Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Two New Racks

My living room has undergone a large rearrangement since June.  A new 2 seat armless sofa was added to the back of the room, with Queen Anne chair moved to the side.  The 3 seat convertable sofa was moved toward the back, where the keyboard table used to be.  Two book cases were moved out of the living room and into another room.  All this makes for better movie viewing for most guests at my monthly discussion and movie party.  It makes for better seating and discussion too.

A key part of the plan was to rearrange the living room audio system also.  The piles of equipment behind each speaker were removed and placed in two new racks on the right side of the room.  The midrange amplifier, DSP units, midrange DAC, and power conditioner are still in the center of the room, but no longer in piles behind each speaker.  I feared the piles of equipment were interfering with the sound, and my fears have been confirmed.  It generally sounds much better now.

Since late last year I had planned to get a dual width Mapleshade rack.  Sadly the time for that never arrived, and vast money was spent on other things.  I feared the setup difficulty too.  In the "meantime" I first got one brand new 4 shelf Sanus rack because I needed "something" fast to finish the living room rearrangement which had to be completed before my party at the end of July.  The $129 price is unbelievable for such a well designed, useful, and reasonably well made rack (and from an actual Sanus online dealer).  And nice looking too, possibly an average guest couldn't tell the difference between this and a serious $5000 audiophile rack.

The first new Sanus rack was set up before my party in July.  I had the rest of the equipment piled on the 3 remaining shelves of my old (and strongly disliked because of pole spacing) Sanus Eurorack.  I was finding that having two Sonos boxes and the transformer on top of my Kenwood L-1000T was just too much, that tuner gets very hot even with nothing on top.  So I decided to get a second $129 rack to at least fix that problem, and several others, as well as be much nicer looking.

August I set up the second rack.  I also finally hooked up the equipment on the first rack, notably the two silver disc players and the Lavry AD10, with all new cables, and added new speaker cables (Canare Star Quad) for the Acoustats also.  But on the first hookup weekend I found I didn't have any suitable speaker cables for the super tweeters.  So that had to be ordered (more Canare from Blue Jeans Cable) and was ready to be hooked up the next weekend, which it was.

In the upgrade phase I have just completed the super tweeter driving chain has been greatly upgraded.  The Behringer DCX digital crossover is no longer used for the tweeters, I use a separate Behringer DEQ 2496 with parametric filters programmed to be the crossover.  The DEQ gives me a balanced digital output, which I convert to coax with a box I bought from Markertek.  The coax digital feeds an Onkyo RDV-1 DVD-Audio player which has digital inputs so it works just like a DAC and uses the fabulous PCM 1704 converters.  The 2.2V analog output (not the 10V output of the DCX) then feeds the perfectly fine and unchanged Parasound HCA-1000A power amp.  Which now feeds Canare speaker extension cables with locking bananas.   Now the supertweeter has its own digital crossover and PCM 1704 based DAC and uses low inductance cables.

(In the next phase, the subwoofer driving chain will be similarly upgraded.)

The cables everywhere are far better arranged than before.  The front of the living room used to have a murky pile of cables about a foot deep.  I couldn't remove cables anymore, I simply had to add new cables, so the pile had grown.  Now I have neatly arranged and a surprisingly smaller number of cables (despite more connections actually being made).  The AC power in particular is better set up.  I use currently only use half of the 8 outlets of my Panamax MB 1500 power conditioning UPS.  Each outlet feeds some kind of strip.  The racks at the far end have hospital grade $129 6 outlet strips from Wiremold.  Currently two strips with a third now on order (after I used up all 12 outlets and still needing more...).  There's a different brand with wide spaced outlets for the TV and various power adapters.  And there's the very very nice 6 outlet power box from Cullen Circuits powering my Tact digital preamp and Behringer DSP's.

Unlike before, when there power strips plugged into other strips with intervening extension cords plugged into the power conditioner, now there is only one level of strips plugged into the power conditioner, period, and no extensions for anything.  I believe this is essential for safety (some might argue all the outlets of the condition should be direct connections to equipment, but that's ridiculously impossible, I'd need 4 power conditioners to provide that many outlets, and it's actually best to have just one) and it makes for good organization.  It helps that Wiremold makes the hospital grade strips with 15' cords.

Better, better better!  It's taken a couple months of work and ordering cables.

No comments:

Post a Comment