What it's all about?

DLS

Well-Known Member
Jan 12, 2013
35
47
260
New York
I have loved records for as long as I can remember. The music is the main thing, but the technology was always fascinating. What voodoo magic is it that allows a diamond dragged through a spinning piece of plastic to elicit a very good facsimile of the real thing? I’ve also always been protective of my record collecting, realizing very early on that my investment in the media was significant and that the need to protect it was paramount. In the summer of 1973 I completed my graduate studies and got my first real job. With my first paycheck in hand, I bought my first real stereo and after determining that I liked the sound of EPI 150 speakers more than the ubiquitous (at the time) Advents, my limited budget forced me to choose between a Marantz 2270 receiver or a much cheaper Kenwood, and a turntable that would be protective of my records, or something more basic. After some consideration, I made the decision to invest in a manual turntable, Philips GA212a with a Stanton 681EE cartridge, protecting my records, but forcing the Kenwood compromise (that original Philips GA212a turntable remains fully functional in my basement office, but my main system is where I really listen).

That system stood me in good stead for almost 20 years until I “rediscovered” gear in the early 1990’s. My taste in music had changed considerably and I’d been spending a good deal of time at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. By then money was no longer the concern, and getting closer to the absolute sound of live music in real space had become something of an obsession. The insane pursuit of that goal took over.

It took almost a decade, but the resulting system got me to where I wanted to go. A VPI TNT Jr., upgraded with tri-pulley system and SDS, outfitted with JMW-10.5i tone arm and an original Transfiguration Temper, pushing sound through a Hovland Music Groove 2 phono cable to a Hovland HP-100mc Preamp (an extraordinarily good Phono stage surrounded by a decent Preamp), then on to a pair of BEL 1001 amps in mono configuration with BEL P-1 ICs and BEL S-24 speaker cables to Sonus Faber Extrema speakers. I added digital, of course: a Sony 777es SACD player, later replaced on it’s failure by an EMM Labs XDS1v2 with Oyaide Continental 5s cable between it and the Hovland Preamp. That led to a re-evaluation of cable (and silver vs. copper) and subsequent replacement of all BEL cable with Audio Note Sogon speaker cable and SOTTO ICs (that’s a whole other story).

During this period of “final” upgrade, I discovered to my horror that the cantilever on my beloved, original Transfiguration Temper had broken. At the time I was listening to a good deal of vinyl, maybe 75% of my music listening. Whenever I put on a record, my wife would inevitably say, no matter the genre or artist, “What’s that?” bringing a smile to my face that the money had been well spent. After considering sending the Transfiguration back to Japan for repair, I went in a different direction and replaced it with a Lyra Skala. The system back to where it needed to be for me, time went on but I listened to less and less vinyl as I gradually moved to downloading my CD collection to a MacMini and listening ever more to digital and “background” music.

I’ve never been one of those audiophiles who invited people over to listen – I’m just not that social. But I do go for daily walks with a friend and on a recent one our discussion turned to vinyl. I insisted to him that if he heard a good system, he’d know instantly that the medium was superior. He laughed it off until I invited him over a few weeks ago on a Saturday for a few hours of “hearing is believing” therapy.

I’m 69 years old. I don’t have material wants. The system I have is for me alone. Yet from the moment I lowered the tone arm into the leading groove of the first of many records played that day, the look on his face as the soundstage illuminated before him reignited my original joy in pursuing this hobby.

Shortly thereafter I got in touch with the folks at Soundsmith to see if they could take a look at my Transfiguration Temper. It’s there now. I then got in touch with the good people at VPI to discuss the potential for adding a second arm with the intention of being able to listen to either cartridge at will. One thing led to another and now I await both the return of the Transfiguration Temper and a JMW-10 3DR tone arm. I will now return to Vinyl in a major way, with regular listening sessions intent on getting through my large collection at least once more before the end.

What a strange and wonderful quest this has been. Reading posts here reminds me (usually) of the joy it brings to so many. Given my age and general health, I’ll have to start thinking about what to do with this system upon my inevitable decline, but in the meantime, I intend to have as much fun as possible, and happily await my wife’s query from the next room, “What’s that?”
 

Addicted to hifi

VIP/Donor
Sep 8, 2020
4,614
2,007
265
50
Australia
I have loved records for as long as I can remember. The music is the main thing, but the technology was always fascinating. What voodoo magic is it that allows a diamond dragged through a spinning piece of plastic to elicit a very good facsimile of the real thing? I’ve also always been protective of my record collecting, realizing very early on that my investment in the media was significant and that the need to protect it was paramount. In the summer of 1973 I completed my graduate studies and got my first real job. With my first paycheck in hand, I bought my first real stereo and after determining that I liked the sound of EPI 150 speakers more than the ubiquitous (at the time) Advents, my limited budget forced me to choose between a Marantz 2270 receiver or a much cheaper Kenwood, and a turntable that would be protective of my records, or something more basic. After some consideration, I made the decision to invest in a manual turntable, Philips GA212a with a Stanton 681EE cartridge, protecting my records, but forcing the Kenwood compromise (that original Philips GA212a turntable remains fully functional in my basement office, but my main system is where I really listen).

That system stood me in good stead for almost 20 years until I “rediscovered” gear in the early 1990’s. My taste in music had changed considerably and I’d been spending a good deal of time at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. By then money was no longer the concern, and getting closer to the absolute sound of live music in real space had become something of an obsession. The insane pursuit of that goal took over.

It took almost a decade, but the resulting system got me to where I wanted to go. A VPI TNT Jr., upgraded with tri-pulley system and SDS, outfitted with JMW-10.5i tone arm and an original Transfiguration Temper, pushing sound through a Hovland Music Groove 2 phono cable to a Hovland HP-100mc Preamp (an extraordinarily good Phono stage surrounded by a decent Preamp), then on to a pair of BEL 1001 amps in mono configuration with BEL P-1 ICs and BEL S-24 speaker cables to Sonus Faber Extrema speakers. I added digital, of course: a Sony 777es SACD player, later replaced on it’s failure by an EMM Labs XDS1v2 with Oyaide Continental 5s cable between it and the Hovland Preamp. That led to a re-evaluation of cable (and silver vs. copper) and subsequent replacement of all BEL cable with Audio Note Sogon speaker cable and SOTTO ICs (that’s a whole other story).

During this period of “final” upgrade, I discovered to my horror that the cantilever on my beloved, original Transfiguration Temper had broken. At the time I was listening to a good deal of vinyl, maybe 75% of my music listening. Whenever I put on a record, my wife would inevitably say, no matter the genre or artist, “What’s that?” bringing a smile to my face that the money had been well spent. After considering sending the Transfiguration back to Japan for repair, I went in a different direction and replaced it with a Lyra Skala. The system back to where it needed to be for me, time went on but I listened to less and less vinyl as I gradually moved to downloading my CD collection to a MacMini and listening ever more to digital and “background” music.

I’ve never been one of those audiophiles who invited people over to listen – I’m just not that social. But I do go for daily walks with a friend and on a recent one our discussion turned to vinyl. I insisted to him that if he heard a good system, he’d know instantly that the medium was superior. He laughed it off until I invited him over a few weeks ago on a Saturday for a few hours of “hearing is believing” therapy.

I’m 69 years old. I don’t have material wants. The system I have is for me alone. Yet from the moment I lowered the tone arm into the leading groove of the first of many records played that day, the look on his face as the soundstage illuminated before him reignited my original joy in pursuing this hobby.

Shortly thereafter I got in touch with the folks at Soundsmith to see if they could take a look at my Transfiguration Temper. It’s there now. I then got in touch with the good people at VPI to discuss the potential for adding a second arm with the intention of being able to listen to either cartridge at will. One thing led to another and now I await both the return of the Transfiguration Temper and a JMW-10 3DR tone arm. I will now return to Vinyl in a major way, with regular listening sessions intent on getting through my large collection at least once more before the end.

What a strange and wonderful quest this has been. Reading posts here reminds me (usually) of the joy it brings to so many. Given my age and general health, I’ll have to start thinking about what to do with this system upon my inevitable decline, but in the meantime, I intend to have as much fun as possible, and happily await my wife’s query from the next room, “What’s that?”
Well said.
 

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