LAST UPDATED March 1, 2023
Deceptively simple photo of the main components above conceals the spaghetti-hell behind the scenes – balanced mains supply, multiple power-conditioning units, filters and purifiers, circuit-noise neutralisers, earthing enhancers, empty-socket stops, all working together to enable the front-end components to shine.
Cartridge Upgrade, November 2022: Dynavector XV1-T
Flagship of the Dynavector range, the XV1-T offers astonishing presence, energy, and musical imagery. Most important, it reveals the quality of the original recording, good or bad: good original recordings sound wonderful. Bad recordings, or poor reproduction of other recordings, are shown up for what they are. You will discover that some of your records are amazing, others are not very good recordings! The stereo imagery is particularly explicit, the cartridge sensitivity and channel precision works wonders. Unfortunately the cartridge’s sensitivity also extends to groove obstructions, amplifying clicks and pops, and demands very clean records.
Valve power amplifier September 2022
World Designs KT 88 custom – build
Custom-built World Designs KT 88 valve amp, fitted with Psvane KT88-T Mk2 valves, Black Gate capacitors, Furutech power socket, circuit and transformer designs by Andy Grove of Audio Note, component upgrades curated by Man-In-A-Shed, lovingly hand-built by Mathew Snell, World Designs.
The output of this valve amp is only 35 watts compared with the Linn’s 200 watts, yet it powers quite comfortable the Linn 242 speakers, the last remaining legacy Linn components. The volume control remains at a similar one quarter turn setting, showing how much redundant surplus power capacity was designed in the solid-state amp.
It sounds…gorgeous, organic, transparent, effortless…breathing freely. Pity it requires a half-hour valve warm up to reach that level, but that is a small price to pay.
The staging has been replaced by an Atacama Eris Eco 2, which is the only commercially available system that meets my minimal space footprint.
OUT – Solid state Linn C4200 power amplifier
Relocating the Avid Acutus Reference PSU up a rack stage permitted reuse of a higher quality but shorter (0.5m) interconnect Kimber 1036 between the preamp and amp, matching the critical cable from the TT to the Phono amp
OUT – the Linn Akurate Digital Streamer. Control device upgrades required, money wasted on Ipad2, fussy database management, no longer supported operating system, not worth trying to keep up. Linn is concentrating on multi-room connectivity, phone-docking stations, and digital streaming services. Next stop hi-fi IKEA, Bang and Olufson. The pied piper of convenience and unlimited choice wins, the audiophile loses. LJC is now all analog, vinyl only, bye bye Linn, once great company.
Power Conditioning – AbZorbers
I already had three of these devices in place but adding a fourth AbZorber represented a breakthrough in clarity and realism of the whole spectrum of sound. No idea how they work, reducing the effect of voltage spikes which impair transformer operation and generate background noise, apparently. I just know they make a huge difference to the quality of mains power supply
Furutech High End Performance Rhodium-plated fuses
Every power cable (10 of them) is fitted with Furutech Rhodium-plated T13A fuses, all power-plugs are upgraded to Rhodium plated connectors. The difference rhodium plating make defies reason, but hearing is believing. (Warning: these glass-bodied fuses are not available for sale in the UK)
“The T13A features a glass body specially tuned for resonance control, pure silver conductor wire precisely calibrated for its rated capacity, and rhodium plated pure copper end caps for increased conductivity and protection from corrosion. Widely regarded as one of the best UK fuses available, this will bring a considerable improvement to sound quality in most high-end audio systems. Furutech have since ceased production of these fuses, consequently making them highly sought after.”
Effort now goes on listening to records in the collection rather than adding yet more.
March 1, 2023