My visit with vintagebob

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K Shep

My visit with vintagebob
« on: 27 Oct 2009, 03:18 am »
I will make this first post brief and add to it as members reply.

I met Bob at his home today.  We had pm'd back and forth when we realized we are both in the Bay Area.  First off Bob is a great guy, hospitable and kind. 

The first thing I noticed walking into his house were his GIK panels.  His living room is well treated.  The panels he had made are much more attractive in person than the photos on this site (Acoustic thread).  His system is well thought out and clean. 

I had forgotten how beautiful the Salk product looks in person, and the HT2s are, of course, larger than the ST that I owned.  We got right down to biz.  Bob played the Ray Charles track from Jim's demo CD, forgive me I don't know the name of the song, it sounded great, the sound stage is wide and the speakers image similar to the SongTowers, wonderfully.  I brought a few CDs with me that I knew would test the low frequency of the speakers, if anything the speakers tested me!  These babies dig.  Everything I through at them, I have an electronic CD by Uberzone, big fat bass on most of the tracks, what a wonderful time to sit in Bob's sweet spot and hear his speakers just kill it!  I could hear how the presence of the bass in the room was thick, we felt his speakers.  The bass traps make a big difference, when I compare the sound to my room (I have minimal bass management). 

Of course I have thoughts about the AVA gear and I guess this is the place to post my impressions.

Thank you Bob, so I am posting here to say when are you traveling up to my place to check out the attic?

Kirk

vintagebob

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #1 on: 27 Oct 2009, 04:03 am »
It was great having Kirk over and he brought some fun music.  I started him out with Jim's CD track 7, Ray Charles/Fever w/Natalie Cole.  Great soundstage and imaging with that piece.

He answered back with Miles-Gurtu, Trilok Gurtu & Robert Miles which is an electronic jazz combination that I really enjoyed.

I don't remember all of the electronic selections that he brought but we gave the low end of the HT2-TLs a work out and I had a smile on my face the entire time.

I also had to show off the Apple Airport Express/AVA Insight DAC combo with mathgeek97's SMV selection, Lil' Victa.  This combo works for me!

I also had to subject KShep to the multi-channel, Blu-Ray concert experience with k.d.lang Live in London and Roy Orbison Black & White Night.  I enjoy this as much as the great 2-channel stuff.

The Salk/AVA combo provides amazing clarity, soundstage and pinpoint imaging.  I agree with Kirk that I could work on my speaker/listening position setup in this room to try and get some depth added to my soundstage.  Any suggestions there?  Less toe in on the speakers, etc.?

Anyway, I had a great time and I'll need to get to Kirk's nifty attic soon to hear some tube preamp magic.

Nuance

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #2 on: 27 Oct 2009, 05:56 am »
Sounds like you guys had a great time; makes me wish I lived in the Bay area.

Kirk, you mentioned that this is the place to post your impressions about the AVA gear, but impressions I do not see.  Let us know brother!

funkmonkey

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #3 on: 27 Oct 2009, 07:10 am »
Trilok Gurtu is awesome...  I've got a couple of his discs (The Glimpse & Kathak) but not sure where to go from there.  I like the Glimpse best, and have looked at several of his other titles but reviews seem too varied (not that I put too much stock in reviews, but its a place to start).  Any suggestions?  Also curious to hear more about the AVA gear.  Lately I've been wondering if there is better synergy to be found with my (Salk) HT3 + A51 (Halo) combo...  and there have been a lot of comments lately about AVA/Salk magic.

K Shep

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #4 on: 27 Oct 2009, 12:23 pm »
I also had to subject KShep to the multi-channel.

We also listened to Seal - Best 1991-2004, disc 3 in this set is a DVD recorded in "Advanced Resolution Surround Sound".  I am very familiar with Crazy Acoustic and hearing the song in great 5.1 was a pleasure.  Bob has the best sounding surround setup I have heard, the Epik Phoenix subwoofer helps in the bass region, that thing is about 24" tall  aa.  Bob has done a wonderful job with the bass management in his room.  With the bass traps and the crossover of his sub.  Forgive my ignorance I have room to learn in this department, but what I do know is I love the low end in his listening space, bass is not an issue.

When comparing my room to Bob's I have approx 10 feet behind my speakers, which delivers depth to the sound stage in my room.  So to Bob's point I think speaker placement up against a wall/between a TV is critical in relation to the ability to get the best sound stage available.  Bob is adding a new piece of furniture to his room, that will move his listening position further away from the speakers and open up the room.  At that point he will be able to fine tune the speaker location and find the best placement.  Thinking about the speakers reminds me what I miss about the Salk product, the clarity of vocals and string instruments. 

Bob powers his front 3 speakers with an AVA Insight Double 240/3 amp.  I believe in head room and I noticed while pushing the amp in 2 channel that the volume knob on his preamp was at about 33%, obviously alot left in the reserves and I could hear it in the low frequency range.

I was skeptical regarding the sound quality of an Airport Express using the optical digital sound5 connection.  However, Bob's Apple Airport Express/AVA Insight DAC combo proved to sound great playing his iTunes library.  The Insight DAC turned his Panasonic CD player into a solid transport while playing my CD demo list.  The Roy Orbison Black & White Night Bob played on DVD on his Oppo through his Pioneer receiver, there is sure a difference in sound clarity, separation and imaging compared to the AVA gear.  But that is 5.1 surround through the Pioneer and 2 channel through the AVA setup.  Bob asked my opinion regarding the addition of tubes to his system, I beleive he has considered an AVA tube amp for his front 2 channels, correct me if I'm wrong Bob, what will that due to the sound when listening in 5.1?  I love the idea of tubes in any system, I did hear a slight edge while listening to a Alanis Morissette track from her acoustic album, one of my demo songs.  I believe tubes would soften the edge a bit.  Please know I am comparing what I hear in my system, tube preamp, and my preference.

Bob played Norah Jones on vinyl, his TT was a freebie from a friend, he added a cartridge and to his surprise the unit sounded good.  What a wonderful addition to his system, Bob could see I was enjoying the record and remarked I may be next to try the vinyl thing.  Perhaps.

K Shep

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #5 on: 27 Oct 2009, 12:31 pm »
Trilok Gurtu is awesome... 

This is the CD Bob spoke of.  If you like Gurtru you will enjoy this.  Check it out and grab it...the last I looked this CD was $15 used from Amazon.  I just purchased one for $5.44 for our friend Richard Schram.  http://www.amazon.com/Miles_Gurtu-Robert-Miles/dp/B0001AVZ5S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1256646446&sr=1-1

I also own this from Gurtru: http://www.amazon.com/Izzat-Remix-Album-Trilok-Gurtu/dp/B00008BRCV/ref=pd_sim_m_5

Kirk

oneinthepipe

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Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #6 on: 27 Oct 2009, 03:31 pm »
Kirk:

Thanks for the recommendation.  Just ordered a copy for 5.43 plus shipping from Amazon Marketplace.

Regarding the tube amp up front, the issues are the amps' input impedances and output volumes.  The volume is easy enough to control with the pre-amp, and vintageb can speak to Frank about the impedance issue.  I was thinking about using two AVA amps for biamping, the tube amp on top and the solid state on the bottom, and those are the issues, if I am correct.

vintagebob

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #7 on: 27 Oct 2009, 03:41 pm »
Well, I did consider getting a tube preamp when I was ordering my AVA equipment but I chose to stay all SS for the multi-channel setup.  I'll probably stick with that for now.  If I had a dedicated 2-channel room like Kirk then I would definitely consider a tube preamp in the setup.

K Shep

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #8 on: 27 Oct 2009, 03:44 pm »
The biamping tubes/ss is shared with many of the guys here on AC.  I think that is a wonderful idea.  I will ask around and get some input from the two members that I chat with that utilize tubes for the highs and ss the lows. 

Great purchase pipe, the first track is awesome.

K Shep

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #9 on: 27 Oct 2009, 03:54 pm »
I'll probably stick with that for now.

You just received your gear of course you will stick with the setup for now.  You aren't even used to the sound yet, you haven't placed your speakers yet, you have a new seating position to figure out.  Your room is not finalized.  If my comment about tubes in your system has sparked a discussion about tubes in your system I apologize.  You setup is amazing and I hope to come down and help you with the speaker placement once you get your new seating delivery.  I just invited myself.

I think oneinthepipe is considering biamping with tubes.  Pipe has asked me about my preamp so please don't take this as I think you should add tubes to you system.

K Shep

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #10 on: 27 Oct 2009, 04:02 pm »
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« Last Edit: 27 Oct 2009, 07:40 pm by K Shep »

K Shep

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #11 on: 4 Nov 2009, 12:13 am »
vintagebob will be visiting my home this Saturday.  So you should be looking for his impressions of my setup.  I just want to put some pressure on both of us  aa

I'm borrowing a Luxman L-505u integrated amp to try in my system over the weekend so I will post my impressions. 

I hope you don't mind if I post this in the Salk thread...I still consider myself part of the family.

Nuance

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #12 on: 4 Nov 2009, 02:24 am »
^ Of course not.  I look forward to the event details.  ;)

vintagebob

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #13 on: 8 Nov 2009, 01:24 am »
vintagebob will be visiting my home this Saturday.  So you should be looking for his impressions of my setup.  I just want to put some pressure on both of us  aa

I'm borrowing a Luxman L-505u integrated amp to try in my system over the weekend so I will post my impressions. 

I hope you don't mind if I post this in the Salk thread...I still consider myself part of the family.

K Shep's attic is the pinnacle.  You have to drive part way up a very steep road to get to his house (This is San Francisco after all) and then you have to climb almost straight up a folding ladder to get to the attic.  I decided that it was like a tree house...with UPGRADES!

And what a fun tree house it was.  I was treated to the tube "magic" of his Conrad Johnson (CJ) preamp, which works great with his Parasound A21 amp, and his new Revel Performa F32s.  A very nice system indeed.   The Conrad Johnson really smooths out the high end and the vocals.  I liked it.

I was surprised that he had his speakers so close to the sidewalls but he demonstrated the boundary adjustment the F32s have and I could quickly see why they work so well there.

We played with a Luxman L-505u integrated amp that he had borrowed but it just seemed too harsh compared to his current setup.  I guess you would have to describe it as solid state (SS).   :wink:  I much prefer the AVA sound to the Luxman and the CJ sound to the Luxman even a bit more.  Of course the CJ retails for more than my entire AVA collection!

A gracious host, a view of the bay on a perfect Northern California day and some really beautiful two channel sound.  No complaints on my end.  If you get the invite, jump on it!

Nice system K Shep.   :thumb:  I know you'll be looking for ways to improve it (which might be tough!) and I'll be interested in reading about your adventures.

fsimms

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #14 on: 8 Nov 2009, 03:02 am »
Thanks for the update.  How did the Revel's compare to your HT2-TL's?  Since they are in a different room and a different system, I think you couldn't make definitive comparisons, but it would be nice to hear your impressions.

Thanks ahead of time.

Bob

vintagebob

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #15 on: 8 Nov 2009, 05:18 am »
Thanks for the update.  How did the Revel's compare to your HT2-TL's?  Since they are in a different room and a different system, I think you couldn't make definitive comparisons, but it would be nice to hear your impressions.

Thanks ahead of time.

Bob

I'll pass on that one since our rooms are complete opposites but maybe Kirk will respond since he had SongTowers in that same space.  I know that he likes the bass profile he gets with the F32s over the STs and the F32 boundary adjustment design really works in his space. 

I enjoyed the F32s but I'm not giving up my HT2-TLs.  ; )

K Shep

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #16 on: 8 Nov 2009, 06:06 pm »
Thanks for the update.  How did the Revel's compare

I will comment on the process I went through with my STs.  I was able to take my STs to my favorite audio shop and do a side by side comparison.  Having the opportunity to hear the STs then the Revels then the STs was valuable.  What the SongTowers do well is midrange without a doubt the best I've heard.  Better than the Revels, but for me the other characteristics are more appealing.  I love the STs but they are lacking in the low frequency department.  The difference is 42Hz to 32Hz for the Revels.  The HT2-TLs are IMO a step above the STs.  I don't feel comfortable comparing my speakers directly with the HT2-TLs.

If I were to hang on to my STs I would have purchased a sub and began the learning process of measuring nodes and finding the best crossover point and location of the sub.  As you may hear from that last comment I am ignorant in the way to integrating a sub into a 2 channel system. 

So I purchased a 3 way speaker in my price point.  The best I could audition.

As vintage points out, our rooms are very different.  My room is a dedicated 2 channel setup.  His triples as 2 channel, surround music and an HT setup.  Both rooms are well treated and IMHO both well thought out.  If you are like me, sitting in either sweet spot will bring a huge smile to your face.   

Its been my experience that the room in which the speakers live and the placement of the speakers has the largest variable of the performance of said speakers. 

music lover

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Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #17 on: 9 Nov 2009, 12:19 am »
K Shep, I also have a similar set-up as yours, Ayre Cd/Sacd C-ex MP player and a CJ tube pre-amp.How does the Halo A21 work single ended with your system? I know the Ayre is supposed to work better in the balanced mode. How is the A21? I understand it supposed to be a great sounding amp. Is it more of a full sounding amp or on the leaner side.  I know with the CJ or even an Van Alstine amp or pre-amp, I would have no choice but to run single-ended rather than balanced. But I know the Parasound has balanced inputs.Your feedback would be most appreciated. Music Lover

fsimms

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #18 on: 9 Nov 2009, 02:16 pm »
Quote
I will comment on the process I went through with my STs.  I was able to take my STs to my favorite audio shop and do a side by side comparison.  Having the opportunity to hear the STs then the Revels then the STs was valuable.  What the SongTowers do well is midrange without a doubt the best I've heard.  Better than the Revels, but for me the other characteristics are more appealing.  I love the STs but they are lacking in the low frequency department.  The difference is 42Hz to 32Hz for the Revels.  The HT2-TLs are IMO a step above the STs.  I don't feel comfortable comparing my speakers directly with the HT2-TLs.

Thanks kshep!  That is just the type of information that is usefull.  aa

When I set up Raj's ST's I used a Denon receiver with a sub.  It sounds fantastic.  The sub did improve things in the bass and the midrange. IMHO

Bob

K Shep

Re: My visit with vintagebob
« Reply #19 on: 9 Nov 2009, 02:35 pm »
How does the Halo A21 work single ended with your system?  How is the A21?  Is it more of a full sounding amp or on the leaner side.  Your feedback would be most appreciated. Music Lover

I haven't had the opportunity to try a balanced preamp in my system.  So I am unable to answer the interconnect question.  Parasound defines the amp as: High bias Class A/AB, which is high current.  I have driven my sytem with 4 other receivers, integrated amps and amp.  None compares to the A21 in the fullness of sound.  If you are still considering a Parasound or an AVA amp you can't go wrong with either choice.