Riding The Musical Surroundings Train, Cont.

The Nova Phonomena was plugged into a Sunfire two channel Classic Vacuum Tube Preamplifier Control Center, which in turn drove a 300 watt/channel Sunfire transistor amp powering a pair of full range Analysis Omega ribbon speakers. The nearly six foot tall Omega's are getting long in the tooth, and both the left and right speaker bass panels have started flapping their ribbon gums about when fed anything below 70 Hz.  

This is a fairly recent flexing development. Frankly, it sucks, and really shouldn't be happening in speakers costing north of $10,000. That said, the Omega's are among the most musically satisfying speakers out there.

So I plugged in a Hsu TN-1220HO subwoofer, which is awesome and surprisingly tuneful when properly dialed in. The accompanying Hsu amplifier (250W) features a standard 51Hz crossover, but I replaced it with a 75 Hz filter. (28, 34, 43, 62, 91, 109, 131, and 155 Hz filters are also available for the amp from Hsu). Once everything was properly configured, I had a very good sounding full range system, although I still miss using the Omega's bass ribbon panels to their original full extent.

Time to mutter a silent prayer to the audio gods and flip everything on. The first thing I noticed was absolutely nothing, which was a good thing. The Emotion TT motor was dead silent, and the Nova Phonomena made almost no speaker hiss even with the Sunfire preamp cranked to full volume.   We were off to a good start on our musical yellow brick road.   But would a bitchy witch send in her corrupt audio goons?

I opened up the massive wooden chest with all of its lovingly archived LP's and plucked out, almost at random, a 1967 Capitol-EMI pressing of that famous Beatle's album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". If rendering a perfect Mis-en-scene in your head is what high-end audio is all about, then all that was missing was some sensimilla and a bay window overlooking late 60's Haight-Ashbury.

When the album hit its last track, a "Day in the Life", and its catchword phrase, "I'd love to turn you on" segued into its two, epic whirlwind crescendos; it sent shivers up my audio bong. Yeah, baby, let's pop off your rainbow knickers, shall we?

I have the CD version of this landmark Beatle's album, and there is no, and I mean no, comparison to the LP version. The Clearaudio Emotion TT, Satisfy tonearm, Benz Micro MC20E2 cartridge, and Nova Phonomena phono stage joyously disentangled the tumultuous analog waveforms and meticulously reassembled them—Not into just a higher sonic definition whole than the CD, but also wove them into a much better emotional high than that bit pusher CD could ever hope to offer.


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