My audio system approach is driven by my passion for music. Everything you see here is put together with a singular purpose, to connect with music that not only inspires but stirs you emotionally as well. Musicality is a constant in my choice of audio gear. If a specific audio component cannot convey music with its natural emotions, then it simply fails and gotta go.

I believe in the notion that everything matters in a signal chain. So one must pay close attention to elements that are detrimental to sound reproduction in our environment. My room has dedicated AC lines and further power-conditioning is employed by way of an isolation transformer. This is the simplest and arguably the most effective way of power conditioning (without robbing the dynamics and adding any sort of coloration) in which incoming AC current is applied to a primary coil, with a secondary coil attached to one or more AC outlets; the turns ratio between the two coils is 1 to 1, thus ensuring that x number of volts IN will result in the same number OUT. 

Next up is cabling. Beyond the fundamental task of linking components and carrying current / signal, they greatly impact the overall sound of your audio system. So it is vitally important to select cables that allows you to appreciate and gets you as close as possible to the sound reproduction retrieval reminiscent of a live musical event. I have tried and owned many cable brands over the years and by far, the cables from Combak (Harmonix, Japan) are absolutely one of the most natural sounding cables. I can say unequivocally that these cables delivers class-leading levels of clarity and dynamics with a smooth but most natural realism. 

Room Acoustics are so important yet often overlooked. Treating your listening space with proper acoustic treatments yields to better sound and enhances your enjoyment. You get to hear all the possible details and nuances embedded in our music more clearly and with better definition. The consultation from GIK and Core Audio Designs was invaluable, the sonics results from acoustic treatments are nothing short of a revelation. 

And lastly, Isolation and Tuning. Even the slightest vibrations effects an audio signal resulting in smearing of acoustical imaging. After tinkering with variety of isolation devices over the years, I end up selecting isolation feet’s from Combak (Harmonix) for my main components. They are truly exceptional in keeping the audio signal intact and take away the nasties that affects the natural flow of the music (sound). The precision and realism with these tuning discs is simply unmistakable. 

I would like to acknowledge Colin at Gestalt Audio for his invaluable consultation in putting together my audio system. 

Components Toggle details

    • Reference System Toggle for Details

    Associated Equipment:
    1) Loudspeakers: TANNOY CANTERBURY GR
    2) Super Tweeter: TANNOY ST-300Mg
    3) Integrated: ACCUPHASE E-650
    4) Digital to Analog Converter: Merging Technologies +player, +clock, +power
    5) Super Audio CD Player: MARANTZ SA-11S2
    6) Compact Disc Player: RAYSONIC CD-128
    7) Streamer: Merging +player (Roon)
    8) Server: aurender ACS100
    9) Network Switch: Telegärtner M12 Switch Gold w/JCAT LPS
    10) Hi-Fi rack: CORE AUDIO DESIGNS isoPlat CLD v.4
    11) Subwoofers: REL Acoustics Carbon Limited 
    12) Room Treatments: GIK Acoustics / Core Audio Designs
    • Power Cables Toggle for Details

    Power cables:
    • Accuphase E-650 Integrated - HIJIRI “TAKUMI” Maestro
    • Merging Technologies +Clock - HIJIRI “TAKUMI” Maestro
    • Merging Technologies +Power - HIJIRI “TAKUMI” Maestro
    • Marantz SA-11S2 SACD Player - N/A
    • Raysonic CD-128 CD Player - N/A
    • REL Carbon Limited Subwoofer x 2 - Zavfino Majestic OCC

    Power Receptacle: Furutech GTX-D (Rhodium)

    Fuses: HiFi Tuning Supreme Cu
    • Signal Cables Toggle for Details

    Analog Interconnects: 
    • SACD Player - Sternklang Ephemera Balanced Interconnects 
    • CD Player - 聖HIJIRI Million “KIWAMI” HGP-RCA (Cinch)
    • Digital to Analog Convertor - 聖HIJIRI Million “KIWAMI” HGP-X Balance

    Digital Interconnects:
    Streamer / Server 
    • Telegärtner M12 X-coded/MFP8 IE Gold LAN
    • JCAT Signature LAN Gold M12 X 
    • Acrolink 6N-D5070 II

    • Zavfino Nova OCC - LF
    • Kimber - REL-CU
    • Sternklang Ephemera SpeakerCable - Super Tweeter
    • Entreq ARGO Ground Cable
    • Anti-Vibration Toggle for Details

    Hi-Fi Rack: Core Audio Designs PlyKraft 3L & isoPlat CLD v.4

    Anti-vibration platforms: 
    • Auralex Acoustics SubDude
    • Core Audio Designs - Purple Heart for Apple Router and M12 Network Switch

    • Combak TU-333EX Tuning Insulator (underneath Accuphase and Merging)
    • Finite Elemente Slimline CERABASE (underneath Raysonic and Marantz)
    • HiFi Stay TriBase (underneath Aurender)
    • Herbie Audio Labs Soft Fat Dot (underneath SME 15A-V & Telegartner M12 Switch)

    • Shun Mook Audio Mpingo Disc
    • Acoustic Revive RR-777
    • Filtering & Grounding Toggle for Details
    Power Filtering: 
    • Furutech FLOW-28
    • Furutech NCF Clear Line
    • ADD-POWR Electra Clear
    • Shindo Labs Mr. T

    Ethernet Filtering:
    • Telegartner M12 Switch Gold

    Passive Filtering:
    • Audio Exklusiv Silent RCA, XLR & Banana Plugs
    • Telos Audio Design RCA Caps

    • Entreq Silver Minimus Infinity (Tannoy’s)
    • Entreq Macro Box Infinity (M12 Switch)
    • Entreq Micro Box Infinity (Apple router)
    • Acoustic Revive RGC-24K (Accuphase Integrated and Merging power supply)
    • Accessories Toggle for Details

    • Standard Sound Improvement Disc SID

    Cable Supports:
    • Gregitek RG1
    • JWM Acoustics Cable Cradles
    • Cardas Multi Block
    • Shunyata Research Dark Field Mini 
    • Tannoy Canterbury GR

    Since the first listen, I was bowled over by Canterbury’s detailed, warm and dynamic sound. There aren’t many speakers that are capable of connecting you to the music so intimately and emotionally like the way Canterbury’s does so effortlessly. 

    The Canterbury’s are hand built in the time-honored Tannoy fashion to ensure that attention to detail and unique styling go hand in hand in maintaining the exclusive appeal of this highly respected loudspeaker. The thick birch ply baffle and panels are extensively detailed with walnut inlays and machined gold trim. The Prestige Gold Reference takes Tannoy Canterbury’s to new level of refinement in every aspect. 

    In an ideal world a speaker designer would want to design a single transducer that addresses the entire frequency range – the ideal of the single-driver speaker. That transducer would cover the lowest bass notes as well as the finest details of the upper treble. Alas, that ideal has been very elusive, and drivers that work well for low frequencies don’t work well for the upper frequencies. Speaker designers have instead resorted to the use of multiple drivers and complex crossover schemes. Of course, this breaks up the audio signal into different segments and transmits each segment from and to different points in space, creating all sorts of acoustic problems that have to be addressed.

    Enter the dual concentric driver. The major advantage of the dual concentric design is that the low and high frequency sound radiation is generated on the same axes – both the vertical and horizontal axis and all the others in between – sending out a single integrated wavefront of multiple waves instead of waves from multiple locations. We have all heard multi-driver speakers which sound a bit disjointed, putting the violins or brass or some other part of the orchestra in a different place than their locations at the time of recording, or creating smearing because the multiple wavefronts are not reaching the listener at exactly the same time.

    With the dual concentric driver you have a single chassis that incorporates two separate drive units, integrated into one. The high frequency driver mounted in the middle of the center pole of the bass driver is an exponential horn. The newly designed 15” Gold Reference bass driver is Tannoy’s most powerful and articulate Dual to date, offering over 96dB efficiency. It has a new fiber-enriched paper pulp cone material and the cone is terminated with a twin roll surround of impregnated fabric for improved damping characteristics. The crossover to the bass driver has also been redesigned, featuring Custom ICW ClarityCap™ MR capacitors, low loss laminated core inductors and thick-film resistors, and the final assembly is deep cryogenically treated as a whole unit.

    The birch plywood cabinetry has been engineered expertly and if I may say so cleverly with a Variable Distributed Port system allowing low frequency output to be tuned to best fit their placement and room dimensions.  And then there are Tannoy’s signature high frequency power switch, which permits fine adjustments to the treble.  As mentioned before, the dual concentric 15” woofer and cabinet’s ported design….no matter what piece of music you are listening, there is no traces of “one-note” emphasis nor there any energy loss in the lower midrange/upper bass that is so typical of multi-driver floor-standers. 

    I say this, once you listen to a speaker with single driver; you would never go back to any traditional multi-driver speaker. I am now spoiled and unequivocally ‘Tannerd’ for life :-) 

    • Tannoy TANNOY ST-300Mg

    The  ST-300Mg SuperTweeter has been developed to bring the benefits of truly WideBand frequency response to Prestige GR loudspeakers.  The ST-300Mg extends the high frequency capability of the complete loudspeaker system to over 62 kHz with useable HF output up to 100 kHz. 

    Among the most notable things one would appreciate from SuperTweeters is cymbals. Cymbals would splash and burst rather than merely exploding (like confetti falling from ceiling). There is definite trails of textural nuances such as reverberation trails and delay repeats adding to the sense of excitement. The track ‘And then there was you’ (live at ronni Scott’s) by Norah Jones is one of the example of how the lower pitch ping reverbs and distinctly audible when Brian Blade (drummer) strikes the edge of the ride with a stick. 

    I consider them as extension of Canterbury’s rather than a mere accessory that further enhances your listening experience.

    • Accuphase E-650

    My search for an SS integrated ended when I first heard E-650 in my system. The E-650 not only musically satisfying but transparent enough to let other components shine through in my system. Despite of its modest power, my Tannoy Canterbury’s have blossomed from its pure class A 30W. The bass is outstanding, with a wonderful combination of solidity in the lowermost octaves along with excellent control and definition in the mid and upper bass region. In addition to this solidity and weight, the Accuphase allows Canterbury’s 15” woofer to beautifully reproduce the texture of the bass along with its attacks and decays in a way that brings the instruments to life. I can’t stress this enough but getting the proper ‘bass’ is so important for the foundation of music.

    The E-650 delivers just the right amount of sweetness and purity in the mids and highs that very few integrated possess. There’s something about the sound of a pure Class A watts that is particularly beguiling. Class A in general, doesn’t sound like Class AB solid-state nor does it sound like tubes. The virtues of E-650 Class A operation were readily apparent on a range of instruments. The E-650’s smooth yet suave midrange and treble beautifully renders a natural and unfatiguing tonality.

    The E-650 liquidity with vocals is also unmistakable. I could easily pick out the dense texture and richness of vocal harmonies on one hand and its resolution and transparency on the other. The voices blends beautifully with arrangements without congealing; the rendering of space is exemplary not just in width and depth but more importantly in the precise placement of images within the soundstage. Notably, instruments are presented as individual objects spatially and texturally, making it easy to clearly hear individual parts within the whole. That’s one quality that a meticulously designed component does well; to hear it to this degree from an integrated amplifier is quite astonishing and rewarding. Once you hear the E-650 textural beauty, resolution and liquidity, it becomes very hard to walk away :-) 

    • Merging Technologies +Player, +Power, +clock L

    If you had a good fortune to hear the +NADAC then you already know how exemplary is DAC by itself. Once you add +Power and +Clock to the equation, you’re in a different stratosphere. For all you analog lovers, let me say this; I don’t love my analog any less than I used to, but listening to the merging trio alongside my SME 15A turntable made me realize that I can easily enjoy digital just as much, after-all merging trio revealed more music than SME did in my system. SME 15A is a fine sounding instrument but NADAC trio’s brings realism and transparency of highest order and presents an ultimate path to hear music precisely as it was recorded and mastered by the sound engineers. 

    The +player which adds the ROON functionality to +NADAC by adding independent ROON Core board and converting the output to Ravenna with a LAN switcher. This provides an ideal playback environment to audio files by partnering with Roon Labs, focusing on the user-friendly GUI, library management function and ultimate sound quality possible from cloud based streaming. The +player also equipped with a USB terminal (A-type connector) on the back, when an external SSD or USB stick is connected, ROON acts as server and organizes all your files stored on SSD without the need for external PC or a device like Nucleus. 

    Before I go further, it’s worth pointing out why I chose Aurender ACS100 as my ultimate choice for a music server and CD ripper. The Aurender is the first (to my knowledge) brand to adapt and support Merging’s RAVENNA protocol. This allows a direct connectivity path to +NADAC or +Player over RAVENNA AoIP network for a seamless integration and playback of stored files or even streaming with Qobuz. No more mulling over which connection sounds the best (USB, SPDIF or AES/EBU) not to mention which cable brand has the best synergy to carry the signal between the streamer and DAC in a conventional setup. 

    What sets apart Merging from any other digital solution is its RAVENNA (AES67) digital interface. What are the benefits of Ravenna ~ The first is the transmission bandwidth which allows uncompressed audio over IP Network, AES67 has a transmission bandwidth of 1 to 10Gbps, and furthermore, it has a transmission distance of up to 100 meters and it uses IEEE 1588-2008 precision time protocol, with a maximum transmission delay of only 1ns and a very fast response speed! In addition, REVANNA AES67 sends data in a packaged form and has a retransmit mechanism to avoid data loss. More importantly, Ravenna is ROON’s RAAT done correctly. 

    The specially adapted dedicated 625kHz output of +CLOCK for +player clock input is what pushes the state-of-the-art sound for digital audio playback. Aside from onboard superb technical specifications, the addition of +CLOCK stirs emotions unlike anything I’ve experienced before….the music touches your heart with the purity of the sound. The clocking of digital audio signals is crucial to achieve the highest transparency. Merging’s RAVENNA network technology makes it much easier to distribute super-accurate timing information to all connected devices. The +CLOCK is not only designed to synchronize the RAVENNA network, but also provides a direct high-performance connection to +PLAYER, which offers seamless automatic sample rate switching. 

    Lastly, +POWER which boasts some of very innovative features rarely seen in any outboard power supply. It is worth pointing out that +POWER existence focused on raising the performance of +PLAYER to unprecedented heights. To achieve this, the following things have been considered and implemented in its design, 

    The power supply is set up as a hybrid design. Which in this case means that the analogue sections are powered by a very silent toroidal transformer. The more power consuming sections such as the DSP/FPGA and the media player, get their power supplied by a switching power supply. The +13 volt DC main power switch can handle 7.5 amps of continuous power and has an optimized second order filter to attenuate high- frequency noise while maintaining optimum transient performance. The other (+16 V / -16 V / + 6 V) analogue power supply circuits can handle 1 Amp continuous current. In addition, the optimized 2nd-order filter offers better performance and protection features than most discreetly constructed designs. Finally, a mix of three types of capacitors (polymer, aluminum and polypropylene) conforming to space travel/military specification is combined to obtain the most optimal sound properties.
    • Aurender ACS100
    Incorporating a nearly identical feature set and much of the same software abilities as the ACS10, the ACS100 brings an unprecedented level of digital file creation, curation, and management. 

    The SQ from this little beast is shockingly good! This is the only player in Aurender line up that has an external power supply. Anyone reading up on these devices can easily understand why separating power supply from audio circuit greatly reduces the potential for spurious noise pollution cause by physical interaction. But more importantly, the ACS100 powered by hybrid “super capacitor” based uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for stabilizing the ACS100 under an abrupt power outage condition. The power supply delivers a clean DC power to ACS100. This arrangement dramatically lowers the noise floor resulting to an uncannily quiet background from which music emerges….Bravo
    • Marantz SA-11s2
    How does the SA-11s2 sound when playing SACDs? From the very first spin SACD’s never sounded better (compare to my Krell Cipher). SA-11s2 delivers sound that is slightly warm, dynamic and very musical. I heard more detail, better harmonic structure and timbre, far superior dynamic range and punch, extended bass, and a more complete and less digital type rendering of the music. Not to mention, top notch build quality and exquisite champagne finish. 

    What a incredible bargain..too bad they don’t make them anymore like they used to! 
    • Raysonic CD-128
    Every now and then, you come across a product that catches your attention like no other. I feel very fortunate to cross paths with Raysonic CD 128. What caught my attention with the CD128 were four items: top-loading operation; a quartet of 6922 triodes in the output stage to suggest fully balanced operation, built quality (it's built like a tank) and sticker price under $2K.  

    The CD128 sound is amazingly balanced, no treble fatigue or etchiness, bleached or flatness through this player. The CD128 does body and density in spades yet it doesn't feel thick or opaque. The CD128's warmth and color saturation go hand in hand with wallop to present crescendos, climaxes and boisterous bass lines with impact. There are no fuzziness that would give the anti-tuber a reason to complain. There is plenty of airyness, warmth and lushness (a trade mark of well executed tube circuit) one can appreciate through this player.   

    The supplied Russian 6922's tubes are used here to excellent effect but once I swapped the russian variant to NOS Telefunken's 6922's, the CD128 elevated to another level. The sound exhibited the finest of detail, nuances and spatial finesse thus elevating your musical enjoyment. There is a good reason why the CD128 remained a crown jewel of my system for so many years. Easily one of the best 'analog' sounding digital player ever produced, period! 
    • Combak Corporation 聖 HIJIRI

     Hijiri, in Japanese meaning 'maestro' or 'important leader' is the brand presented by Kiuchi-san in 2015 under the Combak Corporation, the mother company. The cables being discussed here are designed by Mr. Kazuo Kiuchi, who also owns the XRCD24 brand. These relationships are even deeper, because his components and accessories, for example power cables, interconnects and speaker cables, as well as anti- vibration elements are used in the Japanese JVC studio. 

    Power Cords:

    HIJIRI “TAKUMI” Maestro power cord is simply exquisite. The cables feature cotton braid and terminated with custom-made plugs by US company WattGate. This custom-make involves applying wooden barrels on plug's endings that acts as dampening vibrations. Just like Nagomi, you also get wooden element the middle of cable length which act as anti-resonant elements. One look at this wooden element suggests a considerable time spent behind the selection of proper type of wood, size and optimal placement on the cable. 

    How does it sound? Again, from the very first note, TAKUMI’s sound is deep, dense, with pitch black background. It presents instruments and vocals in a very natural way, without emphasizing the elements that indicative of “tune up" sound many other brands simply can’t escape. The liquidity is simply off the charts. The tone and three-dimensionality is spot on, there is this naturally soft attack and smoothness across the spectrum. You can not hear any harshness (unless present in the recording), because there is none, neither can you point out any signs of coloration, because again, there is none. From the very first to the last album I listened to, I can’t help marveling the extremely well balanced sound. Moreover the cable beautifully presents the differences in tone in instruments placement as well as dynamic range. The TAKUMI excels in vividness, fluidity, saturation and differentiation - a rare combination. 

    Emotions, the most important element of music and TAKUMI convey them in spades. It is a cable that will improve nothing in the system, neither will it degrade anything. It simply allows recordings to sound in an emotional, naturally soft, full-bodied way.  Bravo! 

    Speaker Cable:

    Hijiri H-SLC speaker cable showed up in its custom exquisite wooden box just like Takumi Maestro power cord. Apparently, “Million” speaker cable took three years in development and she shares her DNA with the X-DC Studio Master Million Maestro power cable. It’s worth pointing out that each cable is hand made, one pair at a time, custom designed from specially prepared copper that is directional and then terminated with heavy duty solid spades made of silver plated PCOCC. 

    Let’s delve into how H-SLC (Sophisticated Listener Choice) sounds in my system...

    One word comes to mind, natural while delivering delicate musical nuances that were previously imperceptible. H-SLC is a very accurate cable, she digs so deep into the sound that what we hear is no longer just about hi-fi sound or components associated with it but all about music and how IT changes. Therefore, both the vocals and the arrangement on your favorite recordings sound wonderfully powerful and dense. This is the same density XRCD24 discs are known for...I know we are talking about CD format with its inherit weaknesses but if you have heard the K2HD mastered CD’s, knows exactly what I am referring to....on speakers capable of producing larger soundstage (like my Tannoy Canterbury’s) the spatial prowess of K2HD mastered discs is much more discernible, yielding to a considerable more meticulous presentation and separation of instrument bodies. 

    There is also of course a slight warming of the upper treble, something like "gilding" that makes the cymbals sound nicer, more "friendly" than when presented "raw". There are no colorations to the whole presentation, it is not closed, because the attack and selectivity of the midrange remains strong, stronger than any of my cable brand graced my system in last 15 plus years. And did I mention excellent dynamics. Since the foreground is placed close to us and the way it grabs our attention, we perceive each arrangement very immersive and natural.

    The HIJIRI H-SLC "Million" speaker cables conveys tonal richness, depth, resolution and dynamics in spades, just what one should expect from any top tier cable. Together with Takumi Maestro power cord, the speaker cable delivers remarkably natural presentation, reminiscent of the aesthetic choices of what we get with XRCD24 (sorry I couldn’t help pointing out the reference, again).  She is a keeper :-) 


    HIJIRI Million “KIWAMI”  HGP-X Balanced Cable showed up in its handsome wooden box (just like PC and Speaker cable). Presentation matters, right :-) The construction and presentation is quickly becoming a norm here, just like PC and Speaker cable. The exquisite cotton coating of the Million "Kiwami" cable is pleasantly soft to the touch, and its tricolor – black-yellow-red – stands out. It’s also worth pointing out that cable is terminated with grounding extensions which can be connected to the ground terminal or to one of those ‘audiophile’ grounding block. A feature certainly worth exploring in very near future :-) In addition, like the other cables in “Million’’ series, the wooden block with the inscription Hijiri on one side and Million on the other side acts as a filter for dampening resonance. 

    The Interconnect proven to be last piece of the puzzle in my system. After “Million” power cord and speaker cable, the XLR further extends the realism of PC and speaker cable. No added sweetness to voices, softening strokes, restrained sopranos or bass, just audio purity. Not only the sound is fuller and neutral, its also most spatial and devoid of any distortion. It is no surprise that HIJIRI cables are the only ones used in the recording and remastering of XRCD’s. 

    HIJIRI cables has this speed and their uncanny ability to transmit transients is pretty impressive. The cables with a “soul” that has further elevated the synergy between my carefully chosen components. I always believed, in a well-compiled high end system, you will always hear impact of well engineered cables like HIJIRI’s. And by going a step further and using HIJIRI’s complete loom, you unleash the full potential of the components in your system. I was able to find out about this by adding the HGP-X on my DAC which already powered by “TAKUMI” Maestro power cord. These cables have brought me closer to the state of audio nirvana, from the very first to the last note. 

    Is this the end of my search for cables, I think so. 

    • Combak Corporation 聖Hijiri SM2R-L
    聖Hijiri SM2R-L "SOUND MATTER' Power Cord….Just added / April 28
    • Zavfino Nova OCC

    The Nova uses PC-OCC single crystal copper in a multi-strand litz construction with an individually insulated silver coated core yielding to high performance and exceptional value. As per manufacturer description, the cable employs generous (3x12AWG) highest purity Japanese PC-OCC single crystal copper conductors. 

    How is this cable sound….in one word, fabulous. The cable conveys plenty of warmth, naturalness and dynamically impressive. The cable has exceptional low noise floor thus revealing every nuances in your music. Well done Zavfino! 

    • Telegartner M12 Switch Gold
    So the million dollar question is why would anyone consider a uber-expensive switch like Telegärtner’s when a router or any other mass produced switch can do the simple & basic task of packet data to receive, process and forward to a destination device. The problem with mass produced or general purpose switch or router is that they are inherently ‘noisy’ as eliminating noise was never a requirement of the original design. As long as a computer or peripheral device could interpret the data being sent accurately, any noise associated with it wasn’t a problem or priority.  With computers, its the accuracy of the content of the data that was important, not the cleanliness or precise timing of its arrival. IME, a high quality switch not only handles a network signal better than routers, but also offers substantial benefits from its internal reclocking schematics and superior EMI/RFI rejection. If you considering a switch like M12 Gold, you better make sure your front end is up to the task. Adding a switch like M12 Gold is not about marginalia, it’s all about taking a giant step in your pursuit of next level audio bliss. 

    The M12 is pretty straightforward plug n play device but it does require special LAN cables terminated with M12 connectors on the switch end and RJ45 terminations on device end. For my initial test, I used a pair of Telegartner M12 X CODE/MFP8 IE GOLD LAN cables. The LAN cables are of very high quality, heavily shielded and  terminated with noise resilient M12 connector on switch end and GOLD plated RJ45 plugs. 

    I had the M12 operate as a bridge between router and Merging +player / Aurender ACS100. One Ethernet cable went from Apple router to M12 switch, one from M12 to the Merging +player and 2nd from M12 to Aurender ACS100. Any audio data making its way to the +player and ACS100 from Apple router would buffer both players from any noise spilling from the Apple router.

    Few minutes into listening and I had this grin on my face. I did not had to strain to hear the upside of M12, it was like a ‘sweeper’ on a tech highway, any remaining digital grunge present in the signal, now gone! The M12 provides a more spacious sound image and a more intense flow of music. One of my favorite, SRV classic "Tin Pan Alley" not only sounds more spacious and detailed via the M12 but the reproduction also seems a touch more emotionally engaging. M12 managed to bring out deep-black backgrounds, staggering dynamics and arguably, the most lifelike tonalities and nuances embedded in this track. More importantly, the searing tones from his fender Stratocaster and every touch of his pick on the strings are rendered with extreme delicacy. Through M12, you won't miss a note from this excellent recording from MoFi, sourced from the original master tapes. The soundstage is deep and wide, and the microdynamics pop. This is the closest you will ever come to hearing Vaughan perform in Antone's, circa 1982. 

    M12 has this softer and delicate palpability that aforementioned switch and filter could only muster at much lower scale or degree. The music simply flows from a pristinely dark musical backdrop. The insanely low noise floor upped the ante on pretty much everything else; articulation, smoothness, vividness, resolution and clarity. 

    If you’re after extracting every last ounce of ‘untapped’ performance from your networked attached digital front end and precious recordings, then M12 should be on your list of audition despite of its price tag. Here is the thing, the music through M12 present itself to you like never before which makes it worth while to keep this switch front and centered of your digital signal chain. Once you hear M12 in your system, it’s very unlikely you could imagine living without it! 
    • JCAT Signature LAN Cable GOLD M12
    Everything you read or heard about this exquisite cable is TRUE! A necessary evil for SOTA digital streaming systems. This cable uses Pure Silver/7% GOLD alloy conductor and terminated with exclusive GOLD RJ45 and MFP8 IE M12 connectors from Japan Telegaertner Limited. The M12 connector offers superior noise rejection over conventional RJ45 connector. 

    A bit about the Telegaertner’s MFP8 IE GOLD RJ45 LAN connectors, in addition to being gold plated (the standard version supplied to 3rd party is only nickel plated), it has a new substrate with gold plated contact and signal pins and is made to be less susceptible to micro vibration over any RJ45 standard version. It sounds a lot better than the standard connector - simply more detailed and nuanced. 
    • Telegartner M12 X CODE/MFP8 IE GOLD LAN
    Not much to say other than the stock LAN cables are very high quality. The sound is very detailed and transparent.
    Does this ultra liner power supply delivers on its promise of drastically improve every aspect of sound from Network Audio?  You betcha! 

    So what did I hear? The music has this increased sense of resolution, depth and energy. The JCAT LPS does a commendable job of cleaning and lowering digital grunge thus ‘freeing’ digital bits from the depths of distortion. The quietest passages became more quiet and loudest passages became clearer (free from any congestion). This was particularly evident on LIVE and Acoustic recordings. 

    Together with Telegärtner M12 SWITCH GOLD switch, JCAT OPTIMO 3 DUO power supply and JCAT Signature LAN Cable GOLD M12, my home network optimization is now reached its pinnacle. Mission accomplished! 

    Tweaks: HiFI Tuning Cu Fuse and Zavfino Majestic MK1 PC
    • Acrolink 6N-D5070 II
    This is a beautifully crafted digital cable. Acrolink’s exclusively uses conductive cores made from high purity 6N copper. 

    So what does this cable brings to the table over stock cable? Gone is the slight sense of dullness or should I say muddiness. There is this rich tonality across the board. The bass and treble response further improved to reference-level, and the midrange is fully articulated and colorful. I was immediately struck by how all concepts of imaging and staging were redefined. The performers took on a palpable body, with noticeable air around and behind the performer. 

    • Shindo Labs Mr. T
    Shindo Laboratory's Mr. T is an isolation transformer of the noise-reducing sort, as opposed to the sort designed solely for safety; indeed, unlike transformers built primarily for galvanic isolation, the ground tab on the Mr. T's AC inlet is wired to the ground tabs of its six AC outlets. It provides the equivalent of a stable power source, for up to 6 components, by separating the equipment from the mains circuit by the use of a custom designed isolation transformer.

    Inside the Mr. T is a massive Haruna Denki transformer. The rear panel's showcase high quality Meikosha AC outlets (that offers solid grip but thankfully doesn’t not mar the finish of AC plugs blades) plus nondescript IEC socket and fuse holder; and the necessary hookup wiring. The case is beautifully finished, inside and out, in Shindo's trademark shade of green, and it's solidly built—its removable top, adequately damped with a rubber-like pad. 

    So how did Mr. T fared in my system, well Mr. T brought my system one step closer to sounding alive. The sound of my system with the Shindo Mr. T is more lifelike, and the music flows from note to note more like live music. It’s more explosive on loud passages and quieter on quiet passages. The scale of the music is also more diverse, some recordings sound bigger, others smaller. Most importantly, it does not ‘color’ the sound of my system thus allowing me to hear music as transparent as possible. 
    • GIK Acoustics Various
    242’s - 4” panels to treat reflections off my angled ceiling towards the back of the room and above the 'sweet' spot.

    242's Art Panels - Limited Edition Tape Op Series: Same functionality as GIK’s 242 acoustic panels that are known to address the early reflection points, flutter echo, or general decay in a room. GIK Acoustics partners with Tape Op to bring the amazing artwork that enhances room decor of any serious audiophiles that places equal importance to functionality as well as appearance. 

    244’s - Bass Trap panels with FlaxRange Technology on the rear wall. The wall behind listening position is responsible for large peaks and nulls, not only in the low end but in the mid and upper frequency range. Unlike corners, the back wall is a single boundary that requires different type of treatments. I went with 5.25” thick panels that helped with smooth and tight bass response across the room. In addition, the walnut wood diffusor panels from Core Audio Design were added to enhance low frequency absorption and to preserve the ambiance of the room. 

    GoBo: Free standing Acoustic Panels (gobo). Since my room only have three physical walls, I knew I had to treat the ‘open’ wall space to stop the sound bleeding. After speaking to James L. at GIK, he recommended floor standing panels that addresses the bleeding and reflections. Not only they look good but they tremendously improved the imaging, depth and detail of overall soundstage. 

    Impression Series: 4" Impression Series Bass Trap Diffuser/Absorber with Palomar Narrow pattern. Four narrow panel in 11.5”w behind and in-between the speakers. 
    • REL Acoustics Carbon Limited
    REL needs no intro…when it comes to music, there is no other sub that gels with your main speakers in producing low and mid level bass definition ....none of the ‘boomy’ or overwhelming bass that’s so hard to overcome with other subs. 

    My ultimate demo track, ‘Why So Serious’ from Dark Knight Soundtrack (Qobuz)
    • Combak Corporation TU-333EX
    Honestly, I wasn't expecting much improvements since my components rest on isolation platform. But, based on what i experienced with HIJIRI cables, I knew Mr. Kazuo Kiuchi is upto to something very special with these nifty tuning bases. The TU-333EX, created with Resonance control technology, is a tuning insulator that brings out the potential of your system to the highest performance possible. 

    I first started with these insulators underneath my Accuphase Integrated. Well, nothing could've possibly prepared me for what I heard next, the sound became smooth but remained very detailed. There is this increased density in the music with richer expressions. My Accuphase is already very quiet but TU-333EX further enhanced the deep inky background. Music was slightly pushed back with vocals becoming more persuasive and convincing, more emotionally engaging. Instruments are now expressed with richer overtones and the soundstage was more three-dimensional with full feeling of its presence. WOW! 

    Second set went underneath my merging trio stack and yielded the similar results as with Accuphase. 
    • HiFi Tuning Supreme3 Cu

    The Supreme³ copper fuse receives the same treatments as the silver-gold option, but uses pure “Cardas Grade 1 copper” produced by American legend George Cardas. 

    It’s worth pointing out that HiFi-Tuning’s head Bernd Ahne was initially more or less indifferent to the copper thing until George Cardas personally showed him microscope images of different copper types and it became clear that the crystal structure of these types differed significantly. That aroused Ahne’s interest – and in fact his engineers later certified that the conductivity of Cardas copper was the same as that of silver … actually a technical impossibility.

    Consequently, caps and fuse elements of the Supreme3 ​​copper fuse consist of Cardas copper and have a wafer-thin gold plating (0.2µ instead of usually 5 to 10µ) since gold conducts less well than the used copper, but it is necessary as protection against oxidation. If you look closely, you will discover the Nautilus logo from Cardas on the front of the copper caps – a rarity that this logo can be used and thus a special sign of relationship between Cardas and Ahne.

    I always preferred the slightly warmer presentation hence my choice of Cu fuse over its all silver counterpart. The Cu has a warmer and organic presentation due all copper wire. Aside from aforementioned presentation, this fuse excels in following areas over generic run of the mill fuses. 

    The first thing that struck me after inserting Cu fuse is the background to the music was figuratively blacker, so the silence between musical passages were more impressive, deeper, more realistic. Everything that emerged from this blackness sounded distinctly clearer and more detailed. 

    Piano keystrokes were clearer and natural due to the lower sharpness. And the cello is more distinctive with melodiousness and very audible vibrato. On Leo Brouwer:Guitar Sonatas DXD album, the guitar strings sparkled more beautifully, the plucking noises were more detailed and haunting. 

    I will continue to add my impressions here as I continue to roll through my favorite albums.

    • Audio Exklusiv Silent Plugs RCA & Bananas

    Picked these on a whim after reading up a review. So glad I did, mechanical perturbations and electrical radiation in the area of the cinch connectors are real and silent plugs not only eliminate these vibrations, they allow more details, more space around instruments and more emotions to flow through. 

    • Acoustic Revive RGC-24K

    The RGC-24K is a artificial ground conditioner to minimize the interference within  electronic circuits. I tested and installed this device on my DAC and Integrated. My system was already spooky quiet so I didn’t quite know what to expect from a device like RGC-24K. 

    So I installed the first RGC-24K under my Accuphase Integrated (manufacturer recommends installation directly below the power transformer as the device also operates as a passive EMI/RFI filter). After 48 hours settling-in period, I sat down to listen. Norah Jones’s ‘And Then There Was You-Live’ one of my favorite reference tracks, well recorded and it captures the ambience of Ronnie Scott’s Club perfectly. Listening with RGC, the arrangement was more subtle, as one could hear more detail and separation, everything more "natural’’ and clearly defined. I also noticed, the overall sound is bit darker and deeper with the RGC-24K. The treble and bass was better differentiated…Norah’s voice slightly more crispier and if I may say so, sexier

    Further listening produced consistent results. With RGC, each recording rendered more nuances and deeper sound characterized by better resolution than achieved without the RGC in the system. More importantly, the RGC improved the sound quality of my system without changing its character. 

    Adding a 2nd RGC-24K underneath my DAC power supply yielded similar results. The texture and tonality further improved. The instruments like piano and saxophone are rendered with heightened naturalism and purity. The energy in upper frequencies is unmistakable and realistic due to improved S/N ratio. 

    Does everyone need a tweak like RGC? I say it depends on one’s system and their pursuit of sonic nirvana. Just when you think your system is fully optimized and can’t get any better, a product like RGC-24K makes you re-evaluate on what’s possible. I’m simply loving the more visceral, more quietness-ness and calm between the notes. 
    • Entreq Silver Minimus Infinity

    Just when I thought I couldn’t have possibly improve my audio system’s performance, them two tiny boxes from Entreq managed to just do that! They’ve unlocked more detail with greater resolution and transparency out of my Tannoy’s. Tannoy’s are known for including a dedicated ground post with their Prestige line. The intent is to get RFI away from the voice coils. 

    So how does it work? ~ The Entreq ground boxes are designed to remove noise and pollutants present in the signal path. By removing these unwanted pollutants, you lower the noise floor and subsequently improve the performance of the connected product. The addition of Entreq grounding have improved dynamics, detail retrieval whilst remaining natural and organic in presentation. 

    Before I go further, I need to emphasize that one must experiment with ground box placement in their system. The Entreq suggests that you can connect anything in your system to a ground box – integrated amp, phono stage, dac, streamer, router, network switch. In my system, connecting the grounding box to router and ethernet switch yielded no appreciable improvements in performance of my system. My DAC and Integrated were already grounded by Acoustic Revive RGC-24K which takes a slightly different approach to lowering / eliminating noise pollutants. Another thing, you must allow atleast 24 hours to fully appreciate ground devices optimal benefits. 

    Back to Entreq, connecting a pair of Entreq boxes to my Tannoy’s dedicated ground binding post yielded to a new order of magnitude in sonic improvement - the bleeding of RFI noise to grounding box allowed me to hear nuances already present in the recording more clearly. The new found clarity in my favorite tracks, and the depth and separation with which each recording is presented is difficult to overlook and live without. 

    My take away from this experience, the RFI/EMI noise is very real and draining these noise/pollutants out of the signal path of the component is a necessity if you’re striving for audio nirvana. 

    • Entreq Macro Box
    A pair of Macro Boxes in use to drain away Ethernet noise from M12 and Apple router to mitigate noise. The network and routers are inherently noisy due to the use of very inexpensive SMPS to keep costs down. As a result they inject noise right back where it’s not wanted and this noise get moved around the network using the cables as transmitters essentially.

    Entreq cables are completely unshielded, the idea is to drain away noise/interference/pollutants into the connected ground box. And it works beautifully yielding to a calm, organic and refined presentation due to lower noise floor. 
    • Entreq Argo Ground Cable
    The latest ground cables are much improved with braided design and now comes with 3.5mm interchangeable bayonets, termination options are RCA, XLR (both male and female), USB, RJ45, Spade and 5 Pin Din. I love this flexibility and cost effective solution from Entreq. 
    • Entreq Everest
    Everest uses a mix of four Infinity metals, which gives it a vital, lively signature. The idea is to enhance the performance of the whole box by applying properties of mix of metals (dia, para and ferromagnetic) to the binding post of any Entreq grounding box. 

    A pair of Everest in use on Silver Minimus Ground boxes. 
    • Sternklang Ephemera Speaker & Balanced Interconnect
    The Ephemera XLR / Speaker Cables imparts a lively, textured, organic presentation. To my ears, they are aptly designed to convey all the nuances in a recording. I am very comfortable in saying that Ephemera XLR’s don’t have any sound per se or coloration. This cable holds nothing back..WOW!

    Unlike most cables, the Ephemera series is a extremely low mass design. Koji Teramura, founder of Sternklang cables is a minimalist and the design of cables clearly reflects his philosophy.
    • SAMSUNG 870 EVO
    A pair of 4TB SSD drives in Aurender ACS100

Comments 27

Such a great system. It's a reflection of yourself. Beautiful.


@brandonhifi, thanks for kind words. I guess takes one to know one…lol! You’re off to a great start yourself, I really like what you doing with your system.


Wow wow wow, my man, finally checked out your system after several talks in the forums, bonkers blown away awesome!


@bullot, I just read your message here. As we conversed over PM, please let me know your impressions with one sub and Grounding in your system.


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I am considering getting a sun for my Canterbury GR as well.  Interested how you like it with your two channel system and did you try one sub and then go to two subs?  Thanks


Thanks...i will eventually do it lalitk...thx.Have great weekend!


Thank you @tuberist, @lak and @grannyring for your kind words. 
@digsmithd, audio envy cables offers good performance for the money. But IMHO, Zavfino cables are better, more fuller sound and much better build quality. Hope you get to try Zavfino cables in your elegant system. 


Nice place to relax...nice diana krall pics/curious about your nova speaker cables...just got the audio envy 9 and they are quite surprising for the $ used.Your system certainly warrants the higher layout for cables.nice.


Good Lord!


What a fantastic looking system and room...well done!

Ag insider logo xs@2xlak

My favorite system and room on Agon. I look at your system often and smile. Well done in every conceivable way! Just wow.


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Absolutely stunning throughout. Thank you for your thoughtful presentation.


@wr_aspire. Steve, I appreciate your kind comments. IMHO, both power conditioning and room acoustics are the foundation of any great sounding system. NADAC was truly a game changer for me, so much so that I honestly don’t miss spinning vinyl or CD’s anymore. Let me PM you about NADAC.


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I am very impressed with your philosophy about power conditioning, room acoustics, and cabling etc.. I bet your system sounds great.  I am interested in the Nadac products and really want to listen to them in person.  Are you close to Boston?



@pokey77 & @arafiq 
Thanks for your kind words. The transition to Merging is nothing short of a revelation to say the least. I did hear W20SE in my system and while it remains one of the best streamer I’ve heard to date, the meticulous implementation of ROON Core and gigabit RAVENNA protocol pretty much negated the ‘need’ for an external high end streamer. 

I may do a detailed write up soon :-) 


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Your system has taken some interesting turns. I went over to Merging's website but it isn't the easiest to understand. I know you had Aurender N20 and were considering the W20SE but now have the Merging stack. It'd be great if you start a thread on Merging Technologies and explain the thought process about going that direction.


Your system sounds even better than it looks! The realism and a complete lack of distortion in your system is something to behold. The only negative comment I’m going to make about it that it has caused me to enjoy my own system a lot less since I heard yours.


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Thank you!

I was afraid you would say this 😀

The EtherRegen is 100Mbps on the single port crossing the "moat", which is the bottleneck. I was so happy with it!

Thanks again!


@lewinskih01, appreciate your kind feedback. If EtherREGEN is not rated for 1000mbps or 1gps then it will not work with Merging’s RAVEENA. I know this cause I was using a Network Acoustic ENO Ethernet filter (rated for 100mbps) in my previous setup and it did not work with Merging. Also make sure your LAN cables supports 1GB connection speed specs. 

You won’t be disappointed with Merging sound and build quality. The  transparency & realism is off the charts and I can’t praise enough about RAVENNA. It’s the way to the future of streaming media content. 


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What a fantastic system!
I see you use Telegartner switch with Merging stack using Ravenna. I'm considering Merging's Hapi as I do multichannel active, and read Ravenna is demanding on ethernet resources. Do you happen to know anybody who has tried Ravenna with Uptone's etheRegen? I wonder if etheRegen not being Gigabit would work with Ravenna.

Congrats on the great choices you have made!


@izjjzi, As far as sample rate change clicking goes, it doesn’t bother me; maybe I’ve gotten used to it :-) The other features and sound quality of +PLAYER far outweighs the soft clicking. The REL duo of Carbon Limited’s in my system are quite remarkable. In most cases, a pair of subs will always render superior imaging and pressurizes the room better than any single sub. I have no doubts that a single 212/SX is quite remarkable but I believe a pair of 212’s would be even more spectacular! 

I wish you good luck with DAC’s under consideration, those are all great choices. 


Amazing system. Congratulations. Thank you for commenting on my system. I am only home auditioning the Merging+NADAC. I am poised to purchase the +Player. The sound is wonderful, but my one complaint is with the loud clicking between tracks of different sampling rates. I will ever only stream (currently Qobuz) and do so from playlists or from trying new things. I will rarely, if ever play an entire album. So this switching is annoying. In contrast, it's the only thing my bluesound does better - seamless transitions. I want to contrast it to the Briscati, Denafrips Terminator and possibly the MOON. Ultimately the problem I'm having besides being short on funds for a full Merging stack is the fact so many companies offer stacks to get the best SQ. I am not one who can settle on something short of the best, so I will never be happy with just the +Player and it could take a long time to add the other two pieces. Also, are you happy with your RELs? I just added the 212/SX. I am sending back the Carbon Special. It bottomed-out too easily, even once I had it dialed in for 99% of my music. It was also more boomy and less musical than the 212. The 212 is absolutely spectacular. It isn't fair that I did not get to hear a pair of Carbon Specials. Best to you!


Thank you John for your kind words. Tannoy’s are the most beautiful sounding speakers, for my musical taste; they are perfect!


Beautiful system congratulations!
I love the Tannoy’s I can only imagine how beautiful your system sounds very well done
All the best
John from Townshend 

Ag insider logo xs@2xtownshend-audio

@tomic601, Thanks for the high praise! Believe it or not, attaining great sound quality from streaming requires just as much efforts and understanding as setting up a great Vinyl rig. Aside from buying high quality components, it is just as important to pay attention to how the data packets reaching your streamer/server. Noise elimination and re-clocking the data is the key to a sublime digital streaming experience. 

The diffusers are made by Core Audio Designs and the wood is Black Walnut! 


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