Lucking out - light at end of audiophile tunnel

essrand

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The proverb goes: "The night is darkest before the dawn."
I was ready to chuck my entire system as a colossal miscalculation when suddenly through some fortunate circumstances and a lot of help from FMs of this forum, everything fell into place and I now have the best sound of my audiophile life.

The system I had built in the USA after lots of gear swapping (my misadventures chronicled here) was not working in Mumbai. Many reasons but biggest being lack of space, and unavailability of the preamp that would have brought the system all together in 230V version).

So began a 3 1/2 year session of audiophilia hunt which ended with following components: Devore Orangutans O/96, Nagra 300p stereo amplifier, Bricasti M12 preamp and DAC.
It sounded terrible. No volume, no life. With the help of some FMs (Nikhil, Dinyaar, Satyam, Bhagwan and Bricasti as well as a Bricasti dealer in USA) we zeroed it down to IC. Moving from RCA to XLR solved that problem.

But it still sounded terrible. Too bright, ear-bleedingly so.

This is where luck came in.

My brother and his wife moved in with us due to Covid scenes. Suddenly the audio room was filled new sofas, pillows, carpets, tables, and stuff. And the speakers needed to move 180 degrees in other direction, 15 feet from back wall instead of 5. Suddenly my system sounded like live music. I was shocked to my core.

The final piece of the puzzle came in with cables. First with Joshua excellent XLR cables. I could have lived with these for the rest of my life.

But then came a little known cable brand from Poland - Audiomica.

I put those, and it was like adding a power-conditioner and a sub-woofer in my system. It was akin to upgrading my speakers or amp, or both.
I never knew my system that is tube based and and my speakers that are single driver (and tweeter) could produce such taut, controlled, grippy bass. And I was DONE.

This post is already too long but here are some learnings I got:
1. Like Mick Jagger said: "You don't always get what you want, but you always get what you need."
I was aiming for a coloured, rich, SET sound but ended up with neutral, transparent, high resolution, alive sounding system. Am much happier.
2. Don't hesitate to spend 10-20% of budget on cables.
3. Room matters more than gear.
4. You need people to listen to music with, not alone in your audio room by yourself.
5. As Beatles said: "With a help with my friends." Don't hesitate to ping the very friendly, knowledgeable people in this forum, even though you might think you have all the answers.

That's it for now. I know I can do a lot more tweaking. New DAC board, new footer, new audio rack, room treatment, new audio server, power conditioner etc etc etc. but for now I am going back to listen to Ustad Bismillah Khan's Live at NCPA on this cloudy Sunday morning.




IMG_5207 copy.jpg
 

Nikhil

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Congratulations Bhaskar! Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

You are extremely fortunate to have a great audio community in Mumbai.
The experience of these guys is quite something. Glad it has all worked out for you.


.
 

arj

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/\...

This is where luck came in.

My brother and his wife moved in with us due to Covid scenes. Suddenly the audio room was filled new sofas, pillows, carpets, tables, and stuff. And the speakers needed to move 180 degrees in other direction, 15 feet from back wall instead of 5. Suddenly my system sounded like live music. I was shocked to my core.

The final piece of the puzzle came in with cables. First with Joshua excellent XLR cables. I could have lived with these for the rest of my life.

...
Congratulations and love these stories ! Just (Re) emphasises as to how so many of us are not really seeing the true potential of our systems due to them not being placed well as well as unnecessary upgrades when the actual culprit was the room/positioning !
 

sidvee

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Great to hear that Bhaskar, and also happy that the Bricasti worked out for you in the end. As you know- love my M1se, and plan to hold on to it as long as I can.
Cheers,
Sid
 

essrand

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Messages
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Goa
Congratulations Bhaskar! Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

You are extremely fortunate to have a great audio community in Mumbai.
The experience of these guys is quite something. Glad it has all worked out for you.


.
Yes. An amazing and very helpful community in this city. Mumbaikars rock! :cool: :)
 

essrand

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Messages
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Congratulations and love these stories ! Just (Re) emphasises as to how so many of us are not really seeing the true potential of our systems due to them not being placed well as well as unnecessary upgrades when the actual culprit was the room/positioning !
Absolutely! Biggest learning ever. I never paid much attention to room because I have been a banjara without a steady home for past few years. But seriously no point gear swapping when you haven't fixed up the room. No excuses.
 

square_wave

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I am sure you must have heard magic at the dealer ( or some other place ) when you had originally picked that speaker up. That means there is magic waiting to happen !

Anything in your room has either diffusion or absorption properties. "Choose wisely and place them right" and " then place the speakers precisely in that environment " is something an elderly audiophile told me in many moons ago.

Enjoy !
 

essrand

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Great to hear that Bhaskar, and also happy that the Bricasti worked out for you in the end. As you know- love my M1se, and plan to hold on to it as long as I can.
Cheers,
Sid

Your high regard for Bricasti, I think, partly kept me from chucking it out and be patient in teasing out it's true potential. It's been with me for almost an year, and only now has shown its true potential. It's a keeper. Although I wish it had better aesthetics. Call me superficial, but I like the bling of the platinum edition, but not crazy enough to put down $3000 for that shininess.
 

sathtom

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I was ready to chuck my entire system as a colossal miscalculation when suddenly through some fortunate circumstances and a lot of help from FMs of this forum, everything fell into place and I now have the best sound of my audiophile life

Congratulations and happy to hear this kind of stories. It is true that every wrong decision we take in buying/upgrading gears will hurt us both pshycologically & Financially. It is always great to have a friendly community to take an informed decision.

I hope that I will attain the desired Audio Bliss one day as you.. :)
 

Miany

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Thanks for sharing the experience. Speaker positioning/Room acoustics is often overlooked since many of us are ignorant on the same or come to know about those after only having spent significantly on equipment blindly..
 

square_wave

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I have a question, when you were facing these issues with brightness and imbalance in the system, did you ever talk to the dealer who sold you the speaker or the manufacturer of the speaker ?
 

Beast_of_burden

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There is a great deal of pain and frustration in this hobby, but once in a while the stars align and all is forgotten. It's like a weight has been lifted off your mind. Makes you Smile

I have had a similar stroke of luck with your former amplifiers. A pair of B&W 603 have been sitting in the corner for years waiting for just these amps to come along and make them sing. Who could have guessed that a 89db sensitivity speaker would be such a match with the 300Bs? The Klipsch RF-3s although nearly 10db more efficient were meh, several days of frustration and dare I confess, regret.

It is very much the nature of the beast.
 

essrand

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Messages
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Goa
Thanks for sharing the experience. Speaker positioning/Room acoustics is often overlooked since many of us are ignorant on the same or come to know about those after only having spent significantly on equipment blindly..
Yes, we do. Partly, perhaps, because it is a boring and irritating thing to do. Like prem/audiopro epic post on speaker position, you need lots of whisky shots to be able to keep at it.
Buying/Selling gears is so much more fun. I guess.
 

essrand

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Messages
392
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Location
Goa
I have a question, when you were facing these issues with brightness and imbalance in the system, did you ever talk to the dealer who sold you the speaker or the manufacturer of the speaker ?

I was quite sure it wasn't the speakers, so I didn't.

I am active on the Devore FB group where the designer hangs out, and enough people had posted about speaker positioning for these speakers. So I didn't.

Also these speakers are the only survivor amongst the gear that came back from the USA, and I knew from previous experience it was not the speakers.

It had to be the room, I thought (all marble, bare, nothing absorbing), or the electronics (these were new and both very neutral and high resolution).

I read up all I could on speaker positioning, including prem's epic post here, but as I mentioned I would never have tried the 180 reposition in my dreams unless circumstances had forced me to. Or fill the room with furniture either.

That was sheer luck.
 

deepestpurple

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The proverb goes: "The night is darkest before the dawn."
I was ready to chuck my entire system as a colossal miscalculation when suddenly through some fortunate circumstances and a lot of help from FMs of this forum, everything fell into place and I now have the best sound of my audiophile life.

The system I had built in the USA after lots of gear swapping (my misadventures chronicled here) was not working in Mumbai. Many reasons but biggest being lack of space, and unavailability of the preamp that would have brought the system all together in 230V version).

So began a 3 1/2 year session of audiophilia hunt which ended with following components: Devore Orangutans O/96, Nagra 300p stereo amplifier, Bricasti M12 preamp and DAC.
It sounded terrible. No volume, no life. With the help of some FMs (Nikhil, Dinyaar, Satyam, Bhagwan and Bricasti as well as a Bricasti dealer in USA) we zeroed it down to IC. Moving from RCA to XLR solved that problem.

But it still sounded terrible. Too bright, ear-bleedingly so.

This is where luck came in.

My brother and his wife moved in with us due to Covid scenes. Suddenly the audio room was filled new sofas, pillows, carpets, tables, and stuff. And the speakers needed to move 180 degrees in other direction, 15 feet from back wall instead of 5. Suddenly my system sounded like live music. I was shocked to my core.

The final piece of the puzzle came in with cables. First with Joshua excellent XLR cables. I could have lived with these for the rest of my life.

But then came a little known cable brand from Poland - Audiomica.

I put those, and it was like adding a power-conditioner and a sub-woofer in my system. It was akin to upgrading my speakers or amp, or both.
I never knew my system that is tube based and and my speakers that are single driver (and tweeter) could produce such taut, controlled, grippy bass. And I was DONE.

This post is already too long but here are some learnings I got:
1. Like Mick Jagger said: "You don't always get what you want, but you always get what you need."
I was aiming for a coloured, rich, SET sound but ended up with neutral, transparent, high resolution, alive sounding system. Am much happier.
2. Don't hesitate to spend 10-20% of budget on cables.
3. Room matters more than gear.
4. You need people to listen to music with, not alone in your audio room by yourself.
5. As Beatles said: "With a help with my friends." Don't hesitate to ping the very friendly, knowledgeable people in this forum, even though you might think you have all the answers.

That's it for now. I know I can do a lot more tweaking. New DAC board, new footer, new audio rack, room treatment, new audio server, power conditioner etc etc etc. but for now I am going back to listen to Ustad Bismillah Khan's Live at NCPA on this cloudy Sunday morning.




View attachment 48599

super set up. congratulations for finding and solving the nagging issues. the speakers are really nice.
 

essrand

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Joined
Sep 26, 2016
Messages
392
Points
93
Location
Goa
There is a great deal of pain and frustration in this hobby, but once in a while the stars align and all is forgotten. It's like a weight has been lifted off your mind. Makes you Smile

I have had a similar stroke of luck with your former amplifiers. A pair of B&W 603 have been sitting in the corner for years waiting for just these amps to come along and make them sing. Who could have guessed that a 89db sensitivity speaker would be such a match with the 300Bs? The Klipsch RF-3s although nearly 10db more efficient were meh, several days of frustration and dare I confess, regret.

It is very much the nature of the beast.

The Coincident 300b are a gem, but it still shocks me that they easily power your 89dB speakers. Like the audio cliche goes "Not all watts are created equal".
 

arj

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Messages
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There is a great deal of pain and frustration in this hobby, but once in a while the stars align and all is forgotten. It's like a weight has been lifted off your mind. Makes you Smile

I have had a similar stroke of luck with your former amplifiers. A pair of B&W 603 have been sitting in the corner for years waiting for just these amps to come along and make them sing. Who could have guessed that a 89db sensitivity speaker would be such a match with the 300Bs? The Klipsch RF-3s although nearly 10db more efficient were meh, several days of frustration and dare I confess, regret.

It is very much the nature of the beast.
I have struggled with the RF3s more than 15 years back although they do have their strengths depending on what you are looking for. This is an interesting combo as i always thought B&Ws had a impedance drop in the lower frequencies which were not very easy for a Tube, especially a 300B to drive !
 
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