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GA Russell

Suggestions sought: Speaker wires

232 posts in this topic

Can't even get a salad prepared correctly?

No wonder America is over fed and undernourished.

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In my view, stereo systems are all about value. There is no such thing as perfect, so the question is, "I have a budget of X. How should I spend it?"

When I say value, I mean that a system that would be unimpressive priced at $1,000 might be considered quite good priced at $400.

I agree with that 100%, Mr. Russell. It's one of the reasons why I've stuck with mid-fi rigs throughout the years. I just don't believe in spending more than $5K on one. To me, the returns you get from $10,000 rig over one that is $5,000 simply doesn't justify the extra dollars. Now folks like Kevin and Lon draw that line a little higher up, and that's cool because I know they both have great rigs that do indeed sound better than mine, and I'd love to hear both. And would do so with a huge grin on my face.

Everyone has to decide for themselves when to say when.

:tup

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In my view, stereo systems are all about value. There is no such thing as perfect, so the question is, "I have a budget of X. How should I spend it?"

When I say value, I mean that a system that would be unimpressive priced at $1,000 might be considered quite good priced at $400.

I agree with that 100%, Mr. Russell. It's one of the reasons why I've stuck with mid-fi rigs throughout the years. I just don't believe in spending more than $5K on one. To me, the returns you get from $10,000 rig over one that is $5,000 simply doesn't justify the extra dollars. Now folks like Kevin and Lon draw that line a little higher up, and that's cool because I know they both have great rigs that do indeed sound better than mine, and I'd love to hear both. And would do so with a huge grin on my face.

Everyone has to decide for themselves when to say when.

I said when a while ago and am now downgrading my system. When a high-end system starts having problems, you'd better hide; the cost is astronomical and it's not worth it, at least not in my opinion.

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And the thing is you can "downgrade" and still end up with an incredibly sweet system. The difference between a $500 system and a $5,000 system is HUGE. But the difference between a $5,000 system and a $10,000 system isn't as much as the monetary difference would imply. And I'm all about bang for the buck when it comes to just about anything. So I tend to do a ton of homework. You can build some incredibly impressive rigs for under $3,000 these days.

Any idea what you're "downgraded" rig is going to be?

I was going to put a tube system together, but decided to put that off and I'm rebuilding my main surround system instead. Going with Emotiva components and PSB Speakers. Going to come in under $3,000.

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But I don't want to talk about power cords or regeneration or conditioning here either, other than as I did to say that I feel it's the first place to start with many systems.

Sorry, I meant to address this earlier.

I actually have to disagree with this. Having recently learned this first hand, a dedicated DAC should be THE first and foremost investment if you're looking to improve your sound quality. Of course, that doesn't apply if all you're listening to is LPs or reel-to-reel, but if you're using any form of digital media a dedicated DAC is a miracle worker.

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Emotiva makes good products. Scott, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the DAC -- in another thread, of course, since this is about speaker wires. I only have their 1st generation cd player.

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Will do. I've actually been meaning to post a thread about it.

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But I don't want to talk about power cords or regeneration or conditioning here either, other than as I did to say that I feel it's the first place to start with many systems.

Sorry, I meant to address this earlier.

I actually have to disagree with this. Having recently learned this first hand, a dedicated DAC should be THE first and foremost investment if you're looking to improve your sound quality. Of course, that doesn't apply if all you're listening to is LPs or reel-to-reel, but if you're using any form of digital media a dedicated DAC is a miracle worker.

Well, I disagree. I find that digital products really benefit from clean power. But that's neither here nor there because you have your own ideas and I have mine.

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Actually, it's not an idea on my part. There isn't a PCB on the market, nor has there ever been, that didn't have a noise filter attached. If you own an electronic component, it has removed any and all powerline noise before the signal reaches the output levels. That's not even up for debate. Even folks with the most rudamentary understanding of circuit boards will quickly confirm that for you. It's as common as a ground wire being connected to your car battery.

I have a power conditioner, but only because it came attached to a surge protector that was 50% off.

As for power cables, you have lines running all through your house. Hundreds of feet of them. They are feeding your component 110 volts. Starts from your breaker box and runs all the way to your stereo. A 4-6 ft cable between those two things does not change that equation. Not even a little. There is no gain, no greater efficiency, no improved sound quality.

If it weren't for cable elevators, those two things would be the bottom of the audio mythology barrel.

Now, as for the DAC, even my wife who normally rolls her eyes and walks out of the room when I ask her if she can hear improved sound quality when I make changes admitted she was stunned as soon as I started playing the very first tune through my new DAC. That coming from someone who couldn't care less about audio quality.

Edited by Scott Dolan

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Sigh. I've read all that before over and over. But my experience has led to different conclusions.And so have others. I haven't closed my mind to the possibility that there is more to it than what you describe.

Enjoy your DAC. I love mine, and it sounds even better when fed clean power.

Edited by jazzbo

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Very nice!

I've never heard any PS Audio equipment (not that I recall any way), but I've read many rave reviews about them. I'd love to hear those through your Decware amp.

What speakers are you using on that rig?

An old friend of mine had a vintage McIntosh tuber with one of the original Martin Logan sets. Monolith, IIRC? With the turntable he had somewhere around $20K wrapped up in the thing. This was back before CDs took full flight, and digital files weren't even a gleam in the eye. Just a warm and beautiful system that just wrapped its arms around you. He'd play mint Beatles LPs on it, and it was quite heavenly.

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I'm using these speakers. I now have a pair in both systems. They work fantastically with my Decware amps and preamps.

http://www.decware.com/newsite/HR1.html

Edited by jazzbo

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Jesus, those are absolute beauties.

92.5db @ 1W!

Ok, that is fucking impressive.

Looks like the way they are designed that they'd have more of a "sourceless" image a la stats or planars. Love the finish, too. I was surprised to see they only weigh 40lbs each. Look like they'd be heavier.

Man, Decware makes equipment that is simply nice to sit and look at. Without even playing them they must be very pleasing.

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I have two different finishes on mine. One is a pewter automotive paint actually, looks amazing. The other is a maple finish which matches my Mapleshade Samson racks very well.

Yes, they combine the conventional front-firing speaker with the radial-dispersion driver. I have a pair of their ERR speakers which only use radial dispersion. They are amazing on some material, they need a larger room though than I have currently and they are doing very good duty in my father's system driven by a 2 watt Decware amp and preamp.

On all three of these speakers I can hear differences in speaker wire.

Edited by jazzbo

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Yeah, I saw those Mapleshade racks some time back, and they are a work of art. Nothing I could really use in my current homestead, unfortunately. Maybe one of these days if I'm ever able to figure out how to create a dedicated listening room. But, with the shoebox rooms my house is cut into, it's really just not possible.

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I have them in a shoe box room right now and bless the fact that I have them, they're an important asset for me. They make the best of a less than ideal situation. I have been so happy since I got the second one and all my audio video equipment is so effectively and elegantly housed.

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I suppose.

I've just never liked the acoustics of small, 8ft ceiling, rooms. The room I was going to set my tuber rig up in is approximately 12x12, but the more I considered it the more I leaned towards rebuilding the surround system in my living room for the time being. I guess with proper acoustic room treatments it could work just fine. But, once I spring for that kind of rig I really don't want to settle for "just fine".

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I had a dedicated room for years that was smaller than I wanted it to be. It worked, but as you say if you're going to go for it go bigger. Especially if you're going to have a surround system. I've never have wanted to have one of them, but I do know they work better with space.

I don't have a choice now, I'm here for my parents to keep them in their home, sold my own house where I had a wonderful room to live in with my system, and now have an L-shaped living room dining room set up with at least tall ceilings and am in a near-field set up again. My equipment makes this great listening anyway, but it's not all it can be. But I only have about three hours to five hours a day to myself in my own place anyway, for the near future, by necessity of my care-giving duties. This is the hardest job I've ever had, and no pay, no days off, not even weekends. Sigh. Good thing i'm tough.

Edited by jazzbo

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Wow.

I now remember you talking about that situation many years ago (I think you were just getting into it at the time, IIRC). I found it as commendable and selfless then as I do now. Good for you, brother.

As for what I was referring to with the tuber setup, it was/will be only a two-channel setup. My surround system is in the living room with a 12ft peak ceiling. Understandably enough, it also makes for the best two-channel listening in the house. I thought about a near-field setup in a smaller room, but having done that before I wasn't really wanting to go back down that road.

But, I can certainly see why you love the set up you have. If I were dealing with that gear I wouldn't give two shits if it was in my bathroom! Might need some serious room treatment, though. ;)

BTW, have you done any Blu-ray audio on your rig? I have the "immersion" set of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here, and it's impressive enough. But not really that much better than my 24bit stereo remaster that I've had for nearly two decades. I've thought about picking up Beck's Sea Change just to see if it exceeds the original CD pressing, but wondered if you had any experience with the media.

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Well, two things. Like any musical offering. . . you're sort of at the mercy of the mastering. I've bought two of the new Universal Blu-ray Pure Audio discs, A Love Supreme (which has the same material as the Deluxe Edition) and the Miles Davis Ascenseur pour l'echafaud. Both sound pretty good because of the mastering is pretty good. I've heard that many others in the series are not as good because of compression or other apsects of the mastering. I have some concert blu-rays that sound really good. One other thing to consider is the quality of the player. Running digital out to a DAC you are limited by copyright to only 24/48 as the best. You can get 24/96 or 24/192 out of your player but a lot of the players I tried the 24/48 to the DAC sounded a bit better because the analog stage of the player isn't as up to the task as the DAC's. I finally invested in a Blu-ray player that has a great sound of its own and the audio out is worth it, a bit better than that from the DAC in the chain. Not dramatically, but depending on the sound quality and mastering, better.

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Ah, I forgot A Love Supreme. Some time back I found it on Amazon, but it was out of stock with no date for further pressings. Does it really hold up as superior fidelity against the deluxe CD pressing?

I suppose I'll give it a shot and run digital coax out to my DAC. The one thing I steadfastly refuse to do is spring for an audiophile quality Blu-ray. Now, if Blu-ray audio becomes a standard, then I may kick some tires. But I don't see that ever happening with shitty MP3/AAC currently ruling the day. Although I will humbly give a nod to the current 256kb VBR MP3/AAC. They are leaps and bounds beyond the earlier incarnations. I prefer lossless, but grudgingly admit lossy is far better than it used to be.

I still get a kick out of DVD audio. 24/96, but they have to compress it due to space constraints! How's that for some really fucked up math?!

Totally unrelated, I do have to admit that the stuff Columbia was releasing in the 50's/60's may be the most open and "air-y" recordings I've ever heard. Been listening to a lot of it since I got my DAC and PSB Speakers headphones. I never realized how outrageously clean and open Monk's Live At The Jazz Workshop really sounded. They were truly using superior equipment back then.

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Well, I think A Love Supreme sounds really good on this Blu-ray, as does the Miles.

Getting a great Blu-ray player has really paid off for me in enjoyment. I got a Denon 100th Anniversary at about 40 percent of the listed price when they first came out. It's an amazing machine.

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