After all is said and done, there's still nothing to compare to the joy to be found in a nice vinyl playback system.
…and due to a unquenchable craving to experience this joy, my analog front end has undergone a bit of a transformation….and I could not be more thrilled with the results! The main system rack is now sporting a way-cool (not to mention way-gorgeous) Clearaudio Emotion SE turntable with Satisfy Tonearm, and arguably the best MC cartridge value on the planet, the Benz Micro ACE SH. All of which are grateful to be connected to a stunningly good phono stage, the Musical Surroundings Nova Phenomena battery powered preamp, designed by the renowned Michael Yee.
Directions to Joy: Drop needle into groove, take a seat on sofa with wife, have a sip of a favorite wine……Ahhh..….if it’s a dream, don’t wake me! Leave me right where I am…..in Audio Heaven.
Special thanks to Steve Nakashima for his expert recommendations, Garth Leer, and the rest of the fine folks at Musical Surroundings, for helping make this analog dream a reality.
Digital Audio / Video
Good news! The question we’ve all been asking, now has a viable answer. Is it really possible to “have it all”, and obtain state of the art digital performance for far less than ever before? I’m a believer. Read on….
My OPPO Digital BDP-83SE multi-format Blu Ray player (replacing Oppo’s original game changing BDP-83) is now graciously sending 1’s and 0’s to the best DAC value on the planet, and maybe just the best sounding DAC out there period, Wyred 4 Sound’s new DAC-1. Designed by rising industry star E.J. Sarmento, not only does this DAC blaze new performance trails in digital audio, but does so at an unbelievably reasonable $1K price point! It’s virtually magic, and certainly an amazing achievement. Can you spend more money on the road to state of the art digital audio performance? Easily. Do you need to? Well, this now becomes a debatable question thanks to the stunningly good W4S DAC-1 and DAC-2. If you are shopping for a place to jump off of the digital upgrade merry-go-round, these components simply must be on your short list. Pick up the phone today and call E.J., & the nice folks at Wyred 4 Sound. Tell ‘em Rob sent you….You’ll be glad you did.
You know the phrase. If it ain’t broke….ok, so I didn’t fix it. I just climbed a rung or two on the upgrade ladder, sticking with my favorite line of amplification components. In the world of high end audio, amplification “drives” the sound and is critically important to so many performance characteristics. Amplification is a key ingredient, in my opinion, to what the overall results will be. Every piece in the chain makes a difference, sure, but amplification is a major building block. In my system, things have taken a huge step up. Why? I'm still Wyred. Wyred 4 Sound, that is. After a most enjoyable affair with W4S’s incredible STI-500 Integrated Amp, I became intrigued with the notion of pushing the envelope with a W4S separates system. Enter the highly acclaimed STP-SE preamp, and a set of SX-500 mono-blocks. Class D amps may have their loyal following, and their detractors, but this technology and how W4S crafts it, has made for a transcendental, riveting, miraculously musical journey that is quite unlike anything I’ve heard before. And at the price of their gear? Unbelievable. Kudos to Wyred 4 Sound for designing these revolutionary products, and a BIG thank you to EJ Sarmento and the kind folks at W4S for helping with this amplification upgrade.
OK, OK. I’ll admit it. If you can’t already tell, I love hi-fi gear. And I like to experiment with component changes and upgrades, make a few alterations from time to time. For me, it’s all part of the fun. But with all of the modifications I’ve made to my systems spanning 32 years in this hobby, I’ve stayed with the same brand of speakers consecutively twice. Once with monitors made by legendary designer Pat McGinty (Meadowlark Audio), and again this time around upgrading from Epos Acoustics stellar M16i’s to my new M22i floor-standing monitors. Resolution, musicality, a room filling, natural soundstage, along with effortless dynamics and a believable, full, articulate low-end foundation, these speakers are a big-time sleeper, and really do “have it all” at a most affordable price point. Thank you to U.S Distributor Music Hall, it’s owner, Roy Hall, and West Region rep Leland Leard for adding to my system’s synergy, with a crown jewel to what has become an unbelievably enjoyable mid-level audio system.