An Evening in Wonderland, er... make that Audio Magic Land!
What's that eerie green glow... being back lit for mood... mood of astonishment at what this system can do not only sonically, but musically!
Last year at the RMAF we had the opportunity to visit with Jerry Ramsey in his home for a few hours. Jerry is "Mr. Silver" - the guy behind Audio Magic and all that makes it ...well magical. But Jerry is not just another Joe-cable guy who has a nice system and all. No Jerry has gone one step further (well make that a few hundred step beyond what anyone would do) and has a custom-built room inside his basement featuring a system that so far exceeds anything that we have ever heard! Simply put the differences in sonics and musicality is frightening. While the best systems out therethose with cost being not an issuecan sound quite good to fantastic, compared to what Jerry has constructed are actually almost comical in terms of how much better recorded music can be reproduced, if one can not only afford, but has the ability to go to this extreme. Scale, atmospheric ambiance, bass, dynamics, image presence, slam, effortlessness... you name it, they all far exceeded anything I have ever heard prior to entering into this den of audio-excess!
We played disc after disc and while one may not think so based on the images, the room and walls simply vanish leaving one totally immersed in the most musical of all soundfields. Downside? $500k if you want one and Jerry will do it for anyone so interested and cash rich. Dave and Carol Clark
Danny taking possession of his part of the system.... all drivers (except the ribbons) exist on an open baffle wall. That is, the wall they are mounted on opens to the rest of the basement behind them.
A nice view of the left side of the mirror-imaged sound-wall...
A close-up of the right side of the sound-wall...
...an even closer-up of the right side...
And even closerer-upper from another angle... featuring drives from Hartley, Raven, JBL, and Eminent Technology.
Carol in awe... or simply stunned!
The subs hiding behind the couch...
We audiophiles are a funny bunch. We talk of life-like sound images etched in space through our, choose one: (1) multi-driver, (2) single-point, (3) fill-in-the-blank speaker systems, dynamics "so real that you feel as though the musician is right in front of you," and so on. We are all guilty of it. It is odd, then, to go to a concert or other live performance. Is it alive? Yes! Dynamic? Yes! Life-like? Yes! But the differences between live and recorded performances are startling, and make you see the foolishness of the superlatives we throw around when we attempt to sway ourselves (and others) into believing our systems are the best. Audio systems can only pale in comparison to the real thing. It's quite comical.
Nevertheless, from time to timeperhaps only once or twice in a lifetimewe come across an audio system that is truly alive, one that flaps your pant legs, massages your butt cheeks, you get the picture. Such was the experience I had when I got the opportunity to hear (and see) Jerry Ramsey's House of Audio Magic during last year's Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Jerry's claim to fame is his silver-based audio cables and his superbly "magical" line conditioners. He is also one of the most down-to-earth audio people I know. He doesn't call much attention to himself, in fact he works out of his basement. Also in his basement (actually, taking up most of it) is his audio analysis and playback system.
At this point, you may be asking yourself: "I wonder what speakers he uses? Avalons? JM Labs? Wilsons? Or some other fancy-woodwork, X-material speakers?" The answer is that Jerry was so underwhelmed by the latest and greatest loudspeakers that he designed his own. Carefully set up, tuned, and adjusted Hartley custom woofers up to 24 inches in size, and a large number of ribbon drivers, take up an entire wall of Jerry's basement, each "speaker" powered by its own amplifier. The result was the most honest, full-range, super-realistic (there I go again!) sonic images that you have probably never heard.
Dave Clark, Carol Clark, and myself were in complete awe when we heard Jerry's "Wall of Sound" make music. We played a solid mix of music just to make sure, but there was no doubt that Jerry's reference system produced the most life-like music playback I have ever experienced. We were all overwhelmed by what unfolded in front of us. It truly made comparison with any other speaker system utterly baseless and without merit. Of course, all this came at a price. Look to spend around $500K for something similar, but first, you'd better try to convince your wife why this would be necessary. We all speak of having a true reference system. Jerry Ramsey has actually done it! Danny Kaey
Danny Kaey taking it all in...
Digital: CEC Tlix Transport and Audio Magic DAC with built-in passive preamplifier
Power: Transcendence Power Conditioner.
Turntable: Mitchell Cotter with Mitchell Cotter step-up and phono stage.
Video: Denon 3910 DVD player
Amplifiers for center and rear channels: Audio Magic 250 monoblock amplifiers (3 pairs) and White Audio Labs (1 pair).
Amplifiers main: PSE Studio Vs (2 pair), Velvet Touch 829 tube, Velvet Touch EL-84 (2 amplifiers) stereo, Audio Research Classic 30, Audio Magic 250 monoblock amplifiers
Crossovers: Marchand tube crossover for mids and highs and Intrinsic Sound battery powered solid-state for bass.
Cables: All various Audio Magic.
Passive noise reduction: Shakti Innovations and Quantum Physics.
Power feed: 5 dedicated lines
Speakers: Hartley 24" x 2, Hartley 18" x 2, Hartley 10" x 4, Eminent Technology ribbons x 4, Raven R-2 ribbons x 4,and JBL 2405 x 8.
MAIN SYSTEM SURROUND
Center: 3 Eminent Technology ribbons x 5, Focal center (all on front wall above and to each side of the video display).
Rears: Hartley 3-way with tri-amp battery powered crossover.
--By Dave and Carol Clark, and Danny Kaey, positive-feedback.com