The road to nirvana

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My journey into Photography, Horology, and Audiophilia

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2018 audio setup

My audio nirvana, part deux?

It has been a while, eight years to be exact (2010 audio setup) since I stopped fiddling with my gears. I thought I had reached audio nirvana, or did I?

That was then, this is now.

A couple of interim upgrades materialized in 2018 that includes the purchase of the Dynavector 17D3 to replace my aging Transfiguration Axia. I woke one day and I wondered "what if I buy a new cartridge?" And there it is, a quick chat with Epoy from Architectural Audio and I got myself a new cartridge.

Dynavector 17D3

My Infinity Kappa 200 still has to get a tweeter replacement and the sound coming off that busted CMMD tweeter is noticeably ill, so I bought a Dali Zensor 3 bookshelf as a stop-gap measure.

Dali Zensor 3 bookshelf speakers

I thought this would satisfy my cravings, but...

Saying goodbye to a Champ

In 2004, the Clearaudio Champion has joined my stable and has since gone thru different performance upgrades. As much as I love that setup, I want to experience something new and which led me to the purchase of the Clearaudio Performance DC, a natural upgrade for a Champion user like me. The Basic Innovation would have been nicer, but there's a lot more money involved in that route.

Setting up the Performance DC  was straightforward and I thought I had it nailed from years of experience with the Champion and two of Clearaudio's linear tracking tonearms, the TT3 and the older Tangent. Alas, like that springed Joker inside a box, I got an unpleasant surprise.

Performance DC

Finally, the speakers have been upgraded too. As a result of the recent November Hi-Fi Show, I was able to get a pair of the outgoing KEF R300 bookshelf in a good deal. I was actually eyeing the KEF R3, but they're much more expensive as they're newly released by KEF. The agonizing process of the speaker selection is here.

The final configuration

current system, 2018 edition

The equipment:

  • NAIM NAIT 5i integrated amplifier
  • KEF R300 bookshelf speakers
  • Clearaudio Performance DC 
    • Clearaudio TT3 tonearm 
    • Dynavector 17D3 cartridge
  • Clearaudio Basic Symmetry phonostage
  • Harman Kardon HD-750 HDCD player
  • NAIM Headline 2 headphone amplifier


  • NAIM NAC A5 speaker cable
  • Oyaide Across 750 RCA to RCA (turntable) 
  • NAIM RCA to DIN (phonostage)
  • Verbatim RCA to RCA (CD player)