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Big Dog RJ

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About Big Dog RJ

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  1. Ok, so the Apogee Duetta A7, definitely sounds good. I'll look forward to that, many thanks mate. Having lived my entire audio life, and through the dealerships I used to run, our personal reference systems always consisted of either stats or ribbons, in one form or another. It's funny how life goes full circle; at the time I used the ML CLSIIz, fantastic speed and agility, and with tubes it was marvelous! After a few years, one prime dealer was moving out his Diva's for the ML Statements. We bought those Diva's, and lived happily ever after... Until then, I'm now relocated with the fam down unda! Who would've ever thought we'd end up here. I must say it was the best move compared to the US, great place for affordable high-end but far too much shooting... Now having CLX's, and looking towards Apogees once again, brings back so many memories, as I said full circle. However, at this stage, I'm extremely happy with the CLX's, and they are a far improvement over the CLSIIz. The CJamplifiers I'm currently using have been fully custom made to sound a particular way, plus Class A operation on the monoblocks really grips the stats and reproduces superb bass energy that only the CLS can achieve partnered with subs. Hence, I don't use subs and never have. Going full circle really speaking, it would be awesome to head towards the Diva's once again but this time round the equation is slightly different. Family, plus pets, plus need to share the place with others..., so compared to the past this was not an issue when you're single, no kids and have two huge showrooms to fill all the candy with! I simply cannot have two sets of large panels in here, the good wife will throw me in the dog house. So as correctly identified, I do believe the Duettas would be that perfect complement. It's definitely reassuring we have a perfectionist such as Graz to fully restore Apogees to beyond what they were capable of few decades ago... Great stuff indeed, looking forward to the next chapter. Cheers to those panels, they're fine musical instruments. RJ
  2. It's also very refreshing to see such a store open here, especially in Melbourne. It makes us feel proud, or at least for me it does. With the multitude array of gear available at the top level, and the limited market in Aus, I sincerely believe that when things return to normality, stores similar to this profile will gain more recognition. Obviously from a business point of view, whether they can drive sales is going to be tough model to grip... but knowing that now we have more places like this puts us well footed on the map. Would be nice to see Graz Apogees as well as some top tier CJ gear here as well or perhaps those wonderful CLX's as well...😊 just saying. Visiting overseas dealers and distributors, which I do once a year just to keep up with the times, won't be necessary as much since we have local businesses to support. Good stuff I reckon, and we WILL get through the virus, there's no doubt, it's just a matter of time. So hang in there fellow audiophiles. Nows the time to use those savings on upgrades to support the household... Once normal kicks in, the upgrades can always take second place. Family and health first, then audio! It's always more valuable knowing you've attended to priorities first then the system. It's far more enjoyable. Cheers, RJ
  3. Well it looks like Alsyvox and certainly a few other top tier stuff have finally made its way down unda... based in Melbourne Moorabbin and showroom/ audition rooms in East Bentleigh, we now have Nirvana Sound. I heard about this new store and looks like their website is nicely setup as well, excellent layout of brands, product range and a price guide. Most of these systems come at a pretty penny! I guess that's the unfortunate disparity in our currency at the moment, including these tough times, locally and globally. I'm extremely pleased with the performance of these new ribbons from Alsyvox and for those who haven't heard them, just to get a feel of what this level is capable of, I highly recommend you have a listen. It will be a lifetime experience! Now all this is well and good, provided they have the actual speakers on demo... I'm hoping they do. Once this mad virus is over, this store looks like they've got it all. Considering only top notch stuff that is. So with that said I wish NS all the very best and hope to touch base with them soon. There are some respectable names in this joint venture, many of you will recognize one particular name as it's affiliated with the TTs that are on offer. Anyone already visited? Please give us your thoughts and how you rate the value of this range of fine gear. Always interesting to learn. Cheers to all, and enjoy those fine tunes! RJ
  4. G'day big T! Is in da house! Congrats once again! Similar reply I sent to you previously on WBF... Well done matey! It's about time. Absolutely superb! I do have a tremendous amount of patience but three years!!! I think you're the chosen one! Will be up there for a listen once this crazy virus leaves mother earth and goes after an alien planet. I'm sure the Class A output on the Ayons will be marvelous! I can already imagine the sound but to a certain extent... when I had Diva' s driven by CJ's top of the line Prem8a monoblocks partnered with the ART preamp, legendary sound! It's certainly wonderful to see these legends alive again through the hard dedicated work of Graz. Only a handfu lof people have heard the Divas in a proper set up, and with the right amplification they're outstanding! Although my dream speakers have been achieved, which are the CLX's, as a second pair to own just for rainy days, or virus days... I will embark on a pair of Duetta Sigs refurbed by Graz. He's got some very nice projects going and one in particular caught my attention, it was truly unique. Obviously there are certain areas that Stats excell in and certain areas that full range ribbons excell in. Already having one of the finest stats, it would be marvelous to have a smaller Apogee just to complement the two without going overboard in finances... There's another top line series Graz creates, which I believe is referred to as the Definitive series, goes for over 140 grand a pair, I maybe wrong but something like that... His website is very simple, and pretty much basic. I guess he doesn't have the time to market it properly since he's busy rebuilding Apogees! Allow plenty of time for the caps in the crossovers and top end stuff to run-in properly, it will get better and better each day. Let us know your findings along the listening process... Superb stuff T, have a good one maaate! Cheers to Apogee, the legend lives! Big woofty woof woof! RJ
  5. Yep, I've checked the AC mains, all good on that side of things. In fact during the house being built, I've installed separate 10A dedicated lines just for the system on a separate switch direct to the mains board. There's also a servo circuit monitoring things if voltage swings badly in conjunction with the solar inverter unit. It's calibrated to +/- 3%, can also be set to 1% tolerance, making things tighter but that is not recommended for HiFi, rather hospital grade systems, such as life support etc. The AC mains in this area is far more stable compared to our previous location, which was in Preston. Required an AC power conditioner unit for the apt. but that thing simply strangled the dynamics of the system. I don't use anything of that sort now, just clean AC mains directly through the Nordost units, Qbase8 power board and QX4 magnetic field stabilizer, works wonders! With regards to tubes, I think you're right, it's just the nature of these buggers... they do sound glorious but awfully finicky. So far so good on the preamplifiers, that being the main preamp and phono-preamp, nothing to report, quiet as a whistle. On the monoblocks, things are quiet as a whistle as well and so far no issues, other than those minor hiccups on the small signal tubes, not the main output tubes. Keeping a close eye on it. For as long as I can tolerate this plus the additional flexibility required to bend down low and adjust bias and all that jazz... I'll continue to use tubes. However, the day will come where I might just switch back to SS and call it a day. Was thinking this additional excercise is actually a good thing! So might as well keep stretching folks and looking pretty! There was this chap whom I know who is 101yrs old, caught the C-virus and recovered in 5 days. Must have had two things: 1- a bloody strong immune system and 2- enjoying the music with tubes! As Eve Anna Manley (President of Manley Labs) says, "tubes rule"! Also a good chat with the new boss at CJ, confirmed that it's the simplest circuit to maintain, no frills, bells & whistles, just simple circuits with the shortest possible signal paths using the highest quality parts, yields better results. You really can feel the performance. Anyway, I'm still pondering ... been using tubes since the 80's. We'll see how it goes in time to come. I'm now focusing on musicality and reliability. Agreed on those NOS tubes, they do sound marvelous but come at a pretty penny. I'll just stick with CJ's stock replacements for now, also it's reassuring to know that they're properly matched. They've been doing this since their very existence. Cheers maties, and have a good one. Stay safe and keep away from the c-virus. Big woof, RJ
  6. Responding to the ML Monolith ad... that was placed in the wrong spot, hence the thread closed- another one bites the dust... The original Monoliths had a much larger bass driver, and no small tweeter or that circular thing next to the woofer. Not quite sure what that is. Anyway, in all respect of the current owner, whom I do happen to know, has also been to my place for an audition on the CLX's, all I can say is that if you're a stat fan, this was one hybrid that was a legend bsck in the day. We only sold one pair to a customer that used Threshold power amp, huge mothers called the Statis series, which I've mentioned somewhere in this forum... The sound was exceptional bsck then but as I said the bass driver was much larger. Perhaps other iterations followed which used smaller drivers to react with the stat panels speed, I would think... By that time the SL Sequel series was introduced and we sold many pairs of those. Fine hybrids, especially driven with Krell KsKsi150 integrated amplifier at the time. If $1500 smackers doesn't seem a lot, where most can manage, with a few mods, these can sing again. Cheers, RJ
  7. G'day maties, trust everyone is enjoying the music inspite of this crazy virus going on... corona whatever? Purchased a few nice LPs from a great store, some very finely recorded music on Opus, Eric Bibb- just like love, LP album, superb! Anyway, this was my only day off just before a long 6 day work week starting tomorrow, so I got ready for a second listen of this fine artist, and a small hiccup! The right channel monoblock one of the 6922 / E88CC tubes had that infamous white flashes as if there was a mini thunderstorm going on in the tube... bad tube! So that one was replaced by a brand new spare of the exact same type- Genalex Gold Lion 6922 used as a driver phase inverter stage. This one or pair as it was ordered wasn't even a year old! So now the new pair is from CJ and the much older pair, which are actually Sovtek are over 6 years old...go figure. The Sovteks were the original in these monoblocks along with the Mullards m8080 that are still going, hasn't missed a beat. I'm beginning to wonder whether the extra dollars spent on the fancy Genalex Gold Lions are worth... all I can confirm at this stage is that the Sovteks are far more reliable than these gold pins, perfectly matched and balanced sought after NOS types. The Sovteks also sound equally superb, so I'm not sure whether I'm going to order the Genalex again. This is not the first time, I've made earlier posts where these 6922's went bad, and all the symptoms have been these white flashes ... Since Ive ordered 3 sets of these in pairs, around the same time I ordered the Sovteks from CJ, both sets of gold lions failed within a year or little over. In summary it's good to note the failure symptoms that I've come across: 1. Input tubes - these would mainly cause sputtering noises, sudden burst like fire crackers, causing the output tubes LEDs to flicker having a hissy fit. 2. Driver / phase inverters- these would mainly have white flashes going on within the tube that is very bright and visible, like mini thunderstorms. 3. Output tube failure- well in most other tube amplifiers these tubes would just blow ... first with a very bright red along the entire grids of the tube from top to bottom. When output tubes are in normal operation, only the top / tip of tube and very end will glow orange/reddish that's normal. Leaving the middle portion grey in color which are the grids fitted along the length of the tube. If at any given time these grids light up with a dark red hot color, that's a bad tube! Immediately off the amp and replace that tube. Thanks to CJ's clever use of highgrade output fuses, these protect the output transformer as well as the rest of the country side. It is also good to know that many top end contenders also have protection fuses and steps in place to protect the country side, such as VTL, VAC, Manley Labs and so on. I remember back in the day, ARC didn't have protection fuses, and when an output tube went bad, it would blow along with the country side...and that was a pain in the capital butt to fix! I believe ARC has now incorporated output stage fuses, as well other measures to protect those big trannys. CJ always used very high quality heavy duty ceramic fuses, and they do a fine job of protection. If an output tube is bad the fuss blows and an LED lights up. The only issue is finding the bad tube...After a little investigation it's pretty easy to identify the naughty tube. Anyway, that's that. Just wanted to know if anyone else has had a not so good experience with the Genalex Gold Lions? Don't get me wrong, they sound marvelous and do everything perfectly. It's just that I'm not too sure about their reliability factor... Best, RJ
  8. Thanks to another good chap whom I had the pleasure of meeting, briefly on a sunny arvo, Mr T- Haztone. Arrived all the way from Mackay, we spent a good few hours at my place comparing a few notes... Had purchased an excellent recording of Dire Straits- Brother's in Arms, albumn on LP. Pressed on a MoFi label bought from a store located in Abotsford, called Dutch Records / Dutch Vinyl. Never heard of them before and since my regular chap on Nepean Hwy Audiophile Reference Recordings was closed that day, I thought I'd check this place out. Oh my what a great record store! Not to mention the vintage Infinity's near the entrance blaring out whatever was being played on some serious analog rig. Powered through a big McIntosh 300w SS amp, definitely some quality sound playing in the background... Also eases the LP selection process a bit I think. Anyway, these chaps have plenty of stock, from used to brand new and a few versions of selected items offered at different price points. Ended up going there twice! Walking out with 9 LP's, and they're superb quality! From Santana to Norah Jones, I played and listened to all 9 and they were very good recordings. One of the best by far is the Best of Sade LP that has some fabulous tunes on a two LP set. I have the exact same CD and although quite good, it's no where near the transparent wide bandwidth quality of the LP. I was totally engaged in the super immersive sound of Sade and her unique voice, stands out by a far margin. Her musicians who are very talented start opening up on a few tracks like Sweetest Taboo and Smooth Operator, it's just a marvellous experience! So now I've found another great quality record store, located near the corner of Johnston St and Hoddle St, it's not too far away for a drive. They have a very good selection of LP's and a listening station as well, just in case you're not sure of the music... So cheers to Dutch Records! I highly recommend them, where you could spend time and browse through the vast selection of LP's. Worth a visit if you're into vinyl. Cheers and enjoy those tunes! RJ
  9. Yes yes, I know you told me so... I truly believe that one day it will get the space it deserves, just enjoy for now. Having said that, I had a similar situation back in home town, since we were sharing houses with the elderly folks... Just to prove a point, I when everyone was away, I actually moved the entire system out into the main living room, Apogee's, monoblocks the works! When they got home, they all looked very surprised and a bit annoyed that I had done this. However, I gave them a demo and that's all she wrote! That particular system stayed there until I tied the knot with the wifey and bubs popped out! That system continued to stay there even after we migrated to Aus... Eventually my old pops (82) at the time, managed to sell it off to a well deserving trusted customer of ours who became a close family friend. Perhaps you could try this out, not too sure how your Mrs would react but you never know. Worst case scenario just move it back, after a few years... Ha! Cheers, have a good one. RJ
  10. Artnovian acoustic panelling is outstanding! A bit expensive but not just ordinary panelling. It's like a work of art, they are also very esthetically pleasing. I've incorporated a very similar application into the walls, especially the front wall / back wall, the whole thing is heavily damped and sound proof internally. Works wonders! Con, I sincerely believe what you're hearing and how the system is performing is only around 60-70% Place it in a much larger room with appropriate placement and positioning, you'll be amazed at how much of a significant improvement there is! The soundstage depth opens up and down to the very last note, is just superb! I knew that the CLX's had this potential but I was not aware by such a high margin. The last system I had experienced this level of detail retrieval, bass layering, total transparency, speed and high definition in the soundstage was with the Alsyvox ribbons driven by the Relentless amps. Price tag USD$500 grand system, including speakers, amplifiers and source gear. Mine is a fraction of that, and not by a far margin in performance either. The room and AC mains upgrades plays such an important role, many Audiophiles simply ignore it. Your open baffle speakers will really open up in a larger room, and when you experience this level, you'll wonder why on earth you've upgraded other gear for... Just my 50cts worth. Cheers mate, RJ
  11. Just taking a break from all the past and current events... Loss of properties, loss of lives, loss of everything... We must remain humble and always be grateful for what we have and learn from these events, being able to lend a hand in any way possible. Now I'm just sitting on the deck, doors opened, listening to the legendary Eva Cassidy, what beautiful music, sipping a Kirin! Just wanted to share few thoughts: every person who's been here and has listened lately with the relocation, plus a few tweaks in the sense of built-in acoustic panelling, apart from statements made, such as simply best ever heard, very satisfying, SOTA, unbelievable, so lifelike and so on... One term they've all clearly stated is "the total quietness!" Yes, agreed and that's thanks to the dedicated AC lines. Directly wired with 10 AWG to the mains board on separate switches for both monoblocks plus system. Then to add to this quietness is the use of the Nordost wonders! These are the Qbase 8 power board and the QX4 QRT system. When partnered together it forms a solid foundation for proper grounding, which is very critical in monoblock config. This is a "must have component" in any high quality system, and without these the difference is quite apparent. For those of you who are seriously considering power conditioners and so forth, before any of these things are plugged in, please ensure a dedicated AC mains line has been installed to your system first! I cannot stress this enough but when you do this, the outcome is remarkable! Running multiple appliances also puts heavy usage in your home grid, washing machine, dryer, kettle, microwave oven, fridge, and air-con. On top of that firing up the system and trying to listen to quality music, forget it! Some thing's bound to trip, and there goes a circuit breaker! However, on a dedicated line with a separate switch wired directly to the AC mains board, this does not happen. It's a very simple and highly cost effective solution that many don't attend to. Anyway, all the best to all for the New Year, and trust your 2020 has kicked off well. Cheers maties, RJ
  12. G'day Terry, Thanks for confirming, yes I do now understand more about NOS tubes, and the very reason why Logos & brands may not be clearly marked as intended... Re. To the CLX's & Ren15A, this was probably one of my hardest decisions in terms of finalising speakers. After nearly three different sets of top three speakers to choose from, my final third list of three were actually the Ren15A, Avantgarde Duo XD & the CLX's. Price range were almost similar, with minor differences in the custom finish you choose. Since I've had immense pleasure in listening to recorded music throughout the decades mostly with full range panels, such as Apogee Divas, Maggies (from the MGIIIa to the MG20.1), Quads (EDL63 - 2905), ML's (CLS IIz), and various iterations of Infinity's back in the day, my preference is with full range panels. Not only does the passion start with panels but also the fact that my choice in amplification has always been with tubes as the main amplifiers, having mixed and matched between ss & tubes with preamplifiers. I know what dynamic drivers are capable of doing in terms of LF thump and slam but that's not what I'm after in terms of recorded music. I prefer the definition, following the bass lines, experiencing the speed and agility of LFs, and most of all the musicality of that whole performance. Inbetween those panels as my personal reference systems, there were many other fantastic dynamic types that I sold off to well respected customers. Systems such as Genesis, Paradigm, Energy, Sonus Faber and Infinity were some that I really enjoyed and will always be memorable. At the end of the day, after going full circle, I eventually find myself with full range stats. It's just a personal preference. The Ren15A's are very fine stat hybrids, and not just ordinary hybrids... These are a true Masterpiece series manufactured by a highly acclaimed speaker manufacturer, Martin Logan. They are not for the faint hearted and wow can they do serious bass! At the same time, the Ren15A can also deliver that sheer brilliance in transparency and realism with a sense of effortlessness. The LF integration along with DSP and other cleaver digital software, have made the LF transition more seamless compared to the past hybrids. Also with the introduction of ARC (Anthem Room Correction) software, further improvements can be done to fine tune the room to speaker interaction, which is very critical in order to achieve a full coherent balance. When I first auditioned the Statements, which I still do once a year in Feb, I'm still amazed at how far ahead these mammoth full range stats are, of course utilising bass towers. Then I listened to the Neoliths, and figured out ML have finally found a solution to the mighty Statements in a much smaller package that can actually fit through a standard door. However, the Neoliths are no small affair! They're huge! And equally require a very large room to freely open up and allow it's magic. Then there's the new Masterpiece series, which are all superb in every way designed and meet many user requirements to suit various budgets. Out of this line up there's the Ren15A, and boy does it remind me so much of the Statements. That dynamic power, which happens in an instant with no strain whatsoever, and the level of realism it delivers, along with the added weight and heft, is remarkable! Hats off to ML able to capture all the virtues of the Statements and arrive at a far more meaningful solution. Therefore, if I was a person who extensively listened to full orchestra's, big ensembles, big band stuff and liked it loud and proud, of course with the fine level of detail from stats, the Ren15A or the Neolith would have been my preference. Since I can't have it all, and most of my music tastes are in the category of small Jazz ensembles, vocals, strings, piano and double bass performances, I have found that the CLX's deliver the "Truth in Sound", just as their logo implies. If I was spoilt rotten and had the means of owning two separate speaker systems, that second one would be the Ren15A's without a doubt! I'm very curious to learn more about your system and assuming that you currently have Ren15A's? I'm sure you'll be extremely pleased with the level of performance that deliver and enjoy every moment of fine recordings on these SOTA hybrid systems from ML. To summerise; I would say both are equally superb in every regard of high quality stat design. It's a matter of personal taste of one over the other. One would argue that if there's a chance of owning both, then might as well settle for the Neolith. If that's the case, then I would have already had the Statements! Once in a while it's certainly nice to experience this sonic marvel in audio engineering and then again when we arrive home, to fully appreciate what we have! Cheers Terry, keep those fine tunes playing! Best, RJ
  13. That's an affirmative Con! Thanks for your message. In fact I received a reply from TubeStore this evening confirming something I didn't know. According to the chappy, stated that not all genuine tubes would have the brand/logo on them. It is the internal structure, grids, construction etc., that confirm the tube. The two must be identical when matching, plus in specs... That's when everything falls into place nicely. In fact it's very easy to copy brands & logos, hence by just looking at the tubes there's no way of telling the difference. So now I've finally placed both the Mullards in and they sound superb! I tried only one at a time just to be safe. All is perfectly working. I'm not sure if there's any significant differences between the tubes ordered through CJ or these guys, everything just sounds right. Extremely quiet no background noises, hiss, farts, etc. whatsoever. Looks like I've found a tube supplier! Cheers, and trust you're enjoying your music through the wonderful soul of tubes. RJ
  14. Spot on there Con! In fact, funny you mentioned this, as I was just discussing this very same topic - snake oil - with my car service dealership mate. He's got the top of the line Focals, driven by VTL monoblocks and has tried far too many gizmos over the decades, with very little benefit. Finally moved into a new place that was built few months before mine, and clearly identifies the improvements gained from a well defined space, which is not only much larger but also well laid out in terms of acoustic balance. He also did a similar internal acoustic panelling structure inside the walls, plus most of the attention is on dedicated AC mains and solid grounding solutions. We're both using pretty much the same simple grounding layouts from Nordost. Just recently he was approached by a well known brand carrying fancy cabling, interconnects power cords and ancillary gear selected for "high definition"... He hooked it all up, and in fact it was the "lowest definition" he's ever experienced! I took one of those power cords home to try out as well, although holding it in my hand feels like a million bucks! Which it nearly is 20 grand to be precise, I honestly don't think it's worth 20 bucks! OK maybe $200 but not 20 grand. OTH, just for the heck of it, I'm trying to get my hands on some Nordost Odin's supreme reference series and see if there's anything of such great significance as they claim. I know there is but I'm beginning to wonder at what cost, at what margin of improvement / performance and what for? As I've mentioned many times before, if it already sounds great or marvellous just learn to appreciate it! Then there's the other itch, that this is totally awesome, totally different and I couldn't listen without it... Wasn't that the exact damn thing I said to the previous product? And the vicious cycle continues... However, I must admit it does take a while to perfect your weaknesses, learn from the mistakes spent on snake oil, and be man enough to fess up! Once you've admitted that, the rest is plain sailing... I now tread very very cautiously. The basics are far more important -(AC mains, system placement, listening area, room Acoustics etc.) definitely NO snake oil in those areas! Trust you had a great Xmas and all the best, cheers RJ
  15. G'day Maties, Have a small question that's been bugging me, thought I'd get some feedback from the experts. Ordered a pair of Mullard M8080 tube's, miniature triodes used for the input gain stage in the CJ monoblocks. Arrived on Mon and have been sounding superb! Very quiet, with a high level of musicality just the way CJ intended to be. This time round, I thought I'd go a slightly different route so instead of ordering from CJ directly, I thought I'd give another supplier a shot. This is probably the only tube company that actually carries this particular tube from Mullard (m8080) also knows as the 6C4 premium. This company is the Tube Store, based in the US. I tried many others, including Upscale Audio and so on, none of them offered the Mullards, other than of course CJ! Anyway, my only worry is: The serial numbers and tube type are clearly marked on the tube itself but not the Mullard brand / logo...? The little white boxes they come packed in, in fact have Mullard printed on it but no where in the tube itself... Whereas, the ones I order through CJ directly, have everything clearly marked, including "made in Great Britain". Does this mean I received a Chinese knock off? Or some Mullard fakes? Nothing against Chinese, I think they make some wonderful gear, it's just that I thought I was paying for a premium tube, which is supposed to be made in the UK but it doesn't state this anywhere. Am I being too pedantic and should just sit back and enjoy the music, and stop worrying about it... I don't know. Any feedback or advice is greatly appreciated. Best, RJ
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