock crossover units (though it looks like my EP's have different wiring than yours. I think upgraded wiring was an option when they were originally purchased. I bought my pair used.) 
I do use the tone controls on my preamp to balance out the bass/treble.
My preamp (Classe CP800) has a separate output for subwoofers, so I simply plug the sub into that and then use the controls on the sub (Rythmik G22) to match/balance the sub with the speakers.
It took a little while to dial it in, but I'm happy with the sound.
Happy Listening!


I have 3.4s with same WW jumpers. When I took my XOs off the bases the sound really improved. Put you hand on the bases while playing music and you should fell how much they vibrate


Wonderful listening space! And I hear you on the hobby sort of turning in on itself, and it being more about just enjoying music than the initial 'wow' of hifi sound. Check out my system - we have some fun things in common, including a predilection for the SPU sound.


Hey bdp24, Thanks for the room comment. The Revox was re-built by the gentleman at JM Technical Arts. He was trained by Revox. On this unit, he replaced the recording head with a 2-track head, so that it can play 2 and 4- track tapes. And the facia was constructed by him, and he did the engraving of the speeds and the like himself. It feels a little funky and custom, and I like it. He also made me a wired remote that I like using. The original that lurks beneath all of his changes was a mk.2


Love your room, and the system. Say, what happened to all the lettering on the face of the Revox A77 (looks like an original. I have a Mk.3 and Mk.4)?


Subterranean - you have taken the things I am tending towards, and more fully realized them in your system. I appreciate all the low-powered tube equipment, into those DeVore's. 

I am a Western Mass, fan, having lived in Northampton, Gill, Northfield and Greenfield. What is your little village?


Love this system. Fellow SPU convert here!


Thanks for looking, and for commenting. My wife and I keep the spirit of the living room console of my youth with what we call "the house stereo." In  the living room, we have a cabinet that contains a CD player, receiver, cassette deck and turntable. I also have an inexpensive streamer hooked up to it as well. My wife is just enough younger that she came of age when cassettes outsold both LP's and CD's. It is fun to pop in a cassette from the 80's and give a listen. The speakers are in the ceiling of both the kitchen and the living room, and we can select which one, or both. Not Hi-Fi (not even close), but it sure can be fun when the mood strikes, or holiday music is needed, or whatever. My wife brought out her Gordon Lightfoot collection the other day to honor the departed man. Family music is also important.


Very nice equipment, fantastic lp collection. YES,every Saturday my stepfather played his albums,Nat King Cole,Bway Shows,Movie Scores,Mary Wilson.He had a nice Motorola  Tube console, with reverb.I wasnt allowed to touch it ,but when he left.i would listen to WOR,WNEW man it ,sounded Great.Now,i do listen to all kinds,of music. Rock on Brother.


Beautiful story. I had similar exposure to music in the early 60’s in Brooklyn. My mother had a Grundig console and played Nat King Cole and Broadway musical soundtracks like South Pacific. It gave me my appreciation for fine live music as well as fine reproduction equipment.


I absolutely love the emphasis on the music and your idea of recording your thoughts in writing to keep you focused on the beauty of the art. Well done!!!


That is a beautiful well complimented mix of old and new technologies. It must sound beautiful. I love the turntable and assortment of cartridge heads. Bravo!


Nicely done, a bit of a similar layout as mine. My wife loves my setup too, even though she heard it only once lol.


Impressive music room.


I thought yours were WW. I did the same IMO they are fine, but if you like to experiment that's a good place to play. I intentionally ordered mine longer specifically to get the XO off the bases. Play some music and put your hand on top of the XOs and bases.


Ohh - got it. They are so long I hadn't thought of them as "jumpers." But you are right. When I got the 2.8's, Walter said that they had replaced the Nakamichi-terminated red wire jumpers with WireWorld wire (which is what I have). He thought it was much better. It hadn't occurred to me to experiment with those wires.  Thanks for clarifying.


The jumpers I was referring to are between speakers and XOs


Thanks for sharing your anecdotal stories about your past and present journey with music and of course the equipment.
Looks like a fun room you have there - enjoy! 


Thanks, doyle3433. I saw that at one time, you were a horn user. I think that one day, I will find a good pair and swap them in on occasion.


You have an aspirational room and system my friend!
A lair/man-cave/fortress of solitude that all the ladies and gents of this hifi community would enjoy getting lost in. 


Thank you for the kind comments, jond and stereosanctity. I kind of lucked into a shed porch that was pretty decrepit when we moved into our house 20 years ago.We closed it in, and I could turn into my listening spot. My wife considers it a gift for her, too. 

And tweak1, my crossovers are marked "For single amplifier," and doesn't have jumpers. But my Maggies did, and just like you, I found that changing out the jumpers made a huge difference. I keep the crossovers on a pad of rubber and cork, but your idea of moving them farther away from the speakers has merit.


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