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  1. #1621
    aka Tannoyboy HoopsOnToast's Avatar
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    When we first demoed the CDQ, I could hear no difference between any of the filters, there was however a reasonable difference between the new (at the time) Quad CD and the 8200CDQ, the Quad was a bit more laid back, while the Audiolab was a bit more informative. Maybe the Quad Elite CD-P or CD-S might be worth a go? Or have you heard them?

  2. #1622
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoopsOnToast View Post
    When we first demoed the CDQ, I could hear no difference between any of the filters, there was however a reasonable difference between the new (at the time) Quad CD and the 8200CDQ, the Quad was a bit more laid back, while the Audiolab was a bit more informative. Maybe the Quad Elite CD-P or CD-S might be worth a go? Or have you heard them?
    No. Part of my dying metrosexual self is resisting the urge to go all Quad.

    Maybe end of the year.


    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > rega ELICIT (pwr)
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > GENESIS M60, audiolab M-DAC > GENESIS I60
    REGA RP1 & DAC, ARCAM rDAC & A38, MF X-T100 (pre) > naim
    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  3. #1623
    pobox-123
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    Interesting review, SS.

    My father owns a CDQ, and he is happy with it.

    Over on PFM, people were saying you can have the transformers upgraded in the CDQ.

    Regards.

  4. #1624
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    These handsome little buggers weren't on my demo yesterday, but another audiophool's which I intruded upon.


    ^ System Audio SA705. Rear-ported and single-wired mini monitors.

    They are really GOOD. It is rare to find an affordable mini with a tweeter that is detailed yet composed but this SA705 accomplishes that. The SA website says 'really fast drivers' are used. Yeah, the speaker sounds it. It has zip tempered with composure and I'd place it in the class of AVI's Neutron IV and Spendor minis. While the SA705 doesn't have the ultra-smoothness of my S3/5R, it is pacier and in that regard I reckon it's a real alternative to SA1. It offers the same fleetedness and frequency range. Considering it only costs 500, a potential SA1 buyer could go for this SA705 instead and put the savings on a really nice 1k integrated amp. Wow.



    ^ lovely arse on display in this Swedish bakeoff. (btw, is that a plug and spade biwired cable going into the single terminals?!! Won't that cause a short-circuit?)


    I have added System Audio to DALI and Dynaudio as Danish speaker brands to watch. I'd like a pair of SA705 as a trophy bargain buy, but it prolly won't be a patch on the Aurum Altan VIIIs I'm eyeing.


    SS
    Last edited by SSM; 10-09-2011 at 07:41 AM.
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > rega ELICIT (pwr)
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > GENESIS M60, audiolab M-DAC > GENESIS I60
    REGA RP1 & DAC, ARCAM rDAC & A38, MF X-T100 (pre) > naim
    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  5. #1625
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    (edit)

    Geez, I literally did what Focal-kid was complaining about, not checking before pressing 'Send'.


    SS
    Last edited by SSM; 10-09-2011 at 03:40 AM.
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > rega ELICIT (pwr)
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    REGA RP1 & DAC, ARCAM rDAC & A38, MF X-T100 (pre) > naim
    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  6. #1626
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Nothing clears up Monday blues like new incoming audio kit.

    Today, after calling in sick with a serious cold, I was guilty of 'moping around the mall' as Zebra100 had cautioned me in my vicissitudes blog. I had been to look at three pre-amps - the 1.2k ATC CA2, a 1.2k Swede and a 1.5k() Dane as alternatives to the Quad Elite for my 909. In a nutshell, while they had their own merits, neither of them did enough to convince me that the the pre-power route is immediately superior to a well-sorted integrated. The CA2 was the best, with no identifiably aberrations from neutrality. The Swede, so highly acclaimed in most media, I found dull (just like the rest of its integrated amps I'd heard in the past). The Dane was so fucking bright and etched!!! The humbly-priced Quad Elite sounds more natural and better IMO.

    At that point I had decided that I'm not building a new system around the Quad 909 but to use it as a power amp to relieve the output of my aging tubed MF X-T100 in my HT/orchestral system. To my ears the 909 sounds best with a tubed pre, and adding the Quad Elite would rob it of some spark IMO.

    I decided to revisit three of the integrated amps I had demo'd in June, plus a new arrival on the scene:

    Arcam FMJ A38, Rega Elicit, Roksan Caspian M2 and Creek Destiny 2 (new)

    This time I chose higher-quality standmounts, in lieu of previous floorstanders. The A38 was paired with B&W's awesome little PM1, the Elicit (the Rega dealership had changed hands since) had the company of my SCM11, a step up from the blehy Naim-Fockal 807 Chorus. The Caspian M2 and the Destiny 2 had the company of Dynaudio DM 2/7 and B&W CM5 respectively.

    Add to that quartet last Friday's re-demo of the Naim Nait XS.
    A very clear winner emerged from this quintet!!!
    It's coming in on Monday and I now have all the amplification I'll ever need, so I can lavish my moolah on sshiny Quadral speakers next year, either the Aurum Altan VIII or if I stretch the waiting time a little longer, the positively Wagnerian Wotans VIII floorstanders, squeeeee!!!

    The victor gets to partner my ELAC BS244 for now before the Quadrals, and although I have not heard them together, I just know it's going to sound very wonderful, at the very least!!! 1.6k very well-spent.

    And as this is S2000dB's birthday week, the incoming amp is christened 'Dana', but it's definitely not a 54yo tin of luncheon meat. I shall remember dear wammate Dana forever everytime I look at this amp.


    The reveal on Monday...


    SS
    Last edited by SSM; 15-09-2011 at 11:43 AM.
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > rega ELICIT (pwr)
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > GENESIS M60, audiolab M-DAC > GENESIS I60
    REGA RP1 & DAC, ARCAM rDAC & A38, MF X-T100 (pre) > naim
    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  7. #1627
    Moderator myrman's Avatar
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    Interesting comments about the System Audios. I used to own the SA1530 and found them average. For a slim floorstander (admittedly more expensive) the Totem Arros walked all over them. Good to hear that improvements are being made. There's no doubting that SA make good looking, room friendly speakers though.

  8. #1628
    Founding Wammer s2000db's Avatar
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    OMG, please don't name me after a Naim...
    There's no way I'm going to be the richest person in the graveyard...

  9. #1629
    Super Wammer Brown Bottle's Avatar
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    Look for forward to discovering what your new toy will be. Nobody believes the "all the amplification I will ever need" bit though, it'll be lucky to last 12 months.

    Cheers BB

  10. #1630
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myrman View Post
    Interesting comments about the System Audios. I used to own the SA1530 and found them average. For a slim floorstander (admittedly more expensive) the Totem Arros walked all over them. Good to hear that improvements are being made. There's no doubting that SA make good looking, room friendly speakers though.
    Interesting comments yours too. I'd also saw a pair of slimline SA floorstanders which looked so damned chic with that column of 5 tiny woofers. Not heard them, but doubt they are to my taste anyway as I suspect they lack welly compared to my SCM11 with its single heavy woofer.

    For a tiny mini, the SA705 is good though.

    cheerSS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > rega ELICIT (pwr)
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > GENESIS M60, audiolab M-DAC > GENESIS I60
    REGA RP1 & DAC, ARCAM rDAC & A38, MF X-T100 (pre) > naim
    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  11. #1631
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by s2000db View Post
    OMG, please don't name me after a Naim...
    LOL!!! Don't be an ingrate.I named an expensive purchase after you. Compared to the 100-quid MF V-LINK called 'Lindsay/Stratie'.


    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > rega ELICIT (pwr)
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > GENESIS M60, audiolab M-DAC > GENESIS I60
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    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  12. #1632
    Founding Wammer s2000db's Avatar
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    Gotcha! It is a Naim then...
    There's no way I'm going to be the richest person in the graveyard...

  13. #1633
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brown Bottle View Post
    Look for forward to discovering what your new toy will be. Nobody believes the "all the amplification I will ever need" bit though, it'll be lucky to last 12 months.

    Cheers BB

    Steve, thou speaketh the truth. (Probably)

    Make that 24 months. I need to grow the piggy bank for a pair of Aurum Altan VIII, you know. Or even longer, if I want the Aurum Wotan VIII.

    This 'Dana' is one lucky amp. It gets to partner super quality standmounts upon its entry into solidschateau.

    I can't wait for Monday!!!

    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > rega ELICIT (pwr)
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    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  14. #1634
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by s2000db View Post


    Gotcha! It is a Naim then...
    Don't indulge in premature speculation.

    btw, two Danas are actually coming in on Monday. Dana I and Dana II. So, my dear wammate, you cost me more than 1.6k.

    Piccies and first impressions on Monday.

    SS
    Last edited by SSM; 15-09-2011 at 02:04 PM.
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > rega ELICIT (pwr)
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > GENESIS M60, audiolab M-DAC > GENESIS I60
    REGA RP1 & DAC, ARCAM rDAC & A38, MF X-T100 (pre) > naim
    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  15. #1635
    Founding Wammer s2000db's Avatar
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    It would've been much cheaper if you'd sent me a cheque for 1k, and I gave you a 'quickie' down the phone line (as an audible upgrade of course)..
    There's no way I'm going to be the richest person in the graveyard...

  16. #1636
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by s2000db View Post
    It would've been much cheaper if you'd sent me a cheque for 1k, and I gave you a 'quickie' down the phone line (as an audible upgrade of course)..
    Pass. I'd rather have my Dana in front of me. Oooh, that oh-so-tactile and responsive knob! I'll be playing with it all day Monday.


    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > rega ELICIT (pwr)
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    REGA RP1 & DAC, ARCAM rDAC & A38, MF X-T100 (pre) > naim
    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  17. #1637
    Wammer
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    Have you seen these handsome buggers in the flesh?

    http://www.system-audio.com/_en-GB/p...anger%20master

  18. #1638
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikedefacto View Post
    No, I didn't. The array of drivers is reminiscent of classic Mission freedom floorers. Not sure about the tapered profile, straight rectangular lines in speakers are more to my taste.


    SS
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > rega ELICIT (pwr)
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    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

  19. #1639
    Wammer
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    You don't see the drivers when you have the grilles on! The tapered profile is actually what I like best about it... it looks like an exclamation mark!

    I also like these though I know you don't approve of the end-on plywood finish


  20. #1640
    Founding Wammer SSM's Avatar
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    solidsRoundup - Arcam FMJ A38, Creek Destiny 2, Naim NAIT XS, Rega Elicit & Roksan Caspian M2

    Yes! 'DANA' is now safely escounced at solidschateau and started its running-in. While its delicious early sounds are emanating, I pen this summary of the five amps. They are all wonderful in their own ways and it needs to be said that I chose 'DANA' as it best fits my personal requirements. I need an amplifier that can do great justice to my classical music library and harmonize well with my taste in speakers - German (ELAC, and Aurum in the future) with fast drivers and lightning-quick ribbon tweeters. If I foresaw myself getting a soft-dome British mini instead, I might have picked a different amp.

    And so, Roksan's Caspian M2 falls right to the bottom of the list. When I heard it in June, I was very impressed with its definition and tight control. Now, after the second demo, I reckon its treble is a tad bright and insistent which doesn't bode well for long-term fatigue-free listening. It places emphasis on the crisp, tinkly part of the sounds of struck piano keys rather than the woodiness, and underlines the consonants of female singers making them sound sharper. I reckon at this price point an integrated amp ought to have sorted out its treble response. The other four amps have faultless treble responses in comparison, and their midbands are also more open whereas the Caspian's is quite astringent. Music just doesn't flow as convincingly through it as the rest.

    I had the pleasure of being a Creek EVO owner for three years and awaited the Destiny 2's arrival in Tipoca with great anxiety. I had demoed the original Destiny in 2006 and 2008 but chose the MF X-T100 instead. I certainly liked what I heard from the Destiny 1. When the Destiny 2 emerged as group test winner amongst other brit amps in HFC(Feb), I bought a copy - my first HFC in two years - in anticipation that the time had come to fulfill my Destiny!

    In the flesh, the Destiny 2 looks every bit its asking price. Its sound is so immaculate and well-turned out, it makes the Caspian M2 sound like a boom-tizz budget box. Destiny 2's greatest strength is its control and composure in the upper-mids and treble. Turn the wick up and the sounds that appear in this region expand gloriously and effortlessly. And it is so pristinely clean and extended as well. In this regard, it outperforms the Quad Elite pre and monoblocs I heard a month ago. Imaging is also very precise that I felt it was superior to the (costlier) ATC, 'Swedish' and 'Danish' pre-powers. In this regard Creek may have turned out a giant-slayer of an amp. The Destiny 2's mid and treble performance has high-end cred.

    The Destiny 2 has an Achilles heel though, and a rather big one at that. HFC(Feb) suggested it may be too laid-back. Well, after hearing it for myself, I reckoned that is quite an understatement! The Destiny 2 is the least groovy of the five amps and the fast-tempo pop music I tried was not engaging at all. It seems after all that effort to design an amp that can make the upper registers blossom and flow, the Creek people forgot to fit in a rhythm engine. I thought by engaging the Active gain mode, the pace would pick up a little and turn the Destiny 2 into a PRaTty EVO, but no... all it did was make the sound louder by a few dB and introduce a hint of steely brightness. IMO this amp is not an all-rounder. It will be beguiling to listen to at night when I'm slouched in the sofa twirling a glass of nectar while the voices of Ms Peyroux, Krall and Snorah float in the air, but it sure needs a big dose of PRaT...

    That is where the NAIT XS leaps ahead in the musical stakes. It doesn't have the Destiny 2's incredible reach and cleanliness in the upper registers but it really gets to the heart (and rhythm) of any piece of music. Last Friday's demo with Neat floorstanders raised my esteem for it further. It may be all the amp any audiophool with smaller speakers and a standard-sized room will ever need. Very well-sorted design. It only lags behind the final two for soundstage scale and depth. Its prowess at carrying a rhythm comes at the expense of the shallowest soundstage amongst the five amps.

    Arcam FMJ A38 turned out a masterclass in soundstage depth. The HFC (Feb) review cited it as joint favourite with the winner and I agree - the A38 and Destiny 2 are kindred spirits and in a blind test, anyone will have some difficulty telling them apart. Both have an effortlessly clean and expansive upper register, and both are wonderful with vocals. The Destiny 2 has better defined bass, but I rate the A38 higher because its bass is more rhythmic. Matched with B&W's PM1, it produced some really exquisite sounds. Afaic, this PM1 shows Spendor SA1 and Harbeth's P3ESR a clean pair of heels for mini-monitor finesse. It doesn't suffer the two's mid-bass hump/tubbiness and that Nautilus tweeter... It can take a treble sound and carve it in the air with immense elegance. I actually muttered 'holy shit' when I heard background strings on one pop song make a descent on the scale. It's a lucky thing I have a distaste for Kevlar woofers, otherwise my wallet would have taken another hit.

    The FMJ A38 is Arcam's best integrated yet, but my ownership of the A28 which already nets me 85% of the A38's performance makes me a bit 'meh' about buying another Arcam so soon.



    And so that means 'DANA' is the Rega ELICIT!!!



    ^ Two black beauties: Sade Deluxe and Rega Deluxe. "This is no ordinary love..."


    Actually, it wasn't that close amongst the five. The Elicit cleaned up the other four IMO.

    The Rega dealership had changed hands since my first demo of the Elicit in June. The new dealer claimed to have given the showroom Elicit a very thorough run-in. I had the Saturn cdp and Naim-Focal 807V Chorus for the June demo and the Rega DAC and ATC SCM11 for last Thursday's demo. I was expecting to hear something similar but when the first sounds emerged it was like I got hit by a freight train. The soundstage was so deep and wide and open and the performers within it were so lifelike, it was a big shock to my mind and its pre-expectations. I wanted to buy the Elicit immediately.

    The Rega demo was second-last before the Destiny 2, which I saved for last because as a previous Creek EVO owner I thought it will be The One. Wrong! Although the Destiny 2 impressed me with its strengths, it didn't approach the Elicit's ability to make music sound so very life-like.

    Wow, 'DANA' and I are going to live together happily ever after.

    My Elicit is still running in and I have read online and been told by the dealer that it needs 150+ hours for the many quality discrete components inside to break in. Despite that, I'm already hearing signs of greatness emerging. Will comment further over the week.

    SS


    The Quintet - honorable mentions:


    Tonal richness - Elicit & NAIT XS
    All five amps had the dynamic ability to reproduce massive orchestral climaxes but only these two had the variety and richness of tone in their reproduction to make me appreciate that an orchestra is made up of many instruments with contrasting tonal colours. The Elicit was great and the XS very good. I will never believe future anti-Naimite comments that say Naim amplification is only suited for rock music and can't play classical.

    Treble finesse - Destiny 2 & FMJ A38

    These two have immense reach and control in the treble regions. If the Rega and Naim are earthier by comparison, the Destiny 2 and FMJ A38 are silvery singers.

    Imaging - Destiny 2 & Elicit

    The Creek has pin-sharp imaging that I reckon is superior to the three pre-powers I heard. My ears were made aware of this incredible attribute at all times and the moments where a singer or saxophonist pulls away slightly from the mic were audible. The Rega is the only other amp that managed to do this trick too, but not as often and evident as the Creek.

    Rhythm - NAIT XS

    The Salisbury stable is very famous/notorious for one musical strength. The XS is the grooviest amp of the five. Surprise, surprise.

    Vocal reproduction - FMJ A38

    With the exception of the Caspian M2, the other four enchanted with their differing ways in reproducing human voices. The Arcam, though, is the most arresting as it has the ability to project and focus a voice into the listening room. Almost holographic.

    Soundstage depth - Elicit & FMJ A38

    Deep, wide and with dollops of that cliched quality called inky-black background, these two amps are neck-to-neck in this ability.

    Bass - Elicit
    Here, the Elicit kills the other four. It has the works in this area: definition, clarity and athleticism. They are many pro reviews of the Elicit online now and they are quite unanimous about its superb handling of bass. The 6 Moons description concurs with my own findings.



    NB: related entry in Hi-Five's Rega thread
    Last edited by SSM; 30-09-2011 at 06:30 PM. Reason: Vanity ;-)
    CONRAD-JOHNSON HD3, ET3SE & CLASSIC SIXTY SE, ICON AUDIO LA4 MKIII > rega ELICIT (pwr)
    PRIMARE DAC30 > AYRE K-5xeMP > GENESIS M60, audiolab M-DAC > GENESIS I60
    REGA RP1 & DAC, ARCAM rDAC & A38, MF X-T100 (pre) > naim
    NAP 100, X-A2, TA-F246E
    TANNOY PRECISION 6.2, ELAC BS244, ATC SCM11, S3/5R, DM 2/6, XERO, M12.2, Q 2020i

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