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"Second (Best) System" (Read 857 times)
Lon
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"Love without
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Philip K. D*ck

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"Second (Best) System"
08/13/11 at 15:33:14
 
I suspect I'm not alone in having a second system that I use regularly, and into which my second tier components move. . . .

Right now I've been playing around with the second system which is in the master bedroom. It's not used frequently outside listening to music lying in bed with my darling, and watching tv and the occasionaly DVD or Blu-Ray pretty infrequently.

It consists of the Turning Point Audio HR-1/Decware IT Radial speakers, the Decware SE34.2 Integrated amp (non-Hazen Grid mod), a Marantz BD7004 Blu-Ray player, a Wadia iTransport and iPod, both going into a Decware ZBox powered by a Tripplite 500 watt isolation transformer and two PS Audio Duet power centers. Interconnects are Decware Silver Reference, power cords are all Decware power cords except for one PS Audio xStream Prelude feeding the Duet that connects the digital components. Eventually I'll probably replace that with a Decware power cord, just to have "symmetry" -- not sure that there will be a sonic difference. Speaker cable is two lengths of cryo'd CAT-6 (just two strands each) that was part of a group buy on the forum many years ago. Works well.

Two weeks ago I added a PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC and Transport combo to my main system, and as a result I played around with adding the ZDAC-1 and CSP2 and Sony SCD-XA5400ES in the system. I also had the Torii Mk II in the place of the Integrated. Opening my mind and ears up as much as possible and doing a week's worth of listening to variable combos, I came to the conclusion that though these in the system made fantastic music, using the compromising speaker positions that I seem to have to use and at the levels I listen, there's not a significant enough difference using these in the system as compared to just using the Marantz player straight into a ZBox and into the Integrated. The biggest difference was the amp:  the Torii gave powerful bass and a real focus to the sound, but I could not really lift the volume to take advantage of the Torii's best power zone, and I've grown to like the SET cohesion and the little bit of bloom that the Integrated brings.

The iPod is really only used to play back lossless files of some of my girlfriend's favorite music that I don't yet own on cd. It does sound a bit better with the CSP2 and/or ZDAC-1 in the system, but it's not a major difference, and it's the least used source.

This present set up has been in use a few days and has really grown on me. My gal also has given it her seal of approval, she really likes the sound, and has been able to tell me of differences in the component setup, very useful. It's so wonderful to have two very musical systems to relax into. I'm blessed and know it. Overly blessed. It's quite possible that I may come back from my trip to Ohio next week and decide to sell CSP2, ZDAC-1, SCD-XA5400ES, that ZCD with all the options that has been in my closet, and maybe even the Torii Mk II (Hazen Grid modded) to help defray the reckless expense of the PS Audio PerfectWave combo that is going to impact my fiscal  year ahead. Maybe sell my Peachtree Audio Decco system as well, which I was mainly using on occasion as a DAC/preamp, it's strongest suit.

I'm using an aquarium stand we had built about six years ago right now as a support for my source components and ZBox, and I have the Integrated beneath the table on a maple platform on top of a huge old AKAI reciever with a wood case that is sitting on Herbie's Audio Lab speaker spikes. The Integrated is on Herbie's Audio Lab IsoCups, and the amp is nicely isolated. The aquarium table is sitting on Herbie's Audio Lab "Gliders" and the Marantz and ZBox are on Herbie's Audio Lab "Tenderfeet." Probably overkill, but I have the stuff and why not use them?

This second system. . . well I find that I've lowered expectations for it, and I don't listen as critically or analytically in the bedroom, and I'm thus able to really connect with the music and enjoy its benefits. It's nice enough a system to get out of the way of the audiophile process, which is a respite I enjoy.

Anyone else want to talk about their second systems? Or do most have one system that they use for all purposes?
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« Last Edit: 08/13/11 at 15:55:57 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+(2),Torii Mk III, PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable IC: Evo and UL, Mapleshade:Double Heiix Samsonv2+v3 and 4"platforms,Herbie's IsoCups+Tendft
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Donnie
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Re: "Second (Best) System"
Reply #1 - 08/13/11 at 19:53:42
 
Well Lon, my second system is my fabled garage system. A Onkyo  9 something series reciever with somewhere around 100 smokin' watts per channel. NHT 3.3 speakers and some big thumpin' Velodyne sub.
On the input side I have a Onkyo DVD player for a transport and a Sota Comet turntable. But I find that 99% of the time I just use my Ipod jacked into the reciever. The IC's are something I bought from a car stereo guy that worked for me, he probably stole them. Speaker wire is something that has the same military ID as the Zen Styx that my buddy the aircraft mechanic got me for .89 cents a foot.
The one thing I can say about this system is that it is loud. It really sounds like shit compared to my Torri and MG944'S, a case of more not being better. I might be interested in your ZDAC if you want to get rid of it. I'm about ready to ask for a refund for mine, it has been in the "shop" for more than 3 months now and I'm getting to the point of wanting to move on. I hear nice things about  Benchmark's DAC1 and I see that I could have one in my hands overnight. I don't know, maybe I should just chill out and wait for my ZDAC to return.
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dpod4
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Re: "Second (Best) System"
Reply #2 - 08/13/11 at 20:23:55
 
Just my 2 cents...I would keep the Sony XA5400es, and spend 1900 to have Dan at Modwright modify it.  I have the Perfect Wave DAC and Bridge and have lossless and hi-rez files I play, but a Redbook cd through the Modwright 5400es is the best digital sound in my entire system.  Less digital sounding than the Perfect Wave setup.  More texture and roundness.  And, the headphone output goes through the tube modifications, and my Beyer T1s sound as good from the from 5400es headphone output as they do from the dedicated Beyerdynamic A-1 matching amp I have.  So....my second system would be in my bedroom or office with a Modwright 5400es and a great set of headphones.  If you go to sell your 5400 pls send me a note.
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« Last Edit: 08/13/11 at 20:24:48 by dpod4 »  
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Lon
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 6770
Re: "Second (Best) System"
Reply #3 - 08/13/11 at 21:27:59
 
Thanks for that info. . . I'll take it into consideration, but likely it would be better for me to sell it than modify it. Not something I'm going to make a decision on for a few weeks though. I don't listen through headphones, and the extra fidelity would sort of be wasted in my second system which doesn't get used that much and isn't in a room for great fidelity. But something to think about.
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« Last Edit: 08/13/11 at 21:39:09 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+(2),Torii Mk III, PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable IC: Evo and UL, Mapleshade:Double Heiix Samsonv2+v3 and 4"platforms,Herbie's IsoCups+Tendft
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Lon
Seasoned Member
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 6770
Re: "Second (Best) System"
Reply #4 - 08/13/11 at 21:37:41
 
Donnie. . . in a garage loudness is its own virtue isn't it? Smiley Sounds like a system that gets the job done. And I know you have good speaker wire. . . the Styx that I use just have been the best performers for me in my system I've ever had!

I hate how long you've had to wait for you ZDAC-1 to be repaired and returned. Especially since you need the output with your iPod/iTransport combo. I hope that the wait isn't too much longer, or that you take matters into your hand for a refund. How frustrating this must be for Steve that he can't sell and make ZDAC-1s for months!
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+(2),Torii Mk III, PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable IC: Evo and UL, Mapleshade:Double Heiix Samsonv2+v3 and 4"platforms,Herbie's IsoCups+Tendft
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Donnie
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Why does it hurt
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Posts: 627
Re: "Second (Best) System"
Reply #5 - 08/14/11 at 04:13:43
 
Lon, Yep I seem to play music loudest in the garage. It muffles out all of the cussing that I do when I'm working on these old motorcycles. Today I was cussing when I found a left handed wentworth thread that needed to be "fixed". I'm one hell of a machinist, but it is hard to pull something like that out of your tool box. Tonight I'm just calming myself by eating some crappy KFC and listening to my Torii sing to me. It is times like this that make me wish I drank booze or smoked funny cigs. I would be able to cope better, or not. I guess music is my drug of choice.
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Owner of the infamous RED TORII
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Lon
Seasoned Member
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 6770
Re: "Second (Best) System"
Reply #6 - 08/14/11 at 14:48:02
 
I envy you your mechanical skill. There'd be even more cussing if I were working on those old motorcycles! I've still got my '74 BMW R90/6 out in the garage, and boy does it need work if it were ever to be on the road again. A friend of mine keeps encouraging me to work on it and offering help, but I just don't think I have the tools and skills to pull it off.

I used to do all my own maintenance on that and the other bikes I had. When I bought my new Harley though I did so with a three year warranty plan that had all free services, so the first service after that was the 25,000 mile service done on Friday, and I wanted the bike done by them as I am about to put about three thousand miles on it next week. I'll change the oil when I get back though and hopefully start performing services myself on this wonderful beast from now on.
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+(2),Torii Mk III, PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable IC: Evo and UL, Mapleshade:Double Heiix Samsonv2+v3 and 4"platforms,Herbie's IsoCups+Tendft
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Lon
Seasoned Member
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 6770
Re: "Second (Best) System"
Reply #7 - 10/10/11 at 23:04:03
 
The last three weeks I've been playing around in my second system to find the combination of components that sound "best". . .  with an ear to thinning out the herd of equipment I have in anticipation of about 7700 dollars in property taxes.

I've left my source the same: a Marantz BD7004 Blu-Ray player, pretty decent for audio and video. Also used occasionally, the iPod through a Wadia iTransport.

I tried using the Torii Mk II, the Peachtree Audio Decco DAC/Integrated amp, the SE34.2 Integrated, and the SE34 Monoblocks. I've been using   combinations of ZBox, CSP2, one or the other and neither in betwwen source and amps.

Surprisingly in the small bedroom, driving the HR-1s, the best sound (and my lovely and music-loving girl friend agrees!) is with the ZBox between the source and the SE34 Monoblocks. Each combination and set up actually sounded really really good and had its pluses. But the one that has won us over is the source to ZBox to SE34 Monoblocks. Sweet and sassy single-ended sound, plenty of detail and plenty of volume for the room. A very romantic sounding set up. . . and transporting. The Peachtree surprised me, it failed mostly in a lack of depth to the sound. The ZBox helped it, though if you use its DAC that also sounded very good. The Torii Mk II created awesome sound, but only about half its potential was being used and I couldn't really get it into the higher end of its range, and it sounds its best there. The Integrated was a very close second to the SE34 Monoblocks, and I really liked the dual volume controls for dialing in balance in a sort of lopsided set up. But the SE34 Monoblocks just had a magic to them. I honestly think it's the solid state rectification as odd as that sounds. Steve spoke of using the solid state rectification to "slow it down" and I think that's the key, it is not breaking the speed limit in these amps, the sound is just flowing just right.

Surprising and enjoyable results of a pretty methodical survey of all available amps except the Rev. A Zen amp (I'll never get that out of my friend's hands I'm afraid!) and the Proton "Power Envelope" amp (just didn't feel like trying it out when there were all these others.) Now I'm settling back and enjoying the sound. . . there's little better than a great bedroom system sometimes.
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+(2),Torii Mk III, PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable IC: Evo and UL, Mapleshade:Double Heiix Samsonv2+v3 and 4"platforms,Herbie's IsoCups+Tendft
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