System #20 (CLSiiZ, Sequel II and Depth)

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Jeff Zaret

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[/QUOTE]1. Member Name: Jeff Zaret

2. Location: Lancaster, California

3. ML Model(s): CLS iiZ, Sequel II, Theater i and Depth

4. Year Purchased: 2003 Sequel II (used), 2004 CLSiiZ (used), Depth 2004 (new), Theater i 2008 (new)

5. Mods/Changes: Replaced the power regulator boards in the Sequels since one died. The panels were replaced two years before I bought them. The CLSiiZ’s were originally CLSiiA’s(?) and were upgraded by the original owner to iiZs. Panels were replaced in 2006.

6. Associated Electronics:
Conrad Johnson Act 2 Series 2 Preamp
Conrad Johnson Preimier 350
Rotel 1570 Surround pre amp
Alesis RA-300 amp
Rotel 1070 amp
Luxman DU-7i Universal CDP/DVD player

SME 10 with Shelter Harmony cartridge
Nagra VPS Phono Preamp with Viration Platform
VPI 16.5 Record Cleaning Machine

New audio rack(s)

8 GIK panels - 2 242's, 2 244's, and 4 TriTraps

DirecTV HD satellite receiver
Panasonic HD Plasma 50" TV


Interconnects and speaker cables
Tara Labs – The One ISM, RSC Vector 1s and RSC Gen 1&2 interconnects , RSC Vector 1 speaker cables (CLS) and Prism Bi-wire (Sequel II), Audioquest Python Phono cable, Audioquest Sub-3 Subwoofer cable

Power cords - Tara Labs – Prism AC Special power cords, DIY Cable, Shunyata venom 3, Shunyata Python CX, Running Springs Mongoose, Audience Au
DIY Cable – Asylum Power Cables

Herbie’s Audio Lab - Isolation Feet – Ball-Cup BIG Tenderfoot with Gabon Ebony Ball and Big Tenderfoot

Running Springs Jaco
APC H15 Power Center

Homemade "Brightstar" TT platform made for the sub


7. Comments and/or stories about your Martin Logan experience:

I had listened to a few different electrostatic speakers years ago but could never find the money or an understanding wife. I gave ML’s a good listen early in 2003 and I was hooked, again. I decided I deserved it and would treat myself. This time I had the money and no wife.  That is when I bought the Sequel II’s from a dealer who had them from a trade-in. I have been upgrading since then with newer amps, preamps, cables and associated equipment. In 2004 I stumbled on a mint pair of CLSiiZ’s at a price I could not let go by so I bought them from the original owner. (Thanks Dan - DTB300) As many of us know the CLS’s are great speakers just bass shy and although I had and tried to use my M&K sub it just was not fast enough and was very apparent it was there. So I took the plunge and damaged my credit one more time and purchased the Depth. It is amazing.

My room is not large about 14’ by 17’ with the rear of the room essentially open. I have the speakers (CLSiiZ’s) set up across the long wall about 3’ from the back and corners. The Sequels are up against the walls. I I use my system primarily for two channel music and watch TV a little. When someone brings over a DVD or there is something on the “premium” channels that is good I will use them otherwise they are resting.

If anyone want any other shots of my stuff just ask.


YES The pics are wrong but I forgot how to edit them.

Comments and suggestions are always welcome.
 

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JasonLiu

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Hi Jeff,

It is interesting to see you have the Rotels to drive your speakers. How is the RB1090? I have always had a warm spot
for Rotel (still have a Rotel RA-972 integrated amp and Rotel RA-971 player in my other system) and find them excellent for the money. The 1090 at 380 w/ch must be a monster! At one time I was considering the RB-1090 to power my humble Aerius i's. For the price, there is really little to come close to its performance. It is nice to see MLs teamed up with different set-ups.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Jason,
The one thing I can say is that even with the CLSiiZ's I have never have turned up my preamp passed 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. It is just loud at that point and clean but too loud. My room is small, 14x17 but I sit about 8 feet from each speaker so they do not need to be that loud.
I did a lot of research and I too felt for the money the Rotel is hard to beat. I can't afford a Blue Circle or even some used C.J stuff. I think at this point it would take a large investment to really hear any kind of difference.
The only thing I can really say that was negative about the RB 1090 is that my back hurt for a few days after I picked it up to put it on that shelf. I am glad I already have my kids LOL :D
I have had them for a year and they have been flawless.
The CDP 1072 CD player is a real sleeper most people over look it but it is superb, even Sterophile liked it!. For the money it is hard to beat. I have been told by quite a few people that it would take at least 3 times the money just to hear a bit of difference if at all. :)

Jeff
 
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JasonLiu

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Great choices Jeff. My back will hurt too trying to heft a 100lb amp up to my room! But it just goes to show the quality that Rotel puts into their parts. Don't expect the extra bit of refinement and musicality from the top end of high-end in Rotels, but for what they are worth- they drive quite a load. Honestly I rarely need to turn up the volume and it is nice to know that the RB-1090 does an admirable job for you.

The 1072 received a lot of positive press in the British mags, and I would pick this over any NAD, Cambridge Audio and even most of the Arcams save the older FMJ series.

Happy Listening!
 

DTB300

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Nice setup Jeff. Now I see what you have been talking about with your furniture and your equipment. Glad to see the Herbies stuff is working out for you.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Dan,
I think Herbie's stuff works really wel and since my speakers are close to the wall unit they help isolate the vibration.
Nobody has said anything about the wallpaper. I hate it and I think that is why I still have the wall units and 2 pairs of large ML's :D
My dog does sit there and listen with me or on the floor. She likes the ML's and thought they were a good choice. :D :D
Jeff
 

Peter_Klim

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What I like about your system the most (besides the MLs :) ) is the Rotel Pre-amp. I came sooooooooooo close to getting it.

But last week I ordered a tube integrated ( being a skeptic, I was surprised I could hear a difference between tubes and SS, and even more surprised to hear the difference between a SS vs another SS; even if the SS vs SS was very minimal and they were between an inexpensive NAD and more expensive Sim Audio Moon) at the store. I chose the tubes because they were not as harsh and painful to my sensitive ears with high pitched instruments like saxaphones. If my ears weren't damaged, I would've chose the Rotel pre.

I also like that the Rotel pre has a HUGE round analog volume nob with that built in light to indicate where the volume is set to (since most of my listening is in the dark). The analog volume control is a must for me since I like to be able to fine tune to an exact listening level (this is crucial at lower levels, which my HT digital volume contoller cant do). Plus the Rotel has a remote. Even if I had no ear problems but had mucho money to spend, for the above mentioned reasons I'd choose the Rotel...now I kinda wish I did get the Rotel...
 

Jeff Zaret

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I have no conplaints about the Rotel at all. I have thought about tubes but the money would have to spend to get what the Rotel offers I would be out of my price range. Everything is a trade off and you have to decide what you can live with and what you just have to have at that moment. Maybe someday I will look at tubes again but for now I am happy with my choices and just want to relax and listen to music not constant fuss with the system.
:rolleyes:

Jeff
 

DTB300

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Jeff Zaret said:
Dan,
I think Herbie's stuff works really wel and since my speakers are close to the wall unit they help isolate the vibration.Nobody has said anything about the wallpaper.
No, I didn't notice the wallpaper (heck I don't even notice the wallpaper in my own home) but I did notice the bulding blocks. Glad to see you are keeping up with your Kindergarten Skills :D
 

Kruppy

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Wood Blocks

I figured the lettered blocks (including the pieces on the Rotel stuff) were part of Roberto's tweak suggestions. Although he never mentioned anything about the paint effects. Or are you just trying to show off your actual electronic "kids" in that photo? :D
 

Jeff Zaret

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No not really. The blocks are actually on the edge and are not really doing a lot. There are smaller pieces of poplar about 1x2 inches on all the pieces there if you look real close you may see them. I found a place where i maybe able to get some Gabon Ebony at a reasonble price which I want to try but my 18 year old daughter, aka "the wallet leech" seems to be taking all the extra money I have. :eek:
I did try the "kids" block and they did work but not what I had intended. I have tried some oak and that was too bright. Since it sits on an oak shelf I need to try something different. The Herbie's Tenderfoot works great at stopping the vibration and I may get some for the pre and the cd player when I get some more money ;)

Jeff
 

Jeff Zaret

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Dan,
Kindergarden skills?? Is it nap time? can I have some cookies and milk with my ML's :D

Jeff
 

Jeff Zaret

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Peter,
Yes as soon as I can find my daughters cam. Hopefully this weekend or sooner. Teanagers go figure! :eek:

Jeff
 
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Jeff Zaret

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Kruppy said:
Jeff,
Which CJ pre did you just buy? From your latest posts I'm assuming you really like it.
Kruppy,
The CJ PV10BL preamp is what I got. Not only a change from SS to tubes but a difference in sound!
I have tried to attach the jpeg from the CJ site but I will take a pic in the next few days and post it. As you can see very simple. What I gained was a greater spacial awareness in sound or maybe you can call it a greater soundstage. More bass and more clariy in the low end or maybe that is the Depth starting to break in. :rolleyes:
What I lost was a remote, an additional preout and a phono preamp section. I bought a NAD out phono preamp to fix that situation. ;)

Jeff
 
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Kruppy

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Nice!

Jeff,
Thanks. I've got the upgrade bug too. I have an older Adcom pre that starts to really screech at slightly elevated volumes. I really need to find something to replace it with. Please post some additional feedback after spending more quality time with your new toy. I'm jealous. :)
 

chipdivot

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Jeff Zaret said:
No not really. The blocks are actually on the edge and are not really doing a lot. There are smaller pieces of poplar about 1x2 inches on all the pieces there if you look real close you may see them. I found a place where i maybe able to get some Gabon Ebony at a reasonble price which I want to try but my 18 year old daughter, aka "the wallet leech" seems to be taking all the extra money I have. :eek:
I did try the "kids" block and they did work but not what I had intended. I have tried some oak and that was too bright. Since it sits on an oak shelf I need to try something different. The Herbie's Tenderfoot works great at stopping the vibration and I may get some for the pre and the cd player when I get some more money ;)

I won't have a chance to try some of these tweaks out for 3-4 months until my total house remodel is completed (everything is packed :( ) but do you think the wood pieces really help with any vibrations..better than isolating with feet, or a piece of wood with feet?

Thanks,

Chipdivot
 

Jeff Zaret

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New Pre amp

Ok even though it has been some months now, I have bribed my daughter to take this picture. As you can see this Conrad Johnson (CJ PV10BL) pre amp is fairly simple.


What I lost was the remote capability, such as volume control and being able to change input selections. Also, this preamp does not have a phono section. I purchased a NAD phono preamp which works very well. It actually sits behind the CJ so you can not see it. So the inconvience gives me exercise by getting off the couch and walk two steps to make any adjustments.
All I can say is the difference between the SS pre amp I had and this tube pre amp is nothing less than astounding. The openness and texture of the sound is fabulous. :D

Oh yes Dan, I am still playing with blocks :rolleyes:

Jeff
 
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Robin

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What a great set-up, Jeff... I see you have a pet dog... Does your dog appreicate / enjoy the sound of your system too? Our cat, "Holly" watches movies with us sometimes in our HT room. Holly, really seems to like the realistic sounds coming from the Ascent i's, Theater i's and the Descent.
I have not heard the CLSiiZ's. Are they as great sounding as Ascent i's?

You have a Conrad Johnson (tubed) pre-amp. What do you think about the Sunfire pre-amp (tubed) controller? I am curious, why did you choose CJ? As I am concidering a tubed pre-amp a some point in the future.

-Robin
 
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