Audiogon Cribs – Soundcheck’s Listening Heaven

The exterior of Soundcheck’s listening space

When member Soundcheck (Jeff Keary) sent in a tiny photo of his listening space, we just had to see more and you will too!  He was fortunate enough to rescue a church built in 1849 and lovingly restore it into an audiophile’s heaven – with his wife’s help, of course!  From his Linn Kans to his period pipe organ, the space is phenomenal for romantic dinners with Miles Davis setting the mood to upbeat live performances and even the occasional *surprise* wedding!

He says, “The acoustic is phenomenal and really proves to me that the integreation of the system to the room is crucial to great sound – I also achieve great bass out of the Kans.

I also have a pair of Pink Triangle Ventricals, which I understand were voiced to mimic Quad 63s as far as possible using an unusual ribbon tweeter and transmission line bass.
The sound is gentle and the sound stage holographic - I have had these pieces for many years in many locations and it has never sounded better than here.”

The period pipe organ has been installed in the old church (c. 1849). The system (Quad 67, a Cyrus 2 and PSX and Pink Triangle Ventricals) is out of sight, save the speakers, and all cables are run under the floor.

The fireplace along with the Linn Kans MKII

In your opinion, what is the difference between a casual music lover and a true audiophile?
JK:  A casual music lover is like someone who leaves the tv on for companionship – it is really back ground noise – and essentially passive – the difference between hearing and listening is that listening is active
What was the first item you bought that signaled you’d crossed the line into being an audiophile?
JK:  A pair of Linn Kans Mk1 – little did I know that my little japanese amp wouldn’t drive these – that lead to the purchase of a real amp, power supply , CD player and more speakers – so I now have a Quad 67, a Cyrus 2 and PSX and Pink Triangle Ventricals – the Kans are in my home theatre where they are very effective. Actually I gave up smoking to buy these toys!

The Media Room.  The Linn Kans are turned on their side at the bottom pointed slightly up – this achieves the perfect integration of sound and image.  Note the hidden screen.

What’s your day job? If you could have any job in the world other than your own, what would it be?

JK:  I am a painter/decorator/carpenter working mostly on very artistic projects such as my house, and the houses of my clients – I make fireplaces, libraries, paint furniture to suit rooms and rooms to fit furniture – anything so long as it artistic and individual. I work for my self so I can listen to music all day long – I have a sideline painting silk scarves and ties too. I am in my dream job really, but would like to work for a theatre also or a high end hi fi shop, or run an art gallery.
What are your favorite recordings?
JK:  I have some Monk and Miles D form the fifties which is remarkable, i like Verve Jazz also, I have some Ella F and Louis A, where you can reach out and see the performers. Some Sony Classical are good, as are Chandos and Philips – Jaques Loussier recordings sound great here.

Seating area for Media Center, stained glass window

What would be your “dream audiophile evening?” (time traveling and money are not issues)
JK:  Would have been great to attend the premier of Beethovens 9th – a very long evening with another symphony and  piano concerto – also I would have liked to see The Who when Keith Moon was alive – a wonderfully “orchestral” drummer.
Do you consider yourself to be more appreciative of high-end technology or the music itself?
JK:  Sound stage was always my thing, but I was never happy being the apex of a triangle – I always wanted to sit further away – now I can sit 30 ft feet away and the sound is perfect and you can see the musicians in their places especially with string quartets, and small jazz combos.

All set for the holidays!

 
What are some of your favorite live music experiences?
JK:  Concerts I was priviledged to see the original Genesis play in 1971 at Queen Anne’s High School for Girls (York UK)- tickets were about a dollar each! They had wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling gear, Steve Hacket sat to play guitar and mandolin (no one ever did that) the sound was amazing.I was at a private performance of Songs for Drella by Lou Reed that was very very moving and here in my own home we had the Dan Bone Trio and the Peter Smith Trio play a set each and then combine as a sextet – they had never met and there was no rehearsal – it was total magic – the acoustics in this building really has to be heard to be believed.

Dan Bone on sax

Another “quiet night” at the Kearys’!

What advice can you give those who are new to high-end sound?

JK:  My advice to aspiring audiophiles – trust your own ears, only you can hear what you can hear, do your research – listen to a pair of Quad ESL 63s as a reference, obviously you have to draw a line in the sand at some point, but the point of your system is to please you, not impress the neighbours etc etc.
What is your dream system?
JK:  Probably all Quad, but nice to some Acoustats and Maggies for the weekends.

My dad played the piano at home, classical and boogie so from birth I was introduced to music – we had a wind up gramaphone with bamboo needles and some very odd records, one was a horse race and everytime you played it a different horse won ! I remember going to buy the our first stereo, it wasn’t hi fi, more a piece of furniture with sound but we enjoyed it. A friend’s dad built some loudspeakers, Leak or Wharfdale and we used to listen to Cream, and think we were very progressive – we liked Soft Machine and Pink Floyd so we were intellectuals! Another friend introduced me to classical music and i was hooked, going from Beethoven to Black Sabbath, Thomas Tallis to Hendrix. I used to go to the record library and get 6 lps at random every week so now I have a very wide appreciation of music in all its forms. There was a screw up with my college application, which resulted in my having to take a year out. My dad got me a job on the railway – it was terrible but I had money in my pocket… As an act of compensation I went and bought a hi fi set up (or so i thought).  Remember, in those times there were no auditions, I simply took the boxes home and put it together and the sole criterion for speaker selection was that they were bigger than those of my friend’s dad! It was probably awful, but I enjoyed it and took it college with me the following year – Much to my dad’s relief! He never got to enjoy Black Sabbath.

To me music is the most important thing in life – I cannot imagine life with out music – unfortunately i cannot play a note but I am trying to use my wonderful building to further the careers of any musician/band that would like to perform here – and I would be happy to allow anyone wanting to find out how good their hi fi is (or is not) to set it up here and find out.  We’re located up in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada (do not confuse with Prince Edward island!) -  if anyone’s interested in a visit or recording here, let me know by sending me an email through Audiogon!

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One thought on “Audiogon Cribs – Soundcheck’s Listening Heaven

  1. Outstanding workmanship and design! I didn’t catch where you built (State) your amazing home and system. I hope you live a long life to enjoy your efforts! duke

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