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Thread: D.C. Metro area meet up.

  1. #1
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    D.C. Metro area meet up.

    I was able to host a small listening session for a few members of LH today, and (I think) a good time was had by all. It was nice to meet some new people with whom we have a common interest. Apologies for not putting out a general call on the forum, but my room is really only big enough to fit 4-6 people comfortably. If other members in the area are interested in visiting sometime, send me a pm and we'll work something out as our schedules permit. I invited 6 members I knew, or knew of in the area, but only 3 were available today to visit. We had a little food and drink, listened to some great music, and ran 1 interesting experiment.

    My system uses a pair of UREI 813C monitors and a pair of 2245h subs in 8 cubic foot cabinets. I know there's not as much love for the UREIs as there is for the 43xx large format monitors, but to my ears this combo performs better than the 43xxs. Please don't misinterpret that statement. I'm not saying they are better, just to my ears preferred. Ugly I know, but I can live with ugly.

    I'd like to thank the folks who started and maintain this forum. It's been a great resource for information, and now that I have a system up and running, I'm making friends with it's members. A special shout-out for OLDMICS is in order. His help was indispensable from helping me store (okay, hide) the UREIs from my better half for a couple years, to performing beautiful recone work on my drivers, to helping rebuild and measure the crossovers, to wading in deep to help answer questions. I sincerely appreciate all the help and advise he supplied. If you live in the Balto/DC metro area and need JBL help, you should know him.

    Hope to see/meet some more of you in the future.

  2. #2
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Thanks again for opening your home to us, for the audio fun and the awesome demo of wires and sound.
    Great time, fantastic sounding pair of speakers, and you renewed my enthusiasm for big UREIs all over again!
    The pure dynamics were fantastic, and the level of sound with low power and high efficiency monitors - amazing!

    Its late and I have an early morning - but I wanted to thank you before I headed to bed!

    Take care!
    2ch: RPi-4, Oppo, Acurus RL-11, TFM-25, 2pr JBL L212, Heath Valencias,Von Schw VR4
    7: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460,

  3. #3
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Sorry I missed it!
    We should all live long enough for me to not have to work on a Saturday, again!
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

  4. #4
    Senior Member svollmer's Avatar
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    Jim's system was simply fantastic. The Urei's were very clean, punchy, and had a beautiful extended range with none of the honkiness one sometimes hears from horn drivers. The soundstage had great depth and his custom-built 2245H subs blended very well and went infrasonic when required by the program material.

    The fun experiment he refers to was the classic cable swap. I'm not big on cables, but I do like quality built stuff (mechanically strong) and use some nice, but not expensive, cables. I've never heard differences in cables, but I've not done many comparisons either thinking that mine were good enough.

    Jim uses Mapleshade interconnects and speaker wires. They look very flimsy, even somewhat cheap to my eye. He swapped them out for some Esoteric brand and some 14 gauge zip cord wires for the speakers and subs and some studio-quality Mogami interconnects. I was expecting (and afraid for Jim) that I would hear no difference.

    It it only took the first few notes of the music for all of us to hear a dramatic, and I mean DRAMATIC, difference. The soundstage collapsed. The high frequency extension disappeared. The music sounded compressed with limited dynamics, and it sounded like blankets had been placed over the speakers.

    It it was simply amazing to all of us. The Mapleshade stuff isn't ridiculously expensive like many other cables, but wow what a difference we heard. I will be doing some more research on them and hope to try a set after the holidays. They have a 30 day money-back guarantee. Note: I have no affiliation with Mapleshade, Jim, or any other audio manufacturer or reseller.

    So, all in all, it was a great day and I'm glad we were invited over. Those big Urei's and the rest of his system was really wonderful.

  5. #5
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    I should specify - I heard Jim's system about a year ago and it was the impetus that got me started on my whole UREI kick.
    Sadly, I only have the small 809A coax system - 2 pair for my home theater room.
    Jim's 813C (dual 15 gear with 15 coax and JBL 15 "helper" in the cabinet) and the 18" sub is amazing
    and has a sound I can only describe as superb ... and desirable!
    2ch: RPi-4, Oppo, Acurus RL-11, TFM-25, 2pr JBL L212, Heath Valencias,Von Schw VR4
    7: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460,

  6. #6
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    I was at Jim's yesterday with Heather and Steve and his system is pretty amazing. It really made the music come alive! I have heard Heather's Urei's and they are great as well. The 18" subs completely fill the space. I was also surprised as to how much the system changed when we went from the maple shade cables, ic's, speaker and coax to the otHer cables, it was if someone had put a blanket over the speakers to tame the high frequencies.

    jim, thanks again for being a gracious host and for the great music and sounds!

    wilfredo




    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    I should specify - I heard Jim's system about a year ago and it was the impetus that got me started on my whole UREI kick.
    Sadly, I only have the small 809A coax system - 2 pair for my home theater room.
    Jim's 813C (dual 15 gear with 15 coax and JBL 15 "helper" in the cabinet) and the 18" sub is amazing
    and has a sound I can only describe as superb ... and desirable!

  7. #7
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Note that I am NOT SELLING ANYTHING - I have no $$ in this game.

    Honest, I used to be one of the worst critics of the magic wire crowd -
    but I cannot deny it was a HUGE AUDIBLE difference when Rusty swapped out the wires in his system.
    I heard a significant change - and that's always my personal bottom line for auditioning gear.

    The speaker wire test involved a comparison between mogami (?) audiophile cables
    And the mapleshade audio cables and foil/ribbon interconnects

    He A/Bed a couple tracks - one of which was "Diamonds on the soles of her shoes" from the
    Japanese remastered CD (mini-LP form) of Graceland which is a gorgeously lush recording -
    and frankly - it lost all the charm and depth on the Mogami wires.

    Rusty demoed Mapleshade Audio Speaker wires and Interconnects. I'm still considering the funny looking interconnects -
    But the Mapleshade speaker wires appeared to be twisted pair enamelled magnet wire, which, if memory serves,
    was a big recommendation of Scott Fitlin.

    So I ordered a 100 foot spool of 18 gauge magnet wire from Amazon last night, so I'll make up a pair of them and I'll try it myself.
    http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0183EL7FQ
    2ch: RPi-4, Oppo, Acurus RL-11, TFM-25, 2pr JBL L212, Heath Valencias,Von Schw VR4
    7: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460,

  8. #8
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    Thanks very much for the kind words about our system! I appreciate it very much. Honestly, it's worked out better than I thought it would when I started on the project.

    I do know much of the performance is being delivered by the cabling from Omega Mikro/Mapleshade. I also know whether cabling can make an audible difference is an often argued topic. The folks who visited Saturday were all indifferent about cables effecting performance. Just for the record, I don't receive anything for mentioning my preference for this particular (or any) brand of cables. I've simply found that in my systems, and for my listening preferences, they improve performance dramatically, at not an unreasonable amount of money compared to other audiophile cables. Considering many here spend hundreds, or thousands of dollars for other parts of the audio chain like amplifiers, beryllium diaphragms, or expensive crossover capacitors, they seem downright reasonable.

    Before everyone arrived, I installed my least expensive amplifier, a $300 Parasound bipolar output Z Amp. Part of what I wanted to demonstrate was what really (or also) matters in the audio chain. We listened to music for a couple hours with it and the OM/Mapleshade wires. Everyone gave their impressions of the performance. When we changed the wires to ("normal quality") Mogami ICs and stranded (zipcord type) speaker, performance fell off a cliff. It would be easily repeatable, blind or double blind. When Heather asked how much I had tied up in cables, I told her about $1k. That's a lot of money, I know. But I asked if anyone there thought if I installed a $5k Pass amp (or any brand) or spent $3k more on a DAC, would the quality come back to where it was. No one believed it would possibly have as much effect as the wires made. It was that dramatic. I'll be happy to demonstrate it for others.

    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    Sorry I missed it!
    We should all live long enough for me to not have to work on a Saturday, again!
    Sorry you couldn't make it this time. Let me know when you can get over this way and I'll be happy to demo it for you. I have a lot of flexibility with my schedule in the winter months, including weekdays.

    Here's an image of the system:


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  9. #9
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Very cool system... I would love to hear it!

    On another thread, Rusty said he didn't want to say that the Ureis were better than 43XXs. Better is subjective, but I do remember back in the day hearing both contenders in direct comparisons and the Ureis had my vote, and it would seem they received Harman's vote too as they bought the company.

    I'm going to dive into the cable discussion... while OT from the initial post, I think the point of the original post has been covered and this is an extension of the thread. We could spin it off into it's own thread, but I for one don't see the need. If there is a call for that let me know and I can extract some posts and create a new thread.

    I know digital vs. analog, tube vs. solid state, and cables can all be contentious topics. My hope is that this time it won't be.


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  10. #10
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    While I have heard "differences" in cables, I have remained a cable skeptic. I don't disagree that in some cases there can be synergistic relationships between certain components and certain cables, but if the cables are anything other than textbook, there is an equal likelihood of the cable doing harm so experimenting with cables can be a perilous journey.

    With that in mind, many years ago Rusty sent me a couple of sets of his gossamer MapleShade unbalanced interconnects. I'm not sure how long he had been using them at the time, but he was certain that they were a superior sounding cable and he generously offered to let me try them out. When the box arrived and I opened it I found very carefully packaged and very fragile looking (unique and odd also come to mind) cables that I expected to go one way or the other as they were far from being a traditional design.

    At this point I do not remember what components were in my system or even what speakers I was using at the time, but I inserted his cables into my system and was shocked to hear no difference at all. It is possible that my system wasn't resolving enough or my bias too strong, but these were rather odd cables and I wouldn't have been surprised if they sounded "different"... but during the few hours of comparisons I made in that system at that time, I heard no change over what ever I was using then.

    As far as incredible improvements to systems with very subtle and likely unmeasurable changes, over the years I have experienced this quite a lot in group and demo settings. One theory I have is that if the presenter really believes in his product or the tweak it can affect the listening experience of the group. I've seen this phenomenon at CES and at friend's homes and it can be quite compelling. Last year there was a fellow transmitting low level RF in his CES room claiming that it recreated the "quiet" of late night listening. Really? There was no way that there was a measureable change to the system when he turned on or off the RF source, yet there did seem to be differences.

    Alternatively, maybe Rusty is on to something and his collection of cables is the ticket. I really can't say, but it is certainly a very interesting topic to me.

    Because these cables are so odd, I thought I'd post a pic.


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  11. #11
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Yep - they are fragile and funny looking, that's for sure. They make me think of unwound capacitors.
    But they offer 30 day money back guarantee, which is some comfort for $135 interconnects (!).
    I've been using some nice quality RCA cables I got from Seawolf97 a few years back. He got a closeout deal somewhere
    and kindly offered them to us at a very greatly reduced price, and I happily bought a few pairs. They've worked very well.

    So, when the Mapleshade pair arrives, I plan to drop them in place between my Audio Alchemy DDE3 DAC and the preamp stage of the Jolda and see if I can capture a bit of the magic we heard Saturday. I ordered a raw spool of Magnet wire that should arrive early next week & I'll make a pair of speaker wires for testing to see if that works any magic either alone or in tandem with the Mapleshade wires.

    Either way - I'll let you know what I hear.

    (They arrived at 5PM today)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    While I have heard "differences" in cables, I have remained a cable skeptic. I don't disagree that in some cases there can be synergistic relationships between certain components and certain cables, but if the cables are anything other than textbook, there is an equal likelihood of the cable doing harm so experimenting with cables can be a perilous journey.

    With that in mind, many years ago Rusty sent me a couple of sets of his gossamer MapleShade unbalanced interconnects. I'm not sure how long he had been using them at the time, but he was certain that they were a superior sounding cable and he generously offered to let me try them out. When the box arrived and I opened it I found very carefully packaged and very fragile looking (unique and odd also come to mind) cables that I expected to go one way or the other as they were far from being a traditional design.

    At this point I do not remember what components were in my system or even what speakers I was using at the time, but I inserted his cables into my system and was shocked to hear no difference at all. It is possible that my system wasn't resolving enough or my bias too strong, but these were rather odd cables and I wouldn't have been surprised if they sounded "different"... but during the few hours of comparisons I made in that system at that time, I heard no change over what ever I was using then.

    As far as incredible improvements to systems with very subtle and likely unmeasurable changes, over the years I have experienced this quite a lot in group and demo settings. One theory I have is that if the presenter really believes in his product or the tweak it can affect the listening experience of the group. I've seen this phenomenon at CES and at friend's homes and it can be quite compelling. Last year there was a fellow transmitting low level RF in his CES room claiming that it recreated the "quiet" of late night listening. Really? There was no way that there was a measureable change to the system when he turned on or off the RF source, yet there did seem to be differences.

    Alternatively, maybe Rusty is on to something and his collection of cables is the ticket. I really can't say, but it is certainly a very interesting topic to me.

    Because these cables are so odd, I thought I'd post a pic.


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    2ch: RPi-4, Oppo, Acurus RL-11, TFM-25, 2pr JBL L212, Heath Valencias,Von Schw VR4
    7: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460,

  12. #12
    Member Alobar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    Yep - they are fragile and funny looking, that's for sure. They make me think of unwound capacitors.
    But they offer 30 day money back guarantee, which is some comfort for $135 interconnects (!).
    I've been using some nice quality RCA cables I got from Seawolf97 a few years back. He got a closeout deal somewhere
    and kindly offered them to us at a very greatly reduced price, and I happily bought a few pairs. They've worked very well.

    So, when the Mapleshade pair arrives, I plan to drop them in place between my Audio Alchemy DDE3 DAC and the preamp stage of the Jolda and see if I can capture a bit of the magic we heard Saturday. I ordered a raw spool of Magnet wire that should arrive early next week & I'll make a pair of speaker wires for testing to see if that works any magic either alone or in tandem with the Mapleshade wires.

    Either way - I'll let you know what I hear.
    It will be interesting to hear about your results. My curiosity is if these improvements from using better/more expensive speaker wire and interconnects are system dependant (I believe there are bottlenecks and wire could be one of them) . I don't have much money to invest in my system as it is, particularly if it turns out to be snake oil but if there are big improvements to be had then I would gladly save up for it. I have experienced what seemed to an improvement when I replaced my very old (40 years) interconnects with a new moderately priced audio set so I believe better cabling can potentially create improvement, if there is room for it.. .
    L200's biamped with 2216Nd1 LF, and 077's added

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Very cool system... I would love to hear it!
    Widget
    Thanks! Next time you're in DC, let me know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    ...I'm going to dive into the cable discussion... while OT from the initial post, I think the point of the original post has been covered and this is an extension of the thread. We could spin it off into it's own thread, but I for one don't see the need. If there is a call for that let me know and I can extract some posts and create a new thread.

    I know digital vs. analog, tube vs. solid state, and cables can all be contentious topics. My hope is that this time it won't be.

    Widget
    I'm fine with continuing the cable discussion in this thread as it's such an important part of the system. I just don't want it to devolve into an argument.

    I haven't had a serious system in my home for many years as we were doing a diy house renovation that took all my spare time. I mention this because I haven't done the OM/Mapleshade cable "switch" in my own system since roughly the time I sent you those cables to demo. I demoed them in my previous sytem and at a friend's home, and had similar results to what we experienced Sat. Clear and obvious change, he and I both felt was an improvement. I was very surprised you heard no difference in your system when you installed the whole set. I do feel it's important to change all cables to a given brand, and not just insert them Willie-Nillie. If there's a bottleneck in the system, opening valves upstream does no good. If we had time, we could have slowly replaced each cable, one at a time and listened. Inserted the next cable, and listened. I have yet to ever do this. It could be most of the improvement is coming from a particular piece, I don't know.

    On Sunday, I had a couple people from our local DIY audio club come over to check out the sound, and then reinserted the OM/Maple cables. Most of them being engineers and component designers/builders, there was some nervous surprise at the extent of the difference. Anyway, a date was established after the holidays for inserting a differential amplifier and bringing over test equipment to measure both sets of wire to see if there is a measurable difference.

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    Next Meetup

    So I am in the DMV area, talked to Rusty and Tom already but I was wondering if anyone was planning another meet-up anytime soon? Would love to get to talk to some of you face to face, I would love to heard some speakers and do some listening or just grab a beer or something.

    I'd be more then happy to help or do the logistics if need be. Anyway let me know who all would be interested I am going to be in town for the next couple of months instead of on travel like I thought so I am trying to squeeze in some stuff before the gapping maw that is work overcomes me again!

    Oh and I'm Ed by the way, and I hail from Fredericksburg, VA.

  15. #15
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    Hey Ed,

    I'm available Saturday (2/20/16) if you'd like to make the trip over. There is also a scheduled meet up here Wednesday (2/24/16) assuming there's not a snow storm, if you'd like to make that. Anybody else in the area who'd like to meet up, send me a pm. If those dates don't work, let me know what's good for you.

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