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Thread: Christmas session at Steve,s (Sonority) with Firebottle and Jimbo

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 3,222
    I'm James.

    Default Christmas session at Steve,s (Sonority) with Firebottle and Jimbo

    One of the most frequented venues I visit during the year is a friend who I first met via AOS just when I was beginning my return back into HIFI. I have never really written anything about Steves place as it is very difficult to describe and put into words. It is beyond exceptional and totally unique on many levels and is always a constant source of inspiration and knowledge as is Steve himself.

    There will be no pictures in this post but if Steve does read this he may contribute however that may not happen so if you want to see pictures of some of Steves place etc you need to look at
    http://sonoritydesign.co.uk/sonority/ Which will give you some indication of Steves place.

    Anyway I do pop up regularly and at Christmas I usually have a long session there kindly hosted by Steve but this year was a little different as Mr Firebottle joined us for a few hours, although I suspect he may have liked to stay for more?

    I find it quite difficult to describe Steves set up because it is so multi dimensional covering every tiny aspect that could contribute to a systems performance. Let's just say the infrastructure is on another level both physically and electrically. I could go into details but this would make the post massive and really it needs to be seen and heard to appreciate just how much work has gone into it. Let's just say Steve has created or should I say constructed the most perfect listening environment you could imagine.

    So on the day we listened to an all digital set up in Steves main room which comprised of an InnOS server connected to a Simaudio Mind control device all running through a DAVE Chord DAC and a massive Chord power amp into some YG acoustics speakers.

    We ran thorough a huge amount of music from Alison Krass, Dire Straits, Yello, Boris Blank, Cosmic ground, Steve Wilson,and many others finishing with Radioactive Man!

    At this point maybe I could leave it to Alan to describe the sound

    All I would say is that when you hear what digital can do at this level it is truly fabulous and can achieve an unbelievable level of performance. I think we can agree that what we heard did not sound like Analog or Digital but something else altogether.

    I certainly enjoyed the day and it was really nice to have Alan there for some of the day and I would like to thank Steve very much for hosting it.
    VPI Scout 1.1 / JMW 9T Tonearm / 2M Black /Croft 25R+ / Croft 7 / Spendor SP2

  2. #2
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 3,802
    I'm Alan.

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    My admiration for the total commitment to achieving audio nirvana and sincere thanks to Steve for extending the invite.

    Never mind superlatives this was on another level. I'm sure mainly down to the often overlooked or misunderstood, plus difficult to achieve in a domestic environment, full treatment required to the listening environment. To ensure that it doesn't hinder the potential performance of whatever audio transducers are being used takes a lot of effort and expense.

    Let's say that when any room deficiencies have been negated, then you can hear what the kits is capable of, giving the ultimate performance value.

    Only one word can be used, stunning. I am sure I will never hear anything to better it, although I was told with different speakers there is even more scale present in the performance. Forget anything you may have heard at shows, however big.

    Think of the best sound you have heard, add in subterranean bass of such power and clarity that you can't believe it comes from a sealed box , add 10 feet to the depth and height of the imaging, never mind the amazing imaging all around you, with the right material, and you might get close.

    OK the sound is coming from a digitally stored source, but the result is so pure I prefer to ignore the analogue/digital dichotomy and think of it as a 'no moving parts' source.

    It was the most immersive audio experience of my life. Transparency, clarity, detail, focus, pin point imaging, frequency extension, scale, emotion, what was not to like. Did I mention the SCALE.

    You could listen at venue levels and beyond, but it didn't need to be loud.
    If I had a room like it I would have to be tube fed, and catheterised.

    There is some amazing electronic kit on the market now, admittedly at a price, but the YG Hailey speakers were a bit of a revelation. You think to yourself, as I did, well can these be worth the price of a big car? Without the room interactions to upset the balance then the resounding answer is yes.

    Can only dream of ownership, but what a pleasure to have the auditory experience.


    Thanks James.
    Last edited by Firebottle; 31-12-2016 at 15:03. Reason: YG Hailey name added

  3. #3
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 18,321
    I'm Martin.

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    Which YG speakers are we talking about?

    BTW here is a thread documenting the room treatment. It is extensive (both thread and treatment)

    http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthr...pics/1984380/4

    To be able to start with a totally blank canvas plus time, money and some careful research and consideration. What a dream!
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Sony X505ES CD Player * NVA P90SA passive pre / NVA A30 Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 3,222
    I'm James.

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    Glad you enjoyed it Alan and I think you described the experience very well. I have always found it difficult to describe Steve's system and environment as it is like you say so immersive and extreme in every way it's hard to get your head or ears round. It is rare you come away from listening to a system with no negatives (apart from cost as it does everything as you say beyond what most people have ever experienced. Bit of a drug listening to his set up as it ticks so many audiophile boxes and then some.

    I always feel very privileged to have met Steve and watched and heard his system and building evolve as the attention to detail and multi level skills involved are stunning. Whenever I listen to any system or visit any show I always think of Steve's set up as a benchmark on every level. It is his fanatical attention to detail and huge amount of work that has achieved this and as you saw it is a labour of love to build the environment that he has.

    Just imagine what his final project is going to be like!
    VPI Scout 1.1 / JMW 9T Tonearm / 2M Black /Croft 25R+ / Croft 7 / Spendor SP2

  5. #5
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 3,802
    I'm Alan.

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    YG Hailey's Martin, name added in main text now.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 3,222
    I'm James.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    Which YG speakers are we talking about?

    BTW here is a thread documenting the room treatment. It is extensive (both thread and treatment)

    http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthr...pics/1984380/4

    To be able to start with a totally blank canvas plus time, money and some careful research and consideration. What a dream!
    Yes that's the one Martin, imagine the work and time involved! The YG speakers were these
    http://www.yg-acoustics.com/category/hailey.
    VPI Scout 1.1 / JMW 9T Tonearm / 2M Black /Croft 25R+ / Croft 7 / Spendor SP2

  7. #7
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Belfast/Northern Ireland/UK

    Posts: 16,638
    I'm Neil.

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    Photos would be nice
    Regards Neil

    System 1: AMG Giro turntable, AMG 9W2 tonearm, Air Tight PC3 cartridge, Passlabs Xono phonostage, AMG Reference armcable. Accuphase DP57 CD player, Marantz SA7 SACD player, Sony HAP Z1es Digital File Player + Audioquest Jitter Bug, Veracity Mystra DAC + Dell Laptop + iFi i power + JKenny JKSPIDIF, Wireworld Starlight USB + Audioquest Jitter Bug, for computer audio, Audio Valve RKV2 headphone amp, headphones Grado GS 1000, Balanced Audio Technology VK300se integrated amplifier, Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers. Cabling: Signal - Audience AU24, Analysis Plus, Atlas Mavros, Speaker - QED Genesis Silver Spiral. Mains Cabling: Audience AU24, Analysis Plus, TCI. Mark Grant distribution blocks, Equipment tables Target Audio B series.

    System 2: Loricraft Garrard 401 turntable + SME 5 tonearm + VDH MC10 cartridge + Graham IC70 tonearm cable, Modified Technics 1200 turntable + Triplannar 7 tonearm + VDH Frog Gold cartridge + Paul Hynes SR7 PSU, SME Model 20 turntable + Graham Phantom tonearm + Ortofon MC5200 cartridge + Graham IC70 tonearm cable, Balanced Audio Technology VK10se phonostage, Moon Andromeda CD player, Esoteric P5 SACD transport and P 5 DAC, Toshiba 9500 DVD Audio player, AMR DP777 DAC + HP laptop + iFi i power + Wireworld Starlight USB - for computer audio, Kenwood 8300 tuner, Revox B760 tuner, Magnum Dynalab signal sleuth, Leak Troughline tuner + EAR Stereo decoder, Revox B77 mk 2 & Revox A77 mk3 reel to reel recorders, Balanced Audio Technology VK52se pre-amplifier, Music Reference RM200 mk1 power-amplifier, Anthony Gallo Reference 3.5 speakers. Cabling: Signal/Speaker - Atlas Mavros. Mains Cabling: Audience AU24, TCI. Mains distribution blocks Mark Grant and Russ Andrews, Equipment tables Clear Light Audio.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 3,222
    I'm James.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalek Supreme D L View Post


    Photos would be nice
    If you read the post and look at what Martin has linked in you will spend the rest of the night looking at pictures.

    The point you make is worthless as no pictures could ever give you an idea of what we heard!
    Last edited by Jimbo; 31-12-2016 at 15:42.
    VPI Scout 1.1 / JMW 9T Tonearm / 2M Black /Croft 25R+ / Croft 7 / Spendor SP2

  9. #9
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 1,465
    I'm Phil.

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    some years ago i discovered at the back of music matters stockroom a sonority design stand that had been forgotten about [one of steves]
    put it under my leema cd player and it really made quite a difference . how the heck can rolling balls on 2 layers of snooker ball like material make a difference ...... well it did

    then later steve made me some stands for my b&w which were also very good . great you could have a session there
    modwright 36.5 DM /MSB s200 , / Marantz sa8005/bel canto 3.5, vbs , bel canto fm1
    sonos, . dct300/ /isotek sigmas /rfc/chord epic cabling/Kimber select/ proac studio 125

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 3,222
    I'm James.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hifinutt View Post
    some years ago i discovered at the back of music matters stockroom a sonority design stand that had been forgotten about [one of steves]
    put it under my leema cd player and it really made quite a difference . how the heck can rolling balls on 2 layers of snooker ball like material make a difference ...... well it did

    then later steve made me some stands for my b&w which were also very good . great you could have a session there
    The roller shelves are indeed very good acoustic isolation platforms. Steve has used them throughout his system to great effect especially with speakers. I have one under my preamp which is probably the most sensitive component other than my turntable. The amount of R&D Steve did to work out what materials to use, especially the ball bearings is staggering.
    VPI Scout 1.1 / JMW 9T Tonearm / 2M Black /Croft 25R+ / Croft 7 / Spendor SP2

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