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$4K System? (Read 6926 times)
Chris K
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #15 - 12/02/09 at 23:43:00
 
You and the wife should shop for some nice wall hangings that are absorptive in nature. It is Christmas you know? Oops you budgeted all $4K for system!
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nsj
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #16 - 12/03/09 at 00:00:35
 
Chris,

LOL, I can understand that you feel like a kid in a candy store; I feel the same way! You must be excited to receive that Mini Torii...

It looks like your plan is similar to our living room and yes, lot's of hard surfaces! The only saving graces are 3 pieces of leather furniture and window coverings on the windows. Nice drawing BTW, and I'm an architect, so I should know!

Lon's suggestions are spot on given a larger budget, but alas, that is not going to happen for now.

Let me pose a question to the two of you that I asked Steve, but, to which he has not responded. I may be giving away some of his recommendation by asking, but, here goes: "Steve, am I better off getting better speakers, e.g. ERR's and using cheaper speaker cables? I don't think that 10' Zen Styx cables will reach given our restricted room layout."

Any thoughts?
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Lon
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #17 - 12/03/09 at 00:42:16
 
Yes, the ERRs will serve you well with cheaper cables, and then bring you even more when you can afford the ZenStyx.
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nsj
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #18 - 12/03/09 at 01:14:03
 
Lon,

Thanks. That's what I thought, but, as I said I have not heard from Steve on this. What is a decent, not too expensive speaker cable? I'm sure that the ZEN Styx are awesome, but they are also $350 for 2 10' cables, i.e. the difference in cost between the MG944's and the ERR's!

Many thanks,

NSJ
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Chris K
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #19 - 12/03/09 at 01:24:14
 
The Zen Styx are a fine cable but they are not user friendly in one respect. They are thick twisted strands of silver plated copper. They are stiffer than a pressurized garden hose. Don't get me wrong I like em. Don't have em but they are nice.

Speaker cable is the last cable I would be fussy about. I mean you shouldn't use 15 foot runs of Home Depot 18 gauge though. Steve may disagree with me one this one I don't know. Interconnects are a real revelation. They all sound different. They have different capacitance (how they are wound and covered) and different metal (silver, copper, combination.) and therefore really do things to the highs and the soundstage. It's only dramatic sometimes and usually A,B direct comparison is the way to pinpoint those differences. I'm going to recommend that you keep your speaker runs as short as possible. 5 feet runs get your speakers 8 feet apart max. with sag. How much for the Zen Styx? How Long? With spreading banana connectors installed? Must have nice locking connectors for a tight connection.

ERR may be a better speaker in many ways. Will it serve all types of music the same? don't know. I imagine I will have a pair here at some point in time. This is tough call. MG944 has BALLS and finesse. ERR with rock & roll? Might be good just cannot say for sure. I know that whatever Steve ships to you in your price envelope whatever you decide on you simply will not be disappointed. There is a 30 day trial?

Other than you listening to all the stuff at someone's house, you've got to take the plunge. It's very little risk and you are in great hands. Smiley

FWIW I have two pair of Decware silver reference interconnects and I like them and use them regularly.
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« Last Edit: 12/03/09 at 01:27:30 by Chris K »  

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Lon
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #20 - 12/03/09 at 01:50:04
 
nsj,

I really don't have a recommendation for good cheap speaker cable. In a real sense, the way that speaker cables in the high end are so astronomically priced, the ZenStyx ARE a cheap cable. Smiley  Anyway, I've gotten a glimpse of good cable sound from TARA Labs Rectangular Copper cables, and PS Audio Xstream Statement cables, which I got hghly discounted, and I still use the PS Audio in my bedrooom system. I've also used plain ole Monster Cable cheapo (slow sounding but warm) and Cat-6 single strand cable (fast and a bit bright).  I lived with all these.  But the ZenStyx are clearly in another league.  The most transparent and honest cables I've ever heard. They are stiff, but they have not been hard to deal with in my system.  They took a while to bloom, but they're just phenomenal, I can't say anything bad about them.

I'm sure others will recommend some cables to use.  I would be remiss if I didn't ask you to consider them strongly.
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nsj
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #21 - 12/03/09 at 01:51:58
 
Chris,

I have $169 budgeted for the interconnects. I have 2 proposed setups for the living room, which I will need to review with my better half...the room is not ideal for hifi, but, as I said previously a lot of it is non-negotiable.

I still have not heard back from Steve on this question, but, here are the systems that I and Steve envisioned:

nsj newbie: Zen Taboo $895, ZP3 Phono Stage $795, ERR speakers $1395, ZCD $799 = $4053 + Shipping (a bit over budget no speaker cables or interconnects)

Steve: Mini Torii $1395, MG944 speakers $995, ZCD $799, Interconnects $169, 10' Zen Styx $350 = $3708 + Shipping (a bit under budget no phono stage)

Interesting huh?
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nsj
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #22 - 12/03/09 at 01:57:03
 
Lon,

Thanks for those recommendations. You 2 guys are a world of information!

NSJ
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Chris K
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hear to 60K!

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Re: $4K System?
Reply #23 - 12/03/09 at 02:19:05
 
ZP3 Is a statement piece. I've not pursued records since it takes a lot more than an excellent phono pre Like the ZP3. I don't know what entry level encompasses as far as turntable, cartridge, and arm. You might run it past Steve what you have available. A great phono stage like the ZP3 deserves a decent source that gets at least a passing grade. In my world it is a big commitment to have a permanent, dialed in vinyl installation. I don't want to discourage you but at this point I know if you get your hands on some good digital copies of your favorite oldies, your gonna hear it like you never heard it before. The Mini TORII is a GREAT amp. I have not given the TABOO a chance. Why? Don't know. It has sounded good to me at Decware. It has been finicky. You must remember that the Mini is a newer product. Steve's endorsement of it is on top of a lot of other current owners and those of us who heard it at DecFest. If you really want the truth I'm scratching up the $hange to get it. I have to have it in the house!!! I'll sell something later if I have to. It sounded that good at the show. And with the MG944 it made music.

I'm gonna say that what you have left in the budget is not allowing for vinyl with certainty of results. Maybe the ZP3 can "polish a turd". Steve would only know that answer.
I love the CSP2 but I don't think the Mini NEEEDs the pre. If you want to blow the whole "kitty" do the digital with what Steve has recommended and get a ZenHead as a pre so you can listen reasonably to iPod. if not save the $300 go under budget get the Styx and try your hand at some home brew cable and do a comparison. Hey it can't hurt.

Pivotal selections are amp & speakers. Amp is KING. MG are good. Really good. They work together. RivieraRanch here on the forums has both. I will have both soon. It's only money! Grin
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Chris K
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #24 - 12/03/09 at 02:27:55
 
Lon with respect to the Radials I think you know I love the Radial series of Decware speakers almost as much as you. Even more that technology taken to Bob's version. On my side of things I've discovered I like many sonic "siganatures". I thought at one time that there was "all but the kitchen sink" speaker. If I had to pick one to live with it would be hard. If I drew straws and it was chance only one pair could stay, they all have special qualities that I would be happy to "live" with for good. I don't have to but I could. But you see I'm NUTS and I have 6 pairs of speakers right now!!!! And amps? Fuggedaboudit!
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Steve Deckert
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #25 - 12/03/09 at 02:34:30
 
Quote:
I still have not heard back from Steve on this question, but, here are the systems that I and Steve envisioned:

nsj newbie: Zen Taboo $895, ZP3 Phono Stage $795, ERR speakers $1395, ZCD $799 = $4053 + Shipping (a bit over budget no speaker cables or interconnects)

Steve: Mini Torii $1395, MG944 speakers $995, ZCD $799, Interconnects $169, 10' Zen Styx $350 = $3708 + Shipping (a bit under budget no phono stage)


I may as well answer this here as it would help future customers faced with similar choices.   I got your second email but also got 84 other ones today and only got about 1/2 way through the stack...  story of my life Smiley

Anyway, the logic behind my system recommendation was to keep you under your budget with everything you would need short of a phono stage.  

I am concerned about your room as it's obviously going to be bright sounding, and yes, ERR's might be a better fit for such a space.  However the Mini Torii has a treble control that can be used to tame any brightness that your room adds, so it should sound fine.  I also figured that when you get in the mood to really rock out if you find the mini torii lacks power, we can step you up to the TORII MK III so long as it happens by Jan 15th, and still stay dangerously close to your budget.  

The mini torii will drive the ERR's very nicely, but the MG944's will be more efficient from the listening chair.  I believe that couple dB difference could be the difference between upgrading to a bigger amp or not.

Your suggestion of the Taboo is no problem at all until we get involved with a phono stage.  The taboo likes 3 t o 5 volts at the inputs to really get with the program.  The ZCD offers that.  Most CD players are 2 volts.  The phono stage at best will be 2 volts meaning that in order to really enjoy LP's you'll get sucked into purchasing a preamp.

If it were me, I would probably buy the ERR's and the TORII MKIII and use an IPOD or whatever source you can get your hands on until such a time you can add a ZCD or Phono stage or both.  But, I was really trying to honor your budget.  

Interconnects and speaker cables are indeed important but I believe any of these systems would sound better using Radio Shack cables than most other hi-end systems would while using exotic cables, so I wouldn't feel immediate pressure to get the cables right away.

Steve
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nsj
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #26 - 12/03/09 at 02:36:06
 
Lon,

I just did a bit of research into speaker cables - holy sh*t, you are right, the Zen Styx now seem like a bargain compared to the other stuff out there! I guess that all of Steve's products have that in common...

Chris,

After receiving Steve's recommendation, I have settled on the Mini Torii instead of the Taboo (he must have good reasons for the endorsement). The ZCD is also a given. So now I am down to 944's vs radials for speakers and dropping the ZP3 for now. I can always get a turntable with a built-in phono stage later. The Project TT that I spoke of earlier is $500 complete.

I am making progress with forum help!
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nsj
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #27 - 12/03/09 at 02:42:36
 
Steve,

Awesome, thanks for the reply! I need some time to digest all of your wisdom and get back to you, but, we DO have a large CD collection, so the ZCD will stay on the shopping list. We are just beginning to get into the Ipod scene. As a segue, what did you think about my idea about the Tascam CD-200i? Perhaps there is not enough room left in the chassis to make your Decware mods?

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nsj
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #28 - 12/03/09 at 03:14:03
 
OK,

One last idea: Mini Torii $1395, NFX speakers $1495, ZCD $799, Interconnects $169, = $3858 (within budget, using budget speaker cables as Steve intimates, vinyl later)

Would the very high efficiency of the NFX satisfy the need for volume on occasion, without a larger amp upgrade?
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Lon
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Re: $4K System?
Reply #29 - 12/03/09 at 03:58:03
 
Chris, I've heard my share of speakers and owned my share; I have three pairs sitting idle and may have another when the ERRs arrive in the future.

But all the speakers I had before the Radials I wanted to sound like the Radials and didn't. They sounded great HIFI, but the Radials sound natural and real to me.  They fill a room with sound the way a small club is filled by a band.  They have totally corrupted me and I've since listened to some really fine speakrs but they don't do for me and my music what the Radials do.

I often listen to tapes I recorded, live to two track analog, in my garage apartment wtih two bands that I played with in the 'eighties.  The Radials bring that playing space back out of the past. Nothing has ever done that the way that they do. And with my SACD player, CSP2 and Torii Mark II in the path it's amazing sound.  Never sounded this good in this room before.  I got together a few weeks ago with the guitarist/songwriter in one of the bands and we listened to some of the tapes now on cdr.  He was amazed.  He asked me to start another band with him. Smiley THAT'S not going to happen, but I am going to think "Radial" whenever I think "speaker." Amazing designs and execution from Steve and Bob.  In my opinion perhaps their crowning glory.

I still don't understand iPod in a main system unless using a Wadia setup to extract the digital signal. But then I'm surrounded by cds everywhere and I use the iPod in the bedroom with the Wadia dock mainly so that Anadina and I can recline for a few hours and not worry about touching the system.  I guess I could put the DEC changer in that system, but then the iPod would gather dust, only being used infrequently out of the house.  I have spent a few decades learning to love the sound of cds and they're my source, mainly because I'm obsessed with jazz and there are thousands of thousands of sessions I won't ever find or afford on vinyl available affordably on cd.

Anyway, after living with Radials and smaller amps for a while, I am just amazed at the ease and layers of texture the Torii brings to the sound.  I think they're the best thing to drive these designs unless you are in a very small listening room (I was in one for a long time).  The size of nsj's room, I think he would be BEST served by the Torii.  I just sort of wish someone could get it right the first time!  I sure couldn't/didn't. That would make me happy! Smiley
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« Last Edit: 12/03/09 at 04:00:43 by Lon »  

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