1) view of system rack, turntable and right hand speaker
2) view of my living room in "listening" mode from near the
listening position, EQ near the listening seat on the couch
3) view of the Turntable, affectionately known as "The
4) External view of transformer passive linestage
5) Internal view of the transformer passive linestage
Turntable: Acoustic Solid "Solid One" on Acoustic Solid Stand
which stands on an home-build Symposium style isolation platform which
in turn is on home-build String Suspension Concept "SSC" isolators.
Three Arm/Pickup combos are mounted, right now they are:
1) For modern records, audiophile re-pressings ect.
Origin Live Silver 250 with Goldring Elite MC
2) For most older pressings down to around 1970 etc.
SME 3009 MKII with Denon DL-103
3) For very old pressings (pre 1970's) and most
older Decca/DGG and sublabel classical etc.
Ortofon RS-212 Special with Ortofon SPU-GTE
CD Player: Philips LHH-1000 DAC (nee Marantz CD/DA-12) restored
and upgraded (Op-Amp's, Capacitors etc.)with a Pioneer DV-505 DVD Player (modified) a
Transport, also Heart/Marantz CD-6000 as Transport
Preamplifier: Opera Audio Consonance Reference 1.2
(modified - especially the MC Step-up Transformer with two phono inputs fitted),
or DIY l'Pacific Solid State Phonostage (J-Fet,
Transformer Volume Control (TVC) based passive preamp.
A new LCR eqalised Phonostage (E810F, 600 Ohm passive LCR RIAA, EC8020) is being
built right now.
Equalizer: Behringer Ultracurve 8024 (modified Op-Amp's,
Capacitors, Output Transformers) on small
Hostess Trolley style "rack", to be placed at the
listening position for "critical"
Amplifier: "The Hylo Idealistic Single Ended 300B Amplifier"
an ever evolving concept on the chassis of the
DIY-HiFisupply Billie Chassis
currently configured WE 437A Driver, TJ "Mesh" 300B
(or WE or Svetlana),
WE 274A Rectifier
A pair of Loftin White Monoblocks based on the
Original Design (UX-224, UX-245, RCA 5R4GY)
is being build slowly.
Speakers: Tannoy Monitor Red 15 Inch Dual Concentric Drivers
in Corner York enclosure build
by a friend from Tannoy Plans in 1" Solid Wood,
original crossovers, drivers C37
lacquered and dust-cap removed. Previously used
super-tweeters removed from system
Music: Much Jazz and Blues, a lot of music from the Age of
Enlightenment (Haendel, Vivaldi et al),
some modern US and Russian classical composers
(Copland and Shostakovitch especially),
Soul/Funk/Rap, Electronica, Easy Listening, lyrical
rock, hard rock, Metal, World Music
Photos taken by Adnan Arduman, slightly outdated. New ones soon.
My system is aimed primarily at allowing me to enjoy a huge range of music
from Vinyl Records of all sorts of ages and providence. It is not optimized
to excel in any specific area, but is weighted towards a natural, "live"
type of presentation, with an emphasis on realistic Sound Pressure Levels,
strong dynamic and pace and realistic tonality.
As over the years that are included in my collection many changes occurred,
from wide swings in style rake angle, groove wall angle, the use or absence
of tracing distortion compensators and so on, I have found that using
several cartridges with strongly varying characteristics seems best.
The records pressed from the late 1960's all the way through the 1970's tend
to have used a tracing simulator during cutting and thus require a pickup
with a conical stylus (I use a Denon DL-103) to work correctly, though
gentle elliptical styli cuts like the one used on the Ortofon SPU-GTE also
seem to work from a subjective point. Recordings mastered before the
widespread use of tracing simulators (generally before the late 1960's) tend
to sound best to my ears on the old SPU-GTE, maybe not unrelated to the fact
that the QC listening at the factory would have likely included exactly such
a pickup. Modern pressings from around the late 1970's/early 1980's onwards
tend to have a pretty uniform SRA and groove wall angel, thus allowing the
theoretical superiority of line contact styli to be leveraged effectively,
so most of such LP's tend to be played with the "modern" combination, though
depending on recording and mood I may choose one of the others too, there is
no dogma to the use of pickups.
Equally, first, but not solely corrects the Room and Speaker related
problems (primarily the room modes at low frequencies and the well
documented midrange "hump" for the older (pre Monitor Gold) Tannoy Driver.
Also, my room is a little asymmetric which again is corrected by the
equalizer. I have further programmed some "psycho-acoustic" overlay curves
based on a range of research, especially however that by Mr. Jens Blauert
from Germany, a piece of very neat understanding how frequency response
manipulation affect our spatial perception. Here a little narrow boost in
some ranges to the tune of 1 to 3db and a little broadband cuts in others to
the tune of -0.5 to -1.5db can make the difference between a perceived
exceptionally wide and deep soundstage and one that is flat and un-layered.
Sadly this research is not widely known or publicized, especially in the
audiophile press, a shame as it would often ease the correlation of measured
speaker response and perceived spatiality.
Beyond all that however I have programmed the essential corrections for
several widely used cutting Equalizers when replayed via a RIAA equalized
Phono-stage (the deviations may reach as much as 10db at very low
frequencies). More specifically, the Decca EQ as used by Telfunken, Teldec,
Decca and Deutsche Gramophone Gesellschaft, the Columbia EQ used by
Columbia/CBS et al and the CCIR EQ used by some European (especially eastern
europe) are covered at the moment by my presets. Further of course I tend to
adjust for what I perceive as tonal flaws in the Recording, if such are
present. Using the EQ in "restorative" mode on such things as the film
soundtrack from "The Wizard of Oz" or very bad sounding recordings, such as
the "Beginnings" Live session of Chicago (then still known as Chicago
Transit Authority) can be amazing. For example it is possible to cut through
"muddy" sound and bring vocals clearly into focus, make the drum-kit and
percussion audible through the wall of guitar sound on the Chicago LP.
To me at least the use of an Equalizer is not optional in a high performance
audio system, any more than I could accept the notion of a single Arm/Pickup
combo that gives the best results regardless of vintage and providence of
the actual LP. In order to keep alive the great cultural heritage of mankind
embodied by old LP's and in order to appreciate the Music fully I feel that
an approach a little more baroque and a little less calvinist, minimalist
and masochist than that preached by the High End press and practiced sadly
by far too many people, is essential.