All components in BOLD are loaned; all components in standard face are owned by me.
Vandersteen Quatro Wood Carbon. Enigma Acoustics Tweeters. Reimer Speaker Systems Tetons (with the Hi-Vi Isodynamic Planar tweeters and series crossovers) heavily treated with Marigo VTS Dots.
PS Audio BHK 250 amplifier, PS Audio BHK Signature preamplifier. Clayton Audio M200 monoblock amplifiers (with Hi-Fi Tuning and Furutech fuses), Channel D Lino phono stage, and the Heed Thesis phono stage. DEQX PreMate + (preamp), Marantz 2230 receiver, and the Kora integrated.
Digital: PS Audio DirectStream DAC and DirectStream Memory Player, Playback Design MPS-5 player (with a Furutech fuse), DEQX PreMate +, Mytek Brooklyn, Mytek Manhattan II, and an Oppo BD-105.
Analog: Transrotor 25/25/60 Leonardo turntable with a Shelter 901 MC cartridge w/Marigo dot. Audiomod MK2 arm.
Computer Based System (main system)
Primary: Integrita C4 NAS from Certon, AURALiC Aries and Mini, SBooster power supplies (the AURALiC, Netgear switch, and Netgear WiFi extender), USB cables from JPlay, WyWires, Skogrand, Dynamic Designs, Kubala-Sosna, Audience, and Sablon Audio. Network cables from JPlay, Audioquest, Cardas, WireWorld and Sablon Audio. Acoustic Revive lan isolators.
Secondary: Mac Mini (Quad Core i7/8GB ram with iTunes, Pure Music, Audirvana, or Amarra ) to a Sonicweld Diverter HR via either the Locus Design Nucleus or Cynosure V2, Cardas Clear, WyWires, Purist Audio, Light Harmonic, Audience, Sablon Audio, JPlay, or Furutech USB cables. Purist Audio Contego S/PDIF RCA or AES/EBU, von Gaylord Chinchilla AES/EBU, Locus Design Core S/PDIF RCA or AES/EBU, or DH Labs D-75 AES/EBU digital cables feeding the digital inputs on the Playback MPS-5 or PS Audio DirectStream DAC. Drobo FS with four WD Green 1TB drives. Shakti Stones and Onlines. Audioquest Carbon, Sablon Audio, and JPlay Cat7 and Netgear gigabit switch. Atomic Audio isolation platform.
Oh, and the iFi USB 3.0, Purifier 2, Schitt Wyrd, and PS Audio LanRover, and the UpTone Regen.
Sennheiser HD600, AKG 702, Focal Elears, and Audeze LCD 3 and EL-8 headphones. Headamps include the Heed Audio Canamp/Daculus DAC, Mytek Brooklyn, iFi Macro iDSD, and Lambert. Cables from WyWires, Double Helix, Wire World, Moon Aduio, and Cardas. Portable headphones from Zu Audio and AKG. Portable headamps and such from ALO, Astell & Kern, Audioengine, Light Harmonic, and Oppo. Silver Circle AC conditioner. AC cords from WyWires.
Locus Design Vision, Triode Wire, Kubala-Sosna Emotion, Purist Audio Neptune, Skogrand Beethoven, and Sablon Audio Panatela interconnects. Kubala-Sosna Emotion, Purist Audio Neptune, Sablon Audio Panatela, WyWire Diamond, and Skogrand Beethoven speaker cables. Kubala-Sosna Emotion, Purist Audio Digital, Sablon Panatela, Triode Wire American and Silver Statement, Dynamic Design Heritage, PS Audio, Dynamic Design Spirit-C Digital, Tel-Wire, Pi Audio (Mac Mini), and Luminous Audio Power Lynx Mega AC cords.
Entreq Poseidon Ground unit, TELOS Ground Conditioner, Stein H2 Harmonizers, Nordost Qv2, Qx2, and Qx4, Synergistic Research Atmosphere, Silver Circle Juice Box 1, Silver Circle Thaik, Bybee Power Purifier v 2.0 AC Conditioner, Nanotec Nespa #1, Furutech RD-2 demagnetizer, Acoustic Revive RR-77 and R-777 with KingRex DC power supply, Golden Goddess Super Effect Speaker Bullets, Blue Circle BC86 Noise Hound (office system) and Audio Prism QuietLines (throughout the house). Two dedicated 20 AC circuits. Tons of Shakti Stones and On-Lines, and Original Cable Jackets (frig’s AC and telephone line). Various Marigo VTS Dots used extensively throughout the room (window behind listening seat). EchoBuster acoustical treatments, GIK acoustical treatments, and Shakti Hallographs. Black Raviolis, BDR cones and board (turntable), BDR cones and Jumbos, Daedalus Audio DiDs, and Mondo racks and stands. Walker Audio Ultimate High Definition Links, Talisman, and SST, and Furutech Nano Liquid. Clever Little Clock. Various Peter Belt treatments. audioexcellence az AudioDharma Cable Cooker for all cables.
Since 1982 (when we first put together a modest system: NAD 3140, DCM Timewindows, AR turntable, DIY silver speaker cables) I have been ‘seriously’ into audio. My wife is as well, as she insisted her first paycheck with a new job be put towards buying that system. We have owned quite a lot of different audio-related ‘items’ over the years (Cary, Blue Circle, Clayton, Muse, Adcom, Apogee, Cardas, Kimber, JPS, Nordost, and many others—of which a good number are still here and listed in our system description). We started an Audio Society (at the time being the Greater South-bay Audiophile Society which is now the LA/OC Audio Society ran by Bob Levi) here in LB way back in like 1992. After a few years we launched a print publication audioMusings that, after a number of years, merged with Positive Feedback some 12 years ago to go online where we are partners with David and his wife Lila.
Carol and I are both well-known and respected in the industry, having been a part for the past 25 years and counting. We have attended, as Press, CES, RMAF, CAS, and other such regional shows.
Collectively, Carol and I have reviewed countless products over the past 25 years though we prefer to listen to music and not components. I have no airs about my writing as I do consider myself a hack at best—and how I write is how I think and speak, which I guess makes me both a hack speaker and thinker. We are not typical audiophiles in that our music preferences fall outside of the norm for the vast majority of audiophiles—hence I avoid mentioning what I listen to within the reviews.
Our listening room is about 18′ long x 14′ wide and has 9′ cove’d ceilings. All walls are lathe and plaster with suspended wood floors (construction is 1928 Spanish) which have been reinforced directly under the speakers with concrete pillars. While this is our living room, it has become dedicated more to audio than to casual conversation. As such we have employed a fair amount of room treatments (EchoBuster, GIK, and Shakti products), as well as two dedicated AC lines. Speakers and equipment have been painstakingly measured and set up to offer the best presentation possible. Our musical tastes are pretty much all over the map, but we do prefer music that is more slanted and “alternative” to the accepted norm—regardless of the genre.
When we listen to music, Carol and I prefer a full-range sound that places the performers out into the room. We like a more “in-your-face” sound as opposed one where the soundstage sits well behind the speakers. Additionally, we like our music with a bit more “syrup” than most so our current system is slanted towards the richer and warmer side of things. Another thing we do like is detail and imaging. Yes, a well-defined soundfield that offers a well-lit stage is what we are after—though one that stresses musicality over sterile neutrality. Not lush mind you, but a bit perhaps a touch darker than most.
Chario Hyper Reference 2000.
Kora Explorer 90 SI integrated.
EAD T-1000 transport and DSP-1000 II DAC.
Interconnects are DH Labs Revelations, Audience, or Kubala-Sosna. Speaker cables are JPS Ultraconductors.
Blue Circle BC86 Noise Hound, dedicated 20 amplifier circuit, and Vibrapods.
Computer Based System (home office)
- Dell W7 Desktops (audio is direct out via USB). iTunes, FooBar, JRiver, etc.
- Schiit Jotunheim and Wyrd, and Centrance DacPort.
- Audioengine P4 loudspeakers and N22 amplifier or the Parasound Zamp and ELAC B4 loudspeakers.
- Audioengine 2 loudspeakers.
- Sennhieser HD600 headphones.
- Drobo FS with four 1TB WD Green drives as well as the Certon C4.
- Shakti Stones and Onlines.
- Zu, Kimber, Audience interconnects. Kimber, Cardas, JPlay, and Furutech USB cables. DH Labs Power Plus or Dynamic Design AC cords. Audioquest Ethernet cables.
- iFi USB 3.0 and Purifier 2,
- Cat 6 and Netgear gigabit switch.
Home Theater System
Paradigm LCR350 fronts and center, 250 surrounds, and a Velodyne DSP12 subwoofer.
Pioneer VSX-60TXV receiver.
Samsung 46″ LED HDTV television and an Oppo BD105.
Luminous Audio speaker cables, Cardas S-video cable, Cardas component video cables, Audioquest Carbon HDMI, Silver Sonic HDMI 1.3 cable, and DH Labs Deluxe Toslink cables. Bybee Golden Goddess TV Enhancer AC tail, Kubala-Sosna, DH Labs Red Wave, Luminous, and JPS AC cords.
Equi-Tech 1.5Q balanced power, Gingko Cloud 10 platform, Shakti Stones and On-lines, and an Electra-Clear EAU-1 parallel AC unit.