I started piecing together this system in 1986. Over the years, many components have graced my 4 different, but always dedicated 2-channel listening rooms. These have been here the longest. I don't foresee any changes in the near future, until such time as I am forced to downsize. Each element of this system was auditioned for several weeks before becoming a permanent resident. I have been fortunate to have several mentors who guided my choices, always deferring to how I perceived the sound; none of them "selling" me anything. I can happily say I jumped off of the upgrade "merry-go-round" years ago, and now just sit back, relax, and enjoy the MUSIC! Isn't that why we do this?!

Room Details

Dimensions: 13’ × 11’  Small
Ceiling: 8’

Components Toggle details

    • Audio Research LS-25 mkII Line Stage Pre-amplifier
    Love the speed, articulation, and dynamics of this preamp. Upgraded from the ARC SP-9 mkIII and have NEVER looked back.
    • Audio Research Reference Phono
    All-tube. 11-6922 tubes in signal path. Power supply is 1-6550 power tube, 1-5AR4 rectifier tube, and 1-6922 regulator. Separate MM(+48dB)/MC(+69dB) inputs.
    Vocals and acoustic instruments in particular are eerily "live" sounding. Currently running JJ 6922 Gold Pin in the signal path, Tung-Sol 6550, controlled by a JJ 6922 power supply, and Sovtek 5AR4 rectifier.
    • Threshold SA-4e Power Amplifier
    Nelson Pass designed and built, 100% class A operation 100Wx100W into 8 ohms, 160Wx160W into 4 ohms, STASIS topology.
    Almost tube like tube-like mids and highs, but with the controlled bass you only get with solid state. Love, love, LOVE this amp!
    • Oracle Audio Technologies Delphi mkV Turntable
    Upgraded from mkII. A beautiful work of art IMO. Black African Granite base, and Turbo Power supply. Only thing original is the sub-chassis, which has been modified with the mkV counterweight. It sits on a Zoethecus Z-Slab platform, which rests on 4 Grand Prix Audio weight appropriate dampers, resting on a 1" granite slab which replaces the MDF shelf in the Target TT-1 Wall-mount Turntable Stand.
    • SME Series V Tonearm
    Probably the best synergistic tonearm for the Delphi. Resolution and timing are spot on, and it has the best bass performance of any arm I've used with the Oracle.
    • Benz Micro Ruby 3H Phono Cartridge
    Smooth, extended and well-balanced. Absolutely LOVE hearing vocal ensembles and acoustic instruments, but does a solid job with other genres as well. The female voice is simply magnificent, as are string instruments. Incredibly life-like.
    • Sumiko Blackbird Phono Cartridge
    High output moving coil. Probably the quietest cartridge I own. It's absolutely silent in the groove of a clean LP. Dynamic and emphasizes the "whole" of the musical performance. Not the last in resolution, but puts together a very convincing soundscape, especially with pop and rock 'n' roll music.
    • Thorens TD-320 Turntable
    My first good turntable, now my mono rig. Also used for play testing used records bought at shows or yard sales, and for playing "background" music to fill the house.
    • Grado Green Phono Cartridge
    For the Thorens to play yard sale and used records in stereo.
    • Ortofon OM-10 Mono Phono Cartridge
    Base line cartridge, but surprisingly good for the money. Don't have many mono cartridge options for the Thorens TD-320, as only undermount, low mass cartridges are fittable.
    • Yamaha T-2 FM Tuner
    All analog FM only tuner with a nice digital read-out. No pre-sets. Dual antenna capability as well as multipath, blend, and local/distant settings. On of the best sounding FM tuners I've heard. Inherited it from a dear friend and audio mentor upon his passing.
    • Lexicon RT-10 Universal Player
    Based on the design of the Marantz flagship model of the time, this player still competes with other SACD DVD-A and CD players pretty favorably, but doesn't do Blu-Ray. It also is "bulletproof." I do not use it for video, as it is in a dedicated music room. My primary listening source is vinyl, so for the 500 digital albums I own, it suffices. It does a decent job with making those poorly mastered late 1980's CDs sound listenable. Bright Star Little Rock I provides additional isolation from the analog components above it.
    • Tascam DV-RA1000 High Resolution Digital Recorder
    This is the best sounding digital recorder I have listened to. It allows me to record in Hi-Res, and includes software that converts to other formats, such as DVD-A 24/192, SACD, or CD 16/44.1, and put it on my computer for listening or porting to my iPod in full resolution. It is a professional mastering device. It was my only digital player until I got the Lexicon to play SACDs. In some ways, it still outperforms the Lexicon, especially with CDs. SIMS NAVCOM Isolators provide additional vibration damping
    • Martin Logan Ascent i Speakers
    There is simply nothing like electrostatic speakers. After hearing the original CLS in the 1980's, I was hooked. Their speed and their ability to disappear is captivating. The Ascent i's are truly remarkable within their frequency response. Stereophile rated them Class A-restricted low frequency. I have never heard vocals or strings rendered with such palpability. Jascha Heifetz playing Beethoven's Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61, Charles Munch, cond, on RCA, has brought everyone to tears who has listened to it on this system. Religious vacuuming of the panels with a dedicated brush has kept them going strong for 16 years.
    • Miller and Kreisel MX-5000THX Sub Woofer
    Full, tuneful bass down to 15Hz. Recently re-coned and replaced the surrounds on the drivers, and it sounds as good as the day it was made. Having 2-12" drivers has helped with room node issues that my previous Velodyne ULD-15 had. I have it crossed over at 38Hz to supplement what bass the Ascent i does not have, and it is fast enough to keep up with them.
    • Transparent Audio Music Link Super MM2 Balanced Interconnects
    25' Connecting preamp to amp
    • Monster M-1000 interconnect
    25' from preamp to M&K subwoofer, 3' from SUT to preamp
    • Transparent Audio Music Wave Reference MM2 Speaker Cable
    8' spade connections
    • VPI Industries Typhoon Record Cleaning Machine
    Gets my vinyl "squeaky clean."
    • Transparent Audio PowerIsolator Reference MM2
    4 outlets, used for LS-25mkii, Reference Phono, and M1 SUT
    • Threshold Model M1 Step-up Transformer w/ M7 Power Supply
    Used on the Thorens for LOMC cartridges. 4 impedance/gain inputs.
    • Shunyata Research Cobra Ztron
    From the wall socket to the Cyclops
    • Shunyata Research Anaconda Vx
    From the Cyclops to the Threshold SA-4e
    • Shunyata Research Cyclops Power Conditioner
    Non current limiting, AC power line noise filtration, NO surge protection. The single most impressive accessory sonically I have added to the system. Absolutely BLACK backgrounds, and seemingly limitless dynamic range in the smallish room.
    • Transparent Audio PowerWave Super
    Connected to ARC LS-25mkii and ARC Reference Phono
    • Transparent Audio PowerWave Premium
    Connected to PowerIsolator Reference
    • Audio Power Industries power wedge 122
    Digital gear and turntable power supplies are plugged in here
    • Zoethecus Z.5/R Reference Stand
    5 shelf version. 7" between shelves. Z-Slab shelves on each location. Adjustable cone feet for leveling. Dark Cherry finish
    • Pangea Audio Vulcan Audio Rack
    Great, inexpensive rack. Supports the Thorens, Yamaha tuner, and Threshold SUT. Having the integrated storage drawer really cleaned up the presentation of the entire system, keeping the LP/stylus cleaning brushes and Zerostat out of sight. Also holds the extra phono cartridges and tonearm wands for the Thorens. Surprisingly "dead" and stable.
    • Target Audio Products TT-1 Wall Mount Turntable Stand
    If you have a crawl space, this wall mount turntable stand can be a lifesaver. Stud-mounted, it anchors the turntable to the foundation of the home, and virtually eliminates vibration from environmental factors. The stock MDF shelf has been replaced with a 1" thick slab of African Black Granite, sonically matching the base of the Oracle Delphi turntable which rests on it.
    • Auralex Acoustics Inc. DST-112 Acoustic Panels
    Placed at listening height to address the "slap echo" in the small room. Greatly reduces the reflected sound, which can overwhelm the listening position. Your room IS a component!
    • Michael Green Audio RoomTunes
    Corner treatments create the illusion of a much larger listening space by "opening up" the space behind the speakers by reducing standing waves. They also help the room from becoming overwhelmed at higher listening volumes. Articulation is improved and is very noticeable with the Martin-Logan speakers.
    • Ekornes Stressless Recliner
    You may argue that a chair is not a component of an audio system, but I disagree. After sitting in this chair at my local audio retailer, I had to have it! I refer to it as "the hand of God," because it's the most comfortable place I can be during waking hours, and it supports my body perfectly. Many, many hours spent listening in this chair.
    • Shunyata Research SR-Z1 Outlets
    The SR-Z1 outlets are built by Hubbell to Shunyata Research’s exacting specifications. These outlets have large internal contacts that provide superior contact integrity for power cords. Most all ferrous metals have been removed from the SR-Z1 design, as have carbon materials, which Shunyata’s independent tests have proven are detractive to optimal AC performance. Additionally, the body of the outlet is oversized, providing improved internal cooling capacity when under heavy current loads. All SR-Z1 outlets undergo Shunyata’s proprietary Alpha Cryogenic Process, and is performed on-site at Shunyata Research’s factory.
    • Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Wood V-Blocks (large)
    Inexpensive but very effective way to keep cables off of the floor.
    • AudioPrism Quiet Line Mk II
    Noise filters. I have 12 of these placed in strategic locations throughout the home. They create a noticeably quieter listening space, and a drop dead silent background in conjunction with the Shunyata and Transparent equipment.
    • SIMS Navcom Silencers
    Used under the Tascam DV-RA1000 to minimize vibration.
    • Bright Star Audio Littlerock 1
    Sits atop the Lexicon RT-10 to damp vibration and provide an additional EMF/RFI barrier to the other analog components.

Comments 1

A beautiful room and system. Very interesting use of Shunyata/Transparent cables and cords.

Happy Listening!


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