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AVRant #19: What's the Best System You've Ever Heard?

by September 26, 2007
Best System Youve Ever Heard

Best System You've Ever Heard

This week is a hodgepodge of information. Tom and Dina start off talking about movies which brings up a pet peeve of Tom’s: buying movies simply because of good sound. Tom touches on how to solve your buzzing problems. The age old “is bigger better?” question is definitively answered by Tom… sort of. What’s the best “price is no object” system? Tom reveals it. Mike wants to know if there is a DVD player out there that will skip the FBI warning screens. Tom talks about Escient and Helios.

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About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

hemiram posts on September 29, 2007 06:40
The best one I ever heard was at a friend's house that had a “sound room” set up with Infinity Reference Standards in a room with treated with a lot of panels and curtains. He had bought them with the house, for a very reasonable price. Included with it was a rack full of all kinds of later 80's high end amps, etc.

The ultimate test for it was playing a digital soundtrack of nitro Funny Cars and Top Fuelers. It got it close enough that you could buy it if you've never been to an actual race before. The only thing it had missing was being able to feel the sound when they pass by, as you can in real life.

On a couple of classical CDs we listened to, you could hear breathing by some of the players quite easily during quiet passages. I was sad when he told me he sold that place, complete with speakers last year.
surveyor posts on September 28, 2007 10:07
The best stereo I ever listened to was at Marvin Electronics in Ft Worth.
It was a pair of MarkLevinson mono block amps driving Revel Speakers. The pre amp and cd player and dacs were also MarkLevinson.
There was a home theater room there; also, equipped with Mac gear that was beyond anything I'd ever experienced. Of course the sticker prices were outright insane.
Buckeye_Nut posts on September 28, 2007 09:33
Clint DeBoer, post: 314218
The best room I've ever heard was at this high-end custom install place during the 2004 CES where Integra had their Press event. They were playing The Fifth Element in a very large (think ~15-20 seats) theater room with custom built CAT speakers that cost around $200k+ per pair plus a full suite of surrounds.

Wow….looks impressive. Did they have height surrounds?
Clint DeBoer posts on September 28, 2007 09:20
The best room I've ever heard was at this high-end custom install place during the 2004 CES where Integra had their Press event. They were playing The Fifth Element in a very large (think ~15-20 seats) theater room with custom built CAT speakers that cost around $200k+ per pair plus a full suite of surrounds. Processing was done by ADA and it was simply playing Dolby Digital. The acoustics were perfect. PERFECT. The room was so natural sounding it was incredible. The speakers disappeared - there was nothing but the experience.



I can't remember the name of the company/place, but it should be enshrined as a place for all HT enthusiasts to visit once before they die.
LBrize posts on September 28, 2007 02:46
A little hi-fi shop in Charleston, WV called Absolute Sound. The shop was a house, and each room had a different setup. Their main room had a pair of 25 watt mono tube amps. I can't remember the name of the amps, but they were around $20,000. The preamp was an Audible Illusions Modulus 3. The CD system was a separate tranport/DAC setup, I don't remember the brand. The speakers were either Castle or some other brand that I don't remember, but I remember they were around $3,000 per pair. The system sounded so sweet and musical. It was fantastic.

I also did get to hear a pair of Infinity Epsilon, a totally different sound than mentioned above, but awesome nonetheless.

One thing that was also impressive, was those guys at Absolute Sound didn't care to switch components around to let the customer hear different things. They took the Audible Illusions preamp upstairs to another room and let me hear Rotel's RB 990 (their best at the time discounting Michi stuff) along with the RCD 990 (again at the time their best mass market cd player). The speakers were very small, but that system was very, very nice as well. The Rotel stuff did very well compared to the megabucks system in the main room. There was a definite grain or grit compared to the tube system, but as far as solid state goes, that was the best I have heard. The Rotel stuff sounded great with such a warm, musical tube preamp paired with them.

Fond memories…unfortunately Absolute Sound has closed its doors. I did meet with Michael Green (designer of Roomtunes speakers as well as many acoustic treatments used widely today-the treatments, not the speakers). I helped him set up his speakers to demo to the guys at the store. They carried his stuff for a while, I saw him in Stereophile for a couple years after that, and haven't heard much from him since. It was nice meeting him though.
He made these corner reverb eliminators that mount near the ceiling in the corners of your sound room. He said that corners act in ways like horns, and add undesireable latent sounds to the music. He told me how he made them, so I made them myself. I still use them, and they work very well.

Back on topic though, those are the best I've heard overall. Throughout all my ventures I've never had the opportunity to hear a pair of B&W's, and I'm sure many of the forum will say they are the best they've heard, speakerwise, as that's what the magazines say, and they seem to compare everything else to B&W, so I'm looking forward to hearing and maybe owning some of those.

-LBrize
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