I listened to a megabuck turntable... SHOOTOUT! *Part 3 - updated*

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Kimiimacman

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Hi Simon.

Actually still waiting. I guess the October Audio Note 10% price increase (first in 7 years) has overloaded production. Speakers were supposed to arrive last week so imminent. Jinro hopefully not far behind. The Audio Note CD player is excellent. Bridges the gap between Densen 440xs and my turntable by around half. Very "vinyl" like sound wise.

Interestingly I took my BBP rack to Audio Councel to compare with his Ikea rack and guess what?  The Ikea sounded better  :o. Clearly as well! I was pretty humbled. I subsequently bought several Lack coffee and standard tables, added extra legs and reduced their size etc. The result is a rack that cost 50 quid and has improved my system sound. The Versalex seems to have benefited the most. More open with less surface noise and better noise floor. Sadly the Densen integrated and Shahinian Larcs aren't L300/HX100/ Obs to realise the full effect but it's a clear improvement after several weeks listening.

I will post a pic once the amp arrives. 400 Royale is definitely the next deck for me after establishing the Audio note gear into my system.

So are you still using SBL's with the Linear A?

Rob

Hi Rob,

Well, all good things come to those who wait; or so they say :D

Very interesting/sad about the BBP tables though; to be outshone by Ikea :scratch: I used to use a LACK with the bottom removed and the 'honeycombe' ripped out; most important that, under my LP12 as prescribed by my then Linn rep, worked a treat. How have you configured the LACKs? All lined up in a row?

Currently the Linear A is being upgraded to MK11 (unheard  :duh:) hoping it arrives back today but we are talking about TE :lol: I pulled the trigger upon listening to the matching Vibe line-stage.
Having said that, with the recent total system rebuild my set-up has never sounded so good especially with the Symetrix tonearm mod I mentioned earlier; did you try it? Repeatably miles better. Went back to standard config again last night, dull!! I therefore hope the TE gear maintains the sonic gap I had before, if not I won't loose out but I just have to scratch that itch. It must be being in my mid 50s and considering values :lol:

ATB

Simon

TimF

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Rob, I too, am interested in your system updates! Guess you best be changing your avatar soon as well! I am still plugging along, no WT table yet, but still happily having fun with the Naim/Larcs, they are very fun little speakers! Take care mate!

Tim

rob400

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Hi Tim.

Jinro due this week. The AN-E SPe HE speakers are fantastic! In truth good as Shahinian's are these are a better listen. Big open, clean with a well integrated and powerfiul bass. My Veralex/XV1s has now moved even further away from the CD player. The Puersound SUT and Phono might have something to do with that but vinyl has never sounded so good in my place and I'm having to use my Densen integrated whilst waiting for the big SET. Hope you are well. More to follow. Rob

TimF

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Indeed, once you find that setup which gets to your soul, nothing else will do. Audio Note does it for many. I am not sure if I have found "it" yet for me. But I don't fuss over it so much anymore and am just enjoying what I have and the music it makes. Will be watching this space though! All is well.

Tim

rob400

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The Jinro SET amp now graces my system and is a superb match for my AN-E SPe HE speakers. Together they produce an excellent sound. My Versalex/XV1s fits in nicely also with an obvious synergy. 'Less hifi more music" is an over used cliche in the industry but it definitely applies here. Natural, organic with an ease that evades any transistor amp that I've heard. Nothing polite about the sound though. It has plenty of balls with on point PRAT and powerful bass. I think the 400 Royale would be really something now. All good things..........



« Last Edit: 16 Dec 2016, 09:09 am by rob400 »

Kimiimacman

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The Jinro SET amp now graces my system and is a superb match for my AN-E SPe HE speakers. Together they produce an excellent sound. My Versalex/XV1s fits in nicely also with an obvious synergy. 'Less hifi more music" is an over used cliche in the industry but it definitely applies here. Natural, organic with an ease that evades any transistor amp that I've heard. Nothing polite about the sound though. It has plenty of balls with on point PRAT and powerful bass. I think the 400 Royale would be really something now. All good things..........




Many congrats Rob, like me I know you will be delighted with you journey's new turn. What Phonostage are you using or is it built into the pre?

I now have the Linear A Mk11 installed with all new Electo Harmonix matched double quad tube sets (£123) and currently a Vibe (awaiting the Pulse power supply) and a loaner Groove Anniversary mk11 awaiting delivery of the Groove SRX MK11. Both the Pulse and SRX will totally transform what is already a system the mirrors exactly your comments with my SBLs.
I was reading the over lengthy posts of Arthur Salvatore at high-end audio.com and one comment he made really struck home, that that a truly great system cunjures up surprises even in familiar music, true that.

I totally agree re 400. I'll have to hold off for a while having forked our for a whole new amp/Phonostage. Need to move the Rega on and haven't decided what to do re digital which now will get even less play seeing as the gap between the Isis and the Versalex have just become a massive chasm.

Certainly a new phase in my journey. Enjoy yours and please post more inc photos

ATB

Simon

rob400

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Thanks Simon.

No phono with the Jinro (or remote  :o). I've bought a Puresound SUT and phono and its excellent for a grand. I'm looking at the Audio Note S4 SUT as my next but one upgrade but as you will appreciate after so many new component purchased recently funds are limited for a while. I believe though that using a top cartridge and not feeding it through an equivalent quality phono is folly! The diminutive DVP75 is good up to XX2 but once we hit the XV1 level better is needed. I haven't heard your combo but if you're happy with it then it will be a good un.

It doesn't look like you will be going back to Transistors any time soon and I echo that feeling. Even the excellent DV's or Naim's are innately hard sounding by comparison especially with constantly teetering on it digitally recorded/transfered material.

I've just enjoyed a few hours of CD playback actually. I've heard the ISIS and liked it but I have to say that the two box AN tube players get much closer to our turntables sonically. The 4.1 Balanced DAC is terrific although it retails now at 11700 gbp  :o. I've feel that we have to spend at least twice as much on the CD hardware to narrow the gap between the best of vinyl and the best of CD. As a dealer I'm sure you get to hear more gear than I do but I heard even a level 2 AN transport and DAC walk all over a Naim 555. That was with DV'S and Obs not my present AN set up.

I'm not privy to your musical tastes but 'Ottis Taylor's White African is as good as Redbook CD sound quality gets IMO. You might want to check it out. On my player the sound is amazing and as good a listen as all bar my very best analogue....

Happy Xmas

Rob

TimF

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Oh the wonderful glow of those bottles! Looks great, Rob. I can only imagine how it sounds....Enjoy!

rob400

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Oh the wonderful glow of those bottles! Looks great, Rob. I can only imagine how it sounds....Enjoy!

Thanks Tim. It sounds off the charts good mate! Happy holidays....

rob400

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Well I've finally heard a turntable that is a significant improvement over my Versalex IMO. The Kronos Sparta. I think it's testament to the WT that it took a turntable costing 7 times the price here in the UK to show up the Versalex's comparative lack of weight/authority and detail resolution. Still not sure if I want to part with that sort of money for a new deck though!

gagamut

How to compare?same cartridge?same phono?same system?

Kimiimacman

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Well I've finally heard a turntable that is a significant improvement over my Versalex IMO. The Kronos Sparta. I think it's testament to the WT that it took a turntable costing 7 times the price here in the UK to show up the Versalex's comparative lack of weight/authority and detail resolution. Still not sure if I want to part with that sort of money for a new deck though!
Hi Rob,
It's been a long time since we've heard from you, I assume you're still enjoying the AN system?
First deck to significantly improve on the Versalex? I thought that accolade went to the Royale 400, the subject of this thread.

When I had it home it was far weightier and authoritative making my versalex sound somewhat soft by comparison. Thankfully for my bank balance I've sort have got over the loss of the 400 though John is bringing it back down is a couple of weeks, damn it!

ATB Simon.
Still the Kronos is so much smaller than the 400.

rob400

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« Last Edit: 10 Nov 2017, 01:13 pm by rob400 »

Kimiimacman

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I am enjoying my Audio Note system Simon. I've become friends with Peter Qvortrup which has been a bonus. I now use an Audio Note IO Gold cartridge and S9 SUT. The Gold is 22grms so better suits high mass arms. That along with my estrangement from my WT dealer and the weight and dimensions kind of puts me off the 400. It would be a much cheaper route and I have a buyer for my Versalex waiting. Build quality with the Versalex is quite poor and that hangs over things. Plinth poorly finished, my arm cup seal has failed twice plus and switch went. Very nice sounding deck for sure and better than a AN TT2/ LP12  to my ears. The guys at Opera just aren't able to do Mr F's designs justice IMO. BTW its my view that John Burns is the nicest and most genuine guy that I've dealt with in the industry. He was on point regarding the Auditorium mat killing the sound . Tried it for the first time in a while yesterday arghhh.....

You are so right regarding John for sure but I can't say I agree about the build of the Versalex though. Sure, it's not SME or Brinkman in its finish but as you well know, neither does it need to be; the deck would have cost a great deal more and in all likelihood not made a jot of difference to the performance thus maintaining the ratio of performance/cost.
I understand that the earlier samples had a drain plug which some eventually could leak but was redesigned without such curing the issue, was yours not replaced with the new?
To date I've sold a fair few and again no issues with the plinths either.

As for the cartridges weight, again due to the unique design of the Symetrix arm the compatibility issue that afflicts other designs is negated, the XV-1s is hardly a lightweight.

As it happens John was with me today to return the 400 for another demo and from the very first bar it absolutely blew me away and confirms my desire to add one to my system. All of the classic WT strengths retained but with immediacy and gravitas the Versalex ultimately lacks. The arm is of course the same as the Versalex albeit 5 inches longer but the overall build quality is undeniably up there but no more than necessary: definitely no bling.

I've never heard the Kronos and I assume you are referring to the dual platter version but does it really have that WT sense of flow that no other deck I've heard has?

Did you ever get to hear the 400?, if not I recommend you do Rob. I know it's big but on its own table ( I really do think the table adds to the overall performance, I tried it on my Quadraspire SVT Bamboo and that fell well short) it's not that much larger than a decent sized rack like my SVT. I suspect the ceramic balled feet similar to the deck's own have a fair bit to do with though too.

Anyway, good to hear from you again.

ATB

Simon

rob400

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« Last Edit: 10 Nov 2017, 01:13 pm by rob400 »

Kimiimacman

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Deleted message

Ooops Rob! PM me at work if you wish to pursue the comments on your last post, be happy to help.

ATB

Simon

rob400

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Not oops Simon. Deliberate. Spies everywhere! I will be in touch for sure.......

Kimiimacman

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Well I've finally heard a turntable that is a significant improvement over my Versalex IMO. The Kronos Sparta. I think it's testament to the WT that it took a turntable costing 7 times the price here in the UK to show up the Versalex's comparative lack of weight/authority and detail resolution. Still not sure if I want to part with that sort of money for a new deck though!
I can imagine there are a number of people here on this forum that would be very interested to heard which turntables you've demo'd that fell short of the Versalex.

rob400

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You are joking Simon! Haven't you noticed just how few people post on this circle? :-).

Started life with an Ariston then I owned an LP12 ending up with /ARO/Geddon (for many years). Miss it on maybe 20% of albums. When it thrilled it really did. But the Versalex is just so much more consistent with more natural timbre and increased space. Traditional Jazz and Classical much better now. Heard half a dozen other decks at peoples homes or shows but nothing really interested me until the Kronos. It was very analytical and I'd want to make sure that doesn't transcend to sterile but it certainly impressed me with it's clarity and detail resolution. Interesting design. I've been an Audiophile for 35 years but only owned three makes of turntable. It's not beyond the realms that will remain the case..........

Kimiimacman

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Joking? Not at all. From your post I took it to mean you had auditioned many decks but the Kronos was the first to improve on the Versalex. There seems to be more high end decks than ever, many highly acclaimed such as Clearaudio, Brinkmann, AMG etc. I was just wondering which you had rejected, as a fellow WTV owner, along the way?
I too had a Linn/Aro/Geddon for years, then changed to the Radikal and like you happy with the decision to go WT.

ATB

Simon