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Garrard 401, Nakamich CA5 PA5, ML ESL


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After beginning this journey back in 1992, I think that aside from some new interconnects I might actually be very close to my own personal end point.

 

Currently heading home after collecting a Nelson Pass designed Nakamichi CA-5 PA-5 pairing.  Depending on what you read, the preamp is one of the best made and is a perfect match for the lead and alloy bodied DL103r sitting on my Garrard 401.  The Stasis technology PA-5 should be happy driving my Martin Logan Electromotion ESLs.

 

There are some rumblings that the PA-5 responds well to the odd circuit tweak, but I’ll live with it for a while and see how it sounds before I’m tempted to break out a soldering iron.  Even then I think I’ll start with replacing the main PSU caps before contemplating anything else.

 

Most of my interconnects are generic throw away items so maybe it’s time to get something reasonable there and then call it quits.

 

Excited to get home and power things up again...

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What a great find if they’re working and in good condition. 
the Nak pres and powers of that vintage are what set my first solid benchmark for audio performance when I was in my late teens. 
 

I’m also a Martin Logan fan and recently considered some EM ESL Xs myself.  
 

I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing more. 

Edited by Winno
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Okay, so the basic upshot is that they are working perfectly and sound freaking awesome.  I no longer have a need to chase speaker or amplification upgrades.  Interconnects and I'm sorted.

So happy right now.

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Hmm, pics will have to wait for a bit I’m afraid.  Maybe this coming weekend...   Not that there is much to see, just 2 black boxes...

 

Still astounded at the upgrade in sound.  Clarity and separation of musical strands with no harshness or clinical sounding downside and easily another octave of well controlled bass.

 

loving the Naks 

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On 12/05/2020 at 9:50 AM, FR DRew said:

Not that there is much to see, just 2 black boxes...

Pfft.

You're underselling them now.

We still want to see them when you get the chance.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Still no pics folks, just some more listening...

So this last week I coughed up the minimal funds to get 3 pairs of Chord C-Line interconnects.  No, they are not the ultimate in leads, but in all the reviews I've read they are praised for positive attributes while being accused of very few sins of omission or notable problems.  They are definitely a step up from the bog standard Jaycar patch leads that they replaced.

Cabling is a 3m run of Audio Principe silver/copper solid core twisted pair for speakers, 0.5M runs of C-Line from turntable arm lead (needed an extension of the lead to reach the phono input, the main line out being very fine braided Cardas) and 0.5M pre to power and a 1M lead from the Audiolab 8000CDE.

Is it placebo or is it real?  I don't know, but the various pieces of instrumentation within recordings seem far better differentiated than they were previously.  Of course it does make screw ups in the studio/production train painfully obvious as additional singers appear from nowhere when double tracking happens.  It's worse if the multitracking was done in a different audio space as you hear a differently sized studio room pop into and out of existence as the edits happen...

Loving the resolution of the Martin Logan electrostatics, the resolution of John Curl's phono stage design, Nelson Pass's linestage and Stasis power amp design, Nakamichi's build quality and the PRaT inherent in the Garrard 401/Wand/PPDL103r front end.

Detail without harshness, speed, timing, timbre...  This is what I've waited 20+ years for.  :-)

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