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Everything posted by maxg

  1. Steve, Sorry I did not get back to you earlier - I have been awol for a few days. I read both your subsequent posts and although it appears a little redundant now I will tell you that the ZTPRE does wonderful things to the highs on Heritage speakers, softening them up nicely without losing the detail. It is difficult to advise on the bass as I have Heresy speakers (not the bassiest in the world anyway) and a powered subwoofer driven off the main outs of the amps. In this setup I have all the bass I want (running with the sub set to about 2/5th's volume). Should I want more I just wack it up a bit - but big bass is not really my bag - I go for balance (ideally plus or minus 2 dB at most across the range 20Hz to 20 KHz). Look forward to hearing your impressions of the DECWARE amps themselves - I have never heard them! I imagine that later on you may well go the route of the ZTPRE anyway - I imagine it is a perfect meatch with his triode amp. PS - not sure about the wisdom of directly connecting the CD player to the amps. I assume your CD player has a volume control (as mine does) but check to see that it is not digital. Mine is and it makes a real mess of the sound in comparison to my older pre - let alone the ZTPRE. For reference my CD plater is the Marantz CD6000 - a decent enough unit but nothing special.
  2. I saw an ad recently for a 5 channel pre-amp that was tube based - I will search it out if I can. As an alternative you could run 5 monoblocks connected to 3 tube pre-amps and use the internal decoder on the player (if it has one). This is essentially what I am doing now but I only run 2 pre-amps (no centre channel - not essential for music IMHO) and the sub running from the mains connected at speaker level (bypassing the bass management which again I consider non-essential for music). This allows for the "all tube sound" in surround sound although in my case the rear amp is solid state simply because that is what I had to hand.
  3. Well for what it is worth I think you made a good decision buying the REL. I have the REL Strata 3 sub and am deliriously happy with it. I bought it for music listening primarily and the most important thing for me was that it should simply extend the range of my Heresy's for last octave type stuff. I am happy to report that not only do people totally forget I have a sub, but many times I start to think it is not working. It is only when I go to turn it off that I realise it is there and doing its thing - the difference in sound is night and day! Of course, I too have never heard an SVS (not sold in Greece) but to my mind this REL is doing exactly what I wanted. ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  4. If you dont want to break the bank in terms of the cost there are 2 items that spring to mind readily for a pre-amp: The Bottlehead Foreplay. The DECWARE ZTPRE. The Decware is the more expensive of the 2 units but I found that in my setup it was the better performer. It also has the added advantage of being readily tailorable to your setup - out of the box. You get the choice of high or low output levels, 2 capacitor settings and agressive or normal presentation (more or less bias). One note : Neither of these have phono stages so you would have to get that separately. I do not regard this as a disadvantage particuarly as you can find very inexpensive stages that are usually better than built in items. Also you can find stages that will support both MM and MC cartridges so that if you decide to change your TT at some point in the future you are still covered. (One further point. From what I understand (limited) tube phono stages are a bit limiting in terms of supporting MC cartridges - they do not seem to offer sufficient amplification for the job and most people I have spoken to recommend getting a solid state device. Plug that into your tube pre, however, and you still get that wonderful tube sound). Just my 0.02 ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  5. Wow - sounds like you had a ball!! Excellent write up - very involving!!! I do wonder, however, if a 300B based setup might suit your newfound Chorus speakers better than 2A3's. The sound is similar but with 8 watts as opposed to 3.5 there is just that bit more headroom to play with. I cannot remember the sensitivity of the Chorus but with 300B's you should be able to push to 100 dB or more without any clipping or running together (your words). Kinda makes me wish I could take a trip over to the US to hear what you heard. Still - with the input I have been getting from the ACA people I cant complain!! Just a few thoughts - welcome to the world of tubes!! ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  6. Well isn't it nice to see how well people are progressing with their systems. If the communications on here are anything to go by I expect Sony, Yamaha, Denon et. al will be re-introducing tube amps to their line up pretty soon . As for me - there is no change in my basic hardware - the last few weeks have been all about building myself a semi-decent vinyl collection (now 220 records or so). Yesterday I spent about $400 on some audiophile titles (around 25 or them) - so it looks like I am drifting away from the bargain basement items. Some of these date back to the 1950's and are original MONO RCA recrodings of classical works (typical stuff - Beethoven Emperor and Pastorale, Rachman's 2nd etc. etc.) I did manage to get Dvorak's 9th in stereo (woohoo!! - that is what I call multi-channel - more than one!!) and amazingly I got hold of a Sonny Rollins also in stereo. Anyway I am now planning to slow down a little on the vinyl. There are so many I have not listened to yet!! Will keep you all posted - to date my best recording is still a direct to disk version of Wild Child Butler - which is staggering.
  7. The switch from Apple to a PC environment is not a daunting as it once was. Since the birth of Windows 95 things have gotten a lot friendlier in the PC envirionment and generally the later the version of the operating system the easier it is. I think that the Apple is still the easier to use but the conversion is not impossible. the good news is that as you dont need the latest and greatest in PC architecture it is relatively cheap to get into Windows now. I imagine you can easily get away with a Celeron based machine with 64 or 128 MB of RAM. These are going for a song these days (even with a semi decent monitor, sound card, video card etc. etc.) Despite your limited functional requirements you may want to look at some of the bundles on offer both on the net and locally. You can often find amazing deals for complete systems that are not cutting edge. I would not recommend PC environment emulators for the Apple. There is always a limit to their compatibility and it is invariably in the area you want to use it for. Does any of this help? ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  8. You would think that we have all gone out and bought our tube amps or something!! What gives guys? Is everyone asleep? Listening to their systems? On holiday? Come to that it has been weeks since I have seen Mobile on here too. A few weeks ago it was almost impossible to keep up with the volume of posts - now it is barely a trickle. Dont tell me everyone has now got their perfect sound? ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  9. Thanks Seb ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  10. Kind of opposite poles of the spectrum here. B&W's are a very relaxed non intrusive sound - Klipsch are live and loud - in your face speakers. In essence I find the sound incomparible. If I wanted background music during a dinner party that didnt disturb anyone then I might consider B&W but for listening without dropping off to sleep it is Klipsch all the way. There is something about the Klipsch sound that commands attention - which does make it dreadful for social gatherings - everyone stops talking and listens to the music - even at very low volumes. On the other hand with some of my wife's friends this is a major advantage... ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  11. Interesting charts. I noticed that the Heresy is listed with a sensitivity of 90.5 dB. What gives? I thought they were 96 dB - not that it matter much but seems a little odd. ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  12. If you can live with the looks and the bolt on wings etc. I would say it is a great choice. Seems to do very well on Rallies. Not the most comfortable beast on the road though - and a bit to "boy-racer" loud for me, but then again I drive a Land Rover Discovery so what would you expect. You will certainly get better milage than I do - hell I think the Hummer gets better milage than I do (car magazine stated - "drains oil refineries in a single vist" about my car but from memory they loved the Subaru). ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  13. Welcome to the club!! I too adore my Heresy's and chose them over the RF3. There is some thing that they do to the mids and highs which, IMHO is unsurpassed except possibly by larger Heritage speakers. Of course they cant live with the bass of the RF3 - you need to get yourself a sub to really get the full range out of them, but, pick the right one and it is a passport to audio heaven. Just out of interest what amplification / source are you using with them? I have mine mated to tubes (after long daliance with SS amps). Nothing comes close for the money. ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  14. Boa - agree with you on the Sony site - it must be the worst one out there - I can never find anything I want. As for the bass management issue on SACD players there seems to be some confusion. It seems that the less expensive players do not have it, or have it in such a cut down way that it is virtually useless, more expensive players (like the 777) do seem to have it. It gets more confusing with the combo DVD/SACD players like my NS900. That seems to have full bass management functionality (small and large settings for each speaker - with or without sub and so on) but there is some debate as to whether this is used only for DVD play-back or also works with SACD MC setups. Unfortunately I am not in a position to test it out as I run all my speakers large and have my sub direct connected via the mains speakers (this was the setup advised by Telarc for replay or their MC SACD's). In other words - whether I have bass management or not I am bypassing it. ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  15. maxg

    Lascala vs Belle

    The Belle does seem to be less popular than the LaScala and I have also never understood why. Maybe the shape of the LaScala is easier to live with - or fits into more people's homes better. I have only heard the Belle once as against hearing the Scala and the Horn many times. I have very fond memories of that speaker and have always regarded it as my dream Klipsch to replace my lowly Heresy's. One day my Heresy's will travel to the rear channel and be replaced up front by either Scala's or Belles depending on what I can find at the time. One thing - here (Greece) at least the Scala is a fair bit less epxensive than the Belle. Maybe that explains the extra popularity. ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  16. Thanks for the book tip HornEd. What I totally forgot to mention in my citing the specified setup from Sony for the surround sound for music is the different placement recommended. Taking the normal 5.0 or 5.1 type speaker setup all the speakers should be arranged in a circle with you at the centre. Each speaker should be aimed at the sweet spot. Starting with the mains speakers these should each be at an angle of 30 degrees from the centre line (ie that between you and the centre channel). The centre channel placement is obvious, except in that it should ideally be mounted slightly further back than the mains so as to stay on the circumferance of the circle. The rears I cannot remember exactly but I think that they should be 110 degrees apart and therefore 125 degrees around from the centre line on each side. Again these should be equidistant from the sweet spot as are the fronts and mains. Sub placement seems to be less critical (they dont mention it) so I presume you can choose the best location for your own room). Using direct radiating speakers you might expect that the full soundstage can only be enjoyed in a very small sweet spot. From my own, rather more limited setup this appears to not be the case. The sweet spot is actually much larger than is the case with normal stereo. Further, even when you drift out of the sweet spot you still get a very impressive surround sound experience, if a little skewed. I should also mention one interesting benefit of using 2 stereo amps as opposed to a single SS receiver. I have 2 volume controls, one for the front and one for the rear. This means that I have a much greater degree of control over the front/rear bias than might normally be avaiable. I am therefore able to compensate (for example)for my high back recliners. When I am sitting and rocking in the chair (with the back fully upright) (and therefore slightly further away from the surrounds anyway) I raise the volume of the rear channel. When reclined the rear sound is not blocked and I am closer to the rears I lower the volume to the rear channel. This provides the added benefit with MC SACD's like Jacintha's Lush life (where the surrounds are purely ambience and sound reflection) that I can adjust the depth of the soundstage to suite my mood. This means that I can move Jacintha herself, whilst singing, from the coffee table to the rear wall, or, to look at it another way - I can sit anywhere from row A to row H - how cool is that!!!??? Things get even wilder with the Opus 4 test MC SACD. For the tracks recorded in Churches I can move the walls of the church essentially increasing and decreasing the echo delay. Of course I am a soundstage nut so this may not be of appeal to all. Just tickles me purple!
  17. OK - I am now sitting with the videophile. His input is as follows: 1. If the room is completely dark, you dont mind big bulky projectors hanging from the ceiling and you want the best possible picture then CRT is the route to go. There are 2 negatives being a) maintenance (convergence every 6 months, tweaking etc.) and cost. 2. CRT is catgorically the best picture you can get from a projector for a home theatre. You shopuld look at entry level 7 inch Barco's or Runco (which you mentioned). These are very expensive here in Europe - we do not know the prices in the US. 3. If you want high resolution on a CRT projector (ie for HDTV or DVD signal via PC/processor) you will need to go to larger CRT units like the 9 inch CRT's. These cost in Europe nearer $30,000 on their own. (Note : "This is pure heaven" according to the gushing videophile at my side). 4. The big advantage of CRT is the length of time you can comfortably watch movies and TV. They are not as wearing as DLP and LCD. 5. With CRT's the screen you need to get should have a maximum gain of 1.5 (gain is the amount of reflection that the screen provides). For LCD's and DLP's this gain should be much lower (less than 1). In some cases the screens are even grey rather than white for DLP/LCD projectors. 6. This brings us to the most important point for picture quality. CRT's and only CRT's have true black's. DLP's and LCD's can only produce grey at best. Try watching Blade Runner or the Crow on LCD and apparently you will chuck all over your trousers. 7. Only CRT's have true colour reproduction (DLP's are however catching up on this). The best illustration of this effect is skin tone which can be very annoying if not produced correctly. 8. For DLP's - if you decide to go this route anyway. The great advantage they have is that they are a point and shoot type setup and newer ones can now handle high resolutions such as HDTV. Therefore they are portable and have low maintenance. DLP's also have very good color reproduction, far better than LCD. Their images can be very highly detailed but there are some major disadvantages. 9. If you have astigmatism as a viewer you will find the picture unwatchable due to the infamous raindbow effect. This is a flashing of colours in certain sections of the screen. This can completely draw your attention. 10. The newer DLP's such as the SIM2 HT300 have managed to virtually eliminate the rainbow effect but becaus this is purely a personal matter you need to personally audition the DLP players yourself to be absolutely sure one way or another. 11. LCD has the infamous screen door effect creating a pixilated net over the image. This coupled with poor colour reproduction takes LCD totally out of the list for this videophile. It is, however, usually the cheapest option of the 3. In summary for a budget of $15,000 or greater only DLP or CRT should be considered. If size of the unit is an issue/portability then DLP is the only option (subject to an audition for the rainbow effect). Apologies for the layout of this note - he was dictating to me as I type. Hopefully you got all the info. Let me know if you have any more questions.
  18. This divergence in the "proper" structure of a surround sound system is going to run and run. It is interesting to note that Sony recommend 5 identical monopolar speakers for SACD surround. They state specifically that bipole rears (as specified by the THX standard) are not suitable for SACD surround sound music. This would imply to me at least, that SACD surround is created for monopolar rears and that therefore is pre-designed to create the ambience and diffuse sound craved here. In other words which is better probably comes down to how each individual multi-channel recording has been created. As someone who has no centre channel I am happy to rely on soundstaging for both front and rear channels to fill in the gaps. What might surprise people is that I would rather expand my system by adding 2 intermediate bipolar speakers (side speakers) to fill in the gap between front and rear rather than a centre channel at either end. In summary therefore I would say that the ideal surround sound system would have direct radiating speakers front and rear and bipolar's in the middle - which would come out as 8.1 allowing for front and rear centre channels. I would expect that the above setup would be ideal for both multichannel music and for the movie experience - in other words diffusion where you need it and direct targetting when required all in one system. Of course I am also something of a maverick in MC. I use 2 stereo amps rather than a receiver and the built in decoder on my player to achieve surround sound. I also run my sub off the mains rather than the dedicated LFE channel so it is probably safe to ignore this. Just my $0.02 ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  19. RF3 all the way. An ideal intro to the Klipsch family that some people stay with for ever. Might want to re-think the Sony Receiver though. Generally speaking Denon, Marantz and Yamaha receivers are more highly rated than Sony's. As with most generalizations there are exceptions. the best Surround sound system I ever heard was using an inexpensive Sony receiver. If you want to look at Marantz they have a unit in Europe (dont know abouth the US) that is very inexpensive but has all the features you could ever want. It is, however, only 70 wpc - not a problem with 98dB sensitivity of an RF3 of course - we are still talking over 116 Db continuous. That should be enough for anyone!! ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  20. As soon as I saw the question I thought - hello - HornEd territory.... Gets no arguement from me. ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  21. Wow - this post has developed a pace since I was last on. Apologies for not getting on sooner - been kinda busy with the new baby an' all. I am trying to get hold of my videophile friend to get his input on projectors. He has a CRT projector which are generally rated as the best for picture quality but a real pain in the butt to live with (setup takes about 24 hours, then needs repeating 2 weeks later and then every 6 months or so). Also you have to have a seriously darkened room to be able to use it. They have very low ansi-lumens ratings in comparison to normal projectors (LCD and the like) but are the only way to get true colour matching and to avoid digital artifacting. As some point I will try to get over to his house to get some pics of his setup. His is in his living room - no room for a dedicated theatre, but, I would imagine is about as good as you can get outside of a dedicated room. From memory his projector is Italian and cost something in the order of $7500 - right at the bottom end of the CRT projector pricing. The downside is slightly lower resolution than the more expensive units (in other words a smaller maximum picture size) and a much more difficult setup process as the controls are less refined. If you go down this route you may also want to look at the outputs from your components. There are add on cards for DVD players that replace the standard outputs with SVGA quality outs and/or 5 channel RGB (additional channels for synch and luminance as I remember). Basically my adivce would be to go and find your local videophile and let them advise you. We should (if luck holds) be able to compare recommendations and ideally get some form or consensus. Be warned though - videophiles are as analy retentive as the worst audiophiles. What budget do you have left, now, for the projector?
  22. Josh, Sorry for the delay - been kinda busy with the new baby an' all. I dont know a whole lot abou the zen amps. I have their Decware ZTPre and it has blown me away. Did a side by side with my existing SS pre and a Bottlehead foreplay and there was simply no comparison on my rig. Hopefully someone on here has the amps and can tell you more about them. I only posted their details as they caught my eye on line. Good luck choosing.
  23. Thank you all for your good wishes. The potted version of the story is as follows: Firstly mum and baby are dong brilliantly. You would never know what they went through this am. Baby was a healthy 3.2 Kg - about 7 lbs. Father is a different story!! Near heart-attack at 4 am when I woke to look at my wife saying "We are having a baby!!" Of course everyone tells you you have plenty of time for a first child. This is a lie - believe no-one - camp in the reception of the maternity ward from month 7 onwards. Our morning as follows: Wake - contractions - 2 minutes apart, but irregular. Get up - dress - walk dogs. Return - shower and dress again. Wife up - shower - waters break in the bath!! First real hit from contractions in bedroom - wife pollaxed on bed. Call Doctor and midwife. Explain that we are unlikely to get to hospital in time. Midwife explains that she will personally gut me if we dont. Grab wife between contractions. Throw nightie and coat on her. Put slippers on her feet. Carry her out to car and throw her in the back. Set off at high speed towards hospital. Contractions now hitting every 40 seconds or so. Shouting things like - "Concentrate on your breathing" (what the F**K does that mean? I heard it once on ER) and blowing for her so she copies me. Fly into hospital - staff there all laid back - until they realise how far gone she is!! 28 mintues later - one bouncing baby girl! Too close!! I am shattered.
  24. Check out my latest addition: http://communities.msn.com/BatMax1photos/thebaby.msnw?Page=Last ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
  25. What? No mention of La Scala's anywhere?? Could be just what you are looking for on the speaker side of things. Smaller than a KHorn but with plenty of kick and more "placeable". I think you will need your corners for the subs anyway. Just as a matter of interest what projection system are you going to use? This could really blow that budget of yours sky high! I assume we are not talking LCD here. If you are looking at DLP then I suggest you see the new Sim2 Seleco HT300 grand cinema. It is supposed to be the business - but it weighs in at a hefty $15,000. That would be a big whole - add in the Sunfire Grand Cinema amp and a couple of subs (SVS, 18 inch Velodynes W.H.Y.) and things are going to get a bit tight budgetwise. Of course that is where La Scala's and ebay would come in handy. Could be interesting to team a pair of LaScala's up front with a Belle acting as the centre - most of the cinema sound comes through the centre anyway. For rears if the budget permits I would go for another pair of Scala's, if not a pair of Heresy 2's can be had for very little. Maybe Scala's at the back and Heresy's at the sides. Just a thought or 2. ------------------ My System: http://aca.gr/pop_maxg.htm
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