In search of perfection on a budget

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jonc113

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In search of perfection on a budget
« on: 10 Feb 2020, 09:17 pm »
This is my first post on AudioCircle.

At 67 years old, I have received an inheritance that allows me to buy a great system. Not crazy money, well under 6 figures, but enough to splurge a bit where necessary.

My previous system was Martin Logan reQuests with Atmasphere MA-1 amps - a deadly-accurate delightful combination.
However, I was always bothered by the imaging of the ML's. That wide curvilinear screen doesn't pinpoint the image very well. You have to toe them just right and sit at the exact right spot and then magic happens, but it is such a tight head-in-the-vise experience.

And then I moved into a house where I don't have the room needed for dipoles.
I was told by Ralph Karsten (Atmasphere's creator - I'm keeping those amps) that you should have 5 feet behind a dipole for the back wave to reflect at the proper time.
So, I need a different solution, as I don't have the feet.

I'm looking at planar ribbons with the back-wave vented into the cabinet.
Been thinking about planar line arrays, but they are far and few between - and mostly crazy expensive.
Selah Audio, Funk and Wisdom are the only makers that I could find - and they still cost 20K, give or take.
Any suggestions would be welcome.

Atma-sphere has upgraded my amps to the latest standard and retubed them. This was my starting point, as these amps are amazing!
They are a unique design WITHOUT an output transformer. That direct connect sound has to be heard to be believed.

Then I found a great deal on a Lyngdorf MP-60 surround preamp - with the famous "Room Perfect" room correction. Piece 2 in place.
I followed this with a purchase of a NOS California Audio Labs 2500 amp, which is 500 watts x 5 channels. Overkill, but I can also use it to bi-amp my front speakers.

Finally, I found some NOS BG Radia surround speakers and a used BG center channel. Both sound so good that I've got that planar bug bigtime.

And then I am playing with a self-made active crossover, using Audio Vera's Acourate software, so I can feed the result into some high-end DAC's instead of the cheapies built into existing crossovers.

Bottom line, I'm trying to get as close to perfection as I can get by spending carefully!

These are my old speakers in my old house, a log cabin. (New house is also a log cabin, too)


FullRangeMan

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Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #1 on: 10 Feb 2020, 10:21 pm »
Welcome  :thumb:

ArthurDent

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Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #2 on: 10 Feb 2020, 10:36 pm »
Greetings & Welcome to AC Jon   :thumb:   Nice looking cabin, imagine the new one is as well.  8)

richidoo

Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #3 on: 10 Feb 2020, 11:34 pm »
Welcome to AudioCircle Jon!

Audiophiles' Paradox: The closer you get to system perfection, the easier it is to hear the remaining flaws.   :o

Mike Kallelis, the US importer of Analysis Audio planar speakers, has been designing and perfecting his own full range ribbon monopole speakers in the last few years. He's a very legit and good guy. I have not heard the speakers, but I spoke with him about 6 months ago and he said the design was pretty much completed. http://www.analysisaudiousa.com/contact.php

Wind Chaser

Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #4 on: 10 Feb 2020, 11:39 pm »
I use to have Acoustats so I know what you mean by head in the vice.

Anyhow welcome to Audio Circle!  :thumb:

Phil A

Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #5 on: 11 Feb 2020, 12:51 am »
Welcome!

JakeJ

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Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #6 on: 11 Feb 2020, 03:18 am »
Hey jonc113,

Have you heard of these guys?
https://www.newformresearch.com/

They have some interesting DIY possibilities and I have heard a set of the predesessor to the R645v3 and they have a unique presentation that does not mimic electrostats or magnetc planars.  SQ was quite good.

And welcome to AC.

jonc113

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Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #7 on: 11 Feb 2020, 05:14 am »
The Audio Analysis speakers look VERY interesting, but my small room just doesn't have enough room for a dipole.
I have been following newformresearch for many years, but never had a chance to hear the speakers. I actually arranged for a friend (my cousin's husband) to audition the speakers in Colorado, but his reaction was that they sounded nice, but he was not overwhelmed. Of course, other factors may have been involved...

What a nice welcome for all of you. Thanks!

JLM

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Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #8 on: 11 Feb 2020, 11:26 am »
Welcome!

Went through a similar experience a couple of years ago (came into some extra money and decided to splurge on audio).  Took a different route from you, but the results were a mixed bag.   As I routinely advise, don't over buy for the given room.  Is it large, not odd shaped, acoustically isolated, treatable, and dedicated (to allow proper setup and listen when you want)?  If not, seriously consider headphones as the experience will be compromised. 

So anyway I ended up selling off all that nice gear, went back to my 15 year old commissioned speakers and found a NAD M10 throughly modern all-in-one "streaming amplifier" that has Dirac Live (and gets me away from computer entanglements) which along with ten GIK 244 panels and three subs provides the best flat/full range sound I've ever had.  Am now satisfied having dipped my toe into a higher end and learning some more audio lessons. 

If I had to do it over again, I'd spend some of the cash and effort into more research, including traveling from my audio hinterlands to audition gear. 

witchdoctor

Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #9 on: 11 Feb 2020, 04:00 pm »
You should see the thread here by Elizabeth about dropping $40K and then changing hobbies.
I would say get a pair of active speakers and a CD/Streaming all in one box and you are done.

Elizabeth

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Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #10 on: 11 Feb 2020, 04:22 pm »
You should see the thread here by Elizabeth about dropping $40K and then changing hobbies.
I would say get a pair of active speakers and a CD/Streaming all in one box and you are done.

Ahhh no.. I did not 'change hobbies' I 'added' a new one, which allowed me to stop obsessing about audio tweaking. A minor difference than the apparent way you phrased it. (I am still LISTENING and totally enjoying my system and appreciating the great upgrades I did.. right now Mozart Piano Concertos to be exact)
And actually I finished most of the major exotic wood changes and tweaks I was doing anyway. I just did not exactly know how to stop obsessing over it. Until I accidentally got pushed into find some new thing to do by accident.
I still really did not finish the turntable bits of the exotic wood.. But I am letting that slide TOTALLY... Since I managed to stop obsessing. I am not foolish enough to get back into it !! Even for a good cause. At least for some time.

As for the op problem.. good luck. Hope you find what you are seeking.

witchdoctor

Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #11 on: 11 Feb 2020, 04:44 pm »
Ahhh no.. I did not 'change hobbies' I 'added' a new one, which allowed me to stop obsessing about audio tweaking. A minor difference than the apparent way you phrased it. (I am still LISTENING and totally enjoying my system and appreciating the great upgrades I did.. right now Mozart Piano Concertos to be exact)
And actually I finished most of the major exotic wood changes and tweaks I was doing anyway. I just did not exactly know how to stop obsessing over it. Until I accidentally got pushed into find some new thing to do by accident.
I still really did not finish the turntable bits of the exotic wood.. But I am letting that slide TOTALLY... Since I managed to stop obsessing. I am not foolish enough to get back into it !! Even for a good cause. At least for some time.

As for the op problem.. good luck. Hope you find what you are seeking.

Uhhhh, I meant change "obsessions"  :oops:

toocool4

Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #12 on: 11 Feb 2020, 04:50 pm »
Jonc113 like JLM has already said, don’t spend serious amount of money if your room is not up to the job. I have seen many people spending loads of money changing equipment because they think something is wrong with what they have, when all along it’s the room. It does not matter how much money you spend, if your room is doing it’s best to degrade your system.

If you are thinking of spending the serious money you are talking about, you need to start with your room else you are wasting your money.

Watch this vid https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGWvbgmzQwQ

youngho

Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #13 on: 11 Feb 2020, 07:16 pm »
And then I moved into a house where I don't have the room needed for dipoles.
...
I'm looking at planar ribbons with the back-wave vented into the cabinet.

JansZen Carmelitas, go with the actives: https://www.janszenaudio.com/active

Delta77

Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #14 on: 11 Feb 2020, 08:09 pm »
VOLTI AUDIO SPEAKERS ( HANDS DOWN ) $10- $20 GRAND..!!
Expensive but , IMO worth the money for something you will probably never replace..
If nothing else get some VOLTI Speakers..

InnuOS (server) $ 2,000- $ 4,000
Boarder Patrol (DAC) $ 1,300 - $2,000
Aric Audio (preamp) or (amp) $3,000 - $5,000
Triode Wire Labs or Zenwave  (cable loom) $3,000 - $6,000

Roughly $35,000

Delta77

Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #15 on: 11 Feb 2020, 08:13 pm »
Toocool4 said "If you are thinking of spending the serious money you are talking about, you need to start with your room else you are wasting your money."

I'm not there yet, but I most definitely have to agree with " the ROOM " being one of , if not the most important Component in your system...

Wind Chaser

Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #16 on: 11 Feb 2020, 08:32 pm »
Not if you’re into headphones!  :wink:

FullRangeMan

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Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #17 on: 11 Feb 2020, 08:37 pm »
+1 on Headphones (planar) and a good tube amp.
Usually headphones offer much more sound value for the same cash amount than speakers.

SteveFord

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Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #18 on: 11 Feb 2020, 08:44 pm »
I was going to suggest Janzens as well if you can't do big planars.
Magnepan is also out and about with a prototype so we'll see how that shakes out.
Big money, though.

fivestringsdown

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Re: In search of perfection on a budget
« Reply #19 on: 11 Feb 2020, 09:56 pm »
If it were me, in your situation, I would get a pair of ATC SC25A’s and my preamp/dac of choice and maybe some kind of streamer along with a pair of Beyer DT 1990 headphones and get back to enjoying the music!
This would be a killer system for between 10 and 15k depending on what you choose for a preamp etc.
Good luck!
Let us know how it turns out!