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  #11  
Old 08-06-2019, 07:24 AM
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Mike,..welcome to the AA forum, it is great to see you here! As always, beautiful and breathtaking system and room,...some day I would like to make it out there myself.

Mark (Greenville SC)
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  #12  
Old 08-06-2019, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by For The Love of Music View Post
This past weekend, To Fast for Driving, Marc and I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Lavigne at his home about 30 miles east of Seattle in the foothills of the Great Cascade Mountain Range to hear what he has assembled using his experience over several decades.

Upon introduction, it was clear above his system, Mike is a genuine person; selfless in sharing his efforts, his home and his time for people who appreciate this so called crazy hobby of ours.

Mike immediately offered us cold beverages and then took us on an eager tour on what he assembled. Mikes approach to getting the room right is nothing short of spectacular, especially when you realize this once emanated originally as an actual barn housing horses.

As we listened to Mike explain the construction, room tuning, his system choices and the catalog of albums and music, we eagerly awaited the system to warm up. Mikes choices of equipment seemed to come from outside the State and included the amazing dartTZeel’s battery powered preamp and solid state mono blocks (these monos are crafted as things of beauty taking 160 hours of just machining and finishing) along with the complimenting speaker towers by Evolution, there are 3 Studar tape reels, and a heck of lot more - Mikes commitment to both the analog and digital was simply unwavering, no shortcuts.

Attachment 59638

The room acoustics were carefully thought out. Mike’s room was so tuned to support playback, even when you spoke your voice sounded better.

Electrical and passive grounding was paramount that incorporates a massive dedicated panel for power and his use of Tripoint and Entreq devices supporting many, if not, all the components, including the powered speakers. And something I never heard of or seen was “active isolation” platforms. Just the description alone was draw dropping and when Mike had me clap my hands in front of one that supported a mono amp the screen displayed real time vibrational noise emitting from my hands. All these tweaks and efforts purpose is to get to as neutral in sound as possible, and it clearly can be heard.

Attachment 59639

We started out first listening to albums, and it was clearly evident once the needle dropped that the dynamics of sound were at a captivating level. The midrange was so controlled and natural. It was so good that I was afraid of standing up without being embarrassed. The sound emitting from the Evolution speaker system was simply amazing, it easily made me think on several live tracks that I was at the venue and I know this a virtual impossibility, but it did. Nothing in the sound was exaggerated, the amps gripped those towers and allowed them to emit a non-assaulting wave of timbre harmony that was so open, real and pure. The sound literally drew you in probably like a bug light does to insects except, we were only zapped with one hell of a listening afternoon.

Attachment 59640

Interesting enough, Mike’s center chair was located near field, and I must admit it was intimidating at first as the speakers are massive, but you became used to the scale very quickly and undoubtedly it is the best seat in the house leaving you relaxed to enjoy all to be had.

I now better understand curating a music collection one will never fully get to hear is for everyone to enjoy. Collecting is half the fun, and having a collection of this magnitude allows visitors a good chance to hear their specific requests. Mikes album collection is not only extensive, it is cataloged equal to his version of a Dewey system proven by finding our requests lightening fast. To give you an idea, assuming I estimated correctly, there are enough albums to support 24/7 listening for over a year, and forget about how many of hours of playback from the server, and streaming.

Moving on, we got to the digital setup where the MSB Select is serving duty along with its two power supplies; one for the digital and the other for the analog. Feeding the MSB is an over the top Taiko Audio 34tb server that has a catalog of roughly 17tb of music. The MSB allows streaming of Quboz and Tidal which are all controlled by Roon. It clearly showed off how beautiful Mikes efforts were placed on the digital side of things.

While there is so much more to write about, what struck me most was having versatility with analog and digital which allows one to select the best playback of a particular recording.

Mike is a believer in Native playback, and it was easily heard why and it too makes sense to me. I'm taking the position Mike invokes, not as a follower but as a believer; native source first then the quality of recording - it’s all about choices and I also realize despite being native doesn’t guarantee a good recording. IMO, nothing is more discouraging then to have bad recordings playing from these great systems we all assemble, no matter analog or digital. I only want to hear the best, and now this visit begins my analog journey.

We plan on quickly getting back to Mikes home as we have original Led Zeppelin master tapes that need listening to on the R2R systems, and probably a Scotch to add in the sweetness of sound and that’s no joke!

Here is Mike and I

Attachment 59642

And this is Marc and I.

Attachment 59641

Thanks Mike!

Ed, thank you for sharing!

I love these meetings of AA friends.

.
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  #13  
Old 08-06-2019, 08:34 AM
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Ed,...thank you for posting a summary of your and Marc's visit!
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  #14  
Old 08-06-2019, 08:44 AM
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Nice writeup Ed......but seriously, what in the world is up with the state of Washington and all The audiophiles? Not only on AA.....last year at RMAF it seemed like every other person that walked by had a lanyard with some town in Washington printed on it! Heck, metro Atlanta is almost twice the size of Seattle and I know one person....Jim (Weird Cuba). I know there has to be more of us here......wonder where they are? Mark is close in Greenville, SC. Maybe it’s the tech sector careers there? I can promise you it’s not due to a lack of music interest here, that’s for sure..... It’s a mystery to me.

- Buck
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  #15  
Old 08-06-2019, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy3107 View Post
Nice writeup Ed......but seriously, what in the world is up with the state of Washington and all The audiophiles? Not only on AA.....last year at RMAF it seemed like every other person that walked by had a lanyard with some town in Washington printed on it! Heck, metro Atlanta is almost twice the size of Seattle and I know one person....Jim (Weird Cuba). I know there has to be more of us here......wonder where they are? Mark is close in Greenville, SC. Maybe it’s the tech sector careers there? I can promise you it’s not due to a lack of music interest here, that’s for sure..... It’s a mystery to me.

- Buck
Buck, agree that Seattle does have an active audiophile scene more intense and active than typical. we have a pretty active local (inclusive and open-minded) audio club that meets monthly, and large DIY community, and more than our share of local hifi luminaries. part of it is the very large tech based booming economy, plus lots of large research facilities, and lots of retired military (more in surrounding communities than Seattle). then there is Vancouver B.C. and Portland and the whole Pacific Rim effect with lots of even H.K. influence. and the weather here can be cold, wet and gloomy for 8-9 months a year which does push us inside to some degree.

negatively there is the crazy, expensive, cost of living.....equal to California except SF proper.

i likely know 40-50 local audiophiles myself, and have had 30+ people to my room half a dozen times over the last 10 years for meetings. at least 10 people once a year or more. i have visitors to my room a few times a month it seems. so there is a culture of getting together here.

love it and one of the things which has kept my interest in the hobby over the years........the rich culture and friendships i've enjoyed.

Last edited by mikel; 08-06-2019 at 09:37 AM.
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  #16  
Old 08-06-2019, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikel View Post
Buck, agree that Seattle does have an active audiophile scene more intense and active than typical. we have a pretty active local (inclusive and open-minded) audio club that meets monthly, and large DIY community, and more than our share of local hifi luminaries. part of it is the very large tech based booming economy, plus lots of large research facilities, and lots of retired military (more in surrounding communities than Seattle). then there is Vancouver B.C. and Portland and the whole Pacific Rim effect with lots of even H.K. influence. and the weather here can be cold, wet and gloomy for 8-9 months a year which does push us inside to some degree.

negatively there is the crazy, expensive, cost of living.....equal to California except SF proper.

i likely know 40-50 local audiophiles myself, and have had 30+ people to my room half a dozen times over the last 10 years for meetings. at least 10 people once a year or more. i have visitors to my room a few times a month it seems. so there is a culture of getting together here.

love it and one of the things which has kept my interest in the hobby over the years........the rich culture and friendships i've enjoyed.
Yeah, that's really cool to be around a lot of like minded hobbyists! You're probably on to something with the weather pushing people and their lifestyles indoors to some extent, didn't think about that.....with the weather down here it's tough to stay indoors for extended periods of time!

- Buck
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  #17  
Old 08-06-2019, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy3107 View Post
Nice writeup Ed......but seriously, what in the world is up with the state of Washington and all The audiophiles? Not only on AA.....last year at RMAF it seemed like every other person that walked by had a lanyard with some town in Washington printed on it! Heck, metro Atlanta is almost twice the size of Seattle and I know one person....Jim (Weird Cuba). I know there has to be more of us here......wonder where they are? Mark is close in Greenville, SC. Maybe it’s the tech sector careers there? I can promise you it’s not due to a lack of music interest here, that’s for sure..... It’s a mystery to me.

- Buck


Buck, thanks.

I’m thinking your Northwest comment may be related to our winters opposed to yours. With that being said, we have the mountains which brings skiing and other activities, but still I think people spend more time in doors during this period.
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  #18  
Old 08-06-2019, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCAudiophile View Post
Mike,..welcome to the AA forum, it is great to see you here! As always, beautiful and breathtaking system and room,...some day I would like to make it out there myself.

Mark (Greenville SC)
thanks Mark, for the welcome and comments.

and me too (hope you can visit that is).
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  #19  
Old 08-06-2019, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bart View Post
Mike, I've admired your system already on another forum.
Welcome here also!

Bravo for a job so well done!
thank you Bart. appreciate the comments.
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  #20  
Old 08-06-2019, 11:21 AM
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Ed.......A most enjoyable write up on yours and Marc's visit to Mike's home. Thanks for the photos, too. Impressive on many levels.
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