• 06-09-2009, 08:55 PM
    Rudy Gireyev
    Michael Fremer article follow up or Put together your audiophile system
    Hello.

    My name is Rudy and I have been researching an audiophile grade system for myself for just a bit over a month or so. The system will be for musical reproduction only, no home theater duties. I have been reading these forums, to get a basic understanding of what's out there before posting a set of questions that have already been asked a thousand times. I've also tried a Stereophile magazine however, I quickly realized that they only review things at the very upper end of audiophile world. My few brief stops at AudioAsylum left me with the impression of the exact opposite, that they concentrate of consumer grade or beginner audiophile systems.
    Anyway, to get to the point of my post. Reading several threads on these forums as well as a blog article linked by Ajani in the Why we need Audiophiles thread. I noticed several people on this board as well as Michael Fremer stating that one does not need large/huge/enormous amounts of money to put an audiophile system together. Now Michael Fremer actually named the amount albeit not the components that would make up that amount. Which is unfortunate as I, for one, would have loved to see what they are. So this leads me to you guys. Here is a thread where you get to put together an entire system from scratch. Everyone is welcome to contribute, of course, not just the people who have said that you don't need enormous amounts of cash to build an audiophile system. I realize that the enormous amounts of money is subjective, so I will leave the final amount up to you.
    One thing that will help me, and anyone else reading this thread later, is if the folks posting would state their biases/prejudices and such. Be they sentimental or budget related or musical style or bass style or many many others that we carry around in our inner pockets. This will help me frame what you are suggesting and see how it relates to me. Another thing that will help me a lot is if you state whether you have first hand experience with what you are recommending or whether it is a product of research or something entirely different. So here are the categories:
    1. Preamp if separate from amp of course.
    2. Amp
    3. Speakers
    4. Sources (List as many as you like. At the end you may include just one in the final price tally or all)
    5. Cables
    6. Misc (Whatever I may have missed as a category :))

    For each category it would be great to get some background as to why you selected this particular component over others that you compared them against. And if there are biases/prejudices that are specific to that component it would be great to see them as well. Apologies if I am asking for too much, but the more info I gather the more informed will my auditions be, even if I choose to do blind auditioning. You may quote new or used prices, or better yet both. Forum rules permitting even a link to where the particular component sells for a good price is always welcome.

    Thank you in advance and take your time, as I don't plan to rush this kind of purchase.
    Rudy
  • 06-09-2009, 09:17 PM
    02audionoob
    I notice you mention sentimental value. I've been thinking about cleaning out a bit of my system, but I hold onto things that I like for no particular reason. Sometimes I think I'd like a simpler system, but I just can't let go of some of it. I suppose maybe I'm committed forever to vinyl, for one thing.

    If I had no records and no audio gear and was starting from scratch, I think I'd probably go with something like the Audio Research VSi60, the Rega Saturn and a pair of ProAc Response D1. That's probably something like $10,000 at new retail prices and tax. In the interest of the disclosures you requested...I do have an Audio Research integrated that I'm very happy with. I own ProAc floorstanders that sound similar to the D1 I've mentioned. I don't own a Rega CD player, but I've listened to a Saturn in an Audio Research tube setup and it was mightily impressive.

    In my own system, my digital audio comes through a DAC, which is for practical purposes a better option better than just a nice CD player. It allows me to get a high level of sound quality out of three digital devices running through it, instead of just one. But still, I like the idea of simplicity...I just haven't followed through with it.
  • 06-10-2009, 07:29 AM
    Doc Sage
    I find it interesting that you would approach us with this request for I think you will end up with so many point of views and will find no clear path to choosing a music system. Finding the right system is a long search, an education into how each pieces relate to each other.

    To start, you will need to listen to lots of speakers. They all have a particular sound and need for amplification. Once you find a speaker you truly want to live with, they will dictate what you need for amplification. I would set aside 50% or more of your budget for speakers. They are the only true transducers left in a sound system, the last one to have a "voice", a signature that will impose "colouring" (Eh, I am Canadian and this is how we spell COLOURING) to all music played by them.

    For amplification, the efficiency of your speakers (and the load they will place of your amp), the size of the room these will be playing in and the style of music will tell you how much power you will need. More bass = more power needed, same for loundness and a large room will need a lots of watts.

    The source is in flux these days. Cd players are on their way out (so some will tell you), MP3's are very user friendly but the sound quality is not the best at times, using your computer as a storing device is an option (with the right software and a better sound card) and LP's are still seen by some of us as the only way to go.

    Cables to connect all this together are important but please do not get caught up with all the hypes. A large gauge, speaker wire does not need to be expensive to do the job right and so is all the other connectors.

    So, what route have I taken? My speakers are Josephaudio RM25's, the best I could find within my budget. My room is quite small and the load from my speakers is very easy so a small Sudgen intergrater (25 to 35 RMS watts a side) does the job quite well. CD's is still my first choice and I am using a Marantz DVD player for most of my listening. The whole set up could be had for around $5,000-.

    Enjoy the search.

    Doc Sage
  • 06-10-2009, 07:35 PM
    O'Shag
    Of course Michael Fremer's idea of not large/huge/enormous amount of money may be considerably more that you are willing to spend- which brings us to that question - your budget... You can put together a really good sounding system for between 5-6k (mostly of used gear). Is this lower or higher than your idea of a budget? another consideration is the type of music you listen to. For example, if you like a lot of beat driven music (which covers a lot) where boogie factor is important, you would not be making the wisest choice with a SET amp. Just an example.
  • 06-10-2009, 09:03 PM
    Mr Peabody
    For the most part I agree with ole Doc Sage, this will make for a varied discussion and most of us who are regulars know what the other will probably recommend. Just for instance, speakers, there are so many kinds you would have to listen to get a feel, Planars, Electrostats, various box designs and horns, did I miss anything. I'm not sure this will narrow your field if that's your goal.

    Where Doc and I part ways is I would not set a dollar figure or percentage of budget for any one part. I personally am a source theorist. If any detail of the music doesn't come from the source you will NEVER hear it, period. So you can color, make it loud, whatever but you can never hear that unretrieved detail or ambient information. So start with the best signal you can and then maintain it throughout your audio chain. I guess another fork in the road is I have found through experience that cables can enhance your system. But this is something you can experiment with once the gear is picked because some hear the improvements from cables and some seem not to.

    There are various types of amps, tubes, digital or various classes of solid state. With out either a budget or knowing what type of sound you prefer it's difficult to put a system together for you. Another thing I subscribe to for the most part is I like using same brand equipment within a system. To my ears same brand systems seem to have better synergy. Most manufacturers whether they admit or not have a certain sound and keeping with pieces with similar sound the end result is usually more cohesive. This is in general.

    I have heard a fair amount of gear but not nearly all that's offered. For pure power, dynamics and transcient response I like Krell amps. You can go from a $2,500.00 integrated to how much ever you have to spend. If you see my signature it is really what I prefer. I eventually went tubes and love Conrad Johnson's interpretation of music. CJ typically has a nice pace, since of rhythm, outstanding midrange and delivers a full frequency response free of the stereotypes given to tube gear. Hands down my favorite speaker is Dynaudio. Seconded, by Martin Logan electrostat hybrids.

    If on a smaller budget I'd look at brands like NAD, Cambridge Audio or Rotel. Speakers by Paradigm. B&W offer a budget line as well and they have their following, especially with Rotel. As previously mentioned I stick with same brand so I'd go with one of these integrated amps and matching CD players. Unless I really had a desire to get into tubes. On a budget I'd try Cayin, Jolida or Audio Electronics (by Cary), AE would probably be my first choice.

    I may have misspoke. I actually have a second system I tried to keep on a budget for a workout room. I knew I needed power, so I went with Adcom separates driving a pair of Dynaudio Audience 60's. My regular source is a CJ DAC using a Denon player as transport. Several year ago I paid about $1k new for a gtp-450 preamp/tuner and a gfa-5400 (125x2). I later bought a gfa-5500(200x2) for $400.00 used and sold the 5400. I was using Transparent but stepped down to Blue Jeans cable. At high volumes the overall system was less offensive with the lesser cables. Transparent allowed more highs which got hard on the ears at extreme volume. The room is more live than it should be which don't help. If this was a system to sit back and enjoy pure music listening I'm sure I would have gone another direction though. If you want a system that rocks, this one sure does with plenty of volume and bass.

    Cables: Absolute bang for the buck, Blue Jeans are hard to beat. From there I might try Tributaries. Beyond that I prefer Transparent and certain series of Siltech. It really is a matter of preference and system synergy for cables and, of course, whether you hear enough difference to warrant the expense.

    I hope this helps some but it's the best I can do with no parameters.
  • 06-10-2009, 10:40 PM
    drmorgan
    How we got to this point!
    I think one starts with what kind of music moves you. When you compare the hardware forget the look, type or brand and look for how well the speakers reveal or revive those feelings. I took my favorite records to the stores with a test record from 20/20. First I need the speaker and then the electronics. I wanted to hear the 20/20, then my music. This should be completely subjective after the test. Ignore the glitz and smoke and mirrors, The speakers are all. Speaker makers have various sizes for your room and you will then match the amps to the speakers. I've been amazed to find the costs have gotten so out of hand for something so simple as sound reproduction and to see them using the same process that brought computer pricing down to 20% of what it was and yet the sound outfits have reversed this and have not accomplished anything beyond what we had in the '70's. My quest began from exposure as a child to weekly visits to a great concert hall. Later on to live concerts of much different music and mixed with the contemporary music. It was a decade spending on this or that before I happened on Bozak speakers. Based on room size they ran from hall to bedroom and outdoors. Any good turntable, preamp and amp could drive them and reproduce the ‘feeling’ that I heard for years. Bi-amp’d they could faithfully reproduce the rest of the music I appreciated. I wound up with McIntosh 2300's and '70's and '80's Mac hardware because it was quality and hand made. They had tube and outgrew them going into the ‘70’s. I do not think you need to spend a fortune as you can buy gear used if it was built to last. Just buy the hardware based on proof (not the ads or maker claims) of no distortion. I found records seem somehow more realistic (maybe the noise as If actually in the crowd?), but some quality CD's seem OK. MP3 or 4 is just not enough data to recreate all. Records add to the experience as you become somewhat involved. You are purchasing the 'feeling' that you are there with the orchestra, artist or instruments you wish to hear, what moves you. Your room, mood, type of music and artists and speakers ....the rest is just stuff. Printed specifications should be verified. The speakers should reproduce what moved you and the rest is bliss.

    Good luck...
  • 06-11-2009, 12:08 AM
    Rudy Gireyev
    Thanks to all that have replied so far, and that are going to reply. :)

    02audionoob Thanks for the impartial suggestions. If I may I have some follow up questions regarding your choices.
    1. What made you select these components over others that you have auditioned?
    2. Why did you select these particular speakers? Were they the best just before the point of diminishing returns began to be crossed, or was there another reason? Were they good with any amp or this particular amp? What are their characteristics warm, natural, bassy .... etc?
    3. What are the characteristics of the amp warm, natural, bassy .... etc? What made it stand out when compared to other amps you auditioned?
    4. Any other insight you may be willing to offer.

    Doc Sage - I heartily agree with every word of your posting. In the many days I've spent reading and researching, this message has come through quite clear. I also appreciate you adding it here as you never know the background of another person. Rest assured I plan on auditioning extensively before plunking down that kind of cash. ;) :) However, in the audio world there are two almost distinct variables of a piece of equipment that have to be taken into account. First one is how it sounds on its own and second how it pairs up with some other specific piece of equipment. A perfect example would be one set of speakers sounding spectacular with one amp and downright awful with another. Now auditioning may reveal to me the first variable, that is how a certain piece of equipment sounds compared to another in that particular store on that particular day. However, to find that perfect synergy between two components (or more) requires outside help. There's just too many iterations here. This is what brought me to post on this board and to phrase my questions the way I did. And the more questions are answered the more helpful the advice will be.

    O'Shag Howdy to a fellow Angelino. Actually the two things you are asking for were left out of my original post on purpose. ;) :) In your post in this thread, as well as another thread you've indicated that one need not spend ridiculous (not an actual quote) amounts of money to get an audiophile system. However, you never identified what that system would contain. This thread is your opportunity to do so. :) Ideally if you could follow my original post as close as possible when defining the system that would help me the most. However, I'll appreciate whatever you have to offer.
    Lastly, I might as well put the musical style horse to rest. I don't have a musical style that I listen to. I will listen to anything that I like, from just about anywhere in the world. There's really only two kinds of music for me. Music I understand, and music I don't understand.

    Mr. P Huge thanks for the extensive background with your selections. I remember reading about your gym system. Although something that "single purposed" would not work for me, the discussion around it provided a valuable background. I also liked the way you defined a "Starter Audiophile" system and "Standard Audiophile" system. :) I understand your question about my budget, however, I did not give it on purpose. The system you are putting together is _your_ system, and the budget is _your_ budget. The guiding budget factor is "reasonable" which for every person is different. No matter. This is what _you_ find reasonable and most importantly why. The context to me is as important if not more as the actual list of components that you guys provide.
    I naturally have some follow up questions. :)
    1. By transient response of the Krells, you mean they are neutral/natural in sound? Neither warm, nor overly aggressive on the highs?
    2. Are there other Dynaudio lines you thought highly of, besides the ones you have? What was it about them that made them your favorite? Do they have some specific characteristics?
    3. Same for Martin Logans.
    4. On the cables front, do these manufacturers only make one line of specific cable or are there multiple? If there are multiple can you identify the model names/numbers for the ones you meant in the post.

    drmorgan Thanks for your reply and the speaker suggestion. Agree with everything you said 100%. And while I'm looking for even more info (see my original post or my replies above) I appreciate this as well.

    Rudy
  • 06-11-2009, 04:31 AM
    Worf101
    Welcome aboard...
    It's so refreshing and nice to see a rational, informed and educated "first post". I'm an HT midfi guy so I've not many recommendations for you in the dedicated 2 channel audiophile realm. But I can tell you that the approach and questioning are first rate and I'd be quite surprised if you didn't find just the information you're looking for. Once again "welcome".

    Da Worfster
  • 06-11-2009, 05:49 AM
    Mr Peabody
    O'Shag Howdy to a fellow Angelino. Actually the two things you are asking for were left out of my original post on purpose. ;) :) In your post in this thread, as well as another thread you've indicated that one need not spend ridiculous (not an actual quote) amounts of money to get an audiophile system. However, you never identified what that system would contain. This thread is your opportunity to do so. :) Ideally if you could follow my original post as close as possible when defining the system that would help me the most. However, I'll appreciate whatever you have to offer.
    Lastly, I might as well put the musical style horse to rest. I don't have a musical style that I listen to. I will listen to anything that I like, from just about anywhere in the world. There's really only two kinds of music for me. Music I understand, and music I don't understand.

    Mr. P Huge thanks for the extensive background with your selections. I remember reading about your gym system. Although something that "single purposed" would not work for me, the discussion around it provided a valuable background. I also liked the way you defined a "Starter Audiophile" system and "Standard Audiophile" system. :) I understand your question about my budget, however, I did not give it on purpose. The system you are putting together is _your_ system, and the budget is _your_ budget. The guiding budget factor is "reasonable" which for every person is different. No matter. This is what _you_ find reasonable and most importantly why. The context to me is as important if not more as the actual list of components that you guys provide.
    I naturally have some follow up questions. :)
    1. By transient response of the Krells, you mean they are neutral/natural in sound? Neither warm, nor overly aggressive on the highs?

    * "transcient" is how fast the amp can react. Krell has delivered some of the most real sounding drums I've heard from a system and the control they have over the music helps. Krell is more analytical than some like but the highs are extended with out being offensive
    2. Are there other Dynaudio lines you thought highly of, besides the ones you have? What was it about them that made them your favorite? Do they have some specific characteristics?

    * Dynaudio is surprisingly similar throughout their series. Although I think they are trying to distinguish them a bit now. I really like the Focus but that series seems to be a bit warmer than other Dynaudio series. In general I like Dynaudio because they are as neutral a speaker as I have found. By that I mean they are equally as good with most any amp as long as they have the guts to drive them and any genre of music. I'm like you in the fact that I listen to most any kind of music. My Dyn's have sounded great with Krell, Arcam, Conrad Johnson, Linn and my other series have had several other amps driving them to vintage Sansui. With the power Dynaudio excels in excellent bass response, I'm talking quality bass. The Excite series is designed to be easier drive for more budget systems. As you go up in the Dynaudio various series you do gain refinement and better overall performance. My Contour t2.5 was the best I could afford, I really liked the sound, they were better refined sound than the 1.8's. I also like the fact that they were supposedly designed to be equally at home in a stereo rig or HT set up as I use them for both. The front port is good for not much space and sitting close to other objects which also fits my room.

    3. Same for Martin Logans.

    * ML's basically sound similar from one to the other, the biggest difference is the size and type of bass module. The electrostats are hard to put into words, they have a lot of detail and give more of a 3D presentation. But they lack the physical feel of a box speaker. The larger powered version hits pretty hard though.

    4. On the cables front, do these manufacturers only make one line of specific cable or are there multiple? If there are multiple can you identify the model names/numbers for the ones you meant in the post.

    * BJC RCA interconnects I have are the LC and they only have two kind I know of. I'm not that familiar with the varies series of Tributaries but they have 3 levels in the HDMI cables. Transparent and Siltech both have a large varity of series mostly going up in price. An entry Transparent RCA will run about $75.00 to $80.00. I like the Siltech MXT Pro New Yorker RCA and they run around $300.00 I believe. They have less expensive in that series, they are all named after cities, Paris, London are a couple. The Siltech sound great and are built well. The speaker interconnects have a threaded end so switching terminals are a breeze. I should say a breeze if you buy their threaded terminals :)

    drmorgan Thanks for your reply and the speaker suggestion. Agree with everything you said 100%. And while I'm looking for even more info (see my original post or my replies above) I appreciate this as well.

    * one thing I question is the use of "any", no matter how good Bozak are I can't believe any amp will give you a live sounding reproduction. Maybe with the insertion of the word "quality" or "most" any. And, Mac isn't just any amp.

    Rudy[/QUOTE]

    I am out of time, let me know if you have any more questions or want to price out my hardware.
  • 06-11-2009, 10:10 AM
    JoeE SP9
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rudy Gireyev
    Hello.
    1. Preamp if separate from amp of course.
    2. Amp
    3. Speakers
    4. Sources (List as many as you like. At the end you may include just one in the final price tally or all)
    5. Cables
    6. Misc (Whatever I may have missed as a category :))

    Rudy

    Most if not all of my selections are used items.

    1. A used ARC SP-10 preamp. I've owned an ARC SP-9 for 10 years or so. My previous preamp was an ARC SP3. The SP-10 is the best preamp I've heard.

    2. This is determined by the speakers. 2 used Krell KSA-100 I had a KSA-100 years ago It was sold only because of an acrimonious divorce. I don't think current FPB Krells sound as good. A couple of large Pass amps are an alternative, used of course.

    3. Used Apogee Studio Grands. I've heard several cost no object speakers including Wilson's, Infinity IRS's, ML Statement's, Apogee Grand's and others. The Apogees were better. I didn't select them because my room isn't big enough. The Studio Grand's will fit.

    4. VPI HRX TT this would be a new unit. My HW-19 Jr/RB300 has served me well over the years. Not sure about the cartridge, maybe a Lyra Helicon
    Marantz SA 8003 SACD player. New This would replace a modified Marantz CD-63 SE
    that still works perfectly.

    5. Wires and cables would require actual auditioning with the system. I might start with Kimber KCAG. I like their cables and some of my audio buddies use them

    6. Misc. Who knows, it depends on many factors. Definitely a Jem Dandy record cleaner. It works great and is inexpensive. It works better than my Record Doctor vacuum unit.

    My selections are based on my experience and the opinions of friends on this site and here in Phila. I'm 61 and I bought my first piece of gear in 1967.

    The cost for all this is variable, as most of this gear is available only used.
  • 06-11-2009, 01:53 PM
    O'Shag
    Rudy hi - I'm in Redondo Beach so the southbay area pretty much.

    Some names for component electronics (in no particular order) that are not gospel by any means but that will without exception provide a good result.
    Audio Research
    Mark Levinson
    McIntosh
    Spectral
    Pass Labs/Threshold
    Jadis
    VTL
    Sonic Frontiers
    Cary
    DCS
    EMM Labs
    Wadia
    Meridian
    Esoteric
    Accuphase
    Ayre
    Rowland
    Conrad Johnson
    Marantz

    There are more that are just as good.. and I have heard components from each listed above.

    Speakers, well thats another story, given the difference in preference peole will have, and I dare not express opinions or preferences because they're bound to piss some or other people off. But, given your preference for all types of music, then this will include a lot of beat driven music, such as rock and blues. You can get wonderful results with planars, but for this type of music the cone and dome dynamic speaker is likely best suited. Of course that'll drive planar owners up the wall, but the fact is 99% of mastering studio speakers are cone and dome dynamic transducers (transjuicers). Personally, I love well-engineered horns/compression drivers too.


    All above can be pricey (but not necessarily always), even on the used market, but will invariably be excellent at conveying music, although each will have a subtle variation on the music's presentation, and each will have ultimate strengths.

    Could you afford to spend 5k-7k?
  • 06-11-2009, 07:40 PM
    Mr Peabody
    Joe E, do you still have Krell, if so, why not in your signature? I agree, I prefer the older Krell sound. It seems to have a blacker background and not be as cool sounding as the new stuff, not that I'd call it warm either, just that the new gear has almost a glare, for lack of a better word, when compared to some other gear. "Glare" is not a lack of clarity, it's more of a feel or what you notice not in the other piece in comparison.
  • 06-11-2009, 09:38 PM
    02audionoob
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rudy Gireyev
    Thanks to all that have replied so far, and that are going to reply. <!--[if gte vml 1]><v:shapetype id="_x0000_t75" coordsize="21600,21600" o:spt="75" o:preferrelative="t" path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" filled="f" stroked="f"> <v:stroke joinstyle="miter"/> <v:formulas> <v:f eqn="if lineDrawn pixelLineWidth 0"/> <v:f eqn="sum @0 1 0"/> <v:f eqn="sum 0 0 @1"/> <v:f eqn="prod @2 1 2"/> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelWidth"/> <v:f eqn="prod @3 21600 pixelHeight"/> <v:f eqn="sum @0 0 1"/> <v:f eqn="prod @6 1 2"/> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelWidth"/> <v:f eqn="sum @8 21600 0"/> <v:f eqn="prod @7 21600 pixelHeight"/> <v:f eqn="sum @10 21600 0"/> </v:formulas> <v:path o:extrusionok="f" gradientshapeok="t" o:connecttype="rect"/> <o:lock v:ext="edit" aspectratio="t"/> </v:shapetype><v:shape id="_x0000_i1025" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="" style='width:24pt; height:24pt'/><![endif]--><!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->

    02audionoob Thanks for the impartial suggestions. If I may I have some follow up questions regarding your choices.
    1. What made you select these components over others that you have auditioned?
    2. Why did you select these particular speakers? Were they the best just before the point of diminishing returns began to be crossed, or was there another reason? Were they good with any amp or this particular amp? What are their characteristics warm, natural, bassy .... etc?
    3. What are the characteristics of the amp warm, natural, bassy .... etc? What made it stand out when compared to other amps you auditioned?
    4. Any other insight you may be willing to offer.

    I think my answers to questions 1, 2 and 3 are very similar...so I’ll try all in one.

    Beginning with early adult life my point of reference was my Marantz 2325 receiver and 6300 turntable with JBL speakers. It was a solid system for its time. Little did I know at the time, it's almost the stereotypical (no pun intended) mid-fi system of the 1970's. I later acquired my Kenwood Basic components and a Pioneer CD player. The performance of the Pioneer was very good for its time. The quality of the Basic series still holds up. It has developed a cult following...again, little did I know at the time.

    In recent years I decided to start experimenting. First up was Adcom. Good reputation. Affordable. I matched the GFA-535, the GFA-545II and the GFA-555II amps with the GFP-555, the GFP-565, the SLC-505 preamps and GCD-575 CD. These were bought used and now only the GFP-555II and GCD-575 remain. The speakers I used with them were first the JBL S-series and then an upgrade to the Focal Cobalt series by JM Lab. The optimum for me seemed to be the GFA-545II and GFP-565, so I still have them...but the Adcom system has been demoted to the bedroom and the GFP-565 is up for sale locally.

    And then came the current system you'll see in my profile - the Audio Research CA50, Music Hall CD-25, PS Audio DLIII, ProAc Tri-Tower, etc. I suspect my beginnings with the Marantz equipment still affect my preferences. The Focal speakers have been replaced in my main system mostly because they are bright for my taste, although they seem less so when paired with the Marantz or the Audio Research than with the Adcom. In fact, I suspect for many the Focal bookshelf speakers would be a nice fit with the 50-watt tube amp. They're efficient and detailed. The brightness would likely be easily tamed by most tube amps, but maybe my room is a little too live or my Audio Research amp has a bit of a sharp edge as compared to other tube amps. I don't really know. I was able to solve it with my ProAc floorstanders and got a very nice upgrade in soundstage and midrange with the deal. You would think I'd be getting better bass now with the floorstanders, but I'm not so sure. I still sometimes supplement them with a sub. These are designed as home theater speakers, so they’re tall and thin. The bass drivers in the Tri-Tower are smaller than in the D1, but there are more of them. I sometimes think I'd like the D1 better.

    So after those past and present experiences I learned I have a preference for smooth presentation and precise soundstage. I can live without big power. My music tastes have begun to lean heavily toward jazz, classical and solo vocals...especially female...so that's a bias that affects my thinking. Now I search for detail and warmth on a budget. I wouldn’t dream of auditioning anything without my Wynton Marsalis CDs. My budget has increased in recent years, mostly just due to the increased value I've begun to place on the quality of sound. After doing some of what you're doing...searching forums, posting threads, reading reviews, etc...I came to some decisions on what type sound I wanted to pursue and what types of components that could provide it. I even auditioned more Focal speakers but their presentation of female voices seemed to recede when I want it more forward. I’m on a mission to reduce sibilance, too. I think I’m there on the digital side, but I still find myself attracted to the Rega Saturn. The vinyl ssetup can sstill annoy me a little ssometimes.

    The components I chose for my ideal system meet the criteria I've come to at this point, based on the travels described above. They're in a budget I could deal with. They produce the mids and highs in a detailed and slightly warm way that I've learned I like. They produce enough bass to support the overall sound but not distract. Similar equipment could be had for half of retail on the used market, so that could also be a track I’d follow in putting together my ideal system. After all, if I decide I can spend $10k on a setup, I could potentially get $10k worth of used equipment for $5k or $6k. At that point maybe I’d add a turntable.
    :14:
  • 06-11-2009, 10:09 PM
    Rudy Gireyev
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Worf101
    It's so refreshing and nice to see a rational, informed and educated "first post". I'm an HT midfi guy so I've not many recommendations for you in the dedicated 2 channel audiophile realm. But I can tell you that the approach and questioning are first rate and I'd be quite surprised if you didn't find just the information you're looking for. Once again "welcome".

    Da Worfster

    Thank you Da Worfster for the Welcome and for the kind words. Some of that information is already coming in.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    * "transcient" is how fast the amp can react.

    Ahhh so you actually meant transient as in transient. :) Hmmm maybe that will make more sense once I start the auditioning.:confused:
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Dynaudio is surprisingly similar throughout their series. Although I think they are trying to distinguish them a bit now. I really like the Focus but that series seems to be a bit warmer than other Dynaudio series. In general I like Dynaudio because they are as neutral a speaker as I have found. By that I mean they are equally as good with most any amp as long as they have the guts to drive them and any genre of music.

    Wow if this pans out to be the case, then this Raider of the Lost Ark will have definitely discovered a huge piece of the puzzle. Sounds very very promising.

    Thanks for the Cables clarification
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I am out of time, let me know if you have any more questions or want to price out my hardware.

    Thanks for the offer, I just might take you up on it, although it will be some time down the road. Now that I'm finishing up my "homework" and after the auditioning process begins. If it takes weeks then in a few weeks and if it takes months well then ....
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    Most if not all of my selections are used items.

    I'm totally OK with that. It seems like on the high end of things, more times than not, used stuff is as good or better than some new stuff.
    Thanks Joe that is some great gear you've got listed. Some follow up questions:
    1. For the gear listed can you give me a couple of words, as to why you chose it over some of the other stuff you auditioned or even researched.
    2. Again for the gear listed if you could put into words some of their dominant or apparent characteristics as seen by you.
    3. About the Marantz SACD 8003, what did it go up against to win a place in your system?

    Thanks Joe.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    Could you afford to spend 5k-7k?

    Hmmmm this question from you makes me nervous, as I realize that I'm unable to communicate clearly enough what I'm after. You see, you are not putting together a system for me. That job is taken by me, Rudy. :) I'm asking you O'Shag to put together an Audiophile system for you O'Shag, at your budget. Let's say I'm asking you to roleplay a game where your place burned down and you received insurance money and now need to build your system from scratch. :) In your mind you will go through the process of selection of your gear. Pick out what type of gear you will buy, which model you selected over other models, higher or lower priced, their attributes and characteristics that you found preferable. And maybe even some "golden pairings" that you found between components. My request is that you put the said selection process to pen so that I and anyone else who reads it can form a relative base, a frame of reference, which they can use in their own audition process later on. I'm basically trying to extract from you, your auditioning experience. Since to me that will be much much more beneficial than receiving a list of makes or models to look at and evaluate.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by O'Shag
    Rudy hi - I'm in Redondo Beach so the southbay area pretty much.

    Ahhh back in my married days we lived in an apartment complex right on the corner of Artesia and Aviation. Beautiful area, very hip, young and densely populated. :) These days I'm near the Corner of Bundy and Wilshire. Kind of a crossing point of Santa Monica, West LA and Brentwood. Anyway, if you have any favorite spots that you hit up for auditioning I'd love to get a list of that as well. Hopefully if Tommy and other Angelinos respond, I'll hit them up for that additional bit of info as well. :)
    TIA

    Rudy
  • 06-12-2009, 05:00 AM
    Mr Peabody
    02, I'm glad you mentioned how as you learned to appreciate audio gear you were increasingly willing to spend more. I can't remember which thread this came up on before but many here don't seem to understand that point. You learned to appreciate audio where some still have passion for other hobbies first and audio second then want to criticize or put down others who spend more money on audio.

    I wasn't offering to sell my gear, I just didn't have a chance to post what I paid or the price range, I didn't know if that was important. However, if I sold my CJ preamp I'd love to upgrade to a CT-6 and I do have a Krell 500i I could part with.
  • 06-12-2009, 06:30 AM
    theebadone
    Hello, I too am working with a limited budget. Thats why i find my local craigs list very helpful in putting together a decent system that could hang with the big boys with an unlimited budget. Just yesterday there was an mcintosh 6100 posted for 500.00, a set of klipsch lascala speakers, a set of paradigm monitors, and a nice set of wharfdales modus 8 for 100.00. I think if you work at it a person could put a decent system together for around 1200.00 anyone would be proud of. just my .02 cents worth
  • 06-12-2009, 09:34 AM
    Feanor
    This sounds like fun. I'm always up to day-dream about my ideal system.

    I'll go for it right now. The following list observes some contraints:
    • Stereo, not multi-channel
    • Must fit in my current listening room; (I'm building a system, not a house).
    • US$ prices, new, in the mid-range: see the total price tag.

    Speakers:
    Magneplanar MG 3.6; magneto-planar plus ribbons. Approx. $5000.
    Subwoofer:
    Rythmik Audio F-15 Direct Servo 15". $900
    Power Amplifier(s):
    Wyred 4 Sound SX-500 pair. ICEpower switching amps. $1800 pair. (Here I skimp.)
    Preamplfier:
    BAT VK-3iX; fully balanced tube. $3500. (Here I splurge.)
    SACD Player:
    Marantz SA8300. About $1000
    Digital-Analog-Convert (DAC):
    Benchmark DAC1 USB. $1300
    Music computer:
    Intel or AMD multi-core; Windows 7; two, 1.5 terabyte external drives,24" montor. Fubar2000 audio player. About $1200.
    Interconnects & speaker cables:
    Blue Jeans Cable. For everything <$250.
    TOTAL BITE:
    Under $15,000, excluding taxes, shipping, etc.
  • 06-12-2009, 11:17 AM
    JoeE SP9
    Mr. Peabody:
    In that post I mentioned the Krell was a casualty of an acrimonious divorce. I'm just glad I came out of it with my LP's and CD's.

    Rudy:
    My current equipment list is a give away about my selections. Most of the gear in the list I have had for quite some time. I've been using Audio Research pre-amps since the early 80's. My first pair of planar speakers were bought new in 1976. The VPI was bought in the middle 80's. The Dyna MK-III's were built from kits purchased in 1973(?). They have been extensively modified to the point that the only remaining Dynaco parts are the transformers. My Haflers have been modded according to the POOGE articles published in The Audio Amateur years ago. As should be evident by now, I buy gear with long time ownership in mind.
    My selection of power amps is dictated by the speakers. The Marantz SACD player, well who else makes an "audiophile" grade SACD player that's not ridiculously priced? Besides my CD-63SE is still working fine after 15(?) years. I've been involved with this obsession since I was 20. I'll be 62 in September which will make it 42 years since I bought a Fisher KX-90 integrated amp kit as my first piece of gear. So, I've had many years to develope my personal taste in gear.
    So, my choices are based on extensive experience with gear over a long time.
  • 06-13-2009, 12:59 AM
    RGA
    I would listen to completel systems - components change with what they're connected to.

    My bias is to HE / Single Ended tube amplifiers. You may prefer high power with LE speakers. But listing components as if a given preamp will always be better in every system is IMO a "lie" perpetuated by the industry (magazines and makers and dealers). The best digital I have heard is from Audio Note and in a different system it was quite terrible. The component approach will likely yield an endless upgrade path - good for the dealers - not necessarily for you.
  • 06-13-2009, 05:19 AM
    Mr Peabody
    RGA, you should price out a starter AN system. Do they still offer the single box CD player at $2500.00? It's not easy to find a place to audition AN though or even dealers in the states. It would seem if any where though possibly LA.
  • 06-13-2009, 06:33 AM
    drmorgan
    Hi again Rudy,

    I've maintained that the artists, record or media producers together with your ear and listening space will do the coloring. You will want equipment that will faithfully deliver the art and yet allow you to add any coloring you or the space needs. Also that you will want to have a system that will give you pleasure without breaking the bank or in need of service.

    I arrived at my approach after concluding that the science of faithful sound reproduction had been settled for a very, very long time. I've not learned any secrets which suggested otherwise.

    To get back to your request:
    Believing that speakers must faithfully deliver a wide range of sound that is accurate and should be capable of presenting the same as made:
    Bozak Concert Grands B410 (because I agreed with Bozak's idea that his arrangement of drivers would deliver only what the artist made). Biamping helped when we moved to larger space. The 302a worked in normal rooms, but in dead large, heigh ones, the Grand's were great.
    McIntosh 2300's because they can deliver on Bozak's promise (no distortion).
    McIntosh's C26m C28 or C34V preamps because coloring became more possible as they engineered it and we liked nearly all kinds of music.
    Beogram 4002 Turntable because it is slightly better at tracking vinyl records than others I'd tried, but a Sony TTS 3000 system that compensates sounds as well on the same records.
    CD Player.. Sony about any model because they've been reliable and tracking a CD is not difficult (and the Pre-amp can compensate for error or add my prejudice).

    This system worked well in rooms from 10' high, 20' wide and 25' long. It worked best in rooms 65' long, 30’ wide and 26' high too. Worked in rooms with heavy drapes, leather or cloth furniture and in those with hard wood or soft wood walls and nothing but one preamp failed.

    I added a host of other gear such as FM tuners (MR67, 78 and 7082), Sony and Teac Tapes and have auditioned all the present and past great name hardware. The stuff I’d bought in the mid ‘70’s into the early ‘80’s still sounds well and delivers. I had the benefit of friends in the business of making records and artists over the years. I was surprised to learn we shared a lot of equipment choices and experiences getting it right. That does not prove anything. Lot of ears and rooms, music preferences. Music was important to us, so budgets were not. We had it on all the time and never tired of it. I’m downsizing just now as I enter my 70’s with the Bozak’s 302a and some of the Mac gear built earlier. My first equipment was built from kits offered by Harmon Kardon (Citation Series) and tube stuff. I have nothing good to offer as to special cable or speaker leads. Radio Shack worked well but Monster #10 was fine for the 65’ run.

    I was lucky enough to have consulted with Rudy Bozak from the late ‘50’s to his retirement as too Saul Marantz before he ran onto hard times and sold out to Superscope. We had the expertise of qualified, licensed sound engineers from the 60’s into the ‘80’s. I would not buy any gear that can’t reproduce the full range of sound I can hear proved by a professional Test record and validated by music that I know well and have heard in person and on a system that I found credible. The one I choose was not the only one that did so, but for our reasons worked out well. In fact it worked well for over three decades and still does! Paid for service after sale... Nothing to date. Junked some stuff from major makers.. You bet! Accurate, faithful sound reproduction is easier than coming up with a reason to buy one brand over another. Keep your objective in mind and test only with the eyes closed. Good luck on the quest.
  • 06-13-2009, 08:09 PM
    hifitommy
    one need not become a pauper
    to have a high end system. high end is the sound, not always the price. one can get going with some NAD electronics, canadian speakers (energy, psb, paradigm), a used tt from agon or asylum ads, a cart from AT or grado via a net order, and say a sangean HD tuner or used tuner from a pawn shop (fisher rack mout system tuners arent bad).

    here in LA we have a wealth of brick stores to go and hear things in not to mention used record stores.

    joining the LA/OC Audio Society will soon reveal where many of these places are. but there are these:

    shelley's in sta monica or woodland hills

    evolution in agoura

    LA audio video on western ave

    upscale audio in upland

    gnp in pasadena

    many others actually and most are amenable to home audition.

    my system can be viewed at the asylum and much of it is affordable stuff.
  • 06-13-2009, 08:33 PM
    Mr Peabody
    Upscales website has a page full of trades/demos/specials, that would be a great place to visit as they have a huge variety of brands.
  • 06-13-2009, 09:27 PM
    drmorgan
    Hi Rudy,
    Most of the posts here indicate they're happy many differnt brands. Different budgets and probably different space and music favorities.

    Here is the info on the test record that will let anyone start knowing the hardware works properly (and to maintain it later).

    Columbia Labratory, STR 100 (must be updated by now and one for CD's as well)
    Starts with a sweep test from 40-20,000. (each channel)
    Spot Frequency Test from 1,000 to 20,000. This with voice identification of what you should hear.
    Channel Separation Test
    Tone Arm Resonance Test 200 cps to 10 cps.
    1000 CPS reference tone to validate both right and left channels are correct.
    Wavelength Loss and Stylus wear test
    Compliance and Phasing test (tests both verticle and horizontal tracking and woolfer phasing.
    Once you have a group of components that pass you can pick and choose and add with an EQ for your preferences and room.

    By the way, wire is wire: http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm
    Russell does a great job explaining how and why wire became a marketing gimmick. An ohms meter will validate any you select. The laws of physics still applies.
  • 06-14-2009, 10:29 AM
    Mr Peabody
    Wire is not wire, no matter what articles you pull off the internet. The Mac guy went against the grain to make publicity for himself and his company. Like any product there's bound to be one that doesn't do what it says but for the most part people will notice gain from better cabling. This is something one just has to try for themselves with an objective mind. You have to have gear that is good enough to reflect the difference and as any other component in the audio chain performance can vary with synergy of the system. To say you can measure sound with a volt meter is ridiculous, if that was so most all components would sound the same whether it's an amp or what ever. Sound of cables is a hotly debated topic and I'd urge any one not to take any one's word at this but definitely try for yourself. The naysayers could keep you from a valid gain in performance while if you are one that doesn't hear enough gain to warrant the expense then you wasted money. Any shop that sells higher end components has loaner cables or online dealer will allow 30 day trial. So nothing is lost by trying and then you will know which camp you will be in.

    If one has been reading this site I'm sure you've read one of the many prior debates on this site that have been about cables
  • 06-14-2009, 10:48 AM
    JoeE SP9
    I agree with Mr. Peabody. At one time I too thought all wires sounded the same. Having a brand new BS EE only gave me more courage to push that idea. In the last 30+ years as my gear got better and my reliance on textbooks grew less my own hearing made me realize that all wires and cables are not equal.
    For those that can't hear the differences different wires and cables make, that's good for you. It means more money to spend on CD's and LP's. If you can hear the difference I'm not going to preach to the converted.
    If you are ambivalent, borrow from a local retailer or try some from an online resource with 30 day return privileges. If you hear no difference return them and you've lost nothing. If you do hear a difference, have fun. You can now spend time, money and effort finding the ones that sound best in your system to your ears.
    BTW:
    Equalizers, expanders, companders and other "gadgets" can and often do mask the differences that cables and wires can exhibit.
    IOW:
    The simpler the system the more audible small differences become.
  • 06-14-2009, 10:56 AM
    Mr Peabody
    Good point about the EQ, I didn't even think about that.
  • 06-14-2009, 11:22 AM
    mlsstl
    Quote:

    JoeE SP9 said: "Equalizers, expanders, companders and other "gadgets" can and often do mask the differences that cables and wires can exhibit."
    That also gets back to the fact that most things in engineering (and life in general) are compromises. If one is having a speaker/room interaction that is solved by a parametric equalizer, that could easily be an improvement that is vastly more desirable than any change offered by a speaker wire.

    Some systems are also more sensitive to differences in RCL, even to the point of instability. One should point out that having a system that is more sensitive to those factors does not automatically translate to "better." Having a high-strung system is not a guarantee of performance.

    There is also the issue, in some cases, that fine-tuning a system's frequency response with expensive cables on a trial & error basis can be a rather back-assward way of essentially installing tone controls.

    My experience has been that speaker wire and interconnect differences are usually fairly subtle when one does hear them. I do tend to find the hyperbole some write with rather over-the-top. I think they do a disservice to the hobby of high fidelity when the language gets too grandiose in describing differences.

    Of course, balanced perspective is often the hardest thing for a human to possess!
  • 06-14-2009, 11:44 AM
    Mr Peabody
    I would agree that the differences between good cables can sometimes be subtle but the differences in a typical cable like come in the box and a quality cable are significant. You are welcome to come over to do some listening and cable comparisons if you wish. Or, if you wish, your place, then you can do the switching and i can see if I can still hear the difference. I traded my Transparent to IBStormin but I have my Siltech and can get some Transparent from MFP. I also have some BJC now.
  • 06-14-2009, 12:35 PM
    02audionoob
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by drmorgan
    Hi Rudy,
    By the way, wire is wire: http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm
    Russell does a great job explaining how and why wire became a marketing gimmick. An ohms meter will validate any you select. The laws of physics still applies.

    That's a pretty amazing unilateral statement to make in an audio forum.
  • 06-14-2009, 01:39 PM
    hifitommy
    wire is......
    "By the way, wire is wire: http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm
    Russell does a great job explaining how and why wire became a marketing gimmick. An ohms meter will validate any you select. The laws of physics still applies."

    that is until you clean out your ears with q-tips and get some real equipment. i dont know what equip you have but with decent separates one should be able to discern cable diffs either speaker or interconnects.

    whether the diffs are from bing 'better' sounding or different sounding is another story. you must make up your own mind here. naturally the diffs are quite subtle but are assuredly there. and its not that i am advocating high priced wires, just affordable alternatives.

    there is a myriad of affordable wire that sounds good-AQ type 4 speaker cable, and many others. aq, cardas, kimber, blue jeans, etc all make various priced wire. or you can just ust what come free or cheeeeep. home depot extension cord for speakers is reputed to be purty good. i use malibu lighting wire for my rear channels because it is big enough and durable.

    wire however is not just wire, it has its own sound.
  • 06-14-2009, 02:09 PM
    mlsstl
    Quote:

    Mr Peabody said: "...but the differences in a typical cable like come in the box and a quality cable are significant."
    Since there is a subjective value attached to the differences between things, it is only natural that people will each place a different weight on the significance of what they hear.

    To me, a "significant" difference falls in the category of how a Klipshorn sounds compared to a Quad 57, for example. There are unquestioned major differences that affect which is better suited for a particular listener. Those two products are in major-league contrast to each other and few people would be unable to tell the difference.

    Short of just using absolutely the wrong cable in a situation (e.g., unshielded telephone wire from a turntable to phono input where the sound is plagued by hum and buzzing) I've never heard any comparison between wires that I would put in the dramatic category.

    I think we just need to be careful about the language used. It is just my observation that audiophiles often seem to have a flair for the dramatic when describing things. This can be so overboard that it ultimately damages their case, especially when non-audio enthusiasts are listening to the conversation.

    Just my two cents. ;-)
  • 06-14-2009, 02:17 PM
    hifitommy
    careful enough?
    just checking-i wrote:"naturally the diffs are quite subtle but are assuredly there"
  • 06-14-2009, 04:27 PM
    mlsstl
    Quote:

    hifitommy wrote: 'just checking-i wrote:"naturally the diffs are quite subtle but are assuredly there'"
    My apologies if you took my comment about overboard language as a reference to you. Nope, didn't mean you.

    However, anyone who has read any of the online audio forums knows there is no shortage of people who do get a bit carried away. ;-)
  • 06-14-2009, 05:19 PM
    hifitommy
    nope, no hurt feelings
    it was a backhanded way of showing others it can be done without being a fanatic. ohhhhh, i remember mtrycrafts and the chihuahuas, they were death on this kind of thing. and receivers were good enough for him too.
  • 06-14-2009, 05:24 PM
    02audionoob
    In the context of this thread, it seems like the question would not be whether you argue there is a difference with expensive cables but whether you would have them in your own ideal system.
  • 06-14-2009, 05:35 PM
    hifitommy
    do you think that if i had MBL101s----
    and the rest of the necessary equipment that i would buy low end wire?? nope. THEN i would be ev aluating the $1K and up wire. i wouldnt go to marc c bloome for tires if i had a bentley now would i?

    the more refined the system, the more you will notice differences like big buck aftermarket power cables and the like. but no sense in $1k cables in my system as of now. BUT i DO have a pair of acoustic zen silver interconnects that i won in the raffle at the LA/OC Audio Society meeting. and of course they occupy the preamp to amp spot.

    and NO, i havent done a rabid comparison to the aq ruby cables that were there before. maybe someday.
  • 06-14-2009, 10:45 PM
    pixelthis
    1 Attachment(s)
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    That's a pretty amazing unilateral statement to make in an audio forum.


    The truth is "amazing"?
    I have a somewhat unique perspective on this subject, having been in law enforcement
    for some years.
    And hearing two "witnesses" argue about weather or not a perp is white or black(or, quote,,
    a "mexican") pretty much shakes up your world view about what people perceive.
    There is NO electronic difference between cables once you get to a certain q level.
    the rest is between the ears, not in them, and a lot of cable makers make great scratch off of this self delusion.
    I dont beleive in Santa clause, the easter bunny, or man loving lesbians either, BTW.:1:
  • 06-14-2009, 11:50 PM
    JoeE SP9
    I will stand by what I posted earlier. There are small differences in cables. The average receiver is not transparent enough to hear these differences. If someone does not hear those differences so be it. I can and people that visit can.I fail to see/hear what law enforcement or identifying "perps" has to do with the subject. Nobody here is attempting to identify a criminal. I'm reasonably sure those of us who hear differences in cables did not always think there were differences.
    Only after being dragged kicking and screaming did I come to believe and hear these small differences. My first wife was (she had extraordinary hearing) the first person to make me believe. I ran some single blind tests with her and she could reliably hear different cables. After she began describing what she heard and didn't hear I began to hear and understand what she was describing. This took a little time because her descriptive vocabulary was different from "audio speak".
    There is a lot more going on in wires and cables than you can measure with a meter whether it be a VTVM or DVM. Please don't regale me with links to web sites or textbooks. I have a BS EE and know all the technical reasons why wires are the same. In my system in my room there are audible differences. I invite anyone close to come over and we'll do some listening and comparing. No matter what the results it should be a fun time.
  • 06-15-2009, 04:31 AM
    02audionoob
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pixelthis
    The truth is "amazing"?
    I have a somewhat unique perspective on this subject, having been in law enforcement
    for some years.
    And hearing two "witnesses" argue about weather or not a perp is white or black(or, quote,,
    a "mexican") pretty much shakes up your world view about what people perceive.
    There is NO electronic difference between cables once you get to a certain q level.
    the rest is between the ears, not in them, and a lot of cable makers make great scratch off of this self delusion.
    I dont beleive in Santa clause, the easter bunny, or man loving lesbians either, BTW.:1:

    The unilateral comment is amazing. To make a comment with such simple assumption of correctness without acknowledging that there is a debate to be had on the topic is amazing.

    And...If there's a difference up to a certain q level, it's debatable where that q level is. Some people seem to think there's a difference between the free interconnects and the inexpensive ones, but not a difference between the inexpensive interconnects and the expensive ones. That sounds like a rationalization to me.

    By the way...Just exactly what do you mean by (or, quote,,a "mexican")?