TRANSITION TO SPEAKERS, TUBE MAGIC!
Sep 30, 2021 at 4:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

matthewhypolite

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TRANSITION TO SPEAKERS, TUBE MAGIC!

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INTRODUCTION

I've been a headphone listener for the past 2 decades, starting with my very first pair of hifi headphones the Grado SR60. Since then I've crept up the line of absurdly priced gear all the way up to what I consider my end-game headphone stack. Rega Planar 10-> Aura Phono -> Woo Audio WA33 + KR HP Tubes -> Abyss AB-1266 Phi TC / Hifiman Susvara / Focal Utopia.

My brother is into the speaker side of things and over the years I always found my headphone rig beats his speaker rig for significantly less cost. That was until I heard the Persona 3F + Rega combination, that was truly special and I started planning the transition to speakers.

I've decided to build an Audio Room, dedicated to hifi listening, and this thread will serve as a sort of build log of the journey, with a few reviews of associated gear sprinkled in.

I've already reviewed the Turn Table (A JOURNEY INTO VINYL). I'll be doing a review of the Persona 9H also.
But for right now I'll focus on the new Prima Luna gear I've recently acquired and see how the thread evolves moving forward.

EQUIPMENT

SPEAKER SETUP

Speakers
  • Paradigm Persona 9H
  • Paradigm Persona 3F
  • Martin Logan ESL 8
  • Martin Logal ESL 15a
DAC
  • Anthem AVM 60
Solid State Gear
  • Emotiva Gen 3 Power Amp
  • Anthem STR Preamplifier
Tube Gear
  • PrimaLuna EVO 400 Power Monoblocks
  • Evo 400 Pre-amp
  • Tungsol KT150, Brimar 12AU7, GE Military 12AU7, Radiotechnique 12AU7

HEADPHONE SETUP
Headphones: Abyss Phi TC, Hifiman Susvara
Amps: Woo Audio WA33 EE + KR Audio HP Tubes
DAC: Schiit Audio Yggdrasil
Source: Roon Nucleus+
Woofer: JL Audio Fathom F112V2
Cables: CAD USB Cable, JPS Labs Kaptivator Lite, JPS Labs AC-X Digital, JPS Labs Interconnects and HP Cables.
Misc: Lane 315 Cinema Home Theater Recliner +Transducers
Transducers: ButtKicker LFE, 2 x ButtKicker BK4 Advanced (Stereo), Clark Synthesis Platinum


VINYL SETUP
Player:
Rega Planar 10
Cartridge: Rega Aphelion
Phono Stage: Rega Aura

SHORT LIST (equipment on my shortlist for demoing/acquiring over the next year)
  • Martin Logan ESL 8s
  • Martin Logan ESL 15
  • Anthem STR Poweramplifer
  • Technics Reference Turntable + Otofon MC Ana MC Phono Cartridge + Esoteric E-02 Phono Stage


TABLE OF CONTENTS
  1. PrimaLuna Unboxing / First Listen
  2. Vinyl, 70hrs Prima Burn In
  3. Martin Logan ESL 8 Testing
  4. Audio Room - Part 1
 
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Sep 30, 2021 at 4:22 AM Post #2 of 7

matthewhypolite

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1. PrimaLuna Unboxing / First Listen
So I'm quite familiar with the Persona 3F and 9H speakers on some emotiva amps and various sources.
I found the much cheaper 3F + my rega kit to outperform the 9H without the rega, so I always wanted to get the rega paired back with the 9H to see what the speaker can really do, because spending north $35k for the 9H didn’t seem worth it to me from what I heard.

So I spun up the PrimLuna pre/amps and gave it a go.

First I'd like to thank Joel who assisted me and had a good back and forth via email and phone before I made my final purchase, and also Kevin who had input as well.

Because DAM!

The PrimaLunas ROCK! They completely opened up the 9H, I’ve not heard those speakers perform like that before, truly amazing, and to think all stock, no burn in, and just off of a sonos with tidal, wow. The articulation, the body, THE BASS SLAM!, resolution, instrument separation, all enhanced, all truly amazing, the Primas are kickass.

I’ll report back once I’ve got some hours on the unit, then again when I get my vinyl player on there, and again when I tube roll 😃.
For now, here’s some content of the setup: (p.s. we removed the 150” projector screen to reveal the audio gear, and just hooked up the primas on the front stage for now).

VIDEOS


















PHOTOS


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Sep 30, 2021 at 11:00 PM Post #3 of 7

Redcarmoose

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Congratulations!
 
Oct 1, 2021 at 9:25 PM Post #4 of 7

matthewhypolite

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2. Vinyl, 70hrs Prima Burn In



Now that I've allowed some time for the Stock Prima to burn in (70hrs at this point), it's time for another listen. Things very much are improved, the amps seem to open up more, they sound more lively whiles still retaining the sweet harmonic tone these amps deliver. There's a lot of tubes in play here but they by no means sound too warm, or too lush. Just a nice smooth rich tonality but very capable of delivering the punch when needed. Resolution has also improved after burn in and I am falling in love with these amps. They sound really amazing. Just what the doctor ordered for the Persona 9H, This combo sounds stunning.

So, how does adding the Rega back into the mix sound? Well, the rega did for this seutp what it did for the Persona 3F setup. Made everything better :D There's just a sound quality and body with vinyl that I just can't get over. The difference when switching from digital to vinyl is obvious, obvious in a good way. And the Persona 9H + PrimaLuna Monoblock Stack + Preamp + Rega Planar 10? WOW! What a magical and truly orgasmic musical experience.


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Sep 10, 2022 at 3:22 AM Post #5 of 7

matthewhypolite

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Hi All,

Have not posted here in a while, been really busy, but construction on my dedicated audio room has begun, so time to update with some content.

First, I'd describe my experience with the Martin Logan ESL 8 Electrostatic speakers, I'll follow up with another post on the room.

3. Martin Logan ESL 8



Listening to the ML was definitely a completely different experience than listening to dynamic drivers. I think i now see what all the hoopla is about with the staxx headphones.
If those headphones are anything like what i heard out of the ESL 8, then waw. Compared to dynamic drivers, the ESL 8 sound so euphoric. Details for days but it never sounded harsh or bright to my ears, quite the opposite actually. It created such an amazing sound stage i felt like i was engulfed in a sea of music. It no longer sounded like i was listening to a pair of speakers, it sounded like i was there, at the event, in the front row, even ON THE STAGE!
I was amazed at what these $2600.00 pair of speakers was putting out.

Compared to the $35k 9H clearly the 9H were the better speaker, performing substantially superior in the bass department. But when it came to the mid-range, the Electrostatic drivers just sounded so liquid and lifelike in comparison. It just made me want MORE of that. In vocal performances, the electros evoked a truly emotional response, shed manly tears sort of experience :D

Needless to say, I've ordered a pair of ML ESL 15a.

They will be my speaker of choice for the new room I'm building. (Details on that to come)
 
Sep 10, 2022 at 3:52 AM Post #6 of 7

matthewhypolite

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4. Audio Room - Part 1

So, construction on my dedicated listening room has begun, it's costing me a pretty penny between construction and treatment, when it's all said and done it better blow my socks off :D! I'll drop photos and designs etc as I go along.

For treatment I'm using acoustic fields carbon tech for the walls and floor. Diffusers for the ceiling, front and rare walls. And foam panels on the side walls.
Cherry finish for the room.

Design Sketch:

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Photos Of Build Space:

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