small victory for the underdog

zuulzuul Posts: 243
edited May 28 in 2 Channel Audio
i think i'm the quintessential budget audiophile. i refuse to pay more than $500 bucks for any piece of gear ever... and as such there are limitations to the kind of system i can build. getting into tube amps seemed like a far away unobtainable goal a few years ago... but through diligence and some dumb luck/timing i've managed to replace both my pre-amp and amp with halfway decent tube gear... and then upgrading my DAC and my speakers within the past year have really taken the system to the next level. i feel very fortunate to have come across some sellers in the past few years who were very generous with the pricing of their used gear... none of the equipment i've picked up i would have been able to afford had the sellers been seeking full retail... in a few instances... like with my amplifier and my B&W's i was lucky to find gentlemen who were in the midst of downsizing and cared more about the gear going to a good home... with someone with a passion for the hobby... than they did the $.

i've got a buddy who's a live and studio sound engineer... 20+ years in the business... he frequently and with great skepticism scoffs at my audiophile declarations, adventures and peculiarities... but he's heard pretty much every system I've had here in this space and he agrees that the current set up is far superior to anything i've had before. In fact, unknowingly he paid my current rig a big compliment... the other day.... we were at a high end audio store.... checking out the gear... browsing and admiring... he can appreciate the build quality of the high end stuff... even though the makes and models mean nothing to him... the active rig was a pair of KEF R700's two D'Agostino Momentum mono blocks and a Moodwright LS 100 pre-amp. Not sure what the source was... something streaming I believe, digital for sure...

Of course that system blows mine out of the water... in every possible category... not to mention costing many multiples of 10 more than my gear... but... in the end... unsolicited... my buddy said he thought my set up sounded better... especially the bottom end... Couldn't help but feel good about that... even though i know the reality of the situation is that that set up in the shop was a. turned all the way down... audible but not anywhere near optimum volume for the room or the gear and b. the speakers weren't really positioned at all for optimum listening relative to our seating position... and most of all c. on paper and in every conceivable category in real life my gear is nowhere near as good collectively as the speaker wires were on the set up in the shop... let alone the sum total of all the gear hooked up to those wires...

regardless i'm calling it a win and taking the victory lap for all the budget audiophiles out there... my piecemeal set up cobbled together with luck and some good fortune which cost me in total less than price of the speakers we were listening to... was a dragon slayer in this round.
bowers & wilkins 685 S2
polk psw-10
sonic frontiers line 1 preamp
sonic frontiers anthem amp 1
mac mini w/ audioquest jitterbug
teac ud-501 digital to analog converter
oppo dv-980h dvd/cd
guzi rca
monoprice onix series digital coaxial
transparent performance USB
transparent perfect image HDMI
speaker wire
audioquest type 4
rhino-tek 1000w 15amp voltage regulator
vansevers 211 power cord
pangea ac-14 power cord
amplifier: (2) NOS 1960 philco/lansdale 12AU7 (super rare!), (1) NOS 1967 mullard 12AX7, (4) 2016 svetlana hard blue EL-34
pre-amp: (6) E88CC/6922 ??? (haven't cracked the case yet to see what previous owner was running...) so for now they are mystery tubes.
JRiver Media Center 24
sanus 24" speaker stands
auralex acoustics subdude II
DeMoude Audio cylindrical bass traps
rf/emi/noise reduction caps for empty rca inputs.
Hall of Fame: [retired/sold]
polk monitor series 5jr+ w/ RDO194-1 upgraded tweeters
polk monitor series RTA 8T
kenwood kd-550 w/ SME 3009 Series III tonearm grado gold cartridge
adcom gfp-555II
marantz 2238b
luxman M-120A
technics sl-b10


  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,411
    Sometimes it's more about the total system, how it all interacts together, than the individual matter how "great they are." Congrats on the good deals that allowed you to put together a nice system.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

Sign In or Register to comment.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!