Your greatest high end audio purchase!!!

My audiophile journey has extended to over 40 of adventurous sonic delight. Over the coarse of my over 40 year journey as an audiophile, like so my others, I cycled through a multitude of speakers, amps, cables, etc,. Now that I’m an old guy, I’ve pretty much settled on my "End-Game" audio system for the long haul, primarily because I simply love the way it sounds, and also because, at this juncture, I no longer have the will, nor do I have the desire to continue the crazy (but fun) merry-go-round of audio components in and out like I did in years past (my spouse and my wallet thank me). When I look back on all the high-speed audio gear that I’ve owned down through the years, and after giving it much insightful thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that, after everything was said and done, my beloved Revel Salon 2 speakers were my overall most pleasurable and greatest purchase of all. What was yours?


A Lynx Hilo mastering ADC/DAC/headphone amp, purchased in 2013.  I'm a composer and audiophile, and purchased this for recording a high-end piano, after first seeing it mentioned in an issue of The Absolute Sound praising its DAC, the headphone amp, and the ADC (for transferring vinyl).  Among recording and mastering professionals, this unit continues to be know for its exceptional purity and transparency.  I recently embarked on a 10-year upgrade to my recording system, and my first thought was simply to upgrade the Hilo.  Lynx replied, however, that the one I bought today would be the same as one I would purchase today!  After extensively testing ADCs by Merging Technology, Prism, Lavry, and Ayre, I found that each has a different sound regarding balance of frequencies contributing to timbre, the impression of presence (close or more distant), and the width of the soundfield for each sound.  The Hilo continues to stand tall among these, with great purity of tone, perhaps capturing the nuances of timbre the best of  these ADCs.  My comments about the ADC results of the Hilo applies equally to the DAC:  since it is intended to be a mastering device (mastering typically involving playing a recording through a DAC, processing it in some creative way, and then re-recording it with the ADC, the DAC had to be designed to be exceptional -- at least as good as the DAC.  The headphone amp has its own DAC, is very clear, and powerful enough to handle the Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic headphones I use for headphone analysis (and Audeze LCD Xs, but they are low impedance and easy to drive).  

Should have proofread!  Sorry for errors!  Most importantly, I meant to say that Lynx said that if I purchased a new Hilo today it would be technologically the same as the one I purchased in 2013 --  so you could buy a used older one in good condition and get the essential equivalent of a new one.

Adequately finished open concept with refurbished IRS beta and twin Yamaha Pc5002m amplifiers. I smile… a lot ! 


My greatest ever audio purchase, it has got to be these two amps. The Pass Labs XA200.5 was the personal amps of Mark @ Reno Hifi; as you fellas know, Mark has retired and is now enjoying the easy life; when I drove to Mark’s shop in Phoenix, he told me that Pass specifically made this pair for him, and that it was the last pair of XA200.5 amps to leave the factory. How I got this lucky, I don’t know. I didn’t think I’d ever own anything like this, but once in a while, luck strikes.

My other purchase is Lamm ML-1.1 tube amps. Prior to the Lamm amps, I have a heavily modded and hopped up pair of SF Power 3 amps that Chris at Parts Connexion cooked-up, and they are now running KT-120s. I like them. Then I got these Lamm ML1.1 amps. While it doesn’t have the sheer grunt in bass punch and transient snap, I’ve never heard music like this before. To sum it up in two words: magic and ethereal.

Yeah, I think I was lucky alright... Have a prosperous and a Happy New Year fellas!