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TooManyToys's Quiet Super Articulate Reference System
Last Update: October 09, 2003 at 07:33:20 IP Address:
Amplifier: Jeff Rowland Model 6 (platinum) monoblocks with dual BPS-6 battery power supplies
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): Jeff Rowland Design Coherence Series 2 (Black), with Battery Power Supply
Speakers: Martin Logan CLS IIz, REL Strata III sub
CD Player/DAC: Mark Levinson 31 Transport, 30 DAC
Turntable/Phono Stage: Jeff Rowland Cadence MC Phono Pre - powered by Coherence II BPS
Other Accessories/Room/Misc.:
Speaker Cables/Interconnects: Various Cardis, Straight Wire, and MIT Shotgun (original version) for speakers
Other (Power Conditioner, Racks etc.): ARCICI Suspense Rack, ADCOM ACE-515 Line Conditioner, Billy Bags amp stand for each amp / bps combo.
Tweaks: Sound Anchor Stands are an absolute MUST for the ML CLSIIz speakers!
Room Size (LxWxH): 14 x 12 x 8-17
Room Comments/Treatments: Room tunes TunePack
Music Preferences and Comments:
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Jazz, Acoustic, New Age, Light Rock, Small-Scale Classical
System Goals/Comments: It took over 2 years to get this system right. The goal was to create a transparent, articulate, and QUIET system. The majority of time was trying to get the right preamp. The key to making it right was the battery-powered Rowland Preamp. It's use of transformer coupled inputs and battery power provides the quietest musical background I have ever heard - even better than the Mark Levinson 32 reference. The CLS speakers are running full range, with a REL Strata III adding the low bass with cutoff around 52 hz. The REL gets it's signal from the preamp rec out. The Rowland Model 6 monoblocks are absolutely amazing amplifiers. The use of battery powered amplifiers frees you from all the complications associated with power issues, such as power cords (etc). The Rowland preamp does come with XLR-SE converters for both input and output, if needed. The preamp can also run "battery only" mode (no A/C charging) for more than 12 hours of music, and can be used to power the Phono preamp companion Cadence model as well.
System Strengths: Incredibly accurate, with a quiet "black" background that enhances the realism. Diana Krall and Jewel never sounded so real. Yet, it is also very musical, which is saying a lot for someone like myself, who has lived with tube amps for years. The Rowland monoblocks are accurate, quiet, and very musical, with decent bass. The lack of any transformer noise and other power anomalies coupled with a very fast, accurate speaker provides one of the most extraordinary musical experiences you can have. The level of quietness is both strange and wonderful.
System Weaknesses: With the ML CLSIIz, this system is not ideal for large-scale music, like hard rock, movie music, or large orchestra. The Rowland balance scheme is NOT AES compliant, while Mark Levinson and most everyone else is. Since both my preamp and amp are from JRDG, I only had to reverse phase on the ML DAC input. I could also reverse phase on the DAC itself, if needed. The JRDG amps also tend to be a bit laid-back or soft - especially when compared to Gryphon or Krell.
Video/HT System: Separate
TV/Projector: Mitsubishi HD 55" Rear Projection
Processor/Receiver/Amplifiers: Sony DA-333ES
Speakers (Center, Surrounds, Sub): Klipsch surround
Sources (DVD/VCR): JVC XV-723D Progressive DVD, Sony MDP-600 Laserdisc
Other HT Gear: Mitsubishi High-Def (HD) Satellite Tuner - DirectTV Satellite
Comments on HT System: Nothing serious audio wise - just enough to enjoy surround experience
Other Interests/Hobbies/Occupation: Aviation and Formula 1

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