Room dimensions are 24’ x 12’ (small bay window next to the left speaker 13.5’) x 8.5’.
Older components, more than 20 years old, with exception of the subwoofer (15 years old):
1. Ensemble Reference mini monitors, internally modified with large crossover caps and better cabling.
2. Single REL Storm III subwoofer
3. Audio Innovations Second Audio parallel push-pull triode 2A3 amps (2 x 15 W), heavily modified to great effect over the years by a specialist in Connecticut (Steve Marsh, reviewer at 6moons).
4. Cables: Monster Sigma 2000 interconnects and speaker cables
5. Power conditioning: Tice Power Block II and Tice power chords
More recently purchased components:
6. CD front end: Simaudio Moon 260 DT transport, MIT Proline digital interlink, Berkeley Alpha DAC 2
7. BorderPatrol MB external power supplies for the amps
8. Pangea AC-9 power chords for the power supplies
9. Shunyata Dark Field v2 cable elevators
10. Room treatment: 6 tube traps, 11 Tri-panels, sub trap, window plug (ASC)
After having switched from a Stax headphone system, I have only ever owned one pair of audiophile speakers, my Ensemble Reference minimonitors. I have been attracted to them by their vividness of sound and lack of coloration, while providing great body in the low midrange (a feature also highlighted in the Stereophile review). After 24 years I still love them dearly; their internal cabling and the crossover caps were modified and they were augmented 15 years ago by a REL subwoofer which integrates seamlessly. Their resolution has effortlessly grown, beyond all expectations, with the resolution of my entire system. I guess they will be my last speakers as well, they can go easily another 24 years or more. Future upgrade plans for my system are Shunyata power conditioning (Triton v2, perhaps with Typhon), a better audio rack (HRS) and a Berkeley Reference DAC. The speakers are here to stay; I am confident that they will continue to reflect the future increases in resolution. They are also a match made in heaven with my triode monoblock amps (parallel push-pull) which I have had for 24 years as well -- these were heavily modified though over the years and a year ago supplemented with BorderPatrol external power supplies, a very substantial upgrade which not only made the amps play much more effortlessly but also produced a big leap forward in resolution (dramatic reduction of electronic noise). I have written a review of these power supplies on WBF.
I had the mid-woofers of my speakers refoamed 10 years ago (while the tweeters were replaced as well), and will have that procedure repeated when necessary.
In the past few years I have come to appreciate the importance of acoustic room treatment. A currently ongoing upgrade are ASC window plugs. You can see the first one installed in the back window, but eventually they will also cover all the windows next to my left speaker, as well as the cabinet with glass doors in the right hand corner behind the speakers (the window plugs also provide much-wanted noise insulation). All other room treatment is ASC as well.
Music that I listen to:
Classical, contemporary 'classical' avantgarde, jazz, rock. My top three composers of all time that I most admire: Bach, Beethoven, Stockhausen. But there are so many more whose music I love and listen to a lot.
Peter A. has posted some impressions of my system last year on WBF:
In the meantime the system has undergone some minor changes that nonetheless had a substantial effect. These include changes in speaker positioning, switching the support of the speaker stands from the wobbly wood tiles to concrete ones (upon Peter's suggestion), installation of a wool carpet in the area of and behind the speakers instead of a carpet from synthetic fiber, and the addition of one ASC window plug.
July 2015: Addition of ASC window plugs, see thread page 2
April 2016: New speakers, Reference 3A MM de Capo BE monitors, see thread page 5 (forget what I said above regarding my Ensemble Reference speakers being 'here to stay' )
New equipment rack, Solidsteel HW-2L, see page 5
New addition November 2016:
Acoustic panel on front wall, see thread page 9
New additions/changes to my system between February and October 2017 (see thread page 10 onward):
1. ZenWave Audio D4 interconnect, see:
2. Solidsteel HF-A amp stands:
3. Pass B1 passive preamp; my review at WBF:
Review: Pass B1 Buffered Preamplifier
4. Schiit Yggdrasil DAC, replacing a Berkeley Alpha 2 DAC, see:
Comparison: Schiit Yggdrasil DAC vs. Berkeley Alpha DAC 2
5. ZenWave Audio SMSG speaker cables
6. ZenWave Audio SMSG speaker jumpers
7. TrippLite 1000 HG isolation transformer
(bought at Jet.com)
Used as power conditioner for both Yggdrasil DAC and Simaudio Moon CD transport (digital front end). It is 'medical grade' rather than being an "audiophile" power conditioner, with the advantage of probably achieving the same for much less money. Removes EMI/RFI noise, utility switching transients, load-generated harmonics and ground loops (see link).
8.Herbie's Tenderfoot component isolation feet, for both Yggdrasil DAC and Simaudio Moon CD transport for both Yggdrasil DAC and Simaudio Moon CD transport