Greatest Systems You Have Ever Heard

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
No, there need not be just one. List as many as you want. What systems are the greatest you have ever heard? Which ones have left the biggest impact on you?

I've mentioned Billforts system enough times here, so I won't got there again.

One of the truly great ones for me was down at My Kind of Music in Toronto. The system was composed of:
Luxman 550
Avid Acutus Reference turntable, with the monster power supply.
Transfiguration Proteus Cartridge.
Nagra BPS phono stage.
Wilson Benesh Discovery speakers.


Simply amazing sounding. Made me understand Joni Mitchells Blue for the first time.





 

tentoze

Active Member
At the 2005 T.H.E. Show in Las Vegas. Avantgarde Audio MetaDuos powered by their own amps (at least I think- long time ago), solid state, I'm pretty sure. The source? I simply do not remember, and it didn't really even matter at the time, either. They played some music friendly to my ears, what I remember most was some Joan Armatrading. I was completely entranced. Only horns I've ever heard that I am CERTAIN I could live with.
 

Golden Gate ER

Senior Member
Jadis Eurythmie Speakers, powerd by 4 Jadis JA800 mono blocks, a Jadis JD1 CD player & ClearAudio statement turntable.

Tannoy Westmisters Royal speakers powerd by 845 amplifiers & Micro-Seiki Turntable.

Yamaha NS-1000 powerd by a Fisher KX-500 receiver & Yamaha PX3? Turntable

Bang & Olufsen BeoLab5 speakers connected to BeoSound5
 

BMWCCA

Junior Member
David;n24929 said:
Would I get flamed for being a dick if I said that my system right now is the greatest I've heard? :P
If it's any consolation, I was thinking the same thing, but I haven't even heard yours.
And then maybe I just don't get out enough!
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Mine would be the VAC/Focal room at RMAF earlier this year. The top VAC mono blocks, IIRC 4 of them biamping Focal Grand Utopias, VAC reference preamp, and an analog source all hosted by Kevin from VAC, one of the nicest guys I've met in audio. The system cost probably $800,000 and it sounded like it. Just fantastic. Scale and unrestricted dynamics like I've not heard except in a few studios.

The other best system I've heard was a recording studio playback room in London, though I don't know what gear it was besides a Neve board. The engineer was playing some personal recordings he'd done in high res, simply mic'd. The monitors were large active 3 ways, looked custom built. Including the Neve board and room this system probably didn't cost much less than the VAC setup...
 

SPL db

Junior Member
[FONT=comic sans ms, cursive]One of the best systems I've ever heard was an all Linn system. The new at the time Isobarik DMS speakers being tri-amped with six Linn power amps set to be mono-block amps. This was all fed by the top Linn Sondek table through a Linn preamp & electronic crossover.[/FONT]

[FONT=comic sans ms, cursive]I was no longer sitting in a hi-fi shop but got transported to a jazz night club where I was seated at the middle table, behind to the right I could hear a conversation going on, behind me to the left I heard a couple of drink glasses "tink", there was another conversation in front of me to the left, and table front right, I actually heard someone drop their silverware.

I know that Linn is not the end all for electronics, but I do have to admit that it set the bar pretty high that day.

Wish I knew what the record they were playing was because I'd like to use that to judge other systems by.[/FONT]

 

David

Moderator
Heard quite a few systems that are gobsmacking more expensive than mine but none with proper room treatment and DRC. Hence the best sound I've heard is mine. The optimal room interaction with decent speakers can easily surpass the expensive gear with no regard to the room.
 
I´m not shure it is the best system I have ever heard but the system wich have impressed me the most was at an Swedish HIFI Show in Gothenburg autumn 1978 ( or was it 1979?) where the swedish importer Glotta demonstrated a full blown Mark Levinson HQD system

After this my hifi universe would never be the same?
Still got the double Lp set I bought at the event.
 

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Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
For me it was a set of Usher BE-20’s powered by ASL hurricane mono block tube amps, esoteric CDP and I don’t remember what the rest of the system was but it seemed pretty top notch.
By chance I had the opportunity to hear @marantzfan ’s system which totally blew that one away (at probably 100th of the wattage and fraction of the cost).
Once I build my stereo subwoofers I hope to add my system to this list.:)
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
I heard three that stopped me from listening to my system for a week. The first was Jim Smith's Avant Garde Duo system driven by Bat electronics at his house in Cumming Ga.

Then at VSAC 2003 Josh Stippich's system linked here: 6moons.com - industry features: VSAC 2003

And finally at VSAC Jeffry Jackson's full range time aligned horns (bottom of the page): Vacuum Tube State of the Art Conference VSAC 2008 Report By Jeff Poth
I heard Josh’s system at VSAC 2003 as well. Was very, very good.

Also, come to think of it, Jeffry Jackson’s system at VSAC 2008 in Vancouver. There was another system using modified Klipsch Chorus II speakers which was quite enjoyable in Vancouver as well.

Small world.
 
While at RMAF last year I stopped by PS Audio and listened to the IRS V's with, of course, PSA equipment powering them. Got to spend 2 hours playing tunes I was very familiar with and at volumes I wanted. I learned all about bass and soundstage with those speakers. Just flat awesome, although with their age I could detect some places where they were lacking compared to some modern speakers. Just gigantic in every way.

At the show, I listened to some Von Schweikert Ultra 9's. Holy Crap. When I grow up that's the speaker that I want. I'll just have to rob a bank though to get them. Shortly thereafter I had the good fortune to attend an audio store opening in KC and got to hear the Wilson Alexxa speakers set up by the Wilson rep and D'Agostino(sp?) amps. Those Ultra 9's blew them out of the water and in a small hotel room no less!
 
I had an opportunity to listen to a pair of YG Acoustic Sonja’s driven by darTZeel amplification. As nice as the equipment is . . . It was the “ground up build” two channel audio room that allowed me to hear deeper into recordings than I ever have before.
 
One of the best I've ever heard (and @DC enjoyed it as well) was similar to the system @kurtgo mentions above. This was at AXPONA, in one of the meeting rooms, hosted by The Audio Company (Marietta, GA). They had the Von Schweikert Ultra 11s powered by a battalion of VAC tube monoblocks and electronics that probably cost more than mine and my neighbors' houses put together. (It is referred to as the Million Dollar System, if I'm not mistaken.) The Ultra 11s are almost double the size (and driver complement) of the Ultra 9. I'd be a pancake if one fell on me.

But that sound...every type of music they threw at that system was effortlessly reproduced. One of the reps I know is fond of organ music, and he was playing the Poulenc Organ Concerto and the pedal tones filled the room easily. I never felt the speakers sounded "huge" though. One attendee later mentioned to me that he felt that the 9-foot-tall cello was not accurate reproduction, but later I realized that this was how that recording he heard was mic'ed.

I returned to the room for a Flash DJ presentation by Michael Fremer (with a few rarities he brought with him to the show), and I also heard that the room held an after-hours listening party (which I wish I could have attended, had I known).

While at RMAF last year I stopped by PS Audio and listened to the IRS V's with, of course, PSA equipment powering them. Got to spend 2 hours playing tunes I was very familiar with and at volumes I wanted. I learned all about bass and soundstage with those speakers. Just flat awesome, although with their age I could detect some places where they were lacking compared to some modern speakers. Just gigantic in every way.
I was supposed to be there this year (a couple of weeks ago, actually) but COVID happened. I stopped by in 2018 but couldn't hear the system since they were building their new demo rooms at the time, having just moved in--the rooms were nothing but the metal studs framing them in. I don't think the mastering studio was set up yet either. (I met an acquaintance there who gave me the grand tour prior to grabbing lunch.)
 
Von Schweikert Ultra 11's!!! I can only imagine. Gonna have to keep my eyes open as to where someone might have those set up and go take a listen.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
One of the best I've ever heard (and @DC enjoyed it as well) was similar to the system @kurtgo mentions above. This was at AXPONA, in one of the meeting rooms, hosted by The Audio Company (Marietta, GA). They had the Von Schweikert Ultra 11s powered by a battalion of VAC tube monoblocks and electronics that probably cost more than mine and my neighbors' houses put together. (It is referred to as the Million Dollar System, if I'm not mistaken.) The Ultra 11s are almost double the size (and driver complement) of the Ultra 9. I'd be a pancake if one fell on me.

But that sound...every type of music they threw at that system was effortlessly reproduced. One of the reps I know is fond of organ music, and he was playing the Poulenc Organ Concerto and the pedal tones filled the room easily. I never felt the speakers sounded "huge" though. One attendee later mentioned to me that he felt that the 9-foot-tall cello was not accurate reproduction, but later I realized that this was how that recording he heard was mic'ed.

I returned to the room for a Flash DJ presentation by Michael Fremer (with a few rarities he brought with him to the show), and I also heard that the room held an after-hours listening party (which I wish I could have attended, had I known).


I was supposed to be there this year (a couple of weeks ago, actually) but COVID happened. I stopped by in 2018 but couldn't hear the system since they were building their new demo rooms at the time, having just moved in--the rooms were nothing but the metal studs framing them in. I don't think the mastering studio was set up yet either. (I met an acquaintance there who gave me the grand tour prior to grabbing lunch.)
I heard that VAC setup at RMAF maybe five years ago but with different speakers. What most impressed me was how Kevin from VAC made the audiophiles make room for an older lady in a wheel chair, and stood by her answering kind of new to audio questions. He’s a very nice person. Made me proud to have had, at the time, a VAC setup ... though one that cost a small fraction of what was on display.
 
Von Schweikert Ultra 11's!!! I can only imagine. Gonna have to keep my eyes open as to where someone might have those set up and go take a listen.
The Audio Company seems to take this system to the major audio shows. Outside of that, the only other place I can think of that would have one would be a dealer. They do need a large room to sound their best.

What most impressed me was how Kevin from VAC made the audiophiles make room for an older lady in a wheel chair, and stood by her answering kind of new to audio questions. He’s a very nice person.
Indeed. I enjoyed his part in a panel of audiophile legends, although he was tied up and had arrived halfway through. It was an interesting discussion, though, as Kevin, Richard Vandersteen, Dave and Sheryl Wilson (of Wilson Audio) and Dan D'Agostino were all part of it. The rooms using VAC were some of the better sounding rooms at the show.

I was a bit shocked when I learned Wilson had passed not too long after--he was in the 2017 panel, and by May 2018, cancer had claimed him. He was a soft-spoken and kind-hearted fellow. Having seen what cancer did to my mother's side of the family, I never would have guessed he was probably battling it in 2017 when he appeared on the panel.
 
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