Leap Day 2008

Just an update as we finally, for the first time since the lightning strike, have all 4 systems powered up at the same time. A little worrisome… but it is a good feeling.

The main system, with Lamm ML2 amplifiers, Nordost ODIN and Jorma Design Prime and ELROD doing the cabling

Digital for the front end, Audio Note and Lamm.

The Brinkmann Balance turntable is not hooked up, no phono preamp and no shelves, we purloined them for a system downstairs for a bit.

The Kharma system with the Audio Note Ongaku integrated and EMM Labs CDSA SE Upgraded.

The Walker Proscenium Gold Signature turntable – also for sale up on Audiogon. The Audio Note TT3 Reference turntable and Lamm LP2 phono preamplifier.

The Soundlab system driven by the EDGE Signature One amps and Audio Aero Prestige CD/SACD player with linestage.

The little Audio Note system with OTO integrated amp.

Our Listening Rooms Today

[… previously on Audio Federation…]

[… as we return to our story…]


The Kharma Mini Exquisite speakers [the Lamm ML2.1 amps are out on audition]. At reasonable volumes, this combo is SO seductive.

Sometime we should all have a sit down and talk about what is a reasonable volume. This is probably the area of most divergence among audiophiles, by which I mean some people like it always around 80 – 85 dB and some like it always around 110 dB, and lots like it in between these SPLs. This is a WIDE range, and a system optimized for one level may not necessarily do so great at the other extreme.

The equipment driving the Lamm ML2.1s [The Walker has been moved so that work can be done on the light switches that melted during the lightning strike]

The room from the Kharma’s eye view. Those are the soundlabs in the back there and the red leather command chair in the front.

The equipment driving the Ultimate Soundlabs. Neli set up three digital on this systems: Audio Note, Emm Labs, and Audio Aero for people who want to do a digital player taste test. It is somewhat compromised, everything running through the Audio Aero Capitole CD Player’s built-in preamp, but it does help people understand the CHARACTER of the different player’s sounds.

And the main system upstairs. Still not positioned 100%, as Neli annoyingly reminds me. We just need to play a few dozen records and start the speaker positioning rumba: play, listen, move, listen, move, play something else, repeat.

The 3rd listening room is still a mess: Adagios, our RMAF Audio Note system and rack, trade-in Nolas, DeHavilans, cables galore,…. it is a very expensive Mess.

Current state of things

First off, daughter got successfully married to her first husband (hey, one can’t ignore statistics – or heredity :-), relatives have come and gone, and time to get back to work….

I’m writing this in Firefox, which has a built in spell checker, so if all goes well my posts will read a little more like English and less like Mikeish.

So… the ro0ms are pretty much the same as they have been…

We have the Kharma Mini Exquisites upstairs waiting to be tried with the Audio Note Ongaku, Driven by the Emm Labs CDSD/DCC2 (the CDSA is out on audition – for those that want transparency and musical truth, this is an amazing deal at $10K, the bar has been raised significantly).

The Mini’s are somewhat hard to drive, so we’ll see if the 25 watt Ongakus do it or not.

The dream system – Marten Coltranes driven by Audio Note Kegon amps and the Audio Note M10 preamp (with an Audio Note digital front end – CDT3 and DAC 4.1x Balanced). We’ve taken most of this system to Rocky Mountain Audio Fest shows – but not with the M10, which adds C-O-N-T-R-O-L. Kind of a Kegon++ type sound. A slightly rounder sound than the Lamm ML2/L2/Coltrane/HRS system/Jorma Prime – our other reference Coltrane system – we might take the former system to CES next year.

The equipment rack. Duh.

The Marten Supremes need to go upstairs – yes – at 300lbs for the bass units (includes the 50lb spikes on the bottom) Neli is pressuring Mike to get the to a gym…. but we might just hire some guys we know – who handled the Triolons several times and will be happy to see that these are REASONABLY-sized speakers for a change.

Finally, out smaller system room. The Audio Aero Prestige CD/SACD player into the Audio Note Otto integrated into Audio Note speakers. Very nice and immediate and uncompressed. Otto still breaking in though….

The closeup view…