An Audio System made for music..
I have been a music lover for as long as I can remember, as a boy I would rather spend my evenings in my bedroom with a cassette player and tapes, often recorded with the built in mic from my parent’s radio downstairs, I’m not intending on confessing to what I would listen to though! Audio systems that were a bit more than ‘black plastic stack systems’ got my attention when I was 18, and from then onwards I have been trying to figure out how to get them to sound that bit better, to play music that could be reasonably convincing. Within a short while I had a basic vinyl set up, which I used through my student years, a Sony turntable, Mission Cyrus One, Wharfedale diamonds, ( I still have them in fact!). Over then next decade, as I became responsible for my own income, I was able to begin the never ending path for better sound, be it from set up or equipment. I made all of my own supports, in fact, I have never ever bought a HiFi rack, each one I have used has been designed and made at my workshop, or wherever I was working at the time. The equipment moved on, not at an alarming rate, but steady upgrades, I would typically upgrade one component per year, often adding around £1000 each time. After reaching deep into Naim territory, (CDS3, 252, 300) I found that I was hitting a bit of a wall, more money but not necessarily more musical and not enjoyable, so I sold it all, except the trusty old Naim CDi that was the sweet spot in their line up for me. I ventured over to the likes of Krell integrated’s, still retaining my beloved Rega Ela mk11. Valve amplifiers became part of my system a short while later, in the shape of ARC, and again soon found a REF3 , 110 to be on duty in the amplifier section. Incidentally, I have always found that the amplifier is the part of the system that really needs to be done right to achieve good results, possibly they can be responsible for the greatest area of degradation if not designed well? Digital gradually took over from analogue around 2007, by then was then using a Krell Kps20i as main source component, which played in customary Krell manner, ballsy! This combination stayed until 2009, when a change of source was prompted, and an MBL1531 came to stay, and never left. The amp was later changed, although it did sound quite good, the fan on the Arc became unbearable, something I now understand to be a major design flaw, and have never understood why fans need to be added to amps when careful circuit design can keep temperatures sensible? Anyway, out they went, and in came the mighty ASR Emitter 2 Exclusive, along with the floor reinforcement package available as an extra! The ASR was, and still is, an immensely capable amplifier, and very few amps have managed to live up to it that I have spent any time with over the years. Arc Ref40 / 150 is in the top class also, being one of the few amps I have heard that challenge the heavyweight Emitter2. Once our desire to push the digital source further found us discussing the Concert Fidelity DAC040 as a possible option, we decided that as there was no UK representation, we would have to buy blind (deaf?), and after trying several locally available options, I decided to bite the bullet and order the CF DAC040 direct from Japan. Once it was installed, we knew it was ‘as described’ by several other owners across the globe, and the music did take a very nice step forward, becoming far more natural than the internal DAC of the MBL. Space, texture, sense of presence was greater than I had heard before, we were very happy now! During the preceding year or two, I had been working on the Martin Logan ‘Spire’ Loudspeaker system that I had, making gradual modifications to improve the performance. This is covered here, so I’ll not dwell on the work carried out on the ML’s in this section, but have a read, although the section is at present unfinished, it gives an outline account of the work undertaken.
2012 saw the gradual building of a very good relationship with Concert Fidelity, and I took the decision to accept Masataka Tsuda’s invitation to become part of their distribution network for their products, and received the first amplifier set in November 2012. These were, from the very first few notes, the most transparent and clear pieces we had ever heard, the same being said by several lucky listeners over the following few weeks. It shows so clearly that the audio circuitry designed to have minimal parts, and therefore minimal impact on the audio signal, when implemented correctly, will have a profound effect upon the music that appears from the space in front of you. Note: not from the speakers, they have simply sonically disappeared, taking on a more sculptural role now :-)..
We are also proud to be able to supply MBL high end audio components. We endorse their transport range emphatically, and agree that the combination of the MBL 1621a & Concert Fidelity DAC 040BD is as good as CD can be, and when partnered with the LSX2 & ZL-200’s, is the most real we have heard yet.
I still maintain, to the dismay of others, that I’m not into audio equipment as a whole. Some people are, which is admirable, but I could not hold a conversation for long on the subtle sonic intricacies of many long forgotten Hi-Fi brands, unless it is something that I have personally lived with or had some time to evaluate, whether I could afford it or not. I am, like many of you, driven by the desire to hear a recording as realistically as is possible, in my own home.
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