AUDIO FORUMS >> Member's Systems Picture Gallery >> NEW SETUP - BUILT IN SHELVES

Message started by Rivieraranch on 02/29/12 at 00:46:36

Post by Rivieraranch on 02/29/12 at 00:46:36

The rubber wheels on the old audio rack gave out. They were crumbling into ugly black chunks every time I would try and move the thing. I had been using it since 2005. New wheels would have cost more than I wanted to pay. So I decided to make some shelves attached to the wall.

Each shelf is 16 inches deep and 48 inches wide. I could have made the boards 52 inches wide, which is the width of the window but in the end I decided I only needed 48 inches. I stained the boards with the wall paint and ragged the excess off so the wood grain would show through. Three coats of polyurethane later they are very durable. The boards are attached with heavy duty metal supports to three two by fours, which in turn are attached with Tapcon screws to the concrete inside the wall. This thing is not ever coming down.  

This enables me to use the turntable more since it is more easily accessible.

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Post by Fireblade on 02/29/12 at 01:41:44

Good work, Rivieraranch!  Looks nice and sturdy.  Is one of your amps missing in these pictures? Congrats!

Post by Rivieraranch on 02/29/12 at 12:33:33

SE84C+ is at office.

Post by Fireblade on 02/29/12 at 16:21:52

Yep, that's the one.  You use the Mini Torii for the MG944's and the Taboo mostly through headphones, I suppose.  But when using the Taboo with the big speakers, what are the sonic differences with the MT?  In this last arrangement, you have to use theCSP2, I suppose.  What are the sonic effects of the preamp to the overall sound?


Post by Rivieraranch on 02/29/12 at 23:02:03

I have not A/B'd the TABOO/MINI TORII using the CSP2+.

I seem to recall that the MINI TORII had bigger bass response, but I have to check that out.  It is not on the bottom shelf for good.

I concluded early on that a preamp gets in the way of the MINI TORII because of its gain. I have reconsidered and now find it useful to run the phono signal through the preamp prior to going into the MINI TORII. This gives more headroom and control over the sound.

I have to explore the differences in these two amps before giving a definitive characterization.

Post by Lon on 02/29/12 at 23:13:33

If the Mini Torii is anything like the Torii Mk III it is worthwhile to play about with a preamp and discover some great sound. I much prefer my PWD as preamp regulating the level with the Torii turned all the way up to the reverse, with the PWD maxed out going into the Torii. There is much more openness, less a feeling that the music is compressed, more subtle dynamics, and an airier tonal balance.

Post by Fireblade on 03/01/12 at 01:20:17

Thanks for sharing that, guys.  

Riviera, I meant the Mini Torii alone vs the Taboo with the CSP2 (as the Taboo won't work without a preamp), just wondering about those sound differences given the Lucid Mode on the Taboo.  If you eventually A/Bd them, I'll appreciate your comments, no rush.

I'm not sure what the 'PWD' is, Lon.  I guess it's a PerfectWave DAC (fine piece of gear).  In any event, seems like other than allowing for several inputs, the general preamp's function is to provide the means to ride the gain.  I'm curious why you prefer the PWD as a preamp over the CSP2.

Just trying to learn some.  Thanks!  

Post by Lon on 03/01/12 at 01:45:40

FB, the "PWD" is short hand that several of us use for the PS Audio PerfectWave DAC. It's a DAC and a digital preamp. I can't live without it now, it's so damned good. Gives me fantastic sound for my Cds, DVDs and Blu-ray, and DVR. Can switch between them and adjust volume. And "ride the gain."

I have the Mk I version, without a Bridge, I've not yet upgraded to Mk II, maybe soon.

The CSP2 does add something. . . but I've come to the conclusion that it's something that isn't really needed especially since it also adds interconnects and power cord, etc. It shines in my second system, so I use it there. Every now and then I put it in the main system and play around, but I don't feel it needs to be there.

Post by Rivieraranch on 03/01/12 at 02:17:44


The TABOO does not "need" a preamp if you are using efficient speakers and you don't need ear splitting volume. It sure benefits from one in the sense that it elevates it to a higher level.  

Post by Fireblade on 03/01/12 at 02:48:58

Although Will commented on your specific setup on a previous thread, I didn't checked the details at the time.  So, I looked for the right info this time around.

I was just reading the review by 6moons on PS Audio's PWT/PWD combo, and all the explanation regarding their technology, and it's simply amazing!  I think it's the ideal tool for listening to Red CD collections at their best.  It's a shame the royalties for the SACD rights have precluded this combo (at least by the article's date) to play SACDs.

I'm glad I won't be needing any CSP2+ for now, as the Mini Torii has plenty of gain, and I will never listen to vinyl (simply because of added gear complexities and costs).  Riding the gain is the only feature I may be pursuing in the future, once my setup is tunned.  That is why I've been discussing the potential role of a ZStage in my system.  I think Steve's niche with the ZStage nails it for people like me, which would prefer avoiding a preamp.


Post by Lon on 03/01/12 at 14:27:06

That's a cool review of the PWD (studied it closely before ordering mine) but it really doesn't address the sound, which is glorious. Coupled with the PWT. . . amazing Redbook sound, and hi rez as well (wav on DVR).

The SACD limitation is still very real and probably there won't ever be SACD playback. But that actually doesn't bother me as I had one of the best current SACD players for some time side by side with the PWD and I really felt that the Redbook via the PWD really lost nothing to the SACD, any difference was very close if not neglible. I sold the player and haven't missed it. Sold the SACD layer only discs I had too and made a tidy sum.

I'm sure the ZStage is great (and it IS a preamp, so how do you avoid a preamp using it? :)). I do love the CSP2 and I'd love to have it in my system as it is so flexible with its output gain adjustment (and with the new ones input gain as well) and it's amazing what it can do between a source and the Torii. "More" there as far as adjustment and tube rolling sonic character than the ZStage imo. And this adds another layer to "riding the gain." (And I ride the gain right now with my PWD, but riding the gain with both is interesting!) And I do have a few Blu-rays that have hi-rez audio that won't be passed via the digital out to my PWD (limited by the player to 48kz) and in that instance the CSP2 would give me great sound for those discs. But for a permanent home for the CSP2 in my system I need a new rack place (and after having a Mapleshade Samson rack for so many years I'd want another of those, and they ain't cheap) and I would need killer interconnects and another power cord, footers, etc. As the PWD serves as an excellent preamp, that seems an expense I can't afford until my ship comes in. And it may never come in. And I'm very happy with my sound right now, and I know I'll be even happier when I get the Mk II upgrade, which is my next finance requiring target.

Interesting that there's so much positive talk about the 6V6. I've only ever used those in guitar amps, and I'm not a fan in those amps.

Post by Fireblade on 03/01/12 at 18:15:57

Right, Steve calls it 'a purist tube preamp,' in the sense of a very short/simple signal path stage, less intrusive than a regular preamp, I suppose.  IMHO, if you already have the signature of a good tube amp and do not need multiple inputs, the preamp, line stage or source output stage (whichever solution you choose) is required essentially for 'riding the gain.'

Although I'm sure that having the right combination of preamp/amp may even enhance the amp's signature in some particular cases, that's something a little subjective and more subtle, I suppose, as well as not a general rule.  That is why I asked Rivieraranch about comparing Taboo + CSP2 and Mini Torii by itself.  

It could also be that a PP amp, like the Torii, would benefit from an analogue input signal enhanced through a SET configuration preamp (like the CSP2+), but I don't think a SEP based amp would benefit in this sense, but that's just my guess.

In any event, congrats on a super source setup.  Now I see why you and PaleRider, for example, have kept yourselves shy from computer based sourcing.  Yet, as I stated in an earlier thread, in my view the PC will soon catch up, and it's going to be a much cheaper source at SQ parity.  The differentiation would then become solely gadgetry and convenience related, I suppose.

To some people, though, the high end audio engineering companies will keep coming up with breakthroughs, virtually perpetuating the PC based sourcing alternative in a follower role  ...  Who nows?

Thanks for your thoughts ...

Post by Lon on 03/01/12 at 19:55:47

Personally, I don't think there's any significant benefit to the ZStage as opposed to the CSP2, neither to my thinking has a shorter signal path, the latter gives you another input and in my opinion what makes it shine is power supply, huge transformer!, and the adjustability of the gain on input and output which I wouldn't think would be that big a deal, but it really is, it's great for "riding the gain," it's a built in balance control, etc. "Purist" usually translates to "fewer features." ;) I would prefer the CSP2 to the ZStage any day personally, if you're going to have a preamp, have a few features. I don't think the SEP or PP configuration really makes any difference between these two amps and the way that a preamp works with them. If I'm going to use a preamp, I want it to have the features and build the CSP2 does.

PaleRider DOES do computer audio as well. I'm not at all interested though. I really don't like computers enough. I spend too much time on them with my bulletin boards and any work I do, and I don't want to incorporate my big escape from the computer, audio, into that mix. There's in my opinion no real sonic benefit for me, and I just don't want the computer to govern my music. F' that.

Have a great afternoon! Off to a movie soon.

Post by Fireblade on 03/01/12 at 21:11:44

I just remembered PaleRider is streaming high resolution files from his own network database too, so in effect, he's also on computer audio, my apologies to him.

I wonder why do you say the amps' configurations would not make any difference in the way they combine with a class A preamp, like the CSP2+.  I thought everything matters in this topic, and the topography is an important parameter to consider when combining with other audio components.  As you are a witness yourself, even a cable makes a difference.  Makes me wonder ...

You're right about the power supply issue on the CSP2+, it must make a big difference (did not think of that.)  Nevertheless, not needing extra inputs and still being able to ride the gain, the ZStage seems quite useful at half the price   ;)

Have a good one, Lon.


Post by Rivieraranch on 03/01/12 at 23:43:16

I measured the space behind the shelves at 1&5/8 inch to accommodate the thickest plug I had, the AC Direkt power cord for the CD player. A 1&1/2 inch opening would not accommodate the plug.

Post by Lon on 03/02/12 at 02:00:25

I just honestly don't feel there's that big a difference in the way that the MT ant T are configured as far as input and gain etc. My experience with Steve's amps are that there's a homogeneity to the the designs, and that SEP, SET (and "pseudo SET), and PP are less importantly different in his designs when compared to the level of differences in other company's designs. There you go, that's my experience with the Decware line from 1997 on.

Post by Pale Rider on 03/02/12 at 07:51:04

I am a big ZSTAGE fan, having used one to drive my Taboo and LCD-2 cans. But when I brought the Taboo home for headphone use (keeping the Cavalli Liquid Fire at the office), and used it with the Ultra preamp, I no longer needed the ZSTAGE. I am donating it to a fellow Decwarian.  

There are, of corse, different versions of so-called computer audio approaches; some use a PC or Mac, others a server. At my office, I use a Mac mini for my file server with Audirvana as my player, into an Audiophileo M-1 and modded PS Audio Digital Link III. All that feeds the Cavalli quite nicely. Not as lush as the Ultra/Taboo but very very nice.

At home, my approach was to dispense with disc-swapping and archive my disks at the same time. A network storage device seemed ideal, and the PSA eLyric Music Manager does the trick pretty well. So, I have my discs all stored in their cases in a safe place, but all the music is instantly retrievable. I think Lon and I have always understood the different psychic approaches we bring to playback, but in theory, we should be hearing almost identical things. His PWT does what my exact copy ripping does: extracts the music from the disc and uses a lens to solve the clocking challenges. My PWD Mk II and network bridge contain their own lenses and sound just amazing.

I understand Lon when he says he doesn't want the computer in his audio room. Makes sense to me. In my case, I love the instant access via iPhone or iPad to over 15,000 tracks.

Occasionally, I play Blu-Ray audio and SACD discs (the ones that I cannot rip for one reason or another) through the Oppo BDP-95, but it ain't a PWT.

Post by Fireblade on 03/02/12 at 10:58:27

Really amazing stuff, Pale Rider!  I'm still in the process of transferring all my discs to WAV format files, using EAC.  It's a time-consuming process, but worth it.  With my new 1.5 Tb external HDD, I'll keep all my music stored for easy retrieval also, and have the physical discs stored as backup.

I end up playing my WAV files through a two-stage process, by which I retrieve from my ext. drive the selections I'm interested in playing for a particular listening session, and have them in RAM at my computer for the Foobar2000 to stream it to my HRT MS II+ USB/DAC, using WASAPI exclusive mode.

When the original recordings are of good SQ, the results are impressive so far, even considering I'm currently running my old SS setup (while I wait for the Decware gear to arrive).

I'm glad you had good results using the ZStage initially, as I also plan to incorporate it, eventually.  


Post by Rivieraranch on 03/02/12 at 12:18:12


"dispense with disc-swapping"

I didn't know you were into disc-swapping!

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