A Discussion About What Level Of Analog To Stop At

So this is a bit of a friendly discussion, a sharing of information, and perhaps a bit of a what if thread.

As we acknowledge, the rooms our stereo’s reside in are a significant factor in how our audio systems sound. Now this discussion takes place mostly in the arena of speakers, and perhaps amplification for those speakers. I don’t believe I have read threads where it comes up in context to our source components. But I am wondering if it should?

In terms of myself, I only run one system unless you count my headphone rig. Truth is I rarely listen to that and I wonder if it is worth the money I spent there. But I am a consolidator and climber when it comes to audio gear. I also have an understanding with my patient spouse that I keep the audio gear in one room. I suspect if I tried taking over another room with audio gear, she would bury me in a shallow grave in the back yard.

So I have run of the living room within reason. Now this is the best room for audio in the house, but it is by no means perfect. it is 16’W by 20’ L with 8’ ceilings that are textured with acoustic popcorn. The flooring is short pile carpet with heavy pad. There is a dining room off the left wall, so only a half wall on that side. The right wall has a picture window in it. 6’L and 5’T. The back wall has french doors with glass panes. There is a little notch in the back left corner about 3’L by 1.5’D, its where they put a small bathroom on the other side of the wall. Equipment rack is on the side wall under the window. The speakers on the short wall on each side of a fireplace. Listen chair is 4 feet off the french doors.

Stereo consists of:

Martin Logan CLX ART speakers w dual Velodyne HGS12 subwoofers

Classe Omega monoblock amplifiers

Trinov Amethyst pre-amp (the DSP functions are a prime consideration in buying)

Cen Grand DSDac 1.0 Deluxe DAC

BPT 2.5 Signature power conditioner

Now all the analog gear is where it gets messy, and my consolidation thoughts are kicking in

Turntable #1 SOTA Cosmos Eclipse/SME V/Transfiguration Audio Porteus

Turntable #2 Scheu Analog Das Laufwerk No2 with Schroder CB-1L and Ortofon Verismo. Second arm Dynavector DV505 that gets used with an Ortofon MC2000/Ortofon MC3000 II/Kiseki Blackheart

Phono stages are a BMC MCCI Signature ULN, a standard BMC MCI Signature, and Esoteric E-03. Have an Ortofon T2000 SUT to use with the MC2000.


As a consolidator I sometimes wonder if all of this is necessary. The money is spent and this is kind of my audio kitty funds. I tend to keep those monies separate and often save and then sell pieces being upgraded to afford that next step. The reality is that often I cannot have to expensive pieces side by side and decide which I like the best. Since I also shop Audiogon and USAM for used gear it’s not possible to listen to candidates. As a consolidation I look at what is out there. For instance, when I tally things up I could possibly afford a Walker Proscenium that happens to be on Ebay at the moment. I would be down to one table, one phono stage, and two cartridges. One thing that stops me is that gold on the Walker is damned ugly, secondly, I am not sure I got room for the pump assembly. My system is a bit large for this room as it sits.

As I am writing I wonder if this room can really support a higher tier of analog gear than I got. I think some would argue that this room is limited in ways to compromise even what I have. The sound is very nice, better than I hear at many shows, and in other audiophiles’ homes I have gone to. We have a local audio group, and I haven’t heard anything I like better. In the past I have used the MC3000 II cartridge as a casual listening tool, but with the CEN GRAND DAC the sound is so nice I really don’t need to do that anymore. Still need the Dynavector arm though if I want to play the MC2000. Now all of these cartridges sound very very nice, and I could live with any of them. Truth is I like the Transfiguration the least. Or I think so till I spend about a weekend listening to it.

One thought is to choose one table and sell it all off and maximize that one. The other is to keep the Verismo and probably the Kiseki. Buy the very best table and arm I can with all the funds gathered once I sell all that stuff. The question I cannot answer for myself is ...is this worth it given what my room allows this system to do? I have a small amount of room treatment with wood diffusers, ART series acoustic panels, and the DSP function of the preamp. But I cannot turn this into a full-on treated room because of the basic limitations of it.

I have probably made posts in the past in other threads putting ideas like this forward. But I don’t know if I ever made a comprehensive post with all these thoughts. laid out. If you feel its repetitive, I do understand. However, if you have thoughts or ideas, I would surely be interested in reading them. Take the conversation wherever makes sense, as this is meant to be a wide-ranging discussion. Thanks for any of your contributions!



no way I’m going to read all of that and try to digest it, but good luck with whatever you are trying to accomplish

moving on

I have Multiple TT's and a selection of TA's that will be a dream combination for many.

I am a owner of a selection of Cartridges LOMC, HOMC and MM, some are immediately usable some need a visit to a Third Party Service to be returned to a version of a former glory and a few are Specifically purchased to be not used as the purchased Cart'. These are donor models for a rebuild Cart'. 

It would not be much more than a £1000's to have all owned Cart's in a condition I would like to see them.

Like Yourself, I can get caught up in Cart's and have a keen interest in what can be offered as a result of using them. At present one of your Cart's in use is a Cart' I have keenness to experience, and another is one I have always been keen on, and once nearly bought into the model.

When it comes to experiencing Vinyl Replays, I have always been contented with One TA>Cart' immediately available, the option to have Two TA's and another Cart' has seemed an attractive option, but not enough of one for myself to put into practice as a permanent option.

As a personal undertaking, I do like to experience how the audio experience can be impacted on by changing electronic interfaces down stream of the Cart' and TA Signal Path.

To do this I have TA's that enable the Tag Wires to be exchanged, and PC Triple C has been the Tag Wire that has superseded all other tried out Tag Wires.

I have used Din>RCA Interconnects produced with both Silver and Copper Signal Wires and PC Triple C Wire has been to one that has superseded all other wires used as a signal wire for a Cable.

I have also experienced Cart' Pins to RCA continuous wired TA's using both Silver and Copper as the Signal Wire. Admittedly all TA's tried using this wiring method, have not been the same, I am expecting a experience to be had before the end of the year where that is to change.  

I have experienced the same TA's with different Copper Signal Wires with the same Cart' and TT, on the same Audio System and the TA' using the PC triple C wire for the Signal Path has proved to be extremely impressive and is the one I will aspire to.

I started working on Mechanical Interfaces a very long time ago, this is a continued experience and commenced working on electrical interfaces about six years ago. When PC Triple C was discovered and later D.U.C.C Wire, there was not much else to be done with the wire types, wire gauges and wire terminations/connectors, that is another area of learning about interfaces.

There has for myself, the need to be listening to music as the main area of participation in all this, and not in a analytical/critical way, just getting the opportunity to switch off for months at a time and experience Old and New Musical encounters is the Goal, forgetting the influence of the equipment and bespoke treatments for the equipment and ancillaries.

Additionally the use of a CD Source does not stimulate any ambitions/intentions for the Source in the same way the Vinyl Source does. This enables numerous hours of music to be replayed and experienced in a variety of moods. It is also a an attraction to have in use a CD Source that is as attractive to have in use as the Vinyl Source. In the past year the CD Source has travelled more than the Vinyl Source to be used for away from the home demonstrations, it really does create a very positive reception. 

Every so often for myself and as for many others, the urge comes to experience something new.

I have developed my own way of doing this, that is pretty much contained around the Phono Amplification.

I have a few options on Phonostages > SUT/Head Amp.

I can use a LOMC straight into a MM Stage, or with a selection of permutations across the available supporting ancillaries. A lot of alternate experiences can be had, and a stimulation can be produced to try out specific recordings with a particular permutation.

Over the past 18 Months I have encountered a New to myself Brand of SUT's and a SS - MM/MC Phonostage I am keen to experience in the home system. All roads lead to the idea, these devices might just be very worthy additions to already owned devices. The reason I stick tight to this as a method, is that these device types are not anything like being extremely fragile or sacrificial like a Cart'.

Using the method where supporting ancillaries are in use, the opportunity to experience alternative presentations is not so precarious, as is a exchanging of Cart's as the other option. 

A EE friend feels they have discovered a easily reversible tweak that can be incorporated into my DAC, that will most likely lift the performance to be a a little more impressive, I am keen to have this experience.

I am not a trader in equipment to keep my interest in audio equipment in control financially, even though I have bartered in the past to have a EE, carry out work for myself. I have very few sales under my belt and the last was probably a TT I have duplicates of approx' 4 years ago.

I am a hoarder and doesn't those that know me, know about it.

I have a audio/man cave room, it has been treated for absorption and diffusion, the work undertaken seemingly works a treat.         

I have ESL Speakers as my main Speakers, but also have a Floor Standing Cabinet Speaker and until recently a Stand Mount Speaker.

Rules are Rules, and the Stand Mounted Speakers had overstayed their welcome outside of the listening room and were gifted by my wife to a family member.

My away from home listening sessions have introduced me to a variety of Speakers both ESL and Cabinet, some of the homes visited have both design types at hand to be put to use. I do feel as a result of these experiences, I am homed in on the virtues of both design types when used in a particular environment.

It is no secret on this forum, that over the past Six Years I have been closely associated with a EE/Engineers work being carried out on their own design for a TA'. The parallel and interesting outcome is the EE/engineer has been improving on the Speakers used within their system and I am now convinced that a search for a New Speaker Type will be one that I get a real beneficial outcome from.

Another friend who is using the same TA as above as well as having produced their own design for a TA, has extensive experience with producing Speakers. I have been demo's a few designs of Speaker against the same ESL's I own in their own home. I am always impressed with what a carefully thought out Cabinet, Driver and Xover can produce in comparison to a ESL.

As a summary and in response to the OP's request to receive thoughts and ideas.

How the Audio Systems Source is created is a personal choice and what is a stimulation is not really a restriction if pursued, even if putting it in place is requiring a additional cost and real estate to have it readily available to be used.

Open minded about interfaces has been the most important factor in keeping certain devices of audio equipment kept and not exchanged, with the correct for the end user interfaces created, there does not seem to be a stimulus created to exchange old for new.

When interfaces are perceived as being of a condition that are to be kept and there is a certainty there is no want for these to be exchanged. The idea of having a device in use, that can be perceived as really capitalising on the presentation of the sound capable of being created, does become an unavoidable stimulus, hence in my most recent evaluation of where I am at, the Speaker becomes the audio device in use with a scrutiny being placed upon it.                    

Just my thoughts, keep your favorite turntable, tonearm, and phono. Swap out cartridges at your leisure. Both your turntables are very nice. It would be a difficult choice for me, but I think the SOTA is a keeper. 

Best of  luck with your decision!

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