My primary audio system is the living room so it needs to be clean and presentable.  Electronics are in an old entertainment cabinet with a removed back for wall mounted shelves and easier access to cables.  
I enjoy building and modifying so my system is a mix of home-brew as well as stock and modded manufactured gear.

Room Details

Dimensions: 14’ × 20’  Medium
Ceiling: 9’

Components Toggle details

    • Tonian Labs - Oriaco G6 Speakers
    Oriaco G6 "bookshelf" speakers built by Tony Minasian of Tonian Labs.  Lively with a natural tonal balance.  Stands custom built by Hi-Fi Racks in the United Kingdom.
    • REL Acoustics - Subwoofer T/7x
    Works best angled in the corner just like the set-up instructions said.  I used the Stereophile Test CD bass warble tones and an iPhone sound meter app to dial in the smoothest response.  Integrates well with the main speakers adding lower frequency weight, extension, and ambiance without drawing attention.
    • Acoustic Research (AR), Merrill, Sumiko - The Turntable, Premier FT-3 tonearm, Blue Plate Special EVO III cartridge
    Purchased this turntable c.1981 and have upgraded over the years with Merrill's sub-chassis, spindle, platter w/lead mat, springs, pulley, motor, center and rim weights.  All were incremental improvements.  The wrap on the tonearm is from the "Analog Survival Kit" sold in the late '80's.  It improved the overall playback sound so I left it on, even though it is looking worn.
    • Homebrew - Phono Stage (FVP5)
    The phono stage is based on Allen Wright's single ended FVP5 design from his "Tube Preamp CookBook."  The input stage is a cascode with low noise FET underneath a 6DJ8 triode.  RIAA eq is split with following common triode stage.  Includes Allen's "SuperReg" opamp controlled shunt regulator.  I built the raw power supply in a separate chassis.
    • Homebrew - Line Stage DHT Preamp
    The line stage preamp is my own design and implementation, although there is nothing radical about it.  Old radio tubes are astonishingly linear and with careful power-supply design can sound clear, clean, and transparent.  The single ended gain stage uses a type 31 directly heated triode (DHT) with a current regulated filament and very well filtered B+.
    • Marantz - NA6006 DAC/Music Player/Streamer
    Connected via ethernet. I stream from Amazon HD as well as play files from storage via a PC running jRiver.  Recently I've been enjoying DSD128 downloads from HDTT and NativeDSD Music.
    • Sony w/VSE mods - SCD-XA5400es CD/SACD Player
    • Sony - XDR-F1HD Tuner AM/FM/HD
    I like having a tuner to listen to some great terrestrial classical, jazz, and R&B programs/stations available in our major media market.  There are many digital HD and alternate channels to choose from as well.
    • Homebrew - Balanced Hybrid Class A Power Amp Monoblocks
    My own design using a differential pair of 12B4 triodes capacitor coupled to a pair of source-follower IRF240 MOSFETs sitting on regulated current sinks.  Simple approach has one tube voltage gain stage followed by one SS current gain stage.  No feedback used.  Speakers are directly connected.  The big heat sinks are required for class A operation.  I measured about 20 watts into 4 and 8 ohm loads before clipping.  I made a wood chassis.
    • Tascam DA-3000 Digital Recorder
    A pro-level recorder to make digital files from vinyl as needed (usually to share with friends).  Records 24/192 PCM as well as DSD.
    • Homebrew Speaker, interconnect, and main cables
    Designs are copied from, or inspired by, Allen Wright's "SuperCables CookBook."  Interconnects are made with solid 30ga silver-coated PTFE insulated or hair-thin superfine wire in PTFE tubing.  I like the low-mass KLEI RCA phono connectors.  For balanced I like mini-DIN connectors.  Speaker cables are made with 1 inch diameter flat copper ribbons.  Main cables are made with 10ga or 12ga solid copper house wiring.

Comments 6

Fantastic looking DIY gear pdspeigel and very cool system overall!


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Thanks for your comments.  
dtorc, I learned about mods soon after high school and was intrigued with the idea that you could improve products on your own.  I started with simple swaps and upgrades.  Over the years I learned more and more about how audio electronics work, eventually getting to the point where I could design and build my own.  Not everything I try works but every project is a learning experience.  There is a lot I don't know.  However, it has been an enjoyable journey and has helped me focus on the aspects of music reproduction I value.
bdp24I began assembling my vinyl playback system in the '80's so, yes, I guess that makes it classic now.  :)  I'm not familiar with the Sumiko Zeta, but it does resemble the FT-3.  From online comments it seems to be a very good arm.  


A Sumiko FT-3! Now THERE'S a classic you don't see very often. I have the Zeta, which has always seemed to me to have been inspired by the FT-3. Mounted on the AR turntable, that's a high value pairing you have there, I was planning on having a Sony 5400 modified by Vacuum State, but procrastinated too long. Nice CD player.


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I am envious of your ability to shape your sound by your own head, hand and heart. I am plug and play, mostly, and have to leave it to designers and manufacturers. It must be nice to have some command of all these boxes and their innards. 

Thanks for sharing...



Wonderfully unique


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