Wednesday, February 10, 2010

HiFi : progress report

The bad weather has given me an opportunity to sort out the hifi.

The biggest development has been to move the sources from between the speakers and to the side of the room. Why? More later ...

At the moment I have the Infinity RS 4001s connected using some sort of basic Monster Cable speaker wire. I have a pair of UK-sourced Quad 11L2s to use instead, but I'm thinking that they'll do better with rather better speaker wire, supports and a sympathetic sub-woofer. I have access to an Infinity sub, but it's more suited to home theatre with no subtlety when used with music.

Back in the UK I built this sub from IPL Acoustics who happened to be a guy working from a house in Ilfracombe, Devon, UK.

The Quads also need something like the Atacama Nexus speaker stands to keep them off the ground.

What you see here - working clockwise from the turntable:

Pro-Ject Cherry Classic Turntable : This was adapted for the US by fitting a 110v/60Hz motor and pulley. This wasn't too difficult. The UK suppliers, Henley Designs, were very helpful, as was The Needle Doctor, who supplied the pulley and a special tool for adjusting the arm bearings.

Currently, the deck uses an Ortofon 510 MkII with an Ortofon 2M Red waiting to be installed.

Pro-Ject USBII Phono Box : I use this to step-up the turntable output to line-voltage and also act as a AD converter which I am experimenting with to digitise my LP collection ... that's for another day.

Cambridge DacMagic : This time, a DA converter. I am using this to by-pass the DA converter in my CD player and take direct output from digital audio files on my home network and output - hopefully - hifi quality sound.

Dell Laptop : Linda's crotchety old laptop which tends to freeze after an hour or so, but works well while it lasts. Using Media Monkey to catalogue and play my music stored on the network out through the DacMagic and into the amplifier. I'm currently experimenting with Audacity to record vinyl from the turntable via the Pro-Ject USB Box.

Marantz CD5001 CD Player : I'm using the DacMagic to bypass the player's DA converter. So far, so good ...

Marantz PM5003 Integrated Amplifier : So far this has helped to integrate the distinctly non-standard setup I have here.

Little Dot Headphone Amplifier : on the shelf under the CD player - currently not linked in, but will be tapped off one of the PM5003's recording monitors.

Nearly all this stuff is 220/240v. I use a 3kw/110v/220v converter. Running at 220v/60Hz doesn't appear to be an issue for any item of equipment so far.

Lastly, for now at least, I've been using "Get Better Sound", by Jim Smith, to tweak the system. Most of the advice is common sense, although it's funny how much of it never occurred to me.

Anyway, so far, a good investment, certainly far more than $45.00 worth of audio improvement, plus, you receive updates via email once you've bought it.