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Everything posted by mdm7eb

  1. This topic is always so interesting when it comes around. I tend to accept a part of my audio habit is enjoying an illusion (delusion?). But hey, people enjoy getting high or drunk for entertainment too. Listening, at least below a certain DB level, does not cause physical harm. None of us are really smart enough to scientifically test (or identify what we should be testing) to ferret out our own audio preferences. Clearly, some have made progress. The ones that get a piece of it right, PWK, for example, are geniuses that stand the test of time. Not many of those. The most solid ground I have found is that I don't know much (and neither do you). In this vein, psychoacoustics quickly becomes a pursuit of what it is like/what does it mean to exist? A twist on a classic philosophical thought experiment comes to mind -- if a tree falls in the forest how does it sound to you? To me? And if neither of us are there, does it make any sound? Like most existential questions we humans try to answer, we run out of answers fairly quickly. Best to be honest about this point. Why prolong suffering combating our own collective ignorance? You know, just enjoy the music man... The other part of this hobby is aesthetics. I found aesthetics (I am defining this term here as beauty for beauty's sake) a reasonable way to navigate purchase decisions. I will pay more for pristine engineering. I, for one, find immaculate design and engineering is art for art's sake. Whatever you feelings may be about Apple, they have seemingly found success with a version of this approach. The other point is narrative and history. Like the posts above about the relationship between PWK and Gordon Gow. That matters to me. If my living room is going to be dominated by $$$$ in stereo equipment, it should be like a high end piece of art with all the aesthetics, beauty and story you would expect with that. If you invest in state of the art technology found in modern gear like McIntosh, Benchmark, and Purifi (many others qualify here for sure) you can have confidence the design/engineering expresses the limits of what we know about audio reproduction (at least from an amplification perspective). At the end of the day, gear is still an appliance and I would advise to make decisions accordingly. Purchase the most technically perfect gear you can afford. At this point, the limit of our ears and our knowledge of psychoacoustics are likely the true limiting factors. I know we talk about it here sometimes, but the real conversation probably should be around room design instead of amplification (at least beyond a certain threshold). My acoustician friend with his fancy degree in acoustic engineering has convinced me of that. Music fills and interacts with a room, a room does not fill and interact with music. With all that said, what choices have I made and why? I had the privilege of inheriting a McIntosh MC240 and MX110 (that a subsequently had restored by Audio Classics). I turned these units over and replaced them with modern McIntosh gear (C41 and MC152). Could I have gotten gear as technically competent for less (i.e. Benchmark, Purifi, etc.)? Yes. However, for me, a part of this hobby is akin to art installation/aesthetics/story -- as much as it is about sound/engineering. You know, I want it all (don't we all). And for the right price, you can get a lot. My new gear is more technically competent than the 60+ year old gear it replaced. Can I hear sonic differences? I don't have the skills, patience, or desire to say for sure. If I said I could hear a difference, I would have to acknowledge that it is likely attributable to my own personal audio illusion. I do know, my gear looks great (to me) and will be trouble free for decades and will hold its value. What else could I want from an artful appliance? If I was forced to make a recommendation, I should say prioritize the pre-amp. Most modern amps are technically sufficient and often times it is the preamp that is lacking. On paper, at least, that was the case with the MX110 v C41. I will also say, if I did notice a difference in sound between my modern and classic gear, swapping out the MX110 was it. As always, enjoy the journey, the music, and have fun!
  2. My gal is three and loves the music and the stereo. When I had to send the MC240 for a repair, she was pretty devastated and asked about the stereo everyday -- "Is it fixed?" That was enough of a rationale/justification for me to make the switch to solid state. She has also figured out how to turn everything on and off and asks me to play her music all the time. Her preference is for records, I try to play her favorite album (which is Jamie XX these days) digitally and she is having none of it. She also exclaims "I like it loud!" whenever I turn the music down a little. It's never too early to get them into the hobby
  3. I run Forte IIIs and recently made the switch from tubes to solid state. I went from a restored McIntosh MC240 (tube) that put out about 55 watts to an McIntosh MC152 (solid state) that puts out over 200 watts. The quote above from Westcoastdrums sums up the changes I experienced making the switch to solid state/more power. I did not make the changes for sonic reasons -- I wanted modern trouble free gear that I did not have to care for (really I did not feel comfortable with my toddle running around hot tube gear), but I have been pleased with the results of more power. I always expected more bass with the Forte's than I was getting with the MC240 and giving them more watts certainly has helped in this department. If you have an inkling for more power -- I say scratch the itch and see if you like it. As others have suggested, you can experiment with low cost solid state and see if it delivers the goods. No need to part ways with your tube amp. For me, in an ideal world, I would have both, to fit my mood. Alas, at this stage in life, I only have space and money for one type of amplification. Enjoy your sonic journey and have fun!
  4. Good luck on your sale and on the new Lc Scala's! I would love to move up to Cornwalls (currently have Forte IIIs). I am in Washington D.C -- but with plans to move down to Charlottesville in the near future. Timing does not workout for me this time around -- hope you find a fortunate buyer soon. I very much look forward to your future write-up on the Cornwall v La Scala showdown.
  5. Can't comment on equipment either. However, on my Forte III's I went from McIntosh tube amp (MC240) to McIntosh solid state (MC152) and noticed similar improvement in the bass. The highs and mids are not not as lush with the SS amp and the effervescent/ethereal tube magic is missing/diminished. Instead, the highs/mids, while still very smooth, are more crisp. I also confer the ideal situation would be multiple setups or bi-amping. Good luck and have fun!
  6. Bi-amping would be cool! I still have my MC240 (have not let it go yet). In an ideal world, I would run the Fortes active with solid state on the woofers and tubes for the horns and DSP to tailor to my listening room. One can dream…
  7. I don't have experience with the type of tube amps you are infested in. I do have experience with Klipsch Forte III's with both a solid state amplifier and a tube amplifier and I can speak to the differences I discerned. I hope bringing my solid state experience into the safe place of the tube forum is not too offensive. Apologies if what follows is inappropriate for this setting. I originally ran my Forte's with a restored McIntosh MX110 and MC240. The MC240 bench tested at 55 watts at 1% THD (similar to the power of your tube amp). Lots of tube magic/goodness. I transitioned to more modern McIntosh solid state pieces; C41 and MC152. Note, the MC152 bench tests around 250 watts -- so significantly more power than MC240. The result? Tighter, punchier bass with more kick. The warmth of the tube amp sound is still present and the system is quieter (thanks to the better SND; 90 vs 118db). Does it have the same magic as the vintage gear? I don't think so. The evanescence/ethereal atmosphere the tube combo provided is replaced with a more detailed sound. In an ideal world, I would have both a solid state combo and a tube combo. For this period in my life, modern solid state gear fits my life style better (I have to pick one or the other). My recent experience with more watts, also leads me to believe the woofers on the Forte's like and benefit from power. If I was running a fully horn loaded system like a Klipschhorn or La Scala, I wonder if the benefits of a tube system would shine more brightly? I will not pretend to have the technical expertise to fully explain/support the why. But, I do wonder if the size of the Forte woofer likes the higher damping factor (control) a solid state amp can provide? With a fully horn loaded system, damping factor is no longer a concern. Good luck on your ventures in tube gear. The glow of tubes and the music they make, really brings a smile to ones face and a lot of joy. Have fun!
  8. I hear you on McIntosh prices. I inherited vintage McIntosh tube gear (MX110 and MC240) and paid to restore them. I moved onto more modern solid state gear MC152 and C41 at used prices. I discovered a toddler keeps me busy enough and layering 60+ year old tube gear on was not the right life style choice for me (I did enjoy the tube gear for 8+ years, which kept my audio budget necessarily low through grad school). Going this route has allowed me to mostly circumnavigate McIntosh sticker shock. Part of selling my old McIntosh gear recently/now is trying to time the peak of the vintage McIntosh gear market. Want enlightenment? Dig up what an MX110 and MC240 traded for in 2001. I do ask myself, from time to time, if I should have picked a more affordable route and pocketed some coin. I did contemplate the class d path, among others. Hence, my confirmation that the hypex could make a lot of sense (based on my own research and weighing my own recent purchasing decisions).
  9. Agreed! Was not suggesting this as an option! I am McIntosh fan boy -- but not that big of one. I mentioned that McIntosh uses hypex chips to further validate the suggestions above -- it really is a solid choice.
  10. Chiming in to say my McIntosh MC152 sound really nice with my Forte III's and to confirm you do really want a McIntosh amp -- ha! However, it does not fit your price criteria. If I was in your shoes, I would probably look real hard at the hypex option (as suggested above). I know specs are not everything, but on paper, hypex compares very favorably to the MC152. Moreover, McIntosh also uses hypex chips in their class d amp offerings.
  11. I have Forte III's and have used both vintage and modern McIntosh gear. I first ran them with a restored MX-110/MC240. Certainly gobs of tube magic. I then replaced the MX-110 with a C41 and now finally I swapped out the MC240 with a MC152. What are the differences in sound with the varying combos of tube gear and solid state? With the tube gear, there is certainly an effervescent/ethereal sound. Paring both a tube pre with a tube amp -- doubled down on this glory. The "tubbiness" came through the most at higher volumes and really is what I found to be the most satisfying with this combo (pissing-off the neighbors). The tube gear, in a way, is like stepping back in time to the glory of 1960s hi-fi. The last word in technical competency? Maybe not, but extremely satisfying and enjoyable. With solid state gear, the noise floor is much lower, think 115db S/N vs 90db (which matters with high efficiency speakers). I found the solid state units provide much more clarity and detail, but with less ethereal magic. This is most noticed at louder volumes. However, in exchange, I find more detail/resolution at lower volumes. The bass with the MC152 compared to the MC240 is not a subtle difference. The MC152 provides much more loud, solid, and defined bass compared to the MC240. Is the difference amplifier design? Difference in watts at 1% THD (225 vs 55)? I am not so sure. But I am convinced the Forte likes watts to really perform in the bass department and I would imagine that is also the case for the Cornwall. It begs the question, I wonder how bi-amping my Fortes (or Cornwalls) would sound with active crossovers and DSP? Tubes on top and solid state on the bottom. What do I mean by tube gear and louder volumes? With tubes, the Forte's came alive over 75-80db or so. With the solid state gear, what you hear at 60db is what you get at 100db -- clean, detailed and resolved sound. In my mind, it reminds me of the sound at your favorite music club. With the tube gear, it is a more curated and aesthetic vibe that shines through -- think speakeasy or dark bar. Village Vanguard (tubes) vs 9:30 Club (solid state)? The solid state pre with the tube amp spilts the difference. I think a tube pre with solid state amp would also be a good way to go. Also keep mind mind, I am talking subtle differences here. Both amplification approaches bring the best out of my Klipsch speakers. It really is about preferences. Could I really tell a difference double blind? Doubtful? But, I don't really know. So why did I make the switch to solid state? Vintage tube gear require maintenance and love. I have a toddler running around and the solid state gear fits my lifestyle better. The Forte's also beg to be listened to 8-10 hours a day and that works better with solid state. Do I miss the tubes? Sometimes, yes. But the connivance of solid state is hard to beat. In an ideal world, you bi-amp (with both solid state and tubes), or have both a tube setup and a solid state setup, depending on your mood. I think you have been given some excellent suggestions. The solid state Yamaha I am sure is fantastic. Modern tube gear I am sure is also delightful (and approaches solid state in connivance). Vintage tube gear such as the McIntosh or Scott or Fisher are really cool and I bet sound great too. The Parasound I bet would give you almost (if not all) the performance of the MC152 for less than half the cost. I am partial to the McIntosh gear, which in my view, takes the best of their 1960s era achievements and places them in a modern and technically state of the art package. I also think they look really cool. Having a partner, makes me realize my stereo in essence is also elaborate room decor -- that happens to make really nice sound. At the extreme, home hifi is an artistic expression. In this regard, I aspire too and think often of the Tom Sachs exhibit of his boomboxes I witnessed at the Brooklyn Museum several years ago -- https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/tom_sachs_boombox_retrospective Closing thoughts? Preamps matter, a lot (my C41 is just modern enough, but not too modern to lose many nice features such as loudness and tone controls). You can split the difference with tube/solid state by having one half of the combo either tube or solid state and get a lot of the tube magic with not going all the way. Watts matter. For my Fortes, having more watts for the woofers really helps with the bass (but certainly not essential to achieve maximum performance out of the speaker). Good luck on your search! In many ways it comes down to sonic preferences, aesthetics, and value propositions (which we each have our own way of defining).
  12. I have had both vintage and more modern McIntosh gear powering my Klipsch Forte III's. I started with an MX110 and MC240 (restored by Audio Classics) pure tube magic. I now have a McIntosh C41 and MC152. The differences? The vintage tube gear had an ethereal essence about them that was seductive. The tube gear begged to be cranked. The solid state gear is more quite and performs better at lower volumes. Having a 150 watts (probably closer to 200) on the Forte's really helps suss out all the dynamics they are capable of. When you turn it up, because it is so clean, it is very easy to not realize how loud it is. The more modern gear is missing the tube magic, but delivers tighter bass and more separation (meaning, it sound more precise). It also requires 0% maintenance or new tubes. My Forte's with solid state gear, reminds me of how the sound system at live show sounds. The tubes are there own thing -- still very pleasurable and enjoyable but reminds me more of why a lot of guitar amps use tubes -- for artistic reasons. I picked McIntosh for ascetic reasons and build quality. I contemplated a Yamaha integrated -- which for a lot less money I am sure would have done a very nice job. Do my McIntosh separates sound better than my 1980s era NAD integrated I picked-up at a Good Will 15 years ago for $10 and that powered my first stereo? I am not so sure. On some days, I wish I did not give the NAD to my brother. I did pair the C41 with the MC240 a for a while. It was a nice mix of vintage tube lush and modern solid state electronics. Have you considered a tube preamp with a solid state amp or like what I did, going the opposite direction? That might be one way of spreading the MC275 love around that you enjoy so much. I do really enjoy the "moderness" of solid state and the convenience that brings. I also totally get the allure of the harmonic distortion that tubes introduce (it really can seem like magic). I have not sold my MC240 yet, and in an ideal world, I would find a way to keep both the MC152 and the MC240. I wonder what your old MC2205 would sound like with a tube preamp? What preamp are you using? Does it differ between the MC275 and the MC2205? If wanting tubes, another suggestion is a Scott tube integrated amp. I really enjoyed one in the stereo I had in my childhood room. You have gotten a lot of great recommendations. Good luck on your selection!
  13. My day job is a financial regulator. I would say everything is political -- economics and policy. But, isn't that why we listen to music? To drown out the noise that pulls us away from joy?
  14. Up for sale is my well-loved McIntosh MX-110 M series preamp-turner (serial # 170M5). Electrically, the unit is in perfect condition and meets original factor specifications. Audio Classics / Richard Modafferi restored the unit October 2015 (will provide service documentation to purchaser) and it last visited Audio Classics in October 2020 for service and received a clean bill of health. The turner works perfectly and overall tuner-preamp performance is amazing. As many probably know, Mr. Modafferi, he is a former McIntosh engineer and designed the legendary McIntosh MR77 and MR78 turners and is the GUY you want restoring a legendary McIntosh turner-preamp. I am selling because I recently purchased a McIntosh C41 preamp from Audio Classics. I am a father of toddler and I can't maintain both a tube preamp and tube amp (I am also running a McIntosh MC240). The unit is in average cosmetic condition as evidenced by the attached photos and is what you would expect for a piece that is 60+ years old. Rest easy, I have the specially designed double-boxed carton specifically indented for the MX110 that I also purchased from Audio Classics that I will use for shipping or pick-up ($150 value). Also keep in mind; any MX-110 that has not been recently refurbished will need $1000+ dollar restoration to perform up to specification. Full disclosure, the unit has visited Audio Classics the following times: * May 2015 -- full restoration * Sept. 2018 -- turner realignment * Dec. 2019 -- cleaning of controls due to noisy volume pot and switches * Oct. 2020 -- repair of phono jacks and capacitors (I broke a capacitor trying to tighten the phono jacks in order to ground them and remove a hum in the phono section) Shipping is on the buyer (estimated at $50-75, depending on distance/location). I am located in Washington D.C. I am hoping for $1500 -- about the amount I have in repairs and the box. Let me know what questions you have. If local pick-up, I have extra tubes I can toss in.
  15. It's the wrong Washington but I thought I would share (not affiliated) https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/ele/d/klipsch-epic-cf4-series/7284384359.html
  16. I hear really good things about the latest class d chips. I have not heard them, but I think that's probably the future of amplification. It seems the technology is reaching (or has reached maturity). The two chip makers that all everyone seems to be using are Purfi and Hypex (both based in the Netherlands I believe). NAD, McIntosh, among other respected companies are using Hypex chips. If you buy the argument that amplification more or less sounds the same (of course considering distortion % and S/N are beyond audible limit) then class d have some advantages -- the run cooler, take less power, and weigh a lot less.
  17. Fair enough (I struck the derailed portion of my comment)! I also have enjoyed both yours and Shakey's posts. And I also find it fun to engage in the different perspectives/opinions we all bring to the table. The Klipsch forums for me, have been a really great place to engage in online community, learn, and nerd out about audio. I wish the OP luck in their audio pursuits (you really can't go wrong with Cornwalls) and urge them to continue to ask questions.
  18. So sorry to the OP about derailing your thread (I hope you have found the discussion, while not on topic, interesting). Shakey, I agree that you can hear differences between certain components. When I went from a 1990s era Linn dac to low cost Schiit dac, the change was very noticeable. Likewise when I upgrade my turntable from a Rega P5 to a P6. The same was also true with jump from the MX110 to the C41. In all cases, I replaced gear with more modern equipment that is no doubt state of the art and likely engineered beyond the limits of audibility (okay, maybe not for the turntable) for human hearing (at least that's what I believe). For preamp and the dac, the S/N went from 80 for the MX110 to 105db with the C41 and a similar jump with the Linn dac from 90db or so to 110db for the Schiit dac (which I am sure contributed to the sonic differences I perceive). As I run a tube amp, I am aware that tubes are not considered the vanguard of amplification by some and some would say I am missing out by not going solid state, others would say you can't hear a difference, and while others would say tubes have a magic that has been lost with the advancement of technology. I guess at the end of the day, I like to be informed about the differing opinions/perspectives, but I am cautious to let any one opinion stop me from enjoying the music. Or letting my priors prevent me for exploring the different nooks and crannies of this hobby. Another way I have sidestepped this conversation in this hobby is by jumping straight to Klipsch and McIntosh -- where I have a lot of confidence these products are engineered to the highest standards and performance. Because there is so much we don't know about psychoacoustics, I am willing to admit one might be able to hear audible differences -- deviating from the conventional science perspective -- its just really really hard to prove. I am placing a lot of my confidence in the engineering teams at Klipsch and McIntosh to sort all that out. When you look back at all the comments in this thread, it's pretty clear we agree more than we disagree. I think all of us, if money was not a factor, would pick Klipsch Cornwall IVs over Cornwall IIIs (and we would probably also all agree McIntosh gear is really great and hard to beat -- if price is not a concern). Thanks all for the conversation, we will probably never see completely eye to eye on any of these more weedy topics -- and that's what makes this all so much fun.
  19. The first piece of stereo equipment I bought myself was a NAD 7220PE (or something very similar, I can't exactly remember and I am still bummed I gave it to my brother) that I got for $10 at Goodwill. It's very possible it has been all down hill from there (I kid I kid). Particularly, since I have gone the high efficiency speaker route. My MC240, which Audio Classics sells used for $4500 does not sound 450x better and maybe no better. The MC240 has been completely restored, and I have peace of mind no deteriorating capacitor or bad resistor will detract from the sound for years to come. I keep it because it was a gift from my dad, because it looks really cool, that it has a story, and makes a statement in my living room (among other reasons). It also does hurt that it pairs very well with my Forte speakers and helps the Forte's sound fantastic. I plan on selling my MX110 (also restored by Audio Classics) for the same amount of money I spent on it to cover the cost of the addition of the C41 (also the same amount of money). I am not moving to the C41 for sonic reasons. The MX110 sounds great! I am wanting a more modern piece/aesthetic and less maintenance. I did think very hard about a late model Yamaha integrated (something like an a-s1100) and be done with it (yes, selling both the MC240 and MX110, would have been able to pocket a nice chunk of change and get that much close to new Cornwall's). However, choosing appliances to reproduce sound requires balancing and weighing a number of criteria. And for me, those trade-offs tipped towards getting the C41 and keeping the MC240. Most of us are fortunate this is a hobby and we can afford to pursue a variety of aesthetic trade-offs when building our systems. And when we get bored, we can go explore a different direction. One thing that has not been mentioned is deprecation (which is a factor for any luxury good purchase). McIntosh and Klipsch depreciate far less than the average consumer electronics. The fact that I can always get my money out of my McIntosh gear and can sell my Forte's without losing my shirt, is another important piece of the puzzle. I don't think any of us would argue or suggest one should get a low cost AV receiver and be done with it. We are suggesting the reason you would not go that route, is based on differences between the equipment other than an improvement in sound. Audio is my hobby and I can't really speak to other hobbies, but I imagine this plays out in other areas (shoes/clothes, watches, cars to an extent, art, and many many more). For example, a well tailored low cost suit is going to look much much better than a fancy high cost non-tailored suit. And between the low cost tailored suit and the high cost tailored suit, only a select few people could really tell a difference. What matters is how the garment makes the person feel that is putting it on (besides how it looks). Continuing the analogy, are handmade shoes in England worth the 4x price premium over similar quality made in America shoes? Can any normal person really tell the difference? Does a Timex keep time in a similar fashion to a Rolex? A VW gets you to point a to point b just as well as Porsche (holding all else constant). Shakey, I love your passion for Klipsch and the hobby. Your posts on my first thread here, nudged me to get my Klipsch Forte's a few years ago (and I have not regretted the decision since). Your enthusiasm really is a gift.
  20. I have McIntosh for many of the same reasons (my dad gave me a MC240 and MX110 so I also had that going for me). When I became tired of fussing with the MX110 (and I wanted to try something a bit different) I bought a used C41 from Audio Classics, in large part because of the tone controls, loudness, mono, etc. features you can't find on a lot of other gear. The C41 is also one of the last all analog preamps McIntosh made before switching to preamps with digital (dacs etc.) built in. I am an old soul in way that likes engaging in the old ways of music reproduction (if I had a land line, I would have a rotary phone). A big reason I wanted to pair Klipsch speakers with the Mac gear, was because of the legacy/story of Klipsch. I like that Klipsch is made in a small town in Arkansas (I grew up in Kansas and have a kinship for that part of the country). I also like the scientific foundations Klipsch is built upon -- similar to McIntosh. I guess I also like stereo equipment that has heft (in more ways than one). At the end of the day, I view my sound system as toy -- an appliance if you will, to create soundscapes that provide pleasure and entertain. For me, a big part of the pleasure is the history/story and being able to participate in a slice of Americana.
  21. Entering the fray here (maybe foolishly). I think it is prudent to acknowledge the limits of knowing and ability to make definitive casual claims. Making a causal claim (which in my mind is required before saying x is better than y) is exceedingly difficult. Of course, we are entitled to our preferences, but we should be clear the limits of what a preference denotes. The task of saying x is better than y becomes even more difficult when you are on the bleeding age of the state of the art, which for the most part, is where we all live in this hobby/forum. Almost all of academia (both the hard and social sciences) is focused on research design and methodologies that allows the testing/validation of causal claims. I think it is also helpful to remember the study of sound and how it is perceived is called psychoacoustics. The point being, psychology plays such an important role when it comes to human perception. Concepts such as confirmation basis, placebo effect, endowment effect, among others are real and cloud our ability to make casual claims, or in other words, to say a Klipsch Cornwall III does not sound as good as a Klipsch Cornwall IV. To even make that argument, we would have to define and all agree on what does "sound better" even mean. A difficult task indeed. Don't get me wrong, when I can, I plan to upgrade my Forte III speakers to the latest Cornwall and I am sure I will "perceive" a noticeable difference -- but I want to be clear about, I would not be able to make the claim the Cornwall sounds "better" than than the Forte -- only that I prefer it. To say x sounds better than y, again, we would need to define what "better" means and carefully articulate what dimension of "better" we are describing and comparing (I think sometimes what we really mean, x sounds different than y and I prefer that difference). Then we could test those claims by designing and administering an experiment, including conducting a sufficient number of trails that rise to the level of statistical significance (n>30 at least), and then see what the data shows to see if our claims are indeed valid. I am not about that. This is a hobby for me and I listen for pleasure and enjoyment. I do, however, think it is helpful to bring some rationality to the conversation, particularly when making claims of superiority. On the amplifier front, all the above applies. While I will agree you will notice the difference between speakers (room/speaker interaction also plays a huge role which I will not address) one is less likely to notice a difference between amplifiers if they are properly compared using a rigorous and scientific methodology. Why? Almost any modern amplifier (and even a lot of vintage amplifiers) are designed to specifications that beyond the limits of human audibility. Think S/N ratio, distortion %, and other design characteristics. The same holds true for digital audio. As we all know, humans perceive louder as better, and it is important that is accounted for when making comparisons. For example, does a more powerful amplifier allow for greater dynamic range/headroom and the perceived increase in dynamics (louder) is the reason we think amplifier x sounds better than amplifier y? I will note, I have a McIntosh tube amp and solid state preamp. They cost multiples of electronics that are equally technical competent. Why do I have them then? Is it irrational on my part? That would be the case if I truly believed is was purely for sonic reasons and not those of aesthetics, build quality, prestige, and in my case also nostalgia (for the tube amp anyways). All of these reasons also effect my perception of sound, and I probably believe my McIntosh gear does sound better (when in reality, I probably can't tell the difference). The important point though is, they make me happy -- which is beyond the limit of science (at least in my view) and that to me is what really matters. Have I tested this theory? No. Again, not a scientist and I don't enjoy these elements of the hobby (in part because I am not capable of conducting experiments with the necessary rigor to derive beneficial knowledge/wisdom) -- I am in it to enjoy the music. But, I am fully aware of the power of my mind and its ability to influence my perception limiting my ability to make causal claims and/or definitive judgements of superiority (and folks have won noble prizes proving this is in fact the case). To the OP, I doubt you can go wrong either way. At the end of the day, both speakers are likely better than 99% of all other speakers out there. I would spring for the Cornwall IV, but I am sure the Cornwall III is also great. We all have tradeoffs to negotiate and only you can decide what value judgements you will make to help you navigate those tradeoffs. I would also agree, listening is still valuable -- the more high quality information (read first hand) you can gather when weighing a decision is always helpful! Anyways, let's all keep having fun, enjoy the tunes, and when the fancy strikes us -- piss off the neighbors.
  22. I have a Schiit Modi 3+ and I power it with usb into wall wart. I am using it with my Sonos Connect, which is limited to redbook or S/N of 96db. The Modi 3+ has S/N of 110db. I wanted to max out the performance of my Sonos. I am replacing a Linn Numerik dac from the early 1990s that I bought in 2007 before streaming was a big thing. I can tell you it was $100 well spent. If I had to do it again, I would probably have sprung for the Modius so I could connect it to my McIntosh C41 with balanced connects (for fun). When I bought the Modi 3+ I was still running my McIntosh MX110. Have fun!
  23. It sounds like @McBlueMeter does not like Fortes. That's fine, we all have our preferences. It could be one does not like the passive radiator or other design choices/tradeoffs of this particular speaker. You know, it could also be a cognitive basis. Unless you are doing a double blind and level matched test with a significant number of trails -- who the hell knows ones speaker preference. The mind is such a tricky devil. I bet the Forte IV's sound real nice. I have a pair of the Forte III's and with classic McIntosh tube magic -- they sound ok to me. The definitive answer on high fidelity? I don't know. Probably not. Fun? Yes! Some may say they don't measure perfectly, but to me, I really like the dynamics and liveness they present. I can concur (in accordance with @Paducah Home Theater, the Forte III's become extremely music dependent at high volumes, >85DB for me. I find the Forte III's really excel at generally normal listening levels. And with the right recording, sound amazing at all DB levels (up to your neighbors tolerance or your pain threshold -- whichever comes first). They are transparent and shine and excel up to the limit of a piece of music's recording/mastering quality. I tend to think their strengths are with simpler music that shows off how they can get the tone/voice right of a single/few instrument(s) (say less than 4). Acoustic guitar/vocal, small jazz combo, female vocal, all sound amazing. With that said, I listen to a lot of rock, classic rock and indie rock and they handle these genres with aplomb. Another plus with the Forte III's, and I wonder if it is a typical Klipsch trait, is the excitement they can bring to music at moderate to low volumes -- a big plus for my wife. Before I bought my Forte III's I took my dad to the World of McIntosh row home in SoHo (read NYC). There, I heard all the top line McIntosh and Sonos Faber offerings (including the mcintosh xrt2.1k's -- $130,000+). To me, my Forte's in my setup, bring a satisfactory experience. I am glad I can conceptualize and integrate into my sense of being the essence of diminishing marginal returns/utility. My Forte's replaced a pair of Rega R5's. I also listened to the latest version of the Rega's, the RX5s, and I preferred the Forte's. My dad rocks Magneplanar 3.7's and felt the Forte's (while completely different) sounded favorably. Having heard both, I am happy with my choice (obviously, with my gear). I will say, I dream of the Cornwall IV's and when space permits -- I am all in.
  24. Fun anecdote/story. When I lived in Brooklyn/Prospect Heights I would see John from time to time out and about. He has a sweet Cadillac CTS-V wagon that he parked on the street in the neighborhood. I was tempted to leave a note on his car to see if I could get an invite to his factory in the Navy Yard. I found myself with Forte III's -- inspired by the Devore O93/96 design approach. I was wanting to find a nice speaker to pair with my McIntosh MC240/MX110. But I was not prepared to spend $8400+ on speakers (yet) -- hence my foray in to Klispch (I could not be happier).
  25. Agree with the need for some clarification. If we are talking Heritage speakers, I can share my MC240 (bench tested by Audio Classics at 55w at 1% distortion) sound really nice with my Klipsch Forte III's. It can rattle the windows.
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