Time to Get Funky
I have a long history with Arthur Khoubesserian, having had as a hobbyist a Pink Triangle turntable back in the late '80's. Arthur then moved onto the Funk Firm, with his Vector tables. I was busy off exploring Well Tempered Labs after the Pink Triangle, so have not really revisited his tables until now. In house at present, the above LSD, or Little Super Deck, is being rigorously put through its paces, running it non stop and playing the bejesus out of it. It's proving to be quite the table I was hoping it to be. Arthur's tables have always had a great sense of flow, of generally great musicality, a foot tapping experience, a bit more of everything I hold dear from getting out of my records than the multiple palleted types in all the online ads. They're just better, like the Well Tempereds, and that's that. On demo now.....as I've been saying a lot lately on phone calls and emails, if you aren't enjoying the whole record playing experience, come see me. The other table coming from the Funk Firm is the lower priced Gett. With Arthur, you get a bit of cheese, of tongue in cheek humor with product naming, like the Smoothie for the new external power supply. But god love him for making such great music making machines!
Someone recently payed me a visit, and had this Sinatra record in tow. As much as I love Frank, his Columbia years are not my favorite period. Well, this one, from the Impex record label, blew me away. Such great songs, they just leapt out of the DeVore 0/96's, the speakers this customer came to hear. While it is a mono recording, it was extremely nice with a stereo cartridge, the Dynavector 20X2L, to be exact. l can officially say this record, and several recent reissues I've purchased, all mono, have made yours truly finally, yes, finally, order a mono cartridge. So soon it will be mono time over here at the Haven. I do have quite a few already, mostly jazz or classical, but a few of the aforementioned recent reissues are dying to be heard properly, some that Michael Fremer, of Analog Planet, and Mark Ainsley, of The Piano Files, have helped me procure.
As a matter of fact, we were actually going to have had a MONO DAY ONLY at Room 630 at Axpona last year, home of Stereo Haven the past 3 years at the Renaissance Hotel in Chicago. This year's show has been rescheduled to October, yet who knows. It wouldn't be quite so bad to get a case of this kind of mono, yet no one needs that nasty covid business.
I know many of you have never heard a proper mono setup, so when my cartridge gets here and broken in, (not broke! egads, too many of you are having that happen, please be careful) you should schedule a listen.
Let's see....lots of new goodies here.
Top of the heap are the JMREYNAUD speakers, from France. Love them, adore them, I could do cartwheels over them if I could indeed cartwheel. So instead I'll raise my bowl of Ben & Jerry's and salute. Also there is a new dac, the WEISS 501. One of those half sized chassis jobs, from Switzerland, it is what I have been waiting for in a dac. Easy to use, absolutely excellent build, lots of highly technical engineered features for those of you who like to play with your gear- I am solely in the listening camp here, yet you fiddle about all you want. It's the first piece of digital gear I cannot wait to listen to each day. I do still sell the Chord dacs, which are also very very good, and some might prefer, like Callas over Tebaldi (yes, I've been listening to lots of opera during covid), the precision of the Chord dacs. As I keep saying, sometimes it's a matter of taste, or systems.
And then there is a new cable line....cable line, you say?? What! more bloody cables!! and I say, why yes, there is this marvelous Scottish cable line, ATLAS, which after first hearing my samples this fall I told my lil group, guess what, I'm signing up with another cable company. Of course there was the expected laughs and boos and name calling, at me, not the cable line I've signed up with. I get my first batch very soon. And yes, I'm excited. They do have several levels, and at present I'm going with the Mavros. The speaker cable will be the first on the floor. All I can say is I found it extremely musical, extremely easy on the ear. And they have this earthing system called Grun, so in my test sample I ran the speaker cable as is, and then after a good break in period I added the earthing cables. A quite dramatic drop in the noise floor, which I gather is what a good grounding system does. I was sold instantly. No voodoo or snake oil. There is a grounding system offered by PURITAN, another new product, from England. I have their 6 outlet power conditioner. Quite good. So then this grounding system has rods for outside that get pounded in-ground and get attached back to the power conditioner via a junction box. Can't wait to try that now that I heard what the Grun can do. That won't happen until the flowers are blooming again, however.
There's also a new entry from DYNAVECTOR, the low output version of the venerable 10X5, making it a, yes, you guessed it, moving coil low output version of the traditional high output 10X5. A bit redundant there but making sure everyone was paying attention. It is a super fun cartridge. Like all Dynavectors, it soars thru those grooves with ease- a great tracker. And not just a pretty cartridge like many in its price range. This one has the goods.
Soon there will be a new record cleaning machine here, the Nessie from Hannl.
And soon, another phono stage company, the Whest.
I've been working on one more, details later on that.
BACK TO THE STEREO TALK
Okay, ready or not, here I am again. Admittedly it's been awhile since I've been on here. I am on Instagram some, stereo_haven. But mostly I talk the hifi talk these days on the phone, in email, or in my head most of the day, so by the time I drag myself upstairs where my iMac is I'm pooped out or numb. The iPhone app for weebly doesn't work well for me. So if I've been idle on the website it's not for lack of interest. Most dealers, myself included, have been super busy once the initial covid alert of last February wained a bit. It took probably til the middle of summer for people to start shopping again, all online or by phone. I did not take appointments until much later into the fall. and that's been going fine. Still, it's all masked up all the time, one person visits at a time, tons of spraying down both before and after an appointment.
So the upside has been many people at home, playing their hifi more and giving it more attention or being struck with upgraditis. The downside is the waiting. Waiting for product. The way it's mostly been going is you order and pay, I order and pay, and then we wait. Sometimes not an eternity, sometimes it is an eternity. There are the parts shortages, the factory lockdowns, and the shipping jam ups to blame, and also long long waits at customs. I've been a happy yet nervous wreck for months. You see, I'm like you, I like to get my stuff in a timely fashion. Oh, I say I can wait, you say you can wait, yet when we wait wait wait, it gets to be a little much. I've tried the meditation path, I've tried to be like the Buddha, yet when you hear the sea freight that was promised next month will now be the following month will now be sometime in the future whenever the boats can dock or whatever else you might get told- well, it gets one nervous. Almost all of you have been saints. Truly. I laugh on the phone and empathize and try to act calm, yet I'm a wreck. You are taking it in stride much better. Well, all but one of you. Stiffed me and left me with a paid product, which, unbeknownst to you, is a hot product, and will sell as soon as it comes in. So even you are forgiven. Maybe my meditating has paid off slightly.
Of course some companies have been quite good with filling orders. So you never know.
A bit of sad news to share today. KL Audio has announced they are discontinuing production of the LP200 ultra sonic cleaner. I have found that this is the only ultra sonic cleaner to have. I hate the Audio Desk from Germany for many reasons, and could never understand why reviewers and magazines praised it so, I guess the all mighty dollar spoke to them more than common sense. And this new Kirmuss cleaner, while not an ultra sonic, is bizarre to say the least. I like how reviewer Michael Fremer skirted around just basically saying how weird it was to use. Ah, money!
So there are a few still available if anyone wants one, they are saying they will back their service for the warranty period. And no, there is no deep discounting going on, so bottom feeders look elsewhere.
To me, the KL Audio and Keith Monks are still the best out there period, and I'm very sad to see KL go....I've had mine since 2014 with no issues, and tons of usage. So we'll see how it goes...
New to me and this area is the newish DAC from Exogal, the same folks who did Wadia way back when. I love that it's not suitcase size, like a Lampizator, and with its separate power supply is easy to shelve. I've been using the AES cables from both Audioquest (Diamond) and the new Tellurium TQ (Silver Diamond). Loving the new TQ, btw. The Exogal is controlled by its own app, generally once set up, no need to app up again. It would be handy for headphone users, having an easy volume control, which I am still not, and probably won't be. I've been doing a bit of a DAC shootout with both my own here and from several local customers in recently, and the Exogal is holding its own. Quite a lovely sound, so absolutely no quibbles so far. DACs are a little funny in shootouts, as I've been discovering. They're not like turntables or amps, where you immediately get a huge sense of what each is doing. More like you need to do long term listening, to see how the overall effect gets to you. Seems like an odd statement to make, even for me, yet it's been proving true. If DACs are your secondary source, perhaps it's not so critical. But if digital is your only source, or dare I say, one's main source, then take the time, and do go all out. After you get the unit that appeals best to you, take the time to get the right cables, the most proper shelf, even if the more money spent yields only a wee bit more....with digital that bit more can make a huge difference between wanting to listen or not, at least to Mr. Picky here.
I've been told by my new Exogal rep that it has great appeal amongst women, due to its ease of use and size. Comes in silver and black. Now taking orders....so come have a listen.
now being coupled with the new extremely popular Aurender ACS10, the new cd ripper/storage from the marvelous folks at Aurender. The Exogal and the ACS10 make quite a pair. Couple via a good usb cable, and you're off and running, with rip and play convenience, will have a ripped cd with the correct tagging of metadata in 3-5 minutes on average, then use the Aurender app and off you go....
News to Use
Let's see......from the House of Vandersteen, there is a price increase coming in April.
2Ce Signature II $2999
Treo CT $8,999
Quatro Wood CT $15,499
New! Kento Carbon...projected price $37,000 due out this fall...stay tuned!
Seven Mk II $63,999
also a new bookshelf, the VLR CT $3,075
Sub Three Each $2499
Sub Nine Pr. $18,900
Prices for crossovers, home theatre please inquiry.
Very much looking forward to the new Kentos...while they replace the 5A's in the line up, which are discontinued and no longer available -period, they are not an exact replacement, more like a total new design. 2 8" side firing woofers, giving the cabinet a bit of an extended side profile to accommodate the drivers. I am planning on getting these in this fall. They go great with lines I have here, Ayre, VTL, the Rivieras, and AQ and now Tellurium TQ cabling. And I love to dial in the subwoofers's crossover, using my trusty Radio Shack SPL meter and the Vandertone test disc. Like the Quatros, getting to dial in the subs can aid greatly in room placement.....get the imaging you want and perhaps the spouse's room invasion approval, the dialed in subs can allow the speaker many placement choices whereas you often have only one spot in the room for the best bass and imaging. With more conventional speakers one should always do the bass first. I've had Quatro placements a mere 10" from the back wall, and I'm sure the Kentos will follow suit. Stay tuned!
I'm sure all of us have certain recordings we use to setup or tune our systems. Something we know like the back of our hand, to do speaker placement for best imaging and bass, or now with me and the new Line Magnetic 845, to try my hand/ear at tube rolling. This Columbia recording from 1975 is not an audiophile recording by any means, it's only a Masterworks, not a Columbia 3 or 6 eye, nothing collectible. Yet with Copland himself conducting, it captures the mood of the pieces like few recordings have. Several things I listen for: first off is that the pieces should have a bounce to them, a lilt, if you will. Side 1 is movie music for the film The Red Pony, commissioned in 1948. It needs
Among the many new classical pianists out there today, here's one who's at the top of my listening pile...Federico Colli, a thirty-something Italian. Once I heard a bit of him on Tidal, I grabbed everything on cd I could, of course to rip it to my Aurender streamers. My internet here is too volatile for continual Tidal use, so one does what one can. Anyway, his performance of the Bach/Busoni Chaconne is one for when you want to shake up the house. And his Pictures at an Exhibition, a piece originally for piano that I never tire of, is given quite a human touch. Reminds me of the time I heard Gina Bachauer play the last two movements as a kid. Spellbinding. So check him out, if you're into classical piano.