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Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement (Read 10871 times)
Lon
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #75 - 02/15/14 at 13:56:28
 
I went back and forth between the Russian 6N15-EV and EL84 tubes in the modded C amp here at Mom and Dad's and find I just plain prefer the EL84. I had a pair of cryo'd Reflektor in the amp but broke one removing it so I odered two pair to try out, both cryo'd: a pair of TAD and a pair of Mullard.

Haven't yet tried the Mullard. I put the TAD in which took a bit of work as the base on these is thicker glass and they just barely fit in the sockets which have an aluminum protective collar around the base. They just have about 20 hours on them and the bass has not yet fully come in (I find this to be the case with cryo'd tubes, last thing to com in is the bass, the other frequencies are pretty fully realized right up front). These are really good tubes for detail hounds: reverbration trails of notes are prominent, fine details of instrument imaging and character are quite audible. My parents like them, they also have a bit more top end, and their ears like far more of that than I do. I think if/when the bass comes in strong they'll be formidable tubes. (The Reflektor ware really nicea s well, warmer, sweeter when well seasoned).
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4krow
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #76 - 02/19/14 at 20:01:55
 
Lon,

 It is really something, i.e. what we do not realize about each other. I have read this thread(though not thoroughly) from page one to here. It's been 8 years since my father passed, and I did not go through the challenges that you are faced with. It just reminded me of a special time that happened long ago when I still lived in Az. My folks visited for 3 months, with Christmas included. One of the brightest things that I ever did in my life was to rent a decent piano and have it set in the great room. My father played fabulous piano, and most days when I came home from work, he was sitting there playing an old standard or something memorable. I don't have to go on about this, because you are experiencing some of the same thing in a different way. You are involved with your parents, and THAT is something that not all folks have the blessing of. I admire your attention to their needs, and hope that it will be all that it can.
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Lon
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #77 - 02/19/14 at 20:20:50
 
Thanks for sharing that!

I think that three months will be a time you will always remember, and I'm so glad you had rented that piano.

This is a long hard process for me but I'm sticking with it. . . .
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Lon
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #78 - 03/16/14 at 14:43:40
 
Well, I inserted a new (to me) California Audio Labs CL-10 cd changer into Dad's system.

I had bought one earlier that did not work when arrived. Months later I ordered this one and installed it mid-week. Works like a charm!

Took three or so days for the unit to really come to life, I think it had had a long hibernation. When finally warmed up and firing on all cylinders. . . it sounds really good; I am running the analog outs into the CSP2+. This is a very dynamic player, especially evident on the classical music that is more than ninety percent of what gets played on it. Very full-bodied too, though still fast. It presents a more detailed and dynamic presentation than the Onkyo changer to Marzantz DAC/preamp that was in use before. The Onkyo (or really the Marantz DAC/preamp) does present a bit warmer presentation, but it's warm away from neutral rather than a neurtal warmth. The CL-10 is a bit more forward while still offering a deeper soundstage. But my folks have high frequency challenges I don't and they prefer this. The treble is also progressively getting less edgy with use. And it's already more refined than the Onkyo/Marantz DAC/preamp presentation. The transport on this changer is impressive. Solid, smooth, and very sure-footed. It inspires confidence and I think is contributing to the very good sound.

I'm using MAC Vibe (copper ribbon interconnects, a lot like the Decware Silver Reference imo but with copper) that I bought from this forum, as the MAC Ultra-Silver + pair I was using failed after changeout and reinstallation; one of the cables just doesn't work presently, I'll have to work on it and see "what's what." Quite nice sound overall. I played around with power cords and so far the MAC HC cord of those I have available for this system seems to offer the best sound with this machine. I think I've found the best source I can use with this system without moving to a much better DAC, which is an expense I'd rather throw elsewhere right now. Too bad Dad is so insistent on a changer, though it does have an advantage in that I can load up the changer for those afternoons I get time off and he'll have music the whole afternoon.

The cryo'd TAD EL84s are souding really good in the modded C amp in this system. They have some of the quickness of the SV83 family of tubes with some of the lushness of the NOS EL84 family of tubes, a nice blend that suits the system. Glad I got them. At some point I'll try out the cryo'd Mullard reissue EL84s I also received at the same time.
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« Last Edit: 03/16/14 at 17:14:36 by Lon »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #79 - 03/16/14 at 16:17:40
 

I never thought I'd hear anyone say a CD Changer sounded good. It must be a pretty nice piece of kit!
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Lon
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #80 - 03/16/14 at 16:22:26
 
Well, when made this was hawked as THE audiophile changer, and California Audio Labs put together a really well-designed changer transport in a very well-built heavy chassis and a great HDCD 20 bit DAC and analog output stage, it's both as good a transport as many single-drawer cd players and better sounding than many. Coaxial digital out so I could use a better DAC if one comes along, balanced out as well as an IEC inlet for a power cord, and heavy duty analog output connectors, nothing flimsy about this player. Hobbled to a changer by my Dad's needs, this seemed like something to try. For 300 dollars it's really offering me the sound I was looking for and hopefully it will continue mechanically sound. Seems like it will. Laser assembly seems fully operational as well.

I can definitely recommend this if anyone is looking for a changer, I've not been impressed with many of those before.



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« Last Edit: 03/16/14 at 16:38:59 by Lon »  

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4krow
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #81 - 03/16/14 at 17:14:26
 
I've not owned CAL before and was always curious. I have to say that there are countless good deals on older equipment that was top of the line back then. My point is, much of it will still sound fantastic today, and at a price that is easy to pay.
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Lon
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #82 - 03/16/14 at 17:29:31
 
Absolutely! One good effect of the ever shifting digial landscape!

Though audiophile changers are few and far between. The only other changer that ever impressed me was the Decware DEC-685. I still have mine, but it quite some time ago stopped being a changer, it won't advance on its own from one disc to another, so not useful for Dad's system. But with Steve's output stage that one sounds very good, and will play DVD and SACD as well. But the transport mechanism in this one is much more rugged. And super quiet.
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beowulf
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #83 - 03/17/14 at 04:09:30
 
Interesting, thanks for posting that ... I've never even heard of that company before.  Is it something you've heard before and decided to buy one or just took a chance on?
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Lon
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #84 - 03/17/14 at 10:47:42
 
Never heard of California Audio Labs? They were rather talked of in the audiophile press especially in the 'nineties. I had never heard this model before, but I had heard one of their DACs briefly. When I realized I had to have a changer in Dad's system I did some research and kept finding mention of the CL-10 as "the best" so decided to try one out.
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Lon
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #85 - 03/27/14 at 14:42:36
 
Well the CL-10 has really improved my listening here a lot, both as a player (when I'm here I listen to the analog out of the player into the CSP2) or as a transport (when I leave I flick the CSP2 over to the output from the Marantz processor so that the hired help can flick a switch on that to move between the cds and the tuner in the processor if my Mom wants to listen to the radio instead; I have the CL-10 feeding the processor with a Creative Concept Black Knight coaxial digital cable, which is a pretty darned good one. None of my siblings or the hired help seem able to operate a stereo system; always amazes me, this one is pretty simple; I put a colored sticker on the button that toggles between the coaxial input of the processor and the tuner section to make it easy for them).

The big step lately though is Tuesday I put the Torii Mk II (the one that used to be Zygi's, I think the first one built) into the system in place of the Vaughn-modded Zen C amp. Wow! First off I have to say that this amp really mates with the ERR even better than the Mk IIIs I have, their strengths and weaknesses seem to line up and complement each other so I was expecting a nice match up and great sound. And I got it. Just richer and deeper in nature than that the Zen C was bringing. The Zen C has a bit of an edge on detail and "coherency" but it is in my opinion outclassed by the general ease and weight of the Mk II. Everyone is enjoying the change, orchestral music really "sings" and even solo and chamber pieces seem intimate and draw you in. The great dynamic character of the CL-10 is still preserved, outside of my PWD Mark II this is the most dynamic digital source I've had. Not quite as much so as my PWD Mark II and the Mark II has a better tonal signature overall, but for a used changer this is great sound.

I have MAC Ultra-Silver + interconnects between both the CL-10 to the CSP2 and the CSP2 to to the Mk II, and MAC Vibe (copper ribbon) interconnects between the processor and the CSP2. Decware power cords power both the CSP2 and the Mk II as well as the PS Audio Duet that they are plugged into. I have an Analysis Plus Pro Power Oval power cord powering the CL-10 and a Shunyata 3 Source powering the Marantz processor. Everything is contributing to great sound! Zen Styx are the speaker cables.

I think the best next improvement would be to buy the new DS from PS Audio in a year or less (hopefully I swing that) and then move one of my PWD Mark IIs to this system. We'll see. I'm pretty convinced the Mk IV and the ZMA are not the best amps for me, and I should hang with my Mk III at home. But I'm digging the sound here at Mom and Dad's now and since I spend so much time listening here, that's important.
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« Last Edit: 03/27/14 at 14:54:04 by Lon »  

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Lon
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #86 - 04/09/14 at 01:55:19
 
Okay one quick post to share some tube-rolling fun.

Last weekend I had some fun with my Dad teaching him a bit about tubes and tube rolling in his system. I brought out a box of tubes and sorted out which were compatible for the Torii Mk II and the CSP2 and I dropped some in and out and asked him to tell me what he heard. I was surprised at what he and I decided was a really good complement of tubes for these components. The Torii Mk II has RCA OC2, TAD 6L6, RCA 5U4G bottle type, and GE 6BQ7 tubes. We found that GE6BQ7 tubes and a JJ 6922 worked really well in the CSP2 along with an Arcturus 5Y3GT. We used a lot of Murray Perahia Sony Classical cds to evaluate this as they are well-recorded in all aspects and good test material.

These tubes settled in for a few days and the sound was really really good: clear, open, fast, resonant, perhaps lacking a bit of "old school" warmth, but certainly satisfiying.

But. . .

I had ordered a pair of Arcturus 5V3 tubes I saw cheap on ebay. On a lark I had ordered Arcturus OB3 tubes for my newest Torii Mk III and when they were burned in they were just amazing, the final piece to the tube set for that amp, I won't take them out, they're that good. That got me interestd in Arcturus, one of the oldest tube manufacturers, and I bought the above mentioned 5Y3GT which while not as magical as a few of my RCAs is very good, and these two 5V3 tubes. I used an RCA 5V3 to great effect in my old Select years ago and so wanted to check them out in the Toriis. Well, I put these two in the Mk II and everything just got better. Seems to be a great match for the amp and the amp is now making the California Audio Labs CL-10 sound even better. Dad and I spent this morning just listening with enthusiasm. I'm officially done for now with this system, it sounds so good!

Okay, back to my hiatus, have a great week y'all.
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« Last Edit: 04/09/14 at 03:15:10 by Lon »  

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Lon
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #87 - 04/14/14 at 13:46:02
 
I put Isoclean fuses in both the amp and preamp. Quite favorable result, just the plus side of a subtle change. This changer continues to sound surprisingly good.
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Lon
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #88 - 05/28/14 at 14:31:51
 
I was living a blissful listening world at Mom and Dad's til one of the Arcturs 5V3 started acting up. It was spasmodic but it freaked out the caregiver we hire to give me some time off and so I took that pair out. I'll look for more 5V3s in time (I'm a bit overextened in audio purchases but I LOVE the bottle shaped RCA 5V3 I have in my main system Torii Mk III now, so I'm sold on the 5V3 sound in these amps). So I had a pair of new cryo'd Valve Art 274B in the audio closet and put these in. They're doing very well in this system . . . except. . .the mid/lower mid bass just isn't there or what is there isn't quite well-integrated. This would be a perfect application for the HSU mid-bass modules I bet. . . but I can't justify that expense or really fit them into this room. So. . .I'll roll some more rectifiers soon. But a nice smooth sound here and with judicious use of the treble cut circuit on the Torii Mk II (I will probably never own an amp that Steve doesn't or won't put one of these in for me) very enjoyable sound ensues.
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« Last Edit: 05/28/14 at 14:32:24 by Lon »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: Non-audiophiles notice power treatment improvement
Reply #89 - 05/28/14 at 16:43:06
 
I'm still curious about those fuses. I hope to find some inexpensively/used to try out on the ZMA.

Your posts can be very much enabling my audio purchasing habits.  :)
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