I think this is a really excellent suggestion and something I've been thinking about asking for some time. The days when most reviewers in Gramophone would have a 'classic' set up of Garrard/SME/Shure/Quad have long, long since disappeared. For example, in a recent column, one reviewer has said that for serious analytical listening,he uses high quality headphones. It would be very informative to see what a variety of systems are currently in use by reviewers - perhaps on an annual basis as Robert suggests.
Thule Audio IA150b fully balanced integrated amplifier. Thule Audio DVA150b fully balanced DVD/CD player.Luxman PD121 turntable with a FR54 arm and Denon DL103 pick-up (all modded)Holfi Vitalus MC/RIAA stage.Dynaudio DM2/7 speakers.Audio Pro Ego Sub.
Interconnects: Audio Note AN-C, Tara Labs RSC Axiom, Vincent High End XLR.Power cables: Vincent High End, Xindak PC-03.Speaker cables: Supra Ply 3.4S
I have found Dynaudio speakers to be excellent for classical music. Coupled with a powerful amp, they would be hard to beat.
...even their entry level speakers are wonderful :)
I'm using AV 32r Tag MC Laren, 2 Atoll AM 100 amplifier with Vienna Beethoven Baby. The CD player is Sony dvd sacd. Goldmund digital and Absolue création câble for hp.
Wadia 302, Conrad-Johnson MF 2500 PA and Dali Euphonia MS 5 Speakers is my main setup.
Occasionally also a Sony SCD XA5400 ES SACD player through a Conrad-Johnson PV 10 or Spectral DMC-10 preamp through the same MF2500/MS 5 setup, occasionally switching to Vienna Beethoven Speakers when I feel like it.
Thanks to a very silly and costly error by my late employer I have been able to retire a little earlier than planned and to upgrade my hi-fi equipment (for the first time since 1993).
My sources are now (all Linn products):
Speakers are bi-wired: once to the 3 unit 3K array, and once to the two base units. Thinking of quinwiring.
I control the DS and amps from Chorus or Songbook software on an iPad.
The upgrading took place over several months last summer with a judicious use of auditioning new (DS and Radikal), ex-dem stock from two Linn dealers (pre amp; tuner; power amp), and speakers from eBay.
I won't attempt to describe or quantify the changes other to say I was happy before but am happier now. I listen for hours every day, in roughly the proportions of 10% vinyl, 10% internet radio (excluding speech), 80% DS (ripped/stored CDs or downloads), 0% CDs.
The sources are now close enough in sound quality (for me) to choose music rather than medium, so convenience plays a part for the first time in my hi-fi experience: whole operas without moving to change sides or disc; the odd aria, movement, music station pre-sets, all at the touch of a screen. It's good!
The best sound (at its best) is still vinyl, however.
Moderators: Sorry about the "blank verse" format again! Why does this happen when I paste from Linux???
It's the built-in formatting of the document from which you're cutting and pasting. If you want to compose offline then post, best to do it in a plain text editor without word wrapping. Don't worry, I'll sort the above...
Audio Editor, Gramophone
Oh dear. A house full of high tech equipment and can't get my head around a word processor!
Could have stuck to the blank verse, Vic. It's had us all searching for hidden meanings and allusions in your posts.
Vienna Acoustics Haydn bookshelf loudspeakers on Sumiko stands. REL R-series 10 inch subwoofer. Audio Refinement Complete integrated amplifier and CD player with Bel Canto DAC2. Analysis Plus Oval 12 speaker cables, Audience conductor interconnects and PowerChord power cables. Shunyata Research Guardian power conditioner.
A few items are due to be upgraded, but I am happy with the sound for symphonic music and lieder.
As long as the Gramophone reviewers know what they are listening for, I really don't mind what they are listening through. :)
To get the sound I want I have to build most of my system, because what I want isn't available commercially. If I started with speakers and worked backwards I'd use Apogee full length ribbons with a push-pull 300b amp. If I started with the amplifier and moved forwards I'd use (and do) a 300b SET with Jordan JX92S full range units or a similar fullranger like Mark Audio. Or I'd build a good 2-way speaker with something like Scanspeak Revelator units. One thing is for certain - I'd only use directly heated triodes all the way through the amplification. Not just output valves like 300b or 2a3 but small DHTs that used to be used in the 20s and 30s in radio equipment and are still better than anything commercially used in valve equipment. I use a 10Y preamp in filament bias, and 26 and 10Y in my 300B SET. If you haven't heard an all-DHT system, and very very few listeners have because you can't buy them, you will be stunned by the detail, clarity and sheer tone of orchestral instruments. It's a revelation. When I heard an all-DHT system for the first time my jaw dropped, and it's stayed dropped ever since.
I try to obtain a sound reproduction which makes me recall experiences of classical music in natura, e.g. from the concert hall.
I am listening to old analogue long playing records of classical music. The recordings are made between 1950 and 1975.
My collection encompasses music from gregorian chant to modernistic works of Schnittke, the major part of the collection being centered around the baroque, classical and the romantic periods (Purcell, Händel, Bach,Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann and Brahms).
With this objective in mind, a Thorens gramophone and a Quad amplifier are cornerstones in my sound reproduction system, whereas the choice of loudspeakers has varied over time.
For many years I am using a Thorens TD 126 Mk III with a SME 3009-R tonearm and a Benz Micro moving coil cartridge. The amplification is served by Quad 44 Mk I and 405 Mk I.
At present time, I have two loudspeaker systems: a set of omni-directional Carlsson OA 52 and a set of Gradient Revolution, both to which is used the Quad 44 preamplifier.
To the Gradient system, I use the Quad 405 to amplify the upper tone spectrum, while a Sirius amplifier takes care of the lower frequencies.
Quad model choice for Carlsson loudspeakers is yet to be determined, as I do not have enough knowledge to solve this problem, this issue being brought into consideration in another post in this forum.
Thorens TD 126-SME 3009R-Shure M 97HE / Quad 33-303 / Sonab OA 116
As to the above mentioned, my gramophone is still Thorens TD 126 / SME 3009-R.
Amplification is still served by Quad, though instead of 44-405 I am now using 33-303.
As to loudspeakers, I am planning to use a british one, though at present time I do not yet know the brand, whether it be KEF, Celestion, Wharfedale or Tannoy.
As far as sound quality is concerned, the system should bring out the best from analogue long playing recordings with classical music.
Best regards, Awg.
When listening to classical music I want to hear the "texture" of a bow being drawn across a string, that a piano is basically a percussion instrument, to get a sense of the scale of an orchestra, to hear the thrill of a violin played high and loud without breaking up into harshness, and for a cello to sound as though it is made of wood - not some amorphous grey material, and much more.
Over a long period of time the closest I have come to meeting the above is a pair of Martin Logan electrostatics to reproduce the detail and transients cleanly, matched with BAT valve amplification to bring out the richness and colour of the original sound without those violins sounding edgy. As a source I now use a Sonos music server with a Benchmark DAC which simply does the job without mucking about with the sound.