Shuffling the Deck!

Amarendra

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Hi Nikhil, I had the ATC SCM 19 and 40.
Also tried the 11 for short time.
Symphonic line RG1 power was used and then the SL integrated. The synergy between SL and ATC is heaven.
The ATC was replaced by Avalon.
Cheers
You have stated the next milestone for Nikhil :)
 

drkrack

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Curious to know which ATCs you had and which amps you tried. Strangely, ATC doesn't seem to share much technical information apart from the fact that they recommend an amp that would be "stable at 8 ohms". But anyone who has ATCs know, they need power to really shine.
ATC Scm 11s and SCM 40 V1 and V2. Parasound a21 with Freya+ preamp couldn't give us the required headroom. Krell KAV100i, NAD C372, Vintage Luxman, Sansui weren't very good either. Plinius , ML were good but a Gryphon Callisto was the best! Nuprimes and Crown XLS2502 did a decent job too in driving the 40s effortlessly.

Which part of the digital setup intrigues you? To be honest I have largely stopped chasing my tail in digital. I did spend a fair amount of time with high res and software only to conclude that the gains are marginal. There are certain minimum requirements which once you implement them it is best to leave alone and spend your money elsewhere.
I heard Lampizator Big 7 Recently in a very premium setup, was totally blown away by the SQ signature it produced . adding a Gaia DDC had a marginal benefits. You're adding a Mutec Clock with Lampi Amber Dac. I am really curious to know how much the External clock adds to the SQ improvement on a Tube Dac. We'll plan a meeting sometime.
 

Black_Hawk

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What a marvelous setup! Along with audio gear the entire decor of the listening room is so inviting and aesthetically pleasing.

However @Nikhil I must ask...on the lowest LHS of your audio gear rack is that a Sony MegaStorage 200-CD Changer (CDP-CX235) that I spot?
 

Nikhil

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Hi Nikhil, I had the ATC SCM 19 and 40.
Also tried the 11 for short time.
Symphonic line RG1 power was used and then the SL integrated. The synergy between SL and ATC is heaven.
The ATC was replaced by Avalon.
Cheers

Symphonic Line is amazing. Deserves a lot more attention.
I had met Rolf Gemein at Munich 2019 but unfortunately no dealer in India.

Kudos to Sreedhar for bringing the brand to our shores a few years ago.


.
 

Nikhil

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ATC Scm 11s and SCM 40 V1 and V2. Parasound a21 with Freya+ preamp couldn't give us the required headroom. Krell KAV100i, NAD C372, Vintage Luxman, Sansui weren't very good either. Plinius , ML were good but a Gryphon Callisto was the best! Nuprimes and Crown XLS2502 did a decent job too in driving the 40s effortlessly.


I heard Lampizator Big 7 Recently in a very premium setup, was totally blown away by the SQ signature it produced . adding a Gaia DDC had a marginal benefits. You're adding a Mutec Clock with Lampi Amber Dac. I am really curious to know how much the External clock adds to the SQ improvement on a Tube Dac. We'll plan a meeting sometime.

Interesting to note that the Parasound did not get the job done.
Not sure about some of the others as I have not heard them.
But yes Gryphon is fantastic for sure albeit at a different price bracket.

With regard to the Mutec, it has made a huge difference.
The benefits of external reclockers is dependent on the isolation design of the DAC.
I think the new DACs with optical decouplers would benefit less from such devices.
But most DACs would benefit immensely with something like the Mutec.


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Nikhil

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However @Nikhil I must ask...on the lowest LHS of your audio gear rack is that a Sony MegaStorage 200-CD Changer (CDP-CX235) that I spot?

That's a hangover from a previous lifetime @Black_Hawk ;)
I've just left it sitting there over the years with about 200 CDs in there.

Haven't spun a CD in over 10 years!



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Nikhil

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Congratulations on a setup everyone will like to have. @Nikhil . That's a heavy investment too !

Very Nice setup Nikhil. Too bad I dont stay in Hyderabad for a listening session.

Thanks for the kind words guys!

I remember reading somewhere that our hobby is like gardening.
The more time you put into it the more you get back for your efforts.


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RRR

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That's a hangover from a previous lifetime @Black_Hawk ;)
I've just left it sitting there over the years with about 200 CDs in there.

Haven't spun a CD in over 10 years!



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I would suggest you give it a spin and see if its all fine. The mega changer mechanism is prone to failure if left unused for long periods of time.
 

mshifi

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It has been a long time since I have posted a system update. Not that I have a lot of changes as I tend to use my gear for quite a while. For me a speaker change is a major operation as it really is such a key component in an audio system. But with some luck and a lot of persuasion by @sameer kumar, I picked up a pair of ATC SCM20 PSL speakers in March this year. The speakers are the newer revised version with the new Dual Suspension S Spec tweeter and Super Linear Mid Bass driver that ATC builds in house.

First some pictures of my setup taken when I first installed the speakers in the chain. Fortunately the SCM 20s fitted beautifully on my existing stands. My Job INT was able to drive them very well and I was quite happy with the setup. The ATC SCM20s are an astonishing speaker to say the least. The calling card of the speakers are effortless dynamics with a densely saturated mid range. The highs extend smoothly without any strain. Completely coherent from top to bottom.

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However, after listening to the speakers for about a month with the Job INT, I decided to try driving them with my Acoustic Portrait Thiyaga separates. It is suggested to use as much power as possible to drive these speakers. The Thiyaga amp is rated conservatively at about 200W per channel and had no problem at all with driving the ATCs. The tube preamp uses Russion 6N2P tubes to add some tube texture to the sound. I was extemely happy when I realized that they were a great match. The AP amps woke up from their years of slumber and just grabbed a hold of the ATC drivers like it was nothing. The sound is absolutely effortless and resolving. It is still early days but I can say that I am really happy with the ways things are.

Enclosing another image with the Acoustic Portrait gear in place.

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To say that I am very pleased with the setup changes would be an understatement. I had no idea the AP amps would be able to scale up to the ATC speakers in the way they did and after so long. Just feels like they have complete control of the drivers.

These past few months have been a very interesting experience with the new speakers. I had a lot of concerns about how I would be able to change from my earlier speakers to the ATCs and if my gear had the grunt needed to control them well. So far my experience has been largely positive and I can only marvel at the tremendous value that a local brand like Acoustic Portrait offers.


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Awesome looking setup. Would love to have a listen
 

Nikhil

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@Nikhil - So is the Job INT on its way out? How would you say the AP amp is different/better than Job INT?

Not at all. Just a different presentation. The Job INT is a sweet sounding SS integrated.
It's just that I happened to have the AP amps already with me and the ATCs relish power.

The AP gear is an interesting combination of power and finesse but not as resolving as the Job INT.
But the power on tap is the main reason I decided to add them into the chain.
I was surprised how well they drove the ATCs - effortless sound with superb dynamics.


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square_wave

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Not at all. Just a different presentation. The Job INT is a sweet sounding SS integrated.
It's just that I happened to have the AP amps already with me and the ATCs relish power.

The AP gear is an interesting combination of power and finesse but not as resolving as the Job INT.
But the power on tap is the main reason I decided to add them into the chain.
I was surprised how well they drove the ATCs - effortless sound with superb dynamics.


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In case they have come out of storage, a quick check on the preamp tubes and maybe even considering some high end NOS tubes may open up possibilities.
 

Nikhil

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In case they have come out of storage, a quick check on the preamp tubes and maybe even considering some high end NOS tubes may open up possibilities.

I normally send the amps to AP for regular checks. It has been a couple of years since I last sent it mainly due to Covid etc. I last spoke to Siva about getting a pre out added to the preamp as I would like to use it for a subwoofer option. At the moment it has the tube sockets setup for 6N2P tubes but could get them switched for 12AX7 tubes. Tube rolling has been a rabbit hole I have avoided for the most part.

At the moment I am looking at adding a sub using the high level connections from the power amp speaker posts. Not sure how this is going to affect the sound as I know that getting the sub to integrate well is going to be a challenge. My plan is to use a sub just to give a foundation to the low end.


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square_wave

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I had experimented with both. 12ax7 was a warmer classic sound while the 6n2p was more resolving. With the usual current production tungsol, jj tesla tubes... But if you go with some high end NOS 12ax7, you may get the best of both worlds.
 

Nikhil

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On a recent trip to Bangalore, I managed to take the AP separates back to Siva for a quick health check.
Unfortunately due to high demand AP will only be able to take a look at them next week after which I will get them back.

On the way back, I picked up a JL Audio E-Sub e110 from a friend. I had been planning to add a sub to complement the SCM20s and the JL Audio subs came highly recommended along with the RELs. After hauling the amazingly well designed double boxed E-Sub all the way back to HYD, I had to wait until I got a cable made - the JL Audio subs use a Phoenix connector to connect the high level signal. I had some Western Electric cable spare which I got terminated with some humble MX banana plugs. I plan to use Vampire Wire connectors later.

Subwoofer Cable.jpg


Installing the sub was a breeze after getting it out of the box. JL Audio has done a fabulous job with the box design with clear instructions on how to unpack the sub woofer. Installing the above cable at the speaker terminals on my Job INT was pretty simple. The Phoenix connector clicked into place without issues. I had a small problem with the power cord length - the cord not being long enough to allow me to place the sub a little further away from the left speaker as I would like to.

PXL_20221119_103942726.jpg PXL_20221119_103953235.jpg

I have placed the sub on an IKEA bamboo cutting board and it fits the sub perfectly. The board is the LÄMPLIG model (Article no: 203.098.28) and can be ordered online. I got mine within a few days of ordering. I plan to get it varnished to match the rest of my audio rack eventually.

Setup and Listening Impressions:

Basic connections aside I was dreading integrating the sub with my SCM20s. I started off with the setting the crossover at 80Hz, phase angle at 45 degrees and Master Volume at 0. The sub kicked in with a stomach churning drone almost immediately. They are fast and can get loud in an instant. Long story short, I ended up reducing the Master Volume a fair bit and adjusted the crossover point to 55 Hz - 60 Hz. I don't know if I am just plain lucky but I was done in about 15 mins. My preference being to use the sub to just feather the low end just a touch.

Initial listening impressions after getting the settings dialed in was just ... wow! I had great sound before (in my opinion) but this was even better. So much for all the hesitation I had about adding a sub to my setup. The low end / bass is all there where needed but it has also elevated the mids and highs. Clearly the LF has some information that complements the mids and highs giving them "more completeness". Bass has more "weight" and definition. I have been listening to my setup all day today. Have played a variety of different genres but have been enjoying some classic rock and soul the most. These genres were always a little harder to get right earlier. The added weight and definition has clearly elevated music that was less involving before.

Will keep on listening and post my impressions as everything settles in. But initial listening impressions are really good. All fears I had of dislocated bloated bass has been eliminated within minutes. But it's early days and will see how things pan out after putting in more hours of listening.



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