(click "Toggle details") So happy with the system right now. Closing my eyes, listening at night, it's wonderfully enjoyable and it can sometimes even be hard to tell if it's actually live music or sound reproduction, depending on the track. Tons of effort and time has gone into this hifi streaming sound system, researching, acquiring, testing, tweaking, tuning, and of course listening... all since October 2021. Before that it was a more basic bookshelf 2.1 system driven by a Marantz AVR. Coming into this giant project, I was not new to music, or playing an instrument, or recording, or mixing, or mastering, but I was new to building the best high end audio system that I can. Being attracted to discovery of how deep it can go, how weird it can get, and how to most efficiently approach this game with the resources one has, I've gone really deep in a short time. And it's glorious down here :) The only additional upgrade I've been putting off is to get a second Rythmik F12G subwoofer and the attendant cables...

Room Details

Dimensions: 33’ × 15’  Large
Ceiling: N/A

Components Toggle details

    • Inakustik Reference Power Station AC-4500, full version
    ~Distributes filtered AC to: dual LPS (powers modem and router), streamer/renderer, DAC, and preamp
    ~This unit has an open, natural, and cohesive sound.

    ~There are 3 outlets designed for digital component interference filtering, and 3 outlets designed for analog component interference filtering.
    ~Separately shielded socket groups
    ~Three large power distribution copper busbars, solderless connectors
    ~Overvoltage protection
    ~All-pole mains disconnection
    ~CE compliant
    • Furman IT-Reference 15i Power Conditioner
    ~The SPL Audio amplifier gets the whole Power Factor outlet bank to itself, which has power reserves of 55 amps at peak charge; an "extremely low-impedance supply of AC power".
    ~Also, for home theater use, the TV and optical-to-coax converter are plugged into the Discrete Symmetrical outlets, which isolate the noisy components.

    More features:
    ~Linear Filtering Technology (LiFT)
    ~Series Multi-Stage Protection (SMP)
    ~15 amp rating
    • Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 cable modem
    ~Has the Broadcom chip
    • Linksys EA7300 Wifi Router
    • ZeroZone Dual Linear Power Supply
    ~Powers modem and router
    ~x2 50VA toroidal transformers
    • Bricasti Design M5 Network Player
    With the M5, I use the BubbleUPnP app on a WiFi connected tablet or smartphone to:
    1) play FLAC files stored locally on the device, and
    2) render streaming audio from Qobuz (I mostly use this method)
    • Audio Note (UK) DAC-3.1x/II Balanced
    This is a non-oversampling, non-reclocking DAC with no digital filtering or DSD capability. I don't use an ethernet switch or a reclocking device in my digital chain. According to AN UK "all filtering is done in the analogue domain where it is easier to retain good, wide band phase-frequency and dynamically coherent behaviour." It uses the AD1865N chip.

    It's a very natural sounding DAC and is capable of being both very highly resolving and rich sounding -- I suspect significantly more so than many people know about... because they aren't using the optimal tubes! Of course, the total sonic result depends on everything in one's system working together.

    For me, this DAC's level of performance is mostly rooted in discovering the best combination of vacuum tubes. Here's the vintage tubes I'm using in this DAC. I've tried many combinations of tubes in all positions, and this combination takes its sound quality way beyond the sound of the stock tubes, and especially in concert with the vintage tubes in my preamp. Exceptional clarity, richness, and extension is the result.

    Rectifier tube: Brimar 6x5GT, dual stacked plates, D-getter, 3 mica, made in Britain, 1950's (not other Brimar 6x5 tubes, in my experience). This tube (the ones in good condition) has excellent linearity, extension, and clarity with a small bump of energy in mid-bass and low-bass, making it really excellent overall. Also very good is the Sylvania JAN 6x5WGT, especially the chrome top + black base. Quiet, clear, and with a response bump in the low-mids, mid-bass, and bass. I tried a bunch of other 6x5 type rectifier tubes in this position, but they all either sounded like crap or just too harsh and edgy in the top end. Options for a really good rectifier tube in this DAC are limited.
    Regulator tube: Siemens 6BM8, made in Germany, which has excellent clarity, and extension, but no sweetness in the mids and the treble. Has a dry sound, but I'm using it for the super good clarity and extension. Also pretty good is Amperex 6BM8, made in Holland, from 1959. More warmth, less top end extension than the Siemens.
    Line stage tube (about 50% more sonic influence from this position vs driver tube position, both being 12AU7): 12AU7 Amperex 7316 short plate, D-getter, red tipped, made in Holland, 1959. This tube is well known to have crazy good midrange and a clear top end which is not super extended. The long plate version shifts the mid-range emphasis down a little and has more low-mids and mid-bass. In my system, it made voices sound too bass-y.
    Driver tube: 6189 (12AU7WA/H) grey ladder plate, 1960's French military tube. One of the best top end you can get in 12AU7, while it has flat mids and bass is not emphasized. The high-mids are super clear and the highs have lots of detail and extension, and dynamics are impressive. A little more emphasis on lower highs than higher highs, which integrates really well with the 7316 tube's top end.

    The 12AU7 Mazda grey ladder *long plate*, made in France, 1957, is an extraordinarily rare tube that I was using in this position in combo with the Brimar rectifier tube I mentioned above. If you can find a good one of these old Mazda tubes (unlikely), it is similar to the Amperex 7316 in the mids with sweetness, but has a more extended top end, and with excellent mid-bass and sub-bass extension with great speed. Very impressive tube with a rare combination of sonics. Top end is slightly less extended than the later versions with shorter, grey ladder plates, but still very good. Just different.
    • Backert Labs Rhumba Extreme 1.3 Preamplifier
    ~Patented power supply design made for extra fast charge delivery via small, high quality capacitors. Made for speed. Super quiet and dynamic. Quite sensitive to tube rolling.
    ~Has a recent upgrade to a voltage regulator in the power supply for a slightly more relaxed feel and a finer level of resolution.

    Line stage tubes: 12AU7 Mazda grey ladder plates from 1967-68 here. They are very similar in sound to the military 6189, but with more midrange presence and deeper bass. Leading edge speed and dynamics are the best I've heard. The top end is a little more energetic in the highest highs, so it combines great with the 6189 in the DAC, which is a little more energetic in the lower highs but still with superb extension.
    Also nice here is the 12AU7 Amperex Bugle Boy long plates, green tipped, D-getter, with foil, from 1958. They do a lot of things well. They are very smooth, pretty linear, pretty clear, and surprisingly pretty extended, high and low. Less clear and less dynamic compared to the Mazda. They excel best across the whole midrange, but have surprisingly deep and fast bass, just not a lot of emphasis on bass energy. I would say the top end has nice transparency, but it's not super extended on is own. Very nice tubes all around, but they need to work in combination with the full high to low extension I can get from the AN UK DAC. Both of these tube types are excellent. It just depends on what I need for the sound of everything in my system to work together in harmony. But, I keep coming back to the Mazdas here.
    • SPL Audio Performer s1200 SS Amplifier
    ~2x 520 watts at 4 ohms (speakers are 4ohm), 2x 300 watts at 8 ohms
    ~1440 VA toroidal transformer
    ~SPL Audio's VOLTAiR technology, developed in their pro audio division. This amp's internal operating voltage is +/- 60 volts (120 volts), which gives it +12dBu more input level to operate within. This means it never operates near its limit, unlike most audio devices, and greatly increases its dynamic range, reduces distortion, and gives it a relaxed, unrestrained sound.
    ~Trim knob for each channel to reduce input sensitivity
    • Aerial Acoustics 7t Floorstanding Loudspeakers
    Loving the sound of these more and more. Finished in Macassar Ebony. In my system, I feel that they achieve a realistic sound reproduction. As I've continued to upgrade components and tweaked them, these speakers have surprised me with keeping pace in this process by giving me a reflection of finer adjustments to everything upstream.

    They are capable of fine detail and bass that is both fast and deep. Being power hungry loudspeakers, the SPL Performer s1200 solid state amp seems like a perfect match to get them to sound effortless.

    Frequency response: 28Hz to 25kHz ±2dB, -6dB at 23Hz
    Sensitivity: 89dB for 2.83 volts at 1 meter on axis
    Impedance: 4 ohms nominal, 3 ohms minimum
    Woofers: Twin 7.1″ with cast magnesium frame, rigid bilaminate composite cones, large magnets, 1.5″ coils, long and linear Xmax
    Midrange: 5.9″ with cast magnesium frame, special Papyrus blend cone, copper pole sleeve, dual magnets, 1.25″ coil, long and linear Xmax
    Tweeter: 1.0″ with thick machined aluminum plate, soft ring-dome design with machined wave guide, dual magnets, 1.0″ coil, copper pole sleeve
    Crossovers: Fourth order acoustic Linkwitz-Riley at 400 Hz and 3,000 Hz crossover frequencies, 2 physically separate networks on glass-epoxy PCBs, bi-wirable and biampable, high-purity copper wiring and silver solder, premium passive components
    Cabinet: 9 layer laminated, curved, stressed MDF walls, 7 interlocked full-size braces, tongue and groove joints, 2-piece curved and damped baffle, architectural veneers

    • Rythmik Audio F12G Subwoofer
    Crazy fast sub connected to a RCA line level outputs from the preamp.

    ~Direct servo subwoofer, high efficiency, doesn't need a lot of power.
    ~The "G" means paper cone for lower mass, extra fast transient response.
    ~Piano gloss black finish
    ~370w RMS with parametric EQ and a bunch of other controls on the amp.
    • TimberNation Sound of Silence TWO audio rack

    ~Tiger Maple 2" thick shelves and walnut legs, natural satin lacquer finish
    ~Brass spikes and coasters in black chrome
    ~Custom sized at 18" deep x 54" wide x 28" tall
    • Signal Cables
    Cables inputted into:

    Netgear Modem: Perfect Flex 6 series 18awg generic broadband coaxial cable
    Linksys Router: ViaBlue EP-7 ethernet cable, silver plated OFC copper wire
    N.A. Muon Ethernet Filter: Muon streaming ethernet cable, UP-OCC silver wire w/ inline filter
    Bricasti network player (streamer): Network Acoustics Muon Ethernet Filter's hardwired ethernet cable
    Audio Note UK DAC: Acoustic Zen Absolute AES/EBU
    Backert Labs Preamp: Acoustic Zen Absolute Copper XLR's
    SPL Amplifier: Acoustic Zen Absolute Copper XLR's
    Aerial Acoustics Loudspeakers: Acoustic Zen Double Barrel, splits into high pass (10awg) and low (8awg) pass cables, 6N multi-stranded zero crystal copper, constant air-twist geometry
    • Power Cables
    Cables inputted into:
    (four of which are really chains with Swiss Digital Fuse Boxes in the middle position)

    Furman power conditioner (powers amp only): Clarus Crimson High Current MKII (8awg multi-gauge, multi-shape OCC copper wires)
    Inakustik power conditioner (powers LPS, streamer, DAC, and Preamp): Zenwave PCR-11 (11awg rectangular OCC copper wires, Furutech FI-50 NCF rhodium plated plugs)
    ZeroZone dual LPS: mini-cable made from 9 inches of Zavfino Majestic MKII 12awg cable terminated with Furutech FI-50 rhodium plated plugs > Swiss Digital Fuse Box > Clarus Crimson Source MKII (12awg multi-gauge, multi-shape OCC copper wires)
    Netgear Modem: GhentAudio DC-7N16C DC power cable (16awg OCC solid core copper, dual-shielded)
    Linksys Router: GhentAudio DC-7N16C DC power cable (16awg OCC solid core copper, dual-shielded)
    Bricasti network player (streamer): Clarus Crimson Source MKII (12awg multi-gauge, multi-shape OCC copper wires)
    Audio Note UK DAC: generic IEC to AC plug adapter > Swiss Digital Fuse Box > Zavfino Majestic MKII terminated with Neotech gold plated OCC copper plugs (12awg stranded OCC copper)
    Backert Labs preamp: 9" of Zavfino Majestic MKII cable terminated with Furutech FI-50 rhodium plated plugs > Swiss Digital Fuse Box > Zavfino Fina (14awg stranded OCC copper)
    SPL amplifier: generic
    IEC to AC plug adapter > Swiss Digital Fuse Box > Clarus Crimson High Current MKI (8awg multi-gauge, multi-shape OCC copper wires)
    Rythmik sub: Zavfino Fina (14awg stranded OCC copper)
    • Filters, fuses, and other tweaks
    Swiss Digital Fuse Boxes
    ~I have these installed on all four of my components that have replaceable fuses, and either one or two hand-polished copper slugs inserted where the fuse normally goes. HUGE upgrade in sonics. Huge. Still hard to believe what a tremendous difference using copper slugs along with these devices has made.
    ~See my Audiogon Member Review: "Swiss Digital Fuse Box - "What headroom sounds like"

    Network Acoustics Muon Ethernet Filter
    ~Signal cable is the Muon Ethernet Cable
    ~Filter box is sat upon an extra large Heartsound Holostage with RCA grounding cable, which is a passively radiant signal:noise ratio booster.

    Duelund/Mundorf Ultra Loudspeaker Purifiers
    ~copper/silver hybrid version, customized to 4 ohms. These are plugged into the back of the banana plugs where my speaker cables plug into my amp, before the speaker cable splits into high pass and low pass sections. Extremely effective noise filters.

    Heartsound Holostage MKII (by Krissy)
    ~In my own words, these devices are passively radiant signal-to-noise ratio boosters, although they are only marketed as acoustic enhancement devices. I've observed them to be both noise filters and signal boosters (don't ask me how) which incorporate nano crystals and some proprietary methods. They work by proximity to the field they produce, so the closer to a circuit/wire, the stronger the effect. Extremely effective and quite powerful. I no longer handle them with bare hands. Because of my body's heightened level of sensitivity, I can feel the energy loading my nervous system strongly; instead I use tongs to reposition them. Again, they are passive, with no traditional power source.
    ~Seven standard Holostages are used for acoustics (mentioned in separate Acoustics section)
    ~One Holostage is right next to the speaker cables where they exit the amp, so it's transmitting radiant energy through the unshielded part of the speaker cable to the inner wire. I know this through experiementation in many different positions with these Holostages. I had one sitting on each of the speaker cables near the speaker terminals until I realized I could use a single unit where they are closer together near the amp posts.
    ~Two Holostages are affecting the power conditioner for components upstream from the amp.
    ~One extra large, very powerful Holostage is sitting on top of the DAC, and has a copper wire protruding from inside the device for connecting to signal grounds. I removed the RCA plug it came with and have the bare copper wire clamped inside of the DAC's ground post. Also clamped there is the ground wire from a separate RCA cable, which is plugged into an unused RCA input on my preamp.
    ~One extra large, very powerful Holostage is sitting on top of the Bricasti streamer. Just by proximity, this has a big, wonderful effect of greater details and more energy and clarity in the top end. Also, the Network Acoustics Muon Filter box is sitting on top of this extra large Holostage, with the excess incoming ethernet cable also resting on it.
    ~One Holostage is built with an AC male plug, and is plugged into an unused outlet on the Furman power conditioner.

    Furutech NCF Clear Line
    ~Subtle noise "filter" via vibrational and electric damping
    ~See my Audiogon Member Review: "Furutech NCF Clear Line: What to expect"

    Furutech 106-D Outlet Cover
    ~Very subtle improvement at this point in my system, which is cumulative with the NCF Clear Line devices. Looks cool though

    Synergistic Research Purple UEF Duplex Receptacle
    ~That UEF goop from the Purple line that Ted uses plus the high voltage treatment gives this outlet some nice body in the mids and slightly better top end than your basic outlet. It's a good combo with the Furutech NCF tweaks because those are more towards the super duper micro-detail analytical side of things.

    High Fidelity Cables MC-1 Pro Magnetic AC thingie (not in use currently)
    ~This is placed on a separate circuit nearby the circuit my power conditioners are plugged into. Somehow, it still has a strong effect, so it's a tweak that is used judiciously when I introduce tubes which lack a little top end pizazz. I am using two Synergistic Research HFTs stuck to it, which has crystals inside that interact with the magnetic field this device has. The result is having smoothed out the top end edginess that this device imparts. Combined, there's a nice synergy, the top end is wonderfully smooth, and upper mids are pleasant. Without the HFTs, I wouldn't be using this device.

    Power Cable "cooking" on Desktop Computer power supply:
    ~All of the power cables, adapters, and also the 10amp Swiss Digital Fuse box have been burned in for a number of days on a 1000watt computer PSU -- 75% of the time at 3.5A continuous current and 25% of the time at 6A continuous current. Usually this involves 5 or 6 additional adapters to make a daisy chain and do multiple cables simultaneously.

    Vibration Isolation
    I have a separate "Component" section for everything I've done for vibration isolation.
    • Vibration Isolation
    All power, signal, and speaker cables: Millercarbon Cable Cradles
    I'm thoroughly convinced that there's no better design in the high end audio industry for cable vibration isolation. Significant improvements in resolution. It's a very affordable suspension system for cables which rapidly dissipates vibrations and results in less "smearing"of the sound. The isolation from nearby vibrating objects like the floor or wall has a major effect, but lots of vibration is transmitted through the air too, otherwise we couldn't hear anything 😆. Transformer hum is another source of vibration. Some of my signal cables don't need theses because they are indirectly isolated by being inflexible enough that they just float in the air between the DAC and preamp, which are vibrationally isolated by Townshend Seismic Pods.
    Speakers: Townshend Seismic Bars.  Very effective product.
    DAC and Preamp (both tube design): Townshend Seismic Pods. Very effective.
    Streamer: Combination of Townshend Seismic Pod and Douk Audio Nobsound spring isolation feet
    Sub, Furman power conditioner, LPS, router, modem: Douk Audio Nobsound spring isolation feet
    Amplifer and Inakustic power conditioner: Just sitting directly on the maple rack shelf, on their rubber feet. No additional vibration control sounds good, especially for the SS amp's bass reproduction, control, and extension.
    • Acoustics
    ~ATS Acoustic 4" Bass Trap, full-range absorption, x3
    ~ATS Acoustic Corner Bass Trap, low-range absorption, x4
    ~Synergistic Research HFT 2.0 (for low freq tuning), x6
    ~Synergistic Research HFT X (for high freq tuning), x2
    ~HeartSound Holostages on front corner bass traps, tops of speakers, and three on top of rack / in front of TV (7 in total used for acoustics. 6 others used in different ways. For more info on those, see the component named "Filters, fuses, and other tweaks")
    ~QuietRock drywall single sheet affixed over windows behind speakers
    ~Homemade wooden diffuser mosaic art piece
    ~8x11 hand-knotted wool rug on hardwood floor

Comments 9

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I Like the diffuser panel on the wall. For homemade that's exceptional


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Maybe more info would be helpful for your next system on display.  

I hate it when there's no opportunity to learn from what others have done.


@yoby There's a reason I have 13 Holostages implement in various ways in my system. Once I had seven of them optimally placed for my room acoustics, I started reducing the number of Synergistic Research HFTs I had in play. The Holostages are overall better, more natural, and are like diffuse spheres of influence that overlap instead of the more focused, directional, limited frequency range effect from the HFTs.


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Hi gladmo: You did a very descriptive writeup of the passive Holostages from Heartsound Audio. I use a total of 5 of them in my listening room, placed in the four corners and and extra one at the center of the back wall. I found that placing them 30-40 inches off the floor worked the best for me as room treatments. In short, I describe their effect as a more relaxed presntation with a noticeably larger soudstage. The room is much more full of music without being offensive or harsh. Good listening. Jeff


@rc22 Thanks buddy. And yeah, when I'm not busy half-assing or fugging around, I don't half-ass or fugg around. 😁


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Man, you do “not phone it in” do you?  I’m certain your impressive collection of gear in such a nicely done, large room makes for an amazing system.  And a remarkable effort to describe and present it all to your fellow enthusiast.


@bimmerman2 🙂 You can click on the "Toggle details" button nearby where it says "Components" and look under "Vibration Isolation" for a few comments about those Millercarbon Cable Cradles.


Looks nice. What cable lifters are those?


@ghdprentice I recall you commenting on a previous version of my virtual system about seeing some photos. I deleted that system to start from scratch, and I've added photos this time around.


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