August 13, 2010

A Reviewers Choice System!

Mr BR's Magnaplanar 1.6 QR based system. This is a reviewers choice!

Have your ever wondered, what makes a reviewers system? No, I am not talking about Odioslueth or my good self here! I am talking about Malaysia's top reviewer, who has been doing this work for the last 20 years or so, in one of our English local dailies "Audiofile" section.

I bet many of our local readers would've already know who this reviewer is, but he wants to remain coy about his identity, so let's call him Mr BR, shall we? He!He! I've always been a fan of Maggies and Apogee speakers. So when I heard that Mr BR has a pair of Magnaplanar 1.6 QR playing in his well set up room, I just had to hear them. But hifi is not just about one item, it's about a marriage of synergistic combination of various components that make a successful system. Here's a mighty one.
Clearaudio Performance SE turntable with Satisfy Ebony tone arm and mounted with Concerto cartridge. Mr BR swears the Satisfy Ebony sounds much better than the carbon version and the extra cost is justified. I can only agree!

This is a 2 source system, with Clearaudio Performance SE turntable packaged with Concerto cartridge for the analog side, and an Ayon CD-07 represents the latest thinking for the physical media digital front end. Mr BR is dabbling in to Hi-rez downloads too, and I think very soon, this will be a 3 source system!
The latest CD player that represents the latest digital thinking in European design, it's Swiss actually! This baby's got tube outputs. A very fine and smooth, sophisticated sounding player.

The pre amp used here is the latest hi-end craze, longer than thong waiting listed, Odyssey Audio Tempest Extreme feeding signals to a Khartago Extreme SE stereo power amp. The Odyssey Extreme mods includes beefier power supplies and use of upgraded audio grade parts inside. Mr BR used MIT CVT series interconnects and speaker cables are MIT AVT series. Power cords are from various sources. The whole system is powered via a Pure Power APS 1050i PLC with the highly under rated Audio Magic Mini Reference used as post output filter, just as I had suggested in my review of the Pure Power APS 2000 PLC more than a year ago. There's even a Prometheus Energizer Brick just after the Pure Power treatment(this, not my idea! Ha!Ha!) supplying exclusive juice for the turntable. By the way Mr BR is using the high quality built in phono stage of the Odyssey pre amp.
Note under the Ayon CD player, Odyssey pre amp are the use of Elite Acoustic Magnet Shock Isolators is combinations of 3s or 4s. On the bottom shelf is Pure Power APS 1050i.

Odyssey Khartago power amp also rest on Elite Acoustic MSI too. Wood is also used to damp the acrylic amp rack.

Even the Maggies 1.6QR is given the Elite Acoustic MSI treatment!

Mr BR uses A.S.I. Basic level cup resonators for room tune. Another tweak to mention is the use of Elite Acoustic Magnet Shock Isolator thru out the whole system. Every component sits of 3 or 4 pcs of the said Magnet Shock Isolator. By the way, the system is housed in a lightly treated for acoustics, mid size dedicated studio/lounge room of irregular shape. Mr BR is a bass guitar player too, and has jam sessions in the same room sometimes.
Audio Magic Mini Reference PLC with Quantum Physics Noise Disruptor sitting on top. The use of a passive filter post Pure Power is highly recommended, and is well demonstrated here by Mr BR.

The first thing I noticed from the first notes of hitting the play button was, "this system has so.... much bass, for a pair of small Maggies that is!" I actually found it hard to believe, as most have previously mentioned the smaller Maggies to be some what bass shy. In fact the bass that greeted me was the solid, punchy and tight kind, which is quite a pleasant surprise. On certain recordings, the bass very nearly threatened to boom but just stop short of doing so. This is what some may call a system on the edge, not the edgy kind, mind you. Just to draw a parallel sort of experience with a finely tuned high performance car, when a driver starts to lose grip, yet manages just enough grip to keep on propelling front movement on a tight corner. Yeah! you guessed it, it's called "drifting". The bass performance of this system has that threshold of performance, it's exhilarating!

The mids have an open clarity quality, just as expected from a pair of Maggies. The highs are smoothly extended and "airy" if some what not quite cut from the same cloth kind of continuity when crossing over from the mids, as experienced on the bigger Maggies. Having said that, if one comes from listening to dome and cone based dynamic drivers, you'd not noticed it at all. Overall system tonal character is on the warmer side of neutral.

Perhaps due to the room's irregular shape, sound staging may not be as deep as can be(I guess that's just a matter of taste, as some have previous indicated that my system to be far too laid back in this aspect), but depth layering is still well reproduced with solid vocal images anchored between the speakers.

Mr BR has indicated a new turn table up grade on the horizon, and perhaps even a pair of Apogee speakers, just for the fun of it. And like many Maggie 1.6 QR owners, Mr BR looks forward to the arrival of the just launched Maggie 1.7 soon.
The turn table is powered via a Prometheus Energizer Brick, after the power is regenerated by the Pure Power APS.

This is a finely tuned system, which I am sure Mr BR has spent many, many hours, not to mentioned days, perhaps even years to achieve, yet make it all look, and sound so...... effortless. After all, he's been in the reviewing business for a long, long time now. It has been team Hifi-Unlimited's joy that Mr BR is sharing his system with us.

Thank you and Kudos!


GCK said...

Hi BR, the last photo shows you have a basic set of Franck's Acoustic Systems resonators. I used to have many in my room, but now I can get away with just 1 in my room.

Bassraptor-SquareCircles said...

Thank you, Big E for your extremely kind words, I'm indeed flattered and glad you enjoyed yourself. Now I'm a bit more certain I'm moving on the right path! It was a pleasure to have you guys home.

Just a couple of clarifications, this is the system is set up:

The PurePower 1050i is plugged into a dedicated 32A socket. Everything else is powered from it, including the AudioMagic and Promitheus "brick" Energizer. The power amp goes directly into the PurePower, the pre and CD into the AudioMagic. The Energiser is plugged into the PP and powers the turntable.

Thus, no "external" electrical interference.

I have the AVI 4kv balanced power trans on standby for a rainy day! So it's not in the loop.

The day you were listening, cables and pre-power connections were the CVT2, CD to pre was the CVT1.

Loved your driving analogy - wish I could afford that sort of car as well! :)

Oh, btw, the Apogee Centaur hybrids have a lovely mid-high integration ... let you know when it's set up properly. Bass is a challenge, though, more so than the Maggies.

GCK: Yes, I use the basic setup of the resonators. Been offered more to play with but I'm just too lazy to make the effort right now!


Big E said...

Mr Bass Raptor,

Thanks for further clarifying on the power management angle.

I always have great times listening to Maggies and Apogees.

Thanks again for having having us.