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Biggest upgrade you have made to your current system and why?


ctsooner
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I always enjoy hearing folks talk about how much better a component or cable/cord makes to your system.  OTHER than going from Treo's to Quatro or better, what were your largest gains (if it's a couple that are tied, that's cool too).  Happy listening on a wonderful Thursday.

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When Jim Davis graciously came up to my house and helped me tune the bass on my Quatros, that was one of the biggest improvements I'd realized  ..........  until yesterday.  

I brought my rebuilt LP12 home with a new Hana MH MC cartridge and the improvements are nothing short of startling.  My previous cartridge was ten years old and the table was definitely in need of some TLC, but EVERY record I played yesterday revealed so many little (& some not so little) nuances that I had never heard.  I think it's safe to say, that is the reason we all tinker or upgrade components, cables, etc., attempting to extract those extra little details.  

All of the usual audiophile superlatives apply, but what has really blown my mind is how quiet LP playback is now.  It was immediately noticeable; no music, no sound ....... nuttin.  I kept thinking, oh, well that's just a really clean record.  Nope, it was the case with the 8 or so I played yesterday.  I found myself intently listening between songs  .........  dead quiet.  On one record, I heard two very faint clicks between a song, but that was it.  Another big surprise was ghost echo.  I have it on two high quality pressings.  When I played the first one  ...........  gone.  I'm thinking, all this time, I thought it was a pressing defect (and maybe there is one there), but it is no longer audible.  Of course, as soon as I realized that, I reached for the other one; not there anymore either.  I can't quantify how much of this improvement is due to the rebuild / recalibration of the table and how much is just the cartridge, but I'm really going to be a hermit for the next few days!

Play on

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My Treo's replacing my 2ce Sigs. The 2's are very very good.....but....nuff said.

Good to hear Steve. I think I'm getting ready to send my 30+ year old Sapphire into SOTA and get an upgrade and fine tune. Recently my 33 speed pot has gone a little berserk, so I think it's time for the  newest motor, board/pot update, perhaps suspension springs as necessary, and a general update/fine tuning......depending on what Donna recommends.  

My goodness though, the thought of being without vinyl for an extended period is very disturbing. 😐

At least your results make me feel better Steve. Perhaps I will experience the same.

Edited by bkeske
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9 hours ago, bkeske said:

My Treo's replacing my 2ce Sigs. The 2's are very very good.....but....nuff said.

Good to hear Steve. I think I'm getting ready to send my 30+ year old Sapphire into SOTA and get an upgrade and fine tune. Recently my 33 speed pot has gone a little berserk, so I think it's time for the  newest motor, board/pot update, perhaps suspension springs as necessary, and a general update/fine tuning......depending on what Donna recommends.  

My goodness though, the thought of being without vinyl for an extended period is very disturbing. 😐

At least your results make me feel better Steve. Perhaps I will experience the same.

I feel your pain…

It is a bit far from here to Wisconsin, for shipping… but I should have the Sota rebuild gear in a box at the other house.
Belts, spindle/bearing kit, roadrunner motor controller.

I think they have a new power supply, but the 230v version was supposed to be ready sometime around now... after the 110v version.
I’ll call Donna or Christian next week.

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5 hours ago, GdnrBob said:

Moving to a Brinkman Nyquist from the Ayre QB-9 Twenty. Literally, my first thought was- 'This reminds me of vinyl'.

Adding an Innuos USB Reclocker to my Zen Mini.

I was on the fence about this, but I definitely heard an increase in 'clarity'.

Bob

Bob i didn’t realize you got a Nyquist ! congrats that is one awesome DAC.

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6 hours ago, GdnrBob said:

Moving to a Brinkman Nyquist from the Ayre QB-9 Twenty. Literally, my first thought was- 'This reminds me of vinyl'.

Adding an Innuos USB Reclocker to my Zen Mini.

I was on the fence about this, but I definitely heard an increase in 'clarity'.

Bob

Wow Bob.. that’s like moving to a Ferrari of dacs… congratulations and hoping to hear some more of your experience with it in comparison to Ayre…

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23 hours ago, bkeske said:

My goodness though, the thought of being without vinyl for an extended period is very disturbing. 😐

At least your results make me feel better Steve. Perhaps I will experience the same.

It was a long four weeks Brian, but I did get reacquainted with a number of my cd's.  And with the addition of the RM-9 I bought from Jim, they sounded better.

I don't know much about Sotas, but if the design is even similar to Linn, I think you'll realize some significant improvements.

Play on

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1 hour ago, Steve Edwards said:

It was a long four weeks Brian, but I did get reacquainted with a number of my cd's.  And with the addition of the RM-9 I bought from Jim, they sounded better.

I don't know much about Sotas, but if the design is even similar to Linn, I think you'll realize some significant improvements.

Play on

So true Steve, my CD’s and other digital media do get ignored. So, that would be a plus. 🙂

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Thanks for the kind words, guys, but I owe it to Peter (@ctsooner) who put me in touch with a guy that wanted to sell one.

The QB9 Twenty is no slouch, but the Nyquist is above and beyond- including the price.

 

The Reclocker is on the Office system with the Zen Mini and the other QB-9 Twenty. It really made a difference. Now, I want to put one on the main system, too.

 

Bob

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Thanks to @Huang and @Steve Edwards I am heading in the opposite direction of digital. I was just going to wade in the analog world but it didn’t take long to drown in it. I upgraded my system with a VPI Prime outfitted with a Hana MH cartridge and splurged on a Manley Chinook to go along with it. Definitely enjoying the change and the biggest bonus is that I can actually read what is printed on the sleeves….

Edited by stratocaster
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1 hour ago, JonM said:

Brinkmann Nyquist 2 is on my short list for DACs.  Super curious to spend time with one sometime.

I as well. I have heard the first version at some length and was very impressed. I have yet to hear a II. Eclipse upgrade to the Aesthetix is a possible path for me..or a Lampizator… Not much else gets me excited in a DAC…..for now…

Jim

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1 hour ago, stratocaster said:

Thanks to @Huang and @Steve Edwards I am heading in the opposite direction of digital. I was just going to wade in the analog world but it didn’t take long to drown in it. I upgraded my system with a VPI Prime outfitted with a Hana MH cartridge and splurged on a Manley Chinook to go along with it. Definitely enjoying the change and the biggest bonus is that I can actually read what is printed on the sleeves….

That is funny…

I have been telling the daughters not to bother with LPs.
They tell me, “Dad you’re a moron, because the turntable sounds better than CDs or streaming.”

And I am slowly getting into digital. But that Hana has me interested.

has anyone tried the SoundSmith cartridges?
(Peter Ledermann makes some compelling arguments against MC. But they always have sounded good to me)

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Biggest upgrade recently would be my living room DAC. I used the PS Audio NuWaveDSD for many years, but decided to get more serious with digital reproduction as my music file collection expanded. My Bryston BDA-3 is in a different league. I used to resample all music files in JRiver MC to 2X DSD using the NuWave DAC for best sound. After dialing in all other recent upgrades, I revisited this and found the Bryston sounds best with no resampling. I struggled with Toslink for my Sony LED TV. I upgraded the Toslink cable from Transparent to Wireworld Super Nova 7. It was going from plastic to glass filaments. Plus, the Bryston allows upsampling. Now I don't have any complaints with the sound from my Toslink input.

The other recent upgrades (around the same time) Vandy 2Cs to 2Ce Sig 3's, Transparent Super 1st gen to Gen 6, Harmonic Technology power cords to Shunyata Delta NR V2's, and HRS nimbus vibration systems replacing vibrapods or brass spikes and coasters all added to sound quality to appreciate the higher performance from my new DAC (and every other source). I have wood floors so I used to spike my 2Cs into pennies double stick taped onto carpeted coasters. For the 2Ce Sig 3's I decided to get sound anchor cone coasters. Much more aesthetically acceptable. Lol!

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59 minutes ago, Holmz said:

That is funny…

I have been telling the daughters not to bother with LPs.
They tell me, “Dad you’re a moron, because the turntable sounds better than CDs or streaming.”

And I am slowly getting into digital. But that Hana has me interested.

has anyone tried the SoundSmith cartridges?
(Peter Ledermann makes some compelling arguments against MC. But they always have sounded good to me)

I have two Soundsmith carts, the Zephyr MK III high output & MIMC Star Lo output. Really like them both.

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Deciding on phono cartridges (and to a lesser degree turntables) is  really a shot in the dark.  Most of the components in our systems can be easily swapped out with loaners to do evaluations / comparisons in our own rooms, which I think is the best measuring stick.  But cartridges?  .............  don't think too many of us have had the opportunity to borrow one, let alone the expertise in a proper install.  I have read good things about Soundsmith carts, and I was impressed with Peter  Ledermann in an extensive interview I saw a few years back.  He seems like a real gentleman with passion and integrity (remind you of anyone else we all know and love?). 

That being said, I am gobsmacked by the Hana MH, and I've only got about 8 hours on it.  Traumatic damage aside, I think most cartridges deteriorate very slowly.  If I was to replace my ten year old Sumiko Blackbird with a brand new one, I'm confident I'd also realize significant improvement.  But, with Hana's Microline stylus, I'm hearing so much more from records I've played dozens (if not hundreds) of times, and  .............  the price was the same as the Blackbird!  (Not knocking Sumiko)

Play on

Steve

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I agree IF an audiophile is wandering in the desert alone…. One purpose of this forum is to share as many of you have your impressions and emotional connection to specific gear in cincert w Vandy speakers…this input so valuable and imo trusted… Also, especially for cartridges / arms / tables the extensive experience of Vandersteen dealers. I know we all have our favorite analog specialists…

Fun….

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11 hours ago, TomicTime said:

I agree IF an audiophile is wandering in the desert alone….
….

I was speaking more literally, than figuratively… when mentioning “in the desert”.,
(So stuck in the desert,  in my case, is 100%. literal… but the phrase figuratively harkens backs to religious references, or Homeric journeys.)
 
I did get on the first flight after an hour on the phone. (3 minutes to spare)
If the Covid test result is done before boarding closes out of Sydney I will be in LAX, and up to Bend.

My old 7th and 8th grade English teacher is retired down near San Diego, so I might do a dinner with him preceded by a strip to the Unlimited place.
(I did meet up with Charles, aka Chuck, ~4 years ago in LaJolla.

And I’ll try to book in with Randal at the ballet studio.
The Sunny place is likely nearer to my youngest, so I have that as a backup
Is Havens and Hardesty still around?

I am sort of afraid to even try a listen to the new speakers.

Most of the other stuff I really don’t see (or have heard) a great deal of goodness out of.
I would say 75% is the speakers, 20% is the front end transducer. (I saved 5% for the cables and preamp/amp)

Digital all sounds pretty much about the same to my tin ear(s)
 Carts and arms and TT either start getting good, or one has the equivalent of the astronomy “3 body problem” and the thing having resonance issues that look like the deck needs an exorcism .

If the amp is not hissing with noise like a viper nest, and not clipping, then (to me) they are out too bad.
But the Audible Illusions seemed like a bit of a step up from the PSE.

I think that the VTLs were a step up from from PSE as I always had a sibilance, but it might have been the arm or cart.
The VTLs came in at the same time as blue point special, so I do not know what got rid of the excess sibilance.

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10 minutes ago, TomicTime said:

@Holmzlet me know if ya make it down this way, Bruce shop Stereo Unlimited is a must visit in my book…safe travels…

Jim

Cool Jim, I have heard great things about his place. The Garth shop??  (Mod Squad) was one of the of the places my SD friend used to drag me to (kicking and screaming).

I see if I can talk one of the two daughters into a trip.
The eldest wants a TT, so it should be easy.

The youngest was invited to a ‘plutonic lunch date’ with a female ski friend, and asked if it would be boring”
I said, “yeah probably,… but you never know.. I am 90% sure it’ll be boring”
She said, “where at?”
Me: “Linda wants to go to the sushi joint”.
YD: “OK… I am in”… and she was quiet the whole time.  Afterwards she said, ‘WOW!… Do you have more stories?
Me: “Probably, but the cost is suffering through the meal… most of the time is will not be as insightful as today.”
So I suspect that a dinner with my old 7th grade teacher is something that she would not want to miss.

I’ll try and make a day trip out of it.

(I’ll check his days/hours, and juggle organisation.)

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