I would follow up with some comments. These are also posted in your
audio forum. My new Zen amp arrived the other day and needless to say
I am extremely happy with it!
my system: Zen amp from Decware. $499. Denon DCD 2560 CD player. Second
hand (for $275) and 8 years old, but solid, heavy, and has really nice
sound. RA Labs (Roy Allison) Mini Reference monitor speakers. 2-way,
6 inch woofer, 90 db W/m, replaced tweeters (I blew the old ones and
these newer cheap jobs don't sound as good).
these four years ago after Sam Tellig (Stereophile) said they sounded
as good as some $1600 monitors from England. I paid $189 for the pair,
and extra $50 for stands. DH Labs BL-1 Silver Sonic interconnects. Good
reviews on the web and in Audio Amateur. $90 Zip cord / house cable
for speaker cable. Soon to go.
comparisons with FMS Waveguide (stranded cable) and Audioquest Indigo
(8 solid copper conductors). Indigo sounded best, very clean and detailed;
Waveguide also sounded good, the zip cord sounded flat and horrible.
Rotel RB-855 turntable with Sumiko Blue Point cartridge. Four years
ago cost $400. Luxman R-3045 stereo receiver. Second hand 4 years ago,
cost $190. I use this for radio and as a phono amp stage for the turntable.
The sound of this system (using the digital source direct into the Zen
amp) is extremely good. Using good speaker cable is necessary, the system
is ruined with zip cord. Comments apply to the Indigo cables. We played
a CD by Billy Novick and Guy Van Duser (they played at our wedding)
and we could hear each nuance of sound from the guitar strings - the
fingers stroking the strings, the tiny harmonic buzz of the first pluck,
along with the actual note played. You could hear Billy's breaths as
he played the clarinet. Everything was there. The imaging is superb
your eyes while sitting in the sweet spot between the speakers, you
can hear exact positions of performers or sounds, even how far away
they are. You get both side to side placement, and depth perception.
Wow. Well engineered recordings like Dark Side of the Moon just blossom
to life and surround your head like no surround system ever could. Dark
listening room is best. I am finding things in my music that I never
ever heard before. Every day I just want to sit down and experience.
Most of my listening is done at 1/3 to 3/4 volume level (on the Zen
amp pot) with 2V digital source. For really involved listening, you
don't need it any louder. Music played included Pink Floyd, John Lee
Hooker, Hair (soundtrack to the film), Bach's violin concertos, Kate
Wolf, Chemical Brothers, Charles Mingus, and others.
cost of this system (excluding the turntable and radio) is about $1300
(including $200 speaker cables which I have yet to purchase). This is
terrific value for the quality of sound. The analog side of my system
is not up to par with the digital. The radio sounds nice, but records
do not have the open, airy, detailed, beautiful feeling I am getting
with the digital source. I really need a decent phono stage, and possibly
(if I can afford it) a better turntable. My speakers are surprisingly
good but they may go in the near future. Thinking "radial loudspeaker"...