A Joyful Experience

A Joyful Experience

Written by Bill Leebens

A friend and I would walk into hi-fi stores back in the day, and hope to be left alone in the big demo rooms where we could listen to Supertramp’s Crime of the Century on all the speakers via the switching network.  We’d quickly determine the best, then turn it up.  Usually a salesman would respond quickly, trotting into the room with his right hand extended in a ‘turn it down’ twist.

My buddy had Klipsch Cornwalls.  His condo must have had perfect dimensions because, with only a little tweaking, the powerful huge amazing sound would thump your chest.  I auditioned a set of those speakers in my home and they sounded about as warm and involving as a .38 pistol shot.  I also heard them after he sold them, and in that room, the magic was also lost.

I had ESS AMT-1 towers.  NOW the air motion transformer is popular.  The towers, despite a line transmission woof, had thin bass, especially compared to the efficient Klipsches.  And they ate power.

I had ADS rear speakers and a space generator.  I had twin CROWN DC-300As and a CROWN DL-2 pre, all of which I got in trade for voicework for a TV station.  Denon TT, Shure V-15Type 5 (?)  Yes, I know the Crowns didn’t let the Cornwalls sing.

Eventually I added a pair of JBL 4311s (Studio monitors) again, traded for voiceover work.

Flash forward decades.  I had a house built with a RIVES-designed listening room.  It sounded good, but for some reason I never liked being in that room, never knew why – I think it was too dark.  But we sold the house as we divorced and my new home has a room which would serve my audio purpose…  I reused many acoustic panels and guessed where they should go.  Bass traps too.

I feel I’ve finally got a great sound… As you can see, I have mostly PS Audio gear, the BHK Signature  300 mono amps (now tube rolled to BHK’s suggested NOS tubes), A BHK Sig Pre (same rolled tubes), the DirectStream Memory Player transport, The DirectStream DAC, twin P10 Power Plants, Audience Power filter and mostly Audience power cables and interconnects.  There are 17 RPG panels, 5 Vicoustic Omega diffusers and 2 GIK membrane-based bass corner traps.  I upgraded speakers to Wilson Sasha IIs.  Interestingly, after dealer setup, there was still something not quite right.  I discovered that moving my chair forward about 3 or 4 inches snapped it all into nirvana.

Depending on what I choose to listen to,  I can enjoy the joyful experience for days after!

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