Jeffrey L. Starr's
Date of "Visit":
27 October 2000

29 April 2001

"Third Visit":
26 May 2002


the system

side view


Nobis Proteus preamp

Legacy power amp

DIY powercord

DIY bass trap



e-mail to:
Jeffrey L. Starr


Music has been a big part of my life, for as long as I can remember. Listening to and idolizing Elvis at 6 years old, from that time on, my love of music has never changed. 

Through the years my tastes in music has changed and grown, usually following the latest trends including hard rock, new wave and punk. I've been listening to a lot of jazz for the last 5 years or so, but through the years always listening to and following the Grateful Dead. 

I got my first stereo at 15 and by the time I was 21, I had upgraded turntables four times and had gone from a receiver to an integrated to separates. I ended up with a Crown IC150, D150 pre and power amp, Klipsch LaScallas, and a Thorens turntable. It wasn't until 1992 that I got the upgrade bug again. 

Up until then I had only been exposed to Stereo Review and believed that specs were all that mattered. In 1993 I discovered Stereophile magazine and found out there was something called high end. What a concept, choosing equipment and accessories, based on listening. I learned some basics on speaker placement and room acoustics, I began upgrading as I could afford it. In December 1999, I got a computer and after discovering the web site "Audio Asylum" my system really started coming together. 

I think the biggest single improvement, other then my current speakers and amp, was when I went to a tube preamp. My system just became more musical. It's easier to listen to the music and not the system, I find my foot tapping and my head bopping. At the Asylum I learned about DIY projects  and have built my own Room Lenses, bass traps and powercords. 

By the way I'm 45, single and live alone, so my living room is my listening room [19' x 15' x 8']. 

I listen to classic jazz about 75% of the time, 10% blues, 10% rock, and 5% misc. Some of my favorites are Ben Webster, Theloneus Monk, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Grateful Dead, Cowboy Junkies, Velvet Underground, John Cale, and Lucinda Williams.

For evaluations I use a variety of CDs, a few of which are Partricia Barber "Modern Cool" for bass, Houston Person and Ron Carter "Nows The TIme" for bass, Branford Marsalis  "Trio Jeepy" for imaging, Duke Ellington "The Far East Suite-Special Mix" for soundstaging and imaging, Cowboy Junkies "Black Eyed Man" [track 5] for vocals, Gene Ammons "Boss Tenor" for cymbals and Muddy Waters "Folk Singer" [MFSL] for guitars and overall sound.

System's Components

CD Source: 

CAL Delta Transport, Audio Alchemy DTI V2, Camelot Arthur v3.0 Mk II

[currently off-line]: 

Thorens TD125 MkII, SME 3009 Series II Improved, Grado ZF1


Nobis Proteus [Nobis Technology is now Signature Technology] Tubes - [2] 6CG7/6FQ7 RCA Cleartops

Power Amp:

Legacy 2ch High Current - 250rms @ 8ohm, 400rms @ 4ohm


Legacy FOCUS 4-ways 7 drivers

Digital Cable:

Kimber AGDL, Audio Magic Mystic Reference[I2S]


Signature Technology Siglynx Silver [between dac + preamp, 15' between preamp + amp], Legacy Lattice, Mogami

Speaker Cables:

2 runs [biwire] Mapleshade Clearview Golden Helix


DIY - recipe by Bob Crump

Power Conditioner:

Panamax Max 1000

Room Treatments:

MGD Corner Tunes, DIY Quick and Dirty Bass Traps-recipe by Jon Risch, DIY Room Lens-recipe by Greg Weaver

Jeffrey's comments about his System:

AA: "Jeffrey, how would you describe your system's sound?"

JLS: "In a word, musical. My system is quite revealing, yet is not overly analytical. I get deep bass and extended highs. For a big system it sounds very good at low volumes." 

AA: "Do you think there is room for improvement?"

JLS: "Yes, there is always ways to improve a system, I think that I would have to spend substantial amounts of money to get large improvements, but on the detail side of things, I'm sure there are a lot of tweaks I can still implement. I've found that attending to the details, is what can really bring a system together. Each tweak alone might not change much, but together they add up to something special." 

AA: "Have you got plans for upgrading?"

JLS: "Always, I'm on a tight budget so I do what I can. I want to get the tube phonostage for my preamp, so I can get my turntable back online. I think that I'm going to replace the preamps volume control with a Dact stepped attenuator. And I want to get a PS Audio Power Plant. I'm going to wait until the new formats sort themselves out and I'm sure one day,  one of those will be on my list."

Rega arm with Dynavector

DACT attenuator in the
upper right corner

Lancelot phono stage


"Re-Visit" Notes (29 April 2001)

I had the original volume control replaced with a DACT CT2 stepped attenuator, the benefits are bit more clarity and much better control of the volume. I also had the manufacturer of my preamp install the tube phono preamp board. When he did this, I also had him upgrade 14 capacitors with a higher grade polystyrene. 

The improvements were subtle, but included more depth and a sense of airiness to the soundstage. For the first time in years, I heard the potential of vinyl. 

I replaced the generic 12AX7 tubes in the phono stage, first with Amperex Orange Labels from Holland and then with Svetlanas. I settled on the Amperex's because of their warmth and smooth top end. The generics were bright and thin on top. 

I then replaced my Grado ZF1 with a Dynavector 10x4 Mk 2 phono cartridge. 

After about 50 hours of breakin the cartridge was open and extended, although I found that the 10x4 didn't match up real well with the SME 3009 tonearm. I found a used Rega RB300 tonearm and installed it on my Thorens TD 125 MkII. 

The bass improved and I was able to get better results when using the HFN&RR test record for setup. When I bought the arm the seller included a wrap that is supposed to help damp the arm, that is what you see in the photo.  I was pleased but found the phono stage to lack some dynamics and to be lacking with rock, big band, and large orchestra. 

As luck would have it, I came across a Camelot Lancelot Pro phono stage that comes with the Camelot Charm II Pure DC battery power supply. I bought it because I can also run my Camelot Arthur V3 dac off the Charm II power supply and because it was a demo selling for below half price. 

With the Lancelot I gained dynamics, better bass, larger, deeper soundstage, some warmth and a richness in sound. When using the Charm II with my dac, I hear a delicacy to the sound and more inner detail. 

I put together a DIY record cleaning machine and have been buying a lot of used vinyl. I never would have thought that records would have an equal place in my system with CDs, but they do. Today they both sound quite wonderful. 


the system

left side

PS Audio Lambda Transport

new Bass Traps and Wall Panel

new circuit board

"Third Visit" Notes (26 May 2002)

Since our last visit, I had the preamp upgraded again. The circuit board was replaced with the latest version and all capacitors in the signal path were replaced with Auricaps. The transformer was changed to a torroidal and all the electrolytic caps were upgraded, most of them to Black Gates. The tubes have been changed to the Mazda 6CG7/6FQ7.

All these changes have resulted in a more open, purer sounding preamp. I had an opportunity to replace my CAL Delta Transport with one that had been on my wishlist, but was beyond my budget. The transport is the PS Audio Lambda and compared to the Delta, it is huge. There were two obvious benefits, one being that I can now play  CD-Rs. The Delta, only played a few of them. The other immediately obvious benefit was a tighter, cleaner, more tuneful bass. 

I have been quite happy with the sound I get from CDs, but there is always room for improvement, so when I heard about the Taddeo Passive Digital Antidote Two, I had to try one. What the Antidote does for piano music is wonderful. Piano always seems to sound a bit strident with CD. This is gone and overall, CDs sound more musical.

I did replace the flimsy leads that come with the Antidote, with Signature Tech. Siglynx, silver cables, which was a subtle but worthwhile gain in clarity and openness. I have paid many times more, for much smaller gains and was happy. The Antidote is a real improvement in CD playback, in my system.

I have improved the DIY bass traps, in appearance and in size. I also added two more and I built three acoustic panels, following Jon Risch's recipe.

I had my CDs stored in three different places, I got a shelving unit that will hold a thousand CDs. I replaced the shelving unit that held my records, with a  unit that has nine compartments. 

And last, but not least, with my landlord's financial assistance,  I have completely redone the listening room. This included new paint, I added a decorative chair rail, and  new carpeting. I removed a number of items, that were not necessary, like stacks of audio magazines, VHS tapes, an extra chair, and numerous nick-nacks. I am now able to place a bass trap in each corner and have nothing behind the speakers, that is not audio equipment or acoustic treatment, related. The room now has a natural warmth to it, that is extremely inviting and quite conducive to long listening sessions.