Because Music Matters

It all started with a broken processor. Gary called ListenUp to see about replacing the damaged unit, and spoke to senior sales consultant Scott Genaw. “I had a system that I’d cobbled together while working with an independent installer,” says Gary. “I was getting stuff from the Internet and from here and there. While it cost less to do that, without having it properly set up, it didn’t sound that great.”

“Gary needed to replace the processor and also wanted to make his system sound better in general,” Scott says. “He was concerned about bass response, so we discussed a couple of subs, and then I told him, ‘Let me come by and see what you’ve got.’ When I got to his house, his system seemed to have plenty of bass, so I suggested some other solutions.”

“Scott tweaked my speaker setup and everything sounded so much better,” says Gary. “That’s when I realized that who you buy the products from really matters, because the service and the set up are almost as important as the equipment itself.”

Later, Scott did what is known as a Master Setup of Gary’s new speakers, which made even more of a difference. “The Master Setup was developed by John Hunter when he owned Sumiko Audio,” Scott explains. “It’s a step-bystep, scripted process for setting up the speaker system so you get the best bass response and imaging.”

Says Gary, “I had the speakers trapped in a corner of my room and my midrange was a little bit muddy, but man when he moved them — and not even that much — it just made such a difference. The bass cleaned up, the soundstage was so much better. Just recently he did the same thing with my new REL subwoofers. It’s like they weren’t even connected to the system before, and now they’re integrated so beautifully.”

Two systems in one Over the course of a year or so, Gary continued on the upgrade path and ended up with a completely new rig. For two-channel music listening, the system includes a Roon Nucleus music server feeding into a MOON 780D DAC and 740P preamplifier, then into MOON 400M monoblock amps, which power Bower & Wilkins 802 D3 floorstanding speakers. A pair of REL S/5 SHO subs provide deep bass. For home theater, there’s a McIntosh MX122 surround processor, Proceed amplifiers, a B&W center channel, in-wall side surrounds and 805 D3 rear surrounds, plus a JVC 4K projector with 110-inch screen for the video. The beauty of this configuration is that the two-channel signal path is completely separate from the surround side, so Gary and his family can enjoy audiophile-grade stereo and a stunning home theater with no sonic compromises.

More is revealed Gary could easily hear the improvements every step of the way. “When we replaced the amplifiers, the sound went from two dimensional to three dimensional. Then I got those subwoofers, and I could really hear the bottom end of the horns. But the thing that was most surprising to me was speaker cable. Scott told me that it’s not going to be subtle, it’s going to be night and day. So I got the AudioQuest William Tell speaker cables. This was a big investment and man alive, between that and the amps, I felt like there was something in between me and the music, like a thin sheet, that just literally got removed. The soundstage opened up so much. The preamplifier, all the amplifiers, one by one I ended up replacing every single piece of equipment, and it just works and sounds great. On a weekend I’ll do three-hour sessions where I just couldn’t be happier in that chair.”

Bring the family Gary’s wife Heidi and their daughters love the system, too. “I have two little girls and it’s been a bonding experience,” Gary says. “We’ll go down there, and we’ll play the game where I pick a song, and then they pick a song, and it’s funny, sometimes I’ll end up liking the songs that they play, and they get exposed to old-school rock. My older daughter now is in a rock band camp where she actually plays guitar and so it’s funny — they really focus on classic rock. It’s become a nice thing that we can share as a family and then, of course, on the movie side, that becomes a nice special event. They’re a big hit with their friends, as you can imagine.” “