18 June, 2013

Magnepan MG 1.7 Listening Tests (3), Carver, Manley, Ensemble

Letter from NYC (24) 2013 (1): Magnepan, Carver, Manley, Ensemble, Part I
Review: Magnepan MG 1.7 Listening Tests (3)
Review: Carver Sunfire Amplifier, Part I
Review: Manley Neo-Classic 300B Preamplifier, Part I
Review: Ensemble Dirondo and Dichrono HiDac, Part I

Article started in the UK, posted from NYC

Very very busy days for me. Still, it's time to catch up with older and unfinished business, if we ever arrive at the HiFi finish line, that is.

Magnepan MG1.7 Revisited (3) (see previous reports, Part I, Part II)
As soon as I got back to NYC, and before my UK trip, I listened to my usual horn system. Within a few days, I got the impulse to fire up my Maggie's again (or else it will be dormant for too long). This time I brought the 1.7 further upfront, about 2 ft in front of my YG horns and 2/3 of the way from the front wall. I also pulled them even wider apart to form a near-isosceles triangle with my listening seat. To my delight, after an absence of I think 2 years, the sound was better than before! Although the improved placement was likely the most critical, I do think the partnering electronics contributed to this immeasurably too. This report is going to take several parts. Let me start by introducing the players. Particulars in performance shall be treated in the next article, Part II.

Sunfire Carver Sunfire Amplifier

Although Carver's Sunfire amplifiers were famous for its time (cited in TAS' Ten Most Significant Amplifiers of All Time), there is not much info on the internet.

There appeared to have been several versions. Mine was certainly an earlier one, not a Signature version (see Audiophilia 2004 review and avrev 1998 review; see also review of the related Lightstar). The simpler front and back matches well the version described by one of my favorite writers, Robert E Greene, archived in his own website: regonaudio TAS 1996.

I should mention that I acquired the amp after I heard my friend Vash's Sunfire Architect's Choice driving Maggie.

Manley Neo-Classic 300B Preamp
For introduction, see my previous blip.

Ensemble Dirondo + Dichrono HiDac 
This is my one of my reference digital sources and it is a shame I haven't given it treatment before! For a good description, read this Positive Feeback favorable review. Note that the reviewer uses gears that are more in keeping with my preferences, like Audio Note CD players and EAR amplification. To be complete, you should also know there is a considerably less enthusiastic review in 6moons, but I do think the reviewer was seriously remiss there, as happens so often in that site, which though frequently informative, seems more keen on tasting plats du jour than maintaining any long term philosophy. Suffice to say the Ensemble duo is a greatly nuanced player in my system.

The coming articles shall examine the system in great detail.

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