Best Hobby related purchase of 2010

I did a lot of horse trading in 2010, since my job sucked, and I didn't have a lot else to do, and I was wondering what the best deal I made, audio-wise was in 2010.

At first I thought buying Bryston BDA-1 after trying a ton of other DAC's, but since I eventually sold the Bryston due to lack of use, that was out.

Then I thought the modded PS Audio GCPH after trying so many great phono stages, but I after considering the surprise when I got the first of 2 expected Def Tech Supercube 1 subs (ended up with only one since it sounded so good). But that made me think maybe I should look at software purchases, and that's where I am for the year.

I got some great Japanese pressings of favorite alums, and a sublime (which is playing right now) pressing of Pink Floyd-The Wall (Radio station copy), and I realized I had a great software year.

So, the best audio hobby purchase of 2010: The Beatles MFSL Box for $600. Albums where pristine, and had the GeoDisc and booklet. A bit yellow on the covers et all but I didn't care. I love this set, and I know many collectors think there are not the best of the Beatles albums, but they are the pinnacle to me.

So anyone want to share their best 2010 audio deal?
My "best" audio purchases of 2010:

Odyssey Stratos Extreme amp (mew) 1700.00
Odyssey Kismet Reference speakers (used) 1250.00
Sony SCD 777ES sacd player (used) 925.00
Granite platforms and cones for speakers
Pair of Daber Audio Monitor 3 speakers. In cherry and a cherry of a deal. Got them before they really hit the market thus saved over half. But price not withstanding they have proved too be astounding.

Stand for my family room wide screen and stereo. Purchased used for $45.00, just a perfect fit. Local sale so was even able to pick it up myself.

Hope 2011 brings all a good year and great music.
Pair of GamuT L5s
Basis 2001 with Graham 2.2 arm
ASR Basis Exclusive Phono stage

Paid about 30% of current new cost.

Hmmm… nice question. Hmmmm.

At first I was ga ga over the Hiface USB to SPDIF following x`my audition of one that was lent to me by another member. It was an RCA version. I then ordered a BNC version and an Oyaide 510 BNC all silver digi cable. That pair of items got a lot of playing time and my enthusiasm for them grew immensely. So much so I sold my M Audio Audiophile 192 sound card immediately.

Happy factor? Way up!

Decided then I was done with audio for a while and began thinking of getting a better display for the bedroom rig so a 50 inch Panasonic Plasma got picked out and delivered for $699 taxes included.

Way happier as the squinting factor was lowered.

I’m as curious as the next guy or gal about improving my system’s performance levels. Regularly in fact, though that pace has slowed greatly of late. The idea of and the popularity of the Lynx sound card as a viable interface for exporting audio in high security and on audiophile levels continued to gain ground with me and my curiosity finally piqued. I decided to pull the trigger on speculation and try one for myself.

The outcome was somewhat bittersweet. It is better with respect to music playback, albeit using a very very modestly priced digi cable, but not by a tremendous distance. So the Grin factor rose up some more, but the self appointed value factor dropped like it was hot. Well, almost.

Consequently, my main rig’s presentation of music was enhanced as a greater closeness to the actual performance was achieved for one. For another, the Hiface and Oyadie trickeled down into my Bedroom outfit thus enhancing yet one more audio system.

So for roughly $1600 I acquired a brand new Panasonic 50 inch Plasma HD TV, a brand new Hiface USB to SPDIF converter, a brand new Oyaide silver digital wire, and a Lynx AES 16 PCI EX card and associated cable.

Add to all of that the fact it was all made possible by the funding I recovered, found, did not have to spend, am able to keep as the result of..... ta da!

Sept 11 2010 I had my last ciggarette. I know it's oNly 3 months and change later but the habit is nothing to speak of... no cravings.... no regularly scheduled overwhelming desires for one... nada.

BTW... no pills, hypnosis, accupuncture... or any other crutches are in use now as the result of my smoking stoppage.

All in all, I gotta vote for 2010 as a year in which I found immense improvements overall. Electronically, and physically and personally speaking, by both additions and by at least one subtraction.

...and yes... I bought a lot more software than I usually buy each year too. DVDs & CDs & now, Blue rays.
Blindjim, you are in trouble. Your 'smoking' money will lead to overspending on audio, and that is a good thing or is it a bad thing. Since you will now be living longer, best you open a 'gold' account and put your 'smoking' money in it, otherwise you just found another habit to lead you to the poor house. Enjoy the music.
I bought a 45 watt Onix EL 34 integrated amp to drive my Triangle Celius speakers with grand results.

I also set up a full system for friends who are a married couple down the street and who both love music but were playing it through a 25 yo receiver with the left channel out and some small Yamaha speakers. They now have a 7 channel Marantz receiver and DVD and CD player and Triangle Comete speakers and a Marantz Ipod hook up and all for 1/2 price from Accessories 4 Less and other places. The wife payed for most of the gear as a surprise for her husband. It ended up costing me a few hundred out of pocket for speaker stands and for the Ipod dock and for a center channel as gifts as was my choice, but they are delighted with their new sound for CDs as well as surround sound DVDs.
It was fun playing santa.
On the expensive end, it was the CH Acoustic X20 IC's, SC's and PC's. These easily have been the best in my system. They seem to have no sonic signature of their own and work with the same 'no signature' magic on every component I had or auditioned.,

On the inexpensive end, it was the three Enacom AC filters on the same circuit as my system. Dave Magnan talked about them on his website in the tweaks section. They are only $85.00 each, and three of them do a fantastic job cleaning up AC grunge all of the way through the midrange frequencies.

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Buying myelf a pair of custom Cirrus loudspeakers for only $3500, when they sound like 6 figure loudspeakers ! It has to be the signle biggest steal in the industry today.
Harbeth C7ES3
MAC Mini
Apple TV
OPPO BDP83SE Nuforce Edition
Musical Fidelity tube buffer
Mapleshade Samson Equipment Rack
Mapleshade Power Conditioner
REL B3 Subwoofer
My best purchase of 2010 took some effort on my behalf, but I ended up with a really good deal. I own a VPI Scoutmaster Signature. I purchased a fully maxed out VPI Scout and then cannibalized a bunch of the accessories from it for my Scoutmater and sold what I didn't need.

After it was all over, I spent $1340 for set of VPI HRX Minifeet, VPI SDS, VPI Superplatter, and a Dynavector DV-20XL. That price includes having the Dyna retipped by Soundsmith (ruby cant./line contact stylus) due a bent cantilever which the Scout's seller (Pantera33) did not disclose or even reimburse like he said he would.
Blindjim congrars on your biggest purchase, your health!!!!

My best audio deal was a group purchase that was a 1 hour drive from home otherwise the shipping cost would have ruined the "good deal" aspect!!!!

10 ASC Tube Traps:
2 X 16" X 4 '
2 X 11" X 4'
2 X 9" X 4'
2 X 11" X 4' half round
2 X 9" 4' half round

My best audio purchase as far as the biggest improvement in sound was the Wilson WATT/Puppy 8's
never thought to catagorize my best purchase to a year---but come to think of it, my 2010 best purchase would be the best purchase of the last decade--

found a Symphonic Line Turntable with Graham 2.2 arm-
added a VDH Black Beauty Special X---

added bonus, if I am too busy to listen, the table is so drop dead gourgeous, it brings pleasure just looking at it.
Pure Power 2000 battery powered AC Regenerator. It has bought the single biggest improvement to my system in the past 4-5 years.

Pure Power made me belive in power conditioning. Before trying the PP2000, I have tried several such a units in the past, including Shunyata Hydra 6/8, PS Audio Powerplant, Accuphase P-1210 and other, but never found them worthwile. While they improved some areas of the system performance, they compromissed others. I strongly belived that dedicated lines + audiophile grade circuit breakers + audiophile grade AC outlets that I invested in, were the way to go.

Until now. Pure Power brought a dramatic change to my system, with no downside. It makes my system sound smoother and more dynamic at the same time. The sound is more resolved and has a much better texture.

I cannot stress enough how enthusiastic I'am about this unit. My system never sounded better.
Hardware: No question, for me it's the Grado RA-1 Headphone amplifier - the AC version. Absolutely stunning performance with Grado headphones using either analog or digital sources.

On the software side, it has to be the discovery of the "Royal Philharmonic Masterworks - Audiophile Collection" of clsssical CD's distributed by This is a series of well-recorded performances of classical masterworks with nice liner notes about the composer, the piece, and the conductor (but as common with many classical works, little to nothing about the specific preformance on disk). In any case, these are generally very good redbook recordings with nice depth and air, dynamic range and snap when called for, and they are all available for under $6- new. I have collected works by hyden, copeland, mozart and grieg so far, and am actively looking for more.
ASR Basis Exclusive Phono stage
It's like I purchased a totally new system, its the best buy since 2004.


you might be right, but I think our new governor has already made plans for any extra money I might now have laying around.... so my place doesn't get too cluttered.

many thanks. I am feeling much better as the result. the health attributes overwhelm the incidental but welcome influx of any modest cash returns.

Stopping smoking is a gateway drug... it's already led me to eating fresh produce, a regular exercise plan, better diet, and helped diminish my hypertension. I'm grateful a Power greater than myself is doing for me that which I can not. All I've done so far is to cooperate with Him.
Top two:
JM Reynaud Twin Signature speakers
Musical Paradise MP-301 tube integrated amp
Lots of new (to me) records. Lots and lots of them. So many I am still working my way through them.

ASC tube traps (locally): four at 4'*16", six at 3'*16" and 10 diffusor panels thrown in. very shoddy condition, but nothing a day of work couldn't fix. the ASC were a huge improvement over the JRisch Q&D tube traps i was using.


Audioquest Redwood speaker cable: i'm ashamed to admit how these expensive silly wires transformed my rig, but they did (rediscovering music). best cables i've heard. remarkable upper midrange / treble clarity, great bass control and articulation, very very quiet, excellent staging, tonally mellow.

(very pleased i'm OFF the merrygoround where it comes to cables (Redwoods) and power conditioning (Weishi))
Although it wasn't cheap , the money best spent was without a doubt the Ayre KXR preamp .
My "hybrid" Altec Valencias.

I have a couple of vintage Marantz receivers and always wanted a vintage speaker to go with them to complete the nostalgia but couldn't find any to suit my taste until now. I call them "hybrid" because the insides have a JBL woofer, a dome midrange and tweeter while the outside is the original 846a cabinet in walnut and the lattice grills are perfect. I love listening to them. The growl I get from the JBL alnico woofers is way fun to listen to and I can hear the breaths singers take. Very easy to listen to.

The enjoyment this system gives me for around a grand makes it the best bang for the buck purchase I ever made.
Van Den Hul Optilink II glass cables with a Behringer DEQ 2496 ARC connected between my OPPO transport and Proceed processor to help smooth out poorly recorded digital recordings and correct speaker/room deficiencies. This was surprisingly effective when playing poorly recorded redbook CD's.
Without question, Audioprism Ground Controls.

Blindjim... stay strong... my wife and I quite in late 2009.
I'd say it was a toss up between 2 purchases.

1. An EAR 834P phone stage. Replaced an onboard phono stage that I had been using and it made a difference. I bought it partly because I knew that if I didn't do something to improve the audio experience when listening to vinyl that my records were heading back to storage along with the TT.

2. Professional calibration for the audio portion of my system. On this item I'm nerdy enough and curious enough to have spent enough time to get the individual components set. What the calibrator provided was more knowledge than I had to get the individual components working together as a system. This is what I immediately noticed after his calibration--that the components seemed integrated and working together as a system.
Well, I got me Nottingham Spacedeck/Spacearm. Minimalist design, big sound; simple and to the point.
01-05-11: Musicpod
Professional calibration for the audio portion of my system. On this item I'm nerdy enough and curious enough to have spent enough time to get the individual components set. What the calibrator provided was more knowledge than I had to get the individual components working together as a system. This is what I immediately noticed after his calibration--that the components seemed integrated and working together as a system.

This is curious..Can you explain? What specific service(s) were performed? Who provided this service?

I'll do my best to explain.

Calibrator: Jeff Meier

Company: Accu Cal

Web Site:

The website address takes you to the specific services Jeff performed. This link takes you to a pricing guideline. Go to the Audio Calibration heading. This probably gives you a better explanation than I could provide. I see Jeff raised his price to $300. I guess I got lucky because I hired him when the cost was only $200.

Although I have a pretty good flat panel display--Pioneer KURO Elite, I was most interested in improving the audio portion of my system. Hence, I only had Jeff do the audio calibration. I was satisfied with his service. He was probably here between 4 to 5 hours. He seemed to take pride in his work. I like working with people that take pride in what they do.

And my system souded better after he left. I believe he took it to a point of performance that was above my ability to achieve at the time.

Hope this helps.
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Pair of RPG Modffusors that are placed between the speakers. The diffusion gives life-like sound.
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Best Hobby related purchase of 2010......

Replacing my long gone vinyl collection.
I drove around a lot. I bowled. I had the occasional acid flashback. I listened to a lot of Tom Jone's new album on cheap headphones and a iPod. I bowled. I thought the remasters of Exile and The Promise were the bomb. I bowled.
My two pair of new and improved BOSE 901 series 6 mk2's. BOSE did a lot improvements to the speaker drivers and also improvements to their equalizers in 2010. What ever they did they now sound DAMN GOOD !.. Go listen to some for yourself and see what you think of the [NEW] BOSE 901's....
Internet? Shut the @#$% up Donny. I also listened to a lot of Japanese amps (Leben,Almarro) and tried to get my rug back.