Author Topic: Get Together on Saturday?  (Read 6703 times)

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Get Together on Saturday?
« on: November 18, 2009, 01:07:43 PM »
Guys,

Now that the new Belles pieces have had some time to break in, I thought it might be nice to share them with others and get feedback.  I personally really like them, but want to get a wider perspective from others to give back to Dave.

I had also figured that the Usher Mini 2s would be broken in enough now to let others hear them.... but Ken kept them on me ;) So I don't have those.  We can use the Harbeth Monitor 40.1s and I can pull other pairs of speakers into the room as needed.

What's Saturday looking like for folks?  I'd like to do a small get together if there is enough interest.  i know it's last minute and folks have plans coming up for Thanksgiving.  But if there is enough interest, I'm up for it.  I know Carl wants to compare this with his 21A preamp.  So if we want it at his place or if he wants to do that privately, fine as well. 

This would be a laid back affair.  Maybe order a couple pizzas for grub.  Nothing elaborate and not a lot of gear swapping.

I have the new Oppo special edition blu-ray player with the ESS DAC chips as well that is breaking in as I write this.  A chance to hear that as well back to back with audio PC and stock Oppo player.

Let me know your thoughts...
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 Bigfish8

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2009, 01:38:36 PM »
Quote
What's Saturday looking like for folks?  I'd like to do a small get together if there is enough interest.  i know it's last minute and folks have plans coming up for Thanksgiving.  But if there is enough interest, I'm up for it.  I know Carl wants to compare this with his 21A preamp.  So if we want it at his place or if he wants to do that privately, fine as well.

Dr. Sol is coming over to my house sometime on Saturday to help investigate my hum issue which seems to be related to my preamp.  After a diagnosis is delivered (gulp) I would love the opportunity to hear your new Belles 22A.  If you decide to definitely have a meet please advise of the time?

Shane/Guys, I just could not let the Ushers leave my house. :thumb:  Sorry (not really) that they won't be available for your listening pleasure Saturday Evening.

Thanks,

Ken
"Give a Man a Fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach a Man to Fish and he will sit in a boat and drink Beer all day."

Offline richidoo

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2009, 01:52:41 PM »
I can come on Sat.  Thanks Shane

I want to have a meet at my place soon, but the acoustic treatments are still not installed, so it is not ideal listening.  If you want to do it here I am willing, or else I will host in Dec or Jan.

Offline Carlman

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2009, 02:01:29 PM »
I'm not sure if we have any plans.. And I like the idea of a the Preamp comparo.. And I was thinking.. maybe we could do a dual-location meet?  Maybe have the first half at your place, I'll bring the 21A.. then listen for a while.. and then come down the street to my place and hear the same comparison on my system.  I was thinking that'd be a fun experiment because (as Shane has experienced) the outcome of these comparisons can vary greatly from his system to mine...

Plus, I really want to hear the 2 pre's in my room. :)

Or we could have the G2G here.. whatever is fine by me.. but I would like to run it by the little woman before commiting.  

Or we could have it at Shane's.. it's all fine to me.. just throwing some ideas out there.

-Carl


I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2009, 02:53:58 PM »
I like the idea of the meet at two places... from time X to time Y at my place and time Y to time Z at Carl's... get to hear the same gear in two different rooms with the only difference between them being speakers and acoustics....  great idea if we can swing it...

If we really limit the amount of gear swapping to just be the two preamps, then I think that is definitely do-able... I've got enough SC3 interconnects and speaker cables fully broken in here that we could set stuff up ahead of time.  That way we only have to carry the Belles amp and two preamps between the houses and spend a couple minutes hooking stuff up again.

Two things:

1) I need to swap in a couple 12AU7 tubes in the 22A to see which are the best. Either that or I put in a pair of RT tubes so both Carl's 21A and the 22A have the same tubes as well for consistency sake.

2) It might behoove us to have me bring over the Ref 150A between now and Saturday just to make sure it's got enough power for your speakers, Carl... if we do my house first and then finish up at yours, I can leave whatever behind over there for you to do your comparison with all your electronics and cables... if the Belles doesn't have the juice to work with your speakers, it won't be as close a comparison... another element added into things... ........or we just say to heck with it and do whatever is easiest..

I'm open to anything...

What's the best time to start all this on Saturday?  4PM? 5PM? 6? etc... 
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 RichardS

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2009, 03:42:48 PM »
I can probably make it. I like the idea of two rooms/ systems. The earlier the better for me (I vote for 4 pm)....

Offline Carlman

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2009, 07:00:22 PM »
Looks like this will work, our house is your house.  I'll call Shane and work out details tomorrow or Friday.
:)

I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline stereofool

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2009, 07:46:10 PM »
I can come and play  :D :D!
Steve
Have you ever noticed.... Anyone going slower than you is an idiot...and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2009, 06:57:49 AM »
all right... we're set then on the general theme and plan.  I'll get in touch with Carl to work out all the minor details.

Let's start at my place on Saturday afternoon.  Anytime after 3PM is fine for folks to wander in.  Official start is 4PM.  We'll stay there until everyone has shown up and had a chance to listen to the pieces in the sweet spot.... some brief swaps back and forth and then we'll wander over Carl's way for the rest of the evening.

This will be a very different sonic experience both because our rooms are different, but also because our speakers are very different and setup for different kinds of presentations...

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 Carlman

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2009, 07:17:14 AM »
I agree, and my only requirement is that my speakers stay exactly where they are.  I've settled on my balance of compromises with their precise location.  whew!

It'll definitely be interesting and fun.  I'll call you later today and work out what we're doing.. btw, I think 150 might be enough power for these speakers. Was the other Belles amp a 100?  The one I tried didn't synergize with the Piega's as well as the Mac, though, nor did it have enough oomph.  I think the Piega's need a touch of romance or whatever color the Mac has to sound like real music.

To isolate the differences of the preamp, it might be better to do the comparison at my place, just swapping out the pre, rather than trying it with the Bells amp too.. but I'll leave that to the group to decide... or maybe we could do a pre-listen to determine what that'd sound like?  Like I said, we'll work it out..

-C
I really enjoy listening to music.

Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2009, 05:29:59 AM »
Everyone,

It's meeting day!  Carl and I have talked about this a bit and we're both in the "let's make this as easy as possible" frame of mind.

So here's the breakdown:

Meeting starts at my place at 4PM.  Folks are more than welcome to come early.  Carl will bring over his preamp sometime after lunch so we can have it here and get it ready to be played.

This meeting will be about 3 things:

1) A chance to hear the new Belles preamp and power amp (22A and new Ref 150A) in general.  We can swap a couple tubes in the preamp if folks want to see how amenable it is to tube changes. 

2) As long as folks are up for it, a comparison of the 21A preamp that Carl has with the new 22A.  Carl has Radio Technique tubes in his preamp.  So I've put RT tubes in the 22A and have been playing it non-stop since yesterday in hopes of having my new tubes be opened up enough.  Listening right now I'm not sure I like them quite as much as the RCAs... but they definitely have some good traits and I can see why carl would like them in his setup.

3) Again, for those that are interested, we can compare a stock Oppo 83 blu-ray player with the new 83 special edition that has the ESS Sabre 32 DAC chip built in for 2 channel playback.  We can also compare it with my audio PC feeding the modded Buffalo DAC kit via AES/EBU.

Once we're done listening back and forth at my place, whenever folks are ready, we can move over to Carl's place so we can do the preamp comparison again in his system.  The only piece of gear that will go over to Carl's is the preamp.  We're leaving his system completely intact.  We talked about swapping out cables, amps, DACs, etc.  But we thought it would be more beneficial to him and in general to see how the preamp sounds in a different system, not just a different acoustical space.  We can bring along the Oppo for those folks that want to spin disks and if you like the Oppo as Carl doesn't really have a high end player other than audio pc, right Carl?

If anyone needs directions or other info, please PM me or give me a call. 

I have some basic munchies for folks and a fridge full of beer and soda I would *really* like folks to help me empty out.  Rich, there's Newcastle for you as well.  No need to bring your own ;)  I'm leaning towards the pizza thing.  But I'll wait until we all get here to decide.

See you all soon!
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 richidoo

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2009, 07:06:46 AM »
Rich, there's Newcastle for you as well.  No need to bring your own ;) 

You're swell guy Shane! Thanks man!!  :D  You read my mind.

Looking forward to seeing everyone, and hearing some new gear.

Let each preamp choose its best tube, according to its own circuit - then compare the total circuits with the whatever tubes work best in each. Then you are comparing the highest potentials of each preamp. The tubes don't have to be the same to get a fair comparison. Of course each of you might choose different tube for a given preamp, but so might you choose different SS preamps per your taste, and we would still compare them. So just pick your fav tubes and lets play em at their very best according to the owner's preference.  You both have distinct taste and great ears, so the preamps will sound their very best with that huge collection of tubes to choose from.

A little eye candy:

http://www.powermodules.com/power_modules/150a__reference_amp.html


Offline stereofool

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2009, 08:49:32 PM »
Thanks to Shane and Carl...for their hospitality, again  :)!

It was great to see you guys, and to get to listen to some very nice systems. Each has their own strengths, and both sounded great.
Steve
Have you ever noticed.... Anyone going slower than you is an idiot...and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?

Offline Bigfish8

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2009, 05:09:56 AM »
A very special thank you to Shane and Melissa and to Carl and Christine for hosting a joint G2G last night. :thumb:  I had a great time and it was really nice to have the opportunity to catch-up with everyone.

The audio day actually started for me quite early with Dr. Sol paying a visit to soder a couple of resistors into my Transporter.  After that task Sol was able to diagnose my hum problem and made some mods. to the power supply of the preamp - hum gone. :thumb:  After the repairs we spent some time listening to my system and then switched-in his I-60 amp.  We connected the ModWright modified Transporter directly to the I-60 driving the Usher Dancer Mini II's.  Wow :thumb:   :thumb: The I-60 drove the Usher's with authority, produced a very detailed clean sound with excellent bass control.  Sol said he has a couple of little additional tweaks planned for the amp.  Once completed I would certainly like to hear it connected in my system again.

Our mission for this G2G was to compare the older Belles 21A to the new Belles 22A Preamp on Shane's and then on Carl's system.  The source used at both locations was a Oppo BluRay Player with the factory installed Buffalo DAC Chip.  Shane used a Belles 150A Amp driving Harbeth 40.1's.  At Carl's we listened to the system with a Scott Nixon Tube DAC in the chain some of the time and with out it part of the time.  Carl was driving Piega speakers with his big McIntosh Amp.  Two very different and excellent sounding systems.  

Carl prefers a vintage Radio Technique 12AU7 Tube in his Belles 21A and therefore both preamps were compared with these tubes in Shane's system.  Both preamps sounded excellent but the group slightly preferred the 22A at Shane's.  Everyone commented that the 22A was definitely quieter and slightly preferred it.  We moved over to Carl's and the 21A was the preferred preamp with the Radio Technique Tubes.  Later in the evening Shane rolled two different vintages of RCA tubes into the 22A and the second group brought a whole new presentation from it.  While personally I am a tube roller, this was just another eye/ear opening experience of the differences one can achieve by rolling in different tubes.  

I look forward to the opportunity to evaluate the Belles 22A in my system (Shane told me it will not be soon as I need some time to let the dust settle from the speaker purchase :duh).  This preamp is quiet and so very detailed!

Guys, it was a lot of fun and thank you again.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ken

« Last Edit: November 22, 2009, 06:57:12 AM by Bigfish8 »
"Give a Man a Fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach a Man to Fish and he will sit in a boat and drink Beer all day."

Offline Carlman

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Re: Get Together on Saturday?
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2009, 06:44:18 AM »
Definitely a fun meet.. I know a lot of us were tired (self included) from long days so it was nice to relax and casually observe differences.  If I heard differences, they'd have to be pretty big. ;)  And big they were!  

At Shane's: The 22A sounded snappy to me, with good impact and dynamics.  I talked to Steve about this and he made a good point that the soundfloor was lower which let a lot of those things happen.  The 22A is definitely quiet so I could see that.. When we compared the 21A I thought it was softer, 'prettier' but less resolving overall.  I liked the sound actually but Shane's system would benefit from the 22A's sound.  I likened the change to a tube rolling difference.

At my place: The 22A sounded lean and hard with Radio Techniques tube.. then with the RCA black plates, much better but still hifi sounding.  Then he put in the long gray plate RCA's and THAT was the magic.  At that point I could say I actually liked the 22A.  Up to that point I wasn't getting it.  This tube/pre combo was too lush at Shane's which makes sense.  The Piega's are the polar opposite of the Harbeth's in my opinion.  To me the Harbeth's are a musical speaker with detail available if you're interested whereas the Piegas construct every little detail to where you listen into the music.  

We then compared DAC's.. The Oppo Special/Sabre edition, Rich's Buffalo DAC, and my Scott Nixon.  The Oppo shined in the bass and presented more information than the other 2 DAC's.  It wasn't colored in any way.  It was a 1:1 cd to music sort of thing.. I plan to listen to it some more today if I can to get a better grip on what it does.  In comparison, the Buffalo had a thinner, flatter presentation that lost some imaging joy I got from the Oppo..  Then the SN had a similar level of dynamics to the Buffalo but rounded the individual instruments and had a little more romantic presentation.  It brought back some imaging magic for me also.. but the Oppo was king in this comparison in absolute terms.

BTW, we also spun a couple of records.. I recently acquired the 'Illinoise' album by Sufjan Stevens and I'm so glad I did.  Modern vinyl is a crap shoot.  Most of the time it's crap.  They just eq it for cd then make a gimmick/novelty vinyl version off the same master I think.  But in this case it actually sounded beatiful and correctly eq'd.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  I love the vinyl sound when it's done right... I would consider getting into it a lot more if I could get more music (I like) in it.  It's almost as bad as finding Blu-Rays of movies I like recorded in 7.1. ;)

In any case, great meet, great learning experience.. I think the theme was 'find what works/synergizes in your system'.

Thanks to everyone for making it so enjoyable.  It was a pleasure to see you all.

-Carl


I really enjoy listening to music.