A little unorthodox C7ES3-based setup - and 'thanks'!
I've come across this site not long after I bought my C7ES3, but remained silent till now. At the beginning, I would like to thank HUG moderators and Alan for running this site in a way that is seldom seen nowadays, and where sincerity and common sense about marketing the product line is so prominent, that it almost results in counter-effect in ill-informed folks, or people overwhelmed with usual audio prejudices. It is also rare to see the audio component constructor to actively participate in public discussions with end-users of his products, especially when these discussions are deprived (with utmost care, obviously) of any suggestions aimed at solely advertising purposes. Really good work!
I'd like to present my setup, as briefly as I can. I really believe that the owner of the audio system is a key factor in any setup, therefore, I'll try to present myself first, in just a few simple sentences:
-I'm not an audiophile in today's meaning of the word. I'm a simple music lover.
-Contrary to many opinions, I believe the loudspeakers to be the primary component in the audio chain (actually, I strongly believe that the primary component is the recording itself - so much gorgeous music has been scared by the deplorable recording techniques. Unfortunately, this isn't the factor we can modify).
-I'm an absolute believer in listening room physical parameters and/or speaker positioning.
-I'm an absolute non-believer in things like stands, cables, cable-stands et sim. As hurting as it may sound to someone, these things have enormous rate of disproportion between consumed time, effort, funds... and credible audible result (if any at all).
That would be me. Now, my audio setup consists of the following:
-Harbeth C7ES3 - bought 4 years ago and still without the slightest desire for replacement. Everything said by the manufacturer is true (natural, unobtrusive, non-vulgar, no "audio-fireworks" or pseudo "wow" effects so often heard at presentations of surrealistically-expensive loudspeakers, smooth, coherent, excellent integration of drivers, dynamically-sensitive, musically involving). Almost a perfect loudspeaker for a non-pretentious (true or false) music listener.
-Tatic Audio (Serbia) valve amplifier with 6S33S-V triodes (SET). This would be the unorthodox part of the setup, bearing in mind that the amp has 2x15W and Harbeth is 86dB, so all sorts of SPL-based questions can arise as a consequence of these figures. 6S33S-V is a valve seldom seen in low-frequency amplification (e.g. BAT being one of the successful exceptions), partly because its Russian origin, partly because it is not easy to make a stable amp with it, since this valve is highly erratic in its behavior. However, this amp is a wonderful match to the Harbeths. No usual augmented warmth so proprietary of badly implemented tube amps. On the contrary, excellent extension in both bass and treble and extraordinary realistic midrange.
Due to the extremely benign impedance behaviour of the C7s, absolutely no clipping at SPLs up to (roughly measured with a toy SPL-meter) 90-95dB. Just a word of explanation, amp is built with fixed bias, hence it has mA-meters built in, that show anode current. At the same time, these meters are excellent indicators of clipping, so this process is visible as well. I audited loudspeakers with much higher nominal sensitivity (up to 95dB) and the amp showed drastic impedance drops of the other speakers. This also speaks in favour of excellent construction of Harbeth loudspeakers.
-Digital part of the system: iMac with 2TB of storage, firewire to Apogee Duet sound card (modest but well-performing CirrusLogic ADA converters), high versatility in both recording and playback. Remote control with the iPad (extremely comfortable). Naturally, there are much better (and more expensive) solutions, but I'm quite happy with it for now.
-Analog part is a good old Technics 1210 with the preamp from the same manufacturer as the amp. Not much, but I keep the turntable for utilitarian reasons (much of my musical preferences are in the sphere of unobtainable issues in digital form - national composers as well as performances "behind the iron curtain", which will never have their digital iterations).
-The shelve for the turntable and amps, as well as the speaker stands, are handcrafted of solid 2" thick oak, naturally dried for 17 years. The shelve alone weighs cca 80 pounds. Doesn't come more solid than that...
This setup is active for almost 4 years. Digital sources will perhaps change one day, analog as well (that would be harder part, but who knows), however, the speaker-amp axis will certainly stay as it is for a long time.
Once again, excellent work for Harbeth!
Home office ....
A home office setup. In this day and age, may get more use than a dedicated listening room.
Beautiful setup ssrdjan !
I like your setup, very nice and unpretentious without the usual "audiophile" additions.
I'm getting the itch for tubes
Gorgeous Amp. I've heard alot about SET amps and was concerned about the "efficiency" if paired with the Harbeths. I may be auditioning a SET amp Saturday. I'm currently at the opposite end of the spectrum with a Musical Fidelity A5. Great sounding solid state amp but I'm getting the itch for tubes. I'm running a tube phono stage and a tube based DAC. Maybe someday! Will post pictures as soon as I get the room cleaned up some.
I have recently taken over my son's old music room that still has an acoustic bass, 3 guitars, a bass amp stack and a monstrous Peavey 5150 guitar amp. As soon as he gets settled in a more permanent space down in Oakland, I hope to personally drive it all down for him!