Believe High Fidelity Travels to Utah for a One of a Kind Visit

Believe High Fidelity

[Industry Expert]
Nov 19, 2015
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Hutto TX
ibelieveinhifi.com
My Mother is one of the most caring and thoughtful people I know. She lost her mother (my grandmother) recently and yet has still been sacrificing her time for others to help and be there for them in spite of the suffering she is going through. I found a window of opportunity in my schedule to make a trip out there that also coincided with her birthday weekend. Suffice to say she was happy as a lark and we had a most wonderful time on her special day.

So what does this have to do with audio....?

Well she lives in SLC Utah and do you know who else lives in Utah? That's right our very own DDK! So since I was going to be in the area I did not want to miss out on the opportunity to experience my clients new American Sound TT, but to also share the joy of music out of one of the most unique horn systems I have ever come across. Finding horn lovers can be tough enough as it is you know?

I live in the lively city of Austin, TX (just outside really) and the trip wasn't too bad. 2 and a half hours while enjoying the movie The Shape of Water which lasted just under the exact flight time to make for a very easy flight. From there I jumped aboard a connecting flight for about another 35-40minues to Cedar City. For those that do not know, I used to be a dealer in Utah and lived there for a number of years. It was very refreshing to be back. The air is so clean and crisp and a beautify breeze accompanied ideal climate conditions. Soaking in the air around me was a beautiful view of mountains and ranges as far as the eye could see. Good to be Back!!

David volunteered to pick me up at the airport and was ready in the wings once I got off my flight. We did a scenic route and went to pick up his youngest daughter, but she was having so much fun playing with some friends that he graciously extended the play time at her request. So off we went to his home in the mountains which had some breathtaking scenery. Once inside I was given my very own "wabaki" slippers before we made our way downstairs to the Ultimate man cave. Conveniently enough my Hotel Room (which was bigger and better furnished than most master bedrooms) awaited me and I settled in. We chatted about our thoughts on audio while I relished in watching the master assemble a head shell so we could demo my new favorite cartridge the Suzaku or "Red Sparrow" from Top Wing. For those now aware Believe High Fidelity introduced Top Wing to North America and you can review some of the activities here.

Close to an hour of chatting the luxurious smell of cooking awaited us upstairs in the Kitchen. Little did I know his wife was preparing a Kings banquet for us of sushi hand rolls with smoked salmon and an assortment of accoutrements to go inside of them. To wash it down I was given some very fine Sake, which I absolutely love, as well as some Asian tea that hit all the feels of my soul. If that wasn't fantastic enough of a welcome we ended the course with some divine Sukiyaki and a bowl of fresh egg picked from a local hens nearby to dip it in to that extra velvety feel on the palate. Often times once the conversation about audio tends to dry up there is that awkward silence where you go through the rolodex of things to talk about and keep the conversation going all the while you know that the person you are talking will never be more than an acquaintance. Not with David...or his wife...or his two kids. As a matter of act his oldest daughter and I discussed time travel, aliens, and even the theory of relativity. I was having a blast! As dinner progressed I held back my usual insatiable appetite in fear that they would be abhorred any one person could eat so much food in a single sitting. More sake and tea kept the conversation flowing before we eventually made our down to the man cave for a seriously amazing listening session that (spoiler alert!) lasted until 5:30 or so in the AM.


The Horns


These Bionor horns are no joke. Massive in scale and visually daunting to look at especially when seated in the main listening position. We started off with the Thorens with the ZYX Ultimate to listen to music to and warm up the system while he mounted the Top Wing Suzaku to the SME arm on the AS-2000. David had a few test tracks that he knew like the back of his hand from an album I am unfamiliar with (and still am). It was hilarious because he is so unorthodox in his setup and adjustments for one and the Top Wing needed quite a few tweaks before David was happy with it. We played the same test record what felt about 100 times so I have no idea what the rest of the album sounds like, but I can most certainly sign and repeat the first 90 seconds of that album. :D

I navigated my way in front and around the speakers. Behind where I did not take photos are a pair of subwoofers to augment the larger main horns. All vintage drivers.

PANA2558.jpg


The Front End


I am not sure why the EMT table didn't show up in my Camera, but there were 3 tables. The Thorens, the EMT, and the AS-2000 all running the same or same family of arm from SME. David has spent many years in audio and we talked at length of his own personal journey to where it has landed him today. He is a very straight forward and to the point individual. I have described myself to many people as the Samuel L Jackson of the audio world, but with a fair degree of more charm, but I feel I have met my match. OTOH, it allowed us to get along as though we knew each other from childhood. While David did have a CD player and thousands of CDs to play on it, it was not much of a conversation piece given the richness of choice amongst some royalty of analog playback. All of the electronics were LAMM from the 4 box pre to the phono, to the monoblocks powering the two Towers of Power. Although we tried listening to the Neumann cart only one channel was working and I couldn't get to experience the full glory of it. We spent almost all of the time listening to the Top Wing Suzaku.

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The Music


Wow....just Wow! In all my years I have never heard a system blend the drivers and bass so seamlessly. This is such an amazing feat compounded only by the fact this was done with horns. Now if you don't know how difficult it is to image and blend horn drivers...well it is its own degree of skillset and frustration. When David said it took him years to achieve this level of performance I most certainly understood and my appreciation for the man grew 10 fold. The sound was effortless and blossomed into the room with an ease I have only heard in one or two systems. No area of the frequency range called attention to itself making these ginormous horns disappear as no other speaker I have heard do. 50+ years old folks!!! This isn't modern tech with DSP! I was loving the sound and the many records he owned produced some sensational cuts to listen to. We started with Classical and then to Opera, to Soul and then ended with the Funk. If I did not have to be at the airport in a few hours I probably would have pulled an all nighter listening session. Needless to say it reinforced my love for the Top Wing brand and developed more appreciation for the ZYX which is also a great cartridge. Dyamincs were of course the most welcome to the party. No other speaker design can match a horn for dynamics. The midrange air and body was warm and open with no ceiling or borders it engulfed the massive room and did so without and fatigue. Bass had punch and weight, but no overpowering or unnatural as many speakers these days seem to love to do. It was listening to a wall music and I never once thought or paid attention to where it was coming from. You tune out. You listen. You experience and you love. I know Billy will be loving this table when it arrives in Austin sooner I hope than later.


David is my brother from another mother. A true friend I wish I knew many years before this visit. Hell, even our love of food and cooking overlapped. I hope that one day he joins the ranks of the Believe high Fidelity Network , but until that time I am honored to call him friend. Another page in a book I get to remember fondly of for the rest of my days. Thank you David.
 
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ddk

Well-Known Member
May 18, 2013
6,261
4,042
995
Utah
I still maintain that the best part of this hobby is some of the people you meet and Josh is definitely one of them. It was great meeting him and spending a little time together enjoying life. We had a wonderful time eating, drinking, shooting the breeze while listening to some great music pulling an all nigthter! Initially we were going to divide the listening between two cartridges but the sweetness and musicality of the Top Wing kept us captivated and we never got around trying anything else. One thing for sure Top Wing is another special cartridge and one of the top Japanese offerings today, should be on everyone's shortlist of the best.

Good times :)!

Zuzaku-Cart.jpg

david
 
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jeff1225

Well-Known Member
Jan 29, 2012
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Great report and some excellent pictures. David, what's the cartridge on the Dynavector tonearm?
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Joshua

you are very lucky to have made the trip. Gorgeous country to travel and David's system is like none other in the world.

Too bad that Neuman cartridge was only doing mono as it was my favorite cartridge when I was there
 

Believe High Fidelity

[Industry Expert]
Nov 19, 2015
1,666
321
355
Hutto TX
ibelieveinhifi.com
I still maintain that the best part of this hobby is some of the people you meet and Josh is definitely one of them. It was great meeting him and spending a little time together enjoying life. We had a wonderful time eating, drinking, shooting the breeze while listening to some great music pulling an all nighter! Initially we were going to divide the listening between two cartridges but the sweetness and musicality of the Top Wing kept us captivated and we never got around trying anything else. One thing for sure Top Wing is another special cartridge and one of the top Japanese offerings today, should be on everyone's shortlist of the best.

Good times :)!

View attachment 40497

david

I already miss you David.....
 

Believe High Fidelity

[Industry Expert]
Nov 19, 2015
1,666
321
355
Hutto TX
ibelieveinhifi.com
Joshua

you are very lucky to have made the trip. Gorgeous country to travel and David's system is like none other in the world.

Too bad that Neuman cartridge was only doing mono as it was my favorite cartridge when I was there

I really miss living in Utah, but I always feel that way visiting former stomping grounds. I do feel very lucky as David was the best host, family, and system all in a single location. I was liking what i was hearing with the Neumann, but then David kept showing me the plumbers crack trying to get it to work and well.... we had to stop that
 

Walnut Horns

Well-Known Member
May 11, 2015
109
65
258
Every winter I want to combine a ski weekend with a visit to Dave’s, but finding the time has been difficult. I will make it happen eventually.
 

ddk

Well-Known Member
May 18, 2013
6,261
4,042
995
Utah
Every winter I want to combine a ski weekend with a visit to Dave’s, but finding the time has been difficult. I will make it happen eventually.
There are two ski resorts within an hour drive of us :)!
david
 

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