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calendar   Thursday - December 23, 2010

Christmas Comes Early

for us at any rate.

The new Bryston BCD-1 CD player showed up at the door just a little while ago. Naturally I opened the box right away and installed it. It’s half the size and weight of the old Denon player, which was nearly the size of a battleship, I swear. The Bryston is a solid device, but it’s only an inch and a half tall.

Horrors, we’ve been without recorded music here for a couple months, since the Denon DVD-5000 we were using as a transport died. Had to rely on my Magnum Dynalabs MD-100 FM tuner for everything. So having a CD player again is very nice indeed.

I only had one spare Krakatoa power cord from my friend Robert Lee over at Acoustic Zen, and that went into the pre-amp, so I hooked up the Bryston with a special Harmonic Technology power cord he made me when he was working there. Silver plated OFC copper wire in a hospital grade Hubbel plug. Not as good as the stuff he makes these days, but much better than the regular Harmonic Technology stuff I was pushing for him some years ago. Hey, a free power cord for every stereo dealer I got to carry the brand? I signed up lots of shops, let me tell you!

When I did the annual cable dusting and cleaning the other week, I set aside the longest run I had of his Acoustic Zen Silver Reference interconnect to use on the CD player, as I didn’t know quite where on the racks I would be able to fit it in. 7N silver oxygen free Ohno monocrystal. Love them. Detail, detail, detail, rhythm, purity, and air. Another coat of Pro-Gold and plug them in between the BCD-1 and the Placette Active Linestage. I’ve got another pair of them running from there to the Clayton Audio M-100 amps I had Wilson Shen build for me. Silver sounds best. From the amps a double run of Synergistic Research’s Resolution Reference speaker cables feed our rosewood Aerial Acoustics 10T speakers. It took us 2 years to pick out those speakers, but they fit our room, our lifestyle, and our system. Yeah, they broke the bank account and they look like fancy R2D2s, so what? Pity that Mike Kelly at Aerial doesn’t make them anymore. He’s gone way upscale and his top model 20TV2 speakers now cost as much as a new Nissan Maxima. Too rich for my blood, even back then when the 10Ts were the best he had and we had cash to spare. I’ll put them up against any other 4th order set of speakers made today, and I’m certain they’ll sound as good in my room with my gear as anything new right up to the Toyota Corolla price bracket.

Click on the amps and set them in pure Class A mode. Hey, it helps heat the living room! All the low power devices get their feed from a Bybee filtered PS Audio power regenerator, which in turn is fed, along with the amps, from an insanely heavy EquiTech model 1.5RQ balun, which provides noise-canceled balanced AC to everything and can provide far more juice than the system will ever be able to use. I set the PS Audio for standard 120v 60 cycle AC (the gizmo allows me to change the voltage and the wave pattern of the AC) and stuck in the first CD that came to hand, some live recording of the Grateful Dead from the late 70s. Great drum and space jam on there IIRC. And it’s actually a good recording (a miracle for the Dead), taken right off the mixing boards at Winterland.

Stone cold from the winter weather, brand new out of the box. No carbon fiber cones or blocks or maple top weights or other vibration tweaks, just set it on a clean shelf on the birdshot filled Lovan Sovereign rack and get it going. Ok, I did double check to make sure the shelf wasn’t touching any of the rack’s legs. And I ran the interconnects and the power cord away from all the other wires behind the system. But that’s all I did.

Very First Impressions
This thing is a bass monster. And I mean that in a really good way, as the bass is insanely tight while still being much more powerful than what the Denon used to give us. Soundstage is about the size of a basketball at first, but after warming up for about 10 minutes it is starting to open. It is also very fast. But I built the whole system to be clean, fast, and as neutral as possible. The remote is a hefty chunk of metal that lights up as soon as you touch it. Neat.

The stereo hasn’t been played much more than a few hours a week for the past few months. Like all audiophile gear, the CD player is going to need at least 150 hours of run time to break in. And that’s about how much time it will take to recharge all the other parts of the system too. So I’m not planning on any critical listening for some time yet, and the stereo is going to be on 24 hours a day for the next week or two. I’ll set the amps to class A/B operation at night, and take the volume on the linestage - I had Guy Hammel build it special for me with a 256 step attenuator instead of the standard 128 step one - down to about 3. Nearly silent, but what matters is that a signal is running from the source component all the way through to the speakers.

In the time it has taken me to dash off this post the sound has opened up more. I’m sitting at the other end of the house listening to a Jerry Jam float around the room downstairs. Sweet. In a week or so, this is going to be really good.

Another 20 minutes went by while I was writing the summary for the comments. Right now Phil is running up and down the frets. Gotta go. I know, I said no critical listening for a week! But I didn’t say no listening just for fun, and I’m finding a grin stuck on my face even way up here at the other end of the house.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/23/2010 at 04:31 PM   
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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