Going from "I'm done with audio" to a slew of upgrades within a couple months... what a strange hobby this is.


Technically It's LexusGuy
Hi Gang,

Over the last year or two I have been kicking around "scaling back" my audio system to make it more simple to use and less fussy. In hindsight the real problem wasn't the fussiness but it was the perceived lack of performance that came along with the fussiness. IE it just wasn't worth it. I've felt like I was on the tail end of this hobby for awhile now. My system hasn't changed in about 5-6 years and I was content to leave it that way, as any upgrade I could envision was very expensive and not an outlay I was comfortable making.

So, in light of the lack of perceived performance vs. hassle I delved into looking for an integrated amp. After much thought I came to the realization that my amplifiers would probably never be sold, but relegated to a shelf. So then I started considering a preamp. A Belles VT-01 popped up locally that seemed interesting and I was able to demo in house. It sounded great so I bought it. Huge bonus? Belles provides a switched +12v output which allowed me to turn everything on with one power switch. Fantastic. My system actually improved, and sounded better than it ever had. I felt a bit like I had broken a glass ceiling.

My Oracle Delphi has seen better days. I was having problems with belt tracking, the lift on my SME V wasn't working at all, and I just realized my cartridge was ancient. I started with a new belt, which cured the speed fluctuations. I then took apart my SME V and repaired the tonearm lift (which has not worked since I bought this arm). That just left a cartridge. I sent my Audio Technica OC9/III to A/T for inspection. They verified it was shot. I got a price quote for a trade-in for an OC9XSL, which was comparable. They were out of stock until March. I then asked about the ART series (knowing that the cost was pretty well out of reach retail, I hoped they'd help me out). Well they did, and even though I spent more than anticipated I now have an AT-ART9XA, which is the best cartridge they offer short of the AT-ART1000. I got this yesterday and got it installed on my TT. Initial impressions are very favorable and this cartridge is noticeably better than the one it replaced. Great success...

You all may have noticed I also constantly bitch about my Bluesound Node2 because I don't like the way it sounds. I borrowed a Benchmark DAC-2 from a friend yesterday just for testing purposes and it resolved the shortcomings I took issue with. I'm not in love with the DAC-2, so I will most likely spend more time trying to find a replacement. This is going to have to wait until I sell my Klyne preamp though.

So here we are, I'm back to satisfied and stepped back from the edge of total frustration. Interesting how things can come full circle like this.



Technically It's LexusGuy
I love my OC-9 mkII, but will eventually upgrade, even though I have one new in the box, that I ought to sell.
Email and ask them what your trade value would be, it was very generous. I imagine you could trade that one and sell your spare to cover the difference.


Technically It's LexusGuy
I'd like to encourage you to give the CHORD QUTEST DAC a try at home - if it is possible.
Aside from its stunning sound, the QUTEST central color coded window immediately shows whether a TIDAL stream is CD-level or higher.
To extract that little bit extra, we run ours off a ($50) cellphone recharging power-bank - essentially a pure DC supply, totally off the grid.
Loving it entirely!
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