An AvantGarde hornspeaker

Good music deserves to be played on a good music installation. There are people, and I'm one of them, for whom this means spending large amounts of money to achieve a certain sonic nirvana. Rarely do two people of this specific subspecies agree on what exactly that sonic nirvana is but it is undeniable that there is equipment out there that completely blows away any and all mass market commercial brands that you can find for sale almost everywhere. Unfortunately you usually have to spend a lot of money to get this equipment. On this page I'll try and describe what my idea of sonic nirvana is and then describe some components I think help me achieve this sonic nirvana.

Audiophiles, that's how we are usually called although I much prefer the term music lover myself as I am not really interested in the audio equipment itself, just in what it is capable of doing to the music. Audiophiles can already tell by just looking at the pictures on this page what makes my musical heart tick but expect more detailed information in the future.

My stereo setup

Posted by Brainbug on March 12, 2007

To start the equipment section I'll just give a short overview of my current setup:

Jadis DA-60

I use the Jadis DA-60 integrated tube amplifier (equipped with KT90 tubes) as the centerpiece of my setup. A wonderful amplifier that has given me countless hours of musical bliss and will very likely continue to do so until I die. Mine is a bit different from the picture as I have the black version. This amplifier puts out a modest 60 watts per channel in pure class A mode, thereby consuming 360 watts itself. It is considered by quite a few people to be amongst the best integrated tube amplifiers in the world but I myself make no such claims, I have heard far too few different amplifiers to be able to make such a claim. As stated earlier: it does however succeed excellently in making me enjoy the music!

Raysonic CD 128

The Raysonic CD128 vacuum tube cd player has recently replaced my pc as digital source. Needless to say that the improvements over my pc are huge. This truly is a fantastic cd player. You can read a - particularly glowing - review here. It is a vacuum tube cd player sporting a quartet of 6922 triodes. Once again I am completely satisfied with the sound it produces, also on lesser recordings which is important to me as I am not such a big fan of most (though certainly not all) so-called audiophile albums.

Pro-Ject RPM 5

The Pro-Ject RPM5 belt-driven turntable serves as the analog source. It is currently equipped with an Ortofon Salsa moving coil cartridge. A review of this table can be found here (but the table in the review uses a different - and more expensive - cartridge). I also use the - optional but recommended - Pro-Ject Speed Box which is basically an electronic speed regulator that improves sound quality as well as make it more easier to switch from 33 to 45 RPM (if you don't have the Speed Box you need to move the belt every time you need to switch).

Pro-Ject Phono Box SE

The Pro-Ject Phono Box SE does duty as the phono preamplifier. Not much to say really, it does the job though I am sure there is much better out there. I will probably upgrade once I've bought new speakers but for now this combination more than meets my analog needs. Listening to the black gold is very enjoyable with my current setup, I probably spin more vinyl than cd's although the Raysonic (purchased after the Pro-Ject) is currently making me revisit my cd collection.

KRK K-Rok studio monitors

These are currently my speakers (KRK K-Rok studio monitors). They're the only thing remaining from the days that I experimented with electronic music production myself. They're not considered audiophile but I've enjoyed thousands of hours of music through these monitors. Once funds become available they'll be replaced by something bigger and better but until then these little guys will continue to bring me fine musical enjoyment! You can read a bit about them here. At 92dB sensitivity they are easily driven by my Jadis and, although the frequency response is stated as 57Hz-19kHz, +/- 3dB, they still go relatively low as far as I'm concerned.

Acoustic Zen WOW interconnects

I'm in the process of replacing all my ancient cabling with Acoustic Zen cabling after having read (and now experienced) a lot of positive things about their cables. I firmly believe in a well-made, well-shielded cable. I, however, do not believe that a decent cable should cost you your unborn child so no cables with four figure price tags and stuff like that. That is why I settled for the Acoustic Zen WOW as the interconnect that I currently have installed between my cd player and amplifier and between my phono preamplifier and amplifier. These interconnects are still reasonably prized (at least for me) at 248$ for a 1 meter pair. The cables do their job well and offer a very noticeable improvement over the previous ancient and almost entirely unshielded cable I used. As they should.