|Although we do lavish attention and expense on our CDs covers and graphic design, JMR CDs are really meant for listening to, rather than looking at.
Our CDs sound good on almost any playback equipment, but if you really want to hear what all the fuss is about, you probably need an audiophile-quality system. These are my recommendations.
If these dollar figures shock you, but you do want to improve your playback system, drop me an e-mail, and perhaps I can recommend some very inexpensive upgrades or some good used equipment.
I have put together an Optimum high-end home audio system that is full-range, synergistic, and cost-effective. If you are interested in learning more about it, or perhaps acquiring an Optimum system, please drop me an e-mail. I also have recommendations for Maximum and Minimum high-end systems.
|The Optimum system, pictured at right, consists of:
Enlightened Audio Designs Ultradisc 2000 Revised CD player. 20-bit dual-differential DACs. The best one-box CD player I have heard. $2,500.00.
Plinius 8150 integrated amplifier. Solid-state asymmetrical quasi-complementary class A/B, 150 watts per channel, remote-controlled volume and muting. Near-magical sonic presentation. Theres just more music there. $2,950.00.
Shahinian Obelisk loudspeakers. The fruit of twenty years of iterative design, Shahinian loudspeakers are artisan-built musical instruments. Shahinian Acoustics Ltd.s motto is "Where loudspeakers learn to read music."
The Obelisks handle the full frequency and dynamic range of orchestral music authoritatively but invitingly. $2,800.00 per pair.
The total cost of the Optimum system is $8,250.00. These products are not discounted, but trade-ins are possible. The puppy is not for sale. Wire goods, power conditioning, and room acoustic treatments will add to the total cost, but I can very confidently assure you that this is a system that will play music, and will not tire you out.
If you just have to spend more money, my alternative recommendations are:
Jeff Rowland Design Group Concentra integrated amplifier. 100 watts per channel solid state. Classier esthetics and more elegant build quality than the Plinius, and, it has fully-balanced inputs and circuit topology. $5,600.00.
Aerial 8 loudspeakers. A tall, narrow, deep column with awesome build quality (120 pounds each), the Aerial 8 gives most of the performance of the more expensive 10T in a more room-friendly package. We have employed Aerial loudspeakers as location monitors on several of our recording projects. $5,000.00 per pair.
Shahinian Diapason loudspeakers. The top of the Shahinian line, these are JMRs full-range reference. From $9,800.00 per pair depending upon wood finish.
Esoteric Speaker Products (ESP) Concert Grands. Different soundstaging and tonal balance from the Shahinians, but I could live with these! From $17,000.00 per pair depending upon wood finish.
If these numbers stun you, but you dont want to buy used equipment, may I suggest:
Panasonic A110 DVD player. Buy it as a CD player, and you get its DVD-playing capability for free. Street price around $400.00. If that is too much, get the Sony CDP-XE400, list price $180.00.
Audio Analogue Puccini SE integrated amplifier. Gutsy but very listenable. Great build quality and clever engineering touches. List price $1,250.00.
Shahinian Starter loudspeakers. Floorstanding column 2-ways. $995.00.
The Minimum system should cost you less than $2,500.00.
All of the above-mentioned companies are long-established, and have excellent guarantees and customer service.
|I listen to headphones for recording and editing, but not usually otherwise. However, what headphones lack in image placement they can make up for in immediacy and detail, as long as you do not listen at levels that endanger your hearing.
I recommend with confidence the Sennheiser 580s driven by Hart Huschens EarMax vacuum-tube headphone amplifier, pictured at right.
If you want to spend more money, Sennheisers electrostatic headphones are wonderful. If you want to spend altogether too much money, Sennheisers Orpheus System ($14,900.00), pictured below, can make a headphone listener out of anybody!