I'm not Flat Broke and Busted due to this obsessive- compulsive audio hobby anymore. I have my kids' college costs to thank for that now.

Anyways, FB&B System #1 has been retired and sold off for the most part (except for a few key components). The goal of this system was to simplify and take money out of my audio system, but at the same time, I did not want to lose too much musicality and enjoyment as a result of the downsizing.

Low and behold, here is FB&B System #2, and damn if it isn't as good (or better) and as enjoyable (if not more) as my previous, big $$ system! The combination of SET amplification and crossover-less, high efficiency speakers has brought a whole different level of musicality and reality to my room. The speed, slam, dynamics, coherence, soundstage and naturalness are all utterly amazing! This system has no right to sound as good as it does which is a fraction (25%) of the dollars that I invested previously.

Call me one happy SOB!

Update 12/2/13: It's been too long since I have seriously sat and listened to music on a serious basis, but it looks like I have gotten the itch to be more involved with my audio hobby once again!

Components Toggle details

    • Art Audio High-Current Jota BX SET Amplifier
    24 wpc SET powerhouse! This is the high current version of the Jota amp, in which I currently use VV32b output tubes (but can also use the 300bxls among others). I am also using Amperex 7308s as the input tubes, and Sylvania D-getter 12BH7As as the driver tubes. The rectifiers are Mullard CV378s. This is my third Art Audio amp, and it is marvelous! Joe Fratus is a top notch, outstanding gentleman to deal with. I can't recommend him or his amps high enough!
    • Dodd Audio Battery Powered Preamp
    No need for a big $ power cable! Totally off the grid which can tarnish the sweet sound coming from this 6922/7308/6DJ8 based preamp.
    • Modwright Oppo 95
    Wow, digital has come a long way. Besides this being a fantastic rebook and SACD player, it is great for playing hi-res downloads and music off a hard drive. Very flexible and stellar! Hard to believe that digital can get any better than this!
    • Modwright Sony DVP-S9000ES CDP
    Currently taking a back seat to my Modwright Oppo-95… The Modwright 9000ES is a splendid piece of digital gear that has been the one consistent part of my system for many, many, years. This one has the tube rectified power supply (using a Sylvania CHS JAN 5U4G rectifier), my homemade Jena Labs cryo'ed coppper umbilical cord and internal wiring, Mundorf Silver/Oil Caps, an LC Audio X03 clock, a DACT attenuator, Bybee filters, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, along with Dan's Bon Mod Platinum Signature Truth mods and tubed analog output stage (currently using GE 7044 tubes). Dan is another upstanding audio guy that makes great products, and has great customer service!
    • Zu Essence Speakers
    97db efficient, 12 ohm, full range towers; single 10" crossover-less driver that provides most of the music while a ribbon supertweeter takes care of anything above 10kHz. IMO, sounds as good, if not better than, my 3x more expensive speakers that I used to own, and a much better fit in my room (visually and size-wise)! Physically, they take up very little floor space, look great imo, and were very easy to place. High WAF too! The Essence speakers literally take the walls away from my room when playing great recordings. They fill my rather large room (25' x open in the back x 13' cathedral ceiling) with ease and never strain with my 24 wpc Art Audio Jota amp.
    • Lighter Note Passive Attenuator
    Currently a backup to my Dodd Preamp. A Lightspeed Passive Attenuator variant; highly transparent, very dynamic, just lets the music thru un-altered. The proverbial "straight-wire" no-gain device.
    • PS Audio P-300 MWII Power Regenerator
    Another constant in my system, provides clean power to my Modwright 9000ES and my Lighter Note passive Preamp
    • Zu Event Speaker Cables
    A very nice match for the Zu Essence loudspeakers
    • MAC (MyAudioCables) Mystic Interconnect
    6' - Used between my Lighter Note passive attenuator to the Jota amp.
    • MAC (MyAudioCables) Palladium Interconnect
    3' - Used between my Modwright CDP and the Lighter Note passive attenuator
    • DCCA Reference Master Power Cords
    These power up both my Jota BX amp and my PS Audio P-300 power supply
    • Fusion Enchanter Power Cord
    Powers up my Modwright 9000ES
    • Fusion Impulse Power Cord
    Powers up my Lighter Note passive attenuator

Comments 13

Hi 1markr,
You have assembled a very nice system and it must sound completely delightful. You'll enjoy this for many years I'm sure.


System edited: Latest version of my high-performing semi-budget system!


Which amp has given you the most satisfaction with the Zu Audio Essence speakers and why?


I would like to try the Q's to hear what they would do with the Merlins I'm using. The Q's did sound so amazing with the Andras. See you still have some DCCA power cords...that's great!


Thanks Don! Actually, I've gone from the Quartets, to the PX-25, to the Jota HC afterwards. There were other amps in between as well, but I always come back to the Art Audio amps.

The Qs have been gone for almost a year and a half now, and this system is only three or so months old. It would be noce to hear the Quartets now, but the Jota is playing nicely!


Hey Mark,
Congratulations on your system!
You have gone from the Quartet's to the Jota. Were you able to compare the amps in your current set-up?? Don


Musicfile and Foster, it's great to be back, along with the passion I once had. I love what I created here, and it will let me focus on the music for a long time (without being concerned about what I NEED to do next, what I NEED to buy next, what I NEED to tweak next, etc., etc.)

I appreciate both your kind words! .... THX!


Sebrof, thanks... I agree with all you say! I won't go with anything other than SET amps and efficient crossoverless speakers. There is magic there for sure!


Great to see your presence here again Mark. I've always liked you though I've never met you; always a friendly, helpful, and cordial member and audiophile. Regards. We need more like you here. Glad you're enjoying your new system..


Hey Mark
Good to see you around again
The new system looks like a keeper


1markr - Sweet system.
I couldn't agree more with what you say about SET and crossoverless. There's a palpability to the music that just makes it more enjoyable for me. I've had more expensive systems that may have been more accurate, I don't know. But I don't care either. I've never listened to my system more than I do now.


Thanks Kirk... I got of audio for a while because of limited time and increasingly limited finances. I knew I couldn't improve on my previous system without spending big bucks, so some of the passion left me. I know it's about the music first and foremost, but part of the fun for me is to hear new and different equipment and how it all comes together to form a musical, realistic simulation of the actual event.

I am ecstatic on how this system has come together and the sonic gift that it is bestowing for me now! Very enjoyable! Perfect? No. But what is? You will never recreate the live event in your room, so I have given up the quest for the Holy Grail, and I'm not even worried about that obsessive "how can I make it better"!

For the record, this is the first system that actually put tears in my wife's eyes when I played Eva Cassidy for her. That my friend, tells me I arrived!


Congrats on your new rig! Looks to be a very competent arrangement of equipment. Enjoy!


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