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Big Dog RJ

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  1. G'day mates, So after careful consideration and planning, plus bloody hard work (12-14hr shifts 6 days in a row...) and a few savings, I finally upgraded to the version 2 with those special spade connectors. I found this particular application to be the most secure between amplifer to speakers, way more secure than using Z-plugs or banana plugs. I was a bit hesitant in terms of performance, especially reaching my benchmark of at least 40% minimum. So we have it: 1. The top frequency extension is superb! It travels beyond the previous cables and reaches a different dimension, as if something was sent from the clouds... = 10% improvement. 2. The mid-band is superb! Every aspect in the midrange is even greater, with further extension in midrange quality, quantity, and a feeling of superb tactile information on quality recordings. The finer and subtle details on soft passages is very well focused with razor sharp accuracy. Reaching out and touching the performers is even more spooky! I didn't think this particular area would be so impressive but it is! = 15% improvement. 3. The low frequency extension is superb! The bass reaches even lower, goes well beyond the previous cables, to such an affect that you can hear, feel and even touch those fine bass lines. You can follow the bass players every single move, whether it's accurate or not, and on mediocre recordings it shows! On high quality recordings, the speed and pick up energy in the bass is extraordinary! = 15% in improvement. So that totals = 40%, according to my benchmark in performance. Having finalised on these points, I also noticed other aspects, such as soundstage depth and scale to be quite similar to version 1. However, the most significant factor was the playback level. It doesn't have to be turned up at all! Infact, going down a few notches was even better! I don't quite know how this is or why... perhaps I cleaned out that extra bit of wax build up in my ears but that I do quite often whenever I'm stuck in traffic... so I'm still not sure as to how changing this cable from version 1 to version 2 made such a significant difference in terms of playback levels. In any case, this is definitely a good thing because during my late night/ early morning sessions I don't wake up the household. Now it's nearly 5:30am I've just shut down the system, need to get to snooze before another long 6 days of hard labour... good night all. Cheers, and do enjoy those fine tunes! Woofty woof! RJ
  2. Ah! Can't believe it, I didn't notice that I had missed the name Bob for Job...!@#$! Silly smart phones... Thanks for pointing that out 2Brix. As for imports, I'm not too keen on paying for vinyl and waiting for delivery, not knowing the unknown... bit apprehensive on the condition of the item upon arrival, plus exchanging items if the LP's are warped. This has happened before on a few occasions and it wasn't an easy task to get a replacement either. I rather visit an actual store and spend my time browsing through plus the ability to have a quick listen on their TT rig before purchase. Also saves the hassle of the unknown... I also prefer to have a chat to the store owner just to exchange notes and learn something from them. Basically I prefer the human interaction. This online business is great! But it's so cold... The Fourplay albums are actually not the only ones with such variances in playback quality. I've got quite a number Bob James himself on his own albums, plus plenty of Larry Carlton and George Benson as well. Some great recordings and some very mediocre. This compression stuff is becoming more apparent simply because I started pulling out these CDs which I hadn't listened to in while. So I've placed all of those "loudness" ones in one CD rack in order to identify the naughty ones. Funny thing is they're great music selections but simply not enjoyable any longer, it's a shame. At least the other ones are fine, so the primary collection is still in good nic... Will definitely keep an eye out on these Japanese labels, they're mighty fine indeed! Cheers, RJ
  3. Japanese vinyl, ok. Where can I pick up these, do you know of any good stores? The few albums I have from Three Blind Mice records, also on Impex limited edition is superb! However, these aren't readily accessible, I was fortunate to get one full box set and another single LP called Green Sleeves from ARR on Nepean Hwy. Apart from those few, I've been searching but not much luck... I'm not too keen on online orders, waiting for shipment and getting jittery if something goes wrong. Guess I'm a bit hesitant after facing a few raw deals... but if that's the only way to acquire such quality labels then I may have to change my thinking. Cheers mate, RJ
  4. G'day maties, greetings from down unda- unda isolation... Well not too shabby really, restrictions are slowly easing off but we can never be too relaxed, Covid is still on the loose! Was just listening to some old jazz fusion by Job James and his crew Fourplay. I've heard them live in Chicago many years ago in a galaxy far away... or shall I say at a Jazz club in Naperville. Anyway, that type of sound always remained as one of my reference points, of which I built many great systems from over a few decades. So I pulled out a few CDs, one was the Journey Album and the other called Heartfelt. Although the sound was a blast! The music was not that great I must say. I ended up with a headache within the first few mins and after nearly 2hrs of listening I had a thumping headache. I realised that both these CDs are heavily compressed. To such an affect that loudness is way over the top, everything is loud, normal passages, regardless of soft/loud, transients and the whole presentation is just loud! Also the level controls set on the preamp were only around 30 but it was still loud, that's about it! Took out an older Fourplay CD, Between the Sheets, probably one of their best albums overall. Now, this was much nicer, smoother and had the subtle variances that one would expect from good recordings. So ended up listening to that for the next hour. Then I selected a Ray Brown album series called My best friends are... piano players, on Telarc. Hit play and oh! Now that's what I call music! Every note, every detail rendered in its most natural form, with superb layering and tonal pitch, plus the musicality was marvelous! And another marvelous thing, my headache went off! Basically, I realised what a drastic difference in recordings, and one that I was so used to in the past, I just simply don't enjoy any more. The Telarc labels are great, and then I have a few ECM and many Verve labels, all of which are outstanding on digital playback. Those subtle differences on Telarc, ECM and say Blue Note are only subtle variances that still make the music most enjoyable and rewarding. However, the compressed stuff is really bad and I don't see myself ever heading in that direction again, unless there was nothing else to listen to. Ah! But then there's always vinyl and quality reference recordings are mighty fine! I was just wondering if anyone else has come across this loudness, compressed material I'm referring to? And if so, how do you address it and do you just ignore it and focus on the music..., which I find bit difficult to do. Listening habits is certainly an important criteria in audio playback, at the same time I firmly believe that re-creating quality recordings is definitely an "art form!" Once that quality of re-creation has been established, the listener is rewarded with fine music! Interesting to hear your thoughts... Cheers, and keep safe big woof, RJ
  5. Yes Gary Cawsey, knew I had it wrong... his cables and power cords are outstanding. Oh! Looks like I merely passed on the budget requirements... sorry about that. I just saw it was within the range of 3 -4 grand, for some darn reason I kept thinking 30 - 40 grand! No wonder... In that case, you can still find outstanding CJ gear in mint condition but much older gear. They still work extremely well if they're well looked after. The Sony gear is not all that bad actually. Sony has their own high-end version referred to as the ES series, stands for Elevated series, and they make some fine speakers that go for around 30grand a pair. AR something model... was also featured in TAS and Stereophile few years ago. So just like Yamaha, they do have their own high-end versions if you prefer this brand and type of sound. I have not used any gear in this price range for amplification, merely because I've always preferred separate pre-power setups to drive full range stats or ribbon panels, such as Maggies, Apogee's and the like. The only time I did use a full tube integrated with the Ethos was the CJ CAV45, it was marvelous! I've heard other gear with several hybrids, such as the Ethos, Montis and Summits. Some of them were used amplifiers such as CJ's CA200 and CA150, both superb! The others were, ARC, Manley Labs and VTL, all vintage gear but worked very well with stats. You could seek others for nearly brand new at real bargain prices but I'm not sure if you would prefer the sound you'll have to audition extensively before deciding but they're not that bad. I've used two of these brands of amplifiers with great results on previous Quad ESL's that I owned, such the 989 and 2905's; these two brands are Cayin and Prima Luna, both quite capable of handling panels. In fact I used a Cayin integrated with a pair of older Maggies MGIIIA. The Cayin was rated at 100w /ch fitted with KT88 tubes, it was a glorious sound. One that kept me listening for endless hours but like I said you'll have to try it out to make sure if it's to your liking. Both these brands, Cayin and Prima Luna, offer gear in the price range you're looking for. They're both well built and use quality parts, the only issue is change the output tubes to a reputed reliable brand, don't use the supplied Chinese tubes. They're ok but not that great. For example from the Chinese made stock tubes, the sound was passable on EL34's. Then I switched all output tubes to genuine EL34 Mullards, British made, and wow! What a beautiful thing! Cheers Jan, hope it goes well for you. Best, RJ
  6. Oh! One other note well worth mentioning; please upgrade the power cords for the Ethos. Use the highest grade you can afford, it makes a significant improvement! The built-in amplifiers for the bass drivers in the Ethos need quality power cords and you will hear the difference in bass energy and smoothness straight away, no doubt! I didn't go overboard in that area, rather sourced mine from our local chap Gary Crosby, (hope I got the spelling right...) he used some good 10awg pure copper conductors and terminated with Furutech plugs. They weren't too cheap but far more affordable than the high grade Nordost power cords I'm using on all gear. These power cords custom made to length by Gary are mighty fine indeed! Great stuff mate. Cheers, RJ
  7. Otoh, if you prefer SS, Pass Labs is the other one I would very highly recommend. I've tried their INT60 which is an integrated amp delivering around 30w Class A, although it can put out 60w with no sweat, it Class A operation of 30w will grab with Ethos stats with superb control having plenty of current to grip the impedence swing... SET amps will struggle unless they're top tier monoblocks, such as Cary Audio, Lamm Audio, Kondo Audio Note, Aries Ceret and similar. I know the pricing of this range is over the top but these are the only recommendations I can suggest for a fine superb presentation, nothing less. The choice is your! Cheers,RJ
  8. Some good advice and solid experience from stat owners. Agreed on the Luxman, ARC and Supratech gear, a great sound indeed. At the end of the day it all depends on what "you- Jan" want to hear. The type of music you listen to most, listening levels, listening times- early arvo or late nights..., listening habits- is it active listening or passive listening, ultimate goal from your favorite recordings, are you seeking the best out of your gear, the last amount of detail and do you want to be fully immersed in the presentation with emotion and movement or just sound... If it's any of the above, I and do hope some of the above are on your list because afterall now you're a ML stat owner, I sincerely believe that transparency, inner detail and a superb sense of balance and realism plus soundstage depth is probably what you're after...? I'm using only one type of brand for all my amplification and it creates absolute magic with ML stats, regardless of whether they're hybrids or full range, none other than Conrad Johnson amplifiers. Let me if you're keen / serious, I'll introduce you to our Aus importer. Btw when I had the Ethos I was driving them first with the CJ CAV45 and later on the Classic 60se partnered with an ACT2 preamp. Thereafter, I modded a special edition of a CT5, which you can see in the pic but the power amps are different now, since I required larger amplifiers rated in Class A driving the CLX's full range. The CAV45 was probably the most musical sounding and most enjoyable amplifier I've used with the Ethos, just superb! Best, RJ
  9. Ok, I'm beginning to understand this thing now, as I was not aware such an issue existed, let alone resonances. Well I knew about resonances in the form of air-borne vibrations but to think so far ahead in regards to perfecting a TT's performance is quite fascinating. There's no doubt about TT / analog accessories that fit well into any given system to further enhance its performance. Such items as cartridges, arms, levelling, isolation platforms, springs, bearing footers and the list goes on, plus the expense is limitless... but to come across a product like this, scratch my head into thinking why they made it so big (diameter being larger than standard mats plus LPs) was for certain reasons. Re. Andy: Their response was that they can make a disc/mat to suit smaller sizes, great!... but it would be very expensive, in fact more costly than this one! Bummer... I'm also thinking about the fact where we spend quite large sums to acquire the best cartridges, arms etc., if only we first tried this thing out, then perhaps we could learn more about the TT's we're using, plus save an awful lot of $$$ on those expensive carts! Obviously the cart is necessary but one that costs close to the total of a system itself...is that really necessary? I also noticed the intriguing build quality and finish of their products, just beautiful! A true work of art! I'm impressed! I wonder how their gear sounds like. Once again, reminds me of Kondo Audio Note, a highly specialized brand in SOTA SET amplification, which I absolutely love but will not spend that kind of money on. The Spec brand seems to be the SS version of K-Audio Note. Even their TT, what a beauty! That's the one I would think of, if I was ever to replace the mighty fine RP8. I do know for a fact that when they make something, they engage in the total surroundings, not just the components... they take into consideration their culture, their reasons, their presence and the universe, and then create something truly special. Whether we like it or not is up to us but most of the time it does engage the senses in total awe... I used to work for a Japanese company reporting to a Japanese boss, they were very connected to their heart and their surroundings, and so the business and product offerings flourished. Still to this day it remains as one of the top tier companies in its industry. I may get a chance to experience their amplifiers since our local importer carries the brand. I need to check whether he's got any on hand for a demo. Then I'll get an idea of what exactly these masters in their craft are up to. Till then, cheers and keep those fine tunes spinning! RJ
  10. Yeah sorry about that, seems like I was too engaged in the music! I meant to provide the info and was too caught up trying to hide the thing away from the wifey since she wanted to use it as a cake tray... Audio Heaven is the name of the importer. Contact Craig Johnston, his details are on the website. Great drive up countryside, horses grazing, sheep running around and suddenly Audio Heaven! Must be heaven... Cheers mate, and if you get one let me know what you think. Best, RJ
  11. Many thanks for the info, that was certainly enlightening! Seems like these chaps go to great length and effort in making this product. I guess that's the price we pay. I'm wondering if they would've thought about a slightly smaller or standard version to fit flush onto average size platters withou too much extra edge... That would definitely make Andy happy .😉! Perhaps Andy mate: you could propose to them to make the exact size. Again not sure why it comes this way, I guess it's for a certain reason. Hope all is well, cheers & best RJ
  12. Yes, that certainly could be an option. I was wondering why they make this disc/mat a bit larger than the standard... I guess they have their reasons. It would be a fantastic learning curve to chat with the designer of this awesome product but I guess I would need to learn Japanese first! From the moment I placed it onto the platter, I noticed straight away- no soft landing, no fuzzy cushy feeling, no ripples or that sort, just a hard plonk! So I guess this thing is supposed to sit on the platter flat hard! I can see how it would alter resonances, that makes perfect sense but I also think it allows that ultimate interface between the platter and the LP, which is like having no mat at all! I'm still trying to get my head round this thing and its technology... hardly any material about it but one thing for sure is I'm going to follow this company closely, just to see what else they offer because they're onto something when it comes to extracting the most from LPs. I feel this company is not recognized much compared to the other mainstream gear out there... or perhaps I've just been aloof. I'm truly overwhelmed by this product and it doesn't even look fancy. When the wifey saw this disc, she commented "Oh goodie just what I was looking for, a large tray to keep cake on!"...? 😶 then went onto ask how much was it dal... did you pick it up at the Salvos...? Why bother 🙄 Cheers to all, and stay safe Big woofty woof! RJ
  13. Yes very valid point Andy! That's in fact the first thing I noticed but lucky enough it wasn't a major issue with the Rega. So all is well... Also, it kind of helps to easily lift off the LP withou ever having the previous mats attached to it! Cheers mate, RJ
  14. Well here goes another one maties, from the land down unda, although not made in Aus but made in the land of the rising sun, Japan! A very good mate of mine, who also happens to have CLX's with a fine analog rig consisting of Allnic phonostage, separate power supplies and the fine Linn LP12, fitted with the Candenza Black and SME arm, highly recommended this particular TT mat from a company called 'Spec'. Made in Japan, with research and engineering based in Japan, I was a bit weary not because of the make at all but rather the price! It costs a fair bit but I guess like everything else in terms of the high-end that's justifiable by the user. Just picked it up yesterday arvo, dropped it in, replaced the high grade carbon fibre mat that costs only ,$80... plonked this one in, and oh my! Is this voodoo or science? I don't really know but something's going on here big time! I'll try to summarize much as possible, since I've just finished listening to some very fine LPs and now it's nearly 6am! 1. The surface noise, soundstage depth, tonality, remains the same. So LPs that are in pristine condition will sound extremely quiet and the noisey ones will always have noise... 2. The most significant differences are the dynamics, and pick up energy. Such that, the grooves seemed to be read at far greater clarity and definition. 3. The brilliance comes through more vividly, as if a new cartridge is being used. So the clarity improves by quite a margin, not as high as my personal benchmark in performance, which is around 40 - 45%. This particular mat improves the pick up and overall performance by about 20 - 25% or perhaps even 30% on very high quality recordings. Therefore, is the price tag justifiable? Probably not but what it does on a particular TT may obviously differ from every TT brand or analog rig out there... I would suggest a trial before taking the plunge, although I sort of had an idea of the outcome, based on the feedback from my good mate, I certainly wasn't expecting this kind of improvement! The Spec Mat is unlike no other, it's not soft, stiff or brittle, rather it's a form of high grade composite material including an aluminum coating, which basically makes it almost like a platter! It's hard, and very rigid, and basically "plonks" down on the main platter. It's a solid piece of machinery or may I add, a finely crafted and tuned instrument that adds the interface between the platter and the LP. I simply cannot proclaim that this is the best mat on earth but all I can say is that this is definitely the best sounding mat interface I've ever come across and used to date! On my particular system that is. I've attached a few pics, and will try to do more research on this particular company. As for now, I'm heading off to doze so that I could have another very very late night session once again today, before heading back to the grinder on Monday. Cheers to Spec and their high end tech, whatever they're using, voodoo or science or snake oil, oh boy have they got this one correct! Very very highly recommended! Cheers, RJ
  15. 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
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