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!



You say potayto. I say potahto. What is your broad definition of IMD, besides one frequency modulating the accurate reproduction of other frequencies? So I say DD is a kind of or subset of IMD. All DD is IMD, but not all IMD is due to DD. This is why before one can claim to hear DD, one must eliminate other causes of IMD. Impossible to do while listening to music.

Dear @dogberry  : I think we are not out of topic.

The OP thread answers are many dependent of each one of us.

My answer is that that question speaks only " analog "  that's only part of the whole room/system reproduction and " analog " depends of the  overall room/system.

From here my take is that we can stop when our room/system already were truly " fine tunned " at each single link in the overall audio chaIN. wITH OUT THAT " FINE TUNNING " PROCESS there is no satisfactory and precise answer.

That's why I analized the @neonknight  whole set up and my first post here was exactly the integration of those Velodyne subs through a HP filter to the main speakers and neon just did not took in count that post and I insisted with a second post and explanation and he said that the NATURe of the bass in planar vs woofer are different ( I think my self so whaT? ) but Martin Logan used woofers in several of its models and the original CLS model always was demoed by distributors integrated with subs Other planars too as Apoguee and not planar but way different to woofer as horns speakers. In that post I told neon that he need to try it before had his kind of answer and good that finally he did it not for my advise but because I posted that mijos has first hand experiences that I have too but not in my system.

Neon needs to make more test, needs to fine tunning those ML and subs.

@neonknight  , your subs quality signal level can be improved making these ( I own two HGS too. ): first that the input signal goes through its XLR input connectors due that the RCA connectors signal path in the circuit is way longer passing for stages that " affects " the input signal integrity. The other improve comes chaNGING THE WOOFER INTERNAL WIRING THAT GOES FROM THE WOOFER  output terminals to the input of the internal amplifier, I use there KCAG 4 by KK ( silver ), I did it other mods but more complicated at the input/crossover circuit cards. Neon, something that helps too is a top of each sub 30kg. of dead weigth ( please mijos don't come to tell again and again that Velodynwe " this or that " in negative way. Nothing is perfect. ).


I have at least other system change you need to do it from my point of view but I have no time rigth now to do it. 

Btw, IMD and THD always exist in any speaker at different levels.



I listened to 100 HZ as crossover and found the presentation to bee too forward and sometimes a bit hard. I then ran another sweep for 90Hz, and that one is below the threshold. So at this point I am going to listen to 80 Hz and 90 Hz and see which I prefer. The differences between crossover points are more profound than I would have expected. Given the nature of the speaker I can see this happening, its just a learning point of a different format. This is such an awesome hobby we have. 

I dunno. I think of vinyl listening as eliminating unnecessary gear and leaving it to a very solid preamp, tube preferably, and phono preamp.

I’m not into anything digital into the chain, whatsoever, simply because you can do it. Vinyl was created when? But digital was created much later.

Different strokes for different folks, and each of us has different preferences. I have Electrostats in a smaller than average room that’s completely treated. I just wouldn’t consider having digital anything in the chain. But I respect that you obviously believe much differently. Best of luck!

@coltrane1 A vinyl Source, a acoustically treated room and nearfield experiences with a ESL Speaker in use.

This is Bliss, it is the one that got me totally immersed into Jazz, especially Live Recordings.