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  1. M

    Shelter Harmony

    Reading through some of the other threads here I think I can add a little more context. Like Koetsu, the Shelters are quite musical cartridges that can do well for all genres. And it is also capable of "emotional" reproduction. Like Shakti mentioned on the Windfeld Ti, I used to have an original...
  2. M

    Shelter Harmony

    I've had one for a few years and like it a lot. Excels in soundstage, air, and detail without tending to brightness or harshness. No hint of graniness anywhere - perfectly clean and smooth. Nice punchy, taut bass. Great for rock as well as classical. It has a nice clean neutral midrange, a touch...
  3. M

    The Myth of Diminishing Returns

    I've become increasingly annoyed by the old "diminishing returns" trope, usually thrown out by guys jealous of those with the all-out megabuck systems. I won't be able to get to that level myself, but I do understand that expensive upgrades which don't effect significant gains usually just mean...
  4. M

    Clear Audio Double Matrix questions

    Double Matrix Pro Sonic here. Love it, but yes its main value is for speedy cleans during listening sessions without interrupting the flow of things. In theory I'd like the option of multiple fluid tanks so I could do 3-step cleans, but in reality I'm not sure how much I'd use that since I hate...
  5. M

    Interesting turntable

    Most audiophile turntables, even suspended ones, have rigid coupling between the spindle/bearing and armboard. You can see extra effort to make this connection as rigid as possible in Rega's upper tables, the new SOTA Nova VI, etc. An example of where this is NOT the case is the Clearaudio...
  6. M

    Some help on 6SN7 please

    The circuit matters. Many of the renowned vintage 6SN7GT will have problems in slots sensitive to noise/microphonics, like high gain preamp slots. Plus some circuits may rely on the higher voltage rating and/or plate dissipation of the later GTA/GTB series; a GT series may not last as long in...
  7. M


    Yikes!! OMG is right - having to rebuild any diamond cantilever is twice as costly. I religiously use a metal outer ring (Clearaudio), but am extremely careful and aware of the risk it can pose, especially with certain tonearm setups. My lone incident was a few years ago, with a girlfriend...
  8. M


    This same kind of story with $2K+ cartridges gets posted at least every few months on the hifi boards. Instructions to the cleaning crew, no matter how clear you think you're being, will eventually fail. Physically lock off access to the audio room, or at least be in there while she's cleaning...
  9. M

    What's the best headphone amp you have heard?

    @ersel That's fair - it's been so long I almost forgot what a POS Singlepower's proprietor Mikhail was leading up to his disappearance. In fact I lost $800+ myself to him on a botched amp upgrade that blew some of my headphones (original Sennheiser HD580 Jubilee, pretty rare these days). That...
  10. M

    What's the best headphone amp you have heard?

    A good “Stax Mafia” Kevin Gilmore DIY T2 build makes even a Blue Hawaii SE with NOS tubes, and a KGSShv Carbon, sound broken by comparison. I sold my BHSE immediately upon receiving the T2. That’s the most transformative headphone amp I’ve heard - for Stax 009, 009S, 007, and even Sennheiser...
  11. M


    And there is a Jasper stone platinum/boron (modern era) Koetsu currently up on Audiogon, that I had never seen nor heard of before! It is beautiful, with pink hues. So much mystery and history with Koetsu!
  12. M


    I think VanDen Hul puts those stickers on for re-tips.
  13. M

    A new reference in phono cables....

    That would be great! I’d be very curious for that comparison. As for the Fire though, it’s not really a phono cable, and its higher capacitance can be a real problem for certain phono roles (especially at 1m or more). I found that out myself trying to use a 1m Fire between SUT and phono stage -...
  14. M

    Audiophiles mostly aren’t music fans

    "Audiophile" and "Music Lover" totally don't have to be mutually exclusive. But certainly, putting together a high-end system that sounds great on material other than a few "audiophile fireworks recordings" can be difficult. I believe that if you have trouble finding recordings which sound...
  15. M

    A new reference in phono cables....

    Yep, exactly. For some reason phono cable reviews never like to mention what they were actually compared against. Not long ago there was another review like this on the Cardas Clear phono. Very frustrating. Tell me it beat the crap out of say an AQ WEL Signature (which is what I have) - now that...
  16. M

    Orotofon MC Anna Diamond cartridge

    I too was nervous about the diamond cantilever's potential fragility, but after running Koetsu Diamond since March I've relaxed a whole lot about that. No experience with "blows" to diamond, but I'm not sure boron models have much of a practical advantage there. The only accident I've had with a...
  17. M

    Kind of an audiophile argument

    But "grade school math" doesn't come with a specification to resolve these kinds of ambiguities, without additional punctuation or spacing to clear up the confusion. From context we can tell that the space between the first 2 and lead parenthetical ( is intended as an implicit multiplication...
  18. M

    Kind of an audiophile argument

    Just publish the language specification for what the expression is written in. That'll clear it up.
  19. M

    Time for new cartridge, suggestions?

    Ah, my first cartridge was a Benz Glider L2, and I remember well that 1st upgrade decision! Back before I took the "blow it all" budget mentality with cartridges :) I auditioned the Ortofon Kontrapunkt "a" (now Cadenza Red, which is even better) and liked it better than the Glider, but that...
  20. M

    Is the MIT president reading audio forums

    LOL. But on the flip side - "don't question us!" - that always ends well. Some sciences (and their applications) are far more nailed-down than others.
  21. M


    67 dB is just a little on the high side for the Urushi, but honestly I find I like a little bit extra gain on tap with my Koetsus. So in my mind it should be perfect. The Andros has an amazing reputation for its sonics, and I believe it uses internal SUT too so you have the option of trying...
  22. M


    Thanks Matt. The thing is, the VAC actually has a SUT built-in to handle the MC stage. This then feeds into the tube MM stage. I choose to bypass the internal SUT because I feel there are better SUT matches for my Koetsu cartridges (I prefer Bob's Devices Sky, EAR MC-3, and the Koetsu SUT). The...
  23. M

    Best switchable wand tonearm?

    Wands are much more expensive to stock up on, and sometimes much harder to source, than good headshells. I have Fidelity Research FR64fx and FR64S tonearms, and like the Ikeda headshells on them. I do prefer them to my Graham Phantom Supreme. Headshells are universal and generally give you more...
  24. M


    I've gone back to old gear a few times out of nostalgia. And though nothing is ever a true apples-to-apples comparison, from what I can discern the newer reference gear decidedly thrashes my fond memories in a head-to-head fight. I.e. there's no going back. That said, the enjoyment I got from...
  25. M


    Mine was a head to head between CoralStone boron and Blue Lace DC. I like it so much I recently sent the CoralStone in to be DC'd too. So I can answer Ron's query soon. The DC has next-level detail and realism from a Koetsu, without sacrificing the midrange - in fact it's even better since it's...
  26. M


    I always do a couple flex-opens of the stylus guard, then the index-finger spread trick while putting it on. But these days I don't use it very often, as my table is in a safe place. And I understand the apprehension in mounting the 1st diamond cantilever. For me, 2.5 drinks is the proper...
  27. M


    :eek: to your Blue Lace being sold out from under you! Yikes.
  28. M


    This weekend I re-mounted my Graham Phantom Supreme with Onyx Platinum, for comparison to the FR64S with Blue Lace Diamond (both mounted in parallel). Both using the Koetsu SUT. I was curious, as I'd enjoyed the Graham/Onyx for a few years as my main setup. It was immediately confirmed that the...
  29. M


    There is also some variation in the short-body stone weights. I have an early-ish Onyx Platinum P022 that weighs notably more than other stone bodies (even another Onyx). In fact it requires the additional counterweight when mounted to the Graham Phantom. It must be north of 13.5g.
  30. M

    Is Audio Research becoming a “lifestyle” brand?

    I absolutely love the new look. Honestly the old look was part of what had kept me away from ARC. I now own a Ref 6, and there’s nothing lifestyle-ish about its performance. And I’ve been drooling nonstop over the new 160S since its pic was released.

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