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Big Dog RJ

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About Big Dog RJ

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    Melbourne
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  1. Melbourne In't Hi Fi show

    *ON a positive note* During the show and the many rooms I visited, I noticed apart from the room issues, there were other minor issues to equipment vibration. The Sonus Faber/McIntosh room had used a highly specialized rack/shelves that did cost quite a bit, around $600 per shelve. Total number of shelves used that day 4 = $2400, plus this is their basic version. Which means the actual shelves used on that day were around $800 to $900 each, which totals close to 4 grand. These shelves made a huge difference, as there was absolutely no vibration! Nothing at all, I ran my fingers, knuckles all round the edges, nothing, pure vibration free. Now these Safarino SF speakers being driven with a Mac MC452 (the most powerful stereo amp that Mac builds) was driving the SF's effortlessly, the room did shake violently but not the rack equipment nor gear. I also spoke at great length to the chap there and compared prices and other forms of strategies to cater to vibration control within reasonable budgets. He then asked me what I was currently using- Auralex virabration Isotone pads under each component, and Nordost Sort Kones on top. Each piece of gear rests on top of the Nordost Sort Kones. Each component them sits on glass shelves, and is arranged horizontally, located side by side not in a "rack" format. This is what he told me: 1. Excellent way to set up, especially glass shelves as they vibrate! I didn't know this and when I got home, I ran my fingers around the glass and yes, they do vibrate! even at low volumes. 2. If I can afford it, these highly specialized wooden shelves with separate alloy struts and carbon alloy spikes would be best, however the way I have set up with Auralex and Sort Kones is one of the best alternatives keeping the cost down. 3. He advised that I make sure every component is on Sort Kones and not just the SACD player or TT for example, i.e. not just the source equipment but also the front end (preamp) and back end (power amp). And so, this arvo, I went to my trusted Conrad Johnson dealer mate, Damien who runs Sound Reference in Smith St, and bought more of these Sort Kones by Nordost. Noe nearly all the components are resting on something and not just directly on the glass shelves. The Auralex was purchased from Electric Factory, located in Preston and were around $190 each. They can take upto 20kg of weight and do a marvelous job of vibration isolation. Each Nordost Sort Kone is about $200, and so three kones would do placed in a "triangle" format under each component. Results- the Auralex isolation pads together with the Sort Kones is a remarkable vibration isolation solution, and one of the best solutions I have ever tried to date! Without having to spend a fortune on expensive exotic racks. Of course as I said, if you can afford it, go for it! Items such as Still-points, and exotic spikes and pointy things would be fine, high-end racks and shelves could cost close to 12 to 15 grand just for certain models, depending on number of shelves required. Again this is not necessary and you don't have to spend large amounts to get there. Sonic improvements- although the dynamics, expansive staging, accurate imaging and scale is all there, the most critical areas of improvement were: inner details and noise floor. Inner details are much finer now, every minute detail comes out more clearer, I can now hear the variations in all bass lines and not just bass. There is virtually no overhang whatsoever, start/stop speed and acceleration are clear as a whistle. The noise floor is greatly reduced, allowing more of the music to flow through. This is just marvelous indeed! Whether this type of spend seems like value for money, I cannot comment for all but to me it was certainly justified rather than spending 4 grand plus to upgrade the shelves. I am sure there are other DIY projects and rig that would take care of vibration control/isolation. I also feel that as long as you have at least 3 Sort Kones sitting flat & holding your gear, this should be more than adequate for that finer detail and finesse in sound. Thanks to the show, I learned about the rooms and this vibration issue. Now that I currently live in a shoebox, moving to a much larger space when the house is done next year, will not only further improve the vibration aspects but also will take the level of noise floor and other factors to a whole new level of "Zero". Hence, I should get more of the music to flow at greater speed and transient control with a larger space allowing the system to breathe. That's about it for now, thought I'd just share this for those who are using glass shelves... Cheers, RJ
  2. Melbourne In't Hi Fi show

    thanks for that note Candyflip, jeez mate, believe me, the last thing I want is to cause drama about this show, especially in Melb where I happen to live! like I said, I am as transparent as the Martin Logan panels- you can see right through them... I do respect the feedback given by Trevor and Jono, hence the first thing I did. I was managing the store that day when Trev called me, I was extremely busy with various customer issues and it was a hot day. Water melons needed to be cut, customers were complaining there was not enough $6.00 water slabs, other Aussie customer were having a go at the Chinese people who are buying baby formula in bulk, leaving them without any... there was mayhem in the deli area where customers wanted free roast chickens due to being passed a certain time, all sorts of demands, plus not to mentioned a refrigeration issue in the freezer section of ice creams, where there was a leak... and then Trev calls me and says that I have upset some people on the forum...? So instead of taking my usual break and having my meal, which I didn't, I sat down and wrote a sincere apology to all members on Stereonet and WBF, posted both at the same time. I received positive feedback and thought we can move one, but after nearly a week, Jono brings it up again and here we go... I respect what Marc says, and if he feels that my post/s should be deleted, so be it! If he also feels that my membership should be cancelled, so be it! I will certainly respect that, I have nothing to fear and nothing to lose, only to gain and speaking of gain, I would like to share something which might interest many. Marc replied, as noted above, basically explaining what he feels and thinks, which doesn't seem to offend or deter him one bit! so what's all the huff about? I also addressed this issue on WBF and asked the moderators to take action against me, not even a reply, other than a private message requesting to please keep up the honest work, ok. Like I said for the hundreth time, I will make it a point to be very clear and fair in my statements and will think first before I write something. At one point I felt that I was in Nth Korea, and received a call from Kim Jon Un/IL or whatever that maniac's name is... but no this is Australia and 21st century and moving on... we even won the vote for same gender marriage! why does it seem like some members are still in that communist era? Anyway, enough said, and do let me know if there is anything I need to do further, thanks, RJ
  3. Melbourne In't Hi Fi show

    G'day Marc, yes, understand your point. However, I have made certain remarks about the show on my initial post, perhaps you missed it... This was the first post on the thread that was started by me on that Sunday. So it seems that I upset a LOT of people here in Melb and others in general. I thought people here were a bit more tough than that... perhaps not. Subsequently I also got a call from another member, Trevor, who also said the same thing, and I was at work at the time. During my break, I sat down and wrote a sincere apology to all members, and titled it as "sincerely apology...". I had also made that same post of Whats Best Forum, and posted the same apology on that as well. You see Marc, I am as transparent as the Martin Logan CLX's! and to some that may see very offensive. According to Jono, I made malicious statements to the effect where I wanted the show to fail! I do not have "ego" or any of that sort. So it seems like those wanting me to make further "amends" even after I have posted an official statement of apology just isn't good enough. Therefore, I respect your final decision as the Admin person in charge, and if you feel no harm intended, so be it. If you feel that my original post should be deleted, please proceed. Thanks mate, and I did like the show overall, my second post with my apology statements explains that very clearly! Cheers, RJ
  4. Melbourne In't Hi Fi show

    ATTN: to all moderators / administrators and content in charge: (Marc- Admin) There is a person by the name of Jono, who claims that my remarks on my initial post were very malicious. Trevor had also commented this via phone to me last week, and I followed this up with a sincere apology and a modification of my post with a re-vised post that seemed to be a more appropriate view of the show. I also admitted to my remarks and therefore I had made that apology sincerely to all fellow members. However, it seems that this is not good enough, hence the statements made by Jono on WBF- as noted below: Yes your comments were grossly out of line and insensitive to all those involved .It is almost like you are trying to get this show to fail through using ridiculous,unfair and distorted information to denigrate it.Indeed it could be seen as malicious damage.If you really want to make amends you should delete your negative comments and let the moderators clean up the threads accordingly.Both here and on Steronet. Therefore, could you kindly delete my original post including the statement of apology that continued after. I think it would be better to deleted all posts I've made, because some may get confused as to why I am apologizing... If Jono here has any better ideas, please advise and follow his instructions, thank you and again terribly sorry for upsetting the apple cart. RJ
  5. Melbourne In't Hi Fi show

    cheers for that Kaynin, I wasn't aware of how strong my words were at first until Trev told me. It is also quite obvious that I had offended him as well... I sort of gathered that from the brief chat we had this arvo. I just finished off at work this morning around 1:40am and got home, and now at the PC with these closing comments. I had posted my apology from my work place, as I didn't want to delay it any further. No, I am not one who would get ruffled in any way or form and leave the site for good. I will always fess up to any damage done, and try to fix it the best I could. I was very very eager to see what's on display at the show and was hoping for some new ribbons from either Magnepan, Apogee's restored by Graz or Audio Analysis, and perhaps some new hybrid stats from Martin Logan like the Ren15A or Impression series but to no avail. All I came across were box designs apart from the Avant Gardes and Halcro's, so naturally I was full of steam the moment I finished the tour upstairs... There were some really great equipment though, I couldn't get much of a chance to discuss any with the exhibitors as they always seemed quite pre-occupied. Hence, the two rooms I spent most of my time was with MC/SF & AG Uno XD's, I really enjoyed that short time indeed! I am sure Marc and his team at SN are gathering their thoughts and making notes for a great comeback next year. Would also be good no doubt to see more panels, although I do know how difficult and cumbersome it can be trying to haul such gear around through hotel settings where facilities are limited to just one loading dock... I've been there myself! Anyway, all the best to all who attended the show, trust you achieved what you were after and learned something new along the way. We will and never know it all, learning is always a good thing for both mind & health. Cheers, RJ
  6. Melbourne In't Hi Fi show

    G'day maties, As at one point I was considering Apogee's, I gathered a few notes: In Re. to Gaza, I managed to learn a few things, quite similar to the last chat I had with him in 2010. Gaza does make a pair of similar looking/designed Apogee's referred to as the Synergy ribbons but the price quoted around 8 years ago has now gone up to nearly over 20 grand. The majority of his work is focused on restoring the Apogee ribbon elements, and hardly anything to do with building new ones. He also does not have the extra capital to start a manufacturing process/ corporation to be a company and have a fully functional running outfit. He is quite content doing just the restorations and is happy with the amount of work he has, so far... Therefore, from that brief insight, all I can see for the future is restoration and nothing new coming around. Hence, the issues of service & reliability, which means I will have to spend on a second hand (very old) pair of Apogee's and then give it to Gaza for restoration. So this means somewhere around 5-6 grand for a pair of old Apogee's and another 6 grand or so to restore/rebuild them. In average that's about 12 grand all up and could be even more depending on the model and the upgrades/rebuilds done on them, hence the price is not fixed. With that in mind, no, I will not be considering Apogee's. I rather stick to a company that has been around for awhile and is still in operation and continues to grow. That will be Martin Logan for me at this point, with the CLX's or Ren15A in mind. I am also considering the Avant Garde Uno XD's because this is a completely revised AG horn system, where they have certainly come a long way with DSP and parametric EQ settings for room adjustments, and this makes a huge difference! Not only does it make the room to speaker interaction better but also the integration even more seamless between bass drivers to horns. If someone who has only heard the previous iterations of the Uno & Duo and was rather disappointed, I strongly recommend them to audition the new XD series, they are very different in every way! If not for the look of horns, which I really don't fancy, I would have finalized my order with the Uno XD's on that Sunday at the show. Now I have to test or at least try to arrange more demos and see if this system can out-perform the Ethos, and if so by how big a margin. For now all I can say is that the Ethos is reproducing beautiful tunes at a different level having the Conrad Johnson Classic 60SE driving it- with KT120's, Teflon caps, Vishay resistors & all those "SE" version upgrades. Having the PV15 linestage as well, has evolved into a special kind of synergy between pre & power that is marvelous, and this really comes out superbly on the stats! In which case, as the good wife says "why change anything all?" That's about it for now, and have a good one to all. Cheers, RJ
  7. Melbourne In't Hi Fi show

    dear fellow members, I write this note to everyone with my sincere apologies. I was just talking with whatmore ( Trev) and according to him, my opening statements ref to the show were quite damaging and offensive and has made many upset. Therefore, I just wanted to say sorry for upsetting anyone, that was certainly not my intention... I am a very passionate person when it comes to audio and I'm overly passionate towards stats & ribbons. hence perhaps the reason why I went slightly off the rails, sorry for that. sometimes I do tend to go off like this, even the good wife has commented on my high end manners.... I need to work on that. on a lighter side of things, being a Melbournian and having lived here for nearly 15 years, the show was well organized. parking & accessibility are very crucial to such venues and free parking on Sun certainly helps. Most of the rooms were obviously not ideal... but the gear on display were outstanding indeed. I was very disappointed though with the Halcro set up being a panel lover I was expecting more since they also had the ideal space for stats. rooms being smelly or congested is obviously because of the rooms! if this was based in a large convention center then things would be more airy. apart from that, I feel sorry for the exhibitors after all they're the ones who spend the entire 3 days in bloody congested environments, it's a wonder that none of them fainted, let alone put up with us public... Overall, I think there was a lot of effort and energy put into this show, and I should be proud to have a show like this in our very own backyard! so well done to the organization committee and all exhibitors. I certainly learned a lot from that Sun and especially the time spent with Cameron at AG and Mac & SF speakers. again I'm terribly sorry if I have offended or upset anyone here and caused unnecessary drama, I will be more considerate the next time I post something. Thanks Trev for pointing that out, I do appreciate your honest feedback. cheers to all and a big woof! RJ
  8. Melbourne In't Hi Fi show

    Yes maties, agreed with some of the points/feedback. Now more than ever, I have realized the ROOM plays a huge factor! At the tender age of 44, I’m still learning! I may have missed a few things or incorrectly stated something, that’s because for those of you who didn’t notice the timing of my post- past 4am this morning, and I’m still sleepy… lucky I got the day off. So sorry if I have missed or stated something to the world incorrectly. I am also very transparent, I don’t sugar coat anything anymore, therefore I will tell like it is! I have been a member on WBF for many years, and I am no expert at all. It’s just that when I did have the CJ dealership along with other brands such as, ARC, VTL & Manley, Maggies, Infinity & Paradigm to name a few, back in my home country, people were losing interest in high end audio. They would rather spend that kind of money on fancy sports cars… sadly we had to shut down, plus family and all migrated to Aussie land for a better life! Best country I have lived in to date! When I hopped onto WBF, and when I had the Quads, I was extremely disappointed to learn of its flaws. Went through disaster after disaster. Luckily there was a very nice chap named Kostas, who helped me to venture back into the world of Martin Logan’s, and so I embarked on the Ethos. I was looking really forward to this year’s Melbourne Hi Fi show because I wanted to see if there was a transducer that could outclass the Ethos for that kind of spend, sadly there wasn’t a single thing available. Not even the Halcro Stats. I would have loved to see Connie demo his Audio Analysis ribbons in that large lounge area, rather than Halcro. I guess those big boys spent quite a bit to acquire that space. BTW, someone commented about the sweet spot on stats- so what? When I “sit down and listen to music” I don’t really start doing back flips, somersaults and roll over the floor, I rather listen and relax into the music, allowing the natural soundstage to flow, and it is superb! So really what’s the big deal about this sweet spot? For those with speakers that have a sweet spot, good! It won’t allow you to shake your head violently… and listen at the same time. On a more positive note- there were some systems that were sounding alright. Yes, the Huglich setup was pretty good, nothing too over-bearing there as long as you were standing way back and listening, not near field. The other fairly large room next to the LP’s on sale, where there were JBL’s and NAD systems and a range of others, this was very nice and clean. No boomey stuff or muffled sound, very clear and pleasant to listen to. I think any combination from here, would get you a nice setup for average spend without going homeless. On another comment / question about whether Martin Logan hybrids have solved the bass driver to panel integration- yes definitely! Go and listen to the new ML hybrid systems at Class A Audio (Kevin) will give you a good demo. Or if you really want one demo not to forget, send me a PM and I can arrange one at home for you. At the moment we live in a shoe box therefore this won't be the full potential of the Ethos but you will feel every single minute detail, including fast bass with slam and heft! Although I still prefer a dedicated transport/dac combination compared to the streaming device that Kevin uses, his rooms are adequate for good demos. Sometime I feel he has over-damped the rooms though, and there is far too much gear in any one room! Anyway, you will get a good sense of how far these new ML hybrids have been engineered. I also ventured back into pre-power combination, and now have the Conrad Johnson Classic 60SE power amp matched with the PV15 pre (modified). Well, all I can say is that this duo takes the Ethos to another level altogether. The only upgrade in performance from this would be the Renaissance 15A, which retails for around 45 grand. Not a bad start to high-end stats! I do miss the midrange magic of my previous CAV45 with those EL34's, that midrange was something very special only found on EL34's. With the KT120's the sound is fuller and has far more weight, midrange is very open and smooth and has a superb blend with natural highs. The bass is the biggest factor of improvement, where it takes off to another level on the ML panels. Top to mid bass is outstanding and the seamless integration to lower bass is just marvelous. It is not as super fast as the CLX's though but very natural sounding and enjoyable for endless hours. I will have another late 4am session today as well, since I don't start work tomorrow till 4pm. life is good in Melbourne... Yes, the room at Avant Garde was not too great/ balanced to begin with but after I visited Cameron for the third and final time, he also noticed this and corrected it accordingly. During the latter half of the Sun arvo, it was much better. Hence, if you were to bring this home, it would sound even better. If I’m correct Whatmore (Trev) has a similar model to the Uno’s, and he’s using tube amps. Perhaps Trev could shed more light on the Uno’s attributes. Once thing I noticed is that you can actually place the Uno’s close to the back wall, without having disastrous boom affects, unlike the previous AG models. The Uno’s have come a long way since and AG have done a marvelous job with the Uno’s engineering in this regard. The ideal demos are where they sound really good at the dealer’s place/demo rooms, and then when you set up at home, they sound spectacular! That’s when you realize the money well spent, not the other way round. The Sennheiser headphones and others Beyer something from Germany were also great musical devices, I only got a chance to listen to the German ones. Very well made and constructed all round. For those with dedicated Head Phone amps, would find these superb value! Well that’s about it for now, I do sincerely hope for the next show, at least Bill from McLeans would have some wonderful maggies on demo, and Connie gets his act together with AA ribbons. Would also certainly be nice to see Audio Active demo the latest range of the ML Masterpiece class, rather than the Paradigm Persona, which I think was way overpriced. I have had the older Paradigm Studio 100’s, not much of a difference dating back 16 years… Cheers to all and have a good one, enjoy the music and look after your gear! RJ
  9. G'day maties, just wanted to report some "honest uncolored coverage" The Melbourne Hi Fi show; hi fi? I think a more appropriate term would be “low fi”...On a scale of 10, I give it a strong 3! – 1 for good parking, 2 for good accessibility & 3 for clean toilets, that’s about it!First of all this post is NOT to put down Melbourne in anyway way or form, or letting down Aussie land for that matter (for those who may be offended already). This is purely from an equipment point of view. In terms of evaluating high end audio. So I make this very clear before offences take place, thanks.I was looking forward to this show, since I hadn’t been to a local one for years, only to be quite disappointed. The overall show was well organized, easy access and free parking on Sunday. Set along the beautiful serenity of Albert Park. Walk in and for the novice, well I guess it would have been an eye opener to experience such elaborate systems, with elaborate price tags…However, for the seasoned Audiophile, music lover and tech guru, this was a huge let down. As I walked in, I came across the mighty Halcro electrostats, huge stats indeed! Big Halcro amps, preamps and the works- soundwise? I sincerely think the Bose 901 is far better. I don’t mean this as an insult to Bose owners but to say to achieve a sound with a price tag in excess of 150 grand is not necessary, the Bose 901 is just fine!Moving onto the upper floor, came across a massive butt ugly pair of JBL horn loaded system. Jeepers creepers, this was like the awaking of Dracula! Driven with huge tube amps from Melody (Chinese made), those tubes were larger than the latest missiles fired by Kim Jon Ill (or however you spell his name). Sounded terrible! Just a wall of a thunderous blast!Opposite to that was the WAF room. Slightly better but yet another blast! As I ventured into each room, it was basically blast after blast. I felt like I was in a war zone and not an audio show or at least some decent room where you would relax to the music and not end up with a headache within the first 15 mins!There were speakers from Hulich, SGR, Monitor Audio, Devialet, Klipsh, Paradigm, etc, the majority were dynamic driver- box designs. And, I could distinctively hear each and every type of box! They were boomy, muddy, and didn’t allow the music to flow freely, although driven with 100’s of watts. I was wondering whether the Klipsh Lascala’s would possibly sound any better driven with tubes? I have heard the Klipsh with tubes and they are wonderful. These were driven with Marantz SS, just awful, another big blast!I was told by nearly all the show people that they didn’t like their rooms. Maybe so; they were small and cramped, wall to wall carpeting, and if too many people were there at any given time, it would end up being sweaty and smelly. There was no ventilation, just plain stale air. I strongly believe, an open exhibition center would have been far more effective than pigeon holes… Of course constructing partitions to demo systems would be challenging but is doable. Other audio shows I have attended have been in these types of settings and the sound is not congested at all. I assume that the major problem for poor/mediocre sonics was partly the room acoustics, to say the least.There were no panels for that matter, other than the one Halcro stat system. The lounge that this system was set up in was more than adequate to let it sing, but sing is what it couldn’t do whatsoever! I finally managed to find a decent demo with two systems that I am very familiar with:1.The Sonus Faber (Safarina) driven with a full McIntosh system (C22 digital pre, SACD player/transport & MC452 power amp). Although the room was about adequate for just one speaker, the sound wasn’t overbearing and quite listenable compared to the blast zone out there! The Safarina’s were begging for a larger space (I could hear them saying, "please allow us to breathe...") the bass was tight, gutty and quite smooth but did have some overhang. Speed & agility were more apparent in the mids & highs. The chaps who were the importers/distributors for SF & Mac told me that they spent a good half a day trying to tame the SF’s with the Mac amps the best they could and found this positioning to be ok. I agree!2. The other system which was pleasing to listen to and had a far better control of “coherency and balance” was the Avant Garde Uno XD system. Driven with Avant Garde’s own hand crafted SS power amp (looks & sounds outstanding) partnered with a tube pre from Lab, soundwise the best on show! I thought I had wasted my time with this show but that Avant Garde Uno for the last hour was well worth it!Bonzo: I am not sure of you have heard the AG Uno XD’s but they are VERY good! The overall balance factor in terms of horn and driver integration have come a LONG way from previous designs and the dynamics and smoothness are superb! The dynamics are not forced out, and does not make you jump, unlike previous models. In fact, if not for that horn looking diaphragm, I would certainly like to have a pair of these partnered with my CJ amps. Cameron the importer said the CJ amps would take the performance to another level on the XD’s. I can imagine.Overall, I think for what was on display/demo was indeed a good array of gear to audition. Including audio software such as, Tidal/hidal & bridal whatever… (I am ignorant in this area and not interested as I still feel that a dedicated transport & dac or all in one playback is still unbeatable). Then comes the deqx, meqx and so on… whether this makes a difference or not I wouldn’t know. One thing for sure is that no matter what exq was used, obviously to no advantage…In summary: I can clearly see why other high end dynamic types such as Wilsons, Genesis, Magico’s & Rockports cost so much. About 70-80% of the cost goes on the structure of the cabinets, hence the main reason you don’t hear the box! But does that mean in order to acquire a top end dynamic design, you have to spend over 100 grand to achieve it? I certainly hope not because the average audiophile/music lover does have an actual life other than dishing out large sums of money for speakers.And this is where the fact remains- in order to achieve that “open/natural/transparent/unhindered/de-congested/expansive soundstage with realistic scale and with a realistic price tag” there is nothing better than panels! May it be AA, Maggies, Apogee’s, stats from ML, Acoustats, Carver, Quad and so on, I sincerely feel that they are superior in reproducing what’s “available” on your favorite recordings, and they can be driven with either tubes or SS according to your liking.I ended up staying back in the AG room, virtually whiles Cameron was packing up. Then when I got home way after 8pm, fired up the system and listened again till another late-night session. It is now 4:00am! And all I can say is that for a fraction of the cost on some of that very fancy/pricey gear on show, the Ethos & CJ operate on a totally different platform, one that is not only higher in every sonic regard but also one that is in a league of its own when it comes to stats or panels. The comparison is just not possible whatsoever! The Avant Garde’s on the other hand, yes but these are horns and well-designed ones and they cost 35 grand upwards- the Ethos were just under 10… Apogee’s & maggies are way less than 35 grand as well, value for money? Obviously!Now, I can certainly understand how and why Roberto enjoys his CLX’s with the CJ Classic 120, that would be one outstanding SOTA combination at its very best! Also an Apogee system, no doubt. I am very happy I attended this show because now, I appreciate the humble / simple systems even more!Cheers to those with good room setups, great gear to match and well thought out layouts, enjoy what you have to the fullest! You really don't have to go homeless spending on high end, careful planning and rational judgement will get you pristine sound.Cheers! and a big woof RJ
  10. New Quads ESL-2912

    Very true about full range stats vs hybrids, full range ribbons / panels for that matter. There is nothing better (more cohesive and integrated) compared to a full range. However, this must be partnered with a very fine amplifier to give it that overall drive and control. You necessarily don't have to go nuts and spend million bucks on amplification to get it right. I am happily using the CAV45 by CJ on the Ethos with superb results, and this will sound far better in a well integrated room with ample space, which I will have mid next year. So with that combination, since I don't listen to levels that blow off the roof, 45 watts of pure tube power on a hybrid panel is more than adequate. This is where it went wrong with the Ren15A- already having around 600w of built in power to drive the bass drivers, and adding to that 120w of tube amplification and listening at levels louder than Suncorp stadium, of course it sounds dis-jointed and totally out of whack, hence a full range would benefit. For this very first time, I had listener fatigue with CJ! and CJ is never known to have listener fatigue, it should be one of the most musical sounding gear you would ever find in audio. After that round, we connected a Kondo Overture integrated 32w pure class A, and that was superb on the Ren15A. Very much like the time I enjoyed having the Overture running the Quads for a while, that was a very special sound. However, there are limitations on the Quads, they simply cannot pump out fast dynamic tight bass compared to a driver. When this powered driver is then mated with a stat panel, controlled dispersion with built-in DSP and 24Bit digital cross-overs, that match between driver and panel is seamless. I have tried other SS amps on the Ethos and simply did not like them merely because they were too powerful or didn't quite have that sublime balance of tube sound that I prefer. It is hard to explain but once you hear it you will know. OTH, listening to the Quads and CLX on their own is simply outstanding! The Quad stat will always remain as my all time favorite electro-stat for whatever flaws it has... On a dream system level, it would have to be the ML CLX driven with top line CJ amps, where the musicality and natural openness is just superb! There will also be give and take as is the case with any system. People who claim that certain gear sounds "best" or has "killer bass", which I find hard to comprehend, will always have something to whinge about down the line on some particular system. No matter how much you spend and how large your budgets are, there will always be something to beat it, no doubt! As for me, this is the end of the road, perhaps there may be a few enhancements along the way after the new house comes up. Family priorities will be taken care of first and then we'll see if the audio requires any upgrading whatsoever... For now as I said, I'm very happy with everything at the moment, don't care if the bass isn't seamless or not, and hats off to full range stats! I will continue to visit new places to audition new gear and learn as much possible from designers and industry experts. Similarly maggies and Audio Analysis ribbons are also superb full range panels, with extremely good materials used and solid build quality. Not too sure about past maggies but the newer quasi ribbons are proving to be very reliable with very good sonic performance and still made in the USA! Audio Analysis is made in Greece and their systems are very reliable and they're pricing is quite competitive, nothing over the top. Whatever said and done, you gotta hate something to love it, and when I went in to Sound Ref the other weekend to pick up the Quad II Classic Integrated amp for a spin on the Ethos, the 2912's were playing in the background, I just had to sit there and listen for a while... great sounding stats indeed Frank! and glad to hear your 2905's are still going strong, and a big YES, turn it off when not in use, good advice! Cheers & big woof RJ
  11. New Quads ESL-2912

    Hey Happy, Yes the little kitty, named Truffles was put down on May 8th. He got a very rare virus called FIP feline infectious parasite some jazz... affects only a small 5-10% of all kittens born with the virus and exposed to the corona virus. After a vet bill of nearly 3 grand and visiting three separate vets including the Lort Smith Animal hospital, all of them agreed that we did all we could to save the little fella. Never quite got over that since my mum's b'day and truffles are on the same day and I lost mum at the age of 11. Nothing ever flinches me and I've been through a lot! Bomb's going off back in my home country, body parts, losing mates in the forces etc., I seen it all and lived it but this kitty was such an over-powering affect, I couldn't do anything for a while, hence the silence with everything. No posts, no music- nothing! I couldn't even go to work for three days... After about a week or so, the wifey mentioned, why not play unforgettable by Nat King Cole on LP, and so the music started again. It definitely has a healing process! and so I started posting back on WBF and CJ. Then I had the pleasure of listening to the long awaited mighty ML Ren15A with top line CJ gear (GATS2 and the Classic 120). Posted that on WBF for those really interested in ML hybrids. It certainly was an interesting experience but also one I had sort of expected... I am now in one of those places that gives me immense satisfaction for what I have- loving family, new kitten (snuffles), superb audio system, great work place and good honest mates, and a new home on the way to be completed next year by Simonds. So I should be happy for that and appreciate what I got. After all, life is way too short to grumble, might as well smell the roses! Cheers happy and nice to know you are "happy" RJ
  12. New Quads ESL-2912

    G'day maties, Was away on an adventurous journey... little kitten only 4 months of age had to be put down, changed locations at work, now back at the previous store in Glenroy, house being currently built or not sure about that one- attended the gallery tour last Sat, now for the final appointment on Tues, my very lovely fond aunty Carmen who looked after me in the States is now in intensive care after suffering a stroke (I don't think she'll make it) is now in a nursing home and cannot speak at all, left side totally paralysed, and Queensland won the state of O! what a great game last night, brings back good old days of hard sports, especially those days of rugby union... played prop fwd and broke numerous bones, dislocated a few joints, knees have hardly anything left now, but I must say the music is good! Getting back to the Quads, when I saw this- I must chip in. These are the same dam things as the 2905's, no difference at all mates. I have a lot of experience with Quads and both of these models, having previously owned the original 63, then on to the 989, 2905 & 2912 auditioned heavily at Sound Ref (Damien in Melb). In short if you can get them working long enough, they are a great stat, typical Quad sound, lovely midrange, superb depth due to the anode rings dispersion pattern, smooth highs (not extended highs) and equally smooth bass, quite low in fact. The changes made are mostly cosmetic, weight remains the same. The major changes made are internally- wiring is laid out more effectively to carry out the service and repairs which are ever constant with these Quads coming out of China! If you came across my previous posts on the 2905's you will see what I mean. The transformers and power cabling are laid out more neatly and the delay coils are placed in a manner to be able to access the lower panel if need replacing. Still it is a pain the capital butt to repair panels, if one is faulty and is the lower one, good luck with that! John Hall did a fabulous job of replacing my panels and to this day, my Quads sold off to a new owner is extremely happy with them, John uses far better glues and mylar material compared to what's coming out from China. Hence, his workmanship is far batter and far more reliable than QC in China. Sorry no pun or offence intended on the Chinese production, just that at the price I paid (close to 16 grand) and adding repairs to $3000, total price spent on these dam things were close to 20 grand. For that money, adding another few grand would have gotten me the Martin Logan CLXArts- they are simply superb stats and built like no other. The 2912, 2905, 2812, 2805, 989, 988, and down to the 63 is basically the same panel, it never changed nor did they ever improve on it since. Back in the ESL63, it never had "transformer failure" which is a common occurrence in the new models, simply because they are no UK made parts in there. I still retain the toy looking transformer from the 2905's just to remind me what a disaster their design is/parts... Soundwise- cannot compete with Martin Logan panels, nor their hybrids. Just a completely different planet and build quality. Anyway, I can go on about this or make a movie about them but they are not reliable. However, if you are a lover of stats and would have the means to repair and maintain such panels, then are good stats to have for life. After spending a certain amount, you can leave aside another spend for pending repairs and once these are done by people who "know quads" and not the service chaps at AVR, these stats can last a long time and will give you endless hours of musicality. Not worrying about the dynamics, extended highs, speed, attack, transparency and naturalness of tones, these are great legendary stats for lovers of stats and panels. Would be interesting to see whats new ahead for Quad in the future... Cheers RJ
  13. Martin Logan Ethos- a superb value in stats!

    Yes mate, that's correct about the same experience I had. The MC302 would sometimes struggle to handle the impedence swing of stats. It is a great amp though, and can very easily drive ribbons or other dynamic driver types for that matter but for stats, it's a different form of current and voltage stability that is required. With solid state amplification, it is closer to "Class A" in output operation that is required to fully control a stat panel. The ss amps that I've heard sound best with ML's are Pass Labs and Vitus Audio. Of course there are Dan D's momentums, Boulder amps and Kondo amplifiers that are priced at drug money levels, these are completely in different league altogether. I have tried both the MC302 & MC452 with my previous cj Act2 pre on my Quads. Both were great to a certain point but then the MC452 was just superb! The MC452 delivers far greater amount of current, more than even the MC601 monoblocks! Although these 600 watt mono amps are extremely powerful, they don't deliver the amount of current capability of the MC452. The MC452 can virtually double its current drive into a 4ohm load, and with its "quad balanced" topology, it holds this current right throughout regardless of impedence swing. This is Mac's most powerful stereo amplifier ever made to date, and it can drive anything. Not only in terms of power but also musicality with finesse. It made the Quads just take off! Although I liked this combination very much, the Quads do not require that much of power. It's also not advisable to overdrive them, they can shut down and cause other issues with their panels. Solid state amplification on the Quads did deliver a fairly smooth sound but with tubes it was quite magical! At the end, I just stuck with cj's 50- 60 watt tube stereo amps that were more than adequate to drive and control stats, and on ML's they sound absolutely marvellous! At the time I was very keen on the MC452, it was going for around 10 grand at Klapp Audio visual, and my mate Conrad was willing to do a good deal. Few years after, he left Klapp and now the price has nearly doubled! Therefore, spending nearly 20 grand on a power amp is not in my financial capacity. Another thing I noticed which is very critical with the MC452 is that it sounds superb matched with a tube preamp. With a ss pre it had a very smooth drive factor but it lacked a certain amount of musicality to it. It was like just listening to a very powerful amplifier. But when partnered with a high quality tube pre, such as their own Mac's (C series) or a CJ pre, the sound performance was in a league of its own. One outstanding amp indeed! If and when you get hold of one, please do let me know, I'll be the first to be there for a long audition with your Ethos! I would certainly agree the Ethos are better balanced from top to bottom, especially with smaller drivers that react faster and have built in DSP pre-amplification for the woofer amplifier. I have heard the Summit X's set up properly in a superb room, and they were quite impressive, mostly in the bass region with larger drivers. However, I must say with the price point of the Ethos, it is definitely hard to beat, hence my original title "ML Ethos- a superb value in stats!" Enjoy maties, and let me know when you get that MC452! Cheers, RJ
  14. Martin Logan Ethos- a superb value in stats!

    Thanks for the reply Sparkle. Yes, agreed that the MDF construction on the bass driver enclosure could be better in terms of rigidness. I finally got hold of the Auralex Iso Tone turntable platform, and this has not only cancelled all unwanted vibrations but also improved the overall performance of the TT by a far margin. I didn't really know that my simple Rega RP3 with the Aria phono stage could sound any better... The Iso Tone platform is remarkable, doesn't look anything fancy though but certainly does a wonderful job. The Mac amp is superb, in fact any Mac amp is always great. At one point I was nearly going for a MC452 because couple years back, when I had my CJ Act2, I partnered it with the MC452 just for a spin, and boy did it fly! It was similar to the mighty cj Premier 350 but with even more power on hand. At the time, I had the Quads and they really didn't require that much power, plus they would shut down at higher output. So I settled for tube power amps and ended up with the MV60SE and Classic 60SE instead. Maybe down the line I should check out the MC452 once again, just to see how these ML panels would take off but I don't listen to loud music at all, so I guess the little bugger CAV45 will do for now. Citroen: Yes the Ethos is a superb speaker for its value but I don't think it can better the Summit/X. I listened to the Summit X before and thought the presentation was superb, just about tad shy in transparency compared to the CLX, and for the value, I think the Summits are superb speakers with the right amplification. Regardless of "X" the Summit can perform in much larger rooms, and to me seemed more transparent with their slightly larger panels. However, I notice that it does take quite a while to balance the level controls properly, and this can be quite a pain in the butt! Especially when you need to change for every type of music. Getting that finer detail level setting does take at least two people to tweak it. It would be difficult for one person to adjust, a team of 3 people would be ideal (as suggested in the manual); once this balance is just right, the Summits are capable of delivering the overall presentation at another level closer to that of the CLX. Otherwise I don't think ML would have wanted to build a Summit. The only drawback is that it doesn't have built in DSP for bass. Whether this is a good thing or negative trait I wouldn't know. The Ethos set up in the right room does work wonders, and amplification is not too fussy, since it has a fairly high sensitivity rating of 92dB making it the most sensitive to the rest in the line up. A good quality amplifier with stable current (not so much watts/power) will be able to drive the Ethos panels effortlessly. I have heard the Ethos before, including the Montis and Summits in different types of rooms, and they were not performing to their optimum, inspite of having very powerful amps driving them. I remember at one place, the chap had a mighty Mcormack capable of delivering some 700w/ch, but the room was overly bright and the speakers were ringing all over the place. He thought it was a very live sound and preferred this way. Then there was another room/house I visited where the room was overly damped, not much extended top end and very muddy bass, also had the bass levels at +4. So, I gathered these were personal preferences... At the end of the day, all ML's are capable of a very transparent and linear sound, and when dialled in correctly do they sound marvellous! I'm still experimenting with my listening position as I think I've got the speaker placement about right. I noticed that when I sit further back, there is a superb soundstage with great depth (about 15ft from listening position). Then again when up closer (about 12ft away) I get a far more intimate soundstage with equally superb depth and this awesome 3-D effect where you can see a full image of nearly every performer, and the ones closest to each channel. It is mind boggling how they achieve this. It's almost like you can stand up and shake their hands or greet them, and the speakers simply vanish! I do prefer this type of presentation but will try to see how far away my ideal listening position ought to be. Until then, enjoy the music maties, and look after your panels, they do need TLC! Cheers, RJ
  15. Martin Logan Ethos- a superb value in stats!

    Yes, point noted. The Ethos is that special kind of speaker that offers nearly everything, and is more than enough for me as a reference system. Speaking of Tivoli, I didn't find then to be as responsive as Kevin from Class A Audio. Not only is Kevin a great chap, he will also try to help as much as possible to create and close a deal that is very reasonable by both parties. Kevin is also able to offer the ML reserve line for far less than Tivoli. He offered me the Summits at even less than the Quads! He is fairly new to the arena, and is trying to establish a good name. Whatever he's currently doing is great so far, and he carries a very good range of equipment with nicely laid out demo rooms properly set up. He has the Summits in a much larger room with some massive speakers from Dynaudio, Tannoy, Harbeth and the CLX. Hey Sparkle, what amp were you using again? How have you placed your Ethos- distance from back wall & sides etc. Do you think my listening position of 10-12ft is adequate? RJ
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