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Thread: Tampa Bay Circuit

  1. #16
    Super User sleepysurf's Avatar
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    Default Updated listening opinions

    Here's a brief update on today's Tampa Bay caravan listening session. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to Brad's, so will let the others comment on his sonics, as well as mine.

    Craig's updated setup, with his new Wadia 581i directly feeding his Electrocompaniet monoblocks, was jaw-dropping incredible, playing back redbook CD's, SACD's, and streaming from his Squeezebox. Craig has been experimenting with lots of room treatments, and his efforts have really paid off. The synergy of the entire setup yielded extraordinarily tight bass (the best I've ever heard with Summits), with exquisite resolution, detail, and imaging. The midrange and highs were incredibly clear, with an organic and lifelike presentation, that, IMHO, sounded better than tubes! For comparison, he swapped in his 20 W Art Audio Jota tube amp, which drove the Summits cleanly, but IMHO lacked that last 5% of resolution compared to the Electrocompaniets. Overall, I'd give Craig's setup an A+.

    We next headed over to hear George's system. Since I last heard his setup, he had rotated everything 180 degrees in his room, eliminating the sonic imbalance from an off-center fireplace. He had also replaced his Simaudio Moon pre with the Pass Labs (? X series), feeding his X350.5. The new setup had prodigious power and superb imaging, driving his ML Aeons, with a Paradigm servo sub nicely dialed in. George has just started adding room treatments, so his room was definitely brighter and a bit boomier, than Craigs. We all had suggestions on where to best locate his smartly built DIY bass traps, and some other acoustic treatments, as well as perhaps reorienting his sub. Overall, his system had sparkling detail from top to bottom, and with additional room treatments, should compare favorably with Craig's. Overall, I'd give his setup an A- on sonics at this point, but with the X350.5 as the foundation, he'll be "graduating with high honors" once he finishes with room treatments.

    As usual, I returned home with a bit of remorse, realizing I still have a ways to go yet, to achieve both Craig's and George's level of sonic achievement. I'm hopeful that most of my systems failings are due to poor room acoustics, which I'll be focusing my efforts on for the near term. After hearing the other systems today, I'm demoting my setup to a B+ grade. Gotta run now and do my homework!
     
    Squeezebox Touch/Bel Canto DAC 3.5VB + Oppo BDP-95 > Conrad-Johnson CT5 preamp and Premier 350 amp > ML Expressions 13A. Dual ML BalancedForce 210 subs. Audience Au24e I/C's, speaker cable.
    Click here to see my entire sytem. Member of the Suncoast Audiophile Society.

  2. #17
    Super User Joey_V's Avatar
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    Good synopsis Alan! Wish I could've heard your guys' setups.

    Joey
    Joey "kid with grey hair" V
    System 1: Emm Labs TSDX Transport -> Emm Labs DAC2x -> Cary SLP-05 Pre -> Boulder 2060 Stereo Amp -> B&W 802D3, AQ WEL Power Cords, AQ WEL Speaker Wire, AQ Wind (reterminating to XLR)
    System 2: Rotel RA1592 Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3
    System 3: Rotel RC1570 Preamp -> Rotel RB1582 Stereo Amp -> B&W CM10s2 (ESL11a replacement??)

  3. #18
    Forum Moderator MiTT's Avatar
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    Yes, very nice write up Alan. Anybody get pictures?
    MiTT
    Tim Bingaman

    All Music...All the time...Commercial Free...

    If you want to see System 95 click here

  4. #19
    Super User Audioseduction's Avatar
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    Yes, I have some pics, I'll post sometime tonight. Alan, thanks for the write up. I enjoyed the listing sessions very much.

  5. #20
    Super User Audioseduction's Avatar
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    Brad's Equipment. By the way, his system performed Outstanding!









    Last edited by Audioseduction; 07-30-2007 at 04:09 PM.

  6. #21
    Super User Audioseduction's Avatar
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    Craig's Equipment.







    Last edited by Audioseduction; 07-30-2007 at 04:10 PM.

  7. #22
    Super User Audioseduction's Avatar
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    George's Equipment.







    Last edited by Audioseduction; 07-30-2007 at 04:10 PM.

  8. #23
    Super User Audioseduction's Avatar
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    I must apologies that I forgot to take pictures of Alan's equipment. Alan, can you add some images of your equipment please.

  9. #24
    Super User sleepysurf's Avatar
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    Sorry folks... still haven't updated my system pics here, but I posted some a while back in the Audiocircle gallery...
    http://www.audiocircle.com/gallery/t...php?album=1424

    Even those pics are outdated, and I promise to get some updated one's here ASAP (after I get rid of my wall unit).

    In the meantime, here's a closeup of one of my Bubinga Summits.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Squeezebox Touch/Bel Canto DAC 3.5VB + Oppo BDP-95 > Conrad-Johnson CT5 preamp and Premier 350 amp > ML Expressions 13A. Dual ML BalancedForce 210 subs. Audience Au24e I/C's, speaker cable.
    Click here to see my entire sytem. Member of the Suncoast Audiophile Society.

  10. #25
    Super User theWB's Avatar
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    Tampa's got it going on.
    Very impressive systems gentleman.
    Click Here To See System #104
    Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

  11. #26
    Super User Brad225's Avatar
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    Alan, George and Craig sorry for the long delay in my impressions from the listening sessions. I have been in the deep weeds working for the last 2 weeks. So much so I haven't even had time to turn my equipment on since our trek around Tampa.

    Thanks to all of you for your hospitality and being invited into your homes.

    My first stop was Alan's. There was a clear improvement with the recent upgrades to his Belles and Modwright amps. The sound stage and center image was much stronger than when I listened to it previously.
    Alan's down side right now as is mine, is having a large piece of furniture between our speakers. It makes imaging depth very limited.
    With his plans for room and video display changes this year it should make a dramatic difference. I look forward to getting back to listen when the changes are made.

    Next was Craig's. It seemed he had either equipment, cars or car parts around every corner.
    He is further along with with his room acoustics than the rest of us and it was apparent with the depth and clarity of imaging from his Summits. I looked forward to hearing his new Wadia CDP as this is one of the pieces I have been thinking about. The Wadia combined with the Electrocompaniet amps was stunning with the depth of sound and imaging it created. The sound was very crisp, clean and engaging.
    He then substituted the Art Audio tubes for the Electrocompaniets. At first listen I said I was not sure I could tell the difference between them. By the end the Art Audio did sound a bit more laid back and relaxed. I'm a tube fan so that would probably be my preference.
    Craig's system is very well matched and sounded wonderful. The time he has spent fine tuning his system was evident.

    The last stop was at George "The Bass Man's" home". First I must say that Pass Lab 350.5 is HUGE. I think my first comment walking in his listening room was holy cra* that thing is big.
    The first thing that struck me listening to his system was I never imagined that much sound could come from his Aeons. The image produced was way larger than I would have ever expected. His Pass Lab pre/power combination was very power and sounded very precise and open. George appears to listen louder than some of us but even with the volume pulled back it lost none of its very impressive sound. If he upgrades his speakers as he was talking about and plays with some more room treatments I think George's and Craig's system will be on the same level.

    For my listening taste at this point I still prefer my CLSIIzs and more laid back tube equipment with its wide image for mids, highs and vocals but until Alan and I conqure our respective entertainment center boxes between our speakers we won't be in the same league with Craig and George.

    I look forward to listening to their systems as they progress with them.

  12. #27
    Super User sleepysurf's Avatar
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    Thanks for the nice perspective Brad.

    BTW, I've finally taken the next step addressing room acoustics. My wife (reluctantly) agreed to let me replace our 3 year old wall unit with a low credenza cabinet, and wall-mounted (~50-55") LCD HDTV. For quite some time I've had my eye on a unique A/V cabinet from Crate & Barrel, their "Harmony" design, but hesitated buying it sight unseen. Fortunately, while in Atlanta this past week (and also getting a demo of JonFo's incredible setup), I was able to see the unit in person at a local C&B store. It's the perfect style, size (70"), and color (red-tinged walnut) to blend in with my family room Summit setup, and my wife gives it the thumbs up! As an added bonus, they now have a 30" companion cabinet, that (although only 16" deep), can accommodate additional components. Both units have open lattice fronts, allowing full ventilation, and unique back panels that pop right off for easy wire access. I pulled the trigger and ordered both pieces today (see pics). Will take 4-5 weeks for delivery, which gives me plenty of time to start researching the latest LCD HDTV's!
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Squeezebox Touch/Bel Canto DAC 3.5VB + Oppo BDP-95 > Conrad-Johnson CT5 preamp and Premier 350 amp > ML Expressions 13A. Dual ML BalancedForce 210 subs. Audience Au24e I/C's, speaker cable.
    Click here to see my entire sytem. Member of the Suncoast Audiophile Society.

  13. #28
    Member raygunn's Avatar
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    Default Geez! You West Coast guys are having all of the fun!!

    Where's the eastern Florida contingent???

    Any interest in an Eastern Circuit??

    Lemme know. I'm game!

    Cheers,
    Ray

  14. #29
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    WOW!!!

    You guys have some amazing looking systems. I feel like an idiot that I didn't stumble across the forum a few years ago when I was in grad school in Florida. Geeze, I could have received another education in speakerology!!

    Those are some fantastic pictures! I bet those setups sound as good as they look.

    Erik

  15. #30
    Super User JonFo's Avatar
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    Man, you Tampa guys are realy setting standards for nice write-ups, great gear and superb pics. Wish I had been able to join the rounds with ya'll
    Jonathan

    System #45 (Monolith IIIx, Sequell IIb, SL3XC)

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