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Briz Vegaas 09-21-2013 08:10 AM

My B1s
Well it has been about 12 months since my B1s travelled from South Africa to Australia, how are they going you ask?

When they arrived they were hooked up to
- Nordost " loom" Valhalla SC, Tyr and Valhalla interconnects, Valhalla and Odin power cords, Qbase and Qv2, gear on TC sort cones
- Conrad Johnson CT5 and CA200 (185 w. solid state)
- Naim DAC, Weiss INT202 and Macbook pro running Pure Music.
.....all in a treated room, making my room look a bit like a makeshift recording studio., at least in part.( some things don't change)

I sort of liked this better than the shops Luxman setup, but i sort of knew there was more to be had. It was a darkish sound with good rather than great detail and tight bass. It wasn't particularly good at 3d soundstage but it was kind to my mostly alternative rock and pop, with a smattering of classical, jazz and blues. Highs were a bit blunted, avoiding sibilance.

A lot has changed in year one.

- Nordost stuff remains, if it ain't broke.....
- the CA200 has made way for a CJ LP70s with KT120 tubes
- the Naim DAC now has the XPS DR power supply - A Valhalla moved from the Weiss interface to the XPS
- the computer has a SSD and more RAM, and Audirvana is now the player of choice

Operation wise i now leave the Naim gear on 24/7. It avoids fuse issues and it sounds better.

How does it sound?
Like a million bucks. It still like my recordings but its so much better than it was. Detail is way up, the dark balance is gone, The sound has layers of depth. Its more open, allowing vocals to soar for that rare singer ( in my collection) that has a decent pair of lungs and isn't afraid to use them. My opinion on recording quality in my music collection has improved.

What made the most difference?
Thats hard to say. The XPS power supply turns the Naim DAC into a true high end source, yet i know the changes to the computer allow it to shine. The Valve amp made a significant difference as well, maybe not as much, but if the source was upgraded first i might feel differently.

What made the least difference. Well the Valhalla on the Weiss interface was improving things but it was more important to optimise the power supply for the DACs analogue circuits ( the DAC itself already had a valhalla).

Whats next?
Well i have still to receive the linear regulated power supply for the computer/Weiss from Paul Hynes. This will likely bring some additional detail and punch to a sound already pretty strong in the regard ( i believe).

Are you happy with your choice of speaker?
I think so. They are the right size for the room, the are like a clean empty canvass that is set up in a room with subtlety flattering light that does not upstage the art (program material.) and does not unduly highlight flaws in recordings, but you know they are there. The flaws are an important part of the art for me, perfection sucks.

What are you listening to now?
Laughing Clowns, a Brisbane Band of the 80s that featured Ed Keupper from the Saints. Unlike the punk sounds of the Saints the Laughing Clowns had a more mature sophisticated sound featuring brass elements, its not super brilliantly recorded but its got a fair bit going on, with interesting percussion and a number of musical ideas that sort of progress through the song, but its not prog rock as its still got a punky edge and roughish vocals.....with brass and weird bits. I' ve also been listening to The Waifs, A Brief History ( live), this features tracks like Papa that really test the openness of you systems sound, it either sours or it grates when Vicky hits her straps vocally.

I think i can say that i will still have the B1s this time next year so i will do another update then. Can' t see them going anywhere, not at this stage anyway. I definitly have a soft spot for them, both in how they sound and the looks.

Too much music and too little time.

Briz Vegaas 09-21-2013 08:17 AM

Laughing clowns, Eternally Yours

The Waifs, Papa

Elescher 09-21-2013 08:37 AM

Another thing to consider that SHOULD bring the system up another notch would be an external power supply for the Mac.

Vivid Audio G2, Zanden 6000, Stahl-Tek Opus "Prime", Stahl-Tek A.B.C., Mac Mini with external P.S., Tripoint Troy, High Fidelity "Ultimate" interconnects, Jade Audio Gold Vermeil speaker cable, Stage III, Stealth, Virtual Dynamics Power Cables, GPA Monaco shelving, PAD "Ultimate" USB cable

Briz Vegaas 09-21-2013 08:49 AM

Arrr, me hearty, i am ahead a yeee on that score I be !

The Paul Hynes is the SR7 dual rail. One rail for the MAC and one rail for the Weiss, and gobs of power to boot. I don't think a better supply exists, particularly as its a custom build.

bart 09-21-2013 03:50 PM

Thank you for sharing.
Lovely write-up.
But... it'd be nice to see some pics. :yes:

vinod_david 09-22-2013 01:05 AM

Wow, superb review. Thank you.

aqman 12-09-2013 11:06 PM

Hi All, first post here. I'm seriously considering the B1's. Could you tell me how big your room is and how hard you found them to place? Thanks.

Masterlu 12-10-2013 12:18 AM

aqman... Welcome! :wave:

Mike1998 12-10-2013 02:33 AM


Originally Posted by aqman (Post 559106)
Hi All, first post here. I'm seriously considering the B1's. Could you tell me how big your room is and how hard you found them to place? Thanks.

Wonderful speaker, not too hard to place, but if your room is quite large they may need supplemental bass...

bart 12-10-2013 03:59 AM

Aqman, welcome!
I did a thorough test of the B1's in 2010, where I let the dealer compare them with the B&W 802Ds.
DCs source, ARC pre, Ayre monoblocks were the components.
This happened in a rather large room (10 x 15 meters).
Much to my but also the dealer's surprise, the Vivids, just like the B&Ws by the way, could handle the room quite easily.
The difference with the B&Ws in clarity, transparency, soundstage and detail was not subtle.
Placing was also much easier with the Vivids.

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