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Big Dog RJ

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G'day maties,
The names RJ, also known as Big Dog but that's another story for another time in another galaxy far far away...

My journey in the highend began since I was a teenager, good old pops and I ran a small dealership on the side whiles going about our usual full-time jobs. Later on between the years 1998 to about 2004, we established a strong dealership network through Spore, representing some top brands: CJ, ARC, VTL, Manley Labs, Cary, Lamm, Kondo and Audio Note. Speaker brands: Apogee, Infinity, Maggie's, Paradigm, Energy, ProAc, Sonus Faber, and Quad ESL's. When I headed to Chicago to complete my BA, around 1995 that's when I heard my first pair of ML SL3's. I was totally transfixed by its presentation that I had to buy it, and so from 98 we also represented ML in small numbers.

Apart from those brands of audio gear, the most we moved around the Sth East Asian region were Maggie's and VTL gear. They seemed to outlast ESL's in the Tropics... and the rest of it, most probably due to the very high humidity factor. The others would have minor panel issues, veneers warping, caps going off that sort of thing but we always had a rock solid service department to back us up. Now, only a handful of these brands offer great service... So, in 2005, I sold off the business and migrated to Aus with my family but good old pops is still going strong back in hometown. He kept our personal reference system for as long as he could maintain it; Apogee Diva's, driven by CJ's Premier 8A monoblocks and the original ART preamp, it was a legendary sound!

From the SL3 that we used in one of our personal systems, we ended up with the CLS IIZ's driven by CJ amplification. However, all these systems were sold off by the time we migrated, and our very last pair of Infinity's IRS 1B's were sold to a deserving customer who still uses those old dinosaurs to this day!

Landed in Melbourne with no system, had to start from scratch! It Was a painful yet adventurous journey, having gone through Maggie's again, then Infinity's, Quads (absolute disaster!) even went on to Wilson's and Sonus Faber, still wasn't satisfied. One of my long tine trusted dealership mates in Spore has the ML Statements Evo-II's driven by Dan D's Relentless monoblocks and Momentum preamp, so whenever I get a chance to visit him, I go nuts! Those Statements are something else! Sadly no longer in production and so I asked him what next? He then told me all about this radical new design of the CLS called the CLX Art. I said whaaat? Anyway, he got down a pair, and low and behold I just had to have them!

I returned to Melb after that trip in 2018, and then also experienced a similar CLX Art set up at one of my good mates place, who drives his CLX's with a Pass Labs XA30.8, outstanding performance!
That was it! I just had to get these somehow but in Aus these rare full range stats cost between 40 - 50 grand! So what the heck, buy once, cry once and you only live once, so I got them in Sept 2018. It took me a good 15 years to put this system together, and the CJ monoblocks have had special mods done on them to produce 60w of Class A before switching into Class AB after about the 80w mark leading towards 140w... that 60w Class A bias really drives and controls the CLX's supremely well. It's marvellous!

I can go on and on about these but I think I've rattled off too much for now... so I'll end this post by saying this, there's no other speaker system I would rather own, other than the CLX's. Simply superb!

Cheers, and enjoy those fine tunes!
WOOF! RJ
 

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Robert D

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Man, things sure are expensive in Australia. I've heard how terribly high the prices are on automobiles. Thst must have been frustrating to have to build an audio system from scratch while paying those prices. I don't even want to know how much a home costs there. I'm getting just a small sense of what it's like when we begin looking at building a new home now here in Ohio. We decided to just stay in our current home.

Congrats on your big move and your audio system. How are you liking Australia?
 

Big Dog RJ

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G'day Rob mate,

Well considering what's going on in my hometown back in Colombo, the economic crisis which has lead to a humanitarian crisis, especially after we had a 35 year long bloody civil war... Aus is paradise!!! ❤️

In all due fairness, it actually really hurts us, whenever we watch those terrible news clips, my wifey just cries. She can't cope... yet again, we're always very very thankful that we left our hometown in 2005. Back then, the war was still going on but then abruptly ended in May of 2009! Obviously war crimes... how can a civil war spamming 3 decades suddenly end in a few months!...? Anyway, the wifey still visits her folks once in awhile but I haven't visited there since 2012. I don't think I could survive there for more than a week, after getting used to the Aussie lifestyle!

The quality of life here is great! There's much more sense of equality in distribution of income, the gap between the haves & the have-nots is not as wide compared to SL & most countries... and there's a system of diplomacy, education and health that works! However, the one thing that really annoys me is that some people over here whinge for no good reason, and they go absolutely nuts about toilet paper... compared to Colombo SL, where people don't even get a decent meal, don't have access to basic elements food and essentials, can't feed their kids... these Aussies should be whipped! Shame on them for whinging all the time... but now they can clearly see what's going on in the rest of the world, so they're a bit more aware, but they still whinge!

Yes, the high end audio gear here is very expensive. You have to be making some real big bucks to afford this gear. However, through reliable contacts, good networking and by careful component selection, you can put together a system of very high quality but it will take years. Every component you see in my photo has a story... of hard work, fingers burnt and nearly went homeless at one point with those stupid Wilson's. Man I'll say, never buy Wilson's, what a waste! That sort of gear are for people with big egos... they have no clue about real music. So in their mindset, first comes ego (therefore must get biggest speakers & most expensive) then comes the gear, and lastly the music. I've met a few of these characters and really don't associate with them anymore.

Just take any speaker system out there, dynamic driver types, with very expensive materials and not to mention the exhorbitant price on cabinet design, and compare them to any ML stats. There's just no comparison at all! There's no cabinet resonance, there's no distortion, there's no reverb, there's no artificial enhancements in the bass or LF for that matter... just pure music!

ML stats capture the very essence of the recordings. If it's on the recording, ML's will reproduce it. If it's not on the recording then it simply won't be there! So there's no real point on trying to create artificial enhancements by adding various gizmos, and so on to augment bass, unless you listen to music that has very low octaves, such as organ or deep synthesised music. I don't! So I would never use subs. That's artificial.

Anyway, I can go on about this but I'll post later in other tabs, relating more on the gear. It's certainly very sad that ML didn't pursue with the CLX's, perhaps they had their reasons...
One thing for sure is that the CLX's were the best stats that ML ever made by far. Ok, perhaps the Statements are but they're long gone...

Cheers mate, and enjoy those fine tunes!
RJ
 

ttocs

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Welcome!
That's quite a story with lots of great equipment to have experienced over the years. Always great to enjoy one's first choice and know there's nuthin' better! Contentment is a wonderful thing.
 

Robert D

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I saw you mention Chicago and thought maybe you lived in the US prior to now. Wow, where you lived in Sri Lanka must have been rough. Sounds like you found the right place to spend the rest of your life!
 

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Welcome aboard, mate; thanks for the stories.
 

Big Dog RJ

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Yes, did travel around a lot, and lived in the US, UK, and Thailand, along with the usual Sth East Asian spin...
I think some of the best and fanciest gear I've ever seen has been my travels through Spore & HK. These guys have some serious gear! They even have their own home theaters in specially designed rooms, along with dedicated rooms just for the two-channel audio... but that kind of lavish spend I'll never engage in, even if I had the means. It's a crime!

Having said that, although some of those systems are well close to and in certain cases over a million bucks, some of the most natural-sounding and close to the actual recording have been those of the simplest systems by far. Just a straightforward setup: Source - Preamp - power amps & speakers, that's it! No cross-overs, no subs, no multiple DACs, additional crossover networks, no major acoustics paneling, overly damped rooms... none of that stuff. Over the decades I've learned that the more points of connections you have, the quality diminishes down the chain... Keep it simple as possible is the key, and ML Stats will show it in full glory! Of course, any system regardless of price is just as good as the room it's placed in. After all, getting the basics right requires an effort. AC mains distribution, dedicated wiring on separate CB's, non-shared circuits, power conditioning if applicable, and so on... I've seen some very lofty gear where the circuits are shared with the household appliances, kettle, washing machine, dishwasher etc. They can surely spend on lofty gear but when it comes to getting the basics right, they have no clue! What a waste.

Anyway, it's about time I thought I'd join, been on other forums for years, so high time I joined where my true passion is: Tubes and Stats, you just gotta love it!
Woofty Woof'n! RJ
 

Brad225

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Big Dog, Welcome. So glad you finally brought your wisdom and humor to our speakers name sake site.
It has always been a pleasure to interact with you on other sites.

I never realized we took the same ML path. SL3, CLS, CLS IIA, CLSIIz and finally CLX.

Again Welcome,

Brad
 

Big Dog RJ

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Cheers Brad!

Yes mate, it was certainly an interesting journey... before the CLX's, I had the Ethos for about a year and then was just about to finalise on the Ren15a's along with a few others on my short list. Ren15a's, Avant Garde Duo XD's, and Audio Analysis Omega. The CLX's were not on my list simply because they were the most expensive of the lot! Then a miracle happened and about a year later I managed to acquire a pristine pair direct from the importer in Aus through a selected dealer, so it was a trade-in deal with my Quads. Otherwise there's just no way I was going to pay nearly 40 grand.

I must say this though, I sincerely believe the Ethos is one of those hybrid stats that had the greatest vfm. At its price point and performance, I couldn't think of a better stat that was equally capable.

Going over the years, I owned a lot of Maggie's. Before that, three versions of Infinity's IRS 1B's, Epsilon and Ren 90's. On Maggie's, from MGIIIa, MG3 3, MG3.5, MG3.6, MG20.1, and was nearly going for their top if the line MG30.7's. However, after assisting a fellow mate set up his 30.7's in Melb, I realised they were not really up to par compared to the CLX's. Within the Maggie line up, it's their 3.7i series that's the vfm ticket, in my opinion.

Now I'm done! Although there are times I would like to venture towards those fancy Alsyvox ribbons with the outboard crossovers, I thought to myself, this madness never ends... for one, I'll probably be homeless and two, the wifey would definitely throw me into the dog house!

So it's good enough for me! Cheers to stats, and do enjoy those fine tunes!
Woof! RJ
 

Robert D

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Cheers Brad!

Yes mate, it was certainly an interesting journey... before the CLX's, I had the Ethos for about a year and then was just about to finalise on the Ren15a's along with a few others on my short list. Ren15a's, Avant Garde Duo XD's, and Audio Analysis Omega. The CLX's were not on my list simply because they were the most expensive of the lot! Then a miracle happened and about a year later I managed to acquire a pristine pair direct from the importer in Aus through a selected dealer, so it was a trade-in deal with my Quads. Otherwise there's just no way I was going to pay nearly 40 grand.

I must say this though, I sincerely believe the Ethos is one of those hybrid stats that had the greatest vfm. At its price point and performance, I couldn't think of a better stat that was equally capable.

Going over the years, I owned a lot of Maggie's. Before that, three versions of Infinity's IRS 1B's, Epsilon and Ren 90's. On Maggie's, from MGIIIa, MG3 3, MG3.5, MG3.6, MG20.1, and was nearly going for their top if the line MG30.7's. However, after assisting a fellow mate set up his 30.7's in Melb, I realised they were not really up to par compared to the CLX's. Within the Maggie line up, it's their 3.7i series that's the vfm ticket, in my opinion.

Now I'm done! Although there are times I would like to venture towards those fancy Alsyvox ribbons with the outboard crossovers, I thought to myself, this madness never ends... for one, I'll probably be homeless and two, the wifey would definitely throw me into the dog house!

So it's good enough for me! Cheers to stats, and do enjoy those fine tunes!
Woof! RJ
So you feel like the CLX betters any Magnepan out there?
 

Big Dog RJ

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Welcome!!!

That's a very nice setup, the 13A's with your gear, plus the Michell! Oooh always wanted a Michell... had a Wadia in the past with a Meitner Dac, super nice then later changed over to a very rare CJ DV2B (vacuum tube CD player). Boy was that something! No longer made though.
Enjoy those fine tunes!
Woof! RJ
 

Big Dog RJ

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So you feel like the CLX betters any Magnepan out there?


Oh Boy! Now you got me going... it's way past 4am and I've just finished one of my late night sessions, so I'll keep this post as simple as possible and then get some sleep.

1. Maggies are NOT highend speakers!
The materials they use are cheap glues, more adhesives, staples, and those ridiculous T-Shaped feet that have been around for since man landed on the moon... and that's if man actually did land on the moon.

2. Another pain in the Butt with a capital B are those silly little round connector thingy's that are used to screw in using a tiny allen key, once the wires are in the speaker terminals. These terminals can only accept bare wires, or pin type or banana plugs, they cannot accept spades or other types of high end connectors, hence they're not highend category.

3. Maggies have never been improved upon, the only areas of improvement are cross-over points in matching and making the ribbon tweeter blend in better with the rest of the mids & bass panel freq spec. Over the years they've certainly improved this cross over but still to this day, sometimes that ribbon tweeter sings in its own little tweeter world, going way over 40kHz range and beyond average human hearing... so what's the point?

4. The true ribbon tweeter is so fragile, if you happen to fart or sneeze against it, it would snap off! I've had the not so pleasure in replacing about 16-17 ribbon tweeters over the years and each time it's done, you actually have to be very sober. Also a pretty strong neck line because after the tedious process of pull-glue& stick, then pull-glue & stick all the way down in a zig-zag manner the full 5-6ft of ribbon... you can't feel your neck after a while.

5. And the last point, they can't go to loud, hence the reasons for the fuses at the back to protect the tweeter and mid panel. This is why most of the time, after around three years the ribbon tweeter breaks! After another year or so, the glues start to soften and the adhesives peel off... the panels start to rattle, like an old man trying to run uphill and letting off a bit of gas from the rear... If the panels are well and very carefully looked after then Maggie's can easily run for about 5-6yrs without any serious incident but nothing longer I'm afraid.

With Martin Logan's these are the improvements of their latest Masterpiece series line up, including the CLX's:
1. X-Stat panels, with the latest miro-perf tech, clear spars, and blade tech allowing even greater transparency.
2. Stators are made from special carbon alloys, air-frames that are vacuum bonded that have tighter strength compared to welding. The mylar is so strong and rigidly positioned, it can take upto 10,000V so it will never arc compared to those Quads and other stats.
3. The materials used are top grade! Pure stainless steel locking collars, high grade electronics, toroidal trannys plus EI Core trannys used for bass drivers, and includes Vjotko DSP engineering. (hope I spelled his name right?)
4. The new Masterpiece series now uses more bolts and heavy bracing in all their cabinets, rather than just glues & adhesives...
5. For the final point of CLX's: these are fitted with "Triple Stators" having dual mylars, these are radical changes to reproduce bass like no other! The sheer transparency and lightening speed transients along with bullet speed acceleration and decay will cause ribbons to break, there's just no comparison whatsoever! The Mylar in ML stats is actually lighter than any ribbon elements, thus the reasons why they can start and stop in a blink of an eye.

Summary:

Maggie's were never supposed to be in the level of true high-end. Their nature has always been VFM, and in this regard they're probably untouchable. Especially the LRS, and 1.7i and 3.7i, are supremely placed in this category. Spend a certain amount, get the right amplifier, and set them up well and it's a great ride! However, don't expect them to surpass any ML stats or perform like stats for that matter, they simply can't. At a certain level, as mentioned before, they do excel and I love Maggie's, have used many iterations for years and sold many pairs.

When they introduced the MG20 series, things were getting serious but then again the same old T-feet, those silly annoying ball connectors with Allen key... and the tweeters would still snap! So where are the improvements? Only in cross-overs and parts used in the cross overs. Then came the MG30.7's, a mighty battle ship of ribbon power. However, once again nothing major here; same T-feet, same silly connectors and this time x-over built-in to the panels rear. Same adhesives, bit stiffer though, and much longer tweeter ribbon with a huge double bass panel. Like the Typani's but dis-jointed. If Magnepan were to introduce the 30.7's at a certain price that was well over 20grand! Why on Earth couldn't they think of the following:
1. Improve on the materials: use actual bolts and screws not glues!
2. Use the more powerful neodymium magnets, like those used in the Alsyvox, very powerful and super fast!
3. Get rid of those silly T-feet and replace then with proper bracing for crying out loud!
4. Get rid of those stupid connector bobs and use actual WBT 5-way binding posts like every other speaker brand, even the simple low end Wharfdale Diamond series bookshelf speakers have far better terminals, and they cost less than $500 bucks! Not 20grand...
5. On a final point note, when Maggie's are playing, if you lightly push on the top most part of the panels, they sway... or swing back & forth. You'd think at either 10 to 20 grand they would have had something better to reinforce this?

Conclusion:
That's a definite YES!!! ML are way better than any Maggie out there, simply because... and CLX's ? forget it, there's just no comparison both in terms of sound and materials used. No chance. The CLX's and ML's newest Masterpiece line are in a Class of their own, there's no way Maggie's can challenge any of their strengths, other then pretty good imaging, soundstage depth, and very good transparency. Whereas ML's are concerned these areas of speaker performance are simply outstanding! There's nothing to compare.

Just my 50cts worth having owned nearly every Maggie model and having owned only a handful of ML's and Quads. Like I said before, with ML's and CLX's for that matter, there's no other speaker I would rather own.

Btw, I'm very glad I joined this forum finally! I feel it is a well designed and thought out site, and one that has good features that really work! Nice job to the moderators and admin staff, and I'll do my very best to support you in any way I can. Cheers to ML stats! They're one of a kind, we all know that!
WOOF!!! RJ
 

Big Dog RJ

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G'day Robert D, I posted my reply to you above, for some reason it merged with your post... must be getting tired since it's now past 5am, I'm starting to see mushrooms on the screen. Better get some sleep. Until such time, enjoy those very fine tunes!
Best, RJ
 

Robert D

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You made some points about Magnepan I wasn't aware of. Thanks. The dealer I buy from here used to sell both ML and Magnepan, but around 6 years ago they stopped selling Magnepan. Listening to both, they both sounded good to me.

I was thinking the Magnepans would last longer, guess I'm wrong. The ML panels are good for anywhere between 15 and 20 years I guess. The Prodigy speakers I bought needed new panels and they were about 15 years old when I bought them. I wonder if the new panels today last longer? I know they use a new coating now and a couple of other differences.When I got replacement panels they sent me the literature on that. Hopefully these new ones will last even longer. The rest of my speakers is still original, built in 2000 and they sound great.
 

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Man, things sure are expensive in Australia............. I don't even want to know how much a home costs there.



Oh dear........wait 'till we tell you!!!

For get cars and audio equipment. The residential property market is where it is at.

Try this for an idea of our housing market:

46 Avoca Street, Bondi, NSW 2026 - Property Details (realestate.com.au)

Alright......we all know Bondi is expensive......how about a more prosaic "family" suburb then:

5 Arthur Street, Strathfield, NSW 2135 - Property Details (realestate.com.au)
 

Robert D

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Big Dog RJ

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Welcome Big Dog - hi there from the Gold Coast. There are a lot of us Aussies here.
G'day mate!

Nice to see more maties oi, oi, oi...
How good was the tennis AO mate? Novac kicked out, the special K's killed it, and A Barty topped it all! Too bad she retired early though I would have thought she'd have plenty left in the gas tank, I guess she had her reasons.

The highend is really getting out of hand. Back in the day, work a decent job, make a decent income and buy a decent hi-fi and all was well. Now, those decent systems cost a bloody fortune! The mid-level gear used to be accessible but it's getting further up there, and the high-level gear is out of reach for most.

Just the other day, I was inquiring on ARC's top of the line pre-power combination and was quoted over 60 grand. Then I thought let me take a look at CJ's top stuff, and was quoted 70grand just for the amplifiers, add another 30 grand for the preamp and that's a cool 100 G's. Nice! No worries I'll swipe my card ...

Apart from highend gear, I think as a whole, our nation is fairly stable going forwards compared to most. Our systems still work pretty well- education, healthcare, transport, finance, imports/exports, shipping etc., so it's not too shabby. Fuel prices went up but hopefully the chaps are trying to sort it out. Price did drop a tad so it helps. I hardly drive these days, and wifey bikes plus train... so overall we're managing pretty good, can't complain.

Compared to all the countries I've lived in and visited; US, UK, SL, Thailand, Spore, HK, Malaysia, India, Dubai, and of course Aus, I must Aus is by far the most pleasant and peaceful, you just gotta love it! I really wouldn't want to be anywhere else!

Cheers maaate!
Woof! RJ
 

Brad225

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Amey, We were in Sydney in 2019 and walked the beach trail from N Bondi to some town south of there and took the bus back to Sydney. Bondi Beach and that coast was absolutely beautiful.

BD, Surprised to see Barty retire at 25 also. She clearly went out on top winning the slam in your home country.
It is being said that the Covid requirements keeping here away from home for a year was more than she wanted to possibly deal with again. My wife and I always found ourselves rooting for her no matter who she was playing against.

I can always purchase audio equipment and sneak it over there in my luggage. :)
 
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