Unbelievable 3-D imaging sound

I finally got my speakers position and sitting area position correctly for my system.
My system consist of
Macintosh 601 Mono-Block amps
Macintosh C47 pre-amp
bluesound node streamer, I’m using the DAC in my McIntosh C47
Martin Logan Renaissance 15A electrostatics
Tributaries reference cables all around, including power cables for the amps

Well, all I can say is I cannot believe the sound. I cannot pull away from listening to song after song.  Rap songs are absolutely clear and powerful.
Vocals are as if someone is singing in your room. especially the song, the Joke by Brandy Carlisle. I kid you not.
 The Sound  of Silence, by Two Cellos is astonishing. Plus, I never listened before, to that type of music. But is now in my play list. Go figure that out

Mainly, the setup produces clear 3D music. You can pin point where each instruments/song is intended to coming from in the original recording. Some time as many as 5 locations    Some really awesome imaging. Seriously, it’s like having audiophile level headphones on all the time

Maybe I should not be, but I’m surprised a System sounds this good. Its well worth the retail value put on it

Of course I can add this or change that to possibly get a better sound, but I am ok

However,  I did order and will receive a McIntosh C53 PreAmp  In a week to replace the C47. Mainly because of the equalizer’s and the ability to upgrade the DAC as the future dictates. The cost for the upgrade should be minimal compared to trying to purchase a new DAC all the time

Needed to post this because I am just so blown away with the sound
Congrats. Lifetime extended enjoyment is your reward.

Now you will hear perfection, learn about fabulous engineers and studios, ...

Excellent imaging is why I won't live without remote balance control, to make slight balance adjustments to occasional individual tracks that can make surprisingly large improvements to imaging. Engineering could have been perfect, but certain LP pressings, from different generations of 'originals', 'stampers' can produce imbalances. 

you will also become aware of occasional weirdness (like the worlds biggest piano, highs from right speaker, progressing left to lows from left channel) Drums left speaker, cymbals right side. I have learned to go sit somewhere else to enjoy these kinds of things.

and, if live, you never know if the engineers have palsy or the singer is walking around on stage.

finally, as center is phantom, a phono cartridge with wide separation, combined with tight center balance i.e. .5db will give a more solid center, and the other individual instruments 'open up' across the width. To the extend that sounds emanate off to the outside of speakers occasionally.

Eventually, give yourself the treat of Reel to Reel with it's totally separate l/r channels. And a lot of those engineers knew what the heck they were doing.
Yeah, its amazing the mileage from this one thing:
I finally got my speakers position and sitting area position correctly for my system.
You may find that even very slight changes in speaker location have a surprising effect on imaging. Having one speaker even a tiny fraction of an inch off can lose a bit of image focus. Tiny changes in the amount they are toed in or out can change not only image focus but stage width and depth. 

The sound quality we can get these days really is amazing. 
Yes I do
I did not mention this, but I’ve had this system for over a year and it has always sounded fantastic
But now, with the slight changes. I’m blown away.  Holy ???? I still can’t believe the sound 

I have a PBK (perfect bass kit) from Martin  Logan,  that allows for bass management/ adjustments  in a non perfect room. I haven’t even set that up yet. So, there may be more improvements to come

Now, With the purchase of the Macintosh C53  in a couple of weeks, with the eight band equalizer, I’ll be able to tweak, or do nothing, to individual parts of music to my liking. I cannot wait for that.
@preslisa64:  I have found that running PBK is huge.  Hearing bass runs up and down the neck with the notes at relatively equal volumes really adds to the realism.  Do it ASAP, and let us know what you think.
Seems like you've found sonic heaven! Roughly how are you set up?
How far apart are the speakers? How far are you sitting from them? How far from the front wall? How big is the room? 
Just curious to know any details you'll share. 
You can do much better then those not even close to upper mid Hifi  cables ,and blue sound streamer is on the basics of 
potential ,the dac , average at best , if you think it’s good fine 
but can be so much better still.
Of course I can do better. We can always do better. Even if you have a $500,000 system. It’s all about relativity, But there are limits, for me anyway. Limits are not always measured in dollars also. Cables, ($1000) streamer ($400)  Yes, I’m sure can be  improved. Hell, even I know they are not up to par with the rest of my system. 
 But for me, I’m happy, right now. In a couple of years, who knows, I may ask
for advice on upgrading those items. 

Speakers are:
10 inches from the wall
3 feet from side wall on left speaker 
6 feet from side wall on right speaker
 ( before the room spans a out to 32 feet)
Speakers are 9 feet apart. Center to center
I sit 12 feet away listening distance
slight toe in of speakers (ML recommendation)

Hard wood floors with large rugs. 

My room is about 32 x 50. Ceilings are 14 to 25 feet

Very large area. But the system can handle the large room even if I’m listening 50 feet away, for sure
I've had Martin-Logan CLSs and CLXs for over 30 years.  I like them more like 3 feet minimum, to preferably 6 feet or more from the back wall.  I also like them perfectly upright.  A laser tape measure and a digital level can be very helpful at getting them equal, quickly.  You have a nice big room, give them a chance to "breath", if your arrangement will allow it.
Thanks for the info about 2 Cellos, pretty amazing stuff, I’d never heard of them!
"I like them more like 3 feet minimum, to preferably 6 feet or more from the back wall."
Perhaps they are in a living space, with constraints?

I would have those out somewhere between 4-6ft out as well. A pair of subs would be on the list too!

Since he is enjoying it, mission accomplished. 
Please Tell me about any tips with setting up your 15a. I have my 13a sounding awesome but I’m always looking for more 
I'm curious about your room dimensions. Also, how far are you from the speakers, etc.
Sorry. It’s  Mr. and Mrs. Cello.  Not two Cellos

Martin Logan Renaissance 15A. ( I am not affiliated with Martin Logan in any way)

These hy-brid speakers handle about 750 watts a channel. Each speaker has Dual 500 watt 12 inch woofers. The bottom sub enclosures is about 30 inches deep. So the actual electrostatic panels are about 36 inches from the wall in total 

I just used the Martin Logan youtube speaker set up video for the 13A and 15A speakers. Which tells you just how much to toe-in and optimum sitting distance based on how far the speakers are apart.
All he's missing is a good vinyl set up. Then you will see what it's really all about. You think it sounds good now....of course then you need to find the right pressings of course. Not today's crappy repressed lps...
I had a C47 for a couple of years and just sold it. Nice sound, very nice dual phono preamp too. The dac was average compared to my standalone dac so I never used it.
If you are getting the C53 mainly for the equalizer, go for it, but I would not get it for the upgradeable dac. Most dacs included in integrateds and in preamps are not as good as a standalone dac from the same vendor. Also, I use Roon and the C47 had a weird way they implemented Roon. I also don't like equipment that has replaceable boards, that just means you will be constantly spending $$$ for upgrades. 
For your dac, get a FPGA type dac with a network interface and you won't be on the constant upgrade merry go round. If your dac has a network interface and if you have Roon, you can eliminate your bluesound streamer which IMO is your weak link in your system. Roon will use the dacs network interface as an endpoint and the pc/Mac running Roon can be in a different room 

welcome to the club

we don’t obsess without good reason! 

there is a payoff, if one knows how to get there...  :)
Preslisa64, thx for the clarification. 
After not finding a song with that title from 2cellos, my search did turn up Mr and Mrs Cello. Very nice!
Congrats on reaching SQ nirvana. It’s wonderful to listen and be amazed. I understand the desire to share your joy.
My set up is Lumin T2; Mark Levinson 585.5 (I use the DAC in the amp via USB) and Martin Logan Vantage.  My acid test is to pick out the piccolo at the very end of Beethoven's 9th. I want to literally hear it in its place in a 3-dimenesional wall of sound. Suffice it to say "job done" I totally understand where you are coming from!  Enjoy !!

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Hi Preslisa
So pleased you are so pleased.
It's great (and rare) to be satisfied with a system and not needing to dream of upgrades, audition new kit and forever tweak.
And great choice of speaker!

But PLEASE get those M-Ls away from the wall - it's so easy for you as you have the luxury of plenty of space.  The signal out of the back of a dipole speaker equals that out of the front.  So with ten inches behind the speaker you are hearing an echo signal 20 inches after the front signal.
I run my CLX Anniversaries 5 feet out.  You can afford 6 or more.

Do have a go and report back.
Awesome, we all like our audio nirvana.  I have not heard ML.  Since you mentioned rap music and you have such a large room.  What SPL do you listen at?
You could get a nice DAC from 500-2000 but you mentioned very good imaging and if you feel it is accurate...enjoy.
I understand the so call theory that a stand alone DAC would sound better than a DAC built Into a PreAmp or The theory behind “separates”.  The McIntosh C53 has the new generation DAC f. (Plus I’m a fan of the Macs).  Reviews are good. Supposedly, it’s far better than the first generation DAC in the C47. Which I have said I really like.  Using a computer as a analogy, I rather by a new board than buy a whole new computer. Using this analogy because computers change every year. 
I’m more into the equalizer portion of the C53. Endless fun of tweaking the sound. If I get bored with the tweaking, I’ll just turn it off/on. If I find that the new generation DAC in the C53 is WAY less efficient than a, for instance lumen T2. Then, instead of paying the money for upgraded DAC,  I just buy the Lumin T2. But I think I’ll be pleased

Please look at the ML 15A speaker. The design permits the panels to be a minimum of about 3 feet from the wall. Just picture a upside down “P”. Besides my 50
foot room has a open fireplace in the middle. Which makes me sit a maximum distance of 13 feet from the speaker panels. Don’t want to sit behind the fireplace and listen to music. I like to see the system also.  LOL 
But if I decide to sit 50 feet a way. The bass can still be too powerful if not tweaked . But, the sound will fill the entire room with accuracy, no distortion,
with  brut force bass when required

(Just like Martin Logan, Im not affiliated with McIntosh in any way or form)

All he's missing is a good vinyl set up. Then you will see what it's really all about. You think it sounds good now...

Yup. There's just more there there with vinyl.

The Joke is a hell of a song/recording :-)

(when you got your sound system right).

I'll give you Lisa Simone.

It sounded good until you said "equalizer"; now you can use that to mess it all up and really be satisfied.
I’m not your standard guy. If I tweak a particular instrument to what I like, or make a recording that I favor more, then I’m satisfied. It’s really all about me at this point. I’m usually the one listening  to it most of the time. I would not necessarily say” I’m messing it up.  right

no need to be defensive... all that matters in this hobby/pursuit is to figure out what makes you happy and implement it

but you posted to invite input, and so you get commentary...  a begets b
To not eq is also to eq.

Then you just prefer the eq you get from the room and your system (speakers).

As a poster already adviced you. Roon comes with a great interface and professional eq possibilities (parametric and convolution filters). Look it up. I started using it this summer and couldn’t do without it now.
Good point everybody. Maybe got a little defensive there.
 The deal is I appreciate ALL input and EVERYBODY’s opinion
That’s why I posted here

I probably should be, but I’m not that familiar with Roon.  Need to study up on that. thanks

Do you take ketchup and mustard to a fine dining establishment?  Of course you can, it's your call.

After getting something perfect, you buy a thing that will allow you to alter every frequency.

Those musicians on those records spent a lifetime to be able to create that music, and they have presented it to you as good as they could get it, and now you're going to alter it?

It's your money and your life; like you say.
I get it,
I understand everybody’s input on equalization. But my point is if there’s this lady, for instant, singing in the background that sounds so damn good in my opinion, that I wanna hear more of her,  this gives me the opportunity to actually do that.  The original recording may have been for her to be a low voice in the background during the recording.
 Also my room acoustics, I’m sure it is not the same as a studio,  LOL. Therefore, the actual sound that was creative at the studio, and intended for us to here, probably will not and most likely, will not sound as it was intended in my wooden floor curtain less room

So. The ability for me to make compensations  based on my room being inadequate, or my hearing inadequacies or my desires to bring a particular instrument or vocal to the front or send it to the back gives me all the pleasures in the world and my opinion, make it better on my view

This is reasons why I described the abilities to “equalize”are important in a stereo system for me. 


don't mind the grumpy old men throwing popcorn from the cheap seats

just enjoy yourself - this forum has a bad habit of sucking any good energy out of the room, unfortunately
In the best of worlds we could download each song in 24 tracks or whatever and be our own mastering technician. Actually that possibility already exist on the internet for some electronic music. 
The ability for me to make compensations  based on my room being inadequate, or my hearing inadequacies or my desires to bring a particular instrument or vocal to the front or send it to the back gives me all the pleasures in the world and my opinion, make it better on my view

Yeah, would be great. Only it doesn't work that way. EQ has no idea what voice or whatever you imagine, it only knows frequency. So everything that frequency gets hyped up. Or filtered out. Not only what you imagine. All of it.  

EQ is like when you go into a store and hear some speaker or whatever and its all cockeyed hyped out of whack, but in a way that catches your attention and you like it. "Wow I never heard cymbals like that before!" Then six months later you're all, "Man I am so sick and tired of these speakers making everything sound like a hyped up cymbal!" And then if instead of learning from this you repeat the mistake you come on here or go searching around saying stuff like, "what amp/pre-amp/DAC/power cord/fill in the blank can I get to match with these damn hype the cymbals speakers?" And you slap one band aid after another over the problem and everyone here is happy because you're spending money hand over fist and just as miserable and unsatisfied as everyone else but gosh darn it you're on the treadmill and running like mad can't be much further to the end now.... 

Sound familiar? 

Here's the kicker. You said the whole reason for doing this EQ was "if there’s this lady, for instant, singing in the background that sounds so damn good in my opinion, that I wanna hear more of her,  this gives me the opportunity to actually do that".  

Problem being, this EQ can only be connected to your system with interconnects that cost money. Interconnects must of course be very high quality or else you easily lose more with the IC than you can possibly gain with EQ. Happens all the time. Almost guaranteed in fact. Same goes for the power cord. Don't expect to get quality EQ from a freebie rubber power cord. Never in a million years. Now the coup de grace: all this money spent on power cords, interconnects, and EQ is money taken away from things that would genuinely improve sound quality- genuinely, really, truly give you "more of her":  better amp, source, speakers, wire, etc. 

We want exactly the same thing. I want to hear more and more Jennifer Warnes. Only I know there's only one way that can be done: Less is more.

@preslisa64, I am not versed in all this equipment and just looked up some of what you have.  Just the speakers, monoblocks and that Mac C53 you will be getting put the total up around $30,000!   Definitely not a starter set!  Lol.  Out of my league, for sure.  

It would be nice if you posted pics of your room and system on your profile for the rest of us to enjoy.  As they say, “Enjoy the music”!
11-10-2020 8:20pm  

I’m not your standard guy. If I tweak a particular instrument to what I like, or make a recording that I favor more, then I’m satisfied. It’s really all about me at this point. I’m usually the one listening to it most of the time. I would not necessarily say” I’m messing it up. 

I’m using a miniDSP on as pair of $6000 Speakers (name withheld - a friend lent them to me to break in). I had to boost the Bass from 100Hz on down to 20Hz with a gentle 6dB/octave slope along with a slight bump above 10kHz. Did not touch the 100Hz - 10kHz region so as not to mess up the Speaker’s intended sound character/signature.

Using EQ is a good thing and I used to be a "no Tone controls allowed" type of person. I’ll be 51 in a month and my hearing is barely good to 13kHz. The Speakers should sound the way YOU like it.

I never listened before, to that type of music. But is now in my play list. Go figure that

You have fallen victim to.your system dictating what you listen too...

Sure the sound is good....but.do.you.dig.the song?
I am so happy for you!  You have a pile of cash invested in quality electronics and it is good you have complete enjoyment with the sound you will enjoy for along time. This is what it's all about, excitement, and enjoyment of music and an experience that one can appreciate.  


Electrostatic speakers can be very special. Original Quad ELS were, and still are, my original ML CLS are, but ML got into difficulty mating a dynamic cone speaker with the panels for better bass - many were what I would call a failure - it is obviously a very difficult task to accomplish well.

I haven't listened to your model but it sounds like you are fortunate and have one of their hybrid models that work well.  Enjoy!
I read Jim Smith’s “ Get better sound”, watched the DVD’s, played w tape measure ( I know, old school- should have used Lazer- didn’t have one - YET), spent a weekend listening, having kids & wife listen, found the sweet spot & was amazed.
Didn’t put down painters tape, wife vacuumed, repeated the following weekend-(& enjoyed every minute).
I have a very similar setup - McIntosh C2600 Tube Preamp, McIntosh MC452 amp and Martin Logan Montis speakers.  I am in heaven when I am in my listening room listening to well recorded music.  I hear the same 3 dimensional sound stage that you describe.  I have been in many audiophile stores listening to their $200K setups and I have yet to find a better soundstage than mine (though I am sure many, many others make my sound like introductory system!).

Two very important points on the ML speakers:
1. They are extremely sensitive to tiny changes in setup.  I spent weeks and weeks optimizing the exact location of each speaker.  It's funny - I came home one day after the cleaning lady had been here and I noticed she moved one of the speakers to clean - I have now marked the exact location of each of the 4 spikes on both speakers.
2. These speakers must be moved away from the rear wall.  I have mine at 3' and this makes a huge difference.  The extra distance eliminates that smeared image that you get when the sound comes off the rear of the speaker and then bounces off the rear wall and comes at you slightly delayed behind the main wave coming off the front of the speaker.

I have spent time making acoustic improvements in the room and these changes also provided additional sound stage improvements.

I love your writeup - enjoy!  (For the record, I am 1000% happy and satisfied with my setup and have no idea what I would  do to make it better.)