Well, looks like I finally stumbled on a nice deal today that I just couldn't pass up. The "why doesn't this ever happen to me" feeling when all of you guys find some nice deals around finally happened to me for a change. What goes around comes around? I said to myself I didn't need any more gear.. Have some self control... right.
Picked up a B&K Reference EX4420 two channel stereo amp at about 1/3 original price from my local B&K dealer. 350 watts into 4 ohms peak and 75 amps current draw. Almost identical specs to the Ref 200.2. This is the generation reference amp prior to the 200.2.
While I was there, I got the privilege to check out and listen to some Martin Logan Ascents on a Krell KAV400xi integrated with a new Rotel RCD 1072 cd player. All wire used was Transparent as they are also a dealer for them and they firmly believe it is the best wire out there. Very clean and clear open sound not bright at all (some people say Krell is bright). I guess it depends on the equipment matching.
Next room were the Martin Logan Aeon i's on the new Rotel RSP-1098 processer. Amp was the Rotel RB-1095. Source was the Pioneer Elite 59 player (the new one). Huge DLP screen from Samsung. Room was setup just like a living room. Couches, carpeting, drapes behind the seating position, and some canvas paintings along the sides of the wall (I guess these help to reduce some reflections). I just sat there for about 1/2 hour just digging it all in. The new Rotel sounds more refined to me than the RSX-1055 I had. Could have been that I was listening to DVD Audio and watching at the same time (as I usually just listen to redbook) but it was pretty impressive. I have a SACD player and I'm not even taking advantage of it. This will change after this demo. The two channel dinosaur that I am has been schooled a little. I still like two channel redbook, but this surround experience was very enjoyable to say the least.
So after that thrilling experience, the salesman asks me what I think and I said it was pretty awesome. So he says you want to see our "reference room". I'm like sure. He takes me to the back room where they have the Martin Logan Odysseys on Krell seperates and a Martin Logan sub. Source was Meridian. Some really high end Transparent wire used here. This had to be the best system I have ever heard in my life. The room was huge and I briefly listened at about 100 db with the system not straining at all. I don't know how loud it could have gotten but I never listen to these levels anyways. I felt poor walking out that showroom after listening to over $25,000 (or more, I have no clue) worth of gear. The good news is that I felt that the Martin Logan sub really wasn't much more impressive than my SVS. It sounded very good and musical but this was the only saving grace here that I felt like I wasn't bested by with my system.
So I get home and hook up the new amp to my PT5 and Jolida cd player as the source with the LSi 15s. With more than double the current available now (compared to the ST125.2 amp I own) I felt like this was the best I ever heard the 15s. I turned the sub off and ran the 15s full range. After a while, I felt like this sounded pretty damn good. Bass from the 15s was very nice on some tracks. Not as deep as when I have the SVS on but still I could feel the vibrations in my chair sitting about 10 feet away with a very focused center "thump". I still feel like the LSi are a great value. They aren't Martin Logans but when one compares the cost of systems here I think they are a great value and very enjoyable to own.
Needless to say, I had an "earful" today. Multichannel SACD is on the horizon for this dinosaur as well.