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About WindMinstrel

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  1. Just wanted to say that it's awesome to see this kind of thing Merry christmas!
  2. Yes, the M880's use two KT88's in push pull rather than the quad KT88's, making for 50W of power rather than the M88Qs 100W. I'm using them with a pair of WLM Diva Monitors. You can read my ramblings about them here. Suffice to say I'm still in love with the combination.
  3. Can't say enough positive things about my M880's, they're astounding.
  4. That "test" is bogus. There's more in WAV files than audio data, such as headers and whatnot. FLAC doesn't preserve these because they're utterly useless, and so the decoded WAV doesn't have them. A wav and a FLAC have identically decoded audio streams. If you want, you can encode with --keep-foreign-metadata but there's no need. If you want, you can run the FLAC test suite, which encodes and decodes thousands of times and compares all the output at every stage, but it takes hours and hours (and results in a confirmation of what is known anyway, that FLAC is lossless.)
  5. How low do these go, bass wise? Might be temping to pick up for a mates birthday, but he likes bass. Can't find frequency responses anywhere.
  6. No, I didn't, but if they're anything like the M880's, they'll be impressive. I felt there really wasn't a need with speakers like the Divas, 90Watts is a huge amount of power when you can drive them with a SET (which might be down the path many years from now, who knows!). That's also another reason I'm happy with the combination I bought; down the road I can use the amps to drive lower efficency speakers if I so choose, or I can go grab a 300B based SET or similar and go bonkers. So many options. I was born there, and lived there til the start of this year when I moved down to Brisbane for university. Still go back now and then to visit the parents, it's lovely up there. OK I noticed a pattern with some replies, so here are some pictures. Now, no one complaining about the state of my room! Click for bigger. I'm not a photographer, and my old digital camera has seen better days, so sadly this is the best you get. Click for very large images. Hope that satiates you guys a little bit.
  7. I'll do some cleaning up tomorrow and put some pictures up, sure. But the setup is quite crowded and really needs a bigger room. I've done what I can with what I have, but yeah, it's an interesting setup. I think I bought the last pair of Divas from Warwick, not sure of anyone else who stocks them.
  8. As I sit here listening to Ayreons debut album “The Final Experimentâ€, I’ve finally decided to sit down and write up my experiences and travels that have bought me to this particular audio setup. A few months ago, I made a few threads, feeling out what sort of setup to look at for an amazing two channel, blow my pants off setup. During the ensuing conversations and correspondence, I got lots of good suggestions, made some friends, met great people and travelled around this great country of ours. I went as far north as Noosa and as far south as Melbourne, all the while keeping a short little log of what I listened to and what I thought of it. I decided to type some of it up and condense my thoughts into a sort of mini-review/journal/journey or what-have-you. I'm sure someone will be interested. So here we go. My first step was to go to Noosa Hi-Fi, which was familiar territory to me, having been my father’s stamping grounds during my childhood; I’ve still several memories of sitting there on his lap while listening to the latest and greatest speaker setup. Perhaps that’s where my love for truly good audio came from? Who knows. I demoed a pair of Dali IKON 2’s, paired with an Electrocompaniet integrated amplifier. Not really impressed, didn’t take me into the music. The sound stage was all over the place, the mid-range was thin and overall unimpressive. Was quite surprised, remember thinking to myself "Gosh, and these are meant to be good? Hard work ahead of me..." My next stop was Northside Hi-Fi, where I had another sit down and commenced my listening, this time on a pair of B&W 805S’s, also paired with an Electrocompaniet integrated amp. I was left disappointed, to my ear they sounded identical to my fathers B&W CDM7NT’s, which while I enjoyed the sound, I was expecting so much more. So, I left and had a think and though to myself, well, perhaps I’m going about this wrong. I’ve been listening to speakers, while I’m aiming for complete setups. Perhaps I’ve just not hit the right combination? So I started talking to more people. Somewhere around this point in time, WarwickF contacted me and told me about WLM and their Diva Monitor speakers. Now, this sounded interesting! Front ported, real wood veneer, 10 inch coaxial driver? Oh look, they’re pretty sensitive too. And oh look, Melody amplifiers? I was intrigued, so a few phone calls later, I’m on a plane towards Melbourne, meeting up with Stygian and off we went to Warwicks to have a listen. After a fun drive there, we walked in and I was instantly amazed at how imposing the speakers are. I mean, I knew mentally how big they were, in pure maths, but looking upon them, they just… they’re really big! And the veneering, oh god the veneering, it’s utterly perfect. Everything just oozes quality from them, it’s ridiculous. So, without having listened to them, they were doing pretty well, but as we all know, it’s how it sounds that counts. Starting off with a Melody I34R (EL34 based push pull integrated), I was blown away at the sheer… you cannot put this into words. It just sort of just, made me sit and smile and try to contain just how happy I was listening to music. The sound was sweet and so utterly, utterly different to everything I’d heard previous to this. Moving from CD to some vinyl was an awesome experience, with another new layer coming out of the speaker/amp combination, just silky smoothness. I was sold on it, but decided to have a listen to the amplifiers I flew down to see, a pair of Melody M880’s (KT88 push pull monoblocks), initially paired with a Melody P1688 pre-amp. Jesus, damnable Christ. What a difference. If I was sold on the I34R, god only knows what I was on these. The monoblocks sort of picked up the speakers, told them “you bastards listen here, this is what you’re doing†in a surly British accent and then proceeded to beat the living tar out of them. Just amazing. Effortless power, the Divas projecting into a huge open plan room was enough to border on “holy crap turn that down I need my hearing†territory on some passages, and the amplifiers still had more to give. There was amazing amounts of tight, well controlled bass, deceptive amounts for a pair of stand mounts, enough to be felt during several tracks of my demo CD. But it wasn't all power. When asked, they just oozed beautiful silence, with just the right amount of... magic, for lack of a better word, imparted onto the music. I knew instantly that the M880 and Diva combination was almost certain purchases. The only problem, was that I was already quite above budget, and a P1688 brings it… well, yeah. Unless I wanted to stop eating for another six months, it simply wasn’t realistic. So Warwick went out and bought a little silver box and connected it up. And I was going “Hrm, bit of a difference size wise..."; The P1688 is a huge, imposing monster with an amazing black gloss, while the WLM Pre/Passive he was now connecting is a little non-descript box, made with what looks like anodized aluminum. It’s tiny, and has five controls; volume, equalizer, and three switches. Input 1 to 3, a Sat+Sub/Fullrange Switch, and Harmonic Wave switch. Truthfully, I was a bit dubious as to what sort of downgrade this would be and if I should just stop eating. And then I heard it. In the words of myself after we finished, “I like it better than the Melody!†(or something similar, I was quite excited as you could imagine!). It’s utterly transparent. You have a beautiful, utterly flawless passive preamp, with Bass EQ to make up for the natural roll off of the Divas, +3db to the high frequencies via the Harmonic Wave function (which is brilliant for some songs, and makes some sound a little bright and chirpy, but that’s why it’s a switch!) and flexibility for the future with ability to biamp/offload the bass to a subwoofer/etc. So, the combination of WLM Pre/Passive Control + Melody M880 Monoblock + WLM Diva Monitor was the standard, so down to more listening! The sound staging was incredible. I managed to follow the humming of a triangle as it moved around; I nearly fell over when Warwick passed in front of a speaker to change a track, I was so involved in the positioning and staging of the music. It electrified everything, pushing a three dimensional, fully fleshed out representation of exactly what was going on. I think this is helped by the coaxial mounting of the tweeters, because I’ve never heard anything like it. The simplest things sound utterly amazing. Listening to the introduction of Sæglópur, by Sigur Rós was a revelation. These bells, they’re so utterly, utterly beautiful. They’re alive. And the piano is there, with incredible tonality, you can just see the strings stop vibrating. Then you get Jónsi falsetto voice come in, and oh my god everything just goes berserk from then on when it comes to that song. Moving onto some more music, I bought out one of the more unusual selection of my test CD, a song from the Battlestar Galactica Season 2 Original Sound Track, Prelude To War by Bear McCreary. This song has such amazing qualities for a test track, it has some frankly amazing violin work, amazing drums and just a feel that something huge is happening and if done right, it’s extremely powerful. It was done right. I was left there after it finished, just marveling at how engaging it was. There was several sections involving drums that physically attacked me, such pervasive amounts of bass with such power and control was amazing. It was quite shocking, as I was quite familiar with it on several other system, some with subwoofer assistance and it never, ever sounded as rich and tight and controlled. Sure, you throw a subwoofer in there and you might feel it a bit more, but my god, these little speakers sure can put out some deceptive amounts of low frequency volume, and they sound so punchy. So that blew the pants off me, and we moved on to something different (Well, it was all strewn about, I’m just typing it up as I remember), I spun up some Ayreon, specifically the track Day Nineteen: Disclosure from The Human Equation, one of my favorite albums. Sure, the mastering could be better (god I’d kill to get a well done copy on vinyl), but the overall feel and mood of the music is complex enough that without a strong system, I feel it’s lost. You lose the harmonics in the voices, the guitars, the soul of the song. I was utterly floored at how different the song was for me. From Wifes beautiful voice, filled for the first time with a new level of details and warmth, to Best Friends soulful, conflicted opening lines, it’s just so, so stunning. Love makes its mark with a gorgeous, warm loving voice while a distorted guitar in the background made me nod and smile, just absolutely engaging. Truly what music is meant to do. (If you're wondering what I'm talking about when I talk about Wife, Best Friend and Love, they're characters in the album, each voiced by a different person. Quite an interesting concept, and I suggest if you like progressive metal you give them it a listen. Anyway back on track.) That was it, as far as I was concerned. We listened to more, but I’m sure you’re all getting tired of hearing me talk. Needless to say everything that was thrown at the setup was engulfed in the pure maelstrom of audio nirvana and spat out with a beautiful sheen. It was magical. So, a quick chat with Warwick, and I was back on the road, back home, to try and make some decisions. After my flight landed, I went home and listened to my setup. I was left feeling… well, it was a HUGE step down in quality and overall enjoyment. This was good, because that’s the exact thing I was aiming for. The sheer amount of superiority the WLM + Diva setup had was hard to believe. Just beat it to death. So after that, I went to COEM Audio and had a listen to a pair of Mark and Daniels Maximus-Monitors. I was left impressed with their bass output and high frequency response, but the mid-range was… I’m not sure. I liked it, but I liked the Divas better. I enjoyed the listen, and chances are will be going to buy some other gear from them in the near future, but the speakers just didn’t do it for me. So, later on, a pallet arrives for me. Oh goodie, I live on the sixth floor and have no direct access to an elevator. So, unpack the pallet, and transport everything up individually, then a few mates help bring them down the stairs. And boy my room is all of a sudden much, much smaller. I have a very, very impressive looking near field monitor setup, and damned if they don’t sound awesome when I sit back. They do need a lot more room though, without a doubt. They sound magical, but you just know that given a bit of space, and a bit more room to play with, they'll be so much more. But that's for the future. So, in summary: WLM Pre/Passive Control, WLM Diva Monitor, Melody M880. There is an amazing transparency from the pre control, with the ability to do whatever you want it to do, along with absolute control and beautiful detail out of the amplifiers. The speakers finish it with unfettered, liquid beauty beaming from them with a lovely enveloping feel that just makes you all warm and fuzzy. I love it, and hopefully in a few years when I have more than a shoebox to play with, I can get it set up properly and you can all come over and love it too. And if you don’t love it, well too damn bad, I do! Thanks to everyone who helped me along the journey, you all know who you are, I hope in the future I can be such a valuable resource to you in some way. Special thanks to Stygian who picked me up from the Airport and then drove me to Warwicks, you were great company and the trip down wouldn't have been the same without you.
  9. Where was it purchased from, warranty etc?
  10. Just how much of a difference would the SRD-7 MK2 make with my SRX-Mk3's, which are currently running via an SRD-6?
  11. I demoed a pair of WLM Diva Monitors in WarwickF's place, and as anyone who has visited will tell you it's a massive, massive room, they put out simply amazing amounts of quality sound, with an absolute shedload of beautiful bass for their size, and the amps still had a hell of a lot of power to give. Can't always judge a book by its cover, I guess.
  12. I'm going to sample some melody gear, specifically a P1688 Signature and an assortment of their monoblocks. Does anyone have any comments about them? I'm having a bit of troubles finding full in depth reviews on them that are in English. I take it a P1688S would pair lovely with a solid state poweramp. Considering pairing them with a pair of WLM Diva Monitors, which have a very interesting 6moons review done, but other than that, slim pickings review wise. Thanks for the suggestions, will have a further gander.
  13. Typical, I used to live in Noosa and the parents house is up there, but alas exams and the fact I joined only a few days ago mean I both couldn't have gone and didn't know it was on! I've got a message from SGR, will have a chat and see what can be done on that front, but exams are racing towards me (in fact, first one today), so I'll have to sideline this til next week sometime most likely.
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