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I have faced the Facts... . (Read 4489 times)
stone_of_tone
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I have faced the Facts... .
05/21/13 at 13:49:51
 
I am just going to enjoy what I have this summer. I have faced the fact that the Zen Select (SE84CS) with original SV83 Svetlana Tubes and the Super Zen CKC have ruined me for anything else. Totally musical and transparent with Tone-texture! I have come to terms with this. Yes, I can enjoy my other behemoth system, but not like I enjoy my Zen's.

I have had the EL84 Mono Blocks from Steve and the Torii MK III. However, the transparency of my little Zen's can't be beat...even though I give up just a little tiny bit in dynamics from the III in my System...but the added liquidity of my Kimber Select lets me get over it.

The only thing I have found that is as liquid and transparent as my little Zens with a little more dynamics is Keith Herron's, of Herron Audio... combination of Pre Amp and Mono Blocks at 13.5K....that is saying something.    -Stone of Tone
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will
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #1 - 05/21/13 at 16:54:49
 
Thanks Stone. It is good to hear how an amp can get under your skin and stay there!
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beowulf
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #2 - 05/22/13 at 05:12:27
 
So does this mean you decided against the Rega Brio-R and/or other SS based audio gear we were discussing in your other post altogether? Grin
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #3 - 05/22/13 at 05:22:55
 
Congrats to you on finding your winning combo.

System synergy is a tricky thing.
Sometimes we make tweaks which are more expensive but the older cheaper component turns out to be better sonics wise.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #4 - 05/23/13 at 16:00:48
 
So true, so true Lord Soth.  I do have a synergy going that I am quite pleased with.

beowulf, not to contradict myself....and as good as the Rega Brio-R is...I am Jones-in' for a Pass Labs to enter the Listening Room. I am intrigued and I think the First Watt J2 is the one I'll bring in next month.

Currently, their is one on Audiogon shipping from Hawaii for 2k... . However, I want the full 36 month warranty to apply and I want the great return policy that Reno Hi-Fi offers. I will post some impression after I have had it for a few weeks in late June or July. The law of diminishing returns certainly applies to Audio and the First Watt J2 might be the bargain to rotate with my SE84CS & SuperZen CKC.    -Stone

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/solid-state-pass-labs-first-watt-j2-120v-satisf...

http://www.ultrahighendreview.com/first-watt-j2-stereo-amplifier/

...and other reviews by the cool Reviewer at 6moons (love his prose)... .
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« Last Edit: 05/23/13 at 16:03:28 by stone_of_tone »  

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beowulf
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #5 - 05/23/13 at 21:27:51
 
That First Watt looks pretty cool ... I've never heard one, and that 10 day trial thing works out good.  What do you plan as your Preamp?
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stone_of_tone
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #6 - 05/30/13 at 14:38:23
 
I don't like Preamps....so, the Listening Room has never had one and does not need one.  My Audio Alchemy 3.0 with Remote has adjustable voltage output that serves as my preamp...has no problem driving anything for 18 years now (purchased AA Pro & 3.0 new in April of 1995). All the new Emperor's clothes have still not dethroned my Audio Alchemy gear! Talk about staying power!  

Well, I can't make up my damn mind!  Instead of the J2...I might bring in a demo Pass INT-30A for 10 day trial from Mark at Reno HiFi. -S
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Lon
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #7 - 05/30/13 at 14:54:20
 
Interesting. I didn't like preamps either . . . til I tried the CSP2 and then the CSP2+ . . . . The different textures that "riding the gain" allows are seductive. . . and addictive. . . Now I have a CSP2 in my second system, and two CSP2+ in my main system.

Sounds like you have another adventure ahead of you whichever amp you pick!
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stone_of_tone
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #8 - 05/31/13 at 17:09:17
 
Hi Lon, I hope your move went well and all is well in your new surroundings....as you will have to adjust to a northern winter once again.  

Yes, I do ride the gain currently with my AA DAC/adjustable voltage output/via remote.  However, I am not riding the gain via my AA DAC with remote into the CSP2+, then into either my CS or CKC.

Here is what I'm doing: I am putting the First Watt J2, Pass INT-30A on hold and enjoying my wonderful SE84CS & down right organic CKC this summer. I am going to continue to read Steve's thread about his new creation (Mystery Amp) that I am interested in too.

Come this Fall when the weather turns foul here in MN I am seriously considering all of these in no particular order:
-Taboo MK III
-Mystery AMP
-J2
-INT 30A
-CSP2+ ....and purchase a new Kimber Select 1030 from the Cable Co. per discount repeat customer...that I will need. The 1030 has such a profound effect in conjunction with my KS 3033 it will be a must.

Thanks Lon, I know you have been an advocate of the Steve's great Pre's and I need to bring one in here.   -Stone

19 bids and counting on the KS1036 here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kimber-Kable-Select-KS-1036-Singled-Ended-Interconnects-...
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« Last Edit: 05/31/13 at 17:14:22 by stone_of_tone »  

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Lon
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #9 - 05/31/13 at 18:15:10
 
Stone, my move went well, I'm having a hard time here though as I have about 10 percent of the listening time I had before or just plain time to myself . . . I'm at my parents house most all the day and evening helping them in various ways and I'm away from my system, discs and musical instruments way too long. No days off either. It's harder to adjust to this than I thought, and on top of that I miss my gal and friends. I couldn't NOT do this, but if I had an option I'd be very tempted to opt out! As an extreme introvert I need more time to myself than I have. I hope I toughen up as I'm feeling wimpy looking forward.

Hey if one doesn't need a preamp one doesn't need one. I actually don't need one in my present system but it's better with them! Nice list of things to consider, will be interesting to see what your systems become in the next twelve months or so.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #10 - 08/20/13 at 16:35:17
 
I had to resurrect this Thread!

That damn SE84CS....has ruined me for sure. Furthermore, you can find a pair (I have found two)...conventional Speakers that can rock (read as: fidelity/transparency & texture-not garage Klipsch rocking) in a 10 X 12 treated room at 76db SPL with the CS and it sounds like it is at 90db SPL.

Anyway, so much for just enjoying what I have. I have had in Zu Audio, Klipsch....Primaluna.....all were great learning experiences to figure out what you know and want in your System. Restocking fee's and shipping costs suck....but you gotta know what you want!

Well, I'm not saying, I'm not having the Pass Labs  INT-30A in or the Mystery Amp....in too at some point. But, it seems futile now to try and beat its fidelity (CS) for me. However, I do have a front end coming in today...that I will be very surprised if it disappoints. Ohhhh, another burn in period ahead of me!   -Stone

PS-I am distilling this down to no more hardware purchases and stick with buying CD's and Vinyl only........... . Yes, I still buy Cd's....you computer download nerds out there. hehe
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« Last Edit: 08/20/13 at 17:30:03 by stone_of_tone »  

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beowulf
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #11 - 10/03/13 at 11:33:19
 
Quote:
stone of tone said,
I am Jones-in' for a Pass Labs to enter the Listening Room. I am intrigued and I think the First Watt J2 is the one I'll bring in next month.


Well, I just had to throw some fuel on the fire here ... I just read Srajan Ebaen's review of the First Watt SIT-1 and SIT-2(Static Induction Transistor / 1 indicates mono amp and 2 indicates stereo) and I have to say, he made those amps sound like they were the best thing since the tube itself was invented!

From Ebaen,
The unquestionably greatest most important audio discovery of the year came by way of Nelson Pass and his silicon-carbide based static induction transistor amp called FirstWatt SIT2. Single stage + zero feedback + zero degeneration + class A, this $5.000 10wpc SETransistor amp showcased the maestro's custom power JFET commissioned from US supplier SemiSouth. Exhibiting true triode curves, it's a solid-state output device radically new to audio applications. Though it shares conceptual details with vertical power JFETs from Sony and Yamaha which date back to the 1970s and one contemporary parallel with Kazuhiko Nishi's Digital DoMain amp from Japan, nothing like it has ever appeared in as minimalist/purist a commercial hifi amplifier before.


Hmmm, would love to hear this one Cool
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Lonely Raven
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #12 - 10/03/13 at 12:52:08
 

First time I've seen this thread, and first time hearing about that Herron guy.

Read up on him...sounds like a smart dude, but he's got two strikes against him. "Director of R&D for Crate" and lives in Missouri!   Grin

Us poor folks have to live vicariously through threads like this...on the plus side, it's nice knowing that I found Decware and Steve can hook us up with transparent sound without spending $12k on Pre/Power.
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Lon
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #13 - 10/03/13 at 12:54:02
 
Looks interesting.

But I'm fully Torii'd and don't need to seek out other amps, not even other Decware amps!
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Lonely Raven
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #14 - 10/03/13 at 19:21:05
 

I'm hoping that's how I'll feel after I receive my MK IV.

That said, I could totally see me wanting better speakers after the MK IV. Hopefully not, since the MG944 pretty much tops my limited budget, and the MK IV...well, I'm cutting corners to afford it. LOL

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beowulf
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #15 - 10/03/13 at 22:18:25
 
Quote:
Lon said,
Looks interesting.


Yes, I think so too ... it seems like just about every review I read about solid state amps is that the designers want to make them sound like tube amps ... I always think to myself ... "why not just design a tube amp in the first place?"

But, the First Watt SIT amps are a different piece of audio gear altogether, it's at the flea watt end of the spctrum considering that it's solid state and the technology is something like 40 years old and sat on a shelf because no one really knew how to implement it that great until Nelson Pass bought a surplus of those transistors and started playing around with it and even then I don't think he set out to make it sound like tubes, but it just kind of happened.

When you read that review even Ebaen said that Pass had no idea what he had and how good it was.  But the kicker is that - it still took a Tube Preamp to bring out the best in it (specifically a Preamp using the 10Y or 801a (I think those were the valve designs used in the review).

That said in all the things I've heard about SS over the years I think the SIT has some real potential ... considering it's just been brought back to life (even though the tech is decades old) it's still in its infancy.  And with the amount of exotic and boutique amplifiers that Ebaen reviews - for him to say that he's sold all his valve amps in favor of the SIT-1s seems pretty amazing. Cool
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Lon
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #16 - 10/03/13 at 22:21:30
 
Pass has done SETransistors before. They didn't from my reading become something to rival Decware. These new ones are different. . . may be awesome. I just don't need one. I've got two Torii Mk IIIs, a Torii Mk II and a C amp modded by Eddie Vaughn. Smiley

You know these days I have a hard time believing anyone who gushes about an amp, etc. Hype is everywhere, and everyone involved wants so much for something hot to hit the wall and stick. Even here on this site. . . I keep a salt shaker handy. I'm sure Pass's amp will sound great.
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« Last Edit: 10/04/13 at 15:17:07 by Lon »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #17 - 10/04/13 at 15:12:45
 

I'm such a skeptic - I think because of that I'd be a decent audio reviewer. To me, everything is crap until proven otherwise.  ;D
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #18 - 10/07/13 at 21:55:08
 
I have to agree with Lon... its the Torii III for me, for the foreseeable future.

I took my Tori III "with me" to the fest and late Saturday night, 3 of us did the III, IV, MA, Mono's....  make no mistake, there are differences in the sounds of these amps.  And most people would be(or could be) happy with any of them for a very long time.  You just have to know what your sonic priorities are and how the amps sonic personality will synergize with your other components, your speakers, your room, etc. etc.  You just have to listen and decide for yourself.

I left my III behind for Jupiter installation... but I'm keeping my III for now.  I just am absolutely "moved" by its synergy with my Audio Nirvana's and its delicious, luscious, fluid resolution, PRAT.... just draws me in more than any system I've ever owned in over 30+ years.  If I was to "move", I would have to jump over the Torii IV and go to the Mystery Amp... I liked it better than the mono's even... and I was not the only person at zen with that preference... and lets be clear here... it is ALL a "personal preference".  Anybody else could have a different "preference".  There is no right and no wrong here.

But to be honest... after two consecutive years at Zen... hearing everything... it is my opin, that you could pair up compatible Decware gear, any of it, and have a truly musically satisfying system.  You can get off the merry-go-round with Decware.
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #19 - 10/07/13 at 23:17:58
 
Quote:
I took my Tori III "with me" to the fest and late Saturday night, 3 of us did the III, IV, MA, Mono's....


I'm really sorry I missed that part. I would have liked to see what all the fuss is about with you Die Hard MK III owners.

But I'm coming from an SV84A - so the jump to the Mystery will be like a jump to light speed for me!  :D  I'm all giddy just thinking about it!
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #20 - 10/08/13 at 00:32:42
 
Lonely Raven, in response to your #12 post....I rarely use the quote button...because it never works.

The Herron guy...Keith Herron is pretty cool. I was once a member of the Minnesota Audio Society for some years....and we had him in at the Pavek Museum where we have our meetings and that pre & power Amp were transparent & musical ($$$-expensive). However, I still like Decware transparency & harmonics the best... .-S

http://pavekmuseum.org/
I have not heard the giant Western Electric Theatre Horns in awhile....need to pay Pavek a visit!
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #21 - 10/08/13 at 01:19:31
 
"the Pavek Museum"

Now, there is something else to add to my "bucket list"!!!!

Dennis
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #22 - 10/08/13 at 04:50:02
 
Quote:
"the Pavek Museum"

Now, there is something else to add to my "bucket list"!!!!

Dennis


LOL, I was thinking the same thing!

Plus the Tesla museum that's opening up at his old shop in New York.

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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #23 - 10/08/13 at 14:50:27
 
....for posts #11......on (beowulf).

I could not agree more.
I purchased/pre-ordered the Mystery Amp yesterday.

Solid State: Pass, Moon or otherwise will not do what Steve's Topology & his Voicing does with Tubes.

My Listening Room & Bedroom Systems will have my 2 best DACS I have an graced only with Reference Cable, the Mystery Amp, SE84CS & CKC.....with the DM945/passive sub stands, Polk LS90 & Polk SDA 1 (which are my 2 pair of conventional Speakers that can play very well with the CS & CKC-the Mystery Amp will be able to drive all 10 pair of my stable of Speakers).  

So, the moral of my tale is: Solid State has its place....but, not for actively sitting and Listening to Music that goes into the soul and pushes out my humanness.  I need Steve's Amplifiers for that..... .    -Stone
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« Last Edit: 10/09/13 at 18:20:34 by stone_of_tone »  

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stone_of_tone
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #24 - 10/09/13 at 18:30:14
 
I just got back from shipping the Moon Solid State Amp & the M51 DAC, back to where they came from. Further evaluations put them on the chopping block...see ya.

-Stone, signing off until the DM945's/Passive bass stand & then the Mystery Amp arrives. These will be keeper's.

Man, do I hate solid state and I just have to come to grips with it... . Shocked

The DAC (M51) for Redbook....could not make the grade against my AA gear and the Anedio D2.....even after 27 days of burn-in.

Stone of Tone
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #25 - 10/09/13 at 18:41:43
 
Stone, I guess you should start saving for a pair of Monos, the Decware amp purpose design to drive difficult speakers. . . .
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #26 - 10/09/13 at 19:42:32
 
Thanks for keeping up Stone. Vicarious playground and thanks for the impressions as you go.
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #27 - 10/09/13 at 21:25:39
 
Quote:
will said,
Thanks for keeping up Stone. Vicarious playground and thanks for the impressions as you go.


Well said Will!

@ Stone,
With the amount of DACs and Amps that's been through your playground I would have to say that I keep keen eyes on this thread.  It now looks like the Anedio may be worth checking out if it is still in your stable of components and bested the NAD and PS Audio.

Let me ask you this ... all this time you've been comparing most (if not all) redbook CD's correct?  Why don't you at least try a few hi-res files for evaluation and see if that makes a difference between DACs at all?

Since you're getting the Mystery Amp I believe that Steve D said that hi-res files on this particular amp are the "bee's knees" and on par with vinyl (to me that's really saying something considering who said it).

The setup is really quite simple all you need is:
(a) PC or Mac, with Playback Software such as JRiver (which is my personal favorite),
(b) DAC,
(c) Decent USB cable,
(d) A few Hi-Res files.

I would be glad to send you a handful of hi-res files on a compact disc for testing purposes (if you don't already have any).  I have 24/192 files from my vinyl records and also have quite a few files from HD Tracks.
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #28 - 10/10/13 at 20:06:40
 
Lon, the Mystery Amp is purposefully designed to run difficult Speakers. The Janzen's are no pic-nick.

Steve new he could go after the conventional Speaker Market with the Mono's and he also new he could do it with the one chassis package and his alchemy in the Mystery AMP.  I can't wait to get it!

As you know too Lon, you can run a pair of conventional Speakers like you ran your floor standing Bose years back. I of course, run two conventional pair with great success with my SE84CS & CKC.

You bet Will....fun hobby.

Beowulf, yes, just Redbook right now...that was my Litmus test. I do plan on getting into hi-rez with the Anedio D2.    -S
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Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
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Lon
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #29 - 10/10/13 at 20:13:26
 
I guess the point that I was trying to make was. . . don't you think the Monos will run any of your speakers with ease and have the Decware magic, so be all that you are trying to find in the SS amps? Maybe the Mystery amp will. . . but the Monos WILL.

Anyway, I find it hard to put myself in your shoes as I don't have speakers that my current amps can't handle with ease, and don't want any other speakers than those I have (love them with a deep loyal love).  I'm glad to be at the END of the hunt. I think you like the hunt more than me but if you want to be at the end, I hope you get there with the Mystery amp.
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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stone_of_tone
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #30 - 10/11/13 at 04:23:58
 
Well put sir; very well put.  -Stone
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Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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stone_of_tone
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Re: I have faced the Facts... .
Reply #31 - 10/11/13 at 04:39:53
 
Not that it is a big factor.....because, Stereo with Decware IS bliss (read: SE84CS in Listening Room & CKC in Bedroom with Zen Styx I must say).

I need a common ground (needed=single chassis which is usually common ground and Steve's Topology provides this) for my SDA function for my SRS SDA 1.2 Speakers or SDA 1's.      

However, not a deciding factor for the Mystery Amp....as it is not for the SE84CS or Super Zen CKC (they don't have the power to run them in SDA-nor do they need to).........Stereo Rules.   -S
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« Last Edit: 10/11/13 at 04:49:30 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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