Lots of things going on this summer at the Haven.....
-Summer Promotion from Auralic....the Aries Streaming Bridge is $1280 ($1599 reg.), the Altair Streaming DAC is $1520 ($1899 reg.), and the Polaris All in One Streaming Amp is $3040, ($3799 reg.) , now until September 31st.
-The new Line Magnetic 508 is here, in gorgeous shiny black. Now before you start asking, no, this is the only model from LM that is imported to the States in black. All others are still in the hammertone finish. Don't ask. Don't even part your lips. It is gorgeous...
It now joins the lineup of the super amps from Line Magnetic, the 219, 518, 210, and 501.
The 508 uses the 805 output tube, so it has 45w of goodness. Call for a listen. A doozy!
-Also the newest version of the LS3/5a's are here, breaking in....from Falcon. THESE are the version to own....will make the Rogers and other smallish monitors sound broke. I kid, but I kid you not. You know me, I strive for perfection here, no matter the size. And these will so fool you by the huge soundstage they can deliver. Given the right amp, of course, and so far I've discovered two at different price points that yield the best out of them. These are not some shoebox speaker like many out there, these will flip your universe around. Guaranteed! Bring your Ls-50 and Harbeth 3's in for comparison, and be ready to work a trade-in... more on these later.....
-The new Keith Monks microLight Record cleaning machine will be here shortly....Jonathan Monks had it at CES, and totally convinced me that this would be the perfect one for many of my customers looking for something better than the Okki Nokki, VPI's, Clearaudio, etc....and it is. One cleaning and you'll be convinced.
- more more more to come.....STAY TUNED!
THIS is making me INSANE! I just tweaked the LM210 I had out the other day for a demo with the DeVore 0/96's, and it is keeping me from going outside, in this beautiful evening weather I'm having here. I replaced the stock 300B tubes, and the small input tubes in front, the 12AX7's. The factory ones are very fine, mind you. These Psvane 300B's and NOS GE 12AX7's are thru the roof! Rachmaninoff Sym #1 is a bombastic tour de force. In private dealer parlance, this is TITS UP, Balls to the Wall, okay, family time here, this is Holy Toledo good. With the brownies I just made possibly lip smacking good! Bless you tube rollers everywhere. Sometimes it gets mucked up - family hour- and sometimes it works out perfect. This is perfect.
Just to let you know, and give you a quick tease, there will be new products coming in the future months. From both the Axpona and Munich Hifi shows came news and some static displays from the likes of Auralic, Ayre, Well Tempered Lab, Audioquest, and even Vandersteen. So stayed tuned for details. I am very excited by some of the news, yawns for some, but you know me, I'll only pick the best to represent for my customers. To quickly dispel some rumors, the news from Auralic is all good. There will be a reference line of DAC/streamer, two boxes to start, followed by two more that will complete the stack. They are really going all out on this one, so my fingers are crossed for their sweet sounding success. And the Vega DAC and Aries streamer ARE still in the lineup, so there- good is good is good. More on the Ayre products soon.....can I just say now....affordable?
This is still my favorite lp cleaner, the KL Audio ultra sonic cleaner. It's not cheap, at $4700 currently, yet it beats pants off the other ultra sonic that pays big money to advertise and garner reviewer praise. It also offers a slightly different cleaning than my other favorite traditional cleaner, the Keith Monks vacuum cleaners. If you have a large collection, this is a great investment. If you have a modest collection or are just starting out, you're probably best to start out with the VPI 16.5. Be aware that cleaners like the VPI's and others like them, Okki Nokki, Clearaudio, etc, do a decent job of cleaning, yet are smearing fluids that don't entirely come off.
As another demo offer from the Haven, anyone visiting can get a free 2 lp cleaning demonstration. You'll be amazed when you get home how much more music comes out of your records.
TAKE THE HAVEN KL AUDIO ULTRASONIC CHALLENGE! Your records will thank you......and so will your cartridge.
I know I'm always thrashing about to get you to buy a proper rack for your system. I probably sound like the latest broken record you just bought off Ebay. Yet more and more, I encounter hobbyists who are unsatisfied with their sound, who swap amp and speaker, speaker and amp, and never seem to get any satisfaction from their system. LOOK AT WHAT YOU HAVE IT ON! That might just be my new t-shirt slogan.
Every week I get the emails or the phone calls, what should I do? Well, I'll tell you what you should do.....INVEST IN A RACK! Not one you made, not one your carpenter buddy made for you - oh, I'm sure it's gorgeous looking- but how does it sound, I ask them? How does it sound? Oh, I'm sure it's great, they say. That can't be the problem. And I'll say, but how do you know? Did you compare it to a quality rack? Noooooo, finally comes the weak answer. If that. Usually my lecture falls on deaf ears....and I do mean deaf. Why spend all your money and time picking out gear, when you're only going to throw it all on a coffee table or a credenza or some piece of furniture you aren't using anywhere else in the house? Because you have not made the connection that a good, proper support is just as much a part of building a system as getting the amp/speaker combo right, or the right cartridge/phono stage combo, or the right cables for the system. You have to budget for support. You have to!
So, here's something that can at least get some of you started in the right direction.
It's the new Quadraspire one board system called the Soundstage.
Someone, somewhere, has been listening to my rants at least. Quadrspire offer this tuned shelf to be placed on any surface to offer you a taste of a properly supported unit. I don't know if you can tell from the first photo, which is the underside, but the shelf has 4 footers that rest nicely on whatever dreck you want to improve, and shows a hole for turning the board into a 3 support board, which sometimes can yield better results on unleveled, nay warped!, surfaces. The Soundstage sounds quite good, I am so pleased to have it for some of you to get with the program. It might also be useful for those that have a source component on a dubious shelf that want to get the best out of it, without investing further....did I just say that? Of course you will invest, after you hear what a proper support can do.
The Soundstage will be available to demo in your own home, to prove that I'm right and you're wrong, or might be wrong....you might already own a Box Furniture rack or an HRS, so doubtful you'll need any convincing why a good rack is essential if that's the case.
I also have a 4 shelf Quadraspire rack that I take out for demos as well. It's on fancy Quadraspire casters so no worries about spiking your floor, accidentally stabbing anyone or anything with a sharp spike, and easy to roll into place.
The Soundstage is $199....orders are coming in already....get yours today!
TAKE THE HAVEN SOUNDSTAGE CHALLENGE!
Axpona.....everyone keeps asking me if I went...
yes, I went. I'll not crab too much about the horrendous music I heard played, the even worse digital I heard it played through this year, and some not very good turntables as well, and the even crabbier attendees and exhibitors I encountered. There, was that too much?
Okay, it was actually fun, always something good comes from a show, the people you meet, the old friends you get to chat with, a few good systems you get to spend a little time with, some new records to rush out to buy after hearing them at Highwater Sound's room, courtesy of Jeff Catalano. And the food! Axpona wouldn't be complete without a trip over to Gibson's Steakhouse- this time two trips!. And there was the Friday night downtown sneak-away to the Green Mill Lounge, the old Al Capone bar where Chris Foreman plays that wonderful Hammond B-3 organ from 5-8. If you ever go, don't forget to make reservations across the street at Demera Ethiopian Restaurant, a 5 star restaurant in my book. Your tastebuds will thank me later....
One take away from this year's not so good show is that I'm extremely happy, giddy even, over the gear that I've been showing here. The lines I've chosen for the Haven are some of the best in the country, and my setup knowledge is commensurate. There are even more good things coming to the Haven soon, so be on the lookout....
The newest version of the VTL 2.5i preamp w built in phono is run in, ready for audition, and turning heads- and ears! At $5500, this latest version has been worth the wait for the inclusion of a world class phono section. It has moving magnet and moving coil, standard preamp features, and is worthy of any system. It replaces the ARC preamps I started the Haven with. Like the Auralic Taurus Mkll mentioned earlier, these preamps are more to the Haven's liking. Wherever ARC is headed I wish them well, it's just that this boy with his snack pack is taking a different trail. The 2.5i also comes in a line stage only version for $3000, and it also has been revamped. I appreciate immensely companies like VTL who strive to put out great products with revisions rather than something new every other tax period. There is a glut of products already on the market. Like Vandersteen speakers, one would never notice the revisions that occur over the years, the chassis stays the same. The added goodness is inside, and can often be retrofittable. So come have a listen to the newest "People's Preamp". Of course, if your wallet is only ready for a $1500 hit, then the Taurus is the new "People's People's Preamp. The Haven has you covered. Or....there's always the Ayre KX-5 pre...$10k...the not every "People's Pre". Schedule an appointment and come have a listen....you'll be glad you did!
She was on TCM the other night in David Copperfield, w Freddie Bartholomew and W.C. Fields....she was beyond brilliant...Dame Edna Mae Oliver. I need a customer like her.
If you follow any of the trade blogs, Audiostream, DAR, Audio Beat, the list goes on, you'll often see this unit with a tablet sitting on top, a set of headphones plugged in, and usually the Auralic Vega DAC underneath. They are the same size, you know.
I'm still on the fence about headphones, for the Haven, I mean. I don't know if I have the in-shop traffic to support a buy-in of a number of headphone models. I know they're the rage. Camfest just occurred in Vegas, and from all accounts it was packed. The CanJam room at upcoming Axpona in Chicago will be packed to the rafters. So we'll see....anyone interested? Please send emails of interest or give me a buzz. I do have some great headphone amps here already, or integrateds with great headphone stages in them, like the Leben. The Leben 300 EL84 integrated is renowned for the headphone section, and many a well heeled audiophile has been buying it as such. There's also already here the Auralic Taurus Mkll as previously mentioned, the Ayre QX5 and Codex DACs. Not too shabby, all that's missing are the cans...I don't know if I can get hip with that word... Let me know....
Oh, back to the Taurus for a sec. I have been using it as a preamp lately, and for the money, it's a doozy....it seemed to take a long while to run in. Now I'm completely happy inserting it in some very top notch systems without once thinking it not worthy. For $1500 it has loads of features, sounds amazing - it's based on the Neve studio recording board, look it up- and I just cannot fault it. Balanced and single ended. And Highly recommended!