I’m posting this both at Hawthorne forum and at the AudioCircle forum.
DENON 2930 CD/DVD player with The Upgrade Company’s Reference Upgrade, feeding the Warpspeed V4 (via unbroken-in MAC Silver interconnects). The V4 feeds an Eddie Vaughn CARINA EL84 tube amplifier (point to point wiring, NOS Mullard and Amperex Bugle boy tubes, running in ultralinear mode) via MAC Reference interconnects. The Carina speaker outputs feed Hawthorne Audio Sterling Silver Iris mid’s and tweeters. The Carina speaker outputs also feed into two 370 watt Rhythmik plate amps. These plate amps feed four 15 inch Hawthorne Audio Augie bass drivers (2 per side). All drivers are open baffle on baffles built by Darrel Hawthorne of Hawthorne Audio.
After receiving the V4 yesterday, I bypassed the PEC volume control in my CARINA and inserted the Warpspeed into the chain.
Matt, I had no problem running the plate amps off of the speaker outputs of the CARINA. After reading your post, I was prepared to have to run interconnects from the second RCA outputs of the Warpspeed V4 to the RCA inputs of the Rhythmik, but didn’t have to. In fact I listened for about an hour without any of the 15 inch bass Augies connected (it was very good that way as well).
I played 4 artists last night:
John Lee Hooker
Roger Waters – Amused to Death (Qsound recording)
My conclusion (in my system) is… conventional volume controls are a place to look for improvement. Why else could you add this many more parts (virgin MAC Silver interconnect with its RCA ends, all the components in the V4) to the signal chain, and still get more resolution, transparency, and detail without added stridency.
Highlights of listening experience last night…
-Hey, there’s a banjo off to the side in one of the Neil Young songs.
-Listening to that guitar makes me unconsciously feel the player moving his hands around the instrument.
-I asked my son if it sounded more like live music over where he was sitting by the computer, cause it did where I was on the couch.
-I don’t remember ever doing this, but when the horse and sleigh danced across the top of my wall from right of the right speaker to left of the left speaker on the Roger Waters album, I grinned (honest). Not cause the horse and sleigh hadn’t appeared there before, but because they filled the room, it was like I was wearing headphones and there was improved DEPTH and dimensionality to the soundstage.
-On the same album, a man chops wood repeatedly outside. I always loved the attack of each hit (with good sounding equipment) cause it hit’s hard (testing the dynamic capability of the music chain), but what caught my attention, after each chop of wood, was the scattered sprinkling of a bunch of individual wood chips hitting the ground after each crack. What was subtle, in the background, or unrealized before, became a highlight and an enjoyable part of the listening experience. And these experiences repeated on other cuts.
This change is more than a little bit of sparkle added to the treble end of the spectrum. It is, to date, an enjoyable improvement to music on my system.
No old school LDR balance drift issues, the volume goes down to dead silent, and it runs on batteries (mine is currently running on 12 D cells). The finished V4 that I bought has a beautiful rosewood faceplate, very well finished chassis, was double packed for shipping, and I felt personally well cared for. Allan watched the parcel through Customs, notifying me of its progress, etc. Overall, very similar to the wonderful service I’m so used to from the Hawthorne’s.
I want to thank Allan for producing this product at an affordable price that allowed me to try something I’ve been thinking about for some time now. IMHO and in my specific system (I recognize this type of product may or may not work in yours), this was an improvement beyond its price point.
Metallica – Black Album
Kraftwerk – Dance Mix
Started with Metallica. Yelled up to my wife upstairs that she may not like the next few songs that much. I didn’t mention the bass yesterday, but it is just better integrated into the whole presentation, faster, lower, and less overhang, kinda driving the music instead of waiting for it. Moved onto Kraftwerk and partway through Radioactivity I heard a banging upstairs. I turned it down asking her if she wanted me to turn it down. She was dancing.
I (we) really like this thing.