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!



I have a fairly elaborate system in one room. I can play vinyl, CD’s, Stream music and have Hi-Rez on a dedicated hard drive via a Bryston BDP3, Bryston DAC. Krell, Rel, Revel, CJ, Rega, Blue Heaven cabling throughout. Sounds great to me.

However, In my living room I have Amphion one speakers connected by Kimber 8tc cables to a Naim Unity Atom. That’s it.

I have lately found myself mostly relaxing in my living room and really enjoying the simple set up. I am reminded of that saying about the simple things in life.


OK, the question is why? Is the sound more to your liking or is the environment in the living room more to your liking, more comfortable. 

I spend most of my listening hours in the shop on a mid fi secondary system streaming from the main system over the local network. Sounds OK but not stellar.I spend more hours in the shop then my listening chair for obvious reasons. 

Sorry, but that is not true. ESLs will move their diaphragms in an attempt to make bass and if you take a very near field measurement they would seem to be very accurate... until you move away from the speaker. Because they are dipoles there are interference effects that cause amplitude issues and wors, the longer excursions of the diaphragm Doppler distort everything else the speaker is doing. Not only this but the longer excursions severely limit headroom because the diaphragm has a very limited space to operate in, about +- 3 mm.

My Quad 2905 speakers claim to output down to 28Hz, but I think that will be rather quiet. It suits me well to take the second output of my pre-amp via a Y-connector to an active subwoofer which handles the really low frequencies (crossover set to take over at 50Hz). It's well away from my speakers, low frequency sounds being pretty much non-directional to the human ear) and blends in nicely. So well, that if I were to do it all over again, I'd go for the 2805 or modern equivalent.

Back to the original topic: I've lived for a few days with my two best cartridges alone. I'm still going to add back the mono cartridge when I figure out how to make it stop humming. Likely all six arms will end up in play again, though I hope to keep the best cartridge and the mono cartridge getting the lion's share of the work, with the others for occasional entertainment. I still prefer the sound of my Quad 24p with a source switch box, to the MF NuVista Vinyl that handles five tonearms at once. I guess I'm lucky I have only to please myself with all the fine details, Mrs Dogberry being happy with any or all of it.

In my last post in this thread, I missed a area of using audio equipment that generates a stimulus. 

That is the being able to directly experience the work carried out by a few known individuals. Where they have applied their skillset to produce a design for micro engineering that is beyond a Typical approach. 

In a usual market place the Cost is constraint, it is a pleasure to experience items where cost does not constrain. 

Even though such a discipline is not limited to Audio only, when encountered in my World of Audio, there are levels of performance wanted to be aspired to. 

The importance and in fact the audibility of Doppler distortions in loudspeakers is a hotly debated topic, not a certain problem. And definitely no big deal unless the music contains low bass notes mixed w treble and nothing in between. Moreover it’s the same issue or nonissue with electromagnetic speakers as with ESLs.