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Big Dog RJ

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About Big Dog RJ

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  1. Yes mate, I couldn't just shut down the system, although my eyes were nearly blood red and half closed... Probably had 5 coffees in that one session starting from 10:pm to 5am... I must mention a special dedicated message to my good mate Kevin from Class A Audio. The level of service is second to none! He has a personal touch with the products he offers and he knows how to put together a particular system according to your finances. He carries a full range of very high end gear at his store and offers private demos, which I think are very critical, specially if you're serious about your sound and demand the absolute SOTA. He's got the full range of electrostats from Martin Logan, including some wonderful speakers from Harbeth, they are outstanding! Most of the higher end series, such as the new Ren15A's or the Neoliths will have to be placed on special order but the rest of the series can be arranged for demo. Also his demo rooms are very well laid out, another huge factor in critical listening, whereas most places I've been to are quite cluttered and don't have isolated demo rooms, except for a few. His range of amplification is also top notch, Pass Labs, Accuphase, Luxman, Jeff Rowland and Mark Levinson are available at your choice. Although I would prefer to see Conrad Johnson amps and I'm very passionate about CJ, perhaps one day soon Kev may also offer CJ... BTW if anyone is after a carefully used pair of Martin Logan Ethos hybrid stats, mine are available at Class A Audio. Contact Kevin and he'll look after you, it's worth going out there for a special demo and just to experience what the high end has to offer. Cheers to all and enjoy the music! RJ
  2. Hello to all, This has truly been one of the most important aspects of my audio journey, I simply cannot find all the words to describe how this experience has been but all I can say is that this is nothing short of marvelous, spectacular, outstanding, and just magical! Hats off to ML and their design team, they have put so much effort and research into a full range stat of this nature, that its performance is beyond anything I've heard and owned to date, and driven with CJ amplification, oh my goodness gracious! The CLX's arrived today in the evening, it took 3 of us to unload, unpack and carry into the house. Dam are they heavy! The top panel side is manageable but the end of the base, is actually heavier on one side and my arm was nearly giving way at one point... (it's certainly a good thing I still pump some iron!) The packing is outstanding and the workmanship is absolutely top notch! Not only are they stunning but also the way they've been assembled and constructed is nothing short of SOTA! What a huge difference from other stats I've owned, nothing comes close. This is real top level stuff, similar to other designs utilizing heavy bracing techniques, there's nothing short of mediocre or average build quality whatsoever. Everything from top to bottom including the input terminals tightening collars are superb! I have positioned the CLX's at the exact same spot where I had the Maggie's previously and managed to get around 4&1/2 ft from front wall and around 2ft from the sides. Distance between each panel is about 6ft, and listening position is 8.5ft to about 9ft. This is the only aspect where I would have preferred the listening position to be further away but boy do these massive things just disappear into thin air! It simply leaves the entire soundstage and performers in full affect right there! You just want to get up and shake hands with each one of them, it is actually quite spooky! I'll try to make this short as possible since I think I can go on for eternity... 1. Bass: I wanted to start with bass because I think this is actually one of its strongest points. It is tight, with superb control, start stop acceleration is nothing short of marvelous and most of all it is lightening fast! It is so fast that it comes and goes before you even think about the bass, superb, superb superb! 2. Mid-range: the depth and slam in the mid-range is like no other! It can play very loud and at the same time go so soft like a butterfly flapping its wings and suddenly rise again like a thunderstorm lightening bolt! The integration and openness of the mid-range is superb, nothing short of magical! 3. The highs: the top end is well extended such that it will reproduce whatever is on the recording, nothing else! It is so smooth and extended, it's highly accurate and provides every single minute microscopic detail of the recording. Therefore, if the recording has it then the top end extension delivers! In summary: The lifelike performance the CLX's deliver have to be obtained with the right amplification. And as we all are on the same level here, especially when it comes to high-end, these things are just phenomenal with CJ amplifiers, the LP125m's are simply cruising... KT120's putting out 125w of pure musical awesomeness in monoblock finesse. My room is not large and does not do full justice to these huge stats. However, they are so well designed, with the right placement and a few adjustments, plus some critical tweaking, they can disappear even in small rooms. They are not overpowering in any way whatsoever, they don't boom, there's no overhang of bass or smudgging of the imaging at all. What you have here is a full range stat that delivers anything and everything on the recording as faithful as possible. It is nothing short of "a true work of art!" Bravo and we'll done to ML, they have hit a home run with this one and shattered all barriers of stat design, refined it to its finest and produced a true electrostat transducer like no other. Cheers to all and thanks a million for all your support and great advice. It certainly was a pleasure! Cheers to the CLX Art! RJ
  3. Hey Frank, how's it going mate... Trust the Quads are giving you that special enveloping sound of pure musicality. You mentioned 2 subs... Are you planning on trying out subs for the Quads? If so why? What's lacking in the Quad bass?
  4. There's another chap based in Puerto Rico, Roberto, also on wbf forum who had ARC ss and tubes driving his CLX's. The moment he changed over to CJ he never looked back. In fact the amp he's using now is actually a stereo version of what I have in a similar topology with KT120's. He's currently using the Classic 120SE and loves it! Claims that his CLX's never sounded so revealing. I totally agree because I know the classic 120 quite well, both in standard EL34 & SE KT120 version, they are superb amplifiers, and will drive the CLX's to their full potential, no doubt. The Plinius is a very well designed power amplifier hailing from Kiwi land... It reminds me of the mighty All Blacks, it can handle anything! Not much is mentioned about the Plinius, although it has achieved highend audio awards and has been rated highly in TAS (The Absolute Sound) reviews. It is probably only the second ss design I would use apart from of course Pass Labs. These two combinations are very stable designs and will out-perform many top contenders regardless of price. Enjoy mate & have a good one. RJ
  5. Yes, this is not the first time I've heard this about ARC amps, lack of drive with stats or difficulty handling impedence swings of stats... Better off with dynamic driver designs. There's a chap in the UK whom I'm in touch with on a US forum (wbf) goes as Harlequin. I think he was using the Ref 250's as well and realized his CLX's were not opening up as much or what their true potential is. Later on he upgraded to the 610 monoblocks, and confirms this combination to be far better. Kostas is using just one stereo amp, Pass Labs XA30.8, to such a remarkable performance. Rated at just 30w pure Class A, its drive and current capabilities are superb! I've had no issues driving large stats with CJ amplification in the past and now, hence the LP series monoblocks will have no problem. CJ to me has not only proved to be powerful in terms of solid power supplies but also highly engaging and musically involving. So far I have found this combination of the highest level of musicality and finesse for me. It should be an awesome ride from now on... Cheers mate, RJ
  6. G'day Mr 57, Believe me it was no easy task or a walk in the park... The wifey is still not super flash about it but this time she feels that this will truly be my last! If Frank was reading this, as he correctly stated last time I said this, ah those famous last words... Not to worry Frank, this is the one and only I was aiming at for a very long time. The train does stop here and I'm getting off, it's not OK to do this kind of thing all the time unless you had unlimited disposal income. I carefully planned this, it was a matter of time when and that time seemed about right because I was told next year, which I was waiting for, the price goes up significantly! So this would have never happened... Anyway, all is well and they arrive on Sun next week, until then I'll enjoy the Ethos for a few more hours. Cheers, RJ
  7. G'day Maties, fellow audiophiles, enthusiasts, music lovers and fanatics, the time has come to proclaim my insanity... After a very hard working span of 3 years, sweat, tears and more sweat... Pennies saved up far and wide, and believe me the company I work for, really puts you to work long hours and manage ops to the core... I finally closed a deal on a new pair of CLX's. I would have loved to get these gems in that special Maple color but that alone was costing a fortune, plus 4 months delivery direct from Canada. So I settled for the Black Ash color and it actually looks quite stunning! Over these past few years, I personally auditioned several speaker systems, both in home demo's as well as private demo's. I made a short list of what I really liked in terms of ranking more than just price: 1. ML CLX's (my favorite all time, truth in The Absolute Sound). 2. Maggie MG3.7i (a wonderful ribbon planar design and superb value for money) there's no comparison. 3. Audio Analysis Omega's (quite a difficult beast to drive but with CJ monoblocks no issues, also reminds me of the old Apogee's). 4. Avant Garde Duo XD (a superb horn system that is totally transparent, effortless dynamics and stunning drive capability at a whisper. However, the most expensive of the lot). Having seriously auditioned these systems, I always had my passion for stats, and being full range stats is what I preferred. So for the time being I settled for the Ethos, which is a ML hybrid design and has now been surpassed by ML's new Masterpiece series. The masterpiece series is fantastic, no doubt but also comes with a hefty price tag. Compared to the Ethos, the upgrade in performance was only marginal in terms of the panel, which reproduces all of the mids & highs, plus mid bass. It is the lower bass that is the most significant improvement in the new masterpiece series, such as the Ren15A, and 13A the bass is phenomenal! Also the synergy between panel to powered bass drivers is more coherent in this newer series. I was seriously thinking about the Ren13A, until I heard the CLX's in a proper set up at my good mates place, it was like no other! Although the wifey proclaims I'm insane to spend so much on a speaker system just to achieve a particular kind of sound, the moment she actually listened to the CLX's, she knew straight away where my hard earned savings was heading... So with that I end my quest for speaker to amplification perfection. Many have advised that I should upgrade the preamplifier to either a GAT or an ET7. In fact I was planning on doing so but when this special deal came through, I put aside all funds towards the CLX's, I also believe the pv15 is good enough! The m8080 Mullards are truly musical and the match up with the CJ LP125 monoblocks are a perfect fit, one that will perform extremely well with outstanding quality on the CLX's. Da big dog is in da house! Woof to all Martin Logan owners and especially CLX owners, I truly understand why you absolutely love these full range stats, Respect! A very special cheers to my good mates, Kostas and Kevin from Class A Audio, without you I would have never been able to experience the CLX's in its true form. When I get them, I'll post a few good pics with a proper write up of how well it blends with CJ amplification. I sincerely believe it will be nothing short of marvelous! Cheers and best to all, RJ
  8. G'day Maties, fellow audiophiles gents & ladies... It's been quite a while since I reviewed the cabling and all interconnects in my system and was wondering where I would head next. I was using for a nearly a decade a combination of Nordost Heimdall 2 power cords on all components, Analysis plus interconnects on the phono rig, DHLabs Silver sonic air matrix on digital playback plus pre-power connection, and DHLabs Q10 sigs series 2 for speaker cables. This was pretty top notch in terms of great value for money and especially now connected to the CJ monoblocks, they were driving the ML Ethos stats mighty fine... Until I managed to further advance to the Nordost Frey! To me, in order to justify the extra spend, I feel there must be around 50-60% of an increase in sonic improvement and overall performance, otherwise it's just unnecessary expenditure. There are cables and accessories that can and will provide superb performance with the right system. It's a matter of trial... So now I managed to get hold of a 2m pair of Frey speaker cable and matched these with the Heimdall series 2 interconnects and kept the Heimdall power cords as is. I must say, this level of refinement is well above the 60% margin of performance, it is outstanding! There was a usual track I used to play back in the hey day on the mighty Infinity's called Fourplay by Bob James, titled 'Bali Run'. The opening bass lines on this track came out like no other on the Infinity's and Apogee's that we had at the time, again driven with CJ monoblocks premier 8's and the ART preamplifier. That same track on the Ethos seemed a little lacking in the lower bass and I was thinking about upgrading towards the new ML masterpiece series... Other than the Renaissance 15A's, which is quite a massive affair, the others such as the classic 9A, impression-11A & expression 13A, are all marvelous hybrid stats no doubt but to me the performance increments are marginal. After I installed the Frey's with the Heimdall's not only does the power increase along with several other attributes, such as dynamics, transient control and depth but also the speed and sheer transparency in all three major areas of highs-mids-bass, superb! The sense of scale is far more accurate plus that sheer speed and added thump, which is a fine balance of weight and definition is just marvelous! It is so fast on certain tracks I'm trying to follow the bass lines inbetween, it's come & gone! Now that I've experienced this, I can firmly say anything further to surpass this level would have to either be the Ren15A's or the CLX's driven full range. Speaking of full range, with ML hybrid stats I generally thought the bass is taken care of the powered bass amplifier but it definitely seems this is not the case. I think it's only that very low bass that is taken over from the drivers, and most of the upper to mid bass including a slight spectrum of lower bass is reproduce from the panel. Based on the crossover points, which is just one (keeping things simple) I didn't think that the main panel would benefit from such high quality in terms of refined bass performance. I guess it's the incoming signal, well whatever it is, it obviously has taken full grip of the panel in such a way that the speaker seems to be driven with one force rather than sound like multiple arrays /drivers, which can be annoying and distort. Anyone looking for something that will really elevate your system towards levels not thought possible unless new gear was purchased, I highly recommend trying out the new Norse series from Nordost, they are truly remarkable cable accessories that will amaze you and your system. There are the top of the line Odin's that takes this to the stratosphere of highly refined performance but the pricing is way out of my league. Perhaps those who have the means may be familiar with Odin, and if you are, all I can say is "respect mate" the Odin's are the worshipful master! I really don't know what the heck the Nordost team does with the Odin's but boy do they work magic in a high-End system. For me it is a once in a life time experience to have had the chance of listening to an Odin wired system. The other series, such as Blue heaven & Red dawn are pretty good but for that kind of spend, I would rather recommend DHLabs or Cardas cables. Once you have gone past the entry level series, and get to the new Norse line up, then things start to get serious and so does your finances... Cheers to all and those seeking for the ultimate cable solution, I've certainly found it! With a massive woof!! RJ
  9. Big Dog RJ

    Conrad Johnson "it just sounds right"...

    Holly Molly! Those are the Prem 8's! Awesome indeed! When I got your message and the pic, I just had to stop the press! These are rare gems mate, unfortunately no longer in production. We sold only one pair of these in our tiny island. The Prem 11, 12 & 8 are a masterpiece classic. Not only the sound but the looks, nothing compares to that finish and build quality. BTW, what preamp are you using and what are your speakers? Any chance of a listen? This would probably make me cry, it's been quite a very very long time since I've seen one of those. Brings back too many memories, all good though back in the hey day... Cheers mate, must be sounding outstanding! Very big woof & a meow from all, RJ
  10. Big Dog RJ

    Conrad Johnson "it just sounds right"...

    Yeah, not sure how the heck he got in there... But here's a pic of the other one who is a real lovable rascal! For some reason the little bugger doesn't go near the tubes at all, probably because the cages are off... 🔥 I need to get to Bunnings for some slightly taller rubber feet to accommodate the cages since the kt120's are much taller than the 6550's. I placed some smaller feet that I got from our own store but it still touches the tubes very slightly... Cats names are Bagel & Dusty (snuffles) is the younger fella. Cheers mate, better get back to it as the boys are running amock... RJ
  11. Big Dog RJ

    Conrad Johnson "it just sounds right"...

    Hey Roger, That's a superb combination CJ & Quads! Over several years I had the ESL63, then parted ways and went with ribbons. From Apogee's to Maggie's and then back to dynamic types, such as Infinity's and finally full circle back to Quads! My last pair was the ESL 2905, gave me immense satisfaction as well as immense pain when repairs were needed and everything panels fell apart... Managed to repair them and get them in full working order by the marvelous help of John Hall. That's when I decided to quickly get them to a more worthy person who not only appreciates the Quad sound but also has ample funds for repairs and doesn't mind the hassle. I just couldn't deal with them any longer and these repairs were amounting to big costs, let alone transporting these huge stats each time a panel fails. I've written all about my disaster with Quads here on another post and had very good discussions with many. There are still quite a few who love their Quads and have had no problems so far... I guess I'm one of those chosen ones... Whiles I was at my dealer mates place picking up the CJ Mono's, he had the Quads hooked up to the LP125m's driven with the new CJ ET7! One word "aaawesome". The ET7 is superb! It can very easily compare to the GAT but the GATs2 is the only one with that extra edge in finesse & refinement. However, if it was my expenditure I would go for the ET7, and what it did with the Quads being driven with my Monoamps to be was simply amazing! That depth and sense of immediacy in the soundstage is like no other. That special dispersion pattern that Peter Walker designed in the 50/60's is pure genius! Even though I now use Martin Logan's and hope to one day have the full range CLX's, my all time favorite stat will always be the Quads. If not for those bloody disasters I wouldn't have even thought of letting them go. The LP125m's are superb power amplifiers, they capture all the emotions, subtle detail and the most significant level of performance is the scale and sheer dynamics of music reproduction. It also takes the Ethos to further level of refinement. One that only brings the best out of your favorite tracks but also allows you to look and feel into the music. The amount of power driving the Ethos is perfect and a superb match. Comparing this directly to the Classic 60se, what I noticed straight away was the overall musicality remains the same, infact at any point identical I would say, which is a great trait of CJ, where all their amplifiers have a very high level of musicality. The most significant attributes right up front were the transient control and the grip it has over stats where it can accelerate and stop in a wink! Once stopped, the sudden rise time is so fast there is a sense of effortless drive where the KT120's are just cruising along... The depth in soundstage and layering is pretty much the same as the classic 60se, and I would have loved to hold onto the classic 60se but knowing that I will eventually settle for a full range stat, the monoblocks truly deliver everything that is required. I need to now figure out a few minor adjustments to accommodate the tube cages, since the kt120's are slightly taller than the standard 6550's... This is just to cover the tubes when not in use so that our curious little kitty doesn't decide to warm his bum on the top... Enjoy those monoblocks mate, they're a very rare breed... I know of the premier 12's well and we sold quite a few pairs during the way. Only one pair of prem8's were ever sold in our tiny island of paradise but then again for our humble country people the price of prem8 monoblocks was quite a lot! Cheers mate and have a good one, Big woof! RJ Pic 1: main system & pic 2: is of me giving the all is well!
  12. Big Dog RJ

    Conrad Johnson "it just sounds right"...

    At the moment, the system config: Preamp: CJ PV15 Power amp: CJ Classic 60se Digital source: McIntosh MCD301 sacd player. Analog source: Rega RP3 TT with Rega Aria phonostages & separate power supply. Cartridge: Benz Micro glider SM Speakers: Martin Logan Ethos All power cords are Nordost Heimdall series 2, all interconnects are DHLabs Silver sonic air matrix, and power conditioning: Nordost Qbase 8 with QX4 + Thor PS-10 voltage stabilizer. Everything rests on Nordost Sort kones to keep off unwanted resonances... TT & sacd player rest on Auralex Isotone platforms. Far too many glass shelves/component racks, will be changing these once we move out but fabulous sound for the moment... Cheers, RJ
  13. As their slogan goes as per above; I've had far too many amplifiers in various types of systems over a few decades. Previously owned CJ dealerships, started out as a hobby grew into a passion or as the good wife says an "obsession" which has led me into a varied from of character, one that not only enjoys high quality music but also enjoys the art of listening to good recorded music. Having burnt fingers along the way and leading up to upgrades for no good reason other than "must have that" syndrome... Has resulted in too many mistakes not only costing money but also hardships in life... After selling off the most loveable monoblocks I've ever owned by CJ, which were the Premier 8's very long ago in a far away place, I though I'd never be able to afford another pair of CJ monoblocks again. Several others took its place, such as VTL & Manley Labs, also Melos for a short while, until I ventured back into stereo amplifiers. The cost of CJ amplification was rising fast from even the entry level to the SOTA, prices ranging from $7500 - $35,000! However, once in a lifetime something superb comes down from the heavens, and if you're patient enough that item/s could well be in your living room in no time. And this leads to a quick update- Managed to acquire the CJ LP125m monoblocks! It certainly took a while but was well worth the wait. The amplifiers will be picked up on Monday and I know how these things capture every subtle detail with finesse, take full control over panels and have a superb grip on stats, they are simply outstanding! Would I have waited a bit longer to settle for a newer pair or consider the LP275m's or perhaps the top of the line ART 300's, maybe... But this type of power and expenditure is definitely not in my ethics of "high quality music reproduction". This can be achieved by careful planning, thoughtful expenditure and genuine relationships. Will post some pics once all set up properly in the shoebox... Now at least I can rest with ease having these beauties looking forward to driving a pair of CLX's in due time. At this point the Ethos stats will do just fine, as there are a few priorities to get through first... Cheers to all who own monoblocks, look after them well and keep that music live! Big woof! RJ
  14. Big Dog RJ

    Ortofon Cartridges

    Yes agreed to a certain point but this was the advice given by my dealer and good mate Rab & his team at CAV- (Carlton Audio visual): 1. When I wanted to upgrade from the 2Mblue to the 2Mblack, they advised since I had plenty of hours remaining on the 2Mblue cart, it would be more feasible to upgrade just the stylus. 2. According to them, there's hardly a difference between the two carts... Also stated that the biggest significant difference is the stylus. 3. Further advised that when it's time to change the cart, that would be a more perfect time to install a 2Mblack cart as well... And enjoy whatever improvement in sound it delivers. I was also told by my other good mate up in QLD, Caxton Audio, David Neilan that quite often a stylus on its own can cost more than the cart itself! And which was the case with the 2Mblack... I also did some research on the types of Ortofon's, and they recommend the stylus upgrade from a 2Mblue to a 2Mblack stylus fitted to a 2Mblue cart, will yield better performance but not the other way round... So it seems to have worked very well so far without any problems and plenty of hours remaining in good health. That's about it, RJ
  15. Big Dog RJ

    Ortofon Cartridges

    Sorry about that gentleman, I completely missed the asking price, this is what happens when you get tad bit older... Prices have been indicated now, and as I mentioned before theses are both in very good condition with plenty of hours remaining. I look after my equipment extremely well, and all gear is covered with either pillow covers or original covers that come with speakers. These covers come off only during my off days, hence most of the time the system is covered warm & snug... Just to let you know, both stylus have been fully cleaned using the ultrasonic stylus cleaner from HiFlux. Thanks for your interest, RJ
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