The system!

Rabin has been quietly building this ambitious system for past year or so. It's one of the most impressive systems I've heard so far this year! It's only February, I hear you say? Ha! Ha!

Ayre Cx7e, note the SolidTech Feet of Silence under CDP.

The system is fronted by an Ayre Cx7e CDP, feeding a Bel Canto Pre 3 pre amp which in turn, sends the signal to a Bryston 4BSST power amp. The amplified signal is then reproduced to sound by a pair of Thiel CS2.4, mated to a single Thiel SS1 sub woofer via it's own dedicated custom electronic cross over.

Dedicated electronic X-over for Thiel SS1 sun & Bel Canto Pre 3.

A variety of cables are used in this system, but somehow, it all manages to form an invigorating melting pot of appetising sound. For instance, XLR interconnects include, DH Labs Revelation, in use from CDP to pre amp. Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference II, plugged between pre to power amp. Monster Cable M1000 MK3 to serve the sub duties.

Bryston 4BSST power amp.

Speaker cables are a pair of Analysis Plus Solo Crystal Oval 8, for use in the main speakers, and a Kimber 4TC to power the sub woofer.

Rear view of the sub's electronic X-over, note the Kimber 4TC.

Power cords employed are Harmonix XDC, which supplies the current to the Shunyata Hydra 4, plus Harmonix XDC 2 for used on pre and power amps. JPS Digital A/C is dedicated to use on CDP, with a Shunyata Diamond Back connected to the Thiel SS1, which is an active sub.

Shunyata Hydra 4

AVA Power Trans(left) & RGPC400 Pro II.

ATS supplies the 4 tier rack, made of Mahogany shelves and stainless steel finished legs. Power conditioning apparatus include an AVA Power Trans, RGPC 400 Pro II and the ever popular Shunyata Hydra 4. A pair of Combak Enacom A/C Filters and Shun Mooks are used on a WireMold distributor, wired with Supra Lo Rad power cord, feeding off the AVA Power Trans.

WireMold power distributor, note the Combak Enacom A/C filters and Shun Mook.

Super Sonic Stabilizer on top of CDP.

The most interesting aspect of this system is the tweaks, that Rabin has chosen to deploy to shape the final sound tuning. These include Herbies Audio Lab Interconnect Dampers, which I gather are very, very helpful! Super Sonic Stabilizers on top of the CDP(directly sitting on the transport) and pre amp. Telos RCA caps reviewed by yours truly last November is used to cap over all the blank, un used RCAs.

Herbies Audio Lab Interconnect Dampers and Telos RCA caps.

Rabin is also a great fan of Acoustic Revive, having used RR-77 Low Pulse Generator, hung on a curtain frame top to eliminate EMI/RFI on the area below, just behind the system racking, where plenty of cabling takes place. An Acoustic Revive RGC-24 Ground Conditioner is directly bolted to the Bel Canto Pre 3.

Acoustic Revive RR-77 Low Pulse Generator.

Isolation is further taken care with BDR Cones and Pits MK4, placed under pre amp. A MK3 version of the product is used under the AVA Power Trans. CDP is isolated with SolidTech Feet of Silence. These high tech looking feet really floats the CDP!

HiFi Tuning Audio Fuses, rated 13A are used through out the system power cables feeding of the wall.

Yamamoto Soundcraft Ebony Footers used to de couple speaker spikes from floor.

Yamamoto Soundcraft Ebony Footers are used under the Thiel CS 2.4 speaker to floor spikes. The Thiel SS1 sub woofer sits on top of DH Squares footers. To round up the tweaks, are Balance Power Cable Lifters, used to carry speaker cables, and various power cords.

Balance Power Cable Lifters.

From the first few notes, what struck me was, how quiet this system's noise floor, or rather lack of noise floor! The tonality of the system is strictly neutral, with no flavours added or taketh, which is the way Rabin likes it, warts and all! Poor recordings have to place to hide in this system. You want the truth? Rabin is man enough handle the truth, nothing but the truth, no matter what!

Thiel CS 2.4

Treble quality is airy and delicate, mids are well lighted with vocals ever present. Bass control is excellent, down to 25Hz or so. This is a full range system, and plays all the 7 octaves frequencies really well, favouring no part over another. It has all the hall marks that makes high end audio so enjoyable a pursuit.

Thiel SS1 Sub Woofer.

I brought along some of my favourite classical CDs, and really loved the way the system reproduced the Cellos,Viola and Double Bass. Piano and violin string instrument are equally well portrayed, with string sound heard first, followed by the resonant decay of the wood body.

For a room measuring 11 x 13ft, with Thiel CS 2.4 coupled to a sub, Rabin has managed to tame the room modes with great care in speaker positioning, which is hard enough for a pair of stereo speakers, but to further integrate a sub seamlessly with no room modes excited is proof of great skills, and the intimate knowledge of one's equipment and his room.

Sound stage is as wide as the room allows, with excellent stage depth perception. However, with this system, it's presentation is rather like seating in mid-rear hall perspective of a concert. Some may like a closer, more intimate presentation.

Rabin has some up grade plans coming along nicely, and if he gets his wishes, I am very sure it will take the system up another level or two. I am looking forward to another follow up visit already!

And lastly, there's no Pass Labs or ARC used in this system! He! He! He!


GCK said...

Well done Rabin. Great to hear your system has improved by leaps.

audioexplorer said...

I would think that a system consisting of Thiel speakers powered by a Bryston amp in a room with a tile floor would have to be bright. But as long as the owner enjoys it that's all that counts

Anonymous said...

I agree. Ayre-Belcanto-Bryston-Thiel can only be bright, in a room with hard floors and minimal treatments. not for all genres of music.. but then, what system is?

Ken said...

I sincerely doubt the sound would be as bright as audioexplorer and anaonymous paints it to be. The reason for my assertion is because
1. Rabin is using Shunyata Hydra 4 and a Shunyata power cord (gives thicker midrange and bass just like the Wireworld power distributor)
2. Analysis Plus speaker cables are pretty neutral sounding speaker cables
3. Shunmook adds a bit of warmish sound to systems that utilise it
4. Thiel's brightness can be tamed by adjusting the amount of toe-in (just a wee bit of toe-in seen in the photos)
5. there is a sub which would definitely add a bit of lushness to the sound
The hardware could be bright but the accessories gives a warmish sound that could have resulted in a balanced sound. Again YMMV.

Panzer said...

Hi guys,

Ken is right! Ever the wise one.

I do point out the sound of Rabin's system is never bright, not at all. It might not be warm either, but certainly dead neutral!

The Ayre house sound is rather laid back, and the new SST series Bryston amps are also rather refined, compared to the older models. In fact sometimes I felt the SST series is a little too polite?

But match it to the slightly forward Bel Canto pre amp and neutral Thiels, plus a sub in tow the sound result is very even and neutral. I must say for Rabin, this is what he wants, the absolute truth.

just my personal opinion.