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Steve M

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  1. electric cars

    Not sure electric cars are yet fully evolved? Granted the Tesla cars have fantastic tech and acceleration times, however, the everyday km range, longevity and cost of replacement of the battery are still questionable making the resale value poor - there is buyer backlash in buying secondhand Priuses for example ...a quarter of new value in most cases? User reports are saying that while the manufacturer quotes range for Tesla cars at about 400 km on a full charge, in real world driving conditions and given brisk driving - users are reporting 200-250km actual city driving range. Which is not good enough is it considering it takes several hours to charge the car for the next 250km, that is, providing you can find a charging station within cooee of where the car has run out of battery power?? The advent of hi-tech small turbo petrol or diesel engined vehicles still compete well in the current market. Take for example the latest 1.5L turbo Honda Civic @ $38K. It will do 0-100kmh in 6.8 seconds, almost 60 mpg or 4.8L/100km and has a range of 700-800km on a 50L fuel tank when driven carefully. Steve.
  2. Well, Chanh (Tasso and Liam/Conchblower) are the men for me with computer audio. I have their basic ca build with SotM card and a $500 power supply with Hammond chokes from Chanh that is like his ultimate ps build without the tricks in the computer and Uptone/Hashimoto's in the power supply - but, nonetheless excellent to my ears! So excellent, that that is my main music source 80% of the time. Though I have to say that a dedicated CD player or transport+good dac or vinyl replay via Moving Coil stage still exceed that outcome ...if push-comes-to shove. Cheers, Steve.
  3. You might have to sell your kidneys and a lung kab! High cost of entry on the CEC DA 3.0 ladder dac @ RRP $28,000 Euro = $ 42,000 AUD. Still not as crazy as the MSB stack @ $150,000 AUD, I suppose? Steve.
  4. The thing is they don't seem to have a clue. That first speaker driver in the video is presumably the woofer, it appears to back straight onto the metal door chassis, they haven't even bothered to create an air chamber behind it. How does a woofer work without a resonant box, obviously they don't care enough to bother cutting a hole? I just bought a new car which boasts that it has a premium sound system with 12 speakers, subwoofer and a 452watt amplifier ...in reality it has no effective Eq adjustment (essential for car environment), not much sub going on either and sounds pretty average overall. The car manufacturers mainly respond in giving you marketable labels they can on-sell such as Bose, MacIntosh, Levinson, Burmester, Harman Kardon etc, charge big dollars for it with only a small lift in sound quality.
  5. As I am probably second to none in terms of experience with these units and to assist Gremrock about the sound of the various Supratek circuits and the valve varieties used, my mini review of them is as follows: 1. Original Syrah circuit with 6SN7 (commencing circa 1998), wonderful sweet valvey sound that marked Supratek as something special in the USA market. Word of mouth firstly in New York and then elsewhere in the USA via the huge 'Preamp Deal of the Century' thread on Audiogon, resulted in many (hundreds) of happy audiophile campers. These early and later versions had complicated servo circuits that were adjusted/biased via some small blue trim pots, sounded excellent but the pots tended to fail or drift. Mick removed them in later circuits. The Syrah and Cortese phono version at the time were excellent if a little bass lite compared to later models, they had the valve magic in spades though. The basic Syrah linestage preamp was renamed as the Chenin and Sauvignon in later iterations, with better bass and attendant improvements as circuits changed. All incremental though as the old ones still sound great. 2. The top of the line 300B Grange ($9K USD) came along a few years later ...similar circuit to above but much more evolved power supplies, valve regulation everywhere, cost no object approach and closer attention to phase alignment etc. I had Mick's personal unit in piano gloss jarrah and 24 carat gold plating - looked magnificent. He stopped doing gold plate as the price of gold skyrocketted from $400 an ounce to $1,200 (we should have all bought more gold in those days!). He told me recently it would cost a few thousand dollars to gold plate a Grange these days. Anyway, my then Grange could be swapped between 300B; PX4 or 45 DHT tubes for a different sound ...I sat with TJ 300B meshplates in them for several years and was as happy as a pig. Only changed to a later circuit on his insistence it was better, and it was, but only marginally so. I like the 300B sound a lot and in the Grange circuit it had both pristine clarity and 300B valve goodness. 3. I then owned a black Dual Cabernet with TJ or Shuguang 101D dht tubes. Sounded clear, precise and had a nice hear-through character, but I felt it was a bit lean and missing the soul of the 300B Grange. Here's a review from 6Moons.com and it tries to nail the sound of the DualCab 101D, and does so quite well - while Srjan's writing is somewhat eclectic/cryptic, I quite like the style of his prose ... http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/supratek3/dualcabernet.html 4. After that, I owned a Cortese with 4P1L valve and at the same time around 2015, I had Mick build me a Dual Cabernet with the rare exotic 71A valve. Mick's approach in later years was to design circuits that were accurate, ones that measured well and gave those perfect square waves on his oscilloscope. His feeling at the time was that the 4P1L had the best attributes of accuracy aligned with a DHT sound. The concurrent 71A design at the time had the same attribute of the clean sounding 4P1L, but perhaps had more of a 300B quality. I liked them all to be honest, none of them are flawed and were sometimes just different. 5. Now on to the current latest and best (2017) Supratek Cortese 6SN7 preamp. As I mentioned in my first post, I think that this is Mick Maloney's best creation both on a technical level (accuracy) and in terms of delivering the niceness that we expect from valves. To me it lacks nothing and has a scintillating quality with beautiful crystal clear detail, thumping good tight extended bass, a very open midrange, excellent tone and fantastic separation of the instruments and vocals within a wide and deep soundstage. I think that he has really sorted out 'correct phase' with this circuit, every part of the sonic spectrum seems separated and there seems to be no fuzziness around the voices and instruments being played. Btw, I am using a 6SN7 substitute with the current Cortese preamp, it is a 1930s NOS Kenrad VT-99 (6F8G) with a top-cap and used with an adapter base ...sounds really nice. Steve. Supratek Grange 300B DHT preamplifier ...exotic design with a Russian 6H8C/6SN7 + a 12BH7 driving the big 300B output valves. Total overkill and you will never see this in any other preamp on the planet. All the small tubes at the front are for the on-board MC phono - no step up transformer required here, full gain valve moving coil stage.
  6. In my current Supratek preamp said 10w resistor is sensibly hanging in air to keep it cool and with half inch of stiff lead out wire each side, it has zero chance of compressing or making contact with other components. Like I said the guy knows what he is doing, the trouble is some of them have been fiddled with by amateurs over time who press wires or move components around causing the problem. I have owned up to a dozen Supratek preamps over a span of 25yrs - no failures were experienced other than the odd valve rush noises due to gain mismatches, biasing issues or valves on their way out. One Syrah unit I sold to a guy in Fremantle 16 yrs ago is still going strong and has NEVER been repaired. The guy is a guitarist musician and he feels nothing else he has tried sounds as real to him on strings and vocals. There are probably 600-800+ Supratek preamps out there in the Worldwide market place and most people are happy with theirs - resale value of s/h units seems to be around 70% of new price, so that tells you something very positive about Supratek. *Anyway, can we get back to the sound of the different Supratek preamps and variety of tubes used which is what the OP is seeking ... Steve.
  7. This is a balanced viewpoint with no barrows to push, well said. In the league of special sounding preamps that take a jump from the norm that Al M is discussing, the Supratek and Tram2 stand out as something VERY special. I have heard some other preamps up to the $40K mark and I am sure they are excellent in their own right, and while I have not heard them in my system, I get the impression they do not take huge leaps ahead of the Supratek or Tram2. I would strongly contend that out of all of our audiophile components (besides your loudspeaker of choice, which has the greatest effect), the preamp has the most influence on our systems - so choose one carefully. I put my faith in Supratek ...like the Tram2 preamp it takes the leap to another level of goodness. Steve.
  8. Not saying its extreme short signal path like 47 Labs Japan for example, just what happens inside a small 30x30cm chassis results in short wires and a random look, but is beneficial to good sound.
  9. I won't go into the wiring debate again, except to say it is a small chassis 30cm x 30cm for the amount of unique circuitry that Mick Maloney has been incorporated in there. The guy has 40yrs of valve amp building behind his belt, and knows exactly what he is doing. With point-to-point wiring done his way you have the advantage of the shortest wire loom. Also, Supratek has a worldwide reputation for excellent sound with hundreds of preamps out there, and there are people with $M dollar systems using them. Besides that, my ears are telling me the latest Supratek 6SN7 circuit has the potential to exceed all comers - at any price. It is not fair for this topic to turn into another bash-fest. How would Earle Weston like it if we all started discussing his creations based on circuits or sound preferences good or bad? The thread is about people's experiences with the different Supratek models, isn't it? Steve.
  10. The gold Supratek Grange preamp I owned was pretty special and I enjoyed listening to it every time it was switched on. Out of respect for it I will just say the two are 'different' sounding.
  11. Dan, I have basically had all of the Supratek valve preamp models over a span of 20 yrs from the Syrah to Grange, I guess you could call me a believer. There is a certain liquidity and correctness of tone that has got me hooked. I am currently using a Cortese with a superp MC phono stage and latest 6SN7 linestage circuit. My preamp uses Lundahl and Magnaquest transformers, and can also be switched to be transformer coupled or to run in OTL mode. Yes, I think it is the best preamp circuit he has created. It just sounds so explicit and clean, but still maintains that nice bloom (openness) that we expect from top-notch audio. The older Syrah unit that you borrowed might have had worn out valves or was in need of a tune up? All Supratek preamps have high gain (too much for some amplifier match ups, to be honest), you mentioned yours had to be turned up to get moderate volume levels - this should not be the case for a properly tuned one. Also, I have heard the DHT TJ-101D tubes in both the Supratek Dual Cabernet and the Coincident CLS preamps and, while clarity and transparency is first rate they do sound a little lean. It is my opinion that the 101D valve lacks warmth and deep bass. I prefer the sound of the 4P1L and 300B preamps from Supratek over the 101D types. I hear from Mick Maloney that he is ramping up Supratek production again, so now is the time to get one while he is keen to build them. I can't recommend the new Supratek Cortese with the latest 6SN7 circuit highly enough - it is a beauty. It just sounds 'right' and I cannot see any hi-end buyer being unhappy with it. Cheers, Steve. PS: I have no affiliation with Supratek, just a happy user.
  12. BLOOM

    For me personally, Generichs/Peter is spot on in his comments about bloom and - aligns exactly with my thoughts on how good music should be made in the home. Please don't mistake his perception of bloom as a distortion artefact, it is not. The correct balance of the type of bloom he is describing leads to accuracy and a more realistic portrayal of the music. The only thing I would add to the discussion is that 'bloom' 'decay' and 'correct phase alignment' are closely related. Get these aspects right and you have hit the jackpot.
  13. I'd third that move Alistair! I think it's time for a colour change on my Orange DDESLs ...
  14. Not surprised it sold quickly ...they are possibly the nicest looking pair of ESL-57 I have ever seen. Art Deco looks, refurbished new panels and curvaceous legs set at the correct height. All for $2.2K, I doubt there would be a pair of stand mounts that would keep up with their unique sound (especially with vocals) up to $10K.