Fun Adaptations to Hi Fi


does anyone here happen to own a hi fi amp with a tape loop? I have done a set up (for fun) which I’ve done years ago, before catching the hi fi bug, of putting an equalizer in a tape loop to cut in and out at will. except this time i’m using a bryston b135 sst integrated amp and an award-winning Charter Oak PEQ1 Professional Mastering Equalizer. this piece, as created by Charter Oak Acoustics is about $2700 new. it’s a broad Q parametric styled eq used normally IN THE STUDIO which I’ve chosen to use in my hi fi bryston tape loop setup. my auralic aries femto LE is run directly into my bryston dac. the PEQ1 can be cut in and out for sweet analog post-dac processing at will. it’s an old-school theme, a throwback to the old days, but with all hi fi hardware and cabling. the results have been nothing less than staggering. I will add that I’ve been in MANY high end rooms and heard many six-figure set ups. (of course, straight signal with no processing) here are my observations over the last 3 years with my set up:
at first I used it only for bad recordings to tone shape. bass bump. delicate treble boost, etc. But from day one I was struck by how beautiful ALL recordings sounded through it. even with moderately heavy frequency boosts, sound staging, bloom, texture, resolution, body, all the terms we use to describe hi fi remained in place or even IMPROVED. this should not be a surprise though, as the charter oak is a very well reviewed MASTERING eq for the studio. why shouldn’t it retain it’s properties on the back end in the home with good equipment? it does in spades. all genres sound better with than without it. recall the setup a-b comparisons are instant. now I use it EVEN IF THERE IS NO EQ WANTED, as with all the dials on flat, it actually improves soundstaging as compared with without it. I it is also DEAD SILENT noise floor with the bryston. great for piano and classical therefore too. once I loaded the Roon software platform with the eq there just to see the difference. charter oak analog hardware TROUNCED the roon equalizer. even the best digital eq kills the midrange clarity, 3 dimensionality, and dynamics. not to mention don’t dare try to boost treble with digital eq. it’s awful.
I love this setup. you wouldn’t believe the clarity of Diana Krall’s vocals and keystrokes. all the subtleties are there In spades. anyone else doing this kind of thing at home?

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tlcocks

i'd be happy to attach here links, but you'd be better served (as there's a wealth of info, reviews, gear slutz forum, etc.) simply googling "charter oak peq1".  check it all out. 

Looks intriguing. But I’m already satisfied with (the insanely excellent sound from both) my main rig and headphone setup, so my logical side says that buying this would be difficult to justify. Still....your write-up is quite intriguing--especially to my not-so-logical-but-way-more-FUN side. Sometimes I think Audiogon could use a lot more FUN so your post captures my attention.

This observation is particularly interesting to me:

now I use it EVEN IF THERE IS NO EQ WANTED, as with all the dials on flat, it actually improves soundstaging as compared with without it. I it is also DEAD SILENT noise floor...

Traditional thinking (as far as I know--I’m no expert here and this could be WRONG) is that every extra device in the signal path is detrimental to the sound. So your perception that this improves the sound even when set "flat" is potentially quite significant. It would be interesting to know if other owners have experienced this as well.
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