I have been experimenting with hifi equipment for over 45 years trying to get my jazz LPs to sound their very best.  I started out making a lot of equipment myself, mostly out of economic necessity, but I have returned to DIY simply to get the sound that I want. It's also more satisfying to design and build something than it is to be on the audio merry-go-round where nothing is ultimately satisfying. In general, I like a warm, detailed, dynamic sound with good rhythmic pacing. I also want my speakers to sound like a single driver, not a collection of several drivers all sounding a little different. That sounds simple enough but it can be hard to come by in today's high-end world.

One thing that has remained constant over the years is my love for straight-ahead jazz especially from the late '40s through the '80s. I particularly enjoy jazz guitarists. Some favorites include George Barnes, Bucky Pizzarelli, Gene Bertoncini, Emily Remler, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Charlie Christian, Barry Galbraith, Jim Hall, Barney Kessell, Oscar Moore, Sal Salvador, Chuck Wayne, Django Reinhardt, Carl Kress, and Johnny Smith. What talent! Jazz probably accounts for 90% of my listening, but I also occasionally listen to folk, rock and classical.

I generally prefer the sound of the original issues of LPs or early reissues, in contrast to the reissues sold today by "audiophile" labels. For whatever reason, the modern reissues just don't have the natural sound that records pressed in the 1950's and 1960's have. I would rather put up with a few ticks and pops and even some occasional distortion when listening to a used record from that era than listen to a modern reissue which may sound clean and pristine but also processed and less natural.

Room Details

Dimensions: 20’ × 14’  Medium
Ceiling: 8’

Components Toggle details

    • Western Electric and YL Acoustic open baffle
    Deja Vu Audio speaker with all vintage components--Jensen P15LL woofers in open baffle, Western electric 32A horns with YL Acoustic 5500 compression drivers, and Electro-Voice T-350 tweeter.  Internal wiring is Audio Note Lexus and Audio Note SPx..
    • Galibier Gavia
    with Gavia platter (32 lbs). Dynamic, detailed and musical.  The table has the updated Galibier high-torque motor and new controller circuitry.
    • Analog Instruments Siggwan 12
    A 12" unipivot arm made by James Grant in New Zealand from a single piece of cocobolo.  I replaced the standard Cardas wiring with a Discovery wiring harness.
    • Triplanar VII.2 Ultimate
    The Triplanar is a great match with the Benz LP.
    • Benz LP
    I have been a loyal Benz customer for over 20 years, progressing from a Glider M2 to L2 Woodbody to the LP.  I have enjoyed each one.
    • Denon 103R
    A classic. Recently upgraded with boron cantilever and MR stylus by Andy Kim.  Sounds really nice on the Siggwan tonearm.
    • EMIA Intact Audio MC Stepup Transformers
    Copper 1:10 stepups
    • DIY D3a/5687 Phono
    My main phono preamp is a 2-stage tube phono circuit with passive RIAA equalization. The first stage is a Siemens D3a (in triode) and the second is one-half of a 5687. Each tube is biased with LEDs. The outboard power supply uses a 5R4GY rectifier, several chokes, and Blackgate WKZ filter caps.  The audio circuit uses a number of Audio Note Silver tantalum resistors. Interstage coupling caps are .1uf CuTF V-Caps.  Intact Audio output transformers.  

    I experimented with a number of audio circuit topologies and power supply designs, as well as component types, before settling on this particular setup, so it's no surprise that I like its sound very much. It replaced an Artemis PH-1 as well as a number of previous DIY efforts.  Aside from sound quality, it is also very quiet, more so than any of the 4 or 5 solid-state phonos I've tried.     
    • Emotive Audio Epifania Custom
    This is a one-of-a-kind version of the Epifania. It uses the Epifania 12B4A audio circuitry but with solid state regulators. This unit has V-Cap coupling capacitors and Black Gate WKZ power supply caps.
    • Slagle Autoformer passive attenuator
    • Western Electric WE 124 amplifiers
    DIY version of the WE 124 amplifier with Acrosound TO-330 output transformers.  RCA 6L6-G output tubes.  Copper V-Caps and Audio Note Silver Tantalum resistors.
    • Emotive Audio Vita monoblocks
    These are a custom pair of Vita amps built by Fred Volz at Emotive. The Vitas are a push-pull design that can use KT-120s, KT-88s, 6550s, EL-34s, KT-77s and 6L6s. My favorites are Genalex (reissue) KT-77s and Tung Sol KT-120s. These amps are, without a doubt, the best sounding high-powered amps I have had in my system. They are also the best looking with matching tiger maple bases. The amps have 3/4" thick aluminum slabs around the perimeter which act like a sink for vibrations. They have copper V-Cap (CuTF) coupling capacitors, Teflon tube sockets and WBT connectors.
    • DIY 6L6GC Monoblocks
    Push-pull amps with GE 6L6GC Blackplate outputs and vintage Chicago output transformers.  They use a floating paraphase inverter circuit.  Coupling caps are Copper V-Cap (CuTF).
    • DIY 46 SE Monoblocks
    Single-ended 2-stage amps with Electra-Print output transformers.  A Western Electric 417a driver feeds a RCA 46 output tube via an interstage transformer made by Dave Slagle of Intact Audio.  The driver stage has voltage and current regulation with a CCS feeding an OD3 gas tube.  Choke-input power supply with 5R4GY rectifier and BlackGate WKZ filter caps.
    • Audio Note Sogon and Vx
    Silver litz wire interconnect.
    • Audio Note ISIS interconnects
    • Audio Note SPx speaker cables
    Silver litz speaker cable.
    • Audio Note ISIS speaker cables
    • Ocellia Reference power cord
    used on phono preamp.
    • Audio Note ISIS power cords
    with Furutech FI-50 NCF connectors.  Used for all components except phono preamp.
    • Furutech GTX-D (R) NCF
    power outlet
    • Sound Anchors Stands
    Dedicated stands for turntable and monoblock amps.
    • ASC Tube Traps
    one trap in each corner behind speakers
    • Loricraft PRC-3 record cleaner
    pretty quiet for a vac
    • Box Furniture rack

Comments 85

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Hi Sal,
It doesn't surprise me that the Ocellia would expose  the quality of an IEC connection. I believe the Ocellia cables purity of signal transmission will just reveal the truth. They accomplish  this in a natural rather than analytical fashion.
Sal given the make up of your system, yourjazz music collection must sound divine.


Sal thanks for your reply. I very happily use the Ocellia IC and SC. So naturally I am curious about their power cord.


Are you using Ocellia and Wireworld or Wireworld exclusively now?


Thanks very much for your impression . Given the considerable discussion this amp generates on the AA SET forum I'd like to hear it myself someday out of pure curiosity.


Hi Sal,
Saw your post on the AA forum where you mentioned the Serious Stereo 2A3 SET. I'm interested to know your impression of Dennis Fraker's amplifier. How does it sound?


Hi Sal,
I know you enjoy listening to jazz as much as I do. In addition it's clear that DIY brings you plenty of joy and satisfaction. I hope you'll continue to have this much fun for a long time.


What a beautiful system! given your custom electronics and other components the sound has to be devine. Like you I`d say 90% of my listening is wonderful jazz.
Best Regards,