Where do I go from here?

We finally moved into a home that allows me to unbox the remnants of a system that I boxed up almost 20 years ago.  After two decades, I'd forgotten what I had until I unboxed a pair of Martin Logan Class, a pair of Acoustat 1+1s, a Robertson 6010.  At one point I owned a BAT VK-60, butsold that and an Audible Illusions preamp around  2008...a decision that I regret today.  I also uncovered new replacement panels for the CLSs.  Since this stuff has been boxed-up I've been away from audio completely.  That's about to change.  I plan to continue enjoying the CLSs and plan to return to tube tube amps.  I loved the VK-60's sound and it looks fantastic.  

My question is more about streaming.  My sense is that I get away with a streamer, subscribe to a service, and use it as my pre-amp connected to the power amps. ..  Is it that simple?  I don't want to deal with  CDs or vinyl.  I want to simplify my life.  I'm looking for feedback.  Is my plan viable? 


What fun to re-discover your prior equipment.

What size room are you going to use them in?

Speaker Concerns, (I never heard them)

Found this about your speakers


Used for ___ years and boxed for 20 years gives me pause. Is the plastic diaphragm aged in a negative way? I would inspect and then listen before buying other equipment.

Then go from there. 

100 watts is decent power for them. I love my tubes, but 100 wpc tubes is a lot of heat, and the article says the ??? should stay energized?

I have an old pair of ML CLS in my 2nd system.  Great speakers, you may want to use a sub with them especially with a tube amp.  

Yes, streaming is that simple.   You omitted the DAC.  You can get combo streamer/dac systems but they tend to be low end.

Hard wire your streamer to your router (wifi is a fool's errand)

Your DAC is the heart of the digital system.  Some DACs have volume control and since you don't plan to have other inputs, the DAC can replace your preamp.  I use Chord DAVE in this manner.

I use Qobuz, as do a lot of other members here.  Tidal appeals more to the hip hop crowd.

Finally, many of us use Roon to manage our listening pleasure.  Consider that.  If you think you might use Roon, avoid Aurender as they do't work with roon.




if you want simple, get something like the Cambridge CXN V2 - streamer, DAC, Digital preamp - get Tidal so you can use Tidal Connect - Qobuz connect still in the long promise stage, forget Roon for now... WiFi is easy or if close to router than ethernet easy too...then when you system is fully going and you are familiar with streaming, then consider upgrade - the CXN V2 holds its value well

The choice to go straight to streaming is the right one today. 

Streaming can sound better than CDs and equivalent or better than vinyl… but it depends on the price range. Vinyl wins in the <$20K digital leg area (meaning, you have to pay a premium… say 20% more for digital to equal vinyl… ((streamer + DAC vs TT + Phonostage). Over that, you can get equal sound quality for about the same money between digital and analog. 

My rule of thumb is the investment in carefully chosen components should be around Streamer = DAC = Preamp = amp… But about 30% more on speakers.


I am hoping this helps point you in the right direction. Given the age of your equipment, you might value it at 1/2 original cost.


Price isn’t everything, but it is a good way to think about how to invest in components to shoot for a very complementary set of components where no component unnecessarily holds back the system.


I had a pair of Acoustat 2 + 2’s in the late 70’s that simply put me permanently in the audiophile camp and began my lifetime pursuit.

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I think you really need to spend a few months streaming before you make any serious decisions about streaming or what to purchase...

PSAudio has a generous trial period. Maybe try the spout, it has everything inside and ready to go as a streamer Dac and pre....get a better idea of what you need and keep it or send it back no questions asked.

Yes, it is simple and viable.  You also need a DAC.  Some streamer has a built-in DAC or preamp has built-in DAC.  Alternatively, you can go separate for all components: streamer => DAC => preamp route.

@elliottbnewcombjr, @carlsbad2, @jl35   Thank you for your responses as I try to work through next steps.  

The room si-ze is approximately 16' x 28'.  I've assembled one of the Acoustats, plugged it in and hear an occasional crackle (or pop) in the panel.   Not sure if that'll be a problem, but will know once I assemble the second panel and get a signal thorough them.  Regardless, I expect to mainly use the CLSs.  Electrostatics, IMHO, are hard to beat for the music that I enjoy and I plan on getting an ML sub. 

I need to wrap my head around the DAC in terms of options available.  It's on my to-do list this week.

@tonydennison - PS Audio is on my list.

I'll have a better handle on this by week's end and will report back. 


When you get a DAC make sure that it has a USB input (most do). You can get started with streaming by using a laptop connected to the DAC with USB. It's best to hardwire the PC to the router vs. using wifi.

I have my ASUS gaming laptop hooked up to my DAC and the only service I subscribe to is Qobuz. I've compared the streamed content to the corresponding CD on a number of titles and they sound virtually identical. If there is some sort of bad juju coming from the computer I can't hear it. [I'm running an Audio Mirror Tubadour IV DAC]

The reason I suggest this is because there are a zillion different streaming options and you should take your time to figure out what you want when you go for a dedicated streamer. This simple setup lets you get your feet wet and get a sense of where you want to go next. I feel that you should look into Roon because it provides some powerful features but it's not for everyone. If you decide to go that route you will have to buy a streamer that is compatible.

In short, don't get lost in the weeds when you get started. Many of us have a spare laptop that we can use for streaming and it is a simple way to get going.

What a great room size!  Obviously there have been many advances in tech in twenty years, besides a DAC and a streamer, there’s no hurry to change anything else.  What is your budget? I’m sure we can help you far exceed it.😁

I have a Bluesound Node N130 with a better power supply, feeding USB Denifrips Pontus ll. Have had both about two years now and am still very happy the sound.

Take your time and have a fun adventure.

@patrickalston , I too have a pair of Acoustat 1+1s that I've owned since new. If they've not been energized for 20 some years, there's a good chance they need some work done. The panels are remarkably sturdy so I'm suspecting it's the transformers that are needing some attention. There's a fellow by the name of Roy Esposito who used to service them. You might see if he's still around:


With regards to streaming, As you're just coming back on-line after a hiatus, I'd like to suggest you start with something simple like a Bluesound Node2i. For around $550 new, you get an easy to set up and use streamer and DAC combo. (You can also find them used for about half that all day on the various sites like ebay and here on Agon.) It's easily controlled by their free downloadable app on your phone or tablet:


If you have Amazon prime, you're already paying for a music service that the Node can access. In fact, here's a list of supported Cloud music services:


(Just scroll down to the spec page)

That will get you started! Eventually you can either swap out the Node2i for something more up-market or do what I did by upgrading the power supply and integrating an external DAC. 

Welcome back! Happy listening...

While I understand the potential benefits that come with separates, I really want to keep my system simple by having the digital source rolled up into one package.  I'm not a critical listener anymore.  It just needs to sound (and look) good to us.  My home has  an open floorplan and, although we're still unpacking from our May move into this home, I suspect we'll be moving from our current location in two years into a home that we plan to build.  Ideally, I'd Iike a one-box digital solution that can act as a pre-amp, a power amp (perhaps dual monos), the CLSs, and a sub or two.  That's it.  As I approach 60, I want to shed the excess stuff in my life. 

For the amps, I was a big fan of the BAT VK-60 and would love to find a pair, but I'm also interested in the Cary monos.  I've got a line on a set of the 211s that may become available.  Love the way they sound, but not sure if they'd be the right match for my CLSs which aren't going anywhere.  

For simple and good, Cambridge and Bel Canto Integrated Amps including Streamer/DAC...lots of Streamer/DACS with volume control...though a pair of CLS, a sub or two, and tube mono blocks hardly sounds simple...some great choices though and lots of good stuff out there in all configurations and prices...

Have a look at Linn. They have some very good sounding units from streamer / DAC all the way to everything in a single box. They sound stunning.

After having a back-to-back comparison between streaming and vinyl.  I've decided that I am not going to used a streamer as my primary music source. We listened to Hugh Masekela's Stimela [Coal Train] (Analogue Productions AAPJ 117-45) and The Blind Mice's Midnight Sugar (Impex AIMX 6022-45).  The  the vinyl was unequivocally better than the streamed version which, by comparison sounded flat.  I never expected such a difference. 

I haven't owned a turntable in over 40 years, but that's about to change.  I'm not sure which table, but I looked at VPI and Feickert Analogue (about 8K just because that's what was available.  This is an area where I am most ignorant about what I should purchase.  The Feickert Woodpecker at around $8K may be more than I'm willing to spend on a turn table (I'd like to be around 5K all in for a table)...I don't know.  So, I'm interested in any thoughts.  


Whether digital or analog sounds better these days is entirely a question of what equipment you are using. You simply must find the right equipment and you can get the full analog sound from streaming. Just because you compared this and that does not generalize to analog vs digital. Careful choices in equipment will bring either format to the front. Streaming has sooooo many advantages it is worth the effort to put together a great digital streaming leg.

My analog leg and digital sound incredible and basically the same. It took a lot of work to get there… but well worth it.

streaming makes a great secondary or tertiary listening choice, but nice to have a good one around to explore new music...

@jl35 That's the plan.  Streaming offers convenience that I'd never get from LPs.  So, it's in the mix.  

@ghdprentice I hope that I can achieve what you describe as I work to figger it out.  I expect this'll be my last system. 

More to come.   Thanx for your comments.




My journey continues.  I've finished assembling my CLSs and they look fine, but the truth will come out once I get some much through them.  I managed to purchase a BAT VK-60 that sits in the box until another one finds its way to the market.  

Since my last post, I've spent about 20 albums that sit in their boxes until I find something to play them on plus I still need a phono stage and a pre-amp.  A friend has a beautiful VPI Classic which he'll let go for about $2K.  It's had light use and needs a cartridge.  VPI has been on my short list, but there are so many options that it's hard to choose.  I don't know what I don't know. 

Would be interested to know anyone's thoughts on the VPI Classic and suggestions for a cartridge? 

I will likely purchase a BAT pre-amp and mostly listen to Jazz, female vocals (Rickie Lee Jones, Tracy Chapman), Classical and Choirs.  

The VPI Classic sound great. But the cartridge depends on your tastes in sound. Really detailed or musical? I love musical, so am really attracted to Van den Hull and Koetsu. They are musically oriented. 

What happened to wanting to keep the system simple and to just having it sounding good and looking good ?  I have heard that thousands of times before, and many have tried that....but that audiophile / music listening thang, never stops......Enjoy ! Always, MrD.

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Wow….. you are in A Viking takeoff in an F-15 full afterburner…

Breathe a bit…..

Quads, good as they were / are ( sold them / owned them along w Apogee, Beveridge, Sound Lab & Acoustat ) were never as reliable as ML or Acoustat. Age has and will take a toll. I think you would be better off w new Maggies under warranty w high pass filters and subs. Just my $.02

On the LP front, the VPI from a friend makes perfect store of value w good sonics. Again, get a trusted dealer w setup tools to sort it out based on your tastes and synergy w system 

Sell the  1+1 as is, coordinate troubleshooting / repair of the  CLS w ML… tgey are STILL in business for a reason….

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@elliottbnewcombjr - The room is roughly 16 x 28...and thank for the link to the Acoustat article.

@ghdprentice wrote, "I had a pair of Acoustat 2 + 2’s in the late 70’s that simply put me permanently in the audiophile camp and began my lifetime pursuit."

I got started by listening to Spica TC-50s that I purchased in the mid-80s from a shop called Opus One in Pittsburgh.   When I finally head electrostatics for the first time, I was hooked. 


The Acoustats seem fine after all of these years.  They were put away in custom boxes.  One of the transformers has a loose part on one of the boards.  I suspect when I have it checked out, it'll be fine.  The CLSs are a different story. One speaker, which has a replaced panel, isn't coming on.  So, I need to recheck the connections.  As it stands, I dusted off my trusty old Boston Acoustics and those are what I'm listening to now.  

It may be time to look for something new.   Quads ESLs in some form are at the top of my list.

The wife surprised with with an Eversolo DMP A8 all-in-one streamer/DAC/preamp.  So convenient.  At under $2000, it's a bargain.  After living with it for a few days, it's making me rethink my priorities with regard to the order that I build my system.  (I say this as I look over the top of my monitor at the 10 or so boxes of vinyl shipments that I received from Acoustic Sounds and Blue Note over the past few months.)  I'll still purchase a turntable and continue to purchase more records (I like looking at the boxes), but I suspect new speakers will come first followed by a second vk-60, a preamp, then I'll get a turntable. . .and I forgot to mention that I spontaneously purchased a Revox B77 Hi-Speed Reel-to-Reel just because I've always wanted one.  It's price and condition were right. I couldn't resist.  I also still need an equipment rack or furniture instead of the cardboard box that I use now:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XjLdflpd1BFl4t44qTUYbQJ6Lx622uiU/view?usp=drive_link

@tomic601 - I know I should slow down and breathe.  My brother, who just purchased MLs and plans to purchase Maggies for a 2nd system told me the same thing, but I only have so many summers left.  So, I hope to bring this system together in 2024.  With regard to the Acoustats, I'm not ready to get rid of them.  

I love the CLS and have not written them off yet.  I unplugged them several days ago and plan to disassemble them this weekend to see if there's a loose connection.    

I've heard others describe reliability issues with the ESL-57s, but I'd like a more modern model.  I've seen folk who make them more robust.  So, I'm exploring that as an option. 

. . .and, yes, I'm going to get the VPI.  It won't be too long.  I need to also understand how to select a cartridge.  Working on that too. 

 this ’all in one’ came up in another discussion,



the discussion



I, and others linked several options, some with phono, one with cp player option, one with 3 optional cards

seems many exist for far less than $15K

@patrickalston well, i have 4 or 5 turntables….can’t remember exactly…so any advice i may have given about breathing is HIGHLY suspect….