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Thread: User211 Visits AwkwardByDesign

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 3,402
    I'm Justin.

    Default User211 Visits AwkwardByDesign

    Decided to visit Dick a couple of week's ago. Just hadn't written it up yet.

    Here's a pic of Dick's system, a good percentage of which is DIY.



    The speakers are all SEAS drive units, shoved into an extremely rigid and probably quite heavy set of cabs. As I understand it, the bass enclosure is completely separated from the mid/treble unit, and the cabs feel very insert on tap tests.

    As a result, you get what you expect, or at least I suspected you would, from such a design. It sounds clean, clear, and very coherent, especially for a box speaker. There's arguably some hardness which Dick complains about, but I think is at acceptable levels.

    Which leads me onto a point. I can sit there with my guitar plugged into my guitar amp and make it sound very hard indeed, just by messing with tone controls. If a system cannot reproduce hardness, it is surely wrong in some sense. In order to be accurate, it surely MUST be able to reproduce hardness.

    There are plenty of very pleasant to listen to systems around that don't appear to be able to really do that. No one really likes prolonged exposure to a hard sound, and I'm sure that's why some people love such systems. My point is that such systems aren't quite right.

    Sure, it can sound a little hard, and we were using the Nine Inch Nails track Sanctified from Pretty Hate Machine on both vinyl and via my Lampizator Level 7 DAC to make judgements on it. But to be honest, this track is mixed with a cutting lightweight lead guitar for a reason, I think. To express the hellish feeling the guy in question, be it Trent or whoever, is going through whilst being totally obsessed with some woman. If you don't know this track check it out, and the one after. Prime examples of lyrically excellent expressions of female obsession.

    Of course if you actually are currently obsessed with some female, don't listen to it. It definitely will NOT help

    Anyway, back to the system...

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 3,402
    I'm Justin.

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    Mobile pics only I am afraid. Here's two of the Type 26 preamp Dick built, documented on the Wam by: http://hifiwigwam.com/forum/topic/11...6-dht-pre-amp/





    I can't really make any wise comments about how great or not this preamp actually is, as such assessments take time and involve swapping kit in and over an extended period, but it sounded fine to me, as did the system as a whole.

    Could I live with Dick's system? Yup, I definitely could - and for quite a long time at that. It is certainly better than kit I lived with for years. The sense of clarity and honesty in the sound sets it apart from most. For me it does sound quite accurate. If we dumped it in, say, the AoS MiBO bake off room, it'd beat anything in there in terms of perceived accuracy over the vast majority of the frequency bandwidth the speakers are capable of, I am sure most would agree.

    The speakers separate individual instruments very well, and imagery is very good. Small changes in kit, like changing rectifiers and Lampy B7 valves showed differences that were immediately apparent and obvious. Again an excellent sign. The system really does dig deep into recordings. There's more insight here than the vast majority of commercial speakers can muster. You'll hear more detail over a wider frequency bandwidth than you get from a pair of ESL 57s, for instance.

    If you after a warm and pleasant sound, then you'll only get than from warm and pleasant recordings. You will get it but only were it is deserved, not across the board. That means genuinely great recordings will sound very good indeed.
    Last edited by User211; 13-11-2016 at 11:25.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 3,402
    I'm Justin.

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    The heart of the system involves a Parasound A21 - one of my favourite solid state amps and one of Jerry's too. It has zero problems driving Dick's speakers but then it is a beast power wise and can easily drive my speakers to their limit.

    Naturally due to the physical size of the speakers, scale is good, and in the listening position, they look much more dominating than they do in the picture. Make no mistake, they are a large box speaker.

    I ask Dick to bring the A21 to my place a week or so later, so that another audio casualty could here it driving my speakers against some very powerful valve amps he had just bought. He was notably impressed. It is a great amp, and looks mean in black, IMHO.

    Onto Dick's TT, an older Oracle he'd wanted for years. Decca cart (can't remember which one). Actually, I can't remember what the arm is, though I am sure someone will identify it.


  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 3,402
    I'm Justin.

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    Here's Dick's digital source, which we didn't listen to much, though we did use it as a CD transport into the Lampy.



    Anyway, a very good system that Dick can rightly be proud of, I think. An awful lot of effort has gone into creating it, and the results are worth it. Tops marks Dick!!!

    Not much else to say apart from was it worth a two hour trip each way? Most definitely

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: United Kingdom

    Posts: 2,049
    I'm Richard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by User211 View Post
    Onto Dick's TT, an older Oracle he'd wanted for years. Decca cart (can't remember which one). Actually, I can't remember what the arm is, though I am sure someone will identify it.
    London Supergold in a Decca International unipivot arm.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Forest of Dean, Glos & Cambrian mountains, Wales

    Posts: 9,198
    I'm Jerry.

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    Nice write-up.
    Sounds an interesting system.

    That black A21 looks a mean dude!
    - yup, one of my favourite amps.
    Jerry

    Spotify Premium streaming, Cambridge Audio 851D DAC/pre, Nobsound NS-02G amp, MBL116F
    or
    Spotify Premium streaming, Wadia 151 PowerDAC, MBL 116F.
    or
    Spotify Premium streaming, Cambridge Audio 851D DAC/pre, Pass Labs X150 power amp, MBL 116F.
    or
    >> Currently >>Spotify Premium streaming, Cambridge Audio 851D DAC/pre, LA Audio A-30 el84 integrated amp, MBL 116F.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Feb 2011

    Location: Liverpool, Merseyside.

    Posts: 871
    I'm Ben.

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    Very interesting write up and system thanks for sharing it.
    SL1210
    Jelco SA-750 & AT150 MLX,
    Firebottle phono stage,
    Jungson JA-88 amp,
    JBL L40 Speakers.
    M2tech Young dac .

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 3,402
    I'm Justin.

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    Might be interesting if Dick chimed in on the inspiration for the loudspeaker design. Dick?

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Forest of Dean, Glos & Cambrian mountains, Wales

    Posts: 9,198
    I'm Jerry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by User211 View Post
    Might be interesting if Dick chimed in on the inspiration for the loudspeaker design. Dick?
    Linn Kans?

    Jerry

    Spotify Premium streaming, Cambridge Audio 851D DAC/pre, Nobsound NS-02G amp, MBL116F
    or
    Spotify Premium streaming, Wadia 151 PowerDAC, MBL 116F.
    or
    Spotify Premium streaming, Cambridge Audio 851D DAC/pre, Pass Labs X150 power amp, MBL 116F.
    or
    >> Currently >>Spotify Premium streaming, Cambridge Audio 851D DAC/pre, LA Audio A-30 el84 integrated amp, MBL 116F.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 3,402
    I'm Justin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jandl100 View Post
    Linn Kans?

    I think it's more S&M inspired looking at the grilles...

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