My CH Precision/Magico System

gian60

Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2016
2,237
1,410
258
Which CH components do you have now?
I have always L1 P1 X1 with 2 board M1 mono
didnt bought a second X1 because i had in mind L 10,but with a very disaster year for my job in textile i stop my plan for now
 

rando

Well-Known Member
Sep 22, 2019
587
477
75
Ian, this is one of the more interesting rooms and systems presented on WBF so far as I've encountered. Without a lifetime of devotion to this hobby to call upon I'm completely lost on how all this is going to sound. Stating the overtly obvious, it must have taken a lot of work to conceive, much less assemble and retest, everything incurrent to your arrangement of sound tapering objects. Vanilla with undertones of Strawberry diffusion your wife insisted on included. At some point I'd appreciate seeing some rounding off all the calculations inherent to, and compromises encountered in, your room as you assembled the assorted sound treatments/single contentious element. Help me understand the nature of tricky sound issues you are facing.

Your timing of all these changes does strike me as impeccable in order to assure everything is settled in and sorted by indoor listening season. As it seems likely you will be given a great amount of thought to sound during the break in periods. Filling in thoughts as they come about in the longer term would be a much appreciated addition if you aren't interested in reliving some hair pulling moments along the way. :eek:



Like many others I'm looking forward to your impressions after Hengalo plays in your new source to best effect. Extreme setup (settings) impact on your system is the real reason for replying here. In any case September - October is probably the earliest you'll really gain meaningful insights. Do you have Daiza inbound with the server?
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,827
414
580
Mass
I have always L1 P1 X1 with 2 board M1 mono
didnt bought a second X1 because i had in mind L 10,but with a very disaster year for my job in textile i stop my plan for now
I'm confused because in your photo I see what looks like two smaller amplifiers in between the two M1s.

Also, why did you put your M1s up on top of a tall rack?
 

gian60

Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2016
2,237
1,410
258
I bought in 2015/2016 C1 and A1 mono.
L1, P1 and M1 was not in production yet.
Then i bought L1 when ready and i used with Kondo GE1 phono with Silvercore MC sut because P1 was not in production
Then i bought P1 and a second board for X1 to connect L1 and P1 and i sold GE 1 with Silvercore sut.

In 2018 i bought M1 mono and i give back C1 because dont use digital and my idea was to use M1 for bass and mid and A1 mono for tweeter for my speaker Montagna that can triamp in passive modo.

The rack was very old and cheap and having spent a lot of money for CH i wayted for rack and used my old rack for a while.

But at the end i preferred to biamp only with M1 because sound was better without A1 on tweeter.
The instrunment come out from speaker bigger and more easy than A1,could be for the big power supply of M1 and having tweeter go down until 4/5 K i feel the sound not correct like using only M1 so i sold A1 mono to my friend.
Then 2 years ago i changed rack buying Finite Elemente.

I never bought a second X1 because have in mind to order L 10 and use my X1 for P1,but with this pandemic situation break my plan having had some problem with my job.

Now situation start to become better and i would like to order L 10 next year.
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,827
414
580
Mass
Now situation start to become better and i would like to order L 10 next year.
Thank you for explaining. Here's to wishing your situation improves quickly and that you get an L10 soon!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Andrew S.

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
6,487
2,093
553
Greater Boston
I think Ceasar's point was more about long term listening (he notes that his colleague was fine at first but reached a different opinion after 6 months). Short doses clearly don't tell the whole story...I am sure you know this.

That is part of why I challenged Peter a bit to give an update on his feelings about the sound after several weeks. It seems he is still perfectly satisfied...which is great for him.

No, I have heard sterile and mechanical a number of times. I can discern it quickly, and so apparently can Ian. When he and I first heard Peter's Magico Q3 speakers in his system, we both were decidedly underwhelmed. I thought, this is a clear step back from the Magico Mini II, and that it sounded awfully sterile and mechanical (just according to the stereotypical reputation of Magico). Only after Peter fortunately had the idea of putting the speakers closer together by a few inches, things started to gel and flow, and the speakers started to make real music. At that point we all three felt the same way. So it was an issue of proper setup in the room. But yes, the bad initial sound signature was obvious from the start, until it was fixed.

I hear none of such a signature in Ian's current system. The music is inviting and warm, it flows nicely, and at the same time it is vivid and exciting as well. I get drawn into the music. Last time Ian wanted to play only 30 seconds of a Bach aria to see what I found of the general sound, but I was hooked to the music and listened the whole way through.
 
Last edited:

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,827
414
580
Mass
Any more update on L10 after more time with it?
It definitely has changed with break in. The bass was HUGE when I first put it in my system (when it already had 40 hours on it or so) and it was a bit on the dark side. Well it has totally opened up and while there isn't as much bass anymore, there is still more than with the L1.

The presentation has a lot more palpability and authority now. The soundstage is wider as well, which is a very welcome surprise for me. I don't hear any tradeoffs as the highs are still super sweet and clean. It excels on every genre of music and I can't image a better preamp; it's SO musical.

I attribute a lot of this to the new 'local feedback' setting. You can toggle between that and global feedback (the latter being what the L1 uses). It's a nice option to have - and very reminiscent of the L1 (which remains a great preamp) but I do prefer the local feedback setting.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
12,302
967
658
Congrats, MadFloyd...I wonder if that huge bass will come back. Somehow, I suspect it just might.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MadFloyd

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
6,487
2,093
553
Greater Boston
Last week I had the pleasure to hear Ian’s system again. He now has the L10 preamp in the chain. We listened predominantly to digital. An Innuos server operating on Roon fed the signal to a dCS Vivaldi Upsampler (used as network bridge and Roon endpoint), which fed a Schiit Yggdrasil Analog 2 DAC via the preferred AES/EBU input. The upsampling feature of the Vivaldi Upsampler was bypassed.

I used an SPL meter to standardize as much as possible for comparative volume levels upon listening to the music in my own system, before and after the session at Ian’s.

We started with the powerful piece “Impulse” by Franghiz Ali-Zadeh from the album Encores by Hilary Hahn, for violin and piano. Ian decided to perform a blind experiment on me, the nature of which was fully unknown to me (I had expected a different comparison, frankly). He played one condition and then the other; he told me to close my eyes while he did the change, and I did. I had made my choice which condition I preferred, but for confirmation I requested that the comparison would be repeated, thus it was ABAB. I came to the same firm conclusion and made it known. I thought B had a more palpable sound to the violin, and piano and violin were more separated, every instrument in its own space. Also, the violin sound more incisive with B, as I thought it should. Ian said that he preferred B for the exact same reasons and then revealed that A was global feedback on the L10 preamp, and B was local feedback on the L10.

This is the new trick on the L10: you can choose between local and global feedback, while local feedback is the default setting. The L1 on the other hand only has global feedback, with no other option. Ian thinks the L10 with global feedback sounds more like the L1 in the aspects described.

So this blind test, which I did not even know that it would concern the two feedback modes on the L10, suggests that the factory default setting of the L10 on local feedback is indeed the better one, and may be preferred by a significant margin – the difference was easily audible indeed.

After the comparison we listened to the entire piece again, and I was freer to just pay attention to the sound by itself. Here is the piece on YouTube just for purposes of illustrating what I will be talking about in terms of music; even on the best system I expect the digitally compressed AAC format to sound pretty crappy in comparison with the original digital file (I have listened only on computer with headphones):


The weight of the low piano notes at about 20 seconds in is comparable on both Ian’s and my system; the piano sound in this passage is quite thunderous on both. The low notes of the violin have very good body in my system, but they are really impressive in Ian’s. The biggest difference though was in the upper midrange and highs: the notes of the violin in high register (e.g., starting at about 2 minutes into the track) have incredible body and substance in Ian’s system, as I have not heard this anywhere before, and far better than in my system. In fact, the sheer power of the violin throughout its entire range, from low to high register, was incredibly consistent in Ian’s system and approached the sound of a real violin up close as well as I have ever heard – by a large margin. Fortunately I have had the privilege to hear the instrument up close in a number of intimate concerts, including on avant-garde music like this, so I have some reference to compare.

The presence, corporeality and power of the instrument’s sound on Ian’s system had to be heard to be believed; the tonal density was phenomenal. Combine that with great resolution of timbral micro-detail and the clean, distortion-free presentation, and the illusion of a real violin sounding in the reproduction was strong.

The track was played from 16/44 local file ripped from CD; on my system I play the CD.

The theme of fullness of sound in the midrange continued on Lee Morgan’s “The Lion and the Wolff” from the album Lee-Way. The trumpet sounds very good on my monitor/subwoofer combo when judged by any normal standards, and the weight and body of this presentation, as of the midrange in general, would be in my experience comfortably comparable to what you would hear on competent “regular” floor standers. Yet the Magico M Project is no regular floor stander by any means. The timbre had incredible weight and fullness throughout the instrument’s range, and since the transient dynamics were such that there seemed a lot of air moved through the instrument (as on my system), in combination with the weight the reproduction had enormous power.

Lee-way.jpg

Just like with the solo violin I have not heard such a powerful fullness of sound from a system before; not even from the Rockport Lyra at a demo in the large room of Goodwin’s. This is not to denigrate the Rockport Lyra – I am confident that, given its excellent no-holds-barred design, in the right room acoustics and with the right amplification it can sound as gutsy as what I now hear from Ian’s M Project (and to be sure, it did some absolutely spectacular things at the Goodwin’s session). Rather, it is to indicate just how apparently difficult it is to achieve this life-like, brutally ballsy fullness of sound. Ian’s system did not have that to this extent with the L1 preamp either.

Timbral believability and fullness of the alto saxophone were also better than on my system, as was micro-detail on the instrument (while the fine detail on the trumpet is comparable in my system). Striking were also some of the drum beats by Art Blakey in this track. They had a dynamic punch and a weight that absolutely made them stand out, adding to the excitement of the music. Here obviously the three 10 inch woofers per speaker of the mighty M Project made themselves known. On my system I can hear those drum strokes, but they do not stand out in any way.

The Lee Morgan track was streamed as 16/44 file from Qobuz.

(cont.)
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
6,487
2,093
553
Greater Boston
(cont.)

The timbre on Beethoven’s string quartet op 59/1 (second mvmt.) played by Quartetto Italiano (file of ripped CD) was the best I have heard. There was this perfect mix of incisiveness, body and sweetness of sound. It was very convincing.

Quartetto Italiano - Beethoven String Quartets.jpg

Haydn’s piano sonata Nr. 44 (Hob.XVI:29), played by John McCabe (Decca, CD 7 of set of complete sonatas, track 7-9; played from file of ripped CD) sounded amazing. The dynamics of banging on those low notes at the beginning were great, as I am used to from my system, but again the higher registers of the instrument had more weight. While transients from striking the piano keys were well audible as they should be, the reproduction of the playing had simply exquisite flow. There was also a great clarity that was alluring, and the utter poise and authoritative control of the reproduction made the ear pay attention to the control and refinement of John McCabe’s playing.

I do have to say though that the clarity came at a cost. The piano sounded very upfront, as I normally would like it, but that was because the spatial setting in a venue was less audible. In the reproduction on my system the piano is placed a bit further back, and plays nicely enveloped in the acoustics of a hall.

John McCabe - Hadyn Piano Sonatas.jpg

The same issue was also audible at the beginning of the Rite of Spring by Stravinsky in the recording with Cleveland Orchestra/Boulez (DGG), which is an acid test for me regarding spatial depth and hall atmosphere. There was again a beguiling clarity on the quiet beginning of the piece with an interplay of diverse woodwinds, but at the expense of spatial atmosphere. With the hall atmosphere reproduced, the presentation becomes more diffuse.

I did the experiment to sit in the chair behind the regular listening chair, and voila, the spatial information was restored. It is not that the electronics do not reproduce it, it is just that it is not properly transmitted at the regular listening seat. Sitting further back though has disadvantages for the sound (including less fullness), so perhaps things can be improved with slight adjustments of speaker position.

Like my room does in other ways, Ian’s room has its problems. In this context, the addition of the L10 preamp to the system gives another welcome advantage over the L1 as well. Last time I listened with the same speaker positioning in place, and on some material I experienced a familiar claustrophobic effect with the soundstage not sufficiently expanding. Depending on speaker positioning, I have heard this in Ian’s system before with varying equipment, and it is a combination of a speaker with an apparently somewhat difficult dispersion pattern (certainly more difficult that my monitors) and a room that is challenging. This time, the claustrophobic effect never came up, and the soundstage was free and open. This is not to say that the L1 will not be capable of throwing a great soundstage under more favorable circumstances, just that the soundstage prowess of the L10 somehow manages to overcome a difficult situation in Ian’s room. This may also provide more freedom when it comes to moving the speakers around for a position that improves other aspects of the sound.

We also heard the guitar playing of Mabel Millan on the album The Devil’s Caprice (Qobuz 24/96). The tone was warm and full of harmonic richness, and the music was flowing like honey, while at the same time an incredible amount of timbral micro-detail was presented. Micro-dynamics were simply outstanding, and exciting. Also here I heard the best tonal density yet from a system. This was the most convincing reproduction of acoustic guitar that I have experienced. By the way, Ian told me he also freaks out about how good this album sounds in his system.

Mabel Millan - The Devil's Caprice.jpg

A brief excursion into one of Haydn’s string quartets op. 33 played by the Eybler Quartet (file of ripped CD) again highlighted the sheer liveliness that this system is now capable of. What I loved on all the music was this combination of liveliness and energy, as I am used to from my monitor/subwoofer system, with authority and fullness of sound. The liveliness and energy is a top priority in music reproduction for me, and here the insertion of the CH Precision amplification in Ian’s system is also critical, which really in every way brings out the best in those mighty Magico M Project speakers.

The L10 preamp also brought improvement when it came to the strings in a Bach area for baritone (Robert Shaw cond.), file ripped from CD. While on this difficult recording they had sounded slightly grainy on the L1, on the L10 they sounded much smoother and more believable.

Robert Shaw - Bach Cantatas.jpg

Speaking about strings, we did hear one LP. Ian put it on as we went to talk in the kitchen, and upon hearing it from there I was drawn right back to the listening chair, at least for a little while. It was a serenade for strings by Elgar, with Barbirolli conducting Sinfonia of London. Ian had thought the night before that this recording sounded really good, and was curious what I would think of it. Obviously I concurred.

The sound had just the right amount of “air”. Vinyl playback, when not optimally adjusted, can have some impressive sounding “air” on strings, but this air can be too airy, as it were, an artifact (I have heard this issue also in Ian’s system on other occasions, including recently when there was a grounding problem with the tone arm). This playback though was well sorted out, and showed the impressive capabilities of vinyl. The tone never lost its solidity below the airy extension, as it would be the case live. There was convincing density, yet also exquisite detail of string texture, with a sweetness that seemed just right. It was a phenomenal sound.

Barbirolli Conducts English String Music.jpg
 

Skanda

Active Member
May 3, 2020
178
190
43
@MadFloyd dude so awesome to see this thread and get your thoughts on ch precision. just wanted to add in that i use an astell sp1000 with 64audio A18t (the ciem version of your model). 100% agree it's an amazing reality check reference. I recently got jh layla's for a different flavor but also enjoyable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MadFloyd

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
8,366
4,667
1,135
North Shore of Boston
Great report Al. These are my favorite kinds of threads on the forum. It is very well written and thorough with lots of information. Your enthusiasm for the sound of the system comes through clearly and there’s wonderful information about the recordings.

I look forward to hearing this system again with the new preamp. It sounds as though with a little bit more work on set up everything will come together beautifully. It’s a challenging room so speaker position and seating position are likely an ongoing exercise.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Al M. and MadFloyd

microstrip

VIP/Donor
May 30, 2010
17,819
2,339
810
Portugal
(...) I had made my choice which condition I preferred, but for confirmation I requested that the comparison would be repeated, thus it was ABAB. I came to the same firm conclusion and made it known. I thought B had a more palpable sound to the violin, and piano and violin were more separated, every instrument in its own space. Also, the violin sound more incisive with B, as I thought it should. Ian said that he preferred B for the exact same reasons and then revealed that A was global feedback on the L10 preamp, and B was local feedback on the L10.
(...) (cont.)

Al. M, great reports, but just one question - do the CH's compensate for gain when you change feedback modes of level? It is a problem I always have when listening in A/B to different modes with the VTL Siegfried - each of the 8 modes has different gain and needs a separate calibration.
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,827
414
580
Mass
Al. M, great reports, but just one question - do the CH's compensate for gain when you change feedback modes of level? It is a problem I always have when listening in A/B to different modes with the VTL Siegfried - each of the 8 modes has different gain and needs a separate calibration.
I don't detect any difference in volume when adjusting feedback on either the CH M1.1s or the L10. There is a separate gain adjustment on the amps which obviously changes the volume.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Al M.

microstrip

VIP/Donor
May 30, 2010
17,819
2,339
810
Portugal
I don't detect any difference in volume when adjusting feedback on either the CH M1.1s or the L10. (...)

Very interesting, thanks. I would love to know how CH achieve it - an usual consequence of variable feedback is having output impedance and gain changes.

Edit - just found it at the CH site. The L10 always keeps the same amount of total feedback - what users can change is the ratio between local and global feedback. When we increase one type we lower the other. Really clever!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: MadFloyd and Al M.

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
5,531
1,883
483
Switzerland
Very interesting, thanks. I would love to know how CH achieve it - an usual consequence of variable feedback is having output impedance and gain changes.

Edit - just found it at the CH site. The L10 always keeps the same amount of total feedback - what users can change is the ratio between local and global feedback. When we increase one type we lower the other. Really clever!
THey should probably just turn it off...distortion in preamps is usually very low even with zero feedback. Probably would sound even better that way. I thought CH had options to turn off the feedback...I guess not with this model
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing