Welcome to Lee's listening room, in his home in Atlanta. He's been building up this serious collection of kit for a long time -- he needs it to get the most out of his epic music collection, which is currently around 3,000 LPs and 5,000 CDs. He just recently stepped up to these mighty Wilson Audio Alexia 2 speakers!
This is the piece that started Lee's SACD journey. It's an early Sony SCD-777ES, circa 2000. This 65-pound (30 kg) beast has been a warhorse for Lee and it still plays perfectly. It's a top-loader and after 18 years, it's still fun to place a silver disc on the transport and watch the door close.
Lee's recent acquisition of the PS Audio DirectStream "stack" runs the Memory Player and DirectStream DAC. "What's really cool about PS Audio," Lee says, "is that they use an FPGA chip and provide new software for both pieces every six to nine months or so, so the darn thing never goes out of date." There's also a network bridge that allows Lee to plug into hi-res streaming service Tidal and music-management software Roon from his router.
This is an Audio Research VT-100 Mk.1 amp. Lee's buddy Robert Cunningham, a superb tube tech, greatly elevated the performance and it's a surprisingly good match for the Wilson Alexia speakers. Still, this is the oldest piece in Lee's system and will likely be replaced in the not-too-distant future.
Powering all of this electronic gear is this Synergistic Research PowerCell 12 SE power conditioner. The blue light isn't Photoshop trickery, that's the way it looks. Lee says the conditioner made a big difference in the sound of the system.
"Finally, it's all about the music, and I am a huge fan of Rudy Van Gelder's Blue Note recordings," Lee says. "I collected all of the Music Matters reissues of Blue Notes and quite a bit of the Analogue Productions Prestige series. They are both superb and really enhanced my appreciation of jazz that developed from my attending jazz clubs in the Village when I lived in New York."
These thimble-size HFT devices by Synergistic Research improve the already fantastic sound of his Alexia 2 speakers, Lee says. He's a bit of a tweak these days, but anything that helps things sound better is alright with Lee.
"This is a selfie of me and my friend Nick at one of our recording sessions," Lee says. "I am a fan of using Grado PS500 headphones in sessions even though they are open-backs, because they're so neutral. Nick and I both like the way they capture the sessions."
This was the mic setup for an orchestra playing in an A-frame church. They are AKG 414-B-ULS mics. "I enjoy working on classical and jazz recordings here in my hometown of Atlanta," Lee says, "mostly live to two track in hi-res PCM and DSD digital."
"This is a fun and relatively new piece, a Revox A77 tape machine that plays 3 3/4- and 7.5-inch per second tapes," Lee says. "I'm dipping my toe into the reel-to-reel world and I like what I'm hearing."
"This is artwork by local vinyl record collector and friend Tim Caerbert, a wonderful graphic designer." Lee says. "I have two pieces from him in the music area as well as one in my music storage closet."