27 March, 2010

HiFi Letter from NYC 2010 (1): Setting up (yet again)

HiFi Letter from NYC 2010 (1): Setting up (yet again)

It's 4:00 am.
What to do if you are wide awake after nearly a day on the jet? Dreaming about the feisty stewardess from Beijing whom you had talked to for hours on KAL? No such impractical things for me.

Time to set up my hifi. Hungry for some music, I started building the second-station first, though it is different and simpler than last year's incarnation. Remember the second-system is for really low-level listening at the wee hours (more on this in the same link). It must have excellent details at very low level. This year's version when I began:

Digital: Linn Karik used as CDP
Preamp: ARC SP-9
Amp: McIntosh 2200
Speakers: Focal 705V

And as it is NOW, just a few days later:

Digital: Meridian 506-24
LP: Thorens TD-125/SME 3009/Benz-Micro Silver
Preamp: ARC SP-9
Amp: Almarro 205D (EL84 SE amp)
Speakers: Almarro M1A

This second system metamorphosed over the next few days. Things I noticed in passing:
-after I moved the Linn CDP to the main system, I substituted the Meridian. While the Karik sounded great as soon as I powered it on, this was not true for the 506. For several days I was not totally satisfied with the sound, but it came alive eventually. The 2 players should sound on par, though I'd give the Karik the edge still.
-the SE tube amp brought greater details, of course. It's amazing the efficiency of the Focal and Almarro speakers (despite their mid-80's db ratings)
-So did the Almarro speakers. Perhaps more on these when I have time.

Damn you, Maggie!

While I started to play some CDs which were delivered after I left NYC last time, I lost no time to build my main system. I decided this time it's going to be the Magnepan MMG. Damn those "proprietary" sockets and tiny screws and tiny allen wrenches!! After about 2 hours I managed to rebuild my main system, which is for another article. After all the strenuous work starting in the middle of the night, I was famished and went across the street for some FOOD. The sesame bagel with sausage and egg hit the spot, and the coffee lifted the spirits. Who said hifi nerds don't get enough exercise?

This year I experimented with many things in trying to bring the performance of Maggie closer to my beloved Martin Logan Source. It is impossible but the effort is worth it. Stay tuned.

It's pretty cold here for the end of March. Mom had the heat on, which helped her to keep her hard-boiled eggs warm.

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