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  1. #1
    nightflier
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    New toys on their way...

    My Spectron amp is going back to the shop again and this being the second time, I'm calling it quits on Spectron. In the meantime, I went back to using my PS Audio Classic 250 monos and while they sound great, they are not what I need: they are hunking big boxes that weigh a ton and my rack doesn't have the space for them (they are currently on the floor - bad WAF and perfect height for the kids to use them as drum kits). So I went back to the drawing board and decided to rebuild things from the ground up as follows:

    - Odyssey Audio Candella preamp (with some custom work)
    - Monarchy Audio SM-70 amps (set to mono)
    - Talon Audio Khites

    I'm sure Rich will be happy to know it's all US-made, LOL. I'm still searching for a decent source, but for now I'll just be using my trusty Audio Refinement CD. As soon as the gear comes in I'll post pictures - maybe even some topless ones in aevans' thread. I also realize that the system so far could be considered lush and warm sounding, so I'll definitely have my work cut out in finding gear that mates well. By the way, I'm also going Mapleshade with the cables and tweaks - I want to find out if Pierre Sprey is a genius or a loon. With the money-back guaranty he offers on everything, I can always send back what I don't like.

    Considering that this is replacing a system that I would call the polar opposite, sound-wise:

    - Plinius CD-LAD preamp,
    - Spectron Digital amp, and
    - Quad 22L speakers,

    I'm really curious to hear how the new gear will perform. The Plinius will be going on a trip to Colorado so that someone else can give it a listen. The Spectron is comatose and currently on its way to the rehab center, and the Quads will go to a friend's house here in town.

    I used to own an Odyssey Tempest, back in the day, and Klaus said this preamp will remind me of those good ol' times and then some. This is my first foray into tubes (auditioned some, but never owned), and I realize this may not have been the best "starter" set, but ya gota start somewhere. If I survive this, I might go tubes on my phono preamp too, but that's for another thread. Needless to say, I'm buying this preamp without ever having heard it, but with Odyssey, that's usually the only way to go. Besides, I admire the fact it is all hand-built and comes with a 20-yr. warranty, so I'm willing to take a chance here. The only drawback for me is that it does not have XLR and I was hoping to go balanced throughout, but that's a small quibble. This will be the first piece of gear I buy new in years (yes, I'm quite the cheapskate).

    The Monarchy amps I got in a trade. They are about 1yr. old and looked pristine in the pics. I had auditioned an older pair before and really liked them and then sent them back and completely forgot about them. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got a call from a dealer who knew someone who was looking to trade and he'll offer free shipping to boot. He said the gear was flawless, so I I figured that with no money out of pocket, what could I loose? In talking with people about matching them with the Odyssey, the consensus seems to be that this ill be ideal. Long-story-short, they should be here this week.

    The Talons have been with me for about a year now and I can't say enough good stuff about them. They were part of my "auditioning" system, back when I had a second room for my gear. But for the last six months they have been crammed in with the HT rig and been quite unhappy at not being the center of attention anymore. That said, every single speaker I had compared them to could not measure up, so I am bringing them back from early retirement. If I get something better down to line, I'm always open to hearing it, but frankly I don't know that there is (at least in their price range). Anyhow, I've grown very familiar with their sound, so the other gear better measure up.

    As I said, I'll post pics as soon as they arrive. The preamp is "in the queue" at Odyssey, so it could take a few weeks before it arrives, and I'll be using my Plinius until then - this will give me a baseline to work from, I suppose.

    Woohoo

  2. #2
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Luckily, it's only money. Enjoy.
    Herman;

    My stuff:
    Olive Musica/transport and server
    Mark Levinson No.360S D to A
    Passive pre (homemade; Shallco, Vishay, Cardas wire/connectors)
    Cardas Golden Presence IC
    Pass Labs X250
    Martin Logan ReQuests.

  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    An interesting refit

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    My Spectron amp is going back to the shop again and this being the second time, I'm calling it quits on Spectron. In the meantime, I went back to using my PS Audio Classic 250 monos and while they sound great, they are not what I need: they are hunking big boxes that weigh a ton and my rack doesn't have the space for them (they are currently on the floor - bad WAF and perfect height for the kids to use them as drum kits). So I went back to the drawing board and decided to rebuild things from the ground up as follows:

    - Odyssey Audio Candella preamp (with some custom work)
    - Monarchy Audio SM-70 amps (set to mono)
    - Talon Audio Khites

    I'm sure Rich will be happy to know it's all US-made, LOL. I'm still searching for a decent source, but for now I'll just be using my trusty Audio Refinement CD. As soon as the gear comes in I'll post pictures - maybe even some topless ones in aevans' thread. I also realize that the system so far could be considered lush and warm sounding, so I'll definitely have my work cut out in finding gear that mates well. By the way, I'm also going Mapleshade with the cables and tweaks - I want to find out if Pierre Sprey is a genius or a loon. With the money-back guaranty he offers on everything, I can always send back what I don't like.

    Considering that this is replacing a system that I would call the polar opposite, sound-wise:

    - Plinius CD-LAD preamp,
    - Spectron Digital amp, and
    - Quad 22L speakers,

    I'm really curious to hear how the new gear will perform. The Plinius will be going on a trip to Colorado so that someone else can give it a listen. The Spectron is comatose and currently on its way to the rehab center, and the Quads will go to a friend's house here in town.

    I used to own an Odyssey Tempest, back in the day, and Klaus said this preamp will remind me of those good ol' times and then some. This is my first foray into tubes (auditioned some, but never owned), and I realize this may not have been the best "starter" set, but ya gota start somewhere. If I survive this, I might go tubes on my phono preamp too, but that's for another thread. Needless to say, I'm buying this preamp without ever having heard it, but with Odyssey, that's usually the only way to go. Besides, I admire the fact it is all hand-built and comes with a 20-yr. warranty, so I'm willing to take a chance here. The only drawback for me is that it does not have XLR and I was hoping to go balanced throughout, but that's a small quibble. This will be the first piece of gear I buy new in years (yes, I'm quite the cheapskate).

    The Monarchy amps I got in a trade. They are about 1yr. old and looked pristine in the pics. I had auditioned an older pair before and really liked them and then sent them back and completely forgot about them. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got a call from a dealer who knew someone who was looking to trade and he'll offer free shipping to boot. He said the gear was flawless, so I I figured that with no money out of pocket, what could I loose? In talking with people about matching them with the Odyssey, the consensus seems to be that this ill be ideal. Long-story-short, they should be here this week.

    The Talons have been with me for about a year now and I can't say enough good stuff about them. They were part of my "auditioning" system, back when I had a second room for my gear. But for the last six months they have been crammed in with the HT rig and been quite unhappy at not being the center of attention anymore. That said, every single speaker I had compared them to could not measure up, so I am bringing them back from early retirement. If I get something better down to line, I'm always open to hearing it, but frankly I don't know that there is (at least in their price range). Anyhow, I've grown very familiar with their sound, so the other gear better measure up.

    As I said, I'll post pics as soon as they arrive. The preamp is "in the queue" at Odyssey, so it could take a few weeks before it arrives, and I'll be using my Plinius until then - this will give me a baseline to work from, I suppose.

    Woohoo
    I haven't heard any of the specific equipment you mention, old or new, except the Monarchy but I'd guess you're right the it will be a warmer sound.

    For clarification, are the Monarchys the original SM-70 or the Pro model? But they have a similar sonic signature so I hear. I have the Pros and love 'em. Certainly a warmer sound than the Tripath Bel Canto I used for several years, although "lush" would be an overstatement.

  4. #4
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    Ah, new gear, always a lot of fun. Hope it meets your expectations.

    A couple thoughts on source, Audio Note has a "single box" player with the 1.1x internal DAC that used to be around $2.5k but I have no idea what current price is. Audio Note is one of the most natural sounding digital playback I've heard. I haven't heard one yet but the Shanling CDT-1000se is said to be very good for the money.

  5. #5
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    Best of luck with your... made in the good ol' US of A purchases nightflier!

    I watched a report on ABC News talking about how company's are bringing back their manufacturing to the states due to overseas shipping costs, fueled by rising... err... fuel prices. Although I'm sure that right now this is the exception rather than the rule, who knows what lies ahead for the A/V equipment makers.

  6. #6
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    And Rich sets a fine example of buying American with his Asian rig

  7. #7
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    Should've turned off my sig before I typed that huh?

  8. #8
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    Best of luck with your... made in the good ol' US of A purchases nightflier!

    I watched a report on ABC News talking about how company's are bringing back their manufacturing to the states due to overseas shipping costs, fueled by rising... err... fuel prices. Although I'm sure that right now this is the exception rather than the rule, who knows what lies ahead for the A/V equipment makers.
    I've believed for some time that the savings of building overseas were largely an illusion. Unless you're building in the millions the endless stream of production problems use up the savings and your customers good will.

    The Asian supplier will for example find an new source of ceramic caps at 1/2 the price and 20 times the failure rate.

    Or there'll be solder problems - low grade solder, wrong temperature, too fast or too slow through the solder machine.

    Parts just missing, incorrectly tested product or tested with not working test equipment.

    Labels applied upside down, power cords miss wired, wrong color wires and any other problems caused by English documents being used by non-English speakers

    I've personally experienced everyone of these problems. The accounting/budget office still allocates costs as if the stuff was built in the US so these production costs end up under warranty/customer service. Costs to fly there and fix it end up under the generic travel budget. And we're still not counting the costs of endless teleconference calls (nearly daily), Companies think they're saving money and wonder why they're losing customers.

    Have you noticed how many refurbished products are suddenly available on the internet? Guess why that's now common.
    Herman;

    My stuff:
    Olive Musica/transport and server
    Mark Levinson No.360S D to A
    Passive pre (homemade; Shallco, Vishay, Cardas wire/connectors)
    Cardas Golden Presence IC
    Pass Labs X250
    Martin Logan ReQuests.

  9. #9
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    And Rich sets a fine example of buying American with his Asian rig

    yeah, indeed...

    I think it's time for him to buy a full blown Mcintosh setup with Thiel speakers


    Congrats Nightflier, nice set

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  10. #10
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by basite
    yeah, indeed...

    I think it's time for him to buy a full blown Mcintosh setup...
    And he would still be buying Japanese.

    rw

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    Two cookies for E-Stat!

  12. #12
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    - Odyssey Audio Candella preamp (with some custom work)
    - Monarchy Audio SM-70 amps (set to mono)
    - Talon Audio Khites


    That's gonna be a nice setup.

  13. #13
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    And he would still be buying Japanese.

    rw

    indeed

    but they don't do anything with Mcintosh directly, and all Mcintosh units are designed & manufactured in the USA, so that makes it an American brand for me

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
    Life is music!

    Mcintosh MA6400 Integrated
    Double Advent speakers
    Thiel CS2.3's
    *DIY Lenco L75 TT
    * SME 3012 S2
    * Rega RB-301
    *Denon DL-103 in midas body
    *Denon DL-304
    *Graham slee elevator EXP & revelation
    *Lehmann audio black cube SE
    Marantz CD5001 OSE
    MIT AVt 2 IC's
    Sonic link Black earth IC's
    Siltech MXT New york IC's
    Kimber 4VS speakercable
    Furutech powercord and plugs.

    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    - Odyssey Audio Candella preamp (with some custom work)
    - Monarchy Audio SM-70 amps (set to mono)
    - Talon Audio Khites


    That's gonna be a nice setup.
    - Odyssey Audio Candella preamp (with some custom work)
    - Monarchy Audio SM-70 amps (set to mono)
    - Talon Audio Khites

    That's more than my mortgage!

  15. #15
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    I feel your pain, NF. There is nothing worst than upgrading gears. But we are all forced to do it, every few often. Do you still have your HCA-2? I'm about to ditch mine. It's very smooth sounding, but doesn't get me involved very much.

    Keep us posted with your new gears. I imagine Class-A amps will bring back some forgotten magic to your life.

    Peas,
    JRA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    - Odyssey Audio Candella preamp (with some custom work)
    - Monarchy Audio SM-70 amps (set to mono)
    - Talon Audio Khites

    That's more than my mortgage!
    Trailers cost that much these days? rim shot! Ooooooooo

  17. #17
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Trailers cost that much these days? rim shot! Ooooooooo

    Green Wiki for Peabody.

    Now that's funny, Rich don't care who you are.

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    Aaaaaaaand... Two cookies for Mr. P!

  19. #19
    nightflier
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    They're the Pro version

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    For clarification, are the Monarchys the original SM-70 or the Pro model?
    They are the Pro models, although the ones I auditioned weren't. Glad to hear they'll have the same sound. Actually, Feanor, it was your positive experience with them that led me to Monarchy in the first place. I figured if they could drive your Maggies then they'd be worth a look-listen. The new ones are supposed to arrive today - I hope they were well packed.

    Mr.P, if I want to stay US-only, then Shanling is out of the question, but is Audio-Note American-made? I have to say that I didn't really give the whole US-made only mantra much thought, but there is a lot to be said for buying local: less gasoline used in shipping, supports local economies and labor, keeps my dollars away from the multi-nationals, and by creating meaningful competition it helps fight the current trend towards product and service consolidation by these corporations. Besides, I get a lot more useful information and help from dealing directly with the owner of a small company than an inexperienced tech-support rep in some sweat-shop overseas.

    Bert, you're in Belgium right? Wouldn't it be easier for you to go with a Danish or French setup? Plenty of good manufacturers and they tend to take the build-local / build-fair message rather seriously, too. The French especially are picky about it, kind of like with their wine, although I hear a lot of the German stuff is now made in Eastern European sweat shops - different languages but same problems. Or is MacIntosh more of a unique item in Belgium? I take it that Thiel carries the same cache, then? Do the Belgians still consider American-made gear (the few that are left) as top of the line?

    Nice one about the trailer, Mr.P. Although here in SoCal, you'd be hard pressed to find a trailer with such a low mortgage too - the land it sits on would be the killer. Maybe an outhouse? Some of them look big enough to lay down in:


    This must be a Texas outhouse, everything is bigger there, right?

    (sorry, Rich, I couldn't resist)

  20. #20
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    There's one about that size down the street a ways.

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    Ah, I didn't realize you had an American theme going on. I'm not sure what to recommend for U.S. digital playback. Audio Note is not U.S. I'm not sure where Krell's head is at, their line has holes in it. I think they just offer expensive universal or SACD players. Is Musical Fidelity U.S.? They may mix well with your system if you are looking for warm. I haven't heard any PS Audio but that's an option. If you have around $8k I heard Conrad Johnson is coming out with a player. Why bring one out at $8k, I don't know.

    Good luck with everything.

  22. #22
    RGA
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    Musical Fidelity is in trouble and it's British

    Audio note is British but at least it's made in Britain - most of the American stuff isn't made there anymore. Audio Note Kits is Canadian - is that close enough. You buy the Kit and build it yourself and if you're an American then you can say it is made in America.

    PS the one box CD 1.1 is $2800.00 which is the entry level CD player. It comes in 2 other versions - have no idea of the pricing. However it will take some time from order to actually getting it. I have waited 2 months for my turntable. Such is life when they're hand built.

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    Why is MF in trouble? I sure didn't think they were British, they aren't like the typical gear you hear from over the pond.

    I love it, if we build it ourselves it's made in America, LOL. Good point though and even our country probably don't get their parts from here. If AN is British why are the kits from Canada? Don't they also have a Japanese root? It seems they are shrinking in the market over the past few years. I hope they turn things around though, good stuff.

    Any suggestions of quality U.S. digital playback?

  24. #24
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hey Rich, isn't it illegal in Texas to stare at another man's ass and wear black socks at the same time?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Hey Rich, isn't it illegal in Texas to stare at another man's ass and wear black socks at the same time?
    Are you talking with, or with out, boots and spurs?

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