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This page is dedicated to fellow music lovers and the equipment they use for the reproduction of recorded music.. It also gives you the opportunity to tell others about your favorite recordings after all I think most of us must be constantly searching for new recordings...  If you would like to see your system on this page or feel you have something to contribute we will be happy to publish it

 

 

Hi, Jan
 
The reason I asked you what improvements the power cable might bring to a system is, err, this :
 
 
Ive built up my system over a number of years and is predominantly used for listening to vinyl. It consists of a Linn LP12 with Lingo psu, VdH Mc1 cartridge, Audio Research PH5 phono amp, Audio Research LS15 line stage preamp, 2 x Tube Technology Genesis monobloc power amps and some mission 753 freedom speakers. All the amps are tube (valve) amps. All this hifi stuff (except the speakers !!) are connected to an Isotek mains filter. This hifi system is reasonably esoteric and sounds great and I am happy with it.
 
Over the years I have bought from The Missing Link the top of the range power cable. Each time I did this, there was a small improvement in sound, altho it's very easy to get accustomed to the sound, and therefore I cant really remember how small or large the improvement was. The only bit of kit that didn’t have a cable upgrade was the LS15 preamp, because it came with a captive mains cable. I had a bit of spare time, so I bought the usual power cable from The Missing Link and fitted it a few weeks ago - just for conformity, really, so all the components have the same cable (not really to improve the sound, as I didn’t think this was possible). And now ive listened to the system a few times - hence I felt it necessary to email you ....
 
For a system that already sounds good, the improvement after fitting the cable to the preamp was ,err, amazing. It really did make a difference - sound is more spacious, better seperation, more detailed, less complicated (if all that makes sense). Some of my fave early zep and sabbath tracks sent shivers down my spine - a surefire way of knowing the sound was impressive.
 
And I guess the cable isnt run in yet, either.
 
Unfortunately for The Missink Link (and fortunately for my bank balance), all my power cables have been upgraded.
 
Check out the pics ....
 
Thanks for a wonderful product
 
Mark

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MY AUDIO ODYSSEY

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My first introduction to recorded music came via an ageing valve radiogram belonging to my parents and a limited but diverse collection of records belonging to my brother who is nine years my senior.

 This was the sixties and my future listening preferences were influenced by listening to The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Searchers and popular classical recordings of orchestral music by Grieg and Tchaikovsky.

 My record collection began at the age of 14 with the arrival of a Christmas present in 1970 which was a bright blue Alba mono record player.

 A ‘serious’ purchase of a PYE ‘Black Box’ stereo system soon followed and my addiction to music and all things Hi-Fi really took off.

 1973 saw me dabble briefly with the mobile disco and three years later I bought my first proper hi-fi system which comprised a Technics SU3500 40 watt RMS integrated amplifier, a Technics direct drive turntable, Technics cassette deck and a pair of Tannoy Cheviot loudspeakers.

 Lack of aural satisfaction soon set in and I embarked on the long and costly upgrading path to seek out the Holy Grail that I am sure we enthusiasts are familiar with.

 Next to arrive was an STD (Strathclyde Transcription Developments) belt-driven suspended sub-chassis turntable with a Hadcock unipivot arm, Dynavector mc cartridge, Meridian 101/103D pre-power combo and a pair of Nightingale NM1 loudspeakers.

 

 This was more like it!

 Before long, the STD had made way for a Linn Sondek LP12 with first Mission, then Syrinx, then Linn’s own Ittok arm, Supex and Linn Asak cartridges, the amps were replaced with a hefty Mission 771/772 pre-power set up and the Nightingales were traded in for a pair of Linn Isobarik DMS speakers. A Meridian 104 tuner was also added to the system.

 Then the 80’s arrived and with it more disposable income!

 I began a decade-long association with a ‘high end’ dealer, Howard Popeck (now a reviewer and contributor to Hi Fi News) of Subjective Audio and following audition, purchased a limited edition active collaboration between Linn and Meridian which comprised Linn Isobarik PMS speakers, six Meridian 105S monoblock power amps with built in electronic active crossovers (Howard tells me only three such systems were produced) and a return to a Meridian 101 preamp. Front end was now an Oracle Delphi turntable and Koetsu Black mc cartridge.

 1987 saw the arrival of the Oxford Acoustics Crystal Reference turntable and SME V pickup arm which I still own. I bought this after a home demo organised by Howard Popeck who arrived at my home with the designers (Fraser Shaw and Jon Harker – now of Oxford Audio Consultants – who set the turntable up) and a substantial curry takeaway! The Meridian 101 pre made way for an Audio Research SP9 and for a while I wallowed in the newly discovered detail that I was extracting from my collection of vinyl.

 I cannot recall why, but as the 80’s waned, I returned to a simpler system set up which waved goodbye to the Isobariks and active amplification and welcomed a pair of TDL Monitor transmission line speakers driven by an Aragon 4004 200 watt RMS American muscle amp!

 Apart from eventually caving in to the ‘new’ digital format and purchasing a Meridian 200 Series CD player and DAC and buying all future music in CD format rather than records, my system remained relatively unchanged for the next 15 years!!

 I did get into multi-channel home cinema some five years ago and added a Pioneer 717 DVD player, a Meridian processor and active speakers for centre and rear effects but I remain something of a two-channel audio purist at heart!

 After my Pioneer DVD player developed a video fault last August, I decided to splash out on a Meridian DVD-Audio player and combine all my digital sources in one box. I sold my Meridian 508.24 CD player to someone who responded to an advert and has since become a good friend who in turn introduced me to Tom Evans Audio Design and his range of innovative and stunning sounding products.

 The upgrading bug had returned with a vengeance and six months later after the dust had settled I found myself with (almost) a completely new Hi-Fi system which I am very, very satisfied with.

 

 The system presently consists of the following items:-

 Oxford Acoustics Crystal Reference turntable (sadly no longer made but still providing a great platform    for vinyl replay).

 SME V pick up arm (what else?)

 Koetsu Rosewood Signature moving coil phono cartridge (Oh that lucid midband!)

 Tom Evans ‘The Groove’ phono stage

 Tom Evans ‘The Vibe’ line stage + ‘Pulse power supply

 Chord SPM 1200C power amp (330 quality watts per channel!)

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 Amphion Krypton loudspeakers (85 kg a piece and lovingly crafted in Finland – Audiocraft, the importers, tell me that I am the first UK owner of these blonde Scandinavian beauties – they are clad in Birch veneer!) Expect to hear more about these speakers in the hi-fi press in the future.

 Nordost SPM Reference interconnects

 Kimber Reference & Classic mains cables to source components and Kimber 8TC speaker cables

 Isotek mains isolation (Sub Station, 2K Qube and Mini Sub) together with Isotek mains cables to A/V equipment.

 Meridian 598DP DVD-Audio player and 568.2MM Digital Surround Controller (these are routed through ‘The Vibe’ line stage to preserve the integrity of the analogue source). I have had an item of Meridian equipment in my system ever since the company formed in 1977!

 Meridian M60C active centre channel and a pair of Meridian M60 active speakers which I use for the rear channels in home cinema mode.

 A REL Stadium Subwoofer tops of the list of hardware (a total of 1.3 kilowatts of amplification available for movies!).

 

The source components sit atop a glass, MDF and steel Treble A spiked equipment stand purchased in 1992. This stand was manufactured in Wales by a guy called Richard Suckley and received favourable reviews from the hi-fi press compared to the Mana and Sound Organisation alternatives of the time. The quest for a replacement with more shelves continues as modern designs from Finite Elemente, Clearlight and the like are all too big for the space I have available! Having seen the acrylic supports on the Missing Link news page, I might actually have a go at building my own to the TNT FleXy DIY design.

 Accessories include Clearlight Audio RDC cones and a pair of Superposition ‘T’ RDC isolation platforms that I bought from David Lau, another of Mark’s customers.

 It was David who introduced me to The Missing Link and Mark’s excellent Orbit power cables now supply juice to the mains isolation kit and all power amplification in my system.

 I have recently replaced the high-level signal cable from my Chord amp to my REL Sub with a length of three core Opus cable (XLR to 3 X bananas).

 Mark is such a nice guy and I plan to try out his Log Rhythm tone arm cable and possibly the Cryo Reference speaker cables in my system at some time in the future.

 If reports I have read about his interconnects prove accurate I may even be tempted away from the Nordost SPM’S!

 My musical tastes are extremely wide (Rock, Pop, Soul, R&B, Jazz, Classical). Current favourites include Katie Melhua, No Doubt and Nellie Furtado. These are a few of my less obvious recommended favourites on CD and vinyl:-

 

Mary Black – Babes in the Wood  (Grapevine GRAPECD 008)

Suzanne Vega – Retrospective: The Best Of (A&M 980 888-4)

Chuck Mangione – Feels so Good (A&M CD 3219)

Larry Carlton – Last Nite (MCA Records MCF 3353)

Joe Walsh – But Seriously, Folks (Asylum Records K 53081)

Holst – The Planets (Charles Dutoit/Montreal SO) (Decca 417 553-2)

Tchaikovsky – Romeo & Juliet Fantasy Overture (Previn/LSO) (MFSL 1-502)

Grieg – Piano Concerto (Sir Colin Davis/BBC Symphony Orch./ Stephen Kovacevich) (Philips 464 702-2)

Grieg – The complete Peer Gynt (Neeme Jarvi/Gothenburg SO & Chorus) (Deutsche Grammaphon 423 079-2)

Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue (List/Kunzel/Cincinnati SO) (Telarc CD-80058)

French Impressions (Debussy, Massenet, Satie, Faure) – Paul Tortelier/English Chamber Orch. (Virgin Classics VC 7 90707-2)

 

Regards,

Steve Coward

Fleet

Hampshire                                                                            

s.coward1@ntlworld.com

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Peter Cawson

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My System:

 

CD Player / “Preamp”                     Mark Levinson 390S

Tuner                                       Pure / Videologic DAB Tuner (small case version)

Power Amplifiers                    Consonance / Opera Audio Cyber 845 Monoblocks

Speakers                                  Avantgarde Unos

IC and Speaker Cables            Nordost Blue Heaven and various others (not ideal)

Mains Things                           Isotek Mini-Sub, Chris VenHaus power cables

 

 

Key Features:

 

Simple:

Two sources, power amps and speakers.  No preamp, virtually no cables (sorry Mark).  That’s all. 

Radio:

My FM reception is bad as the building has a poorly maintained communal combined TV and Radio signal.  I listen to radio a lot, so I bought a cheap DAB tuner, but the digital output is fed into the hugely expensive upsampling DAC in the CD Player.  Radio sounds very good, is noise-free and scarily realistic at times, particularly with drama!  A slamming door in a play, for example makes a hell of a thump – FM can do nothing like that!  Radio 3 music sounds very good too, but I wouldn’t claim it to be better than FM under ideal and far more costly conditions. 

 

CD Player:

I thought long and hard before buying the Mark Levinson.  I wanted a neat and simple system with a minimum of boxes. With only digital sources, it seemed sensible to find a player with Aux inputs and a volume control and to dispense with preamp.  I didn’t want a digital volume control, so that ruled out Wadia and most other top players.  The Mark Levinson seemed to offer everything.  2 digital inputs, an analogue volume control of exceptional quality and a really good remote handset. 

 

Amplifiers:

I wanted a valve amplifier and sourced these Cyber 845 monoblocks direct from a Hong Kong dealer.  There’re really very good, look great and are amazing value.  They are well built in China and use NOS valves apart from the 845s. Also both can be put on a single 600 mm wide shelf. 

 

Speakers:

You see zany looking speakers at hi-fi shows and just walk past thinking they’re built for appearance rather than for sound quality.  I first seriously considered Avantgarde after seeing that Stereophile chose the Uno as their Speaker of the Year.  Their full review (http://www.stereophile.com//loudspeakerreviews/287/) described precisely the sort of sound I wanted.  I previously had ATC Active 50 speakers and found them virtually unlistenable to in a domestic setting.  OK in a recording studio or a barn of a room, but very “in your face” and lacking finesse and subtlety. I was glad to get rid of them, returning for a while to my earlier and very good KEF Reference 107s.  After a brief audition, I bought the Unos and never cease to be amazed at the realism of sound and degree of clarity and detail they deliver.  I modified the supporting structure by removing the inner upright supports, etc to enhance their appearance.  These are just wonderful speakers – music is never dull from Avantgardes.

 

Stands and Positioning:

The CD player and tuner sit on a heavy spiked speaker stand with a 20 mm thick acrylic platform.  The player has 3 Nordost Pulsar Point feet that stand on short cylindrical acrylic legs to raise it so it straddles the smaller tuner.  Seems to work very well and looks neat. 

The “summer” setup uses the fireplace and stone hearth as a good solid base for all the electronics.  In winter, the fire grate is restored, the monoblocks are moved close to the speakers and the CDP / tuner stand is moved to the right of the fireplace with long interconnects to amps.   

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    Top 3 Recordings:

 

I used to listen a lot to classical music but have found lots of other interesting stuff, thanks in part to Late Junction and other Radio 3 programmes.  My Top 3 keep changing, but as “Dessert Island Discs” I would choose ones I can listen to over and over again.  These are chosen both for artistic merit and for sound recording.

 

Laurie Anderson – maybe “Life on a String”. 

            What an amazing and versatile artist, and not just a singer.

 

Patricia Barber – maybe “Modern Cool”.

The acceptable sound of jazz and very imaginative.

 

Mahler – Symphony No 2 - Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle

This has just about everything – stirring noisy bits, quiet emotional bits, orchestral, choral and solo vocal all in one great big symphony.

 

 

 

Don Surrendra

Dubai

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System Brief.
Unison Research S6, tube, class A, integrated amplifier.
Unison Research, Unico tube CD player.
Opera 5 speakers
Nordest Flat line speaker cables

The Missing Link.  Link Cryo Interconnect

Audioquest Anaconda Interconnect
Tice power conditioner
Sound Style rack with granite shelves
 
Strong points of system.
Low output(35 watt)amp driven by a CD player that draws out all the
detail,
coupled with highly sensitive speakers.
 
Top three recordings.
Dave Brubeck - Take Five. Recorded in 1959, beautiful timing, "tight as a
wedding ring on fat man's finger"
Michael Franks - Popsicle Toes. Fab line up of musicians, "defines
relationships"
Delibes -Lakme, Flower Duet - Emotive, "clears the blues on any day"
 
Thank you and best wishes to you, Mark and Jonathan for the holidays.
Will look forward to the readers page.
 
 

 

 

Graham Wilcox

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 Hi-Fi system

Room size 6m by 4.5m approx, not a dedicated music room but it has good acoustics, lots of soft furnishings and is used more for music than dining!.

 

Components

Isolation / support

Project RPM4 turntable

Musical Fidelity X-LPS

 

Musical Fidelity X-Ray 24 bit CD player

Musical Fidelity X-10D

 

Musical Fidelity A3CR pre-amp

Rotel 991 Power Amp

Monitor Audio Silver 8i speakers

 

Musical Fidelity X-Cans v2

Grado SR60 headphones

Pioneer 506 CDR

 

Foculpods (mainly)

 

Perspex shelves (20mm)

Slate shelves (18mm)

Glass shelves (6mm)

MDF cabinet shelves

Power cables / distribution blocks

Interconnects / speaker cables

Mixture of Missing Link and CAD home made power leads.

CAD cables mainly handmade from copper/silver /ptfe speaker cables

 

MITA custom 6 way and 4 way distribution blocks

VDH first ultimate (phono)

Nordost Red Dawn (CD)

Nordost Blue Heaven (pre/power)

Nordost Solar Wind (head phones)

 

Nordost Flatline Gold Biwire speaker cable

 

The above system is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. This has been achieved by addressing isolation, support and particularly mains / signal cables not just the system components. All system components have been demonstrated at the dealers and at home to decide if it works. I fortunately have other pairs of ears to call upon to provide unbiased opinions. This usually works better before the beer really starts to flow, as by that time everything sounds good! It is a work in progress built up in affordable chunks (new and used) over the last five years, I have generally changed one thing at a time and lived with the results before moving on to the next stage. I would definitely say that I now prefer to purchase used / ex-dem products, as it is more cost effective both for initial the purchase and upgrade losses.

 

The system has a rich, open and lively sound that is well balanced, musically convincing and not fatiguing. Not perhaps the most neutral or refined sound, but there is still room for improvement without breaking the bank. It does however allow me to enjoy analogue and digital, new and old recordings.

 

There is synergy between the Musical Fidelity (MF) pre and Rotel power and the MF kit and Monitor Audio speakers. The speakers are room friendly and have a very high spouse acceptability factor (grilles on that is), which in my case is essential and hence the occasional requirement for cans.

 

The Rotel 991 amp is an excellent bit of kit for the money and has worked well with successive MF preamps adding warmth to the clean MF sound. The bass weight at low volumes is good and low bass is superb. You do not see very many of these available second hand and I expect that I would have to spend a fair whack to better it.

 

I recently tried a Meridian 508.24 CD player which was very good, but found that I (and others) preferred the MF X-Ray and X-10D combination. The MF had all the detail and weight of the Meridian but with a bit more punch. However I still prefer the sound of my £300 RPM4 turntable, which I purchased about 20 months ago.

 

So what for the future? Well after Christmas it will have to be a moving coil cartridge to see if I can improve the vinyl performance and then I will possibly try some better phono stages and probably some Missing Link cables!

Favourite 3 recordings

Well that has been a hard one and I probably can’t really narrow it down to 3 recordings but my ‘mood’ has selected the following:

 

Van Morrison – Back on Top           

I’m not really a Van fan but this is an excellent album, well produced and a quality

CD (as they should all be but usually aren’t), it is even better on 180g vinyl (Simply

Vinyl)

 

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Let me up I’ve had enough           

Good hard charging guitar rock. My favourite Tom Petty album even including the

Travelling Wilbury and other collaborations.

 

Alabama 3 – Exile on Coldharbour Lane

No it isn’t Country (or Western or somebody from Preston), they’re Brits and a bit

different. I like this because humor has a place in music – a bit more mainstream

than Frank Zappa though.

 

 

 

Jeremy Pratt

 

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my system.
amp based on border-patrol single ended amp. avant-garde uno horn speakers.
sony scd-555es sacd player.
naim cd5 + avondale apx2 power supply. very revealing shows no mercy on poor recordings some days sounds very good, some days not,
> maybe down to mains power even though i have an isolation transformer.

 

 favorite music tracks.

 

 1.ORBITAL..in sides.
 the girl with the sun in her head.
 very good piece of techno music, has a good buildup to it,
 recorded using a mobile solar powered generator known as CYRUS.

 

2.ALLAN HOLDSWORTH. road games.
 water on the brain pt.ll.
 roller coaster of a track from beginning to end,
chad wackerman on drums, jeff berlin on bass.
 very good.
 
 3.OZRIC TENTACLES. jurassic shift.
 sunhair.
 just a great piece of hippy rock, great drumming.
 great music.
 

 

Mick Bradshaw

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                           My system is made up as follows :- XTC Pre1 & Pow1 amps, MF 3.2 CD Player, Michell Gyro SE+Techno arm/Ortofon MC25, Michell Iso Hera HR phono stage, Kef 4.2 Reference speakers, cables are Link Cyro pre-power and cd to pre, Log Rhythm phono stage to pre, Slingshot speaker cable 2mtr per side, Orbit power leads+EPS500 Silver plated plugs. Well that's the easy bit,  picking 3 pieces of music a hard task, It's easier to pick your 3 favourite grains of sand off the beach! but hear goes music has to do several things for me depending what mood I'm in if I need good quality recorded music that makes me laugh I would tend to go for Mr Zappa The Thingfish being one of my favourites, his lyrics,vocal harmonies,musicionship and production are first rate, plus the added bonus, you go into your hifi room with a face like a well smacked backside and come out grinning from ear to ear, cd or the vinyl version this is a cracker. My 2nd choice would be Wishbone Ash first album on vinyl , an other reason for listening to music it's like being in a time machine putting this album on transports me back 30 odd years to the various festivals and venues where I saw this fabulous band as a boy they were always spot on, when you drop the needle into the groove on "Handy" Ist track side two the bass solo just blows you away, (worth all the dosh to get your youth back) as my memories of those times are rather hazy, if you get me drift. My third choice a more modern offering by Jackson Browne The Naked Ride Home, I like JB because it is very well recorded be it cd or vinyl It's easy on the ear I find this particular cd excellent for soothing the bit between my ears It's got the lot soft romantic stuff to killer bass lines in "Sergio Leone" it always makes the most out of your system. I could go on it seems unfair just to pick 3 , main thing is if it makes you feel good it's money well spent.

All the beat Mick Bradshaw.

Simon Hartley

 

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The main source is the Marantz CD-7 CD player, which I bought second hand about a year ago. For a while it was their flagship model, though it has since been discontinued. It’s massively built, has a host of options (three selectable filters) and connections (it also serves as a DAC for my DVD player).

 The other principle source is the turntable. I won this in a competition in Hi Fi World a few years ago, and it’s a bit of a mish mash. It’s a Systemdek 2X2 (probably one of few around, given that it was a new product at the time and Systemdek seemed to vanish shortly afterwards) with a fine SME 309 arm. These two were clearly never intended to go together—with the arm in place you can’t close the dust cover! As you can probably see from the photo, I’ve jacked up the lid on little bits of wood to get enough clearance. In any case I remove the cover when playing records, which improves the sound slightly. The set-up originally came with an Ortofon MC25FL cartridge, which I recently replaced with a Benz Micro Ace.

The preamp is a venerable conrad johnson PV 1 OA valve model. I bought it at least third hand at what seemed like a bargain price, but by now I have spent at least as much on it as it would have cost me to buy it new at the time! When it works it very well, but it spends most of its life making extraneous noises—crackles, pops and whistles. Somt of it has been traced by engineers to components that needed replacing, some of it has definitely been caused by valves packing up and the whistling (the most consistent problem) is apparently caused by internal resonance in the valves. The whole thing is quite prone to mierophony: in the picture it is sitting on a glass shelf in a Mana system, but I have recently changed that. It now sits on three Cardas Golden Cuboids (blocks of myrtle wood in Mr Cardas’s favourite shape, a cuboid of Golden Proportions), which in turn sit on a Russ Andrews Torlyte platform with oak feet, that it turn sits on a piece of MDF that sits on the Mana rack’s spikes. The Torlyte is a bizarre thing—you expect it to be quite heavy, since it looks like 25mm thick plywood, but in fact it weighs about as much as a thin sheet of corrugated cardboard. Many people are sceptical about it but I found it made a noticeable improvement and just won in a head-to-head against a slab of 30mm thick granite (which now sits under the CD player).

The power amps are a pair of Michell Alecto monoblocks; you can’t see them too well but they sit on the bottom two shelves of the rack. They’re made out of black perspex and look pleasingly like Darth Vader. I bought from Mr Michell himself:

he’d just introduced the Mk2, so he was flogging off the old version at a knock­down price. As I think I may have mentioned to you before, adding your power cables to them made a big difference, to clarity and detail in general but particularly to the tightness of the bass.

 The speakers are Opera Callas us. I won them too, as part of the same prize as the turntable.

(I also got a Rose Scion amp, an engagingly obscure thing that comes in two boxes but, unlike most pre-power combos, the volume knob is on the power bit. I now use it to drive a pair of speakers in the kitchen—it takes a line-level feed of whatever source is playing in the living room and you just use the volume pot to control the level in the kitchen. The other box, with all the source selectors, is actually seeing service in my home studio as a sort of patchbay for recording devices.) I don’t think Opera, an Italian company, have a very high profile here. They are distributed by UKD, I think. You can just see one of the speakers in the picture. They’re made out of solid mahogany (I think they later switched to walnut, for environmental reasons) and have a high Wife Approval Factor. For standmount speakers they have a remarkable bass extension and as I make changes to other parts of the system they continue to impress me with what they can do fed a good signal.

The other components visible are just a VCR, a tape deck and a tuner, none of them up to much.

 You ask what I think the strong points of the system are, but personally I think a system is the sum of its parts. That is one of the reasons I spend time looking at things like cables! In addition to the slingshot speaker cable I have the Link Cryo Reference running between the preamp and power amps. The other cables in the system are all Chord Company Solids, which are a bit like coat hangers in pink PVC jackets. The CD player and power amps have mains cables from you guys, while the preamp has a Kimber mains cable. Everything now sits on Cardas Golden Cuboids. The Mana rack was certainly a big step up from the old Target rack I used to have, though I wonder now whether the money couldn’t have been better spent—I say this based on my recent experiments replacing the glass shelves with other materials.

 Favourite recordings? Gosh. There are a few that I regularly use to test equipment, the sort of recordings that you can listen to dozens of times and still find new things when you make improvements to your system. These include Irresistible Bliss by Soul Coughing (London), Beethoven’s 9th (the Deutsche Grammophon von Karajan version), Emergence by Miroslav Vitous (ECM), Allegri’s Misere by the Tallis Scholars (Gimell), and anything by Morcheeba. And, or course, Dark Side of the Moon still stands out as an extraordinary recording.

 

I suspect that’s a lot more information than you wanted!

 

 

Damon Pendlebury

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Talking about your hifi is subjective to say the least, its like talking about your children, or your partner.

That said, it’s the similarities and, or, differences in peoples families that makes reading about them interesting. I hope the story of my hifi strikes a cord and even causes alarm. At least I will know that Hifi buffs are individuals, with differing tastes and aspirations. My road to hifi heaven started some 20+ years ago. Usual suspects; Cambridge, Audiolab, Dual, Rotel Linn etc etc. I of course fell into the newer is best trap. I read and digested all the praise and recommendation and swiftly, by hook or by crook, upgraded. It took some years to realise that these new bits of kit didn’t always sound that good. Sure, they sounded different but they didn’t offer that sense of realism that I was striving for. It was only when I started to read the hype surrounding the system infrastructure such as interconnects and power leads, that I realised, in my humble opinion, where the answer lay. Having experimented with several power leads, filters and interconnects sourced from several suppliers, I have now almost, not quite, achieved a balanced, uncoloured, pure sounding system. The system is capable of producing a realistic presentation of my vast music collection and, subject to one or two future cable upgrades, I think this is it.

 

What does it consist of ?  My front end consists of a Audionote  Zero Transport and Dac. Rega P25 with RB250 and Rega Elys delivered through a Musical Fidelity XLPS phono stage. I also have a Pure Digital Tuner. Amplification is a Unison Research Unico valve hybrid. Speakers are Quad 11L on Attacema stands. The listening room is small ( 13 x 12). The system is connected to the mains via a Russ Andrews Power Block and Kimber Reference Power Cord. The CD transport is fed with a  Missing link power lead with inline filter. Kimber power leads feed all other components.  Digital connection between CD transport and Dac is a John Dory coax lead. A brand new Link interconnect is currently supplying the signal from the Dac and a Campaign Audio silver interconnect runs from the Phono stage. Speaker cable is Slingshot configured for biwiring. Since I acquired the slingshot and link interconnect the system really has sprung into life. I was using a kimber silver streak before the link and I was relatively happy. What I never expected from the link was the way it opened up the system. The bass now is like standing in a pub listening to a live band. That’s the best way I can describe it (realistic). The treble is smooth and emotional. The Hss sounds are gone, female vocals in particular are airy and spacious. Information I had never heard before is there. I’m talking fingers on frets, blow backs on Clarinets, The soundstage is just realistic, drummers behind lead singers, brass sections to the right or left of the stage. I certainly intend to go for a synergistic approach in the future, as soon as funds allow I intend to replace all leads (power and signal) with Missing link components.

 

As regards my three favourite pieces of music to use on the system, I have decided to mention probably my 3 favourite all time albums. These albums are not necessarily of audiophile quality but they sound great on my system and they certainly are packed with dynamics and emotion (that is what listening to music is all about to me).

 

The first choice is Elvis Presley the Memphis Sessions. Love him or hate him, Elvis’s impact on popular music is unquestionable. This album, recorded in January and February 1969 displays Elvis at his most relaxed and soulful period. He layed the tracks down a few days after suffering from a heavy cold. This ironically has lent an almost raspy, wonderful, soulful undertone to his voice. The album was recorded in the small (STAX) studio in Memphis  The album consists of several different versions of songs such as Suspicious minds and Kentucky rain as well as familiar renditions of some great Elvis tunes. The outstanding track is an unreleased version of In The Ghetto. This is about the third take Elvis put down without any overdubs or major accompaniment and it really is a spine tingling experience particularly with the count in from the studio engineer. Another superb rendition is the track, True Love Travels On A Gravel Road. Play this album a few times and you will be convinced you have just spent 2 weeks in the studio with the king.

 

My second choice is Avalon Sunset by Van Morrison. From the opening track; When Ever God Shines His Light with Cliff Richard (you cant win em all) you are drawn in to some of Van’s finest work. The production is superb, the lyrics are pure poetry and from a musical experience perspective, this album has it all. Tracks such as Have I told you lately that I love you and the seamless overlap from Coney Island in to the last track are superlative. People will say that this is not one of Vans best albums. They are probably right. What this album does is let the listener enjoy one of Van’s major song writing seams at a time when he wasn’t too morose and spiritually confused.

 

  My final choice is a classic. Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms. I have the digitally re - mastered super bit mapping version, as well as the original vinyl version. Both sound great. Great guitar licks, catchy tunes (how can you not tap your feet to twisting by the pool). This album is great for testing your system. Bass lines are low. Transients kick in thick and fast and the emotionally charged track; Brothers in Arms, finishes off, what to me, is one of the best produced albums ever recorded.

 

 Damon Pendlebury

18 Dec 2003 

 

 

 

Dave Bradshaw

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My system,

Pre amp, Sumo Artremis, with separate power supply and onboard phono stage,

Power Amp, Sumo Andrmeda III,

CD player, Pioneer PDS-06,

Record Deck ,Linn LP12 sondek, Valhalla power suplly, A&R P77 mm cartridge,

Speaker Cable, Campaign Audio Design Conqueror, about to be upgraded,

Interconnects , Missing Link Alaqeia with Eichmann bullet connectors, Missing Link Solid silver cable with XLR connectors.

Music,

Records, my current favorite is Rag pickers dream on 180grm by Mark Knopfler, rock and blues is my prefered listening but I`m partial to some classical now and again. On CD my taste swings from Prokofiev through to Fear Factory and everything in between it just depends on where the mood takes me and the amount of port consumed during a listening session.

Sound,

The system I have put together sounds very smooth and open, not the pipe and slippers variety, but you can listen for hours and not get fatigued in any way, but when the occassion calls for it wind up the volume and the 250 watts a channel from the Andromeda power amp gives all the bass slam and attack you could ever need, detailed but not analitical, crisp treble and a vast midrange, fast dynamic bass. In a word HiFi Nirvana.

Best regards to all for the up and coming silly season,

Dave Bradshaw

 

Nick Lane

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Hi Mark,
 
Attached is my entry - hope it's not too late:
 
System:
Source: Linn Genki CD (complete with Christmas card on top!) & Pure Evoke 1
DAB radio
Amps : Linn Wakonda Pre, 2x Linn LK140 power with aktiv modules
Speakers: Linn Ninka (aktiv)
also shown is a Naim flatcap for my CD5 - which is currently under repair
(!)
Cables: Linn (as supplied with amps); Chord Cobra for CD, Chord Odyssey for
speakers
 
Strengths
Very clean, detailed, revealing and full sound. The latter came to the fore
when I went aktiv.
My CD5 is out for repair at the moment - so I'm using the Genki from my
second system; it's
good, but doesn't have quite the presence,drive or romp of the CD5 withthe
flatcap. The addition of
the flatcap clip on power, by the way, does make a substantial difference to
what you get out of the
CD5. Ninka speakers do provide lots of ooomp, but occassionly loose it with
the higher frequencies;
but I still love 'em.
 
Weaknesses: cables - but this is in hand - Link Cyro on order - more to
follow as funds allow.
No decent tuner yet -so I plug in a DAB Evoke (portable), as a temporary
measure.
 
Music:
Hard to choose three, but purely in terms of what sounds best on the system,
then I've selected the following:
 
Steely Dan: Aja - bags of resonating music, fantastic percussion (Steve
Gadd) - fills the room, and always engages
whatever the mood. Play it loud.
 
Aplocalypse Now: Film Soundtrack :Opening sequence - helicopters flying
around my living room,
from one side of the bay window to the other - try it sometime!
 
Arvo Part: Tabula Rasa - real mood music; haunting, searching - almost
creepy, wouldn't be out of place in
an M. R. James ghost story. One to sink into whilst sitting by the fire with
a decent brandy at Christmas.

 

 

 

 

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