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Comparing Tube Systems
#429224 04/01/18 04:06 PM
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2x6spds Offline OP
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First, Happy Passover and Happy Easter to those for whom these wishes are appropriate!

Post flood, I have 2 stereo systems up and running:

1. The Fancy System. Conrad Johnson MV60SE tube power amp (KT120 tubes);
Jadis JPL preamp (have you ever seen one? Audio porn)
MMF 7.1 turntable with Hana SL mc cartridge with shibata stylus;
Musical Surroundings Phonomena 2+ phono stage;
Klipsch Forte I speakers with Bob Crites upgraded cross overs and tweeters.

2. Modest Sentimental System.
My late dad's Harman Kardon TA5000X tube receiver (recapped and tweaked);
Used Denon DP45f turntable with older Grado Gold 2 mm cartridge;
Yaqin tube phono stage with Mullard 12AX7 tubes;
Axiom made Michaura M66 speakers. (Drop dead beautiful in glossy rosewood ... twin Axiom 6.5" drivers and Axiom .75" titanium tweeters.

My first impressions, the system with Axiom made speakers sounds better. Cleaner, richer, better controlled bass.

Orange County Audio Nuts (a bunch of Hindus, Muslims and Jews) are coming over for a matzoh lunch and a critical comparison. I will report back!


Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.
Re: Comparing Tube Systems
2x6spds #429225 04/01/18 05:07 PM
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Sounds like a fun afternoon ahead for you guys. Looking forward to your comparison results. Throw in a pic or two of those unique systems if you get a chance. smile


M80's(2), VP150, QS8's(2), M3's(4)
Re: Comparing Tube Systems
merchman #429227 04/01/18 06:42 PM
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Here is the Fancy System.

[img:center]https://imgur.com/QqL9UlF[/img] [img:center]http://https://imgur.com/QqL9UlF[/img]

Last edited by 2x6spds; 04/01/18 06:43 PM.

Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.
Re: Comparing Tube Systems
2x6spds #429228 04/01/18 07:26 PM
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Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.
Re: Comparing Tube Systems
2x6spds #429229 04/01/18 08:25 PM
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Very nice, my friend. Thanks for posting the pics. How did the comparison of systems go with the gang?


M80's(2), VP150, QS8's(2), M3's(4)
Re: Comparing Tube Systems
merchman #429230 04/02/18 05:14 AM
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Thanks Merchman

Well, it was pretty darn interesting. Here is the upstairs system, work in progress.

[img:center]https://imgur.com/a/XPl7H[/img]

Don't know why my pix don't show up. Anyway ...

The consensus is, the Fancy system sounds great, extremely dynamic, huge sounding. Leonard Cohen's LP You Want It Darker was a test of the system's bass. Bass was fairly tight, very powerful even though the speakers only go down to about 32Hz. The mids were terrific. Not much in the way of highs. As far as frequency range, the album is like a banjo with one string. Bass heavy. Paris Texas was incredibly dynamic. Everything came together beautifully across the entire frequency range. Very musical. Very exciting. Very enjoyable.

I finally set up my Schiit Bifrost MultiBit DAC for the CD player and cable box. Only played Mussorgsky's Pictures from an Exhibition. Spectacularly dynamic. No digital haze or glare.

I think this is a system anyone would love, certainly all the nuts loved it.

Got the upstairs dialed in (pretty much). Hooked the CD player (Sony CA9ES) to the Marantz NA7004 DAC. Swapped out the Mullards in the Yaqin Moving Magnet tube phono-stage with a pair of JJ Teslas. No audible hum while playing music but the Yaqity Yaq definitely has a hum. Didn't used to. Nevertheless, Miles Davis Blue Note LP sounded great, CDs sounded beautiful as well. Once the Yaqin was turned off, the 55 year old refurbished Harman Kardon was dead quiet.

Here's the surprise. The Audio Nuts all agreed, the Axiom-made Michaura M66s (very large book shelf speakers, extremely solid hex shaped cabinet, twin Axiom 6.5" drivers and an Axiom 0.75" titanium tweeter), sound truly excellent. The sound is pure. The highs are wonderful, lots of air, sparkle and purity. Mids are similarly pure, and full. Bass is excellent, though not in the same league as the Klipsch Fortes.

Makes me think the M5HPs might be terrific stereo speakers. I could listen to either system all day long! I think the nuts were shocked by the sound quality of the Axiom made speakers!

Neither system had the benefit of subwoofers. I think I'll go with a pair of EP500s with the Fancy System, and a big HSU upstairs in the legacy system.

One thing we all agreed on: The used ($260) Denon DP45f turntable with an old Grado Gold 2 retipped cartridge with a slightly injured Yaqin tube phono stage sounded as good as the $1,200 MMF 7.1, with a $750 Hana MC cartridge and $750 Phonomena II+ phono stage.

Furthermore, the old Denon has an incredible tone arm which tracks truer than any of the other tables the audio nuts enjoy. It also is automatic, so I don't have to jump up when the record finishes, it has an automatic drop, so I don't have to fiddle aiming the stylus at the beginning of the record.

I could have saved myself a boat-load of money there.

Last edited by 2x6spds; 04/02/18 05:19 AM.

Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.
Re: Comparing Tube Systems
2x6spds #429231 04/02/18 03:31 PM
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Further thoughts. The modified Klipsch speakers are very dynamic and exciting, but the Axiom made speakers revealed more detail, and were pure, and uncolored. More accurate. The hex shaped cabinet did a sonic disappearing act that the Klipsch cannot match.

Comparison made me wish the Klipsch had titanium tweeters.


Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.
Re: Comparing Tube Systems
2x6spds #429232 04/02/18 03:59 PM
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Oh, by the way, my initial reaction to the Klipsch system led to a polarity test of one of the speakers which revealed a miswiring from the new cross over to one of the 12" drivers. Once fixed, the system sounded much better. The large Klipsch speakers sounded much 'richer' than the Muchauras. As to accuracy ... Axiom-made Michauras excelled.


Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.
Re: Comparing Tube Systems
2x6spds #429234 04/02/18 06:14 PM
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Just curious why you moved away from the original cartridge on the MMF. Did it come with the Goldring or the Mojo (Ortofon) originally. I have the Mojo and it is a fantastic cartridge ,i did try a Grado wood body but it just couldnt compare,it sounded flat in comparison and much nosier. I had a pin come out of the mojo while trying different cartridges which ruined it so i stopped changing them out. I one day hope to try a 2M Black.

Those systems all look great, would love to have the ability to listen to them all and hear the differences. Glad you all had a wonderfull day enjoying the music.


DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
What others think of me is none of my business.
M80 V3 MY GLOSS Cherry
Re: Comparing Tube Systems
2x6spds #429235 04/02/18 06:24 PM
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It came with a Mojo which I used with the Yaqin tube phone stage. It was great. Never one to leave good enough alone, I figured I'd like to try an MC cartridge. So, $1,500 later ($750 cart, $750 mc phonostage) I achieved a sound which was slightly different, more detailed, maybe a bit cooler (maybe not). If I had it to do over, I'd stay with the Mojo and save a bunch of money. As a further cautionary tale, I swapped out the original Chinese tubes in the Yaqin with some fancy tubes and introduced a hum into the Yaq that I cannot get rid of. I suppose the lesson is, leave good enough alone.

Well, you can make part of the trip by dog sled, and if you make it all the way down to Orange County California, you are more than welcome in my home. Steaks, beer and music.

Last edited by 2x6spds; 04/02/18 06:25 PM.

Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.
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