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Best Gear Change of '08


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Without a doubt, for me it was rebuilding and incorporating into my system my Thorens 124 (with the Ortofon RS-212 arm and Denon 103 cartridge). My next move will be building a nice plinth (with a cover), and installing a Zu 103R.

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I guess I did replace my Sony 35" CRT with a Samsung 42" plasma.

Doesn't sound like much of a change in screen size except when you factor in watching 16:9 movies on the 4:3 tube with the huge black bars, the plasma is like 1.7x the usable square inches of screen woohooo!

And it fits exactly in the same little alcove, shielded from window light.

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I changed a lot this year, but the biggest changes were with the Amp and phono. I bought a VRD ST45 from Craig which improved my system by leaps and bounds.

Next was trading up my Rega P3-24 to a VPI Scout. I changed many cartridges till I found the "magic" combo. The Ortofon Jubilee has worked the best by far with my system and room.

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In '08 I replaced my whole system with: McIntosh C39 Pre, McIntosh 2125 amp, McIntosh 500 tuner, Shanling T100se CD player, Teac X1000R R2R, and of course the 60th Anniv. Clone Khorns. I've been very, very bad, just ask my wife!

The bad thing about it is that I'm ready to do it all over again this year! -Kevin

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I did not really change much in my setup, but I did add some new pieces:

Upgraded my DirecTV service to full HD, which is pretty nice

Added a Toshiba HD-A30 HD-DVD player only for that format to bite the dust, but I still use it as my main DVD player as it does an excellent job upconverting.

Added a Sony PS/3, so at least this does give me Blu-Ray capability as well as playing some kick-*** games (still trying to find a copy of Fallout 3, though - seems nobody around here has any copies!). Between the new DirecTV HD DVR, the HD-DVD and PS/3, I found I needed to add an HDMI switcher. For that I got a Psyclone PSC47 4 to 1 HDMI switcher, which also switchs digital optical as well. Kinda pricy but a well built unit.

I've also changed out my old Rat-Shack/Realistic power center to a brand new Panamax M5300-PM powercenter. People claim these things are supposed to cleanup your audio and video, but I did not really notice any real improvement in how my setup sounded or looked, although it did seem to get rid of a hum I was getting in one of my channels.

Added a Klipsch RW-12d subwoofer. Pretty friggan nice, but was hoping to talk the Tweeter guys down where I could've gotten an RT-10d, but no such luck. In fact, the RW-12d replaced an old Yamaha sub that I left in my setup from my previous setup. Of course, the RW-12d is a much superior sub than that dincky old Yamaha sub, plus it does seem to mate up very nicely with my REL Storm III. Addes a bit more punch to my setup that I was not getting from the REL, although the REL is a much more accurate/cleaner sub for music and the like, plus it does go lower as well.

Added an Elan Via!DJ music server. That thing is pretty nice, plus kinda cool having all that music on hand like that. Not only that, I found the SDK and protocol documentation, thus I am playing around with writting my own controller software to operate it via a Laptop, etc.

Not only that, I was finally able to rig together a seperate dedicated two-channel setup, using a Cambridge Audio Azure 640A integrated amp as the center piece. The two-channel rig now consists of the following:

Cambridge Audio AZURE 640A integrated amp

Pioneer CS-99A speakers

Toshiba SL-Q15 turntable (which 'Thebe' gave to me a couple of years ago, finally able to put it to use)

ProJect Phono Box II phono pre-amp

Also dug out my old JVC DVD player to use as a CD player to hook up to this rig as well.

Also using my old Realistic powercenter to plug everything in.

Not a bad sounding little system, although not in the same league as some setups I've seen on here.

And of course, my never ending quest to discover and aquire new music to listen to on all of these. I've probably dropped way more money just on CDs than I did on equipment upgrades/additions.

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