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cgarver's only System

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cgarver's only System
Last Update: October 16, 2001 at 09:58:10 IP Address:
Amplifier: Musical Fidelity A300 Dual Mono Integrated Amp

Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): None
Speakers: Triangle Electroacoustique Zephyr XS

CD Player/DAC: Cambridge Audio D500SE!!

(Those I tried but didn't like: Bel Canto DAC 1.1 and Musical Fidelity A3CD)

Other Source(s): Pioneer DV-525 DVD player (Not as bad as you might think)
Other Accessories/Room/Misc.:
Speaker Cables/Interconnects: Speaker: double biwire Chris VH / TNT-Audio DIY CAT 5 variant using white Teflon (FEP) jackets & insulation. (Belden 1585LC CAT 5e uses a FEP jacket and is available in white.)

From D500SE: Audio Magic Excalibur II (new model) interconnect

From DV-525: Straightwire Symphony II interconnect

Other (Power Conditioner, Racks etc.): DIY equipment rack with DIY seismic sink

Brickwall PW8R15AUD power filter / surge suppressor.

Room Size (LxWxH): 27' x 12' x 9'
Room Comments/Treatments: Not quite as nice as the dimensions might indicate. This is the living room with a large bow window on one side and a half wall for the dining room on the other.

I've been looking over Jon Risch's acoustic treatments and will probably try my hand at some here soon.
Music Preferences and Comments:
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Jazz, Classical, and Female Vocals
(Coltrane, Davis, Basie, Silver, Monk, Parker, ... Krall, McLachlin, Amos, Brightman, Simone, ...)

System Goals/Comments: I've been trying to get to that elusive "real" sound. However, emotionally engaging is starting to sound like a much nicer concept. Neither the Bel Canto DAC 1.1 nor the Musical Fidelity A3CD could accomplish this in my system. The Cambridge Audio D500SE captures it with ease.
The system is providing this newbie with a wonderful taste of enjoyable music and worthwhile audio. With well recorded albums the system sounds very full and engaging. With less than ideal recordings it still sounds good with a nice level of excitement. It certainly gives a very strong hint of those sonic qualities that everyone seems to hold near and dear.

I tried the Bel Canto DAC 1.1 with my DV-525 but had trouble distinguishing between it and any of the cdp transports that I tried it with. I was able to easily identify the different transports. This would probably indicate that either my ears are not that discerning or my system is not very revealing.

I next tried the Musical Fidelity A3CD. I believe that the A3CD overstates the sustain
and decay on notes with absolutely no attack. This results in a very soft, harmonic presentation that might be considered "refined". However, I found this overdamping to destroy the music.

Next came the Cambridge Audio D500SE, and it just brought the system to life. Everything sounded great with great detail, drive, and portrayal of emotion.

The most recent switch from AudioQuest Type 4+ to the DIY CAT 5 variant made amazing improvements to the depth of the soundstage and detail.

System Strengths: A very "musical" system. The detail, and speed of the Triangle couples nicely with the timbre and ambience of the MF A300. The Cambridge D500SE just brought it all home with it's wonderful detail, drive, and portrayal of emotion.
System Weaknesses: The Triangles sounded slightly upfront at first, but finally broke in after about eight months of serious usage. They now are very neutral, reflecting the tone of whatever CD I play.

I'm still not completely satisfied, but haven't yet been able to point my finger at any glaring weakness.

Video/HT System: None

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