Back to reality, and the last dance…

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Big Dog RJ
Posts: 304
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:30 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Back to reality, and the last dance…

Post by Big Dog RJ » Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:16 pm

Just wanted to share the same post I made on WBF- in regards to my quest for the next ultimate speaker to amplification system...
I had a few days off and this was my learning curve!

Well well well, I must say the past few weeks has truly been a wonderful ride. Three major events took place in the world of high-end audio; One that placed me back into a realistic perspective, one that made me realize the hype, and the final being a truly special experience, perhaps one that I would never afford.

Ride No.1

I was in contact once again with the chap who happens to have the Martin Logan Ren15A, driven with top line CJ amplification (my ultimate system), the Classic 120 & the GATS2. I am quite familiar with the GatS2 and what it is capable of however, initially I was not impressed with the Classic 120 and the way this guy had set up the room and system. My initial posts commented on the excessive bass energization, very high listening levels and too much top end for my tastes. Well things have certainly changed since, and although he has incorporated the Martin Logan ARC (anthem room correction) system for his setup, which now sounds absolutely marvellous. To top it off, he is now using the ART150!

The Classic120 still remains with him, as he feels that it is far more versatile in terms of partnering with any sort of high end preamp, even my humble PV15 played wonderfully with it. Now I’m thinking about the Classic 120…

As Myles has correctly pointed out, these new ART amplifiers are not only remarkable, superb & SOTA but very special amplifiers. In a nut shell, these amps can play tunes and sound in full glory regardless of listening levels. Unlike previous monoblocks or powerful stereo amps, which needed to be cranked up to get them going but certainly not these! The ART’s can sound ever so subtle and suddenly explosive in a heartbeat. They can reproduce every single detail of anything found on the recording, highly analytical yet complete transparency to the point of “unbelievable” level of musicality. The KT150 tube has been fully incorporated here with these new ART’s, therefore I feel that tube rolling KT150’s into an amp that carries KT120’s will have very little affect.

Similarly, when I replaced the 6550’s with KT120’s in the MV60SE, the sound did improve. The most significant area was the bass but the overall sound was only improved by a small margin, mainly due to the MV60SE circuit not being optimized to implement KT120’s. Now with the Classic 60SE, the overall margin of sonic performance is far greater than any of the previous amps I was using, simply because the Classic 60SE’s circuit employs the KT120’s to full capacity. And this is how I feel exactly about the ART amps, they take full advantage of the KT150’s and they sound SUPERB!

Plenty has been said in Myles post/review also with Jeff F of CJ, and what an outstanding review indeed. You will see somewhere in there, I think it was LJ who said any component has parts and parts break down… the key to an outstanding circuit is to keep parts simple and use very high-quality parts. I suppose the ultimate sonic performance is the superb synergy between the GATS2 and the ART amps but something I realised along the way just hit me only recently.

By far the best hybrid system I have heard to date is no other than the Ren15A driven with CJ SOTA. Of course, I would have preferred the CLX system in full range, since I prefer that kind of bass, super- fast, articulate and natural. The bass on the Ren15A driven with the ART150 is something like no other! It is not only fast tight and deep, with thunderous impact and speed but also a fine bass of very high quality and one that can be felt and appreciated with all its variations. I recollect a chap who is very passionate about the Avant Garde’s, and resides in Sydney (introduced to me by a member on this forum). He mentioned that although a hybrid speaker has built-in amplification to drive the bass, the signal coming from the main amplifier driving the whole system must be of high quality, and the higher the quality the better the bass will be reproduced- spot on!

And so, this leads to my recent realization; I have had so many wonderful great rigs in the past- Bose, JBL, Paradigm, Maggies, Apogee, Martin Logan, Infinity, Genesis, Wilson, Quad, and back to Martin Logan. Amplification- Marantz, NAD, Musical Fidelity, Carver, Sunfire, Parasound, CJ, Manley, VTL, ARC, Krell, Bryston, Melos, Cary, Cayin, and now back to CJ. Overall, the most significant system combination that gives me total satisfaction and true sense of musical enjoyment just has to be CJ with Martin Logan, and although my current rig is certainly no comparison to the mighty Ren15A or the SOTA Gat & Art amps, it can certainly deliver the music!

Ride No.2

I was introduced to another ribbon fan who is also as passionate about Apogee’s as any one ought to be, regardless of whether they are heavily modified towards a studio grand… with an all active amplification stage in the bass module… This one is a full range Diva, and I know the Diva sound VERY well indeed! So, it looks like this has been refurbished by our good mate up in Queensland, and sounds marvelous! All the wonderful ribbon sound and its familiar traits all came back and proved itself a worthy contender in the category of ribbon transducers. However, that was about as far as it goes. Apart from being driven with an ARC Ref150SE (incorporating the new KT150 tubes) it certainly did not have the speed or sheer transparency of the CLX's, no way in comparison! I have co-owned the Diva’s with my beloved pops and we had probably one of the best pre-power amp match ups money could buy back then even via a dealership- (CJ ART preamp, and Krell monoblocks plus ARC amps in an active cross system that was originally used for the Infinity Beta’s).

This particular Diva system though was much more coherent compared to the “mad max” system that looks like a bat out of hell and can drive virtually anything off the roof! The Diva’s presented a far more intimate setting, one that also disappears and one that can deliver a more realistic scale. A sound that I am all too familiar with and a sound that we both enjoyed for more than a decade together (before I got married and was slapped into reality by the wifey!)

Ride No. 3

Well, this is the ultimate realization I came to: having a wonderful family, new house on the way & two kitties, of which can be annoying sometimes but extremely loving and affectionate when called for… Real world priorities, retail store to manage full time, great team to work with and a full-filling two day off the roster, peaceful life so far… (no nuclear threats, gas bombs or assassination plots)- what more could one ask for? A dedicated high-end audio system to enjoy your favorite music?

Well folks, I’ve already got one! Might as well just sit back and enjoy the great music!
Cheers to all those great systems out there, regardless of price, size and complexity, just enjoy what you have! I am certainly doing just that!
This will be my last dance- Big woof, RJ

Posts: 277
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:02 am

Re: Back to reality, and the last dance…

Post by joeinid » Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:48 am

Thank you for the update RJ. It’s wonderful to see you so happy.

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