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Current state of my 'small' setup.


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Somewhere on here I have a "Behold the treehouse system!" thread about the stereo in my little sunroom. Well, nothing in that setup is still in my sunroom, its been spread out among other stereos here (or in the basement). So I just wanted to jibber jabber a bit about the current state of things.

First, its a difficult room with windows on three sides. It should sound worse than it does, but it does kind of limit me on the scale of things.

Speakers: Dynaudio Special 40. These took a long time to figure out and I didn't like them at first, but now I really dig 'em. They want a lot of power, they want the tweeter to be exactly at ear-height, they like to be decoupled from their stands (they're on little nubby spikes on the stands' top plate), they like a specific placement. High maintenance! But they reward you if you give in.

Amplification: Luxman 507u. I love this thing and can't say enough about it. Would I like the newest version that's like $9000? Sure. But I bought this used a few years ago for a fraction of that and I just can't fault anything about it. I'm even using its internal phono stage which I almost never do, despite having several top-notch phono stages laying around. The only tweak is that I'm running it with a SUT, as I prefer how it sounds with this particular LOMC.

Turntable: Sony TTS-3000 w/PUA-286 tonearm. This is with the larger of the TTS-3000 bases, and the longer of the Sony arms contemporary to it. I bought this on a whim late last year because I always thought the 3000 was one of the prettiest tables. To my surprise the performance keeps up with its looks. Its a fantastic turntable and I haven't felt the need to do anything to it. There's a thick Funk Firm Acromat on it but that's only to get the cart level. The PUA-286 uses a standard SME style connector on the headshell but the Sony headshell is ....odd. If you use a different headshell, you can't get the arm low enough for level VTA. And I needed to use a different headshell because my cart won't fit on the Sony one. So..stack the platter! I think there's also a thin Nagaoka acrylic mat under the Acromat.

Cartridge: Cello (Mark Levinson) Chorale. This is a rebadged Miyabi LOMC cartridge and its incredible. It's big and heavy, though and doesn't like every arm. Its also got a little stubby cantilever that's hard to see and setup. Oh, and it likes to ride a bit tail-high but that's beneficial here (see above with the headshell quirks).

CD Player: Sony CDP-X7ESD. This was one of those "we're going to show off" pieces that the Japanese audio industry gets into now and then. I'll just say I have a bruise on my forearm from carrying it up from the basement the other day with one arm. It weighs more than some of the integrated amps I've had. The balanced output uses actual transformers. Soundwise it makes a pretty good argument that digital really hasn't advanced much, sound-wise, since it was built. I prefer it sonically, on CD, to my 'audiophile darling' EMM Labs CDSAse. Plus it's just classy, and pictures don't do it justice. It was one of the last players before single-bit/bitstream/delta-sigma or whatever. I have a philips TDA-1541/CDM-1 based McIntosh player in the other room and this rivals it sonically...more scale/authority, slightly less 'musical'. Its really awesome, though.

Streaming/DAC: Wiim Pro w/Berkeley Alpha DAC. 1st generation Alpha DAC from Berkeley Audio Designs, affiliated with studio-pros Pacific Microsonics. I'd say its dated by now but I'm using an even older CD player. I'd guess its from about 2005 and recently beat out the "better-measuring" Topping D70 for use in this setup. The Topping will migrate with another Wiim to another system.

Reel to Reel: Pioneer RT-707. Man, I love this thing. Pioneer really went to town with this thing and its just....cool. I play a few pre-recorded tapes but mostly I record high-res streaming audio of things I really want to just keep and play off-line. It's.... again...its just so cool.

And that's it. Oh, the cabinet is from Modernica, an Eames ESU storage unit in walnut, with a Modernica Nelson half-moon lamp and some danish-modern owls keeping watch. Beats me what the speaker stands are, bought them used, but I put some cheap spikes on them from Amazon that are surprisingly well made.


Pictures to follow....
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Not sure if we have any cable-fanatics around but there's some fancy ones in there, just things I've acquired over the years. I'm 'cable agnostic' myself but the cables in play here did eek out that final polish on the sound.

XLR CD to amp: Straightwire Crescendo.
DAC to amp: Cabledyne silver.
R2R to amp: some sort of Audioquest w/those active bias battery packs.
Speaker cable: Nordost flatline. They're actually biwire cables doubled up on the single posts. Of all the cables here these actually made the most difference, I really like them. Open and dynamic...maybe its just the amount of copper on the two runs doubled up.

There's a big Wireworld power cable and Wirewold outlet box and some AQ power cables, but they all go through a 10' $12 Amazon-purchased generic cable to the wall so read into that what you will.
Really like those tables. Nice setup.
The Sony really surprised me. I have some very nice tables laying around here. A fully tricked out Merrill/Gem Dandy modified AR, a Strathclyde with an SME-V...and any of them are available to wander into this setup, especially the Merrill as its in storage, but I just really like this Sony. I like looking at it. I like using it. And it really sounds good... its a belt-drive table with a large motor, and has the traits you'd expect from such a combo. The floating sprung top-plate is less susceptible to bounce-skipping than any of the Linn/AR style 3-point suspension tables I've had. And the somewhat-picky Miyabi really likes that long arm.
4B8F0E5A-1444-4CAF-AF82-4DD273ECC07D.jpegHere’s where you sit.

To be honest I’m surprised anything sounds good in a smallish room with huge windows on three walls but it actually is a very nice sounding setup.
Always love to see your setups. Gives me the incentive to up my game…and then give up halfway through.
Up your game? I drool over so much of the gear you have!

What I like about this setup is how much it packs into a small space. That poor cabinet is stuffed with goodness.
Digging all the colorscolorscolorscolors, what a cool room and setup! 👍😎

We just painted the rooms in 1/2 the place and I debated on the color for this room for months. I think I chose well, it’s very calming.
We just painted the rooms in 1/2 the place and I debated on the color for this room for months. I think I chose well, it’s very calming.
To me it's very "seaside." In my mind, I almost picture a lake outside the windows. It reminds me of the sun porch at the cottage my aunt and uncle had up on Crystal Lake.
Really cool set up! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been in the hunt for a cd player so you gave me some ideas.

What is the model of the mcintosh you have in the other room?
Really cool set up! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been in the hunt for a cd player so you gave me some ideas.

What is the model of the mcintosh you have in the other room?
Thank you.

The Mc player is the MCD-7007, with the Philips CDM-1 swing arm transport and TDA-1541s1”crown” DAC chips. But…this last week I put a much more revealing preamp ahead of it than the transformer passive I was using and …I think the pretty Mc needs a service. The top end is a bit brittle. I’m going to try it out as just a transport in the meantime.

The big Sony 7ESD is awesome. I think it’s the better of the two.