The problem with better

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This post is for those following along in the Music Room One saga. After Arnie Nudell came to reposition and adjust the IRSV system for optimum performance, nothing's been quite the same since.

First it was the preamp. I run the great sounding tube preamp by Aesthetix, the Calypso. Within a week of Arnie's visit one of the output tubes starting going on the Fritz, losing gain and sputtering. Ouch. Replacement 6H23s aren't cheap. But replacing them transformed the sound for the better. Then Bascom took away the prototype amplifier which was just on loan and had to be returned. I reverted back to the last and best attempt at a reference amplifier in the meantime. Problem with this was two fold: the sound was good but once obvious differences in equipment were now significantly less so, which lead to the second problem. Depression. So much better was Bascom's amp that upon its exit I simply could not bring myself to listen any longer unless I was asked to by engineering.

Then engineering finished the first prototype of the new power amplifier. That was exceptional and I was back in business. Almost. The sound was much improved, the system quite listenable, but fatiguing over time. There was a glare to the music. We suspected the small oscillation obvious on measurement equipment but had yet to figure out its cause, or its cure.

Now the oscillation is gone, the prototype sounding better than anything I have ever heard in Music Room One. Stunning really. That brought up the next issue, the source. Whenever things are in a state of uncertainty, upheaval, I always revert back to a known and trusted source. In this case the PerfectWave Transport. It's been chugging along in that room for years. Old reliable.

Now that I am relaxed, the amplifier coming into its own, I branch out and fire up the Mac Mini server I wrote of months ago. Ugh. Sigh. Now this source, which formerly sounded just fine with the other power amplifiers in service, sounded rather lifeless compared with the PWT. It has since been retired and sent off to an upgrade service, something I swore I wouldn't do.

So much for swearing.

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Paul McGowan

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