Audio



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Overview

Confession...

My name is Jayson and I am an audioholic.

<deep sigh>

I've loved audiohol since my first taste. In fact, it all started as a child when I visited a music store in the big city. Wandering away from my parents, I found my way to a second-floor listening room. My pupils slowly dilating in this darkened space as I struggled to focus on stacks of tasty gear that seemed to reach the ceiling, the likes of which I had never seen before. Like a reflex I was pulled in closer by the soft fluoresce of the VU meters and erratic, bouncing needles. With an amiable grin, the dealer was kind enough to offer me a sampling; by the look on my face he knew he'd found a lifer.

I haven't been the same person since that consequential day. Over the years I've been known to impulsively blow thousands of dollars on this habit without remorse. Most "normal" people just don't understand, but I know that nothing can beat that sedated feeling of spinning up one more track and letting the sound waves trickle in and once again take control of my inner ears.


My listening room is in the basement of my house – not an ideal room or location, but half the fun is making the best of what you have. I’ve located the amps and crossover up front between the speakers, and hidden the source equipment off to one side, just behind the listening position.

Since planar speakers project so much sound backward, the alcoves behind the speakers are a bit of an acoustical nightmare. I’m getting a lot of uncontrolled bass... which gives me the opportunity to experiment with various wall treatments to try to tame these lower hertz.

My digital section consists of a CD player and a network music player. I've stashed umpteen GBs of lossless music files on a music server located in another part of the house.

My analog section is actually just entry-level stuff; a basic tube phono stage and budget turntable...lots of room to improve.

Future upgrades:

  • Remote power triggers - I plan to "power up" the amps (4B SST) and crossover (10B-LR) with a trigger from the pre-amp (BP25DA) power supply (MPS-1). The MPS-1 power supply already has a built-in low voltage trigger for the relays in the 4B SST amps. Since the 10B-LR crossover doesn't have a built-in relay, I plan to use a Furman MP-15 power relay for it.
  • Power cables - I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit I'm still using the OEM power cables on all my equipment. I'm still researching how far to take it, but I do know it'll be a DIY project.
  • Turntable - I have about 800+ LPs and sub-par turntable ...it just ain't right.
  • Magnepans - My MG IIBs have served me well, but admittedly, they are the weak link in my front end. I would love to find a pair of MG 20.1s ...although I think my listening room may be too small for these monsters.

Components


Magnepan MG IIB

(Speaker)

Bryston 10B-LR

(Crossover)


Bryston 4B SST

(Amplifier)

Bryston 4B SST

(Amplifier)

Magnepan MG IIB

(Speaker)

Bryston BP25DA

(Preamplifier with DAC)



Bryston MPS-1
(DC Power Supply)



Controllers



Analog Sources


JoLida JD-9A

(Tube Phono Preamplifier)


Dual CS 455

(Turntable)
Digital Sources


Logitech Transporter

(Network Music Player)


NAD T550

(CD Player)

HP EX470

(Music Server)

Cables and
Interconnects

Magnepan MG IIB Speakers
Oak frame, beige fabric, circa 1981, two-way full-range dipole radiator (planar loudspeakers)... basically they look like a pair of Chinese blinds.

Magnepans are a bit like small dogs - you either love 'em or hate 'em. Unlike small dogs, I love my maggies. After you’ve overcome the skepticism of “that-sounds-comes-from-those-things”, you can settle in for a truly unique listening experience. Admittedly, they are not for all types of music – but then again, some people would argue that the other stuff isn’t “music”. Bottom line: Magnepans deliver very impressive sound quality and are a very good boom for your audio buck.

Modifications: Custom stands
Wall treatment

Physical Specifications:
Height x Width x Depth: 180cm x 56cm x 5cm (71" x 22" x 2")
Weight: 20.4kg (45lbs) each
Panel area:
Mid/Bass: 0.323m2 (500inches2)
Tweeter: 0.044m2 (68inches2)

Electronic/Electromechanical Specifications:
Frequency response: 40Hz - 18,000Hz ±4dB
Sensitivity: 84dB (for one Watt at one meter with 500Hz)
Crossover:
Low pass: 400Hz
High pass: 1600Hz
Impedance: 5
Recommended power:
Minimum: 50W RMS
Maximum: 200W RMS

Bryston 4B SST Amplifiers
Silver, 19" with handles... times two.

Those who know this amp, know that it is a true champion. In production since 1977, the 4B is the Clydesdale of workhorses - docile, elegant but still hugely powerful. Frankly, in my humble opinion, I say the Bryston 4B deserves the Order of Canada.

Modifications: Custom stands

Physical Specifications:
Height x Width x Depth: 13.3cm x 48.3cm x 43.8cm (" x 19" x 17¼")
Weight: 22kg (50lbs)

Electronic Specifications:
Power output: 300W per channel into 8Ω
500W per channel into 4Ω

Bryston 10B-LR Active Crossover
Silver, 17"

The Bryston 10B active crossover is to the Bryston 4B SSTs as salted peanuts are to beer. On their own they are great - together they reach new levels. The "LR" model uses programmable Linkwitz-Riley filters - a nice flexibility when you have an unusual crossover point like with Magnepans.

Modifications: Custom stand

Physical Specifications:
Height x Width x Depth: 4.4cm x 43.2cm x 25.4cm (" x 17" x 10")
Weight: 5.5kg (12lbs)

Electronic Specifications:
Crossover point: 800Hz at -6dB (programmed)
Slope: 24dB/oct.
Distortion: 0.005%
Signal-to-noise ratio: -90dB

Bryston BP25DA Preamplifier (with DAC)
Silver, 19", integrated DAC

The Bryston BP25DA is to the 10B-LR and 4B SSTs as another beer is to peanuts and beer. What really sold me on this preamp is the integrated DAC.

Modifications: None

Physical Specifications:
Height x Width x Depth: 4.4cm x 48.3cm x 28.0cm (" x 19" x 11")
Weight: 7.5kg (17lbs)

Electronic Specifications:
(from manufacturer)
Total harmonic distortion: <0.0015% at 3volts out
Signal-to-noise ratio: -103dB (Reference 1volt balanced input 20Hz-20kHz)
Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz ± 0.05dB

DAC Specifications:
(from manufacturer)
Distortion: <0.002%
Signal-to-noise ratio: >100dB
Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz ± 0.1dB

Logitech Transporter Network Music Player
Silver, 17", integrated DAC

I was sad to hear that Logitech discontinued their Transporter model - it's really a nice piece of gear. I'm not sure the hefty MSRP was justified but it does have the best sounding DAC in any network music player that I've heard (which can also be used as standalone).

Modifications: None

Physical Specifications:
Height x Width x Depth: 7.7cm x 43.3cm x 31.1cm (3" x 17" x 12¼")
Weight: 7.5kg (17lbs)

Electronic Specifications:
(from manufacturer)
Total harmonic distortion: -106dB (0.00005%)
Signal-to-noise ratio: 120dB

HP EX470 MediaSmart Server Music Server

I tip my hat to HP for building this headless unit like a brick shithouse. Coupled with Microsoft’s Windows Home Server (WHS), it’s a handy little box to have on your home network. I’m running Squeezebox Server to stream a hoard of Windows Media Audio 9 (WMA) Lossless music files. I’ve configured several of the computers on the network to rip directly to this library. Communications with the Transporter (and other network music players) is over a gigabit network. I’m currently working on an automated process to duplicate this lossless library to a smaller, lower quality MP3 library that can then be synched with my portable MP3 players.

Besides serving up music, this little WHS does other helpful tasks around the house including network backups, file serving and video streaming. Unfortunately I have yet to get it to load the dishwasher or take out the trash.

Modifications: Upgraded processor
Upgraded memory

Physical Specifications:
Height x Width x Depth: 25cm x 14cm x 23cm (" x " x ")
Weight: 5.1kg (11½lbs)

Hardware Specifications:
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 LE-1640: 2.6GHz 1MB L2 Cache
Memory: 2GB DDR2 DRAM
Storage: Disc 0: ½TB (50GB partition for System)
Disc 1: 2TB
Disc 2: 2TB
Disc 3: 1TB

Software Specifications:
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Home Server 2003 SP2
Music server: Logitech Squeezebox Server 7.5.1

Controllers
- Logitech Squeezebox controller...
- Bryston controller...
- Apple iPod Touch with iPeng...
TO DO...

JoLida JD-9A Tube Phono Preamplifier
TO DO...

Dual CS 455 Turntable
TO DO...

NAD T550 CD Player
TO DO...

Cables and Interconnects
TO DO...