The Holy Grail of High-end Audio

From my point of view the Holy Grail of High-end Audio is

  • not about technology
  • not about sound and resolution and dynamics [though they are so much fun!]
  • not even really about the music [though I have my preferences]
  • It is about the experience: how it makes me feel and the ‘places’ it takes me.

Haven’t been posting a lot lately. A lot of this is because we have kind of been stuck travelling around the solar system and out among the stars.

See, it just so happened that we got the big Acapella Apollon loudspeakers, the Audio Note flagship Gaku-on amplifiers and the flagship Harmonic Resolution Systems equipment rack AND Roon all at more or less the same time.

Didn’t plan it this way. Would have tried to avoid it if we could do it over again. But here we are.

The OVERWHELMING improvement in the quality and depth of the experience, over what was already one of if not THE best in the Bay Area [my apologies to those who are burnt out on the all the lying superlatives tinged with righteous indignation that the poor internet in drowning in these days – but how else am I to describe this experience?], has been so significant that my ability to focus and report on what we are hearing is extremely difficult.

Let’s come back to Earth and talk about Roon.

Our audacious goal had been to make Roon sound as good as or better than other most other systems when they play vinyl or CD.

We lucked out in that the Audio Note level 5 DACs are a great match for streaming music. Their design has always been great for making average redbook CDs sound like they are supposed to [as opposed to the majority of other DACs that emphasize the flaws and only sound good on ‘audiophile-grade recordings’]. And this has translated perfectly to making streaming music sound like it is supposed to.

When the industry went from vinyl to CD, all we got was a little more convenience. Going from CD to streaming, we got literally 1000s of times more music. For old timers like me this is like Christmas over and over and over again.

I thought I had all of Frisell’s albums. Nope. And Jarre’s and Floyd’s and Neil’s. Nope. So many [new to me] albums of my favorite artists to be played. And more or less for free. [ And I can find them when I want to 🙂 ]

And they sound GREAT.

I mean, what can I say? [I can say the EMM Labs NS1 is a big step up over the old Auralic streamer. More detail, flatter response, less grunge. There you do, standard audiophile stuff]

This whole thing has been almost a religious experience [and I wonder about that ‘almost’]. The experience is ongoing …and I will write more about the Experience until I am better able to write about the nitty gritty audiophile details.

The cover photo is from the 10 hour long video [it gets boring after like a minute, IMO, but cool idea]:

 

HRS SXR Equipment Rack Solid Brace Inserts

Harmonic Resolution Systems SXR equipment racks have an add-on option which are called solid brace inserts. [A geeky post. I know. But it sometimes takes geeky to get the best sound… so there!]

They are often added to the top of the rack to allow support for those heavier turntables that need perhaps a 6-foot HRS isolation platform instead of the usual four-footer. In that sense I think of them often as turntable support or turntable braces.

If you get the solid brace inserts for every shelf of your SXR rack then you have an SXR Signature equipment rack.

The SXR Solid Brace Inserts triples the number of cross braces, pretensions the frame, and adds 4 friction dampers and 2 compression dampers at each component location (Isolation Base location). The added mass, stiffness, control and energy absorption capability provided by the addition of the SXR Solid Brace Inserts pushes the performance of the SXR frame towards that of the very ambitious reference level HRS Audio Stands

These heavy, indestructible pieces of metal come in the most well-packed crate ever 🙂

 

A HRS SXR 3-shelf high side-by-side equipment rack with sold brace inserts on the top right shelf.

HRS solid brace inserts from below. If you look closely you will see some of the special vibration-control polymers (not traditionally part of the older MXR or new VXR solid brace inserts)

 

 

A HRS SXR 3-shelf high side-by-side equipment rack with sold brace inserts on the top right shelf. Audio Note U.K. AN/E SPe high-efficiency speakers. And our embryonic attempt to give YouTube music videos a high-fidelity venue.

 

 

Capital Audio Fest 2019 – photos of our giant room

Our room was quite large, and we filled it with music that was musical, well-controlled [except for a little bass overhang around 100 hz and a room resonance freq around 500? hz], smooth, harmonically rich and etc. etc.

It invited comparisons with a ‘live’ performance [not talking here about the overly simplistic demos that are primarily percussion and electric guitar we see out there sometimes]. Wasn’t quite THAT good, but, for me, this is what high-end audio is all about.

Convincingly live music in my room at a push of a button by any artist from any decade.