Lumoo's Not-Quite-High-End Audio System

( click to enlarge )
suspended Maggies forming an arc
with elevated SMGs w/ unconventional internal tweeters
flanking the center stage
MGII-As w/ conventional external tweeters

Stage Left

Stage Right

Pyramid Metronome Model 7 side loudspeakers

Left Side: Infinity subwoofer

Right Side: JBL PL12 Subwoofer

Klipsch KG.5 rear loudspeakers

Left Rear: audio library

Right Rear: rack & subwoofers

ancillary Honorable mentions

why next to me, is this my system's biggest fan ...

... this Maxell print depicts my intent & my wife's complaint

    The MGII-As which date from about 1978.   I had purchased them from the second owner.   They came without the bases, because, the story goes, they where hung form chains in a whore house as a kind of oriental screen.   It had to been a classy place.   The bases were lost and so too were the little wood strips that run parallel from top to bottom.   Someone removed the socks to wash them.   They shrunk.   Yet despite their age and misadventures, the speakers are in good working order.

    I used to run a Yamaha DP-1 digital processor.   This employs 2 sets of front speakers, the extra pair producing the early reflections form the back of the stage.   That led me to acquire the SMG's.   Subsequently I moved the DSP-1 to the garage and substituted a Lexicon CP-1.   Because the Lexicon requires only one set of main speakers I decided to use all 4 Magnepans for the front channels.   The MGII-A's are driven by a Dynaco 416 (about 235 watts pre channel) and the SMG's by a Parasound HCA 800II (about 100 per channel).

    The Lexicon CP-1 (1989) is sophisticated sound processing device.   My system employs two: one is linked to the 4 Magnepans to produce the Panorama Mode, an effect akin to Carver's Sonic Holography, but much more flexible & sophisticated.   The Lexicon also has 2 other modes: an Ambiance Mode simulates side reflections and sends them to side and rear speakers, and a Reverb mode that provides a richer and smoother reverberant decay.

    Unfortunately the CP-1 can't do all of these things at once.   If you want Panorama you can't have Ambiance or Reverb.   Wanting it all, I decided to get a second Lexicon CP-1 to work with the side & rear speakers (Pyramid Metronome Model 7's & Klipsch KG.5, respectively).   The Klipsch are crossed over to one of the Pyramid Subwoofers, the Pyramid Metronome Model 7's--the side speakers-- to the other.   There are two more subwoofers (powered), a Infinity Servo Subwoofer and a JBL RX-V1200, one for each of the main channels.   I use a Yamaha RX-V1200 A/V Receiver for the preamp because it has outputs for the external amps.

    The Magnepans are carefully angled, all the distances measured out to the 'sweet spot' and they are 3 and 4 feet from the back wall.   The left and right SMG's are reversed to move the tweeters farther away from the side walls and closer to the tweeters of the MGII A's.

    I have also tried to create a 'live-end/dead-end' room.   All the screens to the sides and along the back wall -- including the painting in the center -- contain acoustic absorbent panels.

    So that is my system.   It is mix and match, not high end and cobbled together from things acquired through E-Bay, garage sales and the Recycler.   How does it sound? Not bad I think.   I spent time in high-end salons listening to beautifully finished $20,000 speakers attached to massive tube amps by cables as thick as my wrist.   Everything is very polite.   The systems sound impressive.   But given the price considerations I wouldn't trade any of them for mine.   With well engineered recordings, such as those old Mercury Living Presence recordings from almost a half century ago and now some of the new SACDs, I feel very close to the real thing.   It doesn't get much better.


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