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BDH55

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Welcome to my System post! Following is the current iteration of my ever evolving system. While it is somewhat modest compared to many systems here, it's my pride and joy and has evolved over nearly 50 years from my very first 'hi-fi' rig (a Pioneer PL-15D turntable, Pioneer 40 wpc integrated amp, and a pair of Infinity speakers, IIRC).

As with many here, I've combined my two channel audio system, my home theater system, and worked to make them fit into a less than ideal room. Since this is the MLO Forum, let's start with the speaker side of things, then I will move to the sources and control.

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My primary speakers are my brand new ML Renaissance ESL 15's. We spend probably four or five times the amount of time listening to audio, as we do watching video, so the 15's (and Para JC 1's) really make it happen! To the left of my LF speaker is a ML Descent i subwoofer (where I am only using the LFE connection) and the Center channel speaker is a ML Stage. This is a 5.1.2 configuration, and the rears are ML Script i electrostats hanging on the rear wall, and a pair of ML Vanquish cones mounted in the ceiling. Also shown in this photo are my main amps which are Parasound JC 1 mono blocks. The screen is a Stewart StudioTek 130 16:9 and is 106" diagonal. Hidden in this photo is a PS Audio Power Plant 12 (if you look very closely, you can just see it thru the grill on the Stage). Everything upfront runs thru the Power Plant 12 except the JC 1's (currently). I have two dedicated 20 amp circuits serving all my AV equipment. One supplies the two separate duplex outlets behind the Stage and feeds the Power Plant 12 (the other two duplex outlets in between the ESL 15's are house power and not used for any of my AV needs). The other dedicated 20 amp circuit supplies my main equipment rack, which we will get to in a minute. I mentioned that the PP 12 is handling all my power needs 'except' for my two JC 1's. Initially, I had planned to connect each JC 1 to the high current outlets on the PP 12. However, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of just plugging each of the mono blocks directly into the dedicated 20 amp circuit. I will likely feed my JC 1's off the PP 12 to see if I can hear any difference. Right now though, everything is sounding really good, so I'm being lazy. For those who really want to 'get in the weeds'... all of my AV outlets are PS Audio Power Port Classic receptacles.

Okay, so you've seen the braun... here are the brains...

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Not sure where to start here but since we were talking about power, let's keep on that path. I mentioned I have two dedicated 20 amp circuits feeding my system, with the first feeding my Power Plant 12 up front. The second one feeds the PS Audio Power Plant 20 on the bottom left. Every other piece of equipment here is fed by the PP 20. Above the PP 20, is a Marantz SA-K1 Ruby SACD player, and above the SACD player is a Parasound JC 2 BP preamp. This preamp has the bypass feature which allows me to pull all my two channel sources off my AVP, but also allows me to share my main front channel speakers and amps with my home theater when needed. Moving to the center stack bottom is a Parasound A 23+ that powers our Vanquish height speakers. Above that is a PS Audio DirectStream DAC... above that is a PS Audio Stellar phono preamp... and above that is my an Anthem AVM60 AVP. At the right stack bottom is a Parasound A 31 that powers my center and rear channels. Above that is an Aurender ACS10 Content Server (streamer, ripper, 16 TB server)... and above that is my OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD disc player. Finally, across the top left to right... a Benchmark HPA4 headphone amp... cable box... VPI Prime Signature Rosewood with JMW Unipivot tonearm, and a Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC Star ES Low Output cartridge... and finally, a VPI ADS Drive System.

Miscellaneous comments/thoughts...

Cables - all of my analog interconnects are balanced (unless either the device doesn't support balanced connections, OR whatever I am connecting to doesn't have enough balanced connections). All interconnects are Cardas (mostly Clear Sky, with some Clear). Speaker cables are Cardas Cygnus (fortunately, they are short). Digital cables are Transparent. Power cables are all AudioQuest (NRG-4 thru Monsoon and Blizzard. Normally my sources are NRG-4's but as current demand increase with amps and Power Plants, I move up).

Equipment Rack - Likely only the older members will recognize it, but the nameplate is clear on the front left edge. This is a Billy Bags rack, and it is fantastic! I guess I had him build it for me around 25 years ago, You could choose support finish... choose the top finish... choose all the shelf spacing... whether to load the supports with sand or shot, etc. Great guy, great company. Not sure how long it's been, but RIP Billy.

Headphones - Focal Clear, and OPPO PM-1

Isolation - my Aurender, Blu-Ray player, DAC, and phono pre are all sitting on IsoAcoustics OREA equipment isolators.

Miscellaneous - remote is a Harmony Ultimate (but I'm not up to date so using several remotes). Additional video source is Roku Ultra.

Projector - JVC DLA-4800U My projector (and my Script i rears) are my only devices not on my dedicated power circuits. However, all are on good surge protectors.

Future thoughts...

I'm sure everyone here is looking for their next upgrade that brings them the ultimate sound! At least I know I am!!! Easy picks for me would be to upgrade both my Descent i (to a BF212) and my Stage (to an Illusion), both of which would bring down the bottom end when watching movies. That said, I'm more of a two channel guy, so that points me more toward my main amps and my preamp (and several of you have already offered suggestions, thank you). Also, I do need to upgrade my projector to a more current 4K model.

There seems to be a ton of experience in this forum so I anxiously await your comments/feedback/suggestions!
 
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Dan F.

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Have you ever compared the DAC in the Marantz to the PS Audio? I have the Marantz SA-10 and the DAC in that sounds pretty good to me (though now I'm using a DCS Network Bridge streaming to a Mark Levinson 585 and using the DAC in the Levinson. I can't imagine having to connect so many pieces of hardware - that's home theater for you. I have separated 2 channel listening from video. I can see why you need all those circuits.
 

Lightloopy

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Impressive system evolved over the years yet appreciate certain parts like the equipment rack are irreplaceable. Bravo!
 

BDH55

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Have you ever compared the DAC in the Marantz to the PS Audio? I have the Marantz SA-10 and the DAC in that sounds pretty good to me (though now I'm using a DCS Network Bridge streaming to a Mark Levinson 585 and using the DAC in the Levinson. I can't imagine having to connect so many pieces of hardware - that's home theater for you. I have separated 2 channel listening from video. I can see why you need all those circuits.
Dan, great question and it's on my list. Like you, I think my Marantz is sounding pretty good so I just left it connected thru the analog outputs (and I haven't disabled the digital outs either). I would 'hope' that my PS Audio DAC would be an improvement over the Marantz DAC, but I've made a lot of changes over the past year so right now I'm working on getting my new speakers properly placed. I think once I get things settled in, I can start seeing if I can hear a difference between DAC's.

As far as needing 'all those circuits'... according to my electrician, I am over powered (my take is maybe so, but I do think there is a big advantage to having dedicated circuits and not competing for power with the furnace, refrigerator, etc). I just look at is as I've got some big amps... lots of equipment... and occasionally, we like to 'entertain the neighbors' so I would rather be overpowered, than underpowered! 😁
 
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