The road to nirvana

My journey into Photography, Horology, and Audiophilia

The Evolution of my audio setup

2021 set up

The journey has been long and expensive, but finally I am able to settle down with the current configuration in my loft.

The equipment:

  • Amplifiers
    • Audio Hungary Qualiton X200 integrated tube amplifier
    • Burson Audio Soloist 3X Performance headphone amplifier/pre-amplifier
  • Speakers
    • ScansonicHD MB3.5 B
    • Magnepan 1.7
    • Infinity Kappa 200
  • Analog front end
    • Acoustic Signature Tornado NEO
      • TA-1000 NEO 9" tonearm
      • Clearaudio TT-3 tonearm
      • DS Audio DS-E1 cartridge
      • Clearaudio Concerto cartridge
      • Koetsu Urushi cartridge (SoundSmith re-tip)
    • JVC QL-Y66F direct-drive turntable
      • Clearaudio Aurum Beta Wood cartridge
      • Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge
      • Shure M97xe cartridge
    • Gold Note PH-10 phonostage
    • DS Audio DS-E1 Equaliser
  • Digital front end
    • Aqua La Voce DAC
    • Aurender N150 media server
    • Nakamichi CD Player4 compact disc player
  • Accessories
    • Nordost Blue Heaven speaker cable and interconnects
    • XLO UltraPRO RCA and XLR interconnects
    • Furutech e-TP80 ACPower Filter

Previous set ups

How it started

When I started my journey back to this audio hobby, I acquired modest equipment consisting of a CD player, integrated solid state amplifier, and a pair of speakers. I have an unused room which I converted to an audio room.

So the starter system ended up with the following:

  • Source: Harman Kardon HD-750 HDCD player
  • Amplification: Fase Evoluzione Audio PF45
  • Speakers: Infinity Kappa 200 @ 89dB/1w/1m sensitivity.
  • Cables/interconnects: IXOS speaker wire and interconnects

The Fase Evoluzione PF45 integrated amplifier is a pre-owned unit I got from a local audio store owned by Rene Rivo, a well known tube equipment builder in Manila. At that time, i thought I was not ready for any tube equipment and I don't have budget for such.

The Harman Kardon HD-750 and Infinity Kappa were purchased from Architectural Audio when I met really good guys Nico and Epoy. I chose the HD-750 because it has HDCD encoding and the price is cheap compared to other CD players I compared it with that includes Rotel, Arcam, Musical Fidelity.

I chose the Infinity Kappa 200 bookshelf after auditioning about a dozen speakers that include Dynaudio Audience 52, Sonus Faber Concertino, Acoustic Energy, Energy, B&W, etc. I wanted a speaker that is not boring to listen to as my music preferences ranges from Classical to Heavy Metal.

The combination of Fase + Infinity Kappa proved to be a good one for me as the warm character of the Fase mated well with the lively character of the Kappa.

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