June 5, 2011
The Lindermann CD 1 CD player sitting on Clearaudio Magix magnetic levitation device for total isolation. Note the external power supply units at the bottom shelf, the black one on the left is for the Lindermann and the silver one on the right is an SMPS(Switch Mode power Supply) for the Nagra PLL pre amp.
CK uses only AIME products(where possible) for all his auxiliary equipment, such as the transformer based power line conditioner, volt meter, power strip, all cables in the system and isolation boards. Equipment support is courtesy of Finite Element Spider, with full Ceraball footing and interface. Clearaudio Magix magnetic levitation devices are used for the Lindermann CD1.
We started the listening session with some CD play back. The sound is lush and organic, with much refined highs and reaccessed mids. The bass has a supple quality too. The sound is totally devoid of digitalis syndrome. However some might find this kind of presentation just too polite, perhaps?
The vinyl source proved superior in this set up. With much more conviction and faster transient response. The vinyl source is less dark sounding too. The highs is airier and just as refined, the mids lucid and warm with density that one you'd expect from a top drawer vinyl play back system. The bass is well defined and tuneful, which shows the speaker set up skills, considering the AP Medea(with 10 inch bass drivers) is no small speaker in a room measuring only 10 x 13ft. By the way, the room is bare and un treated in anyway, except for a front wall curtain and regular home furnishing items, like the rug on the floor. CK used to be big in to resonant cups and Shun Mook tuning, but has come to realised that a well set up high end system can sound better with less "Ajinomoto"(a famous Japanese food MSG brand).
The Odessey Stratos Extreme power amp is excellent value for money. Some call it the poor man's Soulution, only because it sounds much like the later but only cost 1/10 the price. However, it's price tag(at RM$10k or so) is clearly entry level high end.
The sound stage provides excellent perception of both width and depth. The sound is room filling and is satisfyingly musical. The imaging properties are not as clearly outlined as some(just a little blurred on the edges), but is dense and just as believable. I believe this is a characteristic of the speaker, which radiates sound from all sides of the box, much like the MBL 101 Radialstrahler system. The system is highly transparent and will reveal the recordings faults for better or worst.
The Audio Physic Medea is the former flagship prior to the Kronos. It uses 3 Manager transducer drivers for all round sound field dispersion. This gives an immersion effect and throws a believe able sound stage, however imaging is not as pin point as normal box speaker designs.
CK seems to be satisfied with his system(for now) and is just happy to enjoy the music. He has spent much time and resources to reach this high level of playing field and wants to reap the happy ending. However, I just have this suspicious feeling, from one audiophile to another, that he'll want further improvement after a while. After all sonic conquest and lust for better sound is an audiophile thing, that comes naturally! Ha! Ha!