Visit to Marc C.'s (SpiritOfMusic's) House in England

the sound of Tao

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Jul 18, 2014
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Yes, and beyond any arguments of which is the best the current tipping point for musical engagement is happily available now on both sides of the embankment. It’s only a recent thing for the dig yes, but at last music can be unapologetically played loved and danced to without excuse.

Horns and SET is absolutely my way forward but any great speaker happily driven by SET has the best start at music. Currently listening to Schubert’s Death and the Maiden and it is in the Pavel Haas Quartets absolute love in their compelling performance pouring out through the SET valves that are by their nature just letting it all flow out and for it all to glow.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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Graham, further to yr comments on SETs. I've yet to hear any SS, even some of the v best ones, that don't accentuate the upper mids, and unrealistic hyperdetail, over SETs that major on being more grounded thru the lower mids, and natural reproduction of detail.

It's always fascinating to be initially swept along by an overly detailed, zingy SS presentation, but to return to SETs and prefer the denser lower centre of gravity, your ears not being assaulted w info.

I'm going to live classical and jazz every 10 days or so, and I've yet to hear any presentation which isn't dense, lower mids heavy, w no holographic soundstaging.

Despite some colourations, SETs approach this ideal way more than SS.

Yes, all IMHO, YMMV, YYY*
(*Yada Yada Yada).
 

spiritofmusic

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Whether all roads lead to horns in my case, at this point I have to say, highly likely. That's the easy bit. It's which ones that is the Q.
 

spiritofmusic

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We already are 180 apart on three horns. So, that's a good start.
 

brushwood

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Oct 31, 2018
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My first experience of horns was the Chopin several years ago and it was an unforgettable experience. I took Kempff’s Beethoven Piano Concertos CD over and the detail/resolution and colours of the Chopin was astounding. When you listen to Mozart’s Concertos for 2 and 3 pianos you can tell that there is a more expansive sound created as the pianos are played in almost perfect unison. There’s more colour and effects than with just one. I had the same experience listening to the piano in Beethoven’s piano concerto 5. Only one piano this time of course, but I could again hear the varied contribution and same expansive sound of the multiple strings when a single key was struck. Rare for drivers to be able to dissect out such detail off a keyboard. I later auditioned the Liszts in Denham and there was more yet again with string section of the orchestra. Something about the blend of these TAD drivers and the general recipe in these speakers. The directivity of the bigger speaker of the Liszt over the Chopin in a similar sized room alleviated any anxieties I had about reflections and room contribution massively.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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Brushwood, I've heard the Chopins once (was more impressed than I thought I would be, but too small for my 18x48 space), and the Liszts 3x.

First time remains maybe my fave horns experience (excl non commercial Denman horn which is beyond anything I've heard in any demo experience), on Bakoon Class A, 15W. Other than some room node issues, a truly exhilarating thrill ride.

Second was in same room, but now Illusonic AD/DA to tt, and Mola Mola 700W Class D. As bland and antiseptic an experience as you can imagine. Were they even the same spkrs?

Third, in a bigger better room, full analog experience w Tron 211s. Impressive, but the magic of the Bakoon demo missing. A tad pedestrian.

Moral of my experience? The ancilliaries REALLY matter when it comes to horns. If you REALLY want the magic.

Well set up Liszts would be my lottery win spkr (can't fit them in my space so a mute point anyhow).
 

spiritofmusic

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Had a couple of eager, crazy audiophiles over today. One who runs an Aqua/Thrax system, and is seriously in deep on Synergistic Research cables and room treatments. The other runs an Electrocompaniet/Lamm/Wilson system, equally religious on system tweaking w SR, Tchang resonators etc.

Despite my sound being v different from theirs, they stuck it out for 8 hours (with well deserved pizza break), and really liked what I'd achieved. They correctly diagnosed my sound is slightly held back by some noise issues (tubes and subs hum), but this didn't detract too much from the overall experience.

They brought some tweaks along. Some didn't add much (SR passive black box), some were moderately effective (crystals on my dedicated lines, Frank Tchang resonator on central front wall, and a mains noise filter).

But the tweaks that really pricked up my ears were the HRS Damping Plates. We progressively added plates, from cdp, to pre, pre psu, finally to Straingauge energiser box.

There was a marked cumulative series of gains. Widening of soundstage, greater airiness, upper bass articulation, and natural bloom.

Further evidence that reducing noise floor, both electrical and mechanical, at the level of systems we play at, can provide massive gains in performance and listener immersion.
 

manisandher

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Feb 7, 2011
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Hi Marc, I've just read your posts on the AG thread. Having heard your system for myself, the one thing I have to ask you is what are you currently not quite satisfied with?

In this hobby, I think it's incredibly important to pursue solutions to audible issues that you've identified. Otherwise, it can become a wild (and potentially very expensive) goose chase.
 
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bonzo75

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Wild and expensive goose chase is the hobby
 

spiritofmusic

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Hi Mani, tbh your point should be posted LOUD AND CLEAR on every post or thread where audiophiles are contemplating change.

Applies as much to Mike Lavigne or Gian, as it does to me and other more lowly LOL members here.

Just why do we change our gear, often even when we're pretty happy w things? Or when we're unhappy w stuff before we've analysed what we're unhappy with?

So Mani, my contemplations are just that, thinking out loud. With the priceless boost of vastly impvd acoustics in the new space, and my dialling in of Zus and optimised analog setup allowing things to snap into place, I've never been happier w my sound. It ticks many of the main boxes. Indeed on my beloved tonal density and saturation, I'm not hearing better in systems I'm travelling to visit.

Other systems have the edge on absolute dynamics or detail resolution or bass slam or transparency/neutrality. But as a coherent, holistic sound centered on mids palpability, I'll take my system.

And vitally for me, w my collection mainly containing challenging productions and masterings, outnumbering great sonic masterpieces, my Zu based system handily outguns many if not all audiophile systems.

It's mainly in the areas of the best classical music reproduction that my Zus still come up a little short. I'm not getting the total ease and breathiness of the best horns on these genres. And this is noticeable visiting really well put together horns systems like Blue58 and you etc. Also, my system is a little less linear and more coloured than more truly neutral systems like UK Paul's Concert Fidelity/ML Spires setup.

At this point, I have extreme pride of ownership in wrangling a sound that has repaid the effort and investment in spades, and have lost a lot of the fussing and fretting that got in the way of me just relaxing.

After such a long preamble, the answer to yr Q is, yes I don't have a clear idea why I'm musing on horns. I know they could be a final key in some ways. Analog, triode magic...horns are a natural part of this. I know great horns could fully reveal the beauty of classical music. The aesthetics and provenance of horns really appeal. And I'm fully versed in the unique pleasure that horns provide on the right material having got to know Duos over 5 years.

But I also know horns ownership cannot be done on the cheap (Duos plus Ebay knock off amp is not gonna cut it), new horns means new amps. Maybe this then forces a reappraisal of sources and even more spending.

And as we found at yours, Rush "Tom Sawyer" sounds SO unappealing on yr Animas, do I really want to spend €30-40k on horns to reveal the majesty of Ravel but reveal the testiness of Rush?

My instinct is no, steady as she goes.

And then Barry goes and plays something to demonstrate the majesty of horns...

My fortitude wavers, hey I'm only human. And an audiofool to boot.
 
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spiritofmusic

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bonzo75

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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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bonzo75

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Better to have no system than be a Zu propa-gander
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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UK Paul over to visit soon. Hoping for some positive feedback. His system in my mind remains the most consistent over the broadest range of things we all look for in hifi. So, his opinion of particular interest to me.
 
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Lagonda

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Feb 4, 2014
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Hi Mani, tbh your point should be posted LOUD AND CLEAR on every post or thread where audiophiles are contemplating change.

Applies as much to Mike Lavigne or Gian, as it does to me and other more lowly LOL members here.

Just why do we change our gear, often even when we're pretty happy w things? Or when we're unhappy w stuff before we've analysed what we're unhappy with?

So Mani, my contemplations are just that, thinking out loud. With the priceless boost of vastly impvd acoustics in the new space, and my dialling in of Zus and optimised analog setup allowing things to snap into place, I've never been happier w my sound. It ticks many of the main boxes. Indeed on my beloved tonal density and saturation, I'm not hearing better in systems I'm travelling to visit.

Other systems have the edge on absolute dynamics or detail resolution or bass slam or transparency/neutrality. But as a coherent, holistic sound centered on mids palpability, I'll take my system.

And vitally for me, w my collection mainly containing challenging productions and masterings, outnumbering great sonic masterpieces, my Zu based system handily outguns many if not all audiophile systems.

It's mainly in the areas of the best classical music reproduction that my Zus still come up a little short. I'm not getting the total ease and breathiness of the best horns on these genres. And this is noticeable visiting really well put together horns systems like Blue58 and you etc. Also, my system is a little less linear and more coloured than more truly neutral systems like UK Paul's Concert Fidelity/ML Spires setup.

At this point, I have extreme pride of ownership in wrangling a sound that has repaid the effort and investment in spades, and have lost a lot of the fussing and fretting that got in the way of me just relaxing.

After such a long preamble, the answer to yr Q is, yes I don't have a clear idea why I'm musing on horns. I know they could be a final key in some ways. Analog, triode magic...horns are a natural part of this. I know great horns could fully reveal the beauty of classical music. The aesthetics and provenance of horns really appeal. And I'm fully versed in the unique pleasure that horns provide on the right material having got to know Duos over 5 years.

But I also know horns ownership cannot be done on the cheap (Duos plus Ebay knock off amp is not gonna cut it), new horns means new amps. Maybe this then forces a reappraisal of sources and even more spending.

And as we found at yours, Rush "Tom Sawyer" sounds SO unappealing on yr Animas, do I really want to spend €30-40k on horns to reveal the majesty of Ravel but reveal the testiness of Rush?

My instinct is no, steady as she goes.

And then Barry goes and plays something to demonstrate the majesty of horns...

My fortitude wavers, hey I'm only human. And an audiofool to boot.
Sometimes our latent sickness can be triggered by outside events.
My system was playing better than ever, upgrades where in the far horizon.
A malfunction in one channel of the Aesthetix Io has triggered a upgrade with
a extra Phono input and volume control. The importer does not reside in my
country and someone has a MBL amp for sale only 4 hours away from him. Perfect opportunity for a 2 day road trip and spending the rest of this year’s
vacation funds :cool:
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
8,844
974
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E. England
Pop on Chris Rea's "The Road To Hell" when you're on yr way.
 
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