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A Sort Of Christmas Season Story - Just When You Think You Have Your System Finished.......A Sudden Visit To The Bank, and A 10 Hour Road Trip


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Last Wednesday night, I was looking at some available DAC's on Audiogon for a friend, whose system I have helped put together over the past year or so. He was about to purchase a used Lampizator model, which we had discussed at length, and called, only to find it had literally just sold.

 

So, there I was minding my own business and looking at some other potential recommendations for him, when the handy little "other items for sale by this seller" shows up on the far side of my screen. I glance that way, only to see a pair of speakers being offered that stopped me in my tracks. I'm sure that almost all of us have something in the audio world that has long been just beyond our grasp enough to forever be unreachable. And this was one of those for me. A pair of speakers that are limited in production, from a small, but highly respected audio company, which, at their standard price were never remotely going to be in my budget. And even on their very rare appearance on the used market, sometimes at even ten years old, the asking price was always easily $2-3k more than I could afford. But lo and behold, these were seriously underpriced, offered by a small brick and mortar establishment, and seemingly to good to be true. And I wasn't even looking for new speakers!

 

After a discussion on Christmas Eve with the audio shops owner, some insight into their history, and all the rest, I decided that if I did not make the move now, I would almost certainly forever regret it. Add that to the fact that my SET based system precludes the effective use of about 95% of all speakers in production, and a further 80-90% of the remainder that are sensitive enough, are impossibilities due to size, cost, or generally both, and you perhaps see where I found myself.

 

Most of what I know about these speakers is from reviews some years back, and a bit of word of mouth amongst the audio cognoscenti I have access to, though I heard these once demoed in a room at an audio show in around 2005. At the time, I was soundly impressed, but then we all know about audio shows, and hotel room acoustics. Still, given their perfect matching for my SET amp (and even a complete endorsement that they would be superb in my room and with my amplifier, from the company owner/designer/engineer, who had no horse in the race, as they were sold long ago), I simply had to pull the trigger.

 

And so, due to the fact that local pickup was necessary, as the store owner does not have the original packaging, I now find myself about to embark on a trip tomorrow totaling about ten hours, in a rented SUV that I pick up in the morning. I'm seriously excited as I write this, as I never, remotely, thought I would own a pair of these speakers. They should indeed be the last speakers I will ever need. They certainly come from a price category that is far beyond my means in any normal situation and not one I could continue to play in even if I wished.

 

We have had a nasty storm this afternoon, and tonight in Southeastern Michigan bringing sleet, snow, freezing rain, sleet, freezing rain, and eventually rain, in that order. All weather reports I have checked indicate that the temperature will rise into the low 40's, with everything turning to rain by 2-3am, so I should be fine at the point I have to leave. Which is a good thing when one must traverse portions of the Midwest in search of a sort of holy grail. Sleep may be a bit difficult to come by this evening as I head off to bed, but by sometime tomorrow night, the journey should be over, and the coveted audio gear ensconced in my listening room.

 

This is not an easy time of year to be expending significant funds on any audio gear, in my position, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet. And, as my old friends at Head-Fi always say, remember to consult the long term ramen noodle diet suggestions thread when outlaying a bit more than you should for important audio acquisitions. :)

 

And to all a good night!

 

JC

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All I can say is that::: Good luck on your trip. Please do update your <3 pursuit of the speakers. I just wish I have the knowledge of greate speakers, DACs, etc. I really enjoyed your sharing.

Cadela swims/moves/hears like an Olive Ridley turtle. She can't complain much, but can still audit audiophile equipments in her turtle speed.

 

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/olive-ridley-turtle

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Good luck JC - always better to IMO to extend yourself for something you really want than live in the "if only" world

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

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Fun post! I second Norton's wish - don't leave us guessing too long. Name of manufacturer certainly, and photos would be nice too. :)

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Subscribed just to hear how this turns out!

12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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Thanks guys, and here is the conclusion of the Christmas Season story. It has been a very long, difficult, but ultimately fruitful day. I left at 8:45 am, hoping the roads would sufficiently clear from last night's ice, sleet, snow mess, and finally returned home at 11:30 pm, after traveling the 45 minutes to the airport, and back, to return the rental vehicle. (Just for future reference, as I didn't know this, if you need to rent a vehicle for the day, but can't return it by 6:00pm, renting at an airport is the only option for a later return unless you wish to be charged for a second day.)

 

And so, I set out traveling to Indiana, south of South Bend. The initial sloppiness and somewhat slippery conditions were well handled by the very effective X drive on my BMW, on the way to the Flint, Michigan airport. I then picked up the rental SUV, a Chevy Equinox, which I had gotten knowing all wheel drive capability would be needed at some point, and because the rear storage with the seats collapsed measured just right for what I needed in cargo space for the speakers.

 

Fought through a lot of rain (thankfully the temperatures were in the upper 30's, and it stayed in it's water form). No incidents on the remaining portion of the route to Indiana, and I pulled up in front of the brick and mortar store about ten minutes ahead of the scheduled time. To my chagrin, the store had a vacancy sign on it and was empty. I called the cell phone of the "business owner" who I was purchasing the speakers from and he sheepishly informed that he thought I had the correct address, that he had recently had to shut things down and was selling the remaining equipment that he had in stock from his basement. So, no worries, after all, in the current climate, how does any small, individually owned, brick and mortar, high end two channel only really survive, these days. Plus, the guy I was dealing with was a Canadian who has only been here for 5 years, and, in my experience, very few Canadian's are untrustworthy.

 

So, I reroute the 20 minutes to his home, and I find myself in the showroom, of sorts, that he had set up, in the basement of he and his wive's fairly nice suburban home. The speakers are there, and he eagerly fires them up, powered by $25,000.00 of SET amplification courtesy of two Art Audio monoblocks. The listening session was short, unfortunately, merely enough to gauge they were functioning perfectly. This due to the fact that I was behind schedule due to the alternate address situation, and also because, after a lengthy trip back home, I had hired help meeting me at my house scheduled to unload them and carry them into the house. Not to mention the realization sinking in that they still have to be packed up, gotten out of the basement, and loaded into my vehicle, and these things weigh just under 200 lbs each!

 

I knew, up front, that he did not have any of the original packaging, but he promised to use styrofoam sheets and plenty of bubble wrap to make them safe for travel in my rented SUV. It appeared that I was intended to be his assistant in that endeavor, which, while okay, meant more time spent in the process. The big problem came when he explained that he and I would get them upstairs and loaded in the vehicle. Coming off four months of rehab, earlier this year, for two bulging disks in my back, and overcoming a nasty Sciatica episode, that wasn't happening. He said, no worries, I'll get some help over to handle that. About 45 minutes later, at a point when we had one of the speakers wrapped and ready to go, his friend shows up to provide the necessary brawn to get the speakers upstairs and it turns out he is 78! Now, granted, a very healthy 78 (and a serious music lover and audiophile for 50 years) but still. Somehow, finally, between the three of us, we get the speakers up the fifteen stairs, through the house, and loaded in the SUV, and I start to head home.

 

The ride back was uneventful until I reach my house at about 7:30, rushing to meet the two guys I had arranged to carry the speakers in, whose ages don't add up to 78, combined, unless you virtually double the combined total. And now we come to the tricky part. I live on a very steep hill, which, given that I live in Michigan is a lot like saying you are the best one legged sprinter in the Olympics, but still, it is not easily ascended when snow covered. And certainly not by any non all wheel drive/4 wheel drive vehicle. But of course, I am driving the AWD Equinox, except that I discover I'm not, they slipped me a front wheel only version. And honestly, what the hell is a front wheel drive only SUV even doing in Michigan? Or the Midwest, or the East, or, well you see my point. I do make it to the mid point of the hill,but the road surface is simply too slippery to get further, and trust me, you do not want to find yourself sliding backwards down the hill I live on, bordered as it is by a forest of oak trees all along the roads boundaries!. So I find myself sitting in a neighbors driveway about 200 feet from my house. Right about then, the hired help arrives, but they can't make it up the hill at all, so they park below, and walk up the precarious surface, equally melded of snow, sleet and ice.

 

Now my original plan was to simply drive up the hill, and then go up the side driveway to the back of my house, which would only have required about 50 feet of carrying the beastly speakers. Now we find ourselves 20 feet from my house, not to mention another another hundred feet up my side driveway before we even get to the point I planned to start from. At this point things looked extremely bleak, as there was no way anyone short of Marvel comic/movie characters was going to carry speakers of that size and weight all that distance. I then had one of my rare brilliant ideas. I recalled that another neighbor up the hill had a toboggan that her kids used when they were little, and prayed they had not thrown it away. Thankfully, it turned out that it had been kept because her husband sometimes used it to transport equipment out onto the lake for ice fishing. Using that toboggan, we were able to slowly move one speaker at a time up the remaining hill to my house, up the side hill driveway, and to the back of the house, allowing it to be carried into the listening room. Now, it did require the combined efforts of my two hired helpers, myself, a neighbor who joined in, and the wife of the owner of the toboggan. At various times people lost their footing and went down, one sliding at least 20 feet downhill. but, the speakers were miraculously held stable. It was quite an ordeal, especially given my ultimate concern for the speakers, and Werner Herzog has contacted me abut a possible film. But there they sit, now ensconced in my listening room, unwrapped, and in at least the most logical initial position. Things simply got too late, and there was simply too much exhaustion from the driving, the ascent of the hill via toboggan, etc. etc. Not to mention the fact that I still had a 45 minute trip each way left to return the non all wheel drive rental that, along with the weather, was responsible for whole mess at the end.

 

I am far more than ready to make my way to bed, but have been winding down by providing the promised update. And, you certainly deserve the remaining key details. The speakers that I have now acquired, as likely the best Christmas gift I've ever given myself, are the Coincident Total Victory II's. These limited edition, hand made speakers from Canada, designed by the brilliant Israel Blume, sold for $13,000.00 when this particular pair sold. A princely sum I could never have possibly aspired to. Even used, as these were, they go for $6,500-7,500, typically, in those very rare instances they ever appear for sale. And that is still an amount beyond my means. But, just this once, a near miracle occurred. And that is all that matters :)

 

Pictures to follow tomorrow, and here is a links for those of you not familiar with them. Oh, and don't be confused if you see a guy from Asia selling what he claims are the same model speakers, when, in fact, they are a much lower end speaker and don't even resemble the correct speaker. Good luck with that sale! Not to mention shipping :)

 

Coincident Speaker Technology Total Victory

 

JC

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Awesome story! Glad you and the speakers made it home safely. Your back breaking story reminds me of my various efforts throughout my audiophile career buying, transporting, moving, adjusting, and adjusting again very heavy full range speakers. This is one of the reasons now why I prefer monitors. However, my Sonus Faber Evolutions + stand is no less heavy!

 

Looking forward to your thoughts on how these speakers sound.

12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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For true appreciation of the taks at had moving those speakers, I should perhaps mention that the toboggan I mentioned, which we used for transporting the speakers up remainder of the icy hill, was a small version for a single child. It was not long enough to lay the speakers down. We literally had to stand the speakers upright on it, hold them in place, and make two entirely different ascents of the summit! :)

 

JC

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I can only imagine how sketchy that must have been! Pics would be awesome!

12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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And here is the promised picture. Sorry for the relatively poor image, but it's a very dark, overcast day here, and this room has only minimal additional lighting. Who needs other artificial light when you have tubes to watch merrily glowing in the dark while listening?new 123015 004.jpg

 

JC

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Last Wednesday night, I was looking at some available DAC's on Audiogon for a friend, whose system I have helped put together over the past year or so. He was about to purchase a used Lampizator model, which we had discussed at length, and called, only to find it had literally just sold.

 

So, there I was minding my own business and looking at some other potential recommendations for him, when the handy little "other items for sale by this seller" shows up on the far side of my screen. I glance that way, only to see a pair of speakers being offered that stopped me in my tracks. I'm sure that almost all of us have something in the audio world that has long been just beyond our grasp enough to forever be unreachable. And this was one of those for me. A pair of speakers that are limited in production, from a small, but highly respected audio company, which, at their standard price were never remotely going to be in my budget. And even on their very rare appearance on the used market, sometimes at even ten years old, the asking price was always easily $2-3k more than I could afford. But lo and behold, these were seriously underpriced, offered by a small brick and mortar establishment, and seemingly to good to be true. And I wasn't even looking for new speakers!

 

After a discussion on Christmas Eve with the audio shops owner, some insight into their history, and all the rest, I decided that if I did not make the move now, I would almost certainly forever regret it. Add that to the fact that my SET based system precludes the effective use of about 95% of all speakers in production, and a further 80-90% of the remainder that are sensitive enough, are impossibilities due to size, cost, or generally both, and you perhaps see where I found myself.

 

Most of what I know about these speakers is from reviews some years back, and a bit of word of mouth amongst the audio cognoscenti I have access to, though I heard these once demoed in a room at an audio show in around 2005. At the time, I was soundly impressed, but then we all know about audio shows, and hotel room acoustics. Still, given their perfect matching for my SET amp (and even a complete endorsement that they would be superb in my room and with my amplifier, from the company owner/designer/engineer, who had no horse in the race, as they were sold long ago), I simply had to pull the trigger.

 

And so, due to the fact that local pickup was necessary, as the store owner does not have the original packaging, I now find myself about to embark on a trip tomorrow totaling about ten hours, in a rented SUV that I pick up in the morning. I'm seriously excited as I write this, as I never, remotely, thought I would own a pair of these speakers. They should indeed be the last speakers I will ever need. They certainly come from a price category that is far beyond my means in any normal situation and not one I could continue to play in even if I wished.

 

We have had a nasty storm this afternoon, and tonight in Southeastern Michigan bringing sleet, snow, freezing rain, sleet, freezing rain, and eventually rain, in that order. All weather reports I have checked indicate that the temperature will rise into the low 40's, with everything turning to rain by 2-3am, so I should be fine at the point I have to leave. Which is a good thing when one must traverse portions of the Midwest in search of a sort of holy grail. Sleep may be a bit difficult to come by this evening as I head off to bed, but by sometime tomorrow night, the journey should be over, and the coveted audio gear ensconced in my listening room.

 

This is not an easy time of year to be expending significant funds on any audio gear, in my position, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet. And, as my old friends at Head-Fi always say, remember to consult the long term ramen noodle diet suggestions thread when outlaying a bit more than you should for important audio acquisitions. :)

 

And to all a good night!

 

JC

Great story. I did business with Isreal 20 years ago. He purchased a pair of tube amps. Real good person.

I had a much shorter ordeal. Sold a pair of B&W 801 Matrix S2 to an older gentleman here in Houston. I knew they fit fine in my Suburban. He said he had help and would unload.

I had to lug them down from my upstairs listening room and load by myself. When I arrived at the addresses it was an apartment building.

The "help" was two Asian students from Rice who weighed less than 200 pounds together. The speakers were for one of them. And it was on the third floor.

I had brought my six year old son. The guy I met was a music professor from Rice. About sixty or so.

The three of them somehow carried one speaker from the car to the base of the narrow stairs. I lugged the other over. They discussed carrying up, moving one step at a time, laying a blanket on the concrete stairs and sliding, and also tieing to the back of the two boys.

I knew from experience that the only way to navigate the landings and 180 turns between each floor was hold the speaker vertical. Laying over would end up damaging the walnut cabinets.

After 15 minutes of discussion I grabbed one in a bear hug. Then walked up the three flights and set it down in the living room.

One of the students laid the cash on me. I told them to do what I did.

I drove off they were putting the remaining 801 on the back of their music teacher. He called a couple weeks later and told me they got upstairs without damage.

I thought if you listen in a third story room either get an elevator or standmounts. Those 801's might be like piano's are sometimes. Come with the house.

 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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Great Story, but seriously, move to Arizona. It is going to be 70 tomorrow.

 

It was 70 in Philly on Christmas Eve. It was also above freezing in winter at the North Pole for the second time ever in recorded history, and is still above freezing today close to the Pole: earth :: a global map of wind, weather, and ocean conditions

 

If this stuff keeps up, by the time he moves to Arizona it could be a temperate rain forest.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Great story. I did business with Isreal 20 years ago. He purchased a pair of tube amps. Real good person.

I had a much shorter ordeal. Sold a pair of B&W 801 Matrix S2 to an older gentleman here in Houston. I knew they fit fine in my Suburban. He said he had help and would unload.

I had to lug them down from my upstairs listening room and load by myself. When I arrived at the addresses it was an apartment building.

The "help" was two Asian students from Rice who weighed less than 200 pounds together. The speakers were for one of them. And it was on the third floor.

I had brought my six year old son. The guy I met was a music professor from Rice. About sixty or so.

The three of them somehow carried one speaker from the car to the base of the narrow stairs. I lugged the other over. They discussed carrying up, moving one step at a time, laying a blanket on the concrete stairs and sliding, and also tieing to the back of the two boys.

I knew from experience that the only way to navigate the landings and 180 turns between each floor was hold the speaker vertical. Laying over would end up damaging the walnut cabinets.

After 15 minutes of discussion I grabbed one in a bear hug. Then walked up the three flights and set it down in the living room.

One of the students laid the cash on me. I told them to do what I did.

I drove off they were putting the remaining 801 on the back of their music teacher. He called a couple weeks later and told me they got upstairs without damage.

I thought if you listen in a third story room either get an elevator or standmounts. Those 801's might be like piano's are sometimes. Come with the house.

 

You are a kind man George! I would probably have charged them for hauling them up the steps. :)

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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And here is the promised picture. Sorry for the relatively poor image, but it's a very dark, overcast day here, and this room has only minimal additional lighting. Who needs other artificial light when you have tubes to watch merrily glowing in the dark while listening?[ATTACH=CONFIG]23032[/ATTACH]

 

JC

 

Very nice! And that's a sweet amp. I bought a PL Dialogue to replace my MD208, love the sound. Nice story, it reminds me of the old Laurel and Hardy film of them delivering a piano. [emoji6]

That I ask questions? I am more concerned about being stupid than looking like I might be.

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And here is the promised picture. Sorry for the relatively poor image, but it's a very dark, overcast day here, and this room has only minimal additional lighting. Who needs other artificial light when you have tubes to watch merrily glowing in the dark while listening?[ATTACH=CONFIG]23032[/ATTACH]

 

JC

 

How do they sound? :)

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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How do they sound? :)

 

Well, Jud, they are sounding quite amazing. At least once I learned that if you toe them in they become bright and shrill and addressed that. It is also a revelation having full range (or close enough that it doesn't matter) speakers in my listening room for the first time. I sat there listening to a favorite album of mine, Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms, which I have also often used to audition audio gear. It sounded stunning in the full immensity that these speakers can bring to bear. Nine drivers per speaker, and 200 pounds of beautifully designed mass can create quite the audio fireworks. I followed that up with the Steven Wilson remastered Close To The Edge and Chris Squires bass has never sounded so lifelike. And then, I turned it around and listened to a solo acoustic guitar cd, and finally the famous Joni Mitchell and James Taylor Live At Royal Albert Hall recording (much better recorded than the Live At The BBC one done a night earlier), and heard different ways these speakers can bring the music to you.

 

I also remain amazed at how well my amplifier can drive these beasts! Granted, I did my homework and was sure they would, but you really have to hear it in real life to realize it.

 

JC

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Very nice! And that's a sweet amp. I bought a PL Dialogue to replace my MD208, love the sound. Nice story, it reminds me of the old Laurel and Hardy film of them delivering a piano. [emoji6]

 

Thanks Bill. The Art Audio power amplifier is an incredible piece of equipment that I am only fortunate enough to own thanks to the kindness and generosity of Joe Fratus who made it possible when I could never remotely have afforded such a superb piece of true audio art. And as you noted, PrimaLuna makes some great stuff. That is their Dialogue Premium preamp next to my power amp.

 

I'm guessing you probably have the PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium HP Integrated now, replacing your MD208?

 

JC

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