My Little Barn

I realized that since I joined WBF some years ago, I actually never presented my system.

The listening room is the main living room. It is a small converted barn in a tiny farmhouse from the late 19th century. With their hand made bricks, the walls are uneven surfaces acting like giant diffusors. The cathedral ceiling peaks at 5.5 meter. I live in a relatively quiet area and the ambient noise in the room is measured at around 36 db. Large acrylic SMT diffusers located at each corner, the first reflection point and behind the seating area provide a highly effective acoustic treatment without too much visual intrusion. The sweet spot is about 4 meters away from the speakers.

preview-barn.jpg







The loudspeakers are the Master 2 from Focus Audio. Their D’Appolito design requires some heavy juice. Thanks to the SMT diffuser on the left wall and the absence of a first reflection point on right wall (aperture with a staircase leading to the dining room), they can be located quite close to the sidewalls. There is ample room behind them with more than 6 feet between the front wall and the rear of the loudspeakers.



The audio rack is from Stacore. It is composed of a heavily damped steel frame and 6 pneumatic platforms totaling a weight of 800 Kg. The sonic benefits are tremendous: reduced noise floor, better micro-dynamics, tighter bass and slam.





The power amplifiers are Krell Evolution One. I have had them for several years and I got them recently fully refurbished. They are powerful and fast with tight bass and slam that hits you in the chest when listening at realistic levels.



I also have a Tenor Audio 175 S sitting on a Symposium platform located beneath the tape recorder. This hybrid design is highly musical and makes wonders when playing chamber music, small-scale orchestra, vocal and solo music.



The preamp is a Krell Evo 202. It drives both the Krell and the Tenor Audio power amps. Switching from one to the other is done in a breeze. I however need to adjust the input level trims when switching from one amp to the other one. This is done in a matter of seconds through the interactive menu.



The digital source is composed of an integrated TAD D600 CD/SACD player/DAC and a modified Aurender X100L music server. The Aurender’s switch mode power supply is bypassed with a custom-made linear power supply. A Bel Canto USB interface allows using the AES/EBU digital input from the DAC. Whilst the TAD 600 is sitting in the rack, the music server is hidden behind and sits on a console bolted to the front wall. I have a subscription to Qobuz so I can stream in high resolution and I also purchase high-resolution PCM files from Qobuz.





The phono preamp is an Allnic H3000V. I replaced the Mullard amplifier tubes by NOS Telefenkun. The rectifier tube is a KR Lampizator Anniversary, which has significantly enhanced the sound.



The Turntable is a Brinkmann Balance fitted with the Sinus motor and the optional tube power Supply RöNt II. The tonearm is a modified 9-inch SME V 9. The internal wiring has been changed. The head shell leads are Furutech La Source and an Ikeda cable has replaced the dreadful stock Van den Hul phono cable. The cartridge is a Transfiguration Proteus. This is my second Proteus as I got a standard exchange when I sent my previous one for retipping.



Finally, there is a Studer A80 RC MK II tape recorder that was fully overhauled by a studio pro tech who has more than 40 years of experience with Studer. My tech is against the use of tape head preamp. He has however optimized the repro cards and he designed a bespoke stabilizer card, which trumps the Studer one. I also have a second set of repro and stabilizer cards from Tudor Dimitrov.







All electronics are connected to Entreq grounding devices that are very effective. I opted for small individual boxes. The loudspeakers, the preamp and the phono stage have their individual combo composed of a Silver Minimus, a Silver Atlantis and 2 Everest boosters whilst for the digital front end and the Studer, I opted for the Olympus Ten and an Everest booster.



Interconnect cables are Argento flow for the TAD player, the phono Stage and the Krell power amp. For the Studer I opted for 3-meter long XLR cables from Legato Audio. The Tenor Audio power amp is connected to the Krell preamp via 3-meter long XLR Silent Project Hydra cables. I also have Krell CAST cables between the power amps and the preamp but I barely use them.

There is a dedicated line. The power distributor is an Ansuz D and I use a variety of power cables (among others Argento Flow, Ansuz C, Stealth Dream V10, Gigawatt, ...) that were all individually tested in my system prior I purchased them.



Choosing Loudspeakers cables proved to be difficult. I tested a dozen of cables. All the silver ones that I tested (Wireworld Platinum, Gold, and Silver, Audioquest, Argento and many others) were way too bright. I settled for copper with the relatively modest Wireworld Eclipse 6 that, in my system, achieved the best results. I have two pairs: one for the Krell and one for the Tenor Audio. I just need to swap the connections when I want to switch from one amp to the other one.

My music is stored in adjacent rooms (2500 LPs, 2000 CDs/SACDs and about 200 tapes – a third of them being 12 inch reels). I have reduced my purchases of LPs and CDs/SACDs in favor of tapes and to a lesser extent high resolution PCM files. Digital is secondary as I am mainly an analog guy.

In a separate room, I have a KL Audio and a VPI 16.5 RCM as well as an Orb record flattener.





I would like to replace the Symposium platform on which the Tenor Audio is residing by a Stacore Basic platform but I need to find larger castors for the Studer in order to increase the usable height under the trolley. I will ultimately retire the SME V tone arm. I am considering opting for a 9-inch SAT but there is no urgency. I have no other plans for upgrade.
 

Comments

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,434
122
63
Boston, MA
#21
Enjoy in great health! The system looks incredible.
 

dcc

VIP/Donor
Nov 4, 2012
265
86
28
Continental Europe
#25
The first days of Autumn with a sharp drop of temperature. It was about time to put the listening place on fire and to open a bottle of red wine. This is going to be good weekend.

 
Last edited:

dcc

VIP/Donor
Nov 4, 2012
265
86
28
Continental Europe
#28
Latest upgrades to the A80 tape deck – Part 1

I got my tape deck back after an overhaul and a series of upgrades.

The overhaul comprises:
- New gold XLR connectors from Neutrik;
- New bearings for both spooling motors as well as new brakes;
- The replacement of all out of specs components on the transport control cards (few IC, capacitors and resistors).



 

dcc

VIP/Donor
Nov 4, 2012
265
86
28
Continental Europe
#29
Latest upgrades to the A80 tape deck – Part 2

The upgrade comprises:

- The installation of the tape tension amplifiers from MTSL/Todor Dimitrov;
- The enhancement of the bespoke stabilizer card;
- The modification of the VU-meter bridge. The switches are bypassed by high quality relays installed on custom designed PCBs. Four new high precision potentiometers from DACT are replacing the old ones. New Vu-meters were fitted as well and a small circuit board was added which delays the start of the VU-meters until the power supply is fully stabilised. This prevents the VU-meter needles from swinging when firing up the tape deck;
- The bypass of the output transformers by a fully balanced circuit which is installed on a custom made audio card. The new circuit is much more linear than the original design.















 

dcc

VIP/Donor
Nov 4, 2012
265
86
28
Continental Europe
#30
Latest upgrades to the A80 tape deck – Part 3


Finally, larger castors are replacing the original ones. This has enabled to increase the clearance below the trolley so the Tenor Audio power amp and its dedicated pneumatic Stacore platform could fit beneath the tape deck.



The sonic improvements are not marginal. My tech has delivered beyond my expectations. The sound is more linear with greater transparency and enhanced dynamics.

 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
7,815
604
113
E. England
#31
DCC, absolutely fantastic. We also bought an old building, our 1861 chapel, and it too was love at first sight. In London, it would have cost 5x what we paid fot it here, 80 miles from The Smoke. Cycling is great around here, and being next to water is pretty therapeutic. You couldn't get me to move back, even though in effect I've taken a pay cut to end up here, and feeding this beast of a building means my heavy lifting components upgrading is kinda behind me. I'm glad to see you're able to keep servicing this crazy hobby of ours!

One Q, was there any alternative to you siting yr gear on the front wall?
Could you have gone for side wall siting, or even behind you, a la Audioquattr?

Congrats on Stacore rack, for me the Advanced I have under my tt is in top 3 of most dramatic changes in my system and has both saved and revitalised my lps enjoyment. Pivotal change here just doesn't do the Stacore justice.
 
Likes: Stacore

dcc

VIP/Donor
Nov 4, 2012
265
86
28
Continental Europe
#32
DCC, absolutely fantastic. We also bought an old building, our 1861 chapel, and it too was love at first sight. In London, it would have cost 5x what we paid fot it here, 80 miles from The Smoke. Cycling is great around here, and being next to water is pretty therapeutic. You couldn't get me to move back, even though in effect I've taken a pay cut to end up here, and feeding this beast of a building means my heavy lifting components upgrading is kinda behind me. I'm glad to see you're able to keep servicing this crazy hobby of ours!

One Q, was there any alternative to you siting yr gear on the front wall?
Could you have gone for side wall siting, or even behind you, a la Audioquattr?

Congrats on Stacore rack, for me the Advanced I have under my tt is in top 3 of most dramatic changes in my system and has both saved and revitalised my lps enjoyment. Pivotal change here just doesn't do the Stacore justice.
Hi Mark,

My barn is really small compared to Audioquattr's listening room. This was the only possible arrangement for the system. The Stacore rack and platforms are indeed fantastic products.

Kind regards,

Denis
 
Likes: Stacore

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
7,815
604
113
E. England
#33
Cathedral roof/30° eaves really works here too, despite mine starting much lower than yours. I'd always imagined this would not work re eaves related reflections. But our experience says otherwise.

My only other suggestion to you would be to consider adding diffusion to your door.
 
Jan 7, 2018
127
10
18
#34
Wow, My systems generally look good or sound good, seldom if ever both. Congrats.
 
Likes: dcc

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
7,815
604
113
E. England
#35
Ah DCC, I indeed see your door is acousically treated.
 
May 30, 2010
14,945
399
83
Portugal
#37
Latest upgrades to the A80 tape deck – Part 1

I got my tape deck back after an overhaul and a series of upgrades.

The overhaul comprises:
- New gold XLR connectors from Neutrik;
- New bearings for both spooling motors as well as new brakes;
- The replacement of all out of specs components on the transport control cards (few IC, capacitors and resistors).



Great work on the A80! Can I ask what were the ICs that were out of spec?
 

dcc

VIP/Donor
Nov 4, 2012
265
86
28
Continental Europe
#38
I just checked as my tech gave me all the parts he replaced and I found one little IC among all the capacitors and resistors. I will need to ask him on which transport control card it was located.
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
7,815
604
113
E. England
#39
DCC, maybe you can advise me. I'm struggling a bit w the SMT website, hopefully their products create a clearer result than my search LOL.

I'm looking at a potentially serious application of panels in my room, and have whittled contenders down to GIK, Accustica Applicata, Tube Traps and SMT.

How did you decide on them, and then go ahead? I have a potential 14x6 area of front wall I can apply diffusors to, plus the usual corner traps and side walls reflection points.
 

dcc

VIP/Donor
Nov 4, 2012
265
86
28
Continental Europe
#40
DCC, maybe you can advise me. I'm struggling a bit w the SMT website, hopefully their products create a clearer result than my search LOL.

I'm looking at a potentially serious application of panels in my room, and have whittled contenders down to GIK, Accustica Applicata, Tube Traps and SMT.

How did you decide on them, and then go ahead? I have a potential 14x6 area of front wall I can apply diffusors to, plus the usual corner traps and side walls reflection points.
Hi Mark,

I reckon that the SMT website is confusing and not up to date.

My listening room is also the living room. The treatment had to be stealthy. The large acrylic diffusers from SMT were somehow the obvious choice as they are not too visually intrusive.

Flyer, who is a close friend and a member here helped me in the process. He has a fully treated SMT room. He made all the measurements and interacted with Mats, SMT’s boss, who validated the contemplated options.

Kind regards,

Denis
 

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. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers 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