System #420 (CLX, Descent-i, Stage X, Summit)

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Well-known member
Jul 13, 2010
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Los Gatos, CA
Name: Jim Showalter
Location: Los Gatos, California
ML Models: Martin Logan CLX Anniversary, pair of Descent-i, Theater-i, Summit (for rear speakers)
Year Purchased: Many years, oldest piece of equipment is from ~2001
Mods/Changes: None

Associated Electronics:
Oppo BDP-105
Lumagen Radiance XS Scaler/HDMI Extender
Pioneer Elite PRO-141FD
Sony TA-P9000ES
Anthem Statement P5
Furman IT-20 II
Ebtech LLS-2-XLR
Xantech IR Repeater

System description:

All decoding done on the player. Pure-analog stereo/multichannel signals through the system.

Works very well both as a two-channel system and as a home theater.

We're fortunate in that our living room allows setting up speakers in correct ITU 5.1 (3/2) orientation and spacing, and no room correction is needed, despite the woodstove and pool table in the rear. (We move the speaker near the woodstove out of the way on those rare occasions when we need to light a fire.)

I've been an audiophile since 1971, when I wandered into Gaylord Audio in Concord, California while I was supposed to be in school.

I'm fortunate that my WAF is a perfect 100% (we're both engineers), so we've built this out together, and she likes the way the system looks as much as I do.

Equipment closet is off to the right and ~50' from speakers and monitor, which produces a very clean look and hides distracting front-panel lights to improve watching movies, but also introduces possibility of ground loops, EMI problems, and HDMI dropouts. These are addressed by running cables in individual grounded conduits; running LFE balanced instead of single-ended; using 6' HDMI cables with proper EQ and matched Lumagen scaler and HDMI extender; running dedicated 120V power in separate, dedicated circuits to the left and right rear speakers, center speaker, left front speaker and sub, right front speaker and sub, and flat panel; and conditioning the power for the preamp, player, and scaler.

Cabling is pragmatic (high quality, reasonably priced, no voodoo): Blue Jeans Cables for signals and HDMI, Martin Logan CLX power cords for speakers, Take Five Audio/Neotech power cords for Anthem, built-in power cord for Furman, commercial-grade outlets.

Equipment rack is Metro Super Erecta shelving, which is inexpensive, attractive, flexible, strong, mobile, and cool-running.

Media racks are from Boltz. Strong, attractive, and flexible.

Some photos. More are in subsequent posts (forum has five-photo-per-post limit).





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Nice to see another Sony TA-P9000ES passive preamp Jim.

Incredible value for the money and hard to find. This was the product of a once off project inside Sony from their HIFI Division to make a home theatre for hifi affictionardos, I don't think they ever did another HT project, since then it has been one box solutions from their Home Entertainment Division.

Great set up.

Ron: They are toed in, per the instructions where you sit in the center with a flashlight, etc. It doesn't come across well in the photos.

Big Jon: The center does very well on the floor. It's angled up a bit and smacks the viewer right between the eyes!

Krazikiwi: The Sony is an active preamp, just a very clean one (and with discrete logic no less). We have three of them, for fear that one might break and there'd be nothing comparable to replace it with.
Here are some more pictures. Equipment room, rack, and power and cables box on wall (fabricated by Protoforms in San Jose, California).






(Photos of Oppo are obsolete. It is now a BDP-105 instead of a BDP-95. No more fan!)
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And some more. Conduit run in walls, under house, and up into equipment room. Work done by Terry Welfring Construction, San Jose, California, and his dynamite crew, the Hernandez brothers.



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Your room could do with some treatment after investing that heavily into the gear. Nice gear you have at that
The open back wall and second story, and high ceiling, seem to eliminate standing waves. The carpet knocks some resonance out. Which is fortunate, because we don't like the way most room treatments look.
Nice system Jim, I see that you are using a Oppo 95 too , are you using his analoge outputs also for 5.1 surround ?
Such a beautiful music system deserve also a projector ? :)
That has to be the most room integrated CLX setup I've seen.

Fantastic job. Very, very tidy indeed.

WRT room treatments I have to agree with the somewhat negative visual aspects. No setup is perfect so I wouldn't worry too much. Some concession has to be made for aesthetics in a room like that.

Simply excellent.
Very nice system :bowdown:
Love the feel of open space..
Yes, Oppo's analog to Sony preamp analog.

Not a big fan of projectors--they always seem too dim.

Great system. I bet it'll by like listening to a giant pair of headphones. Regarding projectors - I've got a Panasonic projecting on to a 110 inch cinema scope screen. I've never found the picture to be too dim. Although I do have some light control in my listening room.