Recent Arrivals, and Boys and Girls, Are These Doozies…..

To start off with, something you just don’t hear everyday, a/the flagship cartridge of a company.  In this case I’m referring to one of the world’s greatest cartridges, the Dynavector XV-1t.  I’ve used the XV-1s at home for many years, way before I became a retailer again, so I know it well.  And we’ve sold quite a few so far since the shop has been opened.  Yet nothing prepared me for the music that comes from this cartridge.  Not for everyone’s wallet, at $9250, although if you want the best, here it is, in St. Louis.

Dynavector XV-1t

Dynavector XV-1t

Your new best friend?

Your new best friend?

Truth and Beauty combined...

Truth and Beauty combined…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, as promised, the 100 watt heavy hitter from Line Magnetic, the LM501 Integrated.  From the get go, this looked to be every bit as wonderful as the single ended LM518.  As touched as I am by the 518 ( and you know I’m a bit touched in the head if you read these at all) , what the 518 does for single driver and efficient speakers – magic!- the 501 is apparently going to do for speakers of average to a tad stubborn efficiency. Today’s preliminaries were done with the venerable Harbeth 5, and I have to say it was working wonders with it, solving a few iffy issues with the 5′s that I thought were inherent in the speaker, nay, now I know it was just looking for the right amp.  Can’t wait to try it on a host of speakers that the other LM’s weren’t a match for.  Look out, the big boy from LM has arrived!

Sturdy she arrives…..

Sturdy she arrives…..

What lay within?

What lay within?

Marvelousness, that's what!

Marvelousness, that’s what!

The mighty 501 integrated with the all around tasty 215 CD player...

The mighty 501 integrated with the all around tasty 215 CD player…quite a combo!

And In a Bit More News…

Our DeVore Orangutan O/96′s should be here shortly…..John DeVore says they’ve been selling like hot cakes, so we’ll see soon enough…

Also due in very shortly is another goodie from Line Magnetic, the LM 501 IA 100w integrated.  Looking very forward to this one, for as good as the other two we have in are, the 211 and 518, they are just too low on power for some of your favorite speakers out there.  Using KT120′s for output tubes, 6L6′s for driver tubes, and 12AX7′s for inputs, I’m hoping for that lovely LM sound with grunt for those more difficult loads.  At $4250, if it’s as good as the other two, look out, this one will be hard to beat.  4 inputs, a pre-in for use as amp only, 4,8, 16 ohm taps, with remote, this could be, dare I say it, one of those giant killers among beefy amps.  Stay tuned….we’ll know soon enough….

And remember from last time around, Snarky C says : Salamanders are for creeks, Blue Jeans are for legs, so let’s do your gear a favor and do a little better on those racks and cables out there, shall we? Anyone who wants to audition a Quadraspire rack or Auditorium cables in home please contact me.  Just remember, in some cases, with DIY, you are sometimes Doing It TO Yourself (and not in a good way).

And She Called Down the Angels….

I saw several of you there last night for Renee Fleming’s triumphant return to the Sheldon Concert Hall, and what a glorious night it was.  She’s taken to a more relaxed performance style in her recent recitals, quipping jokes in between numbers and seeming very relaxed.  Glorious singing ensued on songs from Rachmaninoff, Dvorak, and Canteloube, the kind that gives you goose bumps – the patron on my right and I were swooning and just about spooning over some of it, we got so caught up in it.  I lost my mind for a while it was so good.  There was a bit of a quibble with her programming at the end, as she sang show tune standards – The Sound of Music, Hello Young Lovers, and A Wonderful Guy, probably for the sedated part of the audience.  Summertime, my least favorite song of any right now, was also chosen, as well as Danny Boy in lieu of St. Patrick’s Day. Still, with such a voice, even that didn’t diminish my joy of the evening.  And best of all, no talkers in the audience during the performance, at least none that I heard.  My plight in life seems to be to be near someone who pays big money to talk thru a show, such as the previous weekend at the Pat Metheny/Chris Potter show at the Pageant.  Some slag talked her way through the entire evening, even after she was reprimanded by my new best friend sitting next to us.  Why, oh why, must people do that?  All in all, a diva at the peak of her powers….and a wonderful evening….

The Sheldon stage ready for greatness to happen...

The Sheldon stage ready for greatness to happen…

Quincy Bound and Down….

Had a chance to visit with one of my favorite hifi felines in Quincy again, and she seemed to approve of her latest additions

IMG_4566 to her system,  a PH8 phono stage from Audio Research, and a jewel in her cap, the Dynavector XV-1s low output MC cartridge, which mated quite nicely with her Well Tempered Labs Amadeus turntable.

Ph8 on top of the ARC VSi60

Ph8 on top of the ARC VSi60

Shelved on a Quadraspire Q4 EVO rack, the system she has created for her kind owners, Duane and Laurie, was making wonderful music.

As I always say, pay attention to your listening panel’s reactions, they’ll tell you rather quickly if it works or not.

Thanks, Duane and Laurie, for your gracious hospitality.  Always a pleasure.

Dynavector XV-1s cartridge

Dynavector XV-1s cartridge

Line Magnetic starter….

Line Magnetic 211 integrated

Line Magnetic 211 integrated

Great build quality

Great build quality

affordable tube beauty

affordable tube beauty

Still loving the Line Magnetic 211 integrated…simple beauty is what I call it.  4 El34 output tubes and 2 12AX7 and 2 12AU7 input tubes.  Simple basic remote with volume and mute.  Very easy bias switch with meter to check the output of the power tubes.  22 watts of ultra linear power, switchable with just a toggle to triode mode of 15 watts, for extra beauty if your speaker likes it that way.  Like any amp, if it connects with a speaker it likes, look out.  For its entry price of $1650 it truly delivers.  And for those adventurous souls out there, you can begin the game of tube rolling, trying different varieties to get the flavor you’d like out of the amp.  As of late this floor model has all Tung Sols in it, $14 an input tube and $24 an output tube, so not hard on the wallet and an increase of quality on the ears.    If you yearn to venture into the area of tube gear, this integrated is a great place to start.  Will better all those Dynacos you’ve inherited or cheap Chinese copies.  Highly recommended!

There Are Two Kinds of Qute…

a delighted customer's new Naim Qute with Vandersteen VLR speakers

a delighted customer’s new Naim Qute with Vandersteen VLR speakers

One, the Naim UnitiQute, often referred to as the Qute or just the Q for Naimies, as shown here in a recently delivered bookshelf system coupled with the Vandersteen VLR  bookshelf speakers, making for a fantastic streamer based system with 30 watts of Naim power. I can’t say enough good things, as you know, about this all in one unit from Naim, and neither can this delighted customer, so don’t think I prattle on just to entertain my pooch.   The VLR’s were also quite a revelation, my first time getting to hear them.  This customer was insistent we got in a pair, and I’m glad we did.  Thanks, Mr. Charles, for your insistence….

Vandersteen VLR

Vandersteen VLR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then there’s another kind of Qute, or cute, in this case….

she likes to talk hifi, too

she likes to talk hifi, too

 

Ms Entertainment Herself, March 2 at the Pageant

A show that will do all our hearts good, Sharon Jones is back and coming to the Pageant March 2 at 8PM.  If you think you got soul, or maybe lost yours and need restored (like me for a while), step right up for this humdinger of a night.  Highly recommended!

sharon jones

Racks…

We’re talking racks, as in something to give your quality gear quality support so it can perform and sound its best.  Since we’re starting out the year fresh and with renewed vigor, ( I am, hope you are) it’s time once again to talk about proper support.  As much as you would like to believe, most of your DIY’s just plain ol suck.  There, I said it.  I’ve concluded that hifi racks are the biggest area of voodoo and nonsense among audiophiles by a wide margin.  Why do you futz and putz over your gear, this new cable, this new tube, this new speaker positioning, when you sit your gear on something that is obviously robbing it of its very essence?  Many dealers have encountered the same thoughts in their territories, so it’s not just a St. Louis thing, like whether or not you prefer IMOs, or if Ted Drewe’s is worthy of anything.  A quality rack, at whatever price, is vital for good sound.  Just like a well selected turntable/cartridge combo, a rack can actually make or break a system.  I can demonstrate it any day of the week.  So please, when you go to putting together a system, please please please consider what you are putting it on, and add that into the equation and checkbook.  It’s that important.

We have Quadraspire racks, from England, that start at $175 a shelf, and can be added to or sized by various columns with ease.  Target stands, also from England, not from the red bullseye store, used to be the go to rack until they belied up.  Many of us had those, and many still do.  The Quadraspires are better, and easier to use.

someone taking delivery of a fresh Box Furniture rack, in sapele wood.

someone taking delivery of a fresh Box Furniture rack, in sapele wood.

Also on hand are the beautiful all wood racks from Box Furniture Co. of New York.  Shown here in gorgeous sapele, they also come in anigre, which is a lighter color wood.  Standard and custom sizes available.  Again, I’ve mentioned them before, yet, for all their “ewwww, that’s expensive” comments they elicit, after having worked with them quite a bit now they seem to be worth every penny.  They will certainly, well, even the more modest Quadraspires are in this category, shove those Salamander racks back in the creek where they belong.  Sort of like buying a new suit yet wearing that frayed, yellow arm pit shirt is what you’re doing when you buy that nice Audio Research gear and put it on a Salamander.  Breaks my heart. You wouldn’t kick a dog, now, would you? Why punish your gear that way….Vital, I’m telling you…vital!

Rega Rega Rega

nice, solid table from Rega, the RP6

nice, solid table from Rega, the RP6

Sorry, I’m always thinking pizza….although usually better quality than the pizza pizza pizza place…unless, of course, you only have $5 until payday, or, strangely enough, you might just be saving up for a new turntable, like this Rega RP6.  As is Rega’s usual way, a delight in fit and finish, ease of setup, and better yet, amazingly good vinyl sound for the money.  For $1495, including outboard power supply for extra goodness, I can’t understand why more folks out there don’t have one.  I’m sayin compared to some of the dreadful things I see in your homes for around the same money.  And if money is the objection, look no farther than the venerable RP3, at $895, still the go to table for many.  Slap, well, no slapping, more like properly mount and align, a Dynavector 10X5 high output moving coil cartridge for $450 and you’ll wonder why you hadn’t done this before, you’ll be playing so many records.  Trouble that I’m seeing out there in hifi land is people are messing up (read skimping on) their whole front end, and futzing with speakers and mediocre electronics and then wondering why they’re still unhappy with their systems. And while we’re at it, don’t skimp on a decent phono stage.  It’s like hobbyists step in a sewer hole when it comes to phono stages.  There’s a lot of misguided trial and error, and trying to get by type of mentality.  If you don’t have a decent built in phono, expect to buy something of quality, and yes, that includes having to buy another pair of interconnects to hook it all together.  Rega has very good captured interconnects from the arm, so that saves you.  Do not use the freebie RCA’s that came with your old dvd player, and if you use flavor of the month cheapos, – ala Blue Jean and the ilk – well, expect your vinyl play to suffer.  I’ve written about the RP6 on here before, yet it needs to be mentioned again, the Rega tables are that high on the value chart.  I’m not going to lose sleep over what DAC you use. DACs are fun, useful, and ever changing, such is the state of digital.  A good turntable, however, is vital.

My New Listening Companion

A new ear in our listening circle...

A new ear in our listening circle…

Between looking for a new location and our new listening companion at home, we’ve been very busy. While I’ll be sad to leave the loft area of mid-town on Washington Ave, the move will allow for daily store hours plus scheduled appointments.  Hopefully we’ll be announcing news on the move soon.  And thanks for all the real estate tips and putting up with my whining.    Also stay tuned for an in-shop demo moving sale on selected items.

 

In other news….

Not long ago a most gracious visitor popped round for a visit, Vince Bruzzese of Totem Loudspeakers.  It was quite nice getting to spend a few hours with one of the industry greats.

the wonderful Vince Bruzzese of Totem Loudspeakers

the wonderful Vince Bruzzese of Totem Loudspeakers

 

Matt Wilson Quartet, with John Medeski

Matt Wilson Quartet, with John Medeski

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the best shows of the Jazz at the Bistro season so far, besides the great Pat Martino in December,  has been the Matt Wilson Quartet, with John Medeski.  So good we had to go a second night…a happening band to be sure.  Don’t miss the upcoming Christian McBride show, always a fun music night.

 

Speaking of upcoming shows, several on the horizon that we encourage you to hear are:

Richard Thompson, solo, at the Pageant Feb 19

Miss Sharon Jones, at the Pageant Mar 2

Pat Metheny Unity Group, at the Pageant Mar 9

Renee Fleming, solo recital, at the Sheldon Mar 15

DeVore Orangutan O/93's

DeVore Orangutan O/93′s

 

The DeVore Orangutan O/93′s continue to impress, quite a marvelous speaker when coupled with the right amp.  Our floor samples of the O/96′s are finally coming very shortly, only several weeks away! I am very very excited about those.  Stay tuned…

One last quick mention: we’ve been receiving many inquiries about the Line Magnetic gear, and yes, it also continues to impress.  While quite nice out of the box, this is one line that improves by replacing a few of the stock tubes,and we’ve got experience with them now to make the proper suggestions.  Okay, one more mention, in regards to LM….their CD player is killer! I mean killer.  Did I say killer?  For $1500 it just gives joy.

Stay tuned……

 

as suspected, Mozart put her to sleep…she's much more of a Mahler afficionado like her owner..

as suspected, Mozart put her to sleep…she’s much more of a Mahler afficionado like her owner..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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a Listening Studio, by appointment

St Louis Stereo

2020 Washington Ave
St Louis, MO
63103