||Mark Levinson 390S
||Clearaudio Master Reference
||Clearaudio TQ-1; now TT-2
||Clearaudio Insider Wood
||Audio Research Reference 2 mk2
||Audio Research Reference Phono
||Mark Levinson 436 mono mono and Mark Levinson 432
||Infinity IRS BETA
|Stand / isolation
||Finite Elemente Signature rack, Symposium, Target stand, and many isolators
||Purepower APS 2000, PS audio Duet, and Furutech receptacles
||MIT, Shunyata, Cardas, and Audioquest
When EC asked me, “what speaker shall I get and replace my BETA?”; I paused and contemplated. Many speakers have gone through my mind, but which new speaker (while reasonably priced) can replace the sonic quality of Infinity IRS Bete completely? It’s indeed a very difficult question.
The Betas is well known for its tremendous dynamic range, and incredible feeling of power. Although they are now considered as vintage speaker, but its bass extension, solidness in midrange and its accuracy of timbre are still hard to beat by today’s standard. To isolate from such sonic wave of power from the speaker, EC setup all the equipments in the back of the room on well designed isolation rack and stand. EC also has a big audio room to facilitate BETA; my estimate is around 400 sqft with 8 ft tall ceiling. It’s a perfect room for big 4 column speakers like Betas.
A quick glance at EC’s LP collections, I spotted many duplicate copies of audiophile albums. EC told me that when there is an album that he likes, he buys multiple copies and collects. I asked how he organizes his LP collection? He told me that he categorized them by title, artist/composer, and genes, and stored them on an EXCEL worksheet. This way it’s easy for him to keep track and find the albums quickly. EC later emailed me a copy of the EXCEL file, I noticed that he even keeps note of the sonic quality of each album.
I have heard BETA with Audio Research tube amp, Krell or Threshold before. How did EC’s system sound with Mark Levinson? With these three big Mark Levinson amplifiers (mono for the mid/tweeter, stereo for the bass), it sounded especially effortless even during the loud passages and can easily stand one’s hair on end. The presentation was huge and upfront; it’s not your usual 15th row experience but the very front row. Every movement and instrument detail was clearly noticeable with proper weight and texture.
In my opinion, EC’s system offers a real and live musical experience that one must be heard in order to appreciate. Perhaps, EC may upgrade his system at a later date, but the glory of Infinity IRS BETA shall not fade away.