Emptiness is a good thing!

I spent many years searching for a stereo set up that I could just enjoy. Part of the challenge with that endeavor was (is) my passion for tweaking – it’s a perfectionistic bent.

But early last year I found I really didn’t have an interest in tweaking anything with my equipment. In fact, I just found myself listening, when I had time. And in turn, getting lost in the analogue.  I suspect the combination of the Giscours and the AMG took me to an audio dimension that just resonates with me.  I can’t explain it beyond this. But I will say I’m very happy with my set-up and I am enjoying the music more and more (when I have time).

This freed me up to focus efforts on the room and how I had everything configured. Given the multiple roles my audio listening room had, I settled in on a built in cabinet that would house records, tubes, SS for home theater, and also have a counter upon which I could place the turntable and works of art.  I was inspired by the system Matt R displayed on his site http://pitchperfectaudio.wordpress.com/. The customer is identified as Wayne P. From there, I spent time working with a cabinet builder and finally had everything together right before last year’s holiday season.

Since then I’ve enjoyed the music.  Which leads me to some thoughts on what I will try to write about. In no particular order:

  • The AMG turntable – luv it!
  • Shindo’s magnificent Giscours
  • DSD files through the Acoustic Plan Dac with the Mac Mini and Audirvana Mac player

For now, I will leave you with this. The emptiness on this blog for the past year plus has more to do with finding great joy with the music in my set-up, than it has with anything else. I hope for each of you readers out there that you will find a set up that lets you enjoy the music. I would also encourage everyone to step back and start listening.

Thanks everyone!

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So much to share, so little time to do it

Ok, it’s been almost a year.  That should suffice as a reasonable hiatus.

So I am planning to get back up and post a few thoughts soon.  For now, let me share that we reconfigured our listening room, and I have also made some upgrades to my system.  This includes climbing the shindo pre-amp ladder to the Giscours and I’m still enjoying my sweet pair of GM70’s.  I’ve also moved on from my Rega P9, a beautiful table, to the swank AMG.

I’ll be writing more to you soon.

Nibbling on the line: upcoming reviews

My apologies for not writing more reviews or more frequently.  I have some regular day responsibilities that demand a lot right now, so I’m very behind on reviews.  That said, here’s what’s in the pipeline:

  1. AcousticPlan’s Digimaster DAC – digital finally sounds right… (forever in progress – but I love the DAC!)
  2. Shindo Vosne Romane | sneak peak – sublime…, really, it is!
  3. Shindo GM70 Lafons | Yah, I pulled the trigger on a full Shindo synergistic set-up.  These are due to arrive this week, and I’m pretty excited.
  4. Sablon Audio’s Panatela interconnects (2012 version).
  5. I may even toss n a review of my Sophia Electric 300B’s, now that I will have the GM70’s.
  6. More vinyl reissues to follow!  (Ongoing)

But I would ask for your patience with me as I try to get to these…  For now, take care – I’m heading back to Uncle Tupelo’s for some more sublime sounds!

Reeled in: Auditorium’s new T2 SUT

Matt Rotunda at Pitch Perfect Audio in San Francisco recently sent me the new Auditorium T2 SUT to try for a demo.  The T2 is the “hommage” (a/k/a “homage”) SUT by Keith Aschenbrenner of Auditorium 23 that Matt explains is specifically designed for the higher impedance carts like the  EMT (or a Denon DL103) cartridge.  I have a Koetsu Urushi Vermillion, which has a similar impedance to these, so this should work!

The T2 arrived Thursday, and while I’ve only had it in my system since for 3 days, I’m beginning to think Matt set me up!  So here’s a brief snapshot of my opinion.

The T2 puts you more “there” than anything I’ve heard.  It’s probably the first product I could honestly and convincingly say I felt my place in the room listening.  I’ve run it through several musical genres, but right now Madeline Peyroux is playing, and I feel like I’m right there, sitting in the lounge about 2 tables back from where she and her band are playing.

Interestingly, when I put the standard issue A23 back in I feel detached and more in MY room.  The other thing I notice is that each element, vocal, piano, bass, etc is more defined with the T2 than anything I’ve heard with any system I’ve had in the past 3 years! Where you notice this the most clearly is when you go from the T2 to the A23 and listen to the same material.  The differences jump out at you.

Candidly, I was a little surprised by this.  I’ve had some exposure to other SUT’s, and the SUT built into my Shindo Vosne Romane is supposedly a fine product.  But no other SUT that I’ve heard really jumps out at you like this.

But don’t take my word for it.  Earlier today my dad (76 years old) was over so he could listen to the new reissue of The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Time Out by QRP, and specifically Take Five.  I did a test with him and did not share my thoughts.  When we switched from the T2 to the A23 he immediately observed the differences.  He described the sound as now being muted.  He opined there was less energy.  He then described how he felt with the T2 he WAS “there”, but now, he felt he was no longer “there”, but rather “here” listening.  Curiously to me, he observed that the instruments were also less defined.  Not bad for a non-audiophile!

More to come, including photos and my decision on whether I will part with this little gem!

PS – August 1, 2012 – I decided to keep this bad little box…

No time out here

One of my top five albums, if not most favorite, is The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Time Out.  I have an original, first pressing in mono from Columbia on the famed 6 eye label.  And, FWIW, it was one of the first Lp’s I tracked down when I jumped back into audio and vinyl.  Simply put, I love this album.

I later acquired the Classic Records reissue (stereo), which was ok, but the pressing was a little noisy for my tastes.  And the noise was nothing like the nostalgic ambient sounds that come through my original mono when I play it back.  That sound is more the product of time than poor pressing.  But even if something like the Vinyl Cleaner could cure some of that acquired sound from the passage of time, I doubt that would ever allow that original masterpiece to compete with the new Analogue Productions and Quality Record Pressings newly touted, “definitive” version.

But what AP & QRP have reissued is a masterpiece.  They’ve packaged it in a beautiful gatefold jacket, with nice black and white photos from the Columbia Studios recording session. This looks and feels very similar to Music Matters’ Blue Note jackets.  QRP pressed this gem on 200-gram vinyl cut at 45 RPM by Bernie Grundman.  Amazin’!The Dave Brubeck QuartetThis is a spectacular album, and an even better reissue pressing.  It is by far the best version I have ever heard!  Highly recommend.

PS – my order of preference for my versions?  1) AP & QRP’s 45 version discussed here (country mile); 2) Original 6 eye mono; 3) Classic Record’s reissue.

Nibbling on the line: upcoming reviews

I know, I know, I’m behind on getting out some reviews.  I haven’t forgotten.  Upcoming reviews that I hope to issue this Summer include:

  1. Shindo Vosne Romane | sneak peak – sublime…
  2. AcousticPlan’s Digimaster DAC – digital finally sounds right… (forever in progress – but I love the DAC!)
  3. Auditorium A23’s new T2 “Denon Style” SUT (Preliminary – done)
  4. Analogue Productions’ remaster of Dave Brubek Quartet’s Time Out. (Done)
  5. Sablon Audio’s Panatela interconnects (2012 version).
  6. More vinyl reissues to follow!  (Ongoing)

But I would ask for your patience with me as I try to get to these…  For now, take care – I’m heading back to Uncle Tupelo’s for some more sublime sounds!