AudioAsylum Trader
Inmate Systems

Welcome! To add your system, you must register.

For Sale Ads

FAQ / News / Events


joerosen1's The "Asylum sez I have to give my system a name" system! System
IP Address: Last Update: September 25, 2014 at 14:06:02
Amplifier: Self-designed & built.
Valve, All-triode 6K11/6Q11 inputs & PP 6528 O/P, Class AB self-bias, multiple nested FB loops, approximately 60db. Stereo chassis, approx. 15W/ch. "Backup" amps include an all-triode moderate-feedback DC OTL (RCA-style) of 33W/ch.@16 ohms, and 6GK6 (6BQ5) Ultra-Linear monoblocs of 15W ea. to run the electrostats SAFELY (particularly both the QUAD's, since I've removed the protection circuits from one pair of my ESL-63's).
The 6GK6 amps have an all-polypropylene HT supply, regulated independent fixed bias, fully regulated (ALL!) filament supply, and is built onto the chassis' of a pair of nasty vintage Griefkit EA-2 mono (dis)integrated amps, of which I use ONLY the OPT! I also use a lightly-modified Musical Paradise MP-301 amplifier in "headboard" system that I fall to sleep to. It's a 3.5W/ch. SE amplifier that used 6V6's, but I modded it for 6AQ5's which are electrically identical (just much more reliable and a tad cleaner sounding).
Also a large collection of vintage valve stuff to play with along with entry-level Hind-End stuff from Audio Innovations & Yaquin (both lines requiring HEAVY redesign, never mind modification, just to make them so they don't blow up!!)
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): No line stage in use at the moment. Current version uses one 12AH7 duo-triode per channel, 500VA power transformer (for 10mA of anode current!), all polypropylene HT
supply (880uF), and independent filament regulators for each valve. It has a low output impedance and runs amplifiers with input impedances as low as 20,000 ohms before the sound starts to degrade. My amps are all 500,000 ohms or greater!
Phono stage is valve, all triode, 2 x 12AX7/ECC83 per channel, MM optimized. No loop feedback. All polypropylene HT supply, fully regulated filament supply. Designed to be fully compatible with transistorised tape decks so has low-Z output capabilities without solid-state buffering (good to 50,000 ohms).
I'll pull out stuff from my vintage & second-hand Hind-End collection from time-to-time to insert in the system, I'm using a half-decent Lux C-120A transziptor preamp's phono stage at the moment whilst I build a better valve one for myself.
Speakers: Slumming it with one of my two pairs of Genesis Model 2's that I extensively parts-upgraded, whilst I restore my B&W P2/He's. Also two pair of QUAD ESL-63 w/extensive mods & parts upgrades (approx. 90db/w/m).
Picquet ESL's(92+db/w/m), stock. 2 more pair of QUAD ESL's, modified. One more pair of ESL-63's, still stock. Martin-Logan CLS w/mods&upgrades (85db/w/m). Spendor BC1's (modified with B&W DM4 woofers since originals are so poorly designed to maintain voice coil form concentricity, I rebuilt the POS's twice and they revert to egg-shape within 6mo. to a year...), KEF 105's (modified), B&W P2H/E hybrid Ionic/dynamic speakers (modified)95db/w/m, B&W DM7's (modified, 86db/w/m), B&W DM70 hybrid electrostatics (84db/w/m), B&W DM2's, B&W DM4's; Tangent RS4's & RS6's (86db/w/m); various other vintage KEF (5 pairs) including 104's modified to 104ab (MUCH better!); Celestion Ditton 44(2 pairs), DL8 Series Twos, & the lovely model 15 (very BC1-like), Advent (Model 3, two pair of Advent/1's), Dynaco (3 pairs), Boston Acoustics A100's, Wharfedale Lintons, Dahlquist DQ-10's, ETC...including Magnat, Telefunken, Radio Shack, Janszen & Audiostatic electrostats when the mood hits me and I feel like "slumming it".
CD Player/DAC: Harman-Kardon HD7500 (two), Lux DZ-121, Yamaha CDX-1120
Pioneer DV-578A Universal player.
Aragon D2A2 DAC (upgraded op-amps to OP-227's or OPA-2604's) with Sonic Frontiers Ultra-Jitterbug reclocking device for use with external transports.
Several other even more depressing examples of Seedy players from Yahaha, Crapamichi, Fry-An-Ear, Soundscrewy, Drecknics, Radio Scrap, and Toe-Sheep-Baaaa...a buddy of mine has a Meridian 808 which is the best Seedy flayer I've yet heard, bar none. Too bad it still SUCKS FARTS FROM DEAD PIGEONS compared to a Dual 505-2 mated to a Shure M92E run into any half-decent phono stage (including those from early-80's HK & Lux receivers!!!!). Just can't bring myself to waste money I don't have on AUDIO DEATH BY NUMBERS, anyways...
Turntable/Phono Stage: In vintage-slumming-with-intent-to-do- restorations-mode; currently fiddling with one of my 3 Thorens decks, a TD-125 with an SME Series II (the others are a TD-160 & TD-318).
The "reference" deck is a Michell Gyrodec LE w/Linn Ittok or Bay-Suck P(l)us tonearms. Custom lead-out wire.
Also playing around restoring a Gates CB-500 pottery wheel with lovely wooden Weathers Professional toe-narm (no anti-skate, another mod to do...sigh), Lenco L-75 rumble-drive TT modified with mystery vintage japanese gimbal-bearing tonearm (Sansui?), an assortment of Duals (601(2), 510, 1249, 505-1 & 505-2, 608, & 1226 for pottery work...hoping to get a 701 & 1019 in the not too distant future!)
ERA 444C(french) w/suspension mods

Also restoring my vintage cartridge-body collection, where the effort is either warranted or I can find stylii cheap enough not to care too much if the results suck or one channel cacks out (a surprisingly common problem with old solder joints to finer-than-hair coil wire...sigh...)
Cartridges are Bang & Olufsen MMC1's & 2's, and a collection of many Shure (M97xe current fave, just got a JICO SAS stylus for one of my several M95ED/HE bodies; others have Pfansteil generic replacements, they work & sound great!), M44-7 (disappointing), M92's (the biggest bargain in cartridges out there!), M91ED, M75ED, M70BX, M93, etc.
Ortofon Omega's (no treble!), OM5 & OM10's, FF15XE & VMS20's (the new reds & blues are just rebodied copies of these, so Ortofon wisely discontinued making their replacement stylii when they came out!!!), Technics EPC310 (my sole MC, for testing & design although it's built flawlessly, sounds very nice & traces well; unlike shit like Miyabi, Clearaudio, Benz, Shelter, Ortofon's MC's, Linn, Rega, etc., etc...
The rest of the assortment includes various ADC (XLM II is the best of 'em, currently playing in the SME. Nothing to write home about, neither awful nor wonderful, but it isn't damaging my precious records!) & Audio-Junknica (including their awfully-made Signet line, of which I have a TK-5) which sound bright & awful but at least trace well...
Also an assortment of Stanton/Pickering stuff with reasonable VTF's to check out shortly, ditto some mid-line Empire stuff...
After I bore myself listening to 3 dozen mediocre MM cartridges, I should have enough money to buy what I REALLY think I want, which is a Soundsmith Boheme with the "High Compliance" option. May also invest in a Dynavector Ruby DV17 (MkIII?) just for kicks (and MC design purposes, if the Technics sounds too tired).
Other Source(s): Hi-Fi VCR's (Beta & VHS; VHS machines mostly sound better, btw), Nakamichi Cassette Decks (Dragon, LX-3, Lux, Marantz 2-speed, ETC.), Pioneer RT-909 & ReVox G36 open-reels. NO COMPUTER AUDIO DEATH DIGITAL!
Other Accessories/Room/Misc.:
Speaker Cables/Interconnects: MIL-SPEC Type "E" hookup wire, 10ga.
The only thing that matters in cables is that they have the lowest DCR & DA (Dielectric Absorption) possible. All else is A BUNCH OF PURE BS. If you don't like the sound of this wire, YOUR EQUIPMENT SUCKS. It's cheap, it's common (any electronic distributor carries it or can order it, and there's tons of surplus available on e-Bay and elsewhere). I run it unshielded & naked of external "sleeving", for maximum cosmetic ugliness (also keeps the capacitance laughably minimal: typical 3ft. run of incon is only 10pf! This keeps the HF distortion from your preamp due to slew-limiting to virtual zero).
Other (Power Conditioner, Racks etc.): NONE (Target Wall-Mount TT stand)
Tweaks: Speaker absolute phasing, component AC plug polarizing for lowest AC leakage, vintage Mod-Squad tiptoes under amplification. Nothing to particularly excite the Audio/Mystic/Fuckups...Dr. Greene won't like my system, either. NO DSP's! I can live with some minor frequency response colourations from my speakers/room, MUCH better than suffering digititus audius deathicus as the tradeoff! Why hasn't TAS pensioned this guy off to a green pasture with an MP3 player and a nosebag, so he can join his friends Julian Hirsch, Len Feldman, Alan Lofft & Ian Masters?
Room Size (LxWxH): 20ft. x 12ft. x 7.5ft.
Room Comments/Treatments: Floor is poured concrete pad on gravel base. Room does not augment bass in the least. Walls are lathe & plaster with thin panelboard on lower half. Room is slightly live but has no bad resonant modes, i.e., it is entirely free of "flange echo" effects. More absorptive material would improve the sound in the upper registers, but I haven't bothered to buy fibreglas office builder/divider panels yet which otherwise have worked AMAZING in other rooms I've had.
Music Preferences and Comments:
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Prefer classic rock (the trippier, the better...) & Techno-Ambient. Some Jazz/Fusion & Classical. A bit light on Disco, and definitely lacking in the Country & Western department...anyways, music is an area of personal taste where anything goes. Sound quality, OTOH, is NOT.
System Goals/Comments: To have equipment that is as transparent to the music as possible. As TAS's Jonathan Valin might put it, I prefer a "faithful to the Mastertape" system. I simply refer to this as "Accuracy". I do not believe that good results are obtained by mixing up coloured components hoping to obtain some sort of tasty sonic goulash, nor do I believe that component colourations in ANY way benefit the subjective pleasure obtained from listening to recorded music. The primary goal of my equipment is that it have the lowest distortion possible, and that this would also reflect in how it measures!
The turntable has taken the Hippocratic Oath:
I will use no cartridge that damages my records by mistracking, no matter how minor! It's VTF MUST be under 2.0g, and preferably under 1.5g. Since I consider tracing distortion to be an unforgivable record-destroying and sonically abhorrent phenomena, I refuse to use or recommend cartridges that suffer from these problems regardless of whatever other "virtues" they may have (such as wonderfully saturated tonal colour, flatulent cushions of air that float entire orchestras and the occasional swami/audio "reviewer", etc.). I think "vintage" MC's belong in the Tip where most Anglophile-type reviewers find them, especially EMT, Ortofon SPU & Denon 103 MC's. In fact, ALL english phono cartridges exemplify AUDIO DEATH BY GROSS DISTORTION, be they Linn, Goldring, Rega, Decca or some clown modifying Grado's half-defective GARBAGE...
A really great system can be put together for a fraction of what the Hind-End reviewers are telling people they need to spend. This should be obvious to anyone who realizes that all the great audio products that suffer the misfortune of being more than 2 or 3 years old and have either lost their US distribution channel, have been "upgraded" to a new version (rev.2, .1, "A", "Super", "reference", etc., etc., blahblahblahBOING!), or just plain discontinued; are considered by these magazines TO NEVER HAVE EXISTED and virtually cease to be mentioned (and of course NEVER get compared to any current products in the review process!).
My goals are to make my system "future proof" by delivering a level of sonic performance and objective dependability that makes you get so lost in the music that you truly forget about the gear. As it should be!
The system is merely a conduit, a holography and time-travel device, that takes you INTO the performance and suspends reality until you have to stop to flip over the orchestra every 20-odd minutes or so...
System Strengths: Clarity, purity, transparency & tonal neutrality that I pretty much don't hear to a similar degree in ANY other system I've ever heard, anywhere. A gargantuan soundstage, equal in all dimensions of width, height, and depth. Super neutral, supernatural detail compared to commercial products...yet zero listening fatigue! Amplifier copes with very low impedance speakers better than just about any other valve amp I've come across (such as older Wilson WATT's).
System Weaknesses: Amp is low in power and lives at the edge of instability due to the "laboratory" level of NFB. I have to use another amplifier with my electrostats, the "reference" triode amp is too unstable! Volume headroom on peaks is good, but amp is VLF sensitive and doesn't like warped records much; really eats into its dynamic range more than other amps. Output valves are terribly expensive at approx. $300ea. and only last about 2000 hours even when gently used. Not currently in production, AFAIK.
Phono preamp is very slightly microphonic, it IS valves, after all! Very, very low noise and gain is about 44db, so I can use a high-output MC with it very nicely. Just don't want to, since H.O. MC's are the worst of the MC breed, MUCH worse than a decent MM. Come to think of it, MOST MC's SUCK compared to a decent MM, due to poor tracing ability, ridiculously high VTF's, poor build quality (I've seen my share of defective Koetsu's. Have yet to see a defective Shure. EVER!) and questionable sonic accuracy.
Oh...zero "snob appeal" as components are built into unfinished utility boxes courtesy of Hammond Mfg.!
Lastly, some goofballs too used to shabby sound have commented that my system sounds "too forward", since they think that the entire soundstage should only start on the plane with the speakers and extend ONLY backwards from there. The best systems make the plane of the speakers the focal point for the image, so they extend the image EQUALLY forwards and rearwards. Because I get such a big image, these twits find the sound too "close", too intense, for comfort :)
Video/HT System: None
Comments on HT System: Let's please stop calling this CRAP anything other than what it actually is:
LOUD TV SOUND. "Home Theatre", my a**!!!
Other Interests/Hobbies/Occupation: What on earth could there POSSIBLY be besides audio? ;)

Edit My System