Description

My continuing travels through the World of Ken Shindo and Shindo Labs. Many thanks to Matt Rotunda of Pitch Perfect Audio for his knowledge and expertise in all things Shindo. After hunkering down in temporary digs for two years and five months, I finally moved from sunny SoCal to Wine Country in Northern Cal in December of 2016. I'm still unpacking and sorting through boxes (I'm retired so I now have a lot of free time on my hands) but one of the very first things I unpacked and set up was my Hi Fi system.  My Shindo system is for the most part, "complete", and I anticipate only a few more upgrades/refinements before reaching the end of the "Road to Hana" and Musical Nirvana.  Life is great!
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Room Details

Dimensions: 20’ × 16’  Medium
Ceiling: 9’


Components Toggle details

    • Shindo Labs Vosne Romanee
    A retirement gift to myself!  An opportunity came up, via Matt Rotunda of Pitch Perfect Audio, to trade-up from my Masseto to a Vosne Romanee.
    • Shindo Labs Lafon WE 300B monoblocks
    A pair of Lafon monoblocks featuring the Western Electric 300B NOS tube.  I don't think I'll be upgrading amplifiers anytime soon...
    • Shindo Labs Corton Charlemagne EL34
    Two 25W monoblocks that each use two fixed-bias NOS Telefunken EL34 pentode tubes in Ultralinear mode, a pair of 12AY7 dual triodes and 6AU4s rectifiers.
    • Shindo Labs 301 Player System
    With Shindo Mersault RF-773 tonearm & Shindo SPU. I had planned to make this upgrade one of the last pieces of my Shindo system puzzle, but a great local opportunity arose to acquire it at a "reasonable" price. Just a beautiful TT to behold. My TT journey is over!
    • Auditorium 23 Hommage T1 SUT
    Auditorium 23's statement Step Up Transformer (SUT) designed for Shindo and Ortofon SPU's.  A magical synergy with both the Shindo 301 TT and Vosne Romanee preamp.
    • ModWright XA-5400es
    Stock Sony SCD XA-5400es that received ModWright's Ultimate Truth Mod.
    • REL (Radio Engineering Labs) Precedent 646C Tube Mono FM Tuner
    I acquired this highly regarded FM tuner from a fellow audiophile in the Bay Area in early 2017, but its refurbishment and re-calibration was just completed in May 2018.  I inserted the tuner into my Shindo system using a Y-splitter to send its mono signal to my Shindo Vosne Romanee preamp and used a basic dipole ribbon antenna (I'm researching what to acquire for my more permanent FM antenna setup).  I was beyond floored by how great it sounded!  Amazing for a 60+ year old tuner!
    • McIntosh MR-67 FM Stereophonic Tube Tuner
    I purchased this well kept McIntosh tuner from an audio dealer in Redondo Beach CA in 2009. I then had it re-calibrated by Mike Zuccaro in 2010 but due to a series of moves, I've never been able to integrate it into either my Audio Research or Shindo systems.  But now that I'm settled in NorCal, I thought it time to bring it out of storage and A/B it with my REL Precedent 646C tuner.  Not surprisingly, the McIntosh holds up very well in comparison. I have yet to determine my final FM antenna setup, so I'm running both tuners with a simple dipole antenna and even with this basic setup, the sound quality is excellent!
    • Altec 846A Valencia
    A great 16-ohm speaker that works well with both my Shindo and Audio Research gear. Sonically, it never fails to amaze and thrill me.
    • Mast Mutter Altec 846A custom crossovers
    Acquired a pair of Mast Mutter crossovers from fellow Agoner bnrlaw (Thank you!), I haven't had the time nor space to install them into my 846A's but once my system is reassembled in Northern California, I'll be able to A/B with them in and out of the set up.
    • Don Garber Fi 2A3
    A really well-kept earlier 2A3 amp from Don Garber of Fi. Acquired from a fellow Agon-er, it pairs really well with my Shindo Monbrison preamp and Snell Type J II speakers. Can't wait to get my Altec 846A Valencia's out of storage to hear it with the Fi. Ran it over the last several days with a pair of JJ 2A3-40 tubes and a single Bendix 6106 with great results but I plan to do a little tube rolling to see what this gem can do.
    • Wright Sound WPA 3.5 SET
    2A3 SET monoblocks that put out 3.5 wpc.
    • Quad II monoblocks
    An older pair of classic Quad II monoblocks acquired from a gentleman on the East Coast. I plan to run this in both systems and see how they pair with my Quad ESL 57's. For now they sound great with the Altec Valencia's and Shindo gear!
    • Don Garber Fi X4
    The X4 is a single-ended, direct-coupled design with two Tung Sol 46s, two 6SF5 tubes and a 5Y3 rectifier. Puts out 1.5 watts per channel and pairs nicely with my 16-ohm Altec 846A Valencia's.
    • Wright Sound WLA 12
    A very clean WLA 12 acquired from an Audio Asylum owner on the East Coast. I've been swapping this in and out of my Shindo system to figure out the synergy with both the Shindo Montille and the Wright Sound WPA 3.5 monoblocks.
    • Delphi Imager
    The last pair of Imager speakers made in genuine walnut veneer in 1995 by the late speaker designer, Marco Karpodines.  It features an umbilical connection between speakers that produces a great soundstage.  I acquired these speakers over the summer from a fellow Los Angeles/Orange County Audio Society member who was the original owner.
    • Thorens TD-124 mki
    Mounted in a multi-layered Baltic Birch plinth. SME 3012r 12-inch tonearm with a Denon DL-103 cartridge retipped by Soundsmith and mounted in a Uwe African ebony body.
    • Snell Type J II
    A pair of really clean original owner speakers acquired on eBay from the East Coast. Unfortunately, shipping them cross country damaged the foam surrounds but they were restored to good as new by Orange County Speaker Repair (highly recommended).
    • Snell Type J III
    Restored by a fellow audiophile, its efficiency is 90 dBA compared to 92 dBA for the Type J II
    • Thorens TD-124 mkii
    Thorens TD-124 mkii mounted in a two-tonearm slate plinth from Oswald Mills Audio with an Ortofon RMG 212 tonearm & Ortofon 90th Anniversary SPU. I need to mount a 12-inch Schick tonearm.
    • Schick 12-inch
    I was finally able to procure a Schick 12-inch tonearm. I plan to use this initially with the Thorens TD-124 mkii TT and the Ortofon 90th Anniversary SPU in the OMA slate plinth but will eventually move this to the Garrard 301 and a yet to be fabricated birch plinth.
    • WyWires, LLC Juice II Silver power cords
    Two WyWire Juice II power cords for the ModWright XA5400es SACD/CD player and its power supply.
    • Box Furniture Company D4S
    The D4S model in sapele from Pitch Perfect Audio in SF (and now of LA). One of the most beautiful and sturdiest racks I have ever had the pleasure of carrying up two flights of stairs. Solid construction and workmanship!
    • Auditorium 23 Step Up Transformer (SUT)
    Denon 103 version specifically made for higher impedance cartridges like the Denon.
    • Silvercore MC for SPU Special
    A special transformer designed specifically for the Ortofon SPU
    • Silvercore One-to-Ten SUT
    Moving-coil step-up transformer containing (see Art Dudley's May 2011 review) "a stereo pair of toroidal transformers, wound from copper wire on proprietary amorphous cores, with a primary-coil impedance of 100 ohms"
    • Auditorium 23 4.0M Speaker Cable
    4.0 M speaker cables with spade adaptors for use with the Altec Valencia's quaint (i.e. tiny) speaker posts or bananas with the Snell's. It's nice to have the extra length to optimize speaker placement.
    • Shindo Labs 2.0 M Silver Balanced
    Matt Rotunda was kind enough to swap a pair of 1.5M RCA Shindo Silver ICs for a pair of balanced 2.0M Shindo Silver ICs that I am using to go from the Vosne Romanee preamp to the pair of Lafon Western Electric 300B monoblocks.
    • Shindo Labs 1.0 M Silver
    Symetrical construction with Teflon dielectric
    • Shindo Labs 0.5M Silver
    Two 0.5M ICs used from the TT to the Auditorium 23 SUT then to the Monbrison.
    • Shindo Labs Mr. T power conditioner
    Acquired from Pitch Perfect Audio in SF. One more piece of the puzzle...
    • Ortofon SPU Classic GM mkii
    I bought this in order to give the 90th Anniversary SPU an occasional break.
    • Altec 846A Valencia (second pair)
    A pristine pair of Altec 846A Valencia's from an estate consignor's store in Sacramento. The original owner passed away about ten years ago and his wife passed earlier this year. The speaker's serial numbers are even lower than my present pair but the cabinets are so clean they look like they came from the factory yesterday. Definitely a keeper!
    • Ortofon SPU A Mono
    I've been collecting and enjoying older mono LPs the last several years and inquired with Matt Rotunda about acquiring an EMT OFD 25i but he was out of stock and EMT had stopped producing them (a key casting mold for the cart had been either lost or damaged) so I purchased this Ortofon SPU A Mono as an interim solution until the EMT is manufactured again.
    • HH Scott 121-C Dynaural Equalizer Pre-amplifier
    I acquired two 121-C's in February 2014 from an Audiomart seller in Pennsylvania who had completely refurbished and restored both units. I was in the process of readying my home for sale, so they remained in packing boxes until today (well at least one has been unpacked). I plan to run them with one of my Thorens TD-124 turntables and a yet-to-be acquired EMT cartridge dedicated towards playback of 78 LPs and mono LPs.
    • NOS Western Electric 2.5M (8 ft ) KS13385L-1 26 Strand 16awg speaker cables with black sheathing
    2.5M (8 ft ) NOS Western Electric KS13385L-1 26 Strand 16awg speaker cables with black sheathing and small spades on both ends.  I've ran them in place of the A23 speaker cables for the past year and, once broken in, they compare very favorably against the A23's. 
    • Quad ESL 57
    A pair of classic stock Quad 57's that I purchased from their second owner in 2012. I've ran it mostly with my Audio Research system, but mothballed them in 2014 for the eventual Big Move to NorCal.  I finally pulled them out of storage, removed the shrink and bubble wrap and am now running them with a pair of NOS Quad II monoblocs that pump out 15 sweet wpc. A perfect pairing with the 57's and my Shindo gear!

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Love your system, a great collection of gear! Congrats on you eminent retirement (welcome to the club!).

I was born & raised in LA, and was glad to leave it behind, back in 1971. Never been back. Western Washington has been very good for me, I hope Norcal is great for you.

I'll be checking on your progress, to see how you fare with your move.

Best regards,
Dan

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