Jump to content
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

my simple system





After spending quite a few years experimenting with various components, I finally have a system which satisfies me, so I thought I would describe it and explain why.


Speakers: Davis Courbet 4 (http://www.davis-acoustics.com/en/courbet-n4/)

Amplifier: Lavardin ISX (http://www.lavardin.com/lavardin-isE.html)

DAC: ECDesigns MOS16 DAC (https://www.ecdesigns.nl/de/info/mos16)

Source: ECDesigns UPL (with ElectroTos cable) (https://www.ecdesigns.nl/de/info/upl16)




The speakers are the latest models that the french company Davis has produced. They are floor-standing two way speakers, with a crossover at 4000 Hz. In the few reviews that have been published, they are described as "well integrated" with a natural, transparent, and cohesive sound. I feel they are particularily well suited to medium size rooms - living spaces which do not have the acoustic characteristics of dedicated listening rooms. I previously had Harbeth P3ESR (anniversary) speakers, and the Davis are IMO much better on all aspects of sound reproduction.


The integrated amplifier Lavardin ISX is well suited to these speakers, and is both dynamic and transparent. The volume control is very precise, and does not seem to degrade the sound quality in any way. A good power cable (I use TWL) is a plus. The amplifier is plugged in to a Daitron Isolation Transformer (the models recommended by J.Swenson for their ability to filter high frequency noise on the power lines), and I feels that adds a little plus as well. Lavardin is known for their implementation of "memory distortion" principles (see here, for example: http://peufeu.free.fr/audio/memory/). I don't understand the technical aspects, but I do feel the Lavardin is a very transparent amplifier.


The DAC and source, I will comment on together. The UPL reads wav files from USB keys, and outputs an optical signal. The UPL was initially using a standard Toslink interconnect to the DAC, but ECDesigns have developped a novel interlink called "ElectroTos", which basically consists in putting the LED on the DAC side. Its all explained here: https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/79452-building-ultimate-nos-dac-using-tda1541a-744.html#post6031506

The UPL is a "pain" to use as you need to copy your music files to USB keys, and I cannot "stream" (but I don't, as I only listen to my own albums, or to the radio). But so far, it is simply the best digital source I have heard - and I have heard quite a lot... ECDesigns will be coming out soon with a new "product line", which promises to offer superior quality than the UPL using a simple USB->ElectroTos adapter plugged in to any computer - if that turns out to be the case, then there will be no need for "optimized" servers/players - a small reveolution for computer audiophiles !
The system as a whole is not "high end" (read: expensive), it is simple, and I really enjoy it as it is very natural and non-fatiguing. All this I believe comes from the use of very "transparent" components. When I listen to music, I am not thinking of the system, but simply enjoying the music :)
I listen essentially to Jazz. A lot of what I listen to is not extremely well recorded. In order to "test" my system, I always play both very well recorded tracks, and at the opposite poorly recorded tracks. My acid test, is to listen to early Bessie Smith recordings (I can recommend the Frog Record CDs) - I can now say that those recordings have come to life.
I am now looking forward to ECDesign's new product line to be able to achieve even better sound quality (I have no idea how that will sound !) with the convenience of using a regular computer (or something like a raspberryPi) as a source to browse and play through my entire music colleciton and dispense of USB keys. 


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

  • Create New...