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An humble setup of an amateur audiophile
I loved music from the start of being a teen, I was gifted a Sony mini hi-fi Set up. I use to crank all the greats; Prodigy, Rammstein, Mudvayne, Paul Oakenfold and so on. That is until I blew up the speakers. I ended up taking the blown speaker from my set up and swapping it out with my parents pioneer gear from the early 90's. That was my first taste of knowing that not all speakers were made equal. And that is what I believe is my original music /audiophile beginnings, the drive that makes me want better! The drive we all in this community believe we have! The upgrade-itis, it all dwells somewhere within us.
Now 20+ years later I am trying to humbly orchestrate a sound I can be satisfied with, but most importantly enjoy along the way. Because if we just continue to scratch the what if itch, we can't talk enjoy the journey. The philosophy of life is the same as the philosophy of music madness. Quality and quantity must reach a wonderful balance. Hopefully that makes sense.
As of today my set is;
*Two computers - (1) iMac running Amara + and Audirvana, (2) Windows laptop running Foobar,
*A Eastern Electric Mini Dac Plus, with 3 interchangeable opamp upgrades; Dexa Discrete, Burson V5 & Sparkos Labs,
*Denon PMA600NE Integrated Amplifier,
*Pioneer PD30AE CD Player,
*Rega P1 Turntable,
*Quad 25L Speakers, sometimes swapped with B&W 604S2,
*One guardian at the gate in the form of a dachshund - who is the magical spirit of the musical journey 😂
The setup has been an absolute treat to run. A very balanced sound, sweet, rich, analytical and yet musical. The mish-mash of these components have provided great satisfaction. Making me feel like a teen again, even though as a teen I didn't listen to vinyl but CD on the other hand so excellent. Good technology never dies in this music world. And keeping those formats going is our humble duty or at least our great enjoyment, especially in this digital world. Embracing both is key - the old and the new!
I have also been very lucky to have room to do this in, as I started in my bedroom but quickly ran out of space, I'm sure we'll do at some point. Luckily or unluckily depending on how we see it, there was a room spare but I was not to touch it a my parent wanted to make it an art/business room. But while she is away taking care of family business in NSW, I cleared it and moved all of the gear into their. It took me some time to muster the courage to let her know I had done this, but after the initial anger at judgement it is all ok now, well that's is until the border opens up again for QLD and then her wrath will be felt when she is back!
So another 47 days to enjoy the music until I possibly RIP or I have to take it all out...
Well thank you for visiting and reading, much appreciated.
I wish you well on the continuation of your audiophile journey, maybe our paths will meet buying and selling gear off stereo.net.
Hi Guys (and @Amber Technology)
I started off meeting @Marc in the original Car Audio Australia days: meeting in car parks, comparing the latest car subwoofers and speakers.
Over the years I've gone from being a bass-head with a focus on LOUD to becoming an audiophile wanting to pursue reference level audio.
I spent years as a competitor in all levels of sound quality competition and have learned the skills to be able to design, build and tune competitive, magazine featured car audio show cars.
Up until about 3 years ago I've not cared for home hifi, enduring the woeful sounds of my share-house's Sony Muteki home theatre in a box.
Eventually, I bought my first entry level amplifier and started from there: a Cambridge Azur 551R, bought from a good friend of mine. I had a spare pair of Dyn Audio Esotec 242 2 way component speakers and together with a pair of MD140 midrange drivers and some customised 3 way passive crossovers, set out to build a fantastic pair of bookshelf speakers. I designed, built and painted a pair of ported enclosures, These enclosures are made with 36mm MDF on sides, top and bottom with 50mm baffle and 72mm rear panels, braced and lined with sound diffraction foam panels weighing in at almost 40kg each. Each of these enclosures were laminated and then high gloss white painted in two-pack.
I bought a matching Cambridge Azur 640BDBluray player and this was my system for the next 2.5 years until I started on the build of my dream home.
While I didn't have the ability to completely ground up design a house to suit cinema/listening, I did modify an existing plan to make work for my intended purpose. I have an empty bricked cavity adjacent to the cinema so I modified the framework to accommodate a future subwoofer to be flush mounted into the wall. I added sound batts throughout the room and two layers of sound check plaster on all surfaces. I pre-ran large gauge speaker cabling to accommodate a 7.1 speaker configuration and ran HDMI, cat6e etc cables.
In the meanwhile I collected some more equipment I wanted for my final "achievable" dream system.
Cambridge Azur 840A Integrated Amplifier
Cambridge Azur 840C CD Player/DAC
Cambridge Azur 640T DAB AM FM Tuner
Sony CDP-CX355 300 Disc CD Player
Sony TC-WE661 Double Cassette Deck
Yamaha WXC-50 Streamer
Dynaudio Excite X14 speakers (Rear)
Dynaudio Excite X22 speaker (Centre)
Dynaudio MW182 Woofers (Front subwoofers)
Crown XLS1502 Sub amp x1
Eclipse Titanium Pro 18" 3000w RMS subwoofer (TC Sounds)
Unfortunately the 840A came to me dead on arrival so it was sent to a friend who not only repaired it, he did every upgrade he could.
As the house was nearing completion, my father and I set about building a pair of subwoofer enclosures for the Dynaudio MW182 front subwoofers. These would act as stands for my existing bookshelf speakers albeit with a dense foam isolating pad between. The are designed and styled identical with the same overkill construction. I decided to do a full colour change to satin black to match the new furniture I was designing and building for the dark grey/black room.
I designed an built a tv unit featuring 8x 4RU locations to give ample room and cooling for all of the equipment with a little room to add on later.
I also built the largest enclosure I could that would accommodate the system subwoofer flush mounted in the wall. this was using multiple layers of 25mm MDF, braced and fiberglassed internally and externally, then lined with sound absorbing foam. It may not be the perfect dimensions but I didn't anticipate such a monster sized cinema subwoofer.
With help from Elias (a member here) , I installed, wired and gave the system a quick tune which is where it sits as current.
I can't wait to do a proper calibration and get a second Crown Sub amp (im borrowing an old PA amp for the 18" woofer at the moment)