Publisher Profile

Ray Seda

Senior Reviewer

My interest in audio began very early in life. Back in the early 70’s in Piscataway, NJ at the age of 12, I went to my friend’s grandmother’s house to hear his brother Frank’s (as in Stereo Times’ own, Frank Alles), stereo system. That afternoon of music turned out to be the defining event in my life. The system was pretty basic, Dynaco amplification, AR turntable, AR 3a’s and AR 2ax’s in a Dynaquad arrangement. On that day, I discovered Classical “Art” Rock, like Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Genesis, and I discovered the magical experience of a great-sounding audio system. From that point on, I was hooked and pursued audio and buying music with a vengeance. I became a permanent fixture at a great audio shop called the Hi-Fi Haven in New Brunswick. It was there that I was taken under the wings by the owner, Stan, and his main sales and service guy, Jim Foley. At the age of 13, I was spending my summer weekends at the shop, listening to my own records, learning the sound of Infinity Servo-Statiks, and Magneplanars and at the same time, working feverishly during the week in a paper route to amass enough money to buy my first system. That first modest system turned out to be an AR XA turntable with a Stanton 681EE, a Sherwood amplifier, KLH 33’s. By that time, I already had well over 100 LP’s and none had been played on a system of my very own! Fast forward to the late 70’s, the audio bug was so fierce, I even put off my college education just so that I could run a small audio store in Dunellen, NJ. My time running the audio store allowed me to further educate my ears and get exposed to all kinds of diverse equipment. I soon discovered that I had very acute high frequency hearing. In fact, I found that I could consistently identify ringing tweeters and damaged tweeters that were about to fail, when no one else could hear it. To this day, even at age 53, certain types of lighting in big box stores send me running out the door because I can hear their high-pitched whistle and it drives me crazy. I did the audio store thing for a couple of years until reality kicked in and I realized I needed an education or be broke for the rest of my life! So yeah, I went off to college, sold off my entire system including a very cherry PSE amp and preamp. However, every summer I would return home to Piscataway and work at a national record importer, JEM records. Of course, I never really saw a paycheck since I would blow it all on British and German vinyl! It wasn’t long after graduation In the early 1980’s that a couple of thousand LP’s and I ended up in Florida, owning my first house and first real high-end system; Martin Logan Sequel 2’s, Carver Silver 9t monoblocks (dubbed “the turtles” by friends of mine), Audible Illusions Modulus 3A, original VPI turntable with a Technics EPA-500 tonearm system, and a Benz Reference cartridge. Going to college and becoming an Accountant turned out to be a great shot in the arm for my Hi Fi budget! Since coming to Florida 25 years ago I have been actively involved in the local audio community including a stint as President of the South Florida Audio Society. I also have been and still am involved in beta testing, audio consulting, and have actively participated in several design efforts. Oh, and of course, I am still a corporate bean-counter. These days, I primarily listens to Folk and Acoustic, Jazz, Rock, British Rock and Progressive, classical and experimental, Industrial, and the occasional Punk, New Wave, and Alternative. It’s a mix that leads to some interesting listening sessions. I’ve been known to jump between Kate Bush, Kronos Quartet, Pere Ubu, Public Image Ltd., Gorecki, and Dorothy Ashby in a single Sunday afternoon sitting for instance (without even being in “reviewer mode”). Environment I have a dedicated second-story music room measures 14 feet wide, 27 feet deep, and has an 8 foot ceiling. The poured concrete slab floor is padded and carpeted wall-to-wall with a tightly knit Berber. The front and the left walls are external walls of concrete construction with double insulation and sheeting. The ceiling has a slight gradual pitch downward front-to-rear, and the room narrows in width to 11 feet at 12 feet in from the front. The left wall has two windows and is substantially covered forward of the listening position with acoustically dead, double-lined theatre drapes. The primary listening position is a distance of 13 feet from the front wall. The front right side has a six foot by eight feet high by three feet deep alcove/closet that contains the equipment rack. The rear of the room has a 30 degree slant and has theatre drapes covering the entry way to a walk-in closet which is equipped floor-to-ceiling with Ikea “Lack” units for vinyl and CD storage. The rear slanted wall has a 2-person sofa and serves as secondary listening positions. The rear right side of the room has a mahogany cabinet containing vinyl cleaning supplies and the record cleaning machine sits atop the cabinet. Walls and corners are treated with homemade acoustic panels of various shapes and sizes, corners are treated with Michael Green corner tunes, and the front face of mahogany cabinet is covered with Michael Green Room Tunes. The primary listening chair is a burgundy leather and mahogany, La-z-Boy ‘Metropolitan”.

System
						Analog Front End
Merrill-Williams R.E.A.L. 101 Technics EPA-500G / A501M / A501E tonearm systerm, custom wired by Tel Wire ZYX Yatra Accuphase AC3 Panasonic 450 Strain Gauge with Shibata tip Technics EPC-205CMK3 Pioneer TX-9500II Tuner (modified and upgraded)
						Digital Front End
ARCAM FMJ CDS27 Universal Audio Player McCormack / Conrad Johnson UDP-1 Deluxe Universal Player
						Amplification
Pass Labs XP-20 Line Stage Pass Labs X-350.5 Power Amplifier Melody Valve MN845 tube monoblocks Melody Valve P2688 vacuum tube preamplifier
						Cabling
Enklein Aeros Extreme interconnects Enklein TRex power cords Enklein Titan speaker cables MIT Magnum power cords
						Speakers
Eficion F300 Speakers
						Headphones
N/A
						Home Theater
Eficion F300M Satellite Speaker System with pedestals Martin Logan Depthi Subwoofer
						Accessories
VPI 16.5 Record Cleaning Machine L’Art du Son Vinyl Cleaner MFSL Super Vinyl Wash MFSL Super Deep Cleaner GEM Dandy Groove Lube LAST Vinyl Preservative. MFSL LP-9 Stylus Cleaner LAST Stylast Decca, Pickering, and assorted other generic Carbon Fiber record brushes MFSL Shine-Ola Assorted ceramic cable elevators Spiritual Audio power products Furutech Power Outlets Hubbell Cryo’ed Power Outlets Billy Bags amplifier stands Billy Bags Equipment rack Assorted shapes and slabs of delrin, Cocobolo, aircraft aluminum, and MDF.
						Room Treatment
Home Made sound absorption panels Corner Tunes Updated: August, 2016
Articles & Reviews
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Show-Report-2015

2016 Axpona show report, Part 4 – Memorable Rooms

AXPONA | Event Reports | 4 Comments »
Show-Report-2015

2016 Axpona show report, Part 3 – The Rooms

AXPONA | Event Reports | 2 Comments »
Show-Report-2015

2016 Axpona show report, Part 2

AXPONA | Event Reports | 5 Comments »
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Arcam FMJ CDS27 universal audio disc player Review

Digital Sources | Disc Media Players | 3 Comments »
Show-Report-2015

2015 California Audio Show, Part 5

CAS | No Comments »
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Combak by Harmonix Reimyo KAP-777 stereo solid-state power amplifier Review

Amplification | Solid State | No Comments »
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Revox Joy S119 Network Receiver Review

Amplification | Digital | Digital Sources | Stream Music Services | No Comments »
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Are you a beginner audiophile?

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »
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EnKlein David Interconnect and T-Rex Power Cord Review

Cables | Interconnects | Power Cables | No Comments »
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Melody Valve MN845 Monoblock Power Amplifier Review

Amplification | Tube | 1 Comment »
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The Merrill Replica ES-R1 Turntable Review

Analog Sources | Turn Tables | 4 Comments »
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Melody Valve P2688 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier Review

Preamplifier | No Comments »
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The Triangle Art RA6 Power Conditioner Review

Audio Accessories | Power Conditioners | No Comments »
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Dupuy Acoustique Bongo Speaker System Review

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | Subwoofers | 2 Comments »
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Dupuy Acoustique Daisy Reflector Review

Audio Accessories | Room Accoustics | No Comments »
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Tri-Planar Ultimate II Tonearm Review

Analog Sources | Tone Arms | 1 Comment »
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Life in and with Audio

Commentaries | The Columns | 1 Comment »
F300M-tb

Eficion F300M Satellite Speakers Review

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »
25-tb

RMAF 2013 Part IV

Event Reports | RMAF | No Comments »
12-tb

RMAF 2013 Coverage Part III

Event Reports | RMAF | 2 Comments »
4-tb

RMAF 2013 Coverage II

Event Reports | RMAF | No Comments »
StyleLine-SL12-S-tb

MIT StyleLine Series SL-8, SLXLR-6, and SL-12 Interconnects and Speaker Cables Review

Cables | Interconnects | Power Cables | Speaker Cables | No Comments »
Merrill-Mono-tb

Merrill Audio Veritas Monoblock Amplifier Review

Amplification | Mono Block | Solid State | 2 Comments »
ZYXR100MovingCoilPhonoCartridge-tb

ZYX R100 Moving Coil Phono Cartridge Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | No Comments »
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Practically-Priced Tools for the LP Lover

Analog Sources | Audio Accessories | No Comments »
Bloom-tb

ZYX Bloom Low Output Moving Coil Phone Cartridge Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | 3 Comments »
Enklein-tb

Enklein Zephyr Interconnect, Taurus Speaker Cables, and Titan Power Cable Review

Cables | Interconnects | Power Cables | Speaker Cables | No Comments »
YATRA3-tb

ZYX Yatra Phono Cartridge Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | 4 Comments »
DigitalAmpCoCherryUltra-tb

Digital Amplifier Company Cherry Ultra Amplifier Review

Amplification | Digital | No Comments »
cas-tb

2012 CAS Coverage, Part VIII

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »
cas-tb

2012 CAS Coverage, Part VII

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »
cas-tb

2012 CAS Coverage, Part VI

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

Joy of High-end Audio: the many flavors of Kool Aid

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »
PassXP20-tb

Pass Labs XP-20 Preamplifier Review

Preamplifier | 1 Comment »

TBI Sound Systems Majestic Diamond II Bookshelf Speaker Review

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »
TannoyDC10T-tb

Tannoy Definition Series DC10T Speaker Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »

2012 AXPONA, Part III

AXPONA | Event Reports | No Comments »

2012 AXPONA, Part II

AXPONA | Event Reports | No Comments »

2012 AXPONA Coverage, Part I

AXPONA | Event Reports | No Comments »

Zesto Audio Andros PS1 Phono Preamplifier Review

Phono | 1 Comment »

Eficion F300 Speaker Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | 3 Comments »

2012 CES, Part VI

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

2012 CES, Part IV

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

2012 CES, Part II

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

Belles Power Modules Reference Series 350A Version 2 Amplifier Review

Amplification | Solid State | No Comments »

An Interview with George Merrill of Merrill-Williams Audio

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »

Ortofon TA-110 Rubber Injected Tonearm Review

Analog Sources | Tone Arms | 1 Comment »

Merrill-Williams R.E.A.L. 101 Turntable Review

Analog Sources | Turn Tables | 3 Comments »

Belles Power Modules Statement Series VT-01 Tube Preamplifier Review

Preamplifier | No Comments »

Joy of High-End Audio: Drinking deep from the Kool-Aid in 2011

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »

Triangle Art Reference Turntable Review

Analog Sources | Turn Tables | No Comments »

Tel Wire Connect Interconnect And Cord Power Cable Review

Cables | Interconnects | Power Cables | No Comments »

TRS Audio Pure Note Designer’s Edition Interconnect and Speaker Cable Review

Cables | Interconnects | Speaker Cables | 2 Comments »

2011 CAS Coverage, Part VI

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

2011 CAS Coverage, Part III

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

Pass Labs XP-10 Preamplifier Review

Dagogo Classics | Preamplifier | No Comments »

2011 AXPONA Coverage VI

AXPONA | Event Reports | No Comments »

2011 AXPONA Coverage V

AXPONA | Event Reports | No Comments »

2011 AXPONA Coverage III

AXPONA | Event Reports | No Comments »

Aural Symphonics Chrono Interconnects And Purple v3 Speaker Cable Review

Cables | Interconnects | Speaker Cables | 2 Comments »

Conrad Johnson ET250S Amplifier Review

Amplification | Tube | 1 Comment »

Aural Symphonics Magic Gem v2t & Cappuccino Power Cable Review

Cables | Power Cables | No Comments »

Pass Labs X350.5 Amplifier Review

Amplification | Solid State | No Comments »

2010 California Audio Show Original Commentaries II

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »

ZYX Omega-S Cartridge Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | No Comments »

2010 AXPONA Coverage

AXPONA | Event Reports | No Comments »

PMC OB1i Floorstanding Speaker Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | 2 Comments »

Conrad-Johnson CT5 Composite Triode Preamplifier Review

Preamplifier | 1 Comment »
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