Author Topic: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th  (Read 9694 times)

Offline Carlman

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2009, 12:23:58 PM »
Thanks, RL.. will do!
My plans have shifted around a bit today so looks like I'll be part of the later crowd... Not sure what time yet.. but late.  If anyone in the area wants to pickup the Reality's on their way, feel free.. Otherwise I probably won't get there till 8ish.

-C
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Offline Bigfish8

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2009, 08:35:01 PM »
I just arrived back home from a great G2G tonight at Mike's.  Mike was a wonderful host and I want to thank him very much for having us over.

I would also like to thank Grover for allowing us to trial his new speaker cables which provided us with the opportunity tonight compare several different speaker cables.  The set of cables that was considered to be the winner of our comparison sell for 12 times the cost of the Grovers.  Not really fair competition but it is nice to hear those special, expensive cables.  Thanks to Shane, The Home Theater Doc for bringing over several of his JPS SCs and ICs for the comparison.

It was great sharing time with the gang this evening and I greatly appreciate how much I am able to learn from this G2G's.

Good Night!

Ken
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Offline stereofool

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2009, 08:42:39 PM »
Mike,

First, thank you for your wonderful hospitality!!!

It was great to see everyone, again  :D.

Where to start...when I walked in several of the group were listening to Ken's transporter, and maybe something else, through a Benchmark DAC. At the time, I believe that the Grover biwires were in the loop as well as some Grover IC's.

With the above set-up there was definitely a harsh and brittle sound...of the 'ear-hurting' variety. So...the Benchmark and the transporter were removed and Mike's sweet Oracle CD player was inserted. This was a MAJOR improvement in smooth, open and more natural sound.

Shane had brought along multiple JPS wires, and someone had the silly notion of hooking some of those up. First up were the Aluminata SC's, and WOW was there a difference compared to the Grovers...there was just a relaxed ease of hearing ALL of the music. Deeper bass, a quieter background which let small details to be revealed, and a smoother top end as well. Next, adding in some SC3 IC's...with another level of improvement noted. Then Mike suggested adding the Aluminata IC's into the mix. Well...DAMN...what an entrancing sound. In a word it just sounded like 'MUSIC'...nuff said. For those with endless funds...I don't see how you can beat the Aluminata's  ](*,).

Somewhere in this switching we wound up comparing the Grover IC's...SC vs SC., and congratulations Grover the SC. definitely sounded better. Again, a more naturally open and clean sound...I'd say the SC. IC's are a winner.

A few more of the gang arrived, and we wound up switching cabling around again. Mike's JPS Superconductor + SC's went in and had that JPS family sound, but were still bested by the the SC3's and the Aluminata (DUH!). We also put in Carl's Greg Straley SC's and they did themselves proud...they weren't as detailed as the JPS's, but they did give a nice smooth relaxed presentation. We also added in Ken's Harmonic Tech ProSilway 9's and they also sounded better than the Grover's, but not as good as the JPS's.

We tried the Grover SC's biwires again, and the difference was immediate...they didn't sound horrible, but they were no match for any of the JPS SC's. Next, the biwire hookup was reduced to what would be a normal single cable, and it actually did sound a bit better, but still seemed to grate on everyone's ears. I'll let some of our more erudate fellows try to verbalize their impressions here.

To summarize...the Grover SC.(dot) IC's are excellent and a relative bargain. To my ears the Grover speaker cable(s) need some work...compared to the Straley's, HT ProSilway 9's, and JPS's the Grover's finished in fourth place.

Even though it wasn't planned that way...all of the JPS cables were the class of those compared. I don't think anyone was in doubt of that conclusion. Unfortunately, we are all poor working saps, and alas we can't afford them...especially the Aluminata's. I did suggest that we all pool our money and do a group buy...in that we all would co-own a pair and then everyone could have their share of time with the cables. Just a thought...it's nice to dream  :drool:.

Again, thanks Mike and also thanks Shane...for teasing us (unmercifully) with the Aluminata's  [-X.
Steve
Have you ever noticed.... Anyone going slower than you is an idiot...and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

Offline richidoo

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2009, 09:37:35 PM »
Ahhhhhhhhh.... that was FUN! What a pleasure to enjoy an evening of high end audio without cooking or cleaning or planning, or.....   Thanks Mike, and to your wife for enduring us. Your home is so lovely, and the location is a city lover's dream.

My biggest impressions were the Kuzmi Stabi turntable playing through EE phono preamp. Absolutely gorgeous on the records that were worthy of the fine gear. Makes me think about getting into vinyl... or at least getting a new cartridge.

The speaker cables comparison was fun because of the banter and opinions and discussion - we all laughed and had a ball talking about audio philosophy, and dogma bullshit. I think liked the Grover S speaker wires better than the SC. The S gelled and made strong music. I liked the SC single wire better than the SC biwire. The SC biwire has not yet locked in to a solid coherent sound, either at mine or Mike's place. They have probably 150 hours of loud playing, but maybe they can use more?

The Grover interconnects are consistently excellent. Every iteration from white S to "SC." is a big improvement over the previous. The SC. interconnect is a no brainer for the full retail price. At the end of the evening Mike and I spun jazz vinyl with the SC. interconnects. Smooth and revealling, very musical.

It was so much fun, I want to try to do a May gathering at my place. Thanks again Mike!! You are a great host, and your system and room sounded really great. You gave me lots to think about.
Rich

Offline grover

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2009, 10:50:10 PM »
Shocking, and definitely not my experience. There must be something wrong with those bi-wires. I'm having Rich send them right back to me so I can see what's the problem. I didn't have time to listen to them before but I'm anxious to listen to them now.

Offline mdconnelly

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2009, 07:06:50 AM »
Man, I cannot believe how many of you managed to post your thoughts last night before you even made it to bed.   Now that's dedicated nervosa!  :rofl:

A big thanks to all that attended and brought goodies - of both the edible and sonic variety.   I probably had more insight into the strengths and weaknesses of my system last night than I have had in a long time.  It is truly a great opportunity to be able to compare all these cables in my own system -- particularly with the assist of the ears of Carl, Ken, Steve, Rich and Shane.   

I'll post more in depth thoughts soon, but here's a few things that really stood out for me...

1) Grover's 'SC.' interconnects are definitely a step up from the 'SC' cables.  His ICs always have scrumptious detail, but I think we all found that the 'SC.' provided a more realistic and refined decay and harmonics.  Nice job Grover!  I'll be sending a check and my old ICs along to you soon.

2) I asked Shane to bring along the JPS Aluminata ICs and speaker cables just so I could hear them since I had missed the earlier GTG.   I'm not sure what was more remarkable, those cables or Carl's description of them -- 'Liquid Ear Sex'.    :drool:   Truly amazing!!

3) By all accounts (particularly mine) my system sounded great with the JPS SC3 and/or Aluminata cables inserted.  While we did not swap amps at all, I think the better cables really gave my McCormack DNA-500 amp a chance to shine.  It's good to know there's still a lot of room to grow with my existing components and speakers with the simple insertion of better cables.  (OK, not so simple given the price tag, but still... ;-)

4) Last but not least, I think we were all a bit shocked at how poorly Grover's speaker cables did compared to the various flavors of JPS, Reality and Harmonic Tech cables.  They did remind me a bit of brand new cables in need of breakin, but Rich had already put well over a 100 hours on them before the GTG.   Who knows... the magic may appear after another couple hundred hours but it wasn't there last night.  We will get them back to Grover and see what he thinks.

Thanks again to all who made it!   That was definitely fun! 



Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2009, 08:48:39 AM »
Many thanks to Mike for hosting.  It was great to finally get back out to a G2G and see everyone again.  It's been a bit crazy for me the past few months.

I just wanted to make one note.  Mike noted it, but it probably bears repeating.  I brought the JPS stuff along at the request of Mike just so he could hear them in his system.  Comparing SC3 and Aluminata to the other cables in attendance was not my intention in bringing the cables along.  It also was kind of unfair given the difference in MSRP pricing versus direct pricing from Grover.  I didn't think about it at the time because I was shocked as it was I remembered to bring myself and the requested cables.  But if I had been thinking about it more, I should have brought along some SuperQ speaker cables and maybe even some entry level Ultra2... that's more in the same realm pricewise to the Grover offerings.  It might have been a more interesting comparison. 

With the JPS in there, your amp and speaker combo sounded mighty fine Mike.  I still love a little more romance from something like my Butlers.  But that DNA-500 sounded a lot better than I remember from other experiences.  Worth every penny you can find them for on the used market.  You've made the best out of your room config and WAF concerns.  If you can sneak a little bit of treatment on the wall behind you past your wife, I think that will take it to another level.

The Grover interconnects are very good for the money he asks for them.  A different sound than JPS, but they should work for a lot of folks.  The SC. version was definitely the best of the iterations we listened to.  For anyone looking for a very good sounding cable for not a lot of money, they should be trying these out without question.

Great to see everyone.  Looking forward to getting to a point where it is a more common occurance.

Shane Sangster
Night & Day Audio - AMR, Alpha Design Labs, AURALiC, Audeze, Bakoon, Devialet, ENIGMAcoustics, Exogal, Harbeth, iFi Audio, Lumin Music, M2Tech, PS Audio, Pure Audio, REL Acoustics Ltd, Sennheiser, Tannoy, Unison Research, WyWires & more

Offline mdconnelly

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2009, 10:32:58 AM »
Great point, Shane!   JPS has some wonderful cables, but they do come priced on what seems like a logarithmic scale.   I can daydream all I want but the Aluminata are and will likely always be out of my league.  Even the JPS SC3s are priced way, way beyond Grover's cables.

Like Grover's interconnects, I think we were all foolishly hoping to find a world beater speaker cable that can blow away competition priced far, far more.  Totally unfair expectation but it does speak volumes to the reputation Grover has already earned with his ICs.

The Grover SC speaker cables that we heard last night may not have achieved such lofty status, but as Steve indicated, I'm willing to withhold judgment until after Grover has a chance to check them out or until they get lots more hours on them.

Offline Carlman

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2009, 01:04:32 PM »
I had a great time last night and have recently gotten my network back up and running! :)

Thanks for hosting such a comfortable and enjoyable gathering, Mike.  I wish I could've stayed for the vinyl.. but the basement was in mid-move... and the gathering was a break I was allowed by my wife. ;)

I had the same thoughts as most.. and I'd be pretty satisfied with the JPS cables as my next step in cabling if I can figure out how to budget for it.  I think the 'SC.' IC's and Straley speaker cables are a good match for me when considering money and my tastes. 

Without question the Aluminatas are indeed liquid ear sex and it's amazing to me they make that much of a difference.  I was glad to hear them so, thanks to Mike for asking and to Shane for bringing them.

Like Rich, this event inspired me to host my own event.  I'm hoping for June.  Everything is breaking in.. new caps in the pre, new cryo'd outlets/breakers, etc.. and I have no treatments yet.. and it sounds a bit lean and bright.. such a stark contrast to Mike's seductively smooth and detailed sound. 

Mike you should be proud to have such a nice sounding system... Great job!

-Carl

I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline richidoo

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2009, 10:05:44 AM »
I gotta say an extra word about Mike's "record player." It is Kuzma Stabi/Stogi. low output MC (.2mV) into the EE phono preamp, into the Tact for AD/DA and onto the DNA500. I have read reviews and always loved the look of this all brass construction minimalist TT. So I was eyeing it all night while we screwed around with cables, hoping Mike would fire it up for relaxation when the hard work was done. The phono pre glowing quietly all night gave hope.



By the time the vinyl started, only 4 of us were left. After a couple tracks Shane and Ken split, and me and Mike were left. An hour of great vinyl jazz and conversation was to follow. The sound was clear and detailed, natural, musical, effortless, relaxing as you want, could be background music behind conversation or you can drill in as deep as you care to. It didn't command your attention nor did it hold back on presence and detail. The listener is in total control of his experience. I was very impressed, recalling the fond feelings of the early eighties when the center of my life was in the grooves of my bebop records for 8+ hours a day. The vinyl sound stays with you and brings back those feelings. These kind of positive vinyl experiences always stay with me for a few days. Mike and I talked about vinyl, pros and cons, technical theory, why people love it. All the while Bill Evans at Vanguard warming our souls.

I have heard vinyl this good on 2 other occasions. At an acquaintance's house in North Raleigh, VPI HRX, Manley Steelhead, Innersound Kaya system with my Snappers running balanced to the panels in a huge square concrete room with listening seat 1 foot from rear wall. The clarity and presence was amazing, but the musical experience was incomplete due to the acoustic challenges. I will always remember that experience. Sadly, the owner didn't want any new friends.... Who needs friends with a system like that? haha  I also was told that day by someone I trust that acoustic treatment should be 1/3 to 1/2 of the the budget. I didn't believe it at the time, but now I realize it is true. Less if DIY...

The other occasion of excellence was at stereofool's house with his Linn Sondek and AR phono preamp, and AR line stage. This was the overall best I have ever heard, most balanced, most potent emotion machine.

bigfish will be jumping out of the lake hearing me talk like this. Don't worry Ken, I'm still on the reservation, got no money for chasing the vinyl rabbit at that level. But very glad to have friends who love it enough to achieve vinyl's full potential within driving distance. It is a tribute to Eastern Electric that so many of us at AN choose their phono preamp. I heard it sound its best (so far for me) last Saturday at Mikes. Our friend Sol has his own phono preamp design and Project TT, and of course Carl has the EE phono and Project TT.  We need to spin more vinyl at our G2Gs...

I will be bringing a stack of LPs over next time, Mike!
Rich

Offline mdconnelly

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2009, 11:44:07 AM »
Agreed!   Whether it's nostalgia or liquid ear sex (thank you, Carl), it is just plan awesome to sit back and listen to LPs.  The EE Minimax phono pre, Kuzma turntable and ZXY Fugi cartridge work great for me and none of that is going anywhere.  Vinyl is here to stay for me.

Bring 'dem LPs!

Offline Carlman

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2009, 07:24:02 PM »
Sorry I missed out on the vinyl.  I really like Mike's system/sound.  Very nice all around.  He also has a pragmatic approach to his upgrades and seems to fully explore all of his options with each part of his system over time.  Doing this has yielded a very respectable sound he should be proud of.

Back to vinyl.. I do have the EE phono pre and I look forward to comparing it to the McIntosh phono section (post modifications) of my preamp.  Spinning vinyl brings back no memories for me because I was on the cusp of it.. I bought records.. but it wasn't long after I started buying them that tapes became available.. and then a few years later cd's... and I didn't have money to buy them, a family that supported music, or a stereo worthy of playing 'new' music.  So, I was a very late bloomer... by the time I was really getting into hifi it was all cd's.  Records were a novelty and the rumor was they'd be worth money one day.  I bought a few re-releases and they're worth half what I paid for them. 

I wish I had the old experience with vinyl that so many have... But every once in a while I'm spinning records and make a nice little memory enjoying it with friends... Whether it's KISS, Bill Evans, or Peter and the Wolf narrated by David Bowie, it's what we enjoyed.  So, maybe my wishes are always coming true. ;)

I envy the vinyl memories of years past.  But I also like making new ones in the sweet spot with friends.  :)

-Carl
I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline richidoo

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2009, 06:39:28 AM »
Absolutely! These are the good ole days!

Offline mdconnelly

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #28 on: April 22, 2009, 07:20:02 AM »
You know, if I measured all the hours my system is playing music, I'll bet vinyl is less than 5% of it.   It probably jumps to 20% of the time of critical listening.   But I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

Funny, when I was young, music was always a much more social thing and choice of components, speakers and music driven by what might make for the best parties (ah, they were good days ;-).   For the last decade, however, I think listening to music has shifted in importance to be as much for solitary listening as anything else - perhaps correlating to improvements in my system.   But across it all, music somehow plants memories better than anything else.

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Re: G2G at MDConnelly's on April 18th
« Reply #29 on: April 22, 2009, 09:07:14 AM »
I have always had a table because I refused to give up my older vinyl.
But only in the last 15 years or so have I had a very satisfying time of it. The best has been right now after changing cartridges. Past tables were Merrill Heirloom II, AR ES1, VPI HW19 MKIII. Older Technics, Kenwood,
Sansui 838 before all that.
The EE is very good but I maintain you have to match the right cartridge to it mainly because of no loading adjustments. I did very much like the Black Cube PWX I had previously.  An MFA Magus 3A has a nice built in Phono too.
I am just fascinated that good sound can be obtained mechanically from vinyl.
Since I got the Dyna 10X5 I have not listened to the Raysonic 128 as much.
People have come here and heard vinyl like they have never heard it. Some too young to remember vinyl at all
are amazed how it sounds compared to CeeDee.

Enjoy!

I wish I could make all these G2G's.

Den