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Old 11th February 2010, 02:27 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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Default Looking for Systen Advice...

Hello everyone!

I am a new member here. I spent the first several days of membership reading the saga of the Shingaclone transport... Great stuff there! It got me seriously thinking about upgrading the 'guts' of my Theta... But do I trust myself to not screw it up?



Anyway, my current system is the following:
  • Transport: Theta Data (under repair now- Stupid plastic gear)
  • D/A converter: Aragon D2A
  • Interconnects: RS Video cables / RS (orange) digital cable (recommended by Stereophile years ago... Time for an upgrade?)
  • Preamp: Perreaux SM1- yeah, with the crazy alien looking front. Don't love the look; however it was a step up from my PS Audio 5.0 and my (deceased) Counterpoint preamp that I can't remember the number of.. SA-7 I think. It was upgraded with the solid state line board just before Counterpoint folded up (it plugged into the tube sockets!).
  • Amplifier: Counterpoint SA-220 (still stock!) May consider adding a second and bi-amping in the future... I was auditioning old (well- new at the time) B&K mono blocks at that time and this was sitting there, ice cold. I had it fired up and (cold remember) it BLEW THE DOORS off the nice, warm (and modded) B&K mono blocks! I was in debt for a while paying that purchase off, but it was worth it! Really an under rated amp in my (and Mike Elliot's) opinion...
  • Speakers: Vandersteen Model 1 -I like them, but maybe the crossover network could use refreshing with some new caps and silver wire?
  • Tape: SONY 3-head model ??
  • Tuner: Complete POS (from Technics)
  • Speaker cables: Home-made (modified Plasma Gun power cables) I am planning to re-make these as they are getting a bit beat looking... Will start a new thread on that subject.
  • Power Conditioning: a F'n HUGE transformer salvaged from an old computer main frame instalation... (Weighs about 100#!) But it hums, so I am going to hide it in the basement (and possibly add a second containment around it) and send a line from it to the listening room. Supply to it will be a dedicated 20-amp line from the (new) electrical service panel. We should not be starving for juice (and the lights won't dim when I click on the power amp!)
  • Rack: Home-Made (white oak / Aluminum tubing) Actually, the salvage from my first rack project, which was welded angle iron and white oak. Each shelf was supported on 3/4 inch foam weatherstrip to 'isolate' them somewhat. New rack is thin wall aluminum square tubing lag bolted directly to the shelf boards. It looks cool, but could benefit from a heavy sub-base I think... I have a lead bar kicking around so that may find a new home soon...
I am in need of a turntable as you can see. I would Like a Planar 3, or perhaps make my own, as I am much more handy with mechanical stuff than electrical stuff... (I had an old Thorens, but it died) I have too many passions- I make pool cues and guitars, Restore cars, do a good amount of drafting and engineering for my 'paying job' as well. I'm sure I could barter some work from me to another member! (hint, hint) Anyone near Huntington, Long Island?

No photos of the system, as it is mostly boxed at the moment. Rebuilding the house as well as everything else so I don't have it set up right now. Just want to plan WAY ahead and have a nice, slick install with a VERY sweet sound. It is quite good as it is (generally limited by the small apartments I have been living in for years) but now I will have a good sized room to really open the bass up in...

I am considering the Vincent PHO-8 phono preamp, and welcome opinions on that added to what I have, as well as alternate pieces of other gear that may be more 'harmonious' together.

But, since this is DIY audio, I was thinking maybe there is a simple, reliable, easy to construct phono preamp I could build myself too.

Years ago I built up the Steroephile "Passive Buffered Preamp" that they listed schematics and part lists for in the magazine. It is complete, but does not work (independent power regulation for each channel and everything!). I believe I overheated the buffers when I installed them, and now I don't have any of the paperwork to source parts... (That is sounding like I need to search, and/or start a new thread). I imagine a lot of those parts are discontinued and/or a better replacement exists now.

Anyway, that's enough from me. Take a look! I value all the input from you guys!

Last edited by Jim Leach; 13th April 2012 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 11th February 2010, 02:38 PM   #2
Glowbug is offline Glowbug  United States
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The Planar 3 is a solid choice for a TT, no doubt about that...it's a very no frills belt-drive that will last a long time. If you're willing to try a direct-drive, the Technics SL-1200MK2 is also another very good choice.

There are some simple phono stage designs out there, but if you don't have a lot of experience in DIY, they might not be a great first choice for a project because of the signal levels involved. A lot easier to get noise in very low-level signals than the line level signals in a line preamp.

If you're still interested in a buffered pre, Nelson Pass has a great one out there now, the B1 Buffer...on the passdiy.com site, and there's a big thread here about it.

Also something to keep in mind, the room is a huge factor in what you hear...so think about doing some room treatments, especially if you're rebuilding the house anyway

Welcome to the board...looks like you've got a pretty good start!
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Old 11th February 2010, 03:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glowbug View Post
The Planar 3 is a solid choice for a TT, no doubt about that... If you're willing to try a direct-drive, the Technics SL-1200MK2 is also another very good choice.
My father-in-law (to be) has a Planar 3. He (ironically enough) used to work for Mark Levinson! (he has a prototype power amp that DWARFS my SA-220 and an ML-1 pre) I couldn't believe it when I heard that he worked for Mark. My fiancé couldn't care less- actually she doesn't care for Mark much... But having been exposed to hi-fi her entire life, she does at least appreciate the concept! (and loves to listen!) As to direct-drive, I think I would rather a belt drive. I would certainly be open to listening to a Planar (for example) next to the Technics you suggest...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glowbug View Post
There are some simple phono stage designs out there, but if you don't have a lot of experience in DIY, they might not be a great first choice for a project because of the signal levels involved. A lot easier to get noise in very low-level signals than the line level signals in a line preamp.
Well, it wouldn't be my first project, but first phono preamp for sure. Might want to barter with an experienced member, or just stick with plan 'A' and get a commercial one (such as that Vincent). Making a turntable I think is more my speed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glowbug View Post
If you're still interested in a buffered pre, Nelson Pass has a great one out there now, the B1 Buffer...on the passdiy.com site, and there's a big thread here about it.
I'm actually quite happy with my Perreaux. It sounds good (to me anyway) and the remote sure is nice...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glowbug View Post
Also something to keep in mind, the room is a huge factor in what you hear...so think about doing some room treatments, especially if you're rebuilding the house anyway
I am well aware of the room as a major factor. The room will be larger than any of the past rooms I have been able to set up in. The last room was longer than wide (and fully carpeted); however I had to set up the rack on the long wall, which killed the bass (but it still sounded OK). This time I think I will be able to set up with a good length to the room. (floor plan is still in flux) and I have hardwood floors throughout the house, so I can really 'tune' the room nicely I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glowbug View Post
Welcome to the board...looks like you've got a pretty good start!
Thank you! I've been a fan of hi-fi for a long time, and am really finally able to get the most from my collection of overpriced toaster-ovens!
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Old 13th April 2012, 12:16 PM   #4
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Default UPDATE

So, now I'm married (2 years already!!), sold the house in Long Island, bought anothr in CT, started a new position at work, my Wife also moved back up here of course and also started a new job. Needless to say, it has been a bit hectic!

I also made some system upgrades since my first post here:


Anyway, my current system is the following:
  • Transport: Theta Data (All fixed and working like new again!)
  • D/A converter: Aragon D2A (still)
  • Interconnects: TARA labs video cables
  • Preamp: Perreaux SM1- yeah, with the crazy alien looking front. Don't love the look; however it is still class-A, still has a remote, and still sounds sweet. Balanced outs feed the two amps. I think it will take a lot to better this piece!
  • Amplifier: (A pair of) Counterpoint SA-220's (still stock!) Still great sounding. I re-tubed them both from a matched set when I went to dual-mono.
  • Speakers: Thiel CS 2.2's. Besides being a lot easieer than pulling Vandersteens apart to mod them, these sound SOOOO good!
  • Tape: Well, this is a long story, but in an effort to get my cassetes onto digital, I went through a few: Tascam 112B (balanced out); Tascam 122, Tascam 122 Mk. III, Tascsm 32. (Many are for sale if you need one!)
  • Tuner: Magnum Dynalab FT-101 (for sale) I don't listed to radio...
  • Speaker cables: (a new set of) Home-made (modified Plasma Gun power cables) I did start a new thread on that subject.
  • Power Conditioning: none- I ditched the huge transformer for scrap)
  • Rack: Home-Made (white oak / Aluminum tubing) Actually, the salvage from my first rack project, which was welded angle iron and white oak.
The new room is beter size and shape too- rectangular this time! BUT, it is the formal living room as well, so the furniture placement is far from optimal for listening. In spite of that, it sounds pretty damn nice!

Now I need a new rack. Darker wood (probably walnut or walnut stained red oak) "double-wide" to fit under a window and between the speakers.

Trolling for ideas now...
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Old 25th November 2013, 12:12 PM   #5
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Update:

No changes, but I never mentioned the Planar 3 and Aragon 47k I am now using. I have a Benz Micro Silver cartridge and a Bayerwald (NOT the Rega) set-up. Very nice.

The RB250 arm has a Michell technoweight, and I have (but have not installed) the Michell VTA nut. I also cleaned and replaced the spindle oil. Otherwise, the table is stock.
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