Current Showroom Setup

The main listening room is the same as last week, with the Audio Note Ongaku driving the Audio Note AN/E SEC Signature speakers, but with the Emm Labs CDSD / DCC2 SE digital as source replacing the Audio Aero Prestige, which has moved downstairs…

This room did experience a major amp shootout, more in the next post about that…

The showroom #4 is also the same, with the Kharma MP150 amps driving the Audio Note speakers, which at 98 dB are very eifficient… with the Audio Aero Capitole CD player / linestage as source, this system sounds really good. I’d like to hear any other digital amp, or most solid-state amps for that matter, do that.

Showroom 2 has seen lots of changes…

First we had the Emm Labs CD / SACD player with built-in linestage driving the Audio Note Kegons into the Kharma Mini Exquisite loudspeakers. THAT was nice…

The we moved the Meitner upstaitrs on to the Ongaku (can you say transparency? separation? purity albeit not as warm and enaging as the Audio Aero Prestige, but more convincing. So many flavors.) and did the front end with the Audio Note DAC 4.1x Balanced and CDT3 transport and M10 preamplifier.

Much more control and control and, uh, control. Everything was as it was supposed to be. Unfortunately, the 18 watt Kegons have found their first speaker that they just could not get the hang of – at loud volumes – and we’ve driven just about everything here with the Kegons except the soundlabs. The 18 watt Lamm ML2.1 also has problems with controlling the Kharma speakers at loud volumes. Based on what we have found, they really sound best, if you want them to go loud, with the Edge Signature One and Kharma’s own amps (the MP 150) if you want transparency and openness and control, and the Lamm ML1.1, a 90 watt push-pull tube amplifier, if you want tube musicality and openness and control.

We have yet to try the all powerful Ongaku at 25 watts on these though…. Maybe tomorrow?

For showroom 3, which is in the same room as showroom 2, we have…

The Soundlabs taking a break, but not the Marten Design Coltrane speakers, Lamm L2 preamp, LP2 phono stage and Brinkmann turntable / Titan cartridge. Audio Aero Prestige is performing digital source duties.

This is one of our favorite systems. However…

We had to position the Coltranes in front of the Soundlab U1. Impromtu but it seems to work pretty well. I mean, needs lots of trweaking – but we think it will work! The Coltranes like being close to the front wall, and the Soundlabs are kind of a wall…

Now Neli wants to move the Supremes over here on this side of the room [and in front of the Soundlabs!?] , as the dedicated circuits on the other side seem like they are picking up FM radio, secret transmissions from Mars, and other weirdness on several different systems that have lived down at that side of the room.

I now think it is ghosts.

But Neli, if her expression is any indicator, thinks otherwise.

The Last Few Weeks…

… have seen us iterate through a lot of different systems…

Main room with Acoustic Zen Adagio and Audio Note AN-E SEC Signature speakers and Ongaku amplifier, driven by Audio Aero Capitole

Listening room 2 with Marten Coltrane Supreme loudspeakers driven by Audio Note Ongaku amplifier and EmmLabs digital front end.

A close up of the components. This is the whole system, these 4 components. Nice and tidy for a change…

However, though this system reached a level of musicality and approached the sound that we are looking for this system have – it was too bizarre having two preamps in the loop, the preamp in the Ongaku serving to try and match the SPLs of the midrange to that of the bass amplifiers. It worked, but…. We might try this again – but for now….

… we changed this, we now have the Lamm ML1.1 push-pull amplifers on the Supremes.

… which will chaneg for an audition tomorrow, assuming they can get up the driveway and up the stairs – which is not a given anymore with this Monther of all Winters the world has on its hands.

Back upstairs again, after the unphotograhed step with the Acoustic Zen Adagios being driven by the Audio Aero Capitole amplifier…

We got the Audio Note Ongaku amplifier driving the Audio Note AN-E SEC Signature speakers, with the Audio Aero Prestige as front end this time. We spread the speakers wider apart also, to see just how wide a soundstage we could get and possibly get some reinforcement from the nearby wall and horns 🙂

But in either position, the Audio Note speakers filled the room nicely. The midrange even approached the capability of the big horns to fill the room, and the bass – once the horns are gone we can try to position the little guys much closer to the wall – the bass is decent and satisfying but does not match the 4 x 10 inch woofers in a sealed cabinet… yet.

In fact, we will likely have 3 kinds of bass in this room: the big relaxed bass of the horns [no we will not mention their brand name – they can do their own marketing for a change], the ultra accurate and ultra powerful bass of the Marten Coltrane Supremes, and the very natural sounding, horn-like bass of the Audio Notes. How cool is that!!!

We’re going to have to post sometime about how it is not about what is ‘best’, but about is most ‘insidious’, and particulary, the number of ways it can be configured to be ‘insidious’. Insidious in that it produces a sound that gets into your head and just takes over.

The Audio Note U.K. Kegons amplifiers are on the Kharma Mini Exquisites, with the Lamm L2 preamplifier and Audio Note digital front end (and Audio Aero Capitole as well, in shootout formation). We then put the Kegons on top of HRS platforms, which is how it sits tonight.

Tomorrow we may get a chance to put the Mini Exquisite speakers over on the Supreme system in an all Audio Note configuration – with the Kegons to start, and Ongaku later if our snow shoveling arms hold out.

Finally, we have the system in listening room 3, area #4, with the little Audio Note speakers with the Kharma MP150 amps driving them, the Audio Aero Capitole serving as CD player and preamp.

Kind of a hodge podge system as we are in the process of breaking in the speakers – but it sounds darn good….! Neli likes it and her office is across the way. These are high-efficiency speakers and they reveal that the 1st watt of the Kharma amps is really quite good sounding, regardless of it being solid-state, digital in fact.

Current Showroom Setup

Everything is currently unplugged, of course, in response to last nights storm and the storm expected tonight…

But there have been a few changes in the last few weeks…

Showroom 1
Acoustic Zen Adagio loudspeakers, driven by Audio Areo Capitole amp and Audio Aero Captole Reference CD player

Showroom 3
Kharma Mini Exquisite loudspeakers (with Soundlab Ultimate 1 speakers looming in the background), Lamm ML1.1 amps, Lamm L2 Linestage and Emm Labs CD / SACD CDSD SE transport and DCC2 SE DAC

Showroom 3
Closer… That is a HRS MXR equipment rack.

Showroom 2
Marten Coltrane Supreme loudspeakers, Audio Note Kegon amplifiers, …

Showroom 2
…Audio Note M10 linestage, Audio Note DAC 4.1x Balanced DAC and CDT3 transport. Walker Proscenium Gold Signature turntable. That is a Rix Rax Grand Hoodoo equipment rack.

Showroom 4
Marten Design Coltrane loudspeakers, Lamm ML2.1 amplifiers, Audio Aero Prestige CD / SACD player and linestage, Brinkmann Balance turntable and Lamm LP2 phono preamplifier. Acoustic Dreams equipment rack.