System #503 (CLX Art)

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GW1800

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System #503 (CLX Art) Updated 4/2/2018

Member Name: Michael McCarthy

Location: WI

ML Model(s): CLX Art in Black Cherry and 2- 212's subs

Year Purchased: 2014

Mods/Changes: Added 30# weight on top of CLX electronic box - better bass, added sort fut to CLX's, Subs, QB8 stand and Rack.

Associated Electronics: Aurender Blk N10 using single AES/EBU connection / Special SE Bricasti All Blk M1 DAC with polished Still points and knobs - grounded using Acoustic Revive RGC-24 ground conditioner / Bricasti M28 all Black with polished silver feet and front buttons /Silver Tellus Entreq with Apollo ground wire & Everest / Earth ground to 8' ground rod /RPG - BAD ARC sound panels / All Nordost accessories - 7 sets of QV2's & QK1's / All components supported on TC Kones / QB8 base on a special base / 2-QX4’s / All Valhalla 2 interconnects except ODIN - speaker cables, XLR from M1 to M28's & power from QX4 to QB8 / T2 for subs & H2 network / 28 Sort Lifts /Mini 3 iPad / Furutech GTX-DNCF(R) duplex for main power in, hospital grade duplexes for QV2's and QK1's / LED lighting / NAS using Aurender AMM / Lovan rack

Actually started in 2012 with the purchase of Summit X's. I was in the process of installing Sonos throughout my home when at a Magnolia store in Chicago I heard a setup with ML and McIntosh - it sounded so good:ROFL:. Eventually found a Dealer - DaVinci Media in Milwaukee that actually had the speakers to listen too and from there as they say the rest is history. Eventually added two Decent i subs. I have since moved them to another room called the media room (System #504).

In the music room started with electronics from McIntosh MCD-500 SACD player, 402 amp and some very basic Nordost products. Got to the point that I was just sick and tired of being the manual playlist creator using my legs swapping discs. Thought that it was a good time sound quality wise to move to all digital. Went to 2015 Axpona with the mission to find a good music server and DAC. Ended up purchasing a Aurender N10 and a Bricasti M1. So far very pleased with the results. The results did not come easily however particularly with SACD metadata it was a struggle but eventually got it to display correctly in the Aurender Conductor app. I also spent a lot of time getting good hi-res album art.

The other thing I want to mention is the importance of proper grounding. As I moved from the Summit X system to the CLX upgrade I read up on this (here is a good article http://www.theaudiobeat.com/equipment/entreq.htm) and decided to do something about it. Ended up purchasing a Entreq Silver Tellus box in addition to a separate earth ground and could not be happier with the results. Recently added the new Everest update. Most recently have been very active to upgrade all my Nordost cables. Moved from initially Blue Heaven, Heimdall 2 and Frey 2 to now mostly Valhalla 2 and some Odin. Most recent is an upgrade from AQ vodka net cable to Nordost Heimdall 2 what a nice improvement that has been when streaming Tidal. Also a self designed support for the QB8 with Sort Fut and then the QB8 supported by TC Kones. That update made a very nice improvement in the system sound. Also put Sort Fut under the CLX speakers.

Comment on my rack - its a mostly glass plate design. I know there are better racks but with the Nordost Kones under all the electronics definitely helped and besides I like the look of the equipment floating plus the LED lights are much more noticeable. The last tweak was to fill the hollow pins with black aquarium sand and Nordost Sort Fut.

As you can see I'm closer to the back wall than ideal(2')and since I could not really do much to increase it decided to improve the sound as much as I could (One good thing I did have going is the location of this room in a basement with a cement floor). Researched and found RPG BAD ARC and then mounted them with LED dimmable lights rope around the perimeter. The looks is great but beyond that the sonic improvement was dramatic. Shawn from Da Vinci Media, let me use a spare flat panel initially he had laying around and even without ideal placement I could hear that this type of treatment was a good idea for my situation. So went ahead and ordered them.

Latest updates are adding Nordost Sort Fut under both speakers and rack, Everest to the Entreq box, moving from Red Dawn to Tyr2 on the power to the subs, Sort Lift under the Odin speaker cables and Frey 2 to Try2 on the CLX's. Very nice improvement again! Also just a note there is a 2nd ML 212 sub that is close to the right wall but in line with the listening positioning at 90 degrees to to the front sub. There was no room up front. Also its plenty far away from the listening position actually works out quite well. Not ideal of course but with limited space quite well.

12/16 - Latest update to put Sort Fut under the subs and TC Kones under both QX4's. Also changed amps from Parasound JC-1's to Bricasti M28's. The Parasounds were great but the depth of the sound stage got so much deeper with the M28's. I also got demo units of the Mark Levinson 536 mono's that I could try side by side with the M28's. Liked the M28's better.
Also changed the the lower rack shelf to accommodate the M28's - Fabricated a Aluminum 4 sided tray, black anodized and then had the out flanges polished - same similar idea used for stands for the M28's.. The M28's are just loaners until mine come in. I've ordered them to look like the M1. All black with polished feet and front buttons. For those that done't know the feet on the M1 and M28's have integral to them special still points. Also going all out with Nordost Sort Lifts a total of 28 units.

4/17 - I had knee surgery this year and because of it could not sit on my normal small couch so moved the lazy boy type chair into the sitting position. In doing so I had to move various other pieces of furniture around so did a PBK for the subs. The bass was so much better I could not believe it. The right sub was off to the side in line with the listening position and has been there from the beginning. Even with my Summits and Descent i's the one sub was in that position. Anyway this weekend now that my knee is better I needed to rearrange the room so that all the furniture fit again but decided to move the right sub up to the front. After a PBK session the bass is really good and the room is looking better as all the furniture has its place. In moving the sub up I was able to connect it to the Nordost QB8 instead of the duplex next to it. In addition to doing all this moving I purchased two power cables a Oden 2 for the main trunk and a Valhalla 2 so now I have V2 power going to the CLX's moving up from T2's. I also demoed a Nordost O2 digital and liked it so much I placed an order for it. I know this is not for everyone but for me the cables upgrades have made a huge impact! I also had a small 2'x3' chunk of sound insulation left over and in my experimenting placed it against the back wall. I could not believe the impact this small piece made. I'm going to do some more experimenting but and discuss it with the RPG people to maybe place some panels on my rear wall. Pictures updated to the latest.

6/17 - Updated system from the Entreq Silver Tellus connected only to the QB8 to the new Nordost QKore 6 connected to the QB8, Both Bricasti M28's amps, Aurender N10 and Bricasti M1. Did fairly extensive testing ended up supporting the Q6 with 3 TC Kones and then a black anodized pan with 4 Nordost Sort Fut. The biggest impact was in the bass. Also did end up purchasing a Nordost O2 digital and two O2 power for the M28's. In doing so I moved the existing V2's power to the CLX's and also the 212's. Also close to ordering more 2' square panels for the rear of the room. The experimenting I have been doing with some panels has been most effective. Also RPG is no longer in business so having an issue to color match what I have. Still working on this.

7/2017 - Have now upgraded to O2 XLR's to the M28's. I find this addition to be a really big change to my system -Just across the board they made a change all for the better. I have also ordered several acoustical panels. They are mainly for the back but some will be on the sides. The only thing left at some point will be the ceiling but that will be later. Also I did some testing on my one 90 degree corner making a makeshift bass trap. It worked surprising well so I ordered that also with this set. You have heard this before but acoustic panels do indeed make a big change for the better for my setup particularly the bass. Should all be here late August.

9/13/17- Well my panels should be here later this week and I also have upgraded to the Bricasti M12 which should be here next week. The M12 pairs up really nice with the M28's http://bricasti.com/en/consumer/m28.php The M12 has a network card to stream directly to it instead of the Aurender first using Roon. Bricasti claims this is the best setup will test and find out over the next few weeks. I really like the Aurender so its going to have to be much better to switch. The M12 has a separate channel so to speak for DSD Vs PCM that is also supposed to be a nice improvement. Also a couple of weeks ago update some power cords to the DAC and Aurender with Oden with nice results.

10/2/17 - So I got the Bricasti M12 http://bricasti.com/en/consumer/m12.php and have about 90 hours on it sounding fantastic. Can tell the difference in how DSD is being handled as its not converted to PCM like in most DAC's. I have installed all the acoustical panels and updated three power cords with great effect. The acoustical panels are mostly on the rear wall along with its adjacent wall. In the picture they seem a bit off color-wise but in person they look a lot better. I made some hooks that attach to two panels that slip over the existing large pictures. I did not want to remove the pictures yet in my testing they did have an effect on the sound because of the glass reflections. So came up with this idea to place over them when listening and when not to lift them off and remove. I'm facing forward so when listening never see behind me anyways. Also put a bass trap behind the left speaker in the only full 90 degree corner I have in this room. The power cords were updated from the QB8 to the Aurender and from the QB8 to the QX4 and then now to the M12. Also I added a grounding cable to the QKore to my router.


11/2017 - Just got a tip from the Bricasti rep to try vibration control under my router. I put a set of TC Sort Kones underneath it and boy did that make a difference! I heard the most when streaming Tidal but even with my NAS it was better. I guess it makes sense now that I think about it.

1/15/18 Have upgraded the speaker cables to Nordost Odin 2 from Odin. Can't believe the difference. For the cable doubters this last link in the Odin 2 chain really made a difference. There is more detail, faster and must more realistic. I would not of believe it would be that much with just those cables but it does.

3/16/2018 Update the RCA to the subs from Nordost Frey 2 to Vahalla 2 cables. Bass is even better now.

3/26/18 Aurender has an MQA update that does the first process of MQA the unfolding. The difference is very noticeable. My DAC still does not do MQA rendering but I'm told its coming soon - can't wait to hear what that does!

8/2/2018 Updated from the Aurender N10 to the W20. First off this is unit is noticeably larger but also considerably heavier - WOW! Also like the larger text on the two front OLED screens. For those that don't know this unit basically runs off of battery power that are rechargeable for all the parts that handle music. I'm still breaking in but the there are four things that I noticed right away and that are slowly getting better.
1. Better separation of instruments and/or vocals
2. Much better depth to the sound stage
3. Tighter bass even at times deeper
4. I'm hearing - here and there things that I have never heard before. They are little sparkles here and there but noticeable.

7/30/2019 Updated some Nordost power so now I have a full loom of Odin 2 from the wall to almost all the components except to the Aurender with has a Odin power (previously had V2 power) previously had Odin 2 interconnects and speaker cables. Stopped short on updating to O2 on the Aurender since it is battery powered for most of the time I figured it was not worth the cost to update beyond Odin. Also updated the power to the CLX's and subs from Vahalla 2 to Odin. In addition updated the RCA to the 212's from Frey 2 to Valhalla 2. All this just added to the already detail sound. The most noticeable change was moving up from V2 to Odin on the CLX's and subs. The most recent change was to add 4 Nordost QPoints. Two are under the Bricasti M28's amps - one each. However the odd thing is I had figured to put the other two one each under the Aurender and M12 DAC however that was not the ideal locations after some critical listening. What I found is under the Aurender it did not do much but what I did do is place two under the M12. The M12 is a dual mono design and so placing one under the middle of the unit helped but not until I placed one under each channel did it make the biggest difference. Also replace the cheap wall worts that came with the QPoints with iFi iPower units which did improve the effect nicely over the stock power. Did not go at least for now the QSource power from Nordost as I'm running out of room to place it and am unconvinced it will deliver much beyond the iPower units.


Also see System #504 the Media room


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twich54

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Michael, Welcome !

glad to hear of your good dealings with DaVinci ( forum sponsor), whom I purchased my Spires from as well !
 

GW1800

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TomDac - thanks for your comments. I think so also they got especially good once I upgraded to Nordost V2 power.

Shawn at DaVinci is great to work with! I've spend a boat load with him and its been a very enjoyable experience. Low pressure and great advice.
 

TomDac

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Shawn is awesome and has steered me in the right direction on more than one occasion. I'm proud to have him as a sponsor of this site.. Us Wisconsin guys need to stick together. :)
 

patsuh

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Excellent looking and style, how do you found entreq products makes in your system, we used to have nordost but concern us that it tends to sound tinny and less body than our transparent reference xl cables


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GW1800

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Excellent looking and style, how do you found entreq products makes in your system, we used to have nordost but concern us that it tends to sound tinny and less body than our transparent reference xl cables


Patsuh - Like I said in my write up I found the Entreq product very much improved my system. It was the darkness that was most noticeable. I think proper grounding is a much over looked component to a great system. Look at it this way we are basically listening to our incoming electricity all kinds of things are done on the incoming end with power cords, components etc. yet a good clean ground is very much ignored in audio systems. Yes components internally do what they can but as end users most completely ignore doing anything about it. In my case I could run a new clean earth ground also but in cases like apartments etc. when there is no opportunity that is were the Entreq box really shines. In my case the Nordost QB8 has a single ground point for all my electronics so it was an easy attachment point. Here is a very good article http://www.theaudiobeat.com/equipment/entreq.htm Also don't forget the Acoustic Revive RGC-24 ground conditioner that I have attached to my source which is not the Bricasti. I may of when overboard on all the grounding but all I can say it was well worth it for me and in the scheme of things one of the most inexpensive additions also.

As far as Nordost have not heard the transparent reference XL cables but being speaker cables I find of the three cables, power, interconnects and speaker cables are the lowest on the list to replace first. Not sure where you are with power cables but before I would even listen I would start with Nordost power, interconnects and speaker cables then make a judgment. Power has such a huge influence. What I do know is that Nordost plays best when the other cables are Nordost. Since switching to V2 my system is anything but tinny with less body.
 

GW1800

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Shawn is awesome and has steered me in the right direction on more than one occasion. I'm proud to have him as a sponsor of this site.. Us Wisconsin guys need to stick together. :)
So I take it you were from WI but then moved to CA? Where in WI around the Milwaukee area?
 

GW1800

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Thought that someone would of been curious about the KordTamer or the weights for the CLX?

Looking for opinions from CLX owners: The 30# weight is from 1/2" plate steel powder coated black with isolation dots underneath. I have heard at shows ML would often use sand bags to put weight on top of the electronic box to improve the bass response this is to simulate this but more aesthetically. Pricing is based on qty. For CLX owners looking for comments?

For Nordost users the KordTamer was to help organize your cables. It will do nothing sonically its just a looks thing. Initially I kind of hide my cables but as I purchased more expensive ones I wanted to see them as well as hear them. This device allows this. Made our of 3/16" Alum. anodized black. Again pricing will be based on qty. So looking for comments from Nordost QB8 users comments?
 

GW1800

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I see there are a lot of lookers but not too many comments?????
 

stereoman

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Hi Michael:
I've read a few posting from members recommending absorbing panels behind ML speakers. I see that you're also doing this. I've placed my old Echo Buster absorbing panels on a stool behind my Summit speakers and found that the midrange is more detailed and focused. Your endorsement of the Entreq is timely as my audio dealer is bringing them in and I plan to try them in my system. The photo below shows the panel and a brass weight sitting on top of the speaker panel. I have plans to purchase additional brass weights to sit on top of the woofer base.
 

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twich54

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I see there are a lot of lookers but not too many comments?????
well since you asked ........ can you get those beautiful CLX's out into the room more ? Having 'stuff' between and in front of ones speakers is never a good idea.
 

GW1800

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well since you asked ........ can you get those beautiful CLX's out into the room more ? Having 'stuff' between and in front of ones speakers is never a good idea.
Thanks for the obvious if I could I would of long time ago.
 

GW1800

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Hi Michael:
I've read a few posting from members recommending absorbing panels behind ML speakers. I see that you're also doing this. I've placed my old Echo Buster absorbing panels on a stool behind my Summit speakers and found that the midrange is more detailed and focused. Your endorsement of the Entreq is timely as my audio dealer is bringing them in and I plan to try them in my system. The photo below shows the panel and a brass weight sitting on top of the speaker panel. I have plans to purchase additional brass weights to sit on top of the woofer base.
Yes I did the same thing to test with an absorbing panel only and noticed the same thing - Shawn had one laying around for me to use for testing. However the RPG BAD ARC which both absorbs and diffuses that I ended up with I felt did a much better job. With my limited distance that I could get away from the wall this was a real good solution for me situation.

Concerning the Entreq box Shawn has commented many times in his visits to my home just how dark my background is. He called it the best he ever heard. I'm a real fan of these boxes. At the time the Silver Tellus was the best they had however I just added the Everest option and am very pleased. Now they have a Olympus box that supposed to be even better which I'm sure is right but can't really comprehend how it would improve on what I have however I do believe PO when he says the new one is even better. To me grounding is one of the obvious things that are very frequently overlooked. If you missed it earlier here is a good read on the subject. http://www.theaudiobeat.com/equipment/entreq.htm
 

Brad225

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Hi Mike,

I missed you posting your system or I would have commented earlier.

It looks like you have move the speakers a bit and lowered the rack between. Is this correct or am I not remembering the setup correctly?

I'm sure the RPG panels made a noticeable improvement.

Glad to hear your happy with the improvments to both systems.


Unrelated, I was able to travel to Mikes home last June after being in Michigan from Florida for a family wedding. My wife agreed to take a side trip through Wisconsin and Mike was gracious enough to let Shawn from DaVinci bring me there to hear his CLX's for a final time before purchasing a pair or giving up on them. I had heard them twice before with other equipment that didn't move me enough to want to get rid of my CLS's.
Mikes system sealed the deal within a few minutes.
Thanks again Mike.
 

GW1800

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Hi Mike,

I missed you posting your system or I would have commented earlier.

It looks like you have move the speakers a bit and lowered the rack between. Is this correct or am I not remembering the setup correctly?

I'm sure the RPG panels made a noticeable improvement.

Glad to hear your happy with the improvments to both systems.


Unrelated, I was able to travel to Mikes home last June after being in Michigan from Florida for a family wedding. My wife agreed to take a side trip through Wisconsin and Mike was gracious enough to let Shawn from DaVinci bring me there to hear his CLX's for a final time before purchasing a pair or giving up on them. I had heard them twice before with other equipment that didn't move me enough to want to get rid of my CLS's.
Mikes system sealed the deal within a few minutes.
Thanks again Mike.
Brad glad you saw my post of my main system also I have #503 on the media room you may want to check it out.

Thanks for the kind words on my system and glad to have you stop by. As you know I'm in a rather remote location with audiophiles few and far between. Company is always welcome and if ever in the area again glad to see you again. All of your test tracks I listen to frequently the bad news is the Super double bass album can no longer be streamed. I normally don't like organ or classical but I really miss hearing that one.

Yes system changes are new Bricasti M28's (they match up with the M1 so nice)that mainly bring all that the Parasound JC's did but much more 3D depth and wider sound stage. As you pointed out I reduced the rack by about 15" and moved the CLX's out and very slightly rotated them toward the listening position. Both I'm convinced had a positive effect sonically. Additionally upgraded the power to the CLX's and subs also installed several Nordost Sort lifts with also some very good results.

Because of my knee replacement 3weeks ago. I moved behind the listening position the red listening sofa and ottomans and just put the green chair in the listening position along. I always liked the ottomans for convenience but Shawn always said they needed to go. I then did a recalibrate of the two subs and the bass is so good now it's the best I have had in this room. This leaves me with a delima of what to do as my wife and I do like to listen together at times.

Now just waiting for Bricasti to update for MQA. Actually Shawn was here this past Thursday to listen to all the updates and we did a compare of tracks that I had duplicates. They claim that even when not decoded the MQA version should sound better and they all did. Some more then others but all better. Shawn has a Cary DAC that can decode and he is a firm believer of the new format.

Last time we talked you did not have many hours on your new speakers I assume you do by now. What comments do you have now that you have had them for awhile?
 
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