To me, regardless of the amp/speaker chosen, it's always about the source. "Source first" we learned from the Brits early on, at least a few of us did. If you've heard me mention that a thousand times already, get ready for a thousand more. It's important! I often go into someone's listening room after endless debate over their amp or speaker, only to find the most mediocre source, which they deem suitable. What's a dealer to do? Tell them their so and so DAC is boring, their cartridge just plain misses the mark, the turntable is dragging down the music? And their racks? Their racks??? Egads, not the endless bad, boring, homemade, custom made by a carpenter friend racks?
So I'm here to educate, stimulate, and sometimes pontificate about the other devices that make up a system. Lordy knows you need to get that certain speaker that drives you wild, at least for the foreseeable future, and that magic amp that can drive said speaker to tantalizing heights. Without all the other, equally important pieces, you ain't heard nothing yet....(and I don't care what you say!) Bam!
On with the show.....
I'd like to start with a newer cartridge to the Haven, the Kauri, a low output moving coil offered by Well Tempered Labs. It's obviously not made by them, and no one seems to be saying who actually does manufacture it, yet I'm glad somebody is. It's delightfully full bodied sounding, perhaps it's the ancient driftwood said to make up the body. An excellent tracker as well, the Kauri, at $2000, is in steep competition here at the Haven, alongside the EMT TSD15 at $1950 and the Dynavector XX2 Mk2 at $1995. These three cartridges are my favorites at this price range, and are a formidable trio to the market as a whole. They're not tizzy, thin, flat, or boring, as I find so many. Again, with all cartridges, it's all in how you use them- the table/arm, the phono stage, a step up if you're lucky to have one, all have to work in perfect harmony to get the most out of the cartridge. And last but not least, the setup, which you get here upon purchase.