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Carlos's Musical System
Last Update: December 28, 2005 at 19:45:54 IP Address:
Amplifier: McIntosh Mc402 > The sound of tubes in a powerful, reliable package, with outstanding dynamics, life-like tone. It runs cool, is very quiet and drives the speakers with ease.

Winter-time amplifier: Audio Aero Capitole tubed 40W/ch class A. A beauty to behold, a great amplifier with gobs of soundstage and liquid midrange. Bass is very tight. Treble quality depends a lot on the input tubes (NOS 6SN7s)

Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): DIY Transformer volume control (TVC) passive line stage with custom nickel core autoformers. Hot-rod, no selector switch. Very transparent and musical! Zero noise/distortion.

It replaced a two-chassis 60 pounds DIY Berman 76/6SN7 tube preamp.

Speakers: Gallo Nucleus Reference 3, amazing speakers that renewed my enjoyment of music at home. They excel in power handling, bass tightness, liquid midrange, clean and clear treble. Best Of all, they present the best soundstage I have ever heard, including many VERY expensive speakers.
CD Player/DAC: Latest Audio Aero Capitole Reference tubed CDP (WOW!)I did not know that a CDP could sound this close to vinyl and SACD. It has amazing soundstaging, timbre and tonal transparency, plus a very articulate, strong bass.

Also, makes many previously unlistenable CDs sound like music.

The Reference's internal preamp sopunds better than the Capitole, it has better, more articulate bass, plus 3 analog inputs and a digital loop. I plan to (maybe in a couple of years) implement room/speaker equalization through the external loop.

Turntable/Phono Stage: Linn LP-12 with Benz H2O cartridge and ARC SP3-A1 tube preamp as phono stage; not much used lately, the Capitole sounds musical enough for me. Besides, one can not buy Fred Hersch or Keith Jarrett LPs nowadays.
Other Source(s): Nakamichi CR 3A cassette deck, good enough for those old cassette tapes.

Other Accessories/Room/Misc.:
Speaker Cables/Interconnects: Van Den Hul Inspiration speaker cables w/ WBT angled banana plugs, it sounds awesome, with amazing transparency and harmonic bloom.

Interconnects: DIY Saturn.

DIY Shotgun power cords.

Other (Power Conditioner, Racks etc.): 3 KVA stabilized AC regenerator (locally made lab supply, similar to PS Power Plant)
Tweaks: Stock Diamond Racing Black cones under Capitole CDP.

DIY ICs made with Xhadow connectors, cryo'd pure copper wire, teflon dielectric and a proprietary soldering technique.

ACME silver plated, cryo outlets for CDP and preamps. Outstanding liquidity and finesse.

Atacama UK steel racks with marine plywood shelves instead of the standard glass.

Room Size (LxWxH): 17 x 11 x 8
Room Comments/Treatments: Lots of furniture; area rug; Fiberglass panels in the back wall; two bass traps on the adjacent corners.
Music Preferences and Comments:
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Mostly JAZZ: mainstream and cool jazz (Chet Baker, Bill Evans, John Lewis, Lee Konitz, Keith Jarrett); lots of piano jazz and jazz vocals. Brazilian music and Bossa Nova.

Some classical piano: Horowitz and Glenn Gould.

System Goals/Comments: My priorities are:

1-tonal balance

2-pace and rhythm

3-low coloration, correct timbre


System Strengths: System sounds most of all musical; very coherent; good dynamic range; punchy, fast and tuneful bass; excellent midrange timbre; sweet and pure treble (with the Acme outlets+Capitole, it now sounds better than many analog rigs;

Outstanding soundstage (thanks Anthony Gallo!)

System Weaknesses: Maybe too expensive ? Who cares, I am not getting any younger!
Video/HT System: None

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