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Big Dog RJ

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  1. Thanks for the info and update on this testing device Con, much appreciated. I remember when at the time I was just about to finalise on the amplifiers, there were a pair of CJ LP275's on offer. Now these are the big boys, double the layout of output tubes, input and driver/phase inverter stages were pretty much the same but output tube replacement costs were similar to the 2 grand mark, as in your amps... Quite sometime back I also had the mighty VTL's and Manley Labs reference 350's, again 16 or so output tubes to replace... More suited for difficult loads, such as Infinity's, Thiels & Dunlevey's, Apogee's and older Martin Logan's. Now with the CLX's that have far higher efficiency, all they need to perform well is stable current drive, which the LP125m's are more than adequate to drive, control and grip the stats to their full potential. So it's a good thing my output tube replacement cost is actually quite manageable. Not even the whole tube replacement set is as much. If and when testing is emminent, I usually send the tubes upto QLD for testing, since they use a very similar gadget that's able to give reliable readings. Also prior to ordering I always get "Quad-matched" tubes in sets of two, simply because each monoblock only requires 4 output tubes. Way less maintenance costs compared to 8 or 16 output tubes per side! Plus the smaller ones, it all adds up... I'm still curious though, it looks like a marvellous gadget, especially with digital readings. Very cool! 😎 I may look into it and give it some thought... Cheers for that, RJ
  2. Hey Con, That gadget looks very interesting, especially if it identifies the health of tubes... Few questions: 1. What is this thing called and the brand? 2. Where can I get one? 3. Does it identify those typical parameters for tubes? Such as, Plate/grid current, MA rating, etc... 4. So within certain readings, it should identify whether a tube is no good or not? 5. If good, then how long more can that tube be used, before failure? 6. I'm assuming it can also test out input, driver, phase inverter, rectifier and main output tubes? Can this device test all of these types or only certain types? Each time one of the monoblocks tubes start playing up, I have to trial and error which tube, takes awhile but eventually I find the culprit. Having this gadget seems like a must have device for anyone using tubed pre-power in their systems. Now I have an additional 3 more tubes in the chain after acquiring the CJ phonostage. Would certainly be wonderful to be able to check tubes without having to replace them unnecessarily... Would like to know your advice and feedback. Thanks mate, RJ
  3. I must point out a few critical points for Quad owners, and stat enthusiasts in general. Having owned and lived with a majority of panels my entire audio journey, which has been mostly Apogee's, Maggies, Quads and now CLX's, I must say there are some areas that Quads can do remarkably well than all of these put together. Just to recap, I sincerely don't think Quad has really improved since the 2912, after that there's no model...? There is something in the making of an eight stat panel, which is two extra panels over the 2912 & 2905, supposed to be much taller, same width and still coming out of China. Was scheduled to be launched at the 2019 Munich high end audio show, not sure whether it has materialised as yet... I've posted on several occasions of the major disasters I had with them and something I would like to point out: when you take a closer look at the pic, you will see Sanecore Co. Ltd., they are one of the biggest manufacturers for the audio transformers that are Now used in all Quad stats. They are also part of the IAG Group who own Quad. When we took apart the speakers for repair, including the 2912, nothing much has changed. The wiring is very very basic, the quality of workmanship is very mediocre, and as we got closer to the heart of the design, we could clearly see what an appalling job overall. BUT the design is good, better layout in the 2912 compared to the 2905, easier to access for service, however that's about it! The overall parts internally are so average, poor quality that at the end I was actually in tears... For what I had paid, overall for the speakers plus numerous panel failures and transformers failing, there's really no point in mentioning the price. On the positive side, the "outer structure" is top notch! The added aluminium bracing, solid steel frame and high quality spikes, just marvellous! This equalls to an added weight of nearly 50kg with the extra 10kg plate that is bolted under the base of the speaker, all very well thought of. Why the heck couldn't they have given a bit more thought into the internal parts, I wonder... To this day! Also why such a high price when their entire manufacturing is coming out of China, why? I would think overseas production would keep costs low as possible and reach the masses or access to more stat lovers but QC is a huge issue. Both of us looked at the internal parts for a good length, we also compared notes with nearly every other person who knows Quads in & out, and all of us shook our heads, just shocked at the quality, no where close to the original British parts used back in the day of the ESL63. There were never transformer failures, perhaps minor issues in terms of arcing, over driving and things of that nature but nothing like this. And this is what lead to the redesign of the original Quads. Now we have PK Quads, another group in Germany and a very professional group of people in the US who refurb Quads using stacked 57's which sound superb! The materials and parts, attention to detail and quality workmanship are second to none! And so the Quad name lives on along with that legendary sound, which no other speakers have. Speaking of legendary sound, the Quads have a very unique dispersion pattern. Cleaverly executed by the genius legend himself, Peter Walker. PW incorporated the concentric anode rings along with delay coils, so the signal seems to travel in a ripple effect, similar to throwing a pebble in a pond. This creates a point source, rather than a line source and launches into a spherical form rather than a big wave, like most other panels. Simply due to this delay- ripple effect, mysteriously makes the speakers disappear in thin air, creating the signal from behind the speakers, and projecting a full 3D life like soundstage depth that no other speaker can match. This is the greatest strength of the Quads and if they didn't give me trouble, for what I had paid for endless repairs, I would have kept them still to this day, regardless of owning CLX's or not. I kept only one of these transformers just to remind me of the Quads, comparing to the much older ones made in England, no comparison, period! This one close up holding it in your hand, looks like something they found in the toy aisle at KMart... Anyway, enough said on that note. For those of you who are still using Quads as the original pair, without any flaws so far... Are extremely lucky! It looks like your pair got a good chap / lady to properly check on QC. For those who wish to get access to these professionals who can refurb Quads into the legendary sound they can reproduce, go for it! Obviously finances permitting, they can be completely refurbed from top to bottom with far superior parts, including the PK Quad panels, which are far more sturdier than any Quad panel coming out of China. Whether manufactured in China is a good thing or bad thing, I really don't have that answer. All I can say is the materials used on the inside are definitely not upto par with the materials and quality on the outside, that's my honest observation and hands on experience. Obviously J Hall has repaired numerous Quads over decades, whereas I had experienced just these two with major repairs, and they were both the 2905 & 2912. I truly and sincerely hope that IAG Group would take this more seriously and because they simply don't seem to understand the passion of music being reproduced through stats, and these are wonderful full range stats. Cheers to Quads! And cheers to the legend and genius, P Walker 🍻 RJ
  4. Definitely something to experience, no doubt. If you want to experience the Neoliths, they're currently available in Sydney. You'd have to contact the main dealer for Audio Active to set up a demo, worth experiencing that sheer size of stat speed and agility in the bass. It's a bloody massive panel, makes all other hybrids look like toys. Only the CLX's can compete in terms of height and width, but definitely not weight, especially in the LF range, that's some serious bass! I'm not sure who's the importer for YG Acoustics, I don't think there are any Anatt III systems available here on demo. I'm not even sure if there are any SF Aida's here either on demo or even a ML Statement system for that matter. You know G-man, the funny thing is, although these lofty systems were very impressive with mighty price tags, there's something in the overall "type of sound" that we prefer. Similarly to your experience with Mac gear, I always find myself going full circle back to CJ, no matter what! No doubt I would love to get my hands on a pair of Relentless monos by Dan'D (my favourite of all SS) or the top line monos from Jeff Rowland but there's just something that draws me into the music when a system is powered by CJ amps. I don't know what it is, I guess it's a personal preference... Or a fetish! The Relentless amps look like the "mothership" of all SS amps, starting at a whopping 1500w at 8ohms, and goes upto 6000w on 2ohms, this is a serious level of power, which may not be needed at all but what it does in terms of "amplification", there's nothing quite like it. Having auditioned these mighty gems driving the MG30.7's was the direction towards my very first write up, which was definitely one heck of a ride! YG Acoustics, SF Aida's, Neoliths, and so on, are very lofty prices. Sometimes I just wonder how much for and if it's all worth the expenditure, even if it's just to gain a small percentage in improvement. Then again how do we define "improvement". That's something I cannot answer, simply because my listening criteria are very different to others, and not one set of parameters are ever the same- preamps, cables, interconnects, ancillary gear and room, are totally different! I was very tempted though, just looking at the ARC M160's and the CJ LP275m's. In fact a pair of LP275's were actually sold off in QLD, that was probably the only pair! The ARC M160's are stunning! Just a beautiful design and well laid out with the new KT150's. Those fancy meters on the front plate look something like from Star Wars. But then whenever I stand next to a pair of CJ ART300's, I just melt... The overall look and design is more old school compared with the new gear, and would cost around 60 grand just for amplifiers! With that in mind, I'm not interested to dump that kind of money, I rather upgrade everything I possibly can with what I currently have. So far based on the amps, that would include, Teflon & computer grade film caps, Vishay resistors and metal foil resistors, plus a further upgrade of the C1 cap layout. This definitely doesn't cost a fortune and won't break the bank nor rupture a hernia in my left nut... just a couple grand, which makes far more sense for me to justify the performance improvement by that extra 20-30%, if at all... I even recall the TT rig these systems had, all in the range of 90-150 grand including the phonostages. As I sit and try to compare notes, with my humble RP8 TT rig... I'm thinking this is the bullocks! Is this true ultimate gear or what? And then the chap playing acoustic guitar on the sidewalk "unamplified" sounds marvellous! Surpasses all high-end systems. Afterall that was live! And I'm trying to compare with "recorded" music, which comes in some form of a source, CD, LP, digital file... Whatever it is, it will never replace the actual live event. The physics is completely different and the whole playback chain is totally different to live level- feed mics, in signals being recorded and what is actually been played back... Having said that, I'm just damn happy with what I've got and I'm enjoying it to the fullest! Like I've always said, just enjoy your music on whatever system you can put together, in whatever shape size or form, as long as you're content! Cheers bud, 🍻 RJ
  5. As my recent travels offered new experiences in some top line gear, just to mention briefly my three favourites: 1. YG Acoustics Anatt-III driven by the new ARC M160 monos- superb! 2. MG30.7's driven by Jeff Rowland top of the line monoblocks, another superb presentation. 3. Sonus Faber Aida, driven by the same ARC M160's, outstanding! 4. Martin Logan Neolith & Renaissance 15A, driven by Pass Labs XS 300 series monoblocks. Talk about overkill in terms of amplification but oh boy! what a powerful and beautiful performance of reproduced music, way above what I previously heard in another location earlier this year in Feb. 5. CLX's driven by the wonderful CJ ART300's, still my overall favourite and perhaps dream amplifiers to one day own, just about half way there... Although as stated "three of my favourites" and then I've actually listed 5 systems; the first three were outstanding and these are totally separate to stats, therefore I was able to experience and learn from them without any bias towards my overall preference, which still are the CLX's. The SF Aida's are huge! Big tall slender speakers with drop dead gorgeous cabinets. I just enjoyed looking at them whiles amplifiers were being changed over. Then comes along the YG Acoustics Anatt-III's and woah, lookout! Another very big affair, once again driven by the the superb ARC M160 monoblocks, fantastic control and grip on the Anatt's, effortless and flawless presentation! Absolutely nothing to fault, other than the recording and the KT150's handle these flawlessly. A very well designed and superbly "balanced" sound. So those were fairly big... And then comes along Godzilla, the ML Neolith, definitely not for the faint hearted, hell no! Massive panel, which is a hybrid design between some extremely fast dynamic drivers. I'm not exactly sure how ML matches the speed, I guess a lot to do with DSP, digital filters and Anthem Room Correction software, whatever it is, this particular hybrid has been developed into the future. Apart from the Ren 15A, which is also a very well balanced presentation of power and finesse, ML's biggest stat panel to date is the Neolith, definitely lager in stat surface area than the Statements. Now this is one phenomenal hybrid I would like to own, however considering the price range of these lofty systems, looking at the Aida's, Anatt's, and Neoliths, starting around 140 to 160 grand just for speakers, gets me thinking about amplification... Another 100 grand plus! So with that said, forget it! Not in my capacity and current finances. However, having heard a very similar system with the CLX's, driven by the ART300's, and then on this occasion the LP275m's (one version up to what I'm currently using-LP125m), I must say, for much less than having to spend on an equivalent of a luxury car, or a house, the sound I experienced from the CLX's was mighty fine! Obviously it did not have any of that earth shattering bass and solid mid-bass slam, the truth in sound mostly excells in the mid-range to highs, and for me, the bottom end detail is more than adequate. Having just acquired the CJ phonostage, which is the TEA2SE, and now that the LP125 monos have been fully serviced, the overall naturalness and musicality is delivered crystal clear, in a very pure manner, that is not artificially enhanced by subs, or added LF drivers to obtain that extra kick! Just once in awhile it's marvellous to experience these system configs and different combinations, in order to get a different perspective of recorded music. At this stage, the only thing left is the final upgrade on the monoblocks, which are the C1 capacitor upgrades that will cost a fair bit but in my opinion fully worth, simply because these amps are no longer made. When finally done, they will be one of a kind, and I intend to keep them as long as I can afford to maintain tubes. Hence, at the end of the day, I may not require the ART300's, these will be just about as fine, with around 200w of less power which the CLX's don't require. So that's a good thing! Within the next month or two, I'll be able to tell how much of a significant improvement there is. Hoping it will be at least in the range of around 30-40%, otherwise I would find it difficult to justify the extra spend... Until then, cheers to all and have a good one, enjoy those tunes! RJ
  6. Hey G-man, Great to hear that your 30.7's are improving... And in no time you'll be enjoying some very fine tunes! Having taken delivery of the Maggies only in May, around this time Aug/Sep things will improve further. Now it's just a matter of getting the placement right, afterall multiple panels will have multiple placement options. All the best and keep discovering, will be there sometime soon for another listen when all is finalised at our new place... On the way! Cheers, have a good one matey, RJ
  7. G-man, just enjoy the music and you'll be fine. Relax and take it easy mate. Life's too short... Remember you're the one who said that? Cheers and keep smiling 😊 Take a load off bud, RJ
  8. Its all on the ML website, including the white papers on the Statements. Why do you think I always head to Spore once a year, and although my mate has the Infinity's IRSv, CLX's, Alsyvox and had Maggies, which were sold off, we always end up listening to the Statements just for that wonderful experience. They are a very high maintenance panel, and require an awful lot of care by a team who knows about such designs. Over the years ML has evolved their materials towards tighter tolerances and far greater rigidness compared to their previous wooden frames. Now their frames are all made from carbon alloy or aircraft grade alloys. The CLX's alone have 6 different alloys in them, that's what makes them special and they've gone a step further towards the mighty Neoliths, which I've also had the pleasure of listening to. It's the Neolith that has now replaced the Statements, simply because the statements are not a viable project. Remember the Concord? What an amazing aircraft, and what do we have now? Average Boeing's falling out of the sky... Anyway, enough said, I'm off. Have a good one, RJ
  9. Just for fun, I was actually thinking: if mags did put out a new version just now and called it 30.7i and you were freaking out, as is clearly the case... Head out to Byron Bay and use the bass panels as surf boards! I know it'll work! Sadly the CLX's didn't work, simply because of the micro-perf stators, far too many holes in them... Maybe I'll pass this message onto ML and suggest a slight mod. Cheers, matey RJ
  10. BTW G-man this is not about ML. Once again a slight derailment... If you want to compare ML with Maggies I'm happy to do so anytime anywhere, there's no chance and what's the point? Comparing and bragging who has the biggest, and the greatest... Is this what SN represents mate? In which case, sorry I'm not in. Just stick with the topic of Maggie's and enjoy what you have mate. RJ
  11. Clueless for someone who spends nearly an entire day listening to music, reading hi-fi mags and trusting reviewers... I suggest hop onto the ML site and see for yourself what the improvements are mate. The Statements are exactly what I'm talking about, where the ML team went all out and redesigned the Statements from their previous version. BTW have you ever heard a ML Statement system? A few "minor" upgrades / improvements from ML along the way: X-Stat design Carbon Alloys Micro-perf stators Blade technology frames High grade Core transformers, along with High grade Caps & wiring. DSP engines Votjko digital filters and engineering Vacuum bonded panels between the stator and mylar. Heavily internally braced bass driver cabinets Carbon alloy woofers Rigid bolts and reinforced structures to minimise "flapping" of panels. ARC - Anthem room correction systems and the list goes on... What has ML done? Not much really... Mmm Looks like a tiny bit, I guess
  12. Ghostie, Agree on your points, no argument there. However, what I'm saying is through experience that others have had with their Maggies as well as myself, being a former Maggie dealer and owner; The majority of panels we sold, nearly every customer did some sort of upgrade / improvement on them, as they were speakers they were going to keep and not sell after a few years... My good mate in Spore feels that the 20 series were their top line, with various iterations improved in each model, and now we have the 20.7. That's about as far as Magnepan have taken it. Then as you rightly pointed out they embarked on a project to re-introduced a multi-panel design, and developed the 30.7 taking certain aspects from the previous Tympani design. Again that's about all they've reached. Further improvements could always be done with any speaker, not just Maggies... 1. The point I'm trying to get across is that for this particular price range, which is far above the Maggie norm, they could have at least incorporated one of those improvements but they didn't. Instead only incremental improvements and frugal parts/quality upgrades. This to me is not a major step in design, and perhaps they were wanting to keep prices low as possible, fair enough. 2. Therefore, why not introduce these improvements in a smaller version first, such as the 20.7 or 20.8 and then embark on an all out project, such as a 30.7/8 which will be a radical design, having a very high level of sonic mastering and performance, which it's not. 3. Obviously just looking at the size of the panels and comparing it to other Maggie models, this would certainly out-class them all. However, the question is by what margin and have Magnepan really utilized the best possible materials to take this design to an untouchable level? That question I already know by what I've heard. And to add to that, after listening to these on the Relentless amps, I can confirm they are well capable of doing remarkable things. I only hoped to gain more after it took so long to develop... When I lived in the US for many years, I got to know a lot of high-end dealers, plus visited as many facilities as possible over the years, so I've been in touch directly with these people and have learned a great deal from their ongoing discussions at private gatherings, not on some planar asylum. Places I've visited, VTL, Manley Lab's, Krell, ML, Infinity, Magnepan, Genesis Advanced Technologies, Paradigm / Energy, AvantGarde, Gryphon, Nola Reference, YG Acoustics, Harbeth, B&W, Pass Labs, Carver Inc, even Bose, and my favourite of all, Conrad Johnson. Also a host of others I can't even remember... And Recently in Spore I've visited the dealerships for McIntosh, Magnepan, Alsyvox and ML, again all of whom I know personally over the decades... I'm certainly no expert and not stating here that anything is the "ultimate" or the "best" unlike others... What I'm saying is I certainly do know when something sounds right, and by that I'm referring to the following: Coherency, speed, definition, transparency, "natural" tonality, and most of all "well balanced", not too much of anything. Other areas, such as imaging, soundstage depth and so on are quite apparent in virtually any high quality system, it's getting the balance and synergy right in order to reproduce the recording flawlessly or as closely as possible. Only a handful of systems can achieve this level by their owners carefully placing together a coherent system. In whatever shape size or form, when it sounds right you can tell straight away! Cheers to all, and enjoy your panels, afterall panels are still far ahead in terms of overall realism and less colorations. Have a good one, RJ
  13. Whether it's a 4 way, 3 way or 2 way, doesn't really matter. As long as the power amp is able to "grip" the speaker. From what I heard in Feb vs now is totally different. Anyway, proper amplification is another issue including placement and setup options, which have yet to be determined and fine tuned. Far too many placement arrays / configs and no bass controls either. For a panel of that size, it's not going to suit many rooms, bass controls would have been a well thought out design, exactly like the ones I auditioned in Feb, far more coherent and well balanced. The Relentless mono's can grip anything, hence maybe an unfair comparison. The improvement aspects I pointed out are pretty clear, and I stand by that. Nearly every Maggie owner who is seriously looking at further improvements, has done one of those improvement aspects I have mentioned, if more... in fact all of those, including by-passing the cross-overs to much higher grade using DuLand and Mundorf caps. These are very high grade that are used in many other ribbon transducers, and can improve dynamics and transient speed to great lengths. Some of the Apogee refurbs I've auditioned in the past, specially done by Graz are nothing short of breath taking! Absolutely marvellous job of reviving them to such an awesome level. Obviously takes time and a lot of effort, which Graz puts into unlike anyone else. However, that is only an improvement point for some and for others the Maggies are just good enough just the way they are. I really don't need to be warned on being more careful on what I say, this is not a "courtroom" rather a forum. Especially, when you are the one who pointed out the sudden shock in the "i" later on to discover that was not the case, also goes to show the level of "insecurity". I have stated only good things about the 30.7's, not one or any of your posts have been positive on the CLX's, only comparison points and always some lack of bass... Again, I'm very pleased with the Maggies and what they deliver but I still believe they could have addressed those improvements, at least in the 20.7's and then thought of launching something else "big" that is manageable by most high current amplifiers. I would think they may do this in the "i" series of the 30.7's who knows... And as I always say, enjoy what you have. BTW Are really enjoying it or is it just not good enough? C'mon G-man, as if I missed that point 😉 Cheers bud, RJ
  14. That's what I initially thought... It's already caused confusion and clearly Magnepan is going to lose credibility big time! As my trusted long time Maggie dealer mate said, the MG20.7 was the best design they came up with by far. Single panel, much easier to control and allows a good high current amp to grip well. They should have simply further improved on the 20.7's by: 1. Improving the frames rigidness, including those "T" shaped feet... 2. Utilising higher quality grade parts in the cross-overs 3. Top quality input connectors and fuses on the back panel 4. Incorporating more powerful magnets, such ferrite or Neyodimium, which would have increased the overall efficiency of the speakers And the list goes on... Then introduce a new version of the 20 series, that would have been a very different project and an overall improvement by all means. Re-introducing an out-dated Tympani design? What on earth for? Just to recreate a massive bass panel so that it could out-perform other larger panels... Introduces other issues by having far too much LF. Still I'm not sure if this is confirmed or not. Nothing mentioned on either website, McLean nor Magnepan... No idea what's going on. Anyway, whatever it is, they would have to explain the whole justification of introducing another version of which just came out. RJ
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